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Amazing Reims background as Nuvolari blasts his Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Tipo B/P3 to French GP victory on 14 July 1932…

What an endurance test, the race 5 hours in duration! Grands Prix have been 200 miles for so long its easy to forget what the ‘titans’ coped with nearly 100 years ago. Maserati didn’t race so it was a straight fight between Bugatti and Alfa Romeo with the Milan brigade winning comprehensively in their new 2.65 litre straight- 8 Vittorio Jano designed machines.

It was Nuvolari from Baconin Borzacchini and Rudy Caracciola in Alfa Corse entered cars, the best placed Bugatti T51 that of Louis Chiron in 4th.

This article is some words around some great shots of  Nuvolari from the Getty Images archives, treat it as the first in an occasional ‘at random’ series.

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Tazio, Bremgarten, Swiss GP, Bern 21 August 1938 (Klemantaski Collection)

 Swiss GP, Bern 21 August 1938…

Tazio during the race held in awfully wet conditions. Seaman’s Mercedes lead from pole from teammates Stuck and Caracciola, he opened up a good lead but lost it after being boxed in by backmarkers allowing Rudy to sneak through.

Muller’s Auto Union raced well, Stuck spun and Tazio had undisclosed mechanical dramas in their mid-engined Type D’s. Mercedes 1-3 result was Caratch from Seaman and Manfred von Brauchitsch, all in W154’s.

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Donington GP 1938

’38 Donington GP…

The winds  of change were blowing in Europe, the race date was changed due to the Munich crisis by three weeks, the race held on 22 October 1938. Nuvolari’s exciting weekend started in practice when his Auto Union Type D 3 litre V12 ran into a deer! But he lead the race from the start then ceded the lead to Herman Lang, pitting an additional time. The engine of Hansons Alta blew with Hasse spinning and crashing on the oil and Dick Seaman losing a lap. Tazio sneaked past Muller back into 2nd, then Herman slowed with a broken windscreen giving the plucky Mantuan the lead which he held to the end of the race. Lang was 2nd and Seaman 3rd both in 3 litre V12 Mercedes Benz W154

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Tazio with some Nazi flunkies, ‘International Automobile and Motor Cycle Show’ 18 February 1939 Berlin. Hard to avoid these pricks racing for a German team at the time i guess (Popperfoto)

International Automobile & Mototcycle Show, 18 February 1939…

The first German automotive show was held in Berlin in 1897 with 8 cars, visitor numbers grew exponentially together with the growth of motoring itself, by 1939 825,000 people attended to see the new VW and other more sporting exhibits.

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TN Jaguar XK 120, Intl Trophy Meeting, Silverstone 26 August 1950 (J Wilds)

Silverstone International Trophy Meeting 26 August 1950…

Tazio was entered in a red, standard, ex-demo factory XK120 Jaguar in the production sportscar race during this famous annual meeting.

The MotorSport report of the meeting records ‘It was splendid to see Nuvolari go round at 75.91 mph in a hard-used Jaguar demonstrator, using his gearbox where others trod on their brakes, but on Friday he was said to be ill from methanol fumes – odd, for the production cars were on petrol – and Whitehead drove for him’.

Nuvolari was quite ill by this stage and struggled, he did three slow laps on the first day of practice then Jaguar team manager Lofty England had the task of telling Tazio that he was too slow as a consequence of his fitness.

Doug Nye made this observation of the genius on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’; ‘In his final years Nuvolari was a variably sick man, varying from being in frail shape to being in terrible shape. I have been told by many who met the great man at that Silverstone meeting that he was, indeed, in terrible shape that weekend…and they were all greatly concerned for him…some even wondering if he might not survive the journey home…

Nuvolari had at least as a high a proportion of admirers amongst British racing enthusiasts as he had in his native Italy, and possibly higher, and for many it was like seeing a retired old thoroughbred racehorse, attemping one last gallop on grass, arthritic, blown, sway-backed, and broken down … for many present that weekend it was remembered as a terribly sad sight… particularly for those who recalled the sight of Nuvolari in his pomp at Donington Park, 1938’.

Nuvolari died on 11 August 1953 having suffered a stroke which partially paralysed him the year before, a second one killed him.

Credit…

Imagno, J Wilds, Getty Images

Tailpiece: Moss and Nuvolari at the International Trophy meeting, Silverstone 1950. Shot is symbolic of generational change but it’s also clear just how fragile the great man had become…

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Blondie surrounded by World Champs; Messrs Hulme, Hill and Clark, Melbourne, 1968…

Ford Australia’s 1967 ‘XR’ Falcon was a big step forward in its market competition with General Motors ‘Holden’ who had a dominant position.  The XR GT packed a 289cid V8 and started the trend of local pony cars which provided wonderful road cars and iconic Bathurst racers for years.

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Barry Cassidy, Ford Falcon ‘XR’ GT, Newry Corner, Longford March 1968 (oldracephotos.com)

This photo is no doubt part of Ford’s ongoing repositioning of their product, ‘Going Ford is the Going Thing’ was FoMoCo’s ‘tag line’ of the day.

‘Blondies’ car is the 1968 ‘XT’ Falcon 500 ‘poverty pack’. A 302cid V8 was cranked under the bonnet to create the GT, a 4 speed box, slippery diff and front disc brakes with firmer springs and shocks completed the performance makeover. This was the only one of the ‘Big Henrys’ which didn’t win the Bathurst enduro classic. An ‘HK’ Holden Monaro 327 coupe driven by Bruce McPhee took the ’68 win.

‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ is the adage…

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The Spencer Martin/Jim McKeown XT Ford Falcon GT auto!,Bathurst 500 1968. The pair were 42nd, the highest placed Ford was the XR GT driven by McIntyre/Stacey which was 7th (unattributed)

The local ranges of Ford and Holden were full of mundane stodge in 1966, perhaps the Cortina GT the ‘highlight’. Times ‘were a changin tho’, by 1970; Ford offered the Falcon 351V8 GT/GTHO, Lotus engined Escort Twin-cam, Capri GT V6 and 1600GT and Holden the Monaro HG 350V8 and Torana XU1 which sported a 186cid ohv triple-carbed straight six, all wonderful cars for 13 year olds to dream about…

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Ford Oz ad for the 1972/3 ‘XA’ Coupe GT; 351cid 300bhp V8, 4 speed ‘top loader’ box, slippery diff, disc/drum brakes, great cars!

Ford provided some support to Team Lotus who campaigned Lotus 49 DFW’s for both Jim Clark and Graham Hill during the ’68 Tasman Series which Clark won.

The Falcon shot at the articles start has Victorian plates so the shot was probably taken in the week of 25 February to 4 March 1968. Clark took the Sandown, Victorian round. The world champs were then in Melbourne for a few days before heading to Longford, Tasmania for the series ending race won by Piers Courage’ McLaren M4A FVA F2 car in a stunning wet weather drive.

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Clark ahead of Graham Hill, slices into The Esses during the ‘Warwick Farm 100’, another win for the Scot’s Lotus 49, he took the ’68 Tasman (oldracephotos.com)

Credits…

Ford Australia, oldracephotos.com

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The trouble with so many shots of Maria Teresa de Filippis is that many were shot by non-racing photographers so are devoid of the detail we want!…

‘Maria Teresa with racing car’ is about as precise as it often gets, it gives we amateur historians a research challenge I guess. Having trawled through the ‘F2 Register’ Formula Junior Archive as best I can (although the listing for this event does not include competitor numbers) this is the ‘Confronto Nord-Sud’ contested at Vallelunga on 1 November 1958. Lucio de Sanctis won the final in his own de Santis Fiat with Maria Teresa 4th in the first heat and 6th in the final. I wrote a short article after de Filippis died last year, click here to read it;

Maria Teresa de Filippis…

The car behind Maria Teresa is another Stanguellini, unfortunately the mid-engined car has been largely cropped out of the shot, ‘twould be interesting to know what it is if any of you FJ experts can identify the machine.

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MTdF in her Stanguellini at Vallelunga in 1958 (Popperfoto)

Formula Junior had 11 events in 1958, 9 of them in Italy, the category’s champion was Count Giovanni Lurani an Italian who saw the need for a relatively inexpensive entry-level single-seater class. The category was for cars with engines of 1100cc and a minimum weight of 440Kg (their was a 1000cc class as well with a lower weight limit) exploded in 1959 with meetings all over Europe, the UK from mid-year and a couple towards the end of the year in the US.

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Count Giovanni ‘Johnny’ Lurani, here in the mid-30’s, was an Italian auto engineer, driver and journalist who raced Salmson, Derby, Alfa and Maserati’s after graduating in engineering at the Politecnico di Milano. He won his class in the Mille Miglia thrice and founded Scuderia Ambrosiana in 1937. Post WW2 he worked with the FIA, his credits include the creation of FJ in ’59 and the GT Class in ’49. He also designed record breaking motorcycles and was president of the FIM in a life of achievement (ISC Images)

The category was immensely successful largely due to a progressively more buoyant post-war global economy, improving personal incomes and the arrival of consumer credit which meant young aspirants to Fangio’s world crown could buy a car.

There was plenty of choice of weapon too as builders of chassis and related componentry popped up all over the joint from Australia to Russia. An article on FJ and its incredible growth is an interesting one for another time!

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Stanguellini factory in Modena with a swag of FJ’s lines up out front in 1959 (stanguellini.it)

Stanguellini were beautifully placed to build cars for Formula Junior given their rich history of racers based on the Fiat parts bin…

That glib phrase does not do the heritage of this firm justice however, click on this link to the marques website which provides a great summary of their cars and engines since the 1930’s, the photographic archive is also rich, take the time to cruise through it; http://www.stanguellini.it/en/100-years-of-history-stanguellini-car/

The ‘Stang’ is often often said to be a mini-250F but its as much Vanwall or Lotus 16, either way those comparisons don’t do justice to a car which has a beauty all of its own.

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Stanguellini Fiat FJ cutaway drawing, all the key elements of the car clear and as described in the text (unattributed)

Vittorio Stanguellini engaged Alberto Massimino who was very clever in his design approach; its not innovative in terms of its ladder frame chassis, or choice of front-engined layout although the first cars appeared in late ’57 or ‘early ’58, the ‘Cooper Revolution’ wasn’t necessarily clear at that exact moment in time. A year later the mid-engined trend was, but the Stang with its circa 80bhp, twin Webered 1098cc pushrod engine was the most competitive thing around in 1958 and 1959.

In part it was due to a clever layout which provided the driver a low driving position, getting the weight down by the use of an offset drive line, the Fiat 4 speed gearbox kinked to the right, the driver to the left. The cars had conventional upper and lower wishbone front suspension and a Fiat live axle nicely located with parallel trailing arms and sprung by coils, co-axial shocks were used front and rear. The ‘look’ was completed by the use of Borrani 12 inch wire-wheels, brakes were finned Fiat 9.8 inch drums front and rear. The wheelbase was 79 inches, front and rear track 48 inches.

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Snug cockpit of Norm Falkiners Stanguellini FJ in late 2015, offset transmission to get the driver down nice and low clear . Engine and ‘box Fiat 4 speed (Bisset)

None of these Stanguellini’s raced in Australia ‘in period’ but Melbourne driver Norm Falkiner imported one a decade or so ago. I happened to be testing my Van Dieman RF86 Historic Formula Ford at Calder when its restoration was just completed by Jim Hardman, who still fettles it. These mixed track days are interesting to see how different cars do their stuff (or not!) up close; I can still recall how nice the thing put its power down, and how much punch it seemed to have, I could hear the little Fiat engine buzzing to circa 7500rpm each time I ranged up near it. It was less impressive under brakes, but chances are they were still being sorted.

Maria-Teresa’s views on the ‘Stang relative to the GP machines she was piloting at the time would be interesting!

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de Filippis in her 250F at Spa in 1958, 11th in the Belgian GP won by Tony Brooks Vanwall VW57 (unattributed)

Robert Lippi won the Italian Championship in 1958 and Michel May won both the ’59 Monaco FJ GP and ‘Auto Italiana International Championship for Drivers’ and Stanguellini the ‘Quattroroute International Championship of Makes’. The ‘Campionato Italiano’ went to Stanguellini driver Raffaele Cammarota.

In 1960 things got tougher. The Brits ran their first championships for the class, Chapman’s mid-engined Lotus 18 was just as quick with an 1100 Ford bolted into the back of it as a 2.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF. It and the Cooper T52 BMC made the pickings tougher for the ‘front-engined brigade the best of which that year was perhaps the Lola Mk2.

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The GP Icecar, Cortina 17/18 January 1959. In Italy racing on ice was a novelty, circuit at Monti Pallidi, contestants line up for the first heat. L>R Stanguellini Fiat’s of Crivellari, Zanarotti and De Carli. At right the VW based Mathe VW of Otto Mathe. The final was won by Manfredini’s Wainer Fiat (Stangullini)

In 1960 Colin Davis Osca Fiat won the ‘Campionato A.N.P.E.C/ Auto Italiana d’ Europa’ from Jacques Cales Stanguellini Fiat, Denny Hulme in a Cooper T52 BMC and Lorenzo Bandini, Stang Fiat.

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Beautiful period shot; Michel May lines up his #33 Stang Fiat FJ on the front row of the second heat of the Trofeo Vigorelli, Monza on 24 April 1960, which he won. 2nd in the ‘final 2’ . Car #57 alongside is Rob Slotemaker’s Cooper T52 DKW (stanguellini.it)

That FJ was nurturing drivers of great talent is shown by the fields of the 1960 championship which included Henry Taylor, Giancarlo Baghetti, John Love, Gerhard Mitter, ‘Geki’ Russo, Kurt Ahrens, Trevor Taylor, Jo Siffert, Peter Arundell, Ludovico Scarfiotti and Jim Clark, to name a diverse global few!

Clark won the ‘BRDC/Motor Racing’, ‘British FJ Championship’ and ‘John Davey British FJ Championship’ aboard his works Lotus 18 Ford and Peter Arundell the ‘BARC Championship’ in the other works 18.

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Jim Clark happy after winning the ‘Kentish 100 Trophy’ at Brands Hatch 27 August 1960, Lotus 18 Ford (Lee)

Stanguellini rose to the mid-engined challenge, building the multi-tubular chassis Delfino FJ. Again Fiat engined, but inclined at 45 degrees, it had a very distinctive high mounted exhaust. By 1962 Cosworth modified Ford engines were well out of the Fiat’s reach, the car had little success, with Stanguellini losing interest in the class.

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Colin Davis testing the Stanguellini Delfino Fiat at Modena in winter 1962, distinctive exhaust system clear. ‘Sharknose’ styling modelled on Carlo Chiti’s 1961/2 Ferrari 156 F1 machine (stanguellini.it)

Credits…

Botti, Popperfoto, Lee, Stanguellini.it, F2 Register, ISC Images

Tailpiece: Maria-Teresa helping get her Stanguellini into position at Vallelunga, car behind a 250F. I’ve a feeling the ‘ogling fans in the background are focused on the lines of the lady not her car…

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(Popperfoto)

 

 

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(Schlegelmilch)

Peter Gethin subbing for Denny Hulme in the tragic 21 June 1970 Dutch Grand Prix, McLaren M14A Ford…

1970 was a tragic season for driver deaths, Piers Courage perished in a gruesome fiery accident in his De Tomaso 505 Ford in this race.

Peter was drafted in the McLaren team after Bruce’s death at Goodwood on 2 June. To make matters worse Denny Hulme burned his hands at Indianapolis so McLaren were represented at Zandvoort by Dan Gurney, Gethin with Andrea de Adamich in an Alfa Romeo V8 engined M14A, the other team cars Ford Cosworth DFV powered.

What draws the eye to this shot is the helmet, Gethins and Jackie Olivers designs were so similar to Jim Clark’s at the time.

McLaren’s weekend was poor; Andrea DNQ and both Dan and Peter retired with a mechanical problem and accident respectively. John Surtees M7C was the best placed McLaren in 6th, the race won by Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 72 Ford, the iconic car scoring its first win. Surtees drove the ex-works 1969 car until his own Surtees TS7 made its debut later in the season.

Credit…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

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I’ve been to the ‘States but never done a ‘motor racing tour’, when I do so Road America, Elkhart Lake will be one of the ‘musts’…

I first saw the place in books on the CanAm Series as a teenager and was taken by its undulating terrain, challenging layout and wooded setting in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine.

These photos of Sebastien Bourdais in the 2007 Champcar round there seemed worth sharing.

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Bourdais reflection in the pits, Road America 2003 (Ingham)

The Le Mans born second generation racer burst from French karting and junior formulae and vaulted from European Formula 3000 success in 2002 to Indycars in 2003. He became the series dominant driver taking the title from 2004-2007 before jumping to F1 with Toro Rosso in 2008 and into 2009.

Bourdais won the Road America ‘Generac Grand Prix’ from pole extracting all the mandated Panoz DP01 2.65 litre single-turbo Cosworth V8 had to offer. His Newman Haas entered car won from Dan Clarke and Graham Rahal.

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Bourdais remains a competitive racer in Sportscars and Indycars having won a ‘Chevrolet Dual in Detroit’ race at Belle Isle Park in this years (2016) series.

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Credits…

All images Darrell Ingham

Tailpiece:Bourdais Panoz DP01, Road America 2003…

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bmw 328 11 rob roy 1946

The year is 1946, it isn’t Germany!…

Many thanks to Stephen Dalton for identifying the car and driver who are famous in the pantheon of Australian motor racing indeed. Frank Pratt drove this 328 to victory in the Australian Grand Prix at Point Cook, not too far away from Rob Roy in January 1948. The event featured is the 11th Rob Roy on 24 November 1946, one of Pratt’s first drives in the car.

This much raced 328, chassis #85136, was imported to Oz by Sydney driver/businessman John Snow on one of his trips to Europe. He bought it from a German General in 1937, Snow acquired it on behalf of George Martin, president of the Light Car Club, Melbourne.

Martin raced it in the ’38 AGP at Bathurst won by Peter Whitehead’s ERA R10B, then unfortunately lost his life in the car on the return trip to Melbourne in an accident near Wagga Wagga.

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George Martin in the 328 at left 15th, and John Crouch MG TA 5th, 1938 AGP at Bathurst, some of the challenges of the gravel track obvious in this shot (Dave Sullivan)

Repaired, by 1946 the car passed into the hands of Geelong motor cycle racer/dealer Frank Pratt who famously won his first circuit race in it; the 1948 Australian Grand Prix, at Point Cook airforce base west of Melbourne.

As a very successful motor cycle racer he was not new to competition and racecraft. He also had a favourable handicap, the AGP was run to F Libre and handicapped for many years. Pratt scored a lucky win with high speed consistency, the car prepared by racer/engineer Harry Firth.

Dalton adds; ‘..Les Murphy (was) mentioned as a possible driver of the car, because Pratt was injured at a Ballarat Motorcycle meeting. But not car preparation, Harry Firth said he did the brakes, chassis and gearbox on the BMW. Mick Scott did the engine. Harry also mentions preparing the Gaze HRG 1500, but wasn’t allowed to do the Alta’ which Gaze retired after 5 laps.

In a race run in horrid, stifling hot summer conditions which took their toll on both cars and their pilots especially the highly strung single-seaters and racing cars, Frank triumphed.

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Pratt on his way to victory on a horrible Melbourne summers day, AGP, Point Cook, January 26 1948, BMW 328 (George Thomas)

Click here for an interesting article about Frank Pratt, little has been written about him. ‘Pratt and Osborne’ still exists as a motor-cycle dealership in Geelong, a port city 75 Km from Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay. http://www.smcc.com.au/docs/Leonard%20Frank%20Pratt.pdf

The BMW was later raced by Peter McKenna all over Australia; at Fishermans Bend, Ballarat Airfield and Albert Park in Victoria and as far afield as Southport’s 1954 Australian Grand Prix. The car passed through various custodians hands in Oz before leaving the country in the 1990’s.

Credits…

‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden’, George Thomas, Stephen Dalton, Dave Sullivan

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Jacques Laffitte and Tico Martini swapping notes as the old mates catch up in 1977…

This shot is dated 1 June 1977, note the presence of Didier Pironi’s ’77 Monaco F3 GP winning Mk 21. There are a few cars being assembled in the Magny Cours ‘shop, by the looks of the brakes on the monocoque in the foreground it’s probably a Mk22 F2 chassis.

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Jacques at Paul Ricard in 1971, Alpine Formula Renault

Jacques first sprung to prominence with a win in the ’72 French Formula Renault championship aboard a Martini Mk8 and proved his inherent speed with Monaco F3 GP and French F3 championship wins in a Martini Mk12 Ford in 1973. He was also 4th in the British Championship in the same car. His Martini pedigree went back further though, to 1969 when he started to put together some good results in the F3 MW4, he was not an overnight success mind you, doing plenty of time in the junior formulae  before his ultimate progression.

Tico Martini built his first racing car, a hillclimber in Jersey in 1962. At the Boulay Bay hillclimb he met Bill Knight, who was running the Jim Russell Racing School at Magny Cours. The following year Martini moved to Magny Cours to look after the school cars and prepare a fleet of its F3 cars which he also raced.

In 1965 the Knights acquired the school and renamed it ‘Winfield’. In 1968 Martini built the MW3 F3 car (MW-Martini Winfield) F3 car. And so a firm which went all the way to F1 with Rene Arnoux in the Mk23 Ford DFV in 1978 was born, the full history of the marque a feature for another time.

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Laffitte, Williams FW04 Ford on his way to 2nd place to Reutemann’s Brabham BT44B Ford at the Nurburgring in 1975. German GP (Schlegelmilch)

Jacques jumped up to F2 in 1974 initially with a March BMW, he switched to Tico’s Mk16 BMW in 1975 winning the title in emphatic fashion with six round wins; Estoril, Thruxton, Nurburgring, the Pau GP, Hockenheim and Enna. Michele Leclere and Patrick Tambay completed a French sweep of the placegetters in March 752 BMW’s.

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Estoril 1975, Jacques 1st in the opening round of the Euro F2 Championship in ’75. Martini Mk16 BMW. March had the works BMW engines and their distribution rights, Jacque’s engines Schnitzer BMW M12, DOHC 4 valve, injected 2 litre circa 300bhp units (unattributed)

Mind you, by ’75 Jacques had made his F1 debut the year before, in one of Frank Williams Iso Fords.

Martini’s 1977 F2 car was the Mk22 Renault which convincingly won the European F2 title in Rene Arnoux’ hands from Eddie Cheever’s Ralt RT1 BMW and Didi Pironi in the other works Martini.

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Thruxton 11 April 1977, Brian Henton on the way to a great win in the Boxer PR276 Hart, Didi Pironi on the inside in his Martini Mk22 Renault DNF and Michele Leclere in the Kauhsen nee Jabouille 2J Renault DNF (unattributed)

Tico took the journey with Arnoux to F1 in 1978, a tough year to do so with Lotus 79 ground effects dominance. The Ford DFV powered MK23 with backing from Elf, RMO and Silver Match was uncompetitive. The team failed to qualify at Kyalami and Monaco but Rene made the field and finished 9th in the Belgian, Austrian and US GP’s and 14th in France. He retired in Holland and Canada, lack of sponsorship caused the teams withdrawal from F1 at seasons end.

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French GP, Paul Ricard, July 1978. Rene Arnoux Martini Mk23 Ford 14th leads a mid field gaggle including Clay Regazzoni Shadow DN9 Ford, Vittorio Brambilla Surtees TS20 Ford, Hans Stuck Shadow  DN9 Ford, Bruno Giacomelli McLaren M26 Ford and Rupert Keegan Surtees TS20 Ford (Schlegelmilch)

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Rene Arnoux, Martini Mk23 Ford  during Monaco 1978 pre-qualifying, he was 27th of 30 and didn’t make the cut, the race won by Patrick Depailler’s Tyrrell 008 Ford (Schlegelmilch)

Martini bounced back with Alain Prost’s success in the 1979 European F3 Championship, he won 7 of the 11 races in a Martini MK27 Toyota.

The company continued to win in F3 right through the 1980s and returned to F2 in 1983-84. Tico continued to build Formula Renault chassis with much success until 2004 when he sold the company to Guy Ligier and a new assault began on Formula 3.

The car beside Tico and Jacques, Pironi’s Monaco winner is a Toyota powered Mk21 chassis, behind him at Monaco was Elio De Angelis’ Chevron B38 and Anders Oloffsson’s Ralt RT1, the ‘Class of  1977′.

The Martini chassis were period typical aluminium monocoques with upper and lower wishbone front suspension and single top link, twin parallel lower links and twin radius rods for fore and aft location with outboard coil spring/shocks and roll bars at the rear. We are a couple of years before the ground effect era and its knock on impacts on chassis design and aerodynamics.

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Didi Pironi Martini Mk21 Toyota 1st from Elio de Angelis Chevron B38 Toyota 2nd Monaco F3 GP 21 May 1977 (Schlegelmilch)

The gearboxes were Mike Hewland’s ubiquitous, reliable 5 speed transaxles; the Mk9 and FT200 for F3 and F2 use respectively. Both classes specified 2 litre engines, the F3 rules inlet restrictions limiting the 4 valve, fuel injected 4 cylinder Toyota unit to circa 190bhp. Francois Castaing’s gorgeous ‘CH’ Renault Gordini 90 degree, 4 valve, fuel injected 1997cc V6 gave around 300bhp @ 10500rpm. It won Euro 2 litre sportscar and F2 titles and spawned Renault’s successful turbo-charged Le Mans and GP winners, stories for other times.

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There is a great book about Tico and his cars, inevitably its only published in French, which is a bumma for me at least!

Credits…

Benjamin Auger, Gerard Rouxel, Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece: Jacques in his ‘Winfield Racing’ F3 Martini MW4 Ford, ‘Coupe de Salon’ Montlhery October 4 1969…

He didn’t finish the race won by Emerson Fittipaldi’s Lotus 59 Ford from Francois Mazet and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud both in Tecno 69 Fords. The field included Depailler, Brambilla, Jarier, Jabouille, Wisell, Schenken and Peterson in a sea of talent!

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(Klemantaski)

I chose these two shots of the thousands of the great Argentinian as they demonstrate his delicate touch and judgement at very high speeds…

The first is driving the Alfa 159 for his beloved ‘Alfa Corse’ at Reims on 1 July 1951, his first championship winning season. He is clipping the inside grass on the back section of this French Grand Prix road course in the Champagne Region.

The second is at Bremgarten driving the Mercedes Benz W154 bang on line during the Swiss Grand Prix on 22 August 1954, also a title winning season of course.

Marvel at the finesse, it’s as clear in these neutral or slight understeer shots as the many high speed oversteer shots many of which are at Reims at well over 125mph…

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(Klemantaski)

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1954 French, Reims GP: Victory in #18 Mercedes Benz W154 upon its debut (Klemantaski)

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Fangio, French GP, Reims 1954 (Klemantaski)

Credits…

Klemantaski Collection, Maurice Jarnoux

Tailpiece: Mobbed in Milano, 1 September 1958…

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(Maurice Jarnoux)

 

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(Max Staub)

Count Giannino Marzotto and Nearco Crosaro spur their Ferrari 340MM on ahead of Fangio’s Alfa Romeo 6C3000CM during the 1953 Mille Miglia…

The Italian duo won the race, held from 25-26 April by nearly 12 minutes over Fangio’s car navigated by Giulio Sala and Felice Bonetto/U Peruzzi Lancia D20.

The new Alfa’s, powered by a 3 litre DOHC 6 cylinder engine led 4/5ths of the race but Marzotto’s victory was emphatic, he broke  the average speed record set in 1938, leaving it at 142kmh.

Credit…Max Staub

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(Jarnoux)

Jack Brabham and Francois Cevert ecstatic after winning the 1970 1000 Km of Paris at Montlhery on 18 October, Matra MS660…

Its interesting to look at the absolute delight they have and reflect on their relative careers right then and there; for Jack it was his last ‘International’ win before his ‘retirement’. Yes he did have a few appearances in touring cars in Oz in the 1970’s, not to forget his works Porsche 956B drive at Sandown’s World Endurance Championship race in 1984 but in reality 1970 was ‘it’ after a long, vastly successful career.

For Francois it was the year he broke into F1, Johnny Servoz-Gavin’s premature retirement with an eye injury gave Francois his opportunity in Ken Tyrrell’s March 701, one he embraced with both hands and capitalised upon. The world was at the talented Frenchman’s feet.

I wrote articles about Jack’s 1969/70 seasons and Francois’ early years, click on these links to read the articles which remain amongst my ‘most read’; https://primotipo.com/2014/09/01/easter-bathurst-1969-jack-brabham-1970-et-al/ and; https://primotipo.com/2014/11/07/francois-cevert-formative-years/

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Brabham in the works Aston DBR1 he shared with Stirling Moss at the Nurburgring 1000Km in 1958, JB very much in a support role that day (unattributed)

I don’t think of Jack as a sportscar driver although he started his professional sportscar career with a bang really; first in the 1958 Nurburgring 1000Km with Stirling Moss and second in the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood with Roy Salvadori in works Aston Martin DBR1’s.

But he was such a busy boy in the 1960’s he simply didn’t have the time for sporties; driving and testing Coopers, then forming Motor Racing Developments with Ron Tauranac. Brabham Racing Organisation entered and raced the F1 cars, he had garage and conversion businesses, ghosted magazine articles and depending upon the season raced in F1, F2, Indy not to forget the 7 or 8 Internationals/Tasman Series events he did in Australasia in January/February. Commercially it also made sense, other than the BT8, MRD didn’t build sportscars, so why not focus on what you sell?

So, his events in two seaters are relatively rare in the pantheon of his long career, a good obscure topic for an article actually!

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Monaco collage 1970, 2nd in the race won by Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 49D Ford. Brabham BT33 Ford (Schlegelmilch)

1970 was his ‘last racing season’ though. He had promised his wife Betty he would retire at the end of 1969 and having got the ‘leave pass’ which was pretty much forced upon him when Jochen Rindt decided to stay at Lotus, had one of his busiest season in ’70.

Jochen told Jack he was returning to Brabham but changed his mind when Colin Chapman made him an offer too good to refuse. So Jack raced on, a rethink forced upon him as by that stage no other number 1 drivers were available. So Jack made every post a winner; he raced F1, F2, Indy and most of the endurance events Equipe Matra Elf contested in 1970.

It wasn’t a ‘cruise and collect’ year for Jack though, he was still razor sharp, famously winning the season opening South African GP in Tauranac’s first monocoque F1 car, the Brabham BT33. He lost Monaco to Rindt after a last lap fumble under pressure from Jochen and the British GP to Jochen again, when, leading and driving away from the Austrian’s Lotus 72, he ran light on fuel, an error ‘credited’ to Ron Dennis, then his mechanic.

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Nice portrait of Jack at LeMans in 1970; at 44 he was as fast as the ‘quicks’ of the era, anyone who can hang onto Rindt at the peak of his powers is not too shabby, at 44 Jack was still ‘up there’ to say the least (Getty)

Brabham spoke about the pleasure of just ‘rocking up to drive for Matra’ in the biography he wrote with Doug Nye; ‘…to drive a car someone else had to develop and prepare was a rare luxury, which i really enjoyed’.

In 1970 Matra contested the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours in America, then in Europe the Brands Hatch and Monza 1000Km events and of course the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. They elected not to race Targa, the Spa and Nurburgring 1000Km events and the championship season ending Watkins Glen 6 Hour back in North America on 18 October.

The endurance championship that year was dominated by the 5 litre, 12 cylinder Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512S, the dominant ‘small car’, the 3 litre Porsche 908/3 which mopped up the events on circuits so suited; Targa and Nurburgring.

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Brabham in the MS650 he shared with Jean-Pierre Beltoise to 12th, Pedro Rodriguez beat the rest of the field in a blinding Porsche 917 display . Brands 1000Km 1970 (Schlegelmilch)

 

Matra’s primary 1970 tool was an updated 1969 Matra MS650, the new MS660 made its debut in the hands of Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Henri Pescarolo at Le Mans. The car raced at the Sarthe by Brabham and and Francois Cevert was the earlier MS650, both cars retired with engine failure within 3 laps of each other (laps 79 and 76 respectively)

Brabham was paired with Cevert at Daytona, the duo bringing the V12 engined car home in 10th place, the race run on 31 January/1 February 1970. Brabham didn’t contest the next round at Sebring, ‘his car’ paired Dan Gurney with Francois in a one-off drive. Henri Pesccarolo and Johnny Servoz Gavin achived the best championship Matra result for the season in 4th place, the race won by the Ferrari 512S of Ignzio Giunti, Nino Vaccarella and Mario Andretti.

The Brands Hatch 1000Km on April 12 was a famous demonstration of driving mastery by Pedro Rodriguez, the Mexican sportscar ace flinging his demanding, fidgety 5 litre Porsche 917K in the wet as though it were a Merlyn Formula Ford from one of the support races. Jack was paired with JPB, the duo were 12th.

At Monza later in the month the duo were 5th in the race won by the Rodriguez/Kinnunen JW Automotive Porsche 917K.

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Brabham ahead of a Lola T70 Mk3B Chev, Montlhery 1970 (Jarnoux)

With the Manufacturers Championship decided in Porsche’s favour from Ferrari and Alfa Romeo the Montlhery race was a chance for Matra to win in front of its home crowd.

The annual enduro wasn’t a Manufacturers’ Championship round, as stated above, but always had a good amateur entry. Matra entered two cars, the Linas-Montlhéry circuit only a few miles from its Velizy home base. Both cars were MS660’s, Beltoise and Pescarolo, drove a ‘sprinter’ variant, lightened a lot compared to Le Mans spec. The weight loss was achieved by deletion of lights, the charging system and the use of a Hewland gearbox rather than heavier, stronger ZF unit. The engine was the GP variant of the V12, able to use 11,000 r.p.m. against the normal 10,500 r.p.m. endurance limit. The other heavier ‘Le Mans spec’ car was driven by Jack and Francois.

There was no factory opposition to Matra but the Martini International Racing Team/Team AAW, had a 917 Porsche driven by Gerard Larrousse and Gijs van Lennep, as well as their Porsche 908’s, piloted by Rudy Lins/Helmut Marko and Claude Ballot-Lena/ Guy Chasseuil, the other 29 cars were private entries.

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‘MotorSport’s’ race report said; ‘A circuit of 7.821 kilometres long was used, comprising half of the banked track, with chicanes at each end of the banking, and part of the road course, and the race was over 128 laps and was run in warm and fine weather. Beltoise set the pace with the lightened Matra 660 and only van Lennep proved to be any sort of challenge, but the 917 engine broke early in the race leaving the Beltoise/Pescarolo car unchallenged. Robbed of his drive in the 917, Larrousse took over the 908 of Ballot-Lena/Chasseuil, and after a slow start Brabham and Cevert moved up into second place.

The leading Matra ran into trouble with its Hewland gearbox, due to the oil breather system not being right, and after some delays at the pits the car was forced out of the race by horrid noises in its transmission, this letting the second Matra take command. In second place was the carefully driven, privately-owned Ferrari 512S of the Spaniard José Juncadella, with the young French driver Jabouille as his partner. In spite of retiring, the lightweight Matra was classified in fourth position’.

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Matra MS660…

The MS630/650 had multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, the 660 one of Velizy’s famed aluminium monocoques clothed in a very sexy, swoopy aerodynamically clean and efficient Spyder body.

The 2993cc 60 degree, all aluminium, quad cam, 4 valve, Lucas injected V12, ever evolving in detail spec, engine was a common element of both cars and gave circa 400bhp. The ZF 5 DS25 5 speed gearbox was also a common element although the Hewland FG400 unit was also used.

Ventilated brakes used ATE calipers, steering was Matra rack and pinion, the suspension period typical; upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/shocks at the front and single top link, twin parallel lower links, two radius rods and coil spring/shocks at the rear. Adjustable roll bars front and rear. Weight was circa 700Kg dependent upon spec.

Credits…

MotorSport December 1970, Patrick Jarnoux, Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece: Francois Cevert caressses the sleek, swoopy MS660 around Montlhery, 1970…

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