Ask yourself first the question; do I remember the Shannon Racing Team? Maybe the older readers will say yes the Shannon Racing Team who entered the British Grand Prix in 1966 with the Shannon SH1, driven by Trevor Taylor. Sorry but it is the wrong answer. I mean the Shannon Racing Team, which was active in both Formula3 and Formula 3000 around Europe in the mid-1990s. Still no bells ringing? What if I say Shannon was the reason the Forti’s changed their colour scheme during the 1996 season to Green – White?
Probably you remember the Shannon Colours now and the story behind the Forti Deal. The Shannon Racing Team was registered in Dublin, Ireland, and was a subsidiary of an Italian Industrial financial group named FinFirst group. Ben Gartz, a Polish German was the owner of FinFirst. Shannon bought 51% of the shares from Forti Corse on the 7th of June in 1996 and became the new team’s owner.
Earlier that year it seems Forti Corse already acquired the remains of the joint venture development project between Tyrrell and Fondmetal Technologies. The team was planning to use the wings that where developed, in the Camaro wind tunnel in Italy, on the Forti FG03/96. Later that year the Shannon announced a complete new bodywork, wings and under trays where on its way and would be introduced during the British GP. We all know what happened with the Small Italian day because of the Shannon deal. In Silverstone, the team had engines and the team was bankrupt.
However, before Shannon Racing destroyed the Forti Corse team and left the Formula One to never been seen in any motorsport series, they announced in Early May 1996, that they were planning to enter the Formula One in 1998 with their own team. The team had little success in the Formula 3000 when Tom Kristensen took pole position and the fastest lap during race held at the Pau Grand Prix. The same time rumours in the paddock at Monaco suggested that Shannon had the intention to form a similar alliance with Minardi, as they would do later with Forti Corse, thank god Minardi did not do this!
As said Shannon Racing, back then, only arrived recently in the auto sports, but was active in several categories of the F3 and Formula 3000 money wouldn’t have been the problem for the team, you would say, to start up their own Formula One team. Probably they would be powered by Mugen-Honda or by Mecachrome, unconfirmed rumours though. The cars would have had the same colour scheme as in the F3000 White Green and White. It is purely guessing but the team probably would have made investment packages as Mastercard did with Lola. The more you would invest in the team, the more privileges you would receive within the team. One of the drivers would probably have been Tom Kirstensen.
However, Shannon Racing never appeared on the grid, maybe we have to say thank god they did not.
We saw what they did with Forti Corse… such a shame we lost Forti that season…
Sources: AtlasF1 / Grandprix.com / Autosport Magazine / Formule1 Magazine / Speedsport Magazine