Part of the history of the Spa 24 Hours
In the seventies and eighties the Spa 24 Hours was still a touring car race. During that period Juma Team conquered an unequalled series of success: between 1977 and 1984 a BMW with ‘Juma’ on the windscreen finished in the top 2 eight times, winning three editions (77-82-83) and finishing runner-up five times (78-79-80-81-84)!
‘Juma’ stands for Julien Mampaey. A born and talented technician, who modestly competed in some hill climbs and circuit races, before taking care of the cars of others, like Eddy Joosen.
1975 was the first time a Julien ‘Juma’ Mampaey car entered ‘his’ Spa 24 Hours. In 1976 a BMW 3.0 CSL was next in line, and in 1977 the BMW 530 IUS of Joosen-Andruet scored a first win.
At the same time Juma competed in the Group 2 European Touring Car Championship. In 1979 the gorgeous BMW 3.0 CSL finished as runner-up, in the hands of Giacomelli-Grano-Joosen. Exactly 25 years later RBM would go one better and claim the title in the revamped ETCC.
Up until 1981 the Juma BMW 530 cars were the main competitors of the numerous Ford Capri. 1981 saw a surprise win for the TWR Mazda, beating the favourites of BMW in the final few hours. In 1982 the Spa 24 Hours was again a round of the European Touring Car Championship, and the Juma BMW 528i (Heyer-Hahne-Joosen) claimed the win. One year later the Belgian squad did the same with the new Tassin-Heyer-Hahne BMW 635 CSi. Juma almost took three wins in a row, but in 1984 Tassin-Cudini-Snobeck were just beaten by the TWR Jaguar XJS.
1985 saw a switch to the Belgian Touring Cars for Juma, with a BMW 323i for Eric van de Poele. In a similar car Thierry Boutsen drove a one-off race during the support event for the Spa 24 Hours, completely dominating the competition.
In 1986 the Juma racing department closed its doors, not without claiming the Belgian circuit championship for Jean-Michel Martin (BMW 535i). In the same year Eric Van de Poele shone during the EG Trophy in Zolder, at the wheel of the 635 CSi he shared with Hans Heyer. In what would be the final race for the Juma team they just missed a podium finish.
The name ‘Juma’ did not disappear however, for it still stands for successful BMW dealerships and body shops in Mechelen and Leuven. That way the name of one of the most successful racing teams Belgium has ever known lives on.