United States GP 1976

United States GP, 1976

A week after the South African GP there was the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch with victory going to James Hunt with the Durex-sponsored Surtees of Alan Jones second. The cars were then sent off to California for a new race on the streets of Long Beach. The only changes to the entry were Jones joining Surtees alongside Brett Lunger, March running a fourth car for Arturo Merzario (in Ovoro colors) and Ingo Hoffmann reappearing in the second Fittipaldi. The factory Marches of Hans Stuck and Ronnie Peterson appeared with backing from Teddy Yip and Ensign had new sponsorship from Norris Industries. Parnelli also added sponsorship from American Racing Wheels while the Shadow cars were back in black after running with Lucky Strike sponsorship in South Africa.

Qualifying resulted in a number of crashes into the concrete walls and a few mechanical failures because of the bumpy nature of the circuit. Clay Regazzoni emerged on pole in his Ferrari with Patrick Depailler (Tyrrell) second, James Hunt (McLaren) third and Niki Lauda (Ferrari) fourth. The top 10 was completed by Tom Pryce (Shadow), Ronnie Peterson (March), Jean-Pierre Jarier (Shadow), Vittorio Brambilla (March), John Watson (Penske) and Carlos Reutemann in the Brabham-Alfa. With only 20 cars allowed to start there were seven disappointed drivers, including both Williams entries (Michel Leclere and Jacky Ickx), Merzario, Hoffmann, Harald Ertl (Hesketh), Lunger and Bob Evans (Lotus).

Regazzoni took the lead at the start ahead of Depailler and Hunt. Further back Reutemann collided with Brambilla at the first corner while later in the lap Gunnar Nilsson's Lotus suffered a suspension failure and crashed.

On the third lap Hunt and Depailler collided at the hairpin, leaving an unhappy Hunt waving his fist at the Frenchman as he walked back to the paddock. As a result Lauda moved to second place and Depailler then had a spin and dropped behind Scheckter, Pryce, Peterson and Jarier. Depailler recovered well and climbed back up to third, aided by the retirements of Pryce and Scheckter, both with mechanical problems. Peterson dropped back with a brake problem but it was Laffite who was strongest at the end of the race, grabbing fourth place from Jarier and Mass.

Emerson Fittipaldi finished sixth to score his first point in a Fittipaldi chassis.

Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 312T 80 1h53m18.471s  
Niki Lauda Ferrari 312T 80 1h54m00.885s  
Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Cosworth 007 80 1h54m08.443s  
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra JS5 80 1h54m31.299s  12 
12 Jochen Mass McLaren-Cosworth M23 80 1h54m40.763s  14 
30 Emerson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth FD04 79  16 
17 Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Cosworth DN5B 79  
22 Chris Amon Ensign-Cosworth N174 78  17 
Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 77  13 
10 10 Ronnie Peterson March-Cosworth 761 77  
nc 19 Alan Jones Surtees-Cosworth TS19 70  19 
nc 28 John Watson Penske-Cosworth PC3 69  
Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Cosworth 007 34 Suspension 11 
16 Tom Pryce Shadow-Cosworth DN5B 32 Drive Shaft 
27 Mario Andretti Parnelli-Cosworth VPJ4B 15 Water Leak 15 
11 James Hunt McLaren-Cosworth M23 Accident 
34 Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Cosworth 761 Accident 18 
Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Cosworth 77 Suspension/ Accident 20 
Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 Accident 10 
Vittorio Brambilla March-Cosworth 761 Accident 
nq 21 Michel Leclere Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05   21 
nq 31 Ingo Hoffman Copersucar-Cosworth FD04   22 
nq 35 Arturo Merzario March-Cosworth 761   23 
nq Bob Evans Lotus-Cosworth 77   24 
nq 20 Jacky Ickx Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05   25 
nq 24 Harald Ertl Hesketh-Cosworth 308D   26 
nq 18 Brett Lunger Surtees-Cosworth TS19   27