(A Ramsay)

Malcom Ramsay and Tony Alcock built a swag of championship/race winning Formula Ford, F3, F2 and Formula Atlantic single-seaters from 1971 to 1978.

And this mid-engined, supercharged VW powered speedcar.

The project was funded by Bob and Marj Brown, a successful Adelaide business-couple who aided and abetted the careers of Birrana pilots Enno Buesselmann and Bob Muir from 1973-76.

Alcock’s revolutionary spaceframe design was tested by Ramsay on the dirt at Rowley Park, and at Adelaide International’s half-mile, banked, bitumen oval in 1974, it was immediately quick.

It was a step way too far for the conservative controlling body who suggested that “You circuit racing wally-woofdas can take your changes elsewhere!” Or as Ann-Maree Ramsay put it more delicately, the car “was banned due to perceived different handling characteristics compared with the front-engined Sesco and Offy cars of the time.”

The VW engine was a supercharged 1.6-litre flat-four mated to a Holinger modified VW transaxle.

By 1975 the Browns were in England chasing Formula Atlantic fame together with Muir and a pair of modified Birrana 273s.

Ramsay advertised the car in Auto Action, outlining that the S74 was the only car of its type “permitted to race for 18-months on a bitumen-oval, in this very restricted form of the sport.”

Yes, I know it’s a shit-photo, but it seems to be the only one there is, let’s record our history anyway. If you have a better one, please send it to me. The shot is out front of the Ramsay home in Adelaide. If memory serves, it now resides in the Holmes Collection in Brisbane.

Leo Geoghegan and Enno Buesselmann in Birrana 273 Hart-Fords during the 1973 ANF2 Adelaide International round

Credits…

Ann-Maree Ramsay

Finito…

harves red

(autopics.com.au-R Austin)

John Harvey’s 2.5-litre Repco V8 powered Brabham BT11A shrieks it’s way around Warwick Farm on 18 February 1968…

Looks a treat doesn’t it? Nose up out of Leger Corner onto Pit Straight, it was first meeting for the car with its Repco engine.

By 1968 IC-4-64 was an old-girl, albeit a very successful one. It was raced by Graham Hill in the 1965 Tasman Series for David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce, winning the 1965 NZ GP at Pukekohe on its race debut.

hill Hill won the ’65 NZGP at Pukekohe on 9 January 1965 from Frank Gardner’s similar BT11A and Jim Palmer’s earlier model BT7A, all 2.5 Coventry Climax FPF powered (sergent.com)

It then passed into the capable hands of Spencer Martin, initially driving for McKay, and then Bob Jane for whom Spencer won two Gold Stars in 1966 and 1967. Click here for an article on Martin and his exploits in this car; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/30/spencer-martin-australian-gold-star-champion-19667/

The 2.5-litre Coventry Climax FPF four cylinder engine was struggling against the V8’s by then, so Bob bought a 740 Series Repco 2.5-litre V8 to plonk in the back of the BT11A.

John Harvey, Martin’s successor at Bob Jane Racing, contested the Australian rounds of the 1968 Tasman Series so powered. Jim Clark’s works Lotus 49 Ford DFW won the Tasman that year, it was the final championship he won before his untimely death at Hockenheim that April.

harves engine 740 Series Repco 2.5 Tasman V8 engine. 700 Series Repco block and 40 Series ‘between the Vee’ heads’, the ’67 World Championship winning SOHC, two-valve engine in 2.5-litre Tasman spec as against its 3-litre F1 capacity.  Repco claimed 275bhp @ 8,500rpm for the 2.5, and 330bhp @ 8,400 rpm for the 3-litre variant. Lucas injection trumpets, Bosch distributor and plenty of chrome and cadminium plating in shot (P Houston)
image Harvey in the BT11A Repco at Longford, 1968. The attention Bob Jane placed on the presentation of his cars is clear. Note the seatbelt, six-point? (oldracephotos.com-H Ellis)

Harves’ did three Australian rounds, only finishing the wet, final Longford event. By the start of the Gold Star series he slipped into Jane’s new Brabham BT23E which had been Jack’s 1968 Tasman mount.

Harvey raced the final round of the 1967 Gold Star Series in IC-4-64 after Martin announced his retirement. He was already well familiar with Repco power, the 740 Series Repco had been shoe-horned into his Ron Phillips owned BT14 F2 Brabham.

Third place at Sandown was his only finish in the car. John commented in a Facebook exchange about this car “…On handling, Peter Molloy and I were still developing the chassis setup, however in the Diamond Trophy race in 1967 (pictured below) at Oran Park I set a new outright record on the last lap”, so they were improving the car.

The engine and Hewland ‘box was removed from the BT14 which Jane acquired, and popped into the BT11A which it was figured would better cope with the power than the BT14 F2 frame and related hardware.

IC-4-64 is still alive and well, as part of the Bob Jane Estate, in FPF engined form.

harves wf pitlane Harvey in the WF pitlane, Tasman meeting ’68. The BT11A has a vestigial spoiler and a few ducts the it didn’t have when CC FPF powered. Jewels of things these ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams, very successful ones at that (B Williamson)
harves wf from inside At the Warwick Farm Tasman meeting again (J Stanley)
harvey repco Competitor view of the BT11A and its luvverly Repco RB 740 2.5-litre 275 bhp V8 (P Houston)

Credits…

autopics.com.au-Richard Austin, John Stanley, Peter Houston, sergent.com, Bob Williamson, oldracephotos.com-Dick Simpson, Harold Ellis and Harrisson, oldracingcars.com, Stephen Dalton Collection

harvey repco (P Houston)

Brabham BT14 FL-1-65 Repco, Angus & Coote Diamond Trophy, 27 September 1967…

The shot of Harvey in the Ron Phillips owned Brabham referred to above, on the way to victory in the Diamond Trophy at Oran Park.

John made his name in speedway and transitioned into road racing in an Austin/Morris Cooper S, and then into open-wheelers in this ex-Bib Stillwell car. The Brabham received progressively bigger Lotus-Ford twin-cams, with Harvey going quicker and quicker, before the machine copped its Repco V8 Birthday between the 1967 Tasman and Gold Star Series. Rennmax’ Bob Britton performed the surgery to pop the Repco into the BT14 frame, creating a BT14 jig in the process.

It wasn’t that successful in Repco form; DNF/DNS at Lakeside, Surfers, Mallala and Symmons Plains, third place in the Sandown Gold Star round in September was the car’s best, behind Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco and Spencer Martin aboard BT11A IC-4-64.

Harvey during the Diamond Trophy meeting at Oran Park (oldracephotos.com-Dick Simpson)

Harvey’s Bob Jane drive commenced aboard IC-4-64 in the final Gold Star round, the Hordern Trophy, at Warwick Farm in December 1967.

So…Harvey in 12 or 14 months drove quite a few different Brabham/engine combinations! BT 14 Ford, BT14 Repco, BT11A Climax, BT11A Repco, and then BT23E Repco for the ’68 Gold Star Series. Mind you he missed the ’68 Gold Star.

The ‘noice new Brabham crashed after a rear suspension upright failed in practice for the opening Bathurst round. Harvey’s big accident and subsequent recovery kept him away from racing for the rest of the year.

Harvey aboard the Jane Racing Brabham BT23E Repco 830, during the Symmons Plains Gold Star round in March 1970, at the end of its competitive life. He won the race from Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco and Kevin Bartlett’s Mildren Waggott (oldracephotos.com-Harrisson)

Tailpiece…

(S Dalton Collection)

The July 1965 Oran Park meeting program shows Harvey’s Austin Cooper S ahead of George Garth’s Ford Cortina GT during the OP May 1965 meeting.

Finito…

JYS loads up into the Chaparral 2J at Watkins Glen in July 1970 (LAT)

Apart from the Chaparral 2J Chev, name another car raced in 1970 that looks as edgy now as it did way back then?

I still remember flicking through Automobile Year 18 in Camberwell Grammar’s library in 1971 and flipping-my-14-year-old-lid at the sight of the 2J. My oldest mate remembers me saying, “Look at George Jetson’s car!” The only things missing were Jane, Judy, Elroy, and of course ‘rAstro!

John Surtees, Chaparral 2H Chev at Riverside in October 1969
2H butt at Riverside in October 1969. Of note is the world’s biggest fabricated aluminium De Dion rear axle and one of the worlds biggest radius rods. ZL1 Chev has a crossover inlet manifold to get the fuel injection trumpets out of the airstream, ditto routing of extractors. Enormous wing fitted in this shot – you can see the vertical support – which is not installed in the shot above, remember too that this car was originally designed and built with the driver fully enclosed inside, something John Surtees pushed strongly against

Jim Hall has gonads the size of pineapples.

His outrageous 1969 offering, the wedgy, door-stop, knee high, De Dion rear-ended 2H was a complete flop. It’s driver, John Surtees, thought Hall had been smoking wacky baccy at Woodstock rather than working with clean-cut Nixon supporters at GM’s Skunkworks to design a new car.

Ever the poker player, Hall doubled his bets and concepted a machine so advanced and fast it was banned after only four races.

The Phil Hill/Mike Spence winged Chaparral 2F Chev looking lonely on the Daytona banking in 1967, DNF (Getty)

Chaparral had been giving the rest of the racing world aerodynamics and aero-technology lessons for five years or so to that point.

By 1970 the aluminium monocoque chassis was passe, so too was the aluminium block 650bhp’ish Chev ZL1 V8, even Chaparral/GM’s semi-automatic three-speed transaxle was a bit ho-hum.

Legend has it the inspiration for the 2J was a child’s fan-mail drawing to Hall of a sports racer being sucked down to the road by giant fans extracting the air underneath.

Whether it was ‘Elroy Jetsons’ sketch, an extension of previous Chapparral/GM R&D work, or divine providence, GM’s Paul Von Valkenburgh and Charlie Simmons, and Chaparral’s Don Gates started modelling the possibilities on Chevy R&D’s Suspension Test Vehicle.

More of a test-rig than a car, it enabled them to play with roll-centres and stiffness, ride height, pitch axis, anti-dive/squat and lots of other stuff; this rig became the 2J test mule.

“Gates worked out a fan and skirt infill defence system while Don Cox, Ernie DeFusco and Joe Marasco engineered a chassis to match,” Doug Nye wrote.

(sportscardigest.com)
(sportscardigest.com)

The resulting tricky bits were the slab-sided, fully-fenced bodywork and Rockwell JLO 247cc two-stroke 45bhp snowmobile engine which powered two rear fans nicked from an M-109 Howitzer Tank. That combination could move 9,650 cubic feet of air a minute @ 6,000rpm, creating negative pressure equal to 2,200 pounds of downforce. Unlike other racing cars, the downforce was independent of the speed of the car.

For three-quarters of its footprint the car was ‘attached’ to the ground via skirts made of General Electric’s new, trick, Lexan polycarbonate. The skirts moved up and down with the movement of the car via a system of cables, pulleys and machined arms that bolted to the suspension. On the smoother Can-Am venues the seal was good, with the fans on the car hunkered-down by two inches.

The net effect of all of this was that the car sucked itself to the road, thereby creating immense cornering power and traction.

Stewart on the Watkins Glen grid, Chris Ecomomaki in front looking for a mike (J Meredith Collection)
Vic Elford togs-up at Riverside. The car in front is Peter Revson’s Carl Haas entered Lola T220 Chev, Revson is sitting on the pit wall to the right of the Lola’s rear. His performances in that car propelled him into a works-McLaren M8F Chev with which he won the 1971 Can-Am Cup – F1 followed (B Cahier-Getty)

During the 2J’s build Jim Hall was smart enough to give SCCA officialdom a look at the car to ensure it was kosher in the almost-anything-goes Group 7/Can-Am world. The crew-cut mob deemed it hunky-dory to race.

While the car was first tested at Rattlesnake Raceway in November 1969, the complex machine missed the June 14, 1970 Mosport season opener and the following Canadian round at St Jovite. But 2J-001 finally arrived aboard a modest ute (pick-up) at Watkins Glen in mid July.

It’s driver was reigning World Champion Jackie Stewart in a one-race deal supported by GM (weird given the Ford sponsored Cosworth engine which powered his F1 cars). JYS had plenty of sportscar experience, including Can-Am cars, but nothing prepared him for the 2J.

“The car’s traction, its ability to brake and go deeply into corners is something I’ve never experienced before in a car of this size and bulk,” he wrote in Faster! “Its adhesion is such that it seems able to take unorthodox lines through turns, and this, of course, is intriguing.”

Jackie Stewart during practice at Watkins Glen, and below, a wonderful race day panorama (LAT)
(LAT)

Stewart, and Vic Elford, retained by Hall to drive the car for the balance of the series, experienced the same other worldly, steep learning curve – retraining the brain about what was possible – as Mario Andretti encountered with Peter Wright and Colin Chapman’s Lotus 78-79 ground-effect cars in 1977-1978.

In a practical sense, half the problem was keeping the auxiliary engine alive – remember it wasn’t designed for this application – in its new harsh environment with all the trackside detritus the fans sucked up from the bottom of the car and regurgitated out the back at speed. Not to forget the skirts and their support mechanisms. The engineering challenge of this lot was mega.

Stewart qualified the brave-new-world 2J third behind the dominant orthodoxy, Denny Hulme and Dan Gurney’s new Batmobile-Beautiful McLaren M8D Chevs. Jackie closed on Dan during the race before being forced to pit, then went out for another seven laps – 22 in all – he bagged fastest lap before braking problems ended his race.

2J-001 at rest in the Watkins Glen pitlane. Sole sponsor decal is for GE-Lexan. Porsche Salzburg 917 of either Vic Elford or Dickie Attwood behind (LAT)
Stewart blasts past Attwood’s third placed Porsche 917. While Hulme’s McLaren M8D Chev won at Watkins Glen, the next six placings were taken by Group 5 enduro cars, not the Group 7 cars for which the race was run. Said Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512S’ had already done the Watkins Glen 6-Hours the day before, most without an engine change between the two races. The JW 917 of Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen won (unattributed)

Context is everything. The Glen’s Can-Am round was always topped up by Group 5-6 World Endurance Championship cars which were also in town for the Watkins Glen 6-Hour.

The dominant 1970-71 endurance racer was the swoopy-rounded, spaceframe, 4.5-4.9-litre flat-12 engined Porsche 917. Alongside the 917 the 2J looked like a Sci-Fi film prop!

The Texans missed the next three rounds at Edmonton, Mid Ohio and Road America to further develop the car before rejoining the circus at Road Atlanta in mid-September.

Elford recalled his impressions of the car to MotorSport, “Drving the car was just out of this world. The start-up procedure was a bit like an aeroplane I suppose, you didn’t just jump into first gear and drive away.”

“I put my left foot hard on the brake to make sure it didn’t go anywhere, then fire-up the little engine which immediately started to drive the two monster fans at the back, sucking up the air underneath. When I did this the car would literally go: ‘Shhhp!’ and lower itself down to the ground by about two and a half inches.”

Such was the suction of the turbines, the 2J could tootle off on its own at up to 30mph if the brakes weren’t applied.

At Road Atlanta Vic popped it on pole and finished sixth after ignition problems with the snowmobile engine.

“You get to the stage of thinking it’s just not possible to go around any corner at that speed, and adapting to it mentally is the most difficult approach because no other car has ever gone around a corner as fast as this one,” Elford recalled.

“Another great thing about the suction is that it doesn’t allow the cars’s handling characteristics to change as you go through a corner. Whichever way it’s set it remains that way at all times, whether its a fast corner or a slow swerve – it remains absolutely constant.”

Come race day Elford was always impacted by the three speed semi-auto transaxle, rather than the four of the LG600 Hewland equipped competition, that wasn’t the problem at Road Atlanta though, it was the subsidiary engine.

Laguna Seca followed a month later. There, Elford was the only car to go under a minute, a smidge less than two seconds quicker than Denny Hulme, despite never seeing the place before…

“I went around Laguna in 59 seconds and it was about five years before the next car managed to go under a minute, and that was an Indycar!”

He didn’t get to start from pole as the Chevy popped a-leg-out-of-bed in the warm-up early in the day, and there simply wasn’t the time for the Midland boys to pop in a new engine. The complexity of an engine change involved pulling much of the car apart and reassembly, a days work. It was an immense bummer for the Californian crowd.

Beautiful Laguna Seca profile shot of Vic Elford shows the unmistakable slab-sided lines of the car and operation of the skirts which appear to be riding the bitumen pretty well (unattributed)
Imagine being showered by fast moving trackside shrapnel at 170mph, Dyson have nothing on this vacuum-cleaner! Elford in the Road Atlanta pitlane

The final Can-Am round was at Riverside a fortnight later. There, Elford was again well clear of Hulme in qualifying, this time the gap was a little over two seconds, these are huge margins folks.

“At one point we came into Turn 9 with Denny Hulme just in front of me. I was right up against the wall and I probably didn’t even change gear. I drove all the way around the outside of Denny in third gear. He went straight off, went into the pits and took his helmet off, sat on the pit wall and sulked for the next half hour!”

This time the Rockwell engine didn’t play ball, breaking its crank. The team managed to patch it up and take the start but it inevitably failed on lap two.

And that was it, the howls of protest were loud and long.

Not that there was any way known the 2J didn’t bristle with illegal ‘moveable aerodynamic devices’! No way can the SCCA officials who saw the car pre-season could have thought it otherwise, but – bless-em – they probably thought “Let ‘em run, the crowds will be huge and we’ll see what happens from there.”

In the process of banning it, the SCCA ripped the soul out of Can-Am in that Hall and his boys walked away.

Can-Am’s attraction was its anything goes nature which invited innovation. Anything goes was great, unless, it seems, it threatened the dominant orthodoxy. To me there was Chaparral-Can-Am and Post-Chaparral-Can-Am and the former was vastly better than the latter, with all due respect to Porsche and Shadow.

Elford in front of one of the Papaya-M8D-Terrors at Laguna Seca. Hay bales still very much around in 1970 (H Thomas/Getty)
Brian Redman, Jim Hall, the Chaparral crew and their Lola T330/332 Chevs were the dominant US F5000 force from 1974-76. Here the duo are in the Elkhart Lake pits in 1974, Lola T332C Chev

Still, Hall kept his core team together running Lolas in the US F5000 and single-seat Can-Am championships, then had the joy of watching Lotus carry the ground effect torch forward, not that Chapman ever gave any credit his way, our Col never did that to anyone.

Hall then returned with the John Barnard designed ground effect Chaparral 2K Cosworth which won the CART championship and the Indy 500 in 1980 with Johnny Rutherford at the wheel.

Lone Star JR on the way to a win at Indy in 1980, Chaparral 2K Cosworth (IMS)

That Automobile Year 18 I prattled on about at the start of this masterpiece was hugely influential in stimulating my interest in cars and racing. Six of my Top Ten cars I first saw in that tome; Ferrari 312B, Lotus 72 Ford, Ferrari 512S, McLaren M8D Chev, Ferrari Dino 246GT and of course the Chaparral 2J. The Ferraris and McLaren are all about sex-on-wheels, the 72 and 2J are a tad more cerebral.

This article made me consider what the most influential racing car in my lifetime is? Its ‘gotta be a toss-up between the Lotus 25 Climax and 2J.

All monocoque racing cars are related to the 25, the first modern monocoque. The aerodynamics of racing cars since the Lotus 78 are related to the 2J. Let’s toss the coin as to which is the more influential, let the debate begin!

PS…

I ‘spose you think I’ve forgotten John and Charlie Cooper, but they were doing their mid-engined thing way before I was born, so, I’ve dodged that debate at least. In any event, Auto Union’s mid-engined missiles won GPs pre-war.

May 1967
Thinkin, always thinkin. Jim Hall at Riverside in 1966 (B D’Olivo-Getty)

Credits…

MotorSport Images, sportscardigest.com, Indy Motor Speedway, Getty Images, J Meredith Collection, Harry Hurst, Sports Illustrated, Sportscar Digest, MotorSport November 2020 article by James Elson

Tailpieces…

“Aw come on Jim, it’s years since you raced in F1, time to return and give things a bit of a shake up.”

Jim Hall and Jackie Stewart pre-race at Watkins Glen. “Just make sure you have your left foot on the brake when we fire it up or you’ll mow down half the paddock!”

Note the fan-covers missing at Watkins Glen but present in subsequent races.

Jim Hall’s British Racing Partnership Lotus 24 BRM during the 1963 Dutch GP at Zandvoort, eighth in the race won by Jim Clark’s epochal Lotus 25 Climax. Carel de Beaufort’s ninth placed Porsche 718 in the distance (MotorSport)

Finito…

(MotorSport)

Hans-Dieter Dechent wasn’t quite in on the start of Martini & Rossi’s (M&R) support of motor racing, but his Lufthansa Racing Porsche 910 was the first racer to carry the famous livery substantively, when non-trade advertising was permitted on racing cars in 1968.

Here he is enroute to a DNF with engine failure in the 910 he shared with Robert Huhn in the 1968 Nurburgring 1000km.

M&R sponsored two Alfa Co US entered Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ’s raced by Charlie Kolb and Paul Richards at the 1962 Daytona 3 Hours. The machines were devoid of the corporate branding with which we are all so familiar, instead they had Martini & Rossi Racing Team discretely sign-written atop the front quarter-panels.

Paul Richards’ Alfa Giulietta SZ in the Daytona 3 Hours paddock in 1962 (N Cerutti)
(MotorSport)

Martini’s German head of PR, Paul Goppert, and his friend, Dechent, took things up a gear with M&R’s support of the Scuderia Lufthansa Porsche 910 (above) owned and driven by Robert Huhn, a Lufthansa executive, together with Dechent.

Among strong results Dechent won his class racing a Porsche 906 in the 1967 Nurburgring 1000Km and was third outright in a 907 at the 1969 Monza 1000Km behind the works 908/2s of Jo Siffert/Brian Redman and Hans Hermann/Kurt Ahrens.

In 1970 the Martini & Rossi International racing team – later Martini Racing – was formed.

Gijs Van Lennep in the Porsche 917K he shared with Helmut Marko to victory at Le Mans in 1971 (DPPI)
(DPPI)

With the assistance of Hans-Dieter the Martini & Rossi relationship with Porsche became enduring. He hung up his helmet to take on the role of Team Manager of Porsche Salzburg in 1970, and in addition had responsibility for the M&R sponsorship. The first M&R Le Mans win followed in 1971, the victorious Porsche 917K was crewed by Gijs Van Lennep and Helmut Marko.

Dechent moved on from Martini Racing to other motor racing team management roles (see here; Motorsport Memorial – Hans-Dieter Dechent) he was replaced by David Yorke at the end of 1971. Lets not forget the critical role Dechent played in ‘commencing’ an iconic team/brand/livery.

The 2014 Williams FW36 Mercedes with Felipe Massa up. Best results for the year were third places for Valtteri Bottas in Austria, Hungary, Russia and Abu Dhabi, and Felipe Massa in Italy and Brazil (Autosport)

The amazing thing about the Martini & Rossi house-style – as the brand consultants call it – is that it makes every car to which it’s applied look better, faster…

Credits…

Motorsport Memorial, MotorSport Images, Norberto Cerutti, DPPI, Autosport

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

Surely one of the most iconic racing car liveries of all is the car Hans-Dieter Dechent turned over to Porsche designer Anatole Lapine for special treatment in 1970.

The Gerard Larousse/Willy Kauhsen Porsche 917 Langheck, chassis 917/21, first raced at Le Mans in June.

The Martini & Rossi sponsored, swirling psychedelic, green and purple Hippie-Car – second behind the winning 917K of Dick Attwood and Hans Hermann – has a cult following which transcends race-fans.

Finito…

(J Culp)

I love these nudie-rudie shots, so many of a car’s secrets are revealed by photographs like this.

Jim Culp caught one of the Ferrari 312Bs raced by Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni at Hockenheim over the August 2, 1970 German Grand Prix weekend coming off its transporter.

Key elements of Mauro Forghieri’s design on display are the low, wide 3-litre, fuel injected flat-12 (180 degree V12 if you prefer) engine and far-back weight distribution; the two oil tanks and related dry sump pump drives, battery, and twin, beautifully ducted oil coolers/radiators.

Ickx started the race from pole, with Regga third but Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 72 Ford prevailed over Ickx by a little less than a second, after a great long dice, with Regazzoni out with engine failure.

In a year of great sadness (deaths of Bruce McLaren at Goodwood and Piers Courage at Zandvoort) it was Jochen Rindt’s last win, and the start of a great run home for Ferrari.

Sheer economy of the design shown in this Hockenheim refuelling shot of Regga’s car (R Schlegelmilch)
Regazzoni from Rindt and Ickx early in the German GP (MotorSport)

Ickx won at the Osterreichring a fortnight later, and Regazzoni at Monza after Rindt’s tragic practice accident. Ickx won again at Mosport and Mexico City but Emerson Fittipaldi’s first GP win for Lotus at Watkins Glen helped ensure Rindt won the drivers title, and Lotus the manufacturers championship. Karma prevailed in an unusual year in which race wins were spread among drivers; Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Pedro Rodriguez, Regazzoni, Ickx, Fittipaldi and Rindt.

Ferrari had a torrid time throughout 1968-69. The Ford Cosworth DFV was dominant and used by many of the front-runners. Team-leader, Chris Amon was in winning positions at least four times over this period only to be continually let down – Ickx’ ’68 French GP win duly noted.

Ickx at Monaco in May. Note the radiator exit duct and inboard rocker front suspension (MotorSport)
The Lotus 72 made everything with a front radiator – the rest of the grid – look old, but the 312B was a very effective cohesive marriage of bespoke engine and chassis. Fast and reliable too (G Piola)
Chris Amon testing at Modena in late 1969. This shot shows the chassis ‘pontoon’ to which the engine mounts behind the top radius rod. Wonderfully neat and structurally rigid is the way the high roll bar braces to the rear of the pontoon, and forms the wing mount, and fire extinguisher mount!

Forghieri placed a new, clean sheet of drafting paper on his drawing board in 1969, the first such F1 occasion since he led the design of gorgeous, but never fully developed 1964-65 1.5-litre 1512 flat-12.

He again chose a flat-12 given its potential power output, low centre of gravity and lesser weight than the V12 it replaced. He made the engine a stressed member of the chassis, as was the engine on the 1512 – following the lead provided by Vittorio Jano’s Lancia D50 design – but this time the engine attached both to the rear bulkhead behind the driver, and underneath a ‘boom or pontoon’ chassis extension rearwards behind the drivers shoulders. The 1512 bolted to the rear bulkhead.

The Tipo 015 flat-12 – designed by Forghieri, Franco Rocchi and Giancarlo Bussi – was a great engine which powered the Scuderia’s Grand Prix cars from 1970 to 1980 (two drivers titles for Niki Lauda, and one for Jody Scheckter), and won them a World Endurance Championship when fitted in suitably detuned form to 312PB chassis in 1972.

There were a few teething problems early on however. To minimise friction losses and release a few more horses, the engine had only four main bearings, two plain shell bearings in the middle, and ball-bearing races at each end of the crank. With minimal support, crankshaft breakages were so much of a problem that Chris Amon cried “Enough!” and left the team, not even completing the 1969 GP season.

Ignazio Giunti at Spa during his first championship GP. He was fourth in the Belgian GP won by Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P153 after an epic race-long dice with Amon’s March 701 Ford (R Schlegelmilch)
Ickx at Watkins Glen, he started from pole but pitted with a broken fuel line. In a tiger of a drive he went from 12th to fourth, Fittipaldi took his maiden GP win aboard a Lotus 72 Ford. Doesn’t the 312B look long from this angle? You can see the rearward weight bias and relatively clean air in which the rear wing operates thanks to the low engine (MotorSport)

A tilting dyno bed at Maranello enabled cornering oil surge to be monitored, the crank torsional vibration problem was fixed by adding a Pirelli cushion-coupling between the crankshaft and the flywheel.

Before too long the gear driven, twin-cam, four valve, Lucas injected engine produced a reliable 460bhp @ 11,500rpm, which rose over time to about 510bhp @ 12,000rpm.

While Chris made the works March 701 Ford sing in 1970, his solo Silverstone International Trophy win was no compensation for the four wins Ferrari produced with a car he put his heart and soul into at Modena in early testing…

Regazzoni is wedged between one of the BRMs and Stewart’s wingless March 701 Ford early in the Italian GP (R Schlegelmilch)
Tifosi Monza 1970, Things Go Better With…(R Schlegelmilch)

While the Italian Grand Prix that year (above) was a terrible weekend, Ferrari had a home win, the tifosi went berserk and Mr Ferrari attended practice as he traditionally did.

Ickx started from pole, Regga was Q3 and Giunti Q5. Regazzoni was the only one of the three to finish, in the right spot too. Ignazio was out with fuel system woes after completing 14 laps, and Jacky with clutch troubles after 25 laps.

Regga won from Jackie Stewart’s March 701 Ford and Jean-Pierre Beltoise’ Matra MS120. Points of GP trivia are that it was the last time a GP was won by a driver wearing an open face helmet, and the last time the first three finishers used different tyre brands; Firestone, Dunlop and Goodyear in first to third respectively.

“The race is in the bag Commendatore”. “Yeah-yeah you told me that last year Mauro” (R Schlegelmilch)
Ickx heads out to set pole at Monza (R Schlegelmilch)

Credits…

Jim Culp, MotorSport Images, Rainer Schlegelmilch, ‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye, Giorgio Piola

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

Clay Regazzoni, 312B from Jackie Stewart’s March 701 Ford and Jean-Pierre Beltoise’ Matra MS120 at Druids Hill early in the 1970 British Grand Prix.

Jochen Rindt was well beaten by Jack Brabham that afternoon but a crewman’s fuel mixture switch mistake gifted Jochen the win in an amazing last lap change of fortune. Last lap drama happened at Monaco too, but that day the mistake was Jack’s due to the pressure Jochen applied.

Finito…

(MotorSport)

Brian Muir in an Alpina BMW 3-litre CSL during the May 1973 Spa 1,000km.

He shared the car with Hans Stuck, the pair finished second in class, eighth outright, immediately behind the sister Alpina machine raced by Niki Lauda – and Hans Stuck! The race was won by the Mirage M6 Ford prototype crewed by Derek Bell and Mike Hailwood.

Muir is too often forgotten in conversations between enthusiasts in Australia about successful internationals. He was a much respected figure in touring cars and sportscars in the UK/Europe for the better part of 30 years after leaving Australia for the UK for the second time, as winner of the ‘Smiths Industries Driver to Europe Prize’ in late 1964.

Click here for a good summary of his life/career; Motorsport Memorial – Brian Muir

Brian Muir chasing David Hobbs at Silverstone during the July 1968 BSCC round, Falcon Super Sprints. They finished the Duckhams Q Trophy in this order, there was nothing in it, both were credited with the same fastest lap (LAT)
Brian Muir aboard the works Lotus 62 Vauxhall he shared with John Miles, chases the Helmut Kelleners/Reinhold Jost Ford GT40 during the April 1969 Brands Hatch 6 Hours. The Lotus pair were 13th outright and first in the 2-litre prototype class, the GT40 was 16th. Race won by the Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 908/02 (MotorSport)
Muir aboard the winning Ford GT40 during the April 1968 Barcelona 6 Hours at Montjuic Park. He was co-driven by Francisco Godia-Sales (J Vinals)

Brian had a terrific year in 1973, he raced Alpina tuned BMW CSLs in both the British Saloon Car Championship and the European Touring Car Championship.

In the UK the battle for outright honours was fought between Frank Gardner’s legendary SCA European Freight Services Chev Camaro Z28 and fellow Sydneysider, Muir.

Gardner won the title with wins in six of the eight rounds he contested, Muir won at Silverstone and Brands Hatch to finish fifth overall behind better performing smaller-capacity class cars.

Oopsie, two Sydneysiders at play at Silverstone. Frank Gardner’s Chev Camaro Z28 copping a bit of TLC from Muir’s BMW CSL during the April 1973 International Trophy BSCC round (A Cooper)
Brian Muir three-wheeling in his chase of Frank Gardner at Brands Hatch in August ’73. BMW’s homologation goodies for the year included a nice-fat 3.5-litre engine and aero pack including the iconic Batmobile wing. Gardner won the race while Brian DNF with oil pump failure in his 3303cc engine (MotorSport)
Muir aboard the Alpina 3-litre CSL he shared to victory with Niki Lauda at the ETCC season opener, Monza 4 Hours, March 1973 (Alpina Automobiles)

Things were better in Europe though.

Brian and Niki Lauda won the first ETCC round at Monza – the Monza 4 Hours – in March leaving four Ford Capril RS2600s in their wake.

Muir was second at the 4-Hour Austria Trophy at the Salzburgring sharing with Toine Hezemans, and again at the following round, the 500km of Mantorp Park, Sweden. Ford Capri RS2600s won both races crewed by Dieter Glemser/John Fitzpatrick and Glemser/Jochen Mass respectively.

Paired with Alain Peitier, Muir’s car failed at the Nurburgring’s Grosser Preis der Tourenwagen with bearing trouble while running the just homologated 3.5-litre engine. It was the first of many bearing problems that year.

In a race – make that series – chock-full of GP drivers, Stuck and Chris Amon shared the winning 3303cc BMW 3.0 CSL from the similarly engined works car of Hezemans/Quester/Harald Menzel, then the 3498cc Alpina entry shared by Lauda/Hans-Peter Joisten.

Muir pulls to a stop with Niki Lauda all set to jump aboard during their successful Monza run at left. Who is the driver near the BMW’s boot? (Automobilsport)
Lift off at the Thruxton BSCC round in May 1973. Muir, Gardner and Dave Matthews Ford Capri RS2600 on the front row, Gardner won from Muir and Matthews (MotorSport)
Brian Muir aboard the ill-fated 3.3-litre CSL he shared with Hans-Peter Joisten in the early stages of the July ’73 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (unattributed)

Then it was off to Belgium for the classic 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps.

There, Brian popped the car on the front row – sharing with German racer Joisten – between the works cars of Stuck/Amon and Hezemans/Quester.

Tragedy struck Joisten during the race when he passed two Alfa Romeo 2000 GTVs of Roger Dubos and Claude Ballot-Lena. Travelling too fast, Hans-Peter touched the barriers and was pinged back onto the track, where Dubos saw him and started to brake before being simultaneously rammed by Ballot-Lena, crashing into Joisten’s car. Both Joisten and Dubos were killed instantly in this freak accident.

Hezemans/Quester won from the factory Capri RS2600 of Mass/Fitzpatrick.

The next round was in the Dutch sand dunes at Zandvoort in mid-August. At the end of four hours the Zandvoort Trophy was held aloft by Hezemans and Quester who won from Muir and James Hunt in the Jagermeister Alpina entry. In third and fourth places were two RS2600 Capris led by the Fitzpatrick/Gerard Larrousse machine.

Brian Muir goes around the outside of Ivor Goodwin’s Hillman Imp at Silverstone during the July 1973 BSCC round, DNFs for both, with again, Gardner up front (MotorSport)
The other main 1973 ETCC protagonist, the fabulous 325bhp/970kg Ford Capri RS2600. This is the Fitzpatrick/Gerry Birrell car during the Monza 4 Hours in March, DNF (MotorSport)
Brian at Spa during the 1,000km meeting, ain’t she sweet? (MotorSport)

Three weeks later the ETCC circus raced at Le Castellet, contesting the 6 Hours of Paul Ricard.

With the RS2600 at the limit of homologated tricks – lookout for the 3.4-litre Cosworth GAA powered RS3100 in 1974 – the BMWs were again on the front row and finished in first to fourth places, a race of complete dominance.

Hezemans/Quester won from Ickx/Hunt, Stuck/Amon and Walter Brun/Cox Cocher. The best of the Capris – the Mass/Jackie Stewart machine – was fifth but 11 laps adrift of the winning car. Brian Muir and John Miles qualified eighth, but their 3.5-litre engine had head gasket failure after water loss.

The final round of the series was the RAC Tourist Trophy, it comprised two heats of two hours each at Silverstone on September 23.

The cat-among-the-pigeons was Gardner’s Camaro, although his speed was handicapped by tyre problems throughout. Harald Ertl’s Alpina CSL won the first heat from the Capris of Mass and Fitzpatrick with Muir a distant ninth having lost his front spoiler early in the race. Second place in the second heat behind Derek Bell’s Alpina machine was better; Brian was third overall behind Bell/Ertl and Mass’ Capri.

Toine Hezemans’ speed and consistency throughout the season paid off, he won the ETCC with 105 points from 42 years old Brian Muir on 77, and Dieter Quester on 75. BMW demolished Ford in the manufacturer’s title, 120 points to 97.

BMW E9 3.0 CSL – Coupe Sport Licht – Group 2 1973…

(B Betti)

A few summary points on salient technical features of this great road and track machine.

The unitary steel chassis had aluminium door, bonnet and boot panels, these and other mods reduced weight by about 200kg to a total of circa 1050kg.

BMW M30 cast iron, aluminium block SOHC, two-valve Bosch injected straight-six engine. 3003cc 324bhp @ 7000rpm, 3340cc 355bhp @ 7600 rpm, and 3498cc engine 370bhp @ 8000 rpm.

ZF worm and roller steering, ZF or Getrag five-speed, or Getrag four speed box. 10.7 inch disc brakes all around, 12.5 inches X 16 and 15.75 X 16 wheels

Credits…

MotorSport Images, LAT, touringcarracing.net, Jordi Vinals, Alan Cooper, Alpina Automobiles, Automobilsport, Bruno Betti

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Brian Muir aboard his Scuderia Veloce Holden EH S4 during the one-race Australian Touring Car Championship at Lakeside, Queensland on July 26, 1964.

Note the ‘Nomex’ Polo-Shirt. Brian led the event late in its 50 laps but a pit stop to replace a tyre ruined his day, he was seventh in the race won by Pete Geoghegan’s Ford Cortina GT.

Click on the link for an account of this race; Lakeside early days… | primotipo…

Finito…

image
(Getty Images)

The sight of an unlimited Top Fuel dragster doing a fast pass is not a sound, sight or sensation ever forgotten. It’s truly one of the most awe inspiring of motor racing experiences.

The shot above is at Dallas International Speedway on October 27, 1969, happy to take advice on the who/chassis/engine?

image
(Getty Images)

I was flicking through Getty Images’ drag racing collection and who should be smiling at me (top row in the middle) at Indianapolis on September 3, 1969 but 27 year-old Exekiel ‘Danny’ Ongais.

Danny On-the-Gas caught my eye in the day with his exceptional brio, perhaps he had a dash too much of it?

Ongais became a rather handy, versatile racer on speedways and the circuits, right up to Grand Prix racing after leaving the ‘strips behind. In addition, the Flying Hawaiian starred in sportscars and started at Indy 11 times from 1977 to 1996, his best finish was fourth place aboard an Interscope Racing Parnelli VP6B Cosworth in 1979.

Kahului (Maui) born Ongais started racing BSA’s as a teenager, returning from a three year stint as a paratrooper with the US Army to win the Hawaiian state motorcycle championship in 1960.

With limited racing opportunities in Hawaii, he shifted to the mainland and started working for Dragmaster, a successful builder of drag-car chassis and cars in Carlsbad, California.

Soon he was racing cars owned by others; Jim Nelson (Dragmaster), the Beaver brothers and Mickey Thompson. He then branched out on his own, winning American Hot Rod Association Gas titles in 1963-64, then the National Hot Rod Association AA Dragster championship in 1965.

A switch to Funny Cars yielded two wins in a Mickey Thompson owned, Pat Foster built Mustang powered by an SOHC Ford V8 in 1969. In addition, the Ongais/Thompson duo set 295 national and international records on the Bonneville Salt Flats that year in Mustang Mach 1’s; one 302 and two NASCAR style 427 V8 machines.

After leaving Thompson he raced the ‘Big John’ Mazmanian/Vels Parnelli Mustang Funny Car and ‘Flying Doorstop’ Top Fueller, setting the sport’s first over 240mph pass in the latter at Ontario in 1972 at 243.24mph.

All those years before, his European stint in the Army stimulated his interest in road racing, he attracted the attention of entertainment mogul Ted Field (Interscope) at the end of 1974.

Ongais contested the 1975 US F5000 championship, finishing fifth in the title chase the following year aboard an Interscope Lola T332C Chev behind Brian Redman, Al Unser Snr, Jackie Oliver and Alan Jones, but in front of seasoned road racers and F5000 champions Vern Schuppan, Warwick Brown, Teddy Pilette and Peter Gethin.

Interscope put a toe in the USAC championship that year too, with Ongais taking his first win at Michigan in 1977 aboard a Parnelli VPJ-6B Cosworth. Five more victories followed aboard his Parnelli VPJ-6B in 1978 but mechanical dramas and inconsistency left him eighth in the points standings. If his speed was ever in doubt – it wasn’t – he put his Parnelli VPJ-6C Cosworth in between the Penske PC6 Cosworth DFX’s of Tom Sneva and Rick Mears on the Indy front row.

Ongais contested the two North American GP races aboard a Penske PC4 Ford in 1977 placing seventh from Q22 in the Canadian GP at Mosport, at Watkins Glen he retired from Q26.

In 1978 he raced a Team Tissot Ensign N177 Ford in Argentina and Brazil, retiring in both races from Q21 and Q23. Later in the season he lined up in a Shadow DN9A Ford at Long Beach and Zandvoort but failed to pre-qualify in both events.

Ongais raced plenty of sportscars including Porsche 934, 935 and 962, Lola T600 and March 88S. In addition to many national victories, together with Field and Hurley Haywood, he won the 1979 Daytona 24 Hours racing a Porsche 935.

At Brands Hatch for the Indy Trophy in October 1978. Ninth in the Parnelli VPJ-6B Cosworth, Rick Mears won in a Penske PC6 Cosworth

Ongais raced in CART from 1979. “His debut at Phoenix, where he qualified fourth and led the race before being derailed by an engine failure set the tone for the next couple of years: a story of blazing speed, but bad luck or other circumstances conspiring against him fully capitalizing on it.” Vintage MotorSport wrote.

“But all that took a back seat when he suffered a massive accident in the 1981 Indy 500. He’d pitted as the leader on lap 63, only to lose more than 40s to a catastrophically slow pitstop. Upon rejoining, he made a late pass on a slower car at Turn 3, lost the rear, overcorrected and pounded the barriers nearly head on. He was rushed to hospital in a critical condition, and spent the rest of the season on the sidelines recovering from factures to both legs, a broken arm, and a six-inch tear to his diaphragm.”

“Indeed, while he continued to produce decent results upon his return in 1983, his later years were defined almost as much by a handful of significant accidents – not all of which he was directly involved with.”

“He was very much at the center of the big one in 1985, when he was launched into a massive barrel roll down the backstretch at Michigan after running into the rear of Phil Krueger. Two years later, he crashed during practice for the Indianapolis 500 and sustained a concussion that forced him to miss the race.”

“Ongais’ final appearance at the 500 had its roots in far more tragic circumstances in 1996 when polesitter Scott Brayton was killed in a practice crash and team owner John Menard tapped Ongais as his replacement. Ongais, then 54 and making his first start at the Speedway in a decade, lined up at the rear of the field and finished a remarkable seventh. He made one final attempt to qualify with Team Pelfrey two years later, but was bumped.”

The publicity-shy Ongais spent his later years surrounded by family in southern California. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2000 and remains the only driver to score professional wins in drag racing, Indycars and sportscars.

He died, aged 79 on February 26, 2022.

Credits…

Getty Images, Vintage Motorsport, nhra.com, Paul Kooyman, MotorSport Images

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Letting rip in the Shadow DN9A Ford on the streets of Long Beach in 1978.

Danny failed to pre-qualify but it was not for want of trying, here he seems keen to win the Patrick Depailler Most-Sideways-Longbeach-Cup!

The race was won by Carlos Reutemann’s Ferrari 312T3. Clay Regazzoni’s Shadow was the only one of three to finish, in 10th place from Q20. Hans Stuck’s car was Q23/DNS and Ongais Q29.

Finito…

Calder Raceway underway in 1961, Pat Hawthorn’s Holden and Jim Houlahan’s Chev on site (Hawthorn Family

Pat Hawthorn’s team turn the first sods of soil to create Calder Raceway, 30km west of Melbourne later in 1961…

I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the place. On one hand it’s the first place I drove a racing car – an Elfin 620B Formula Ford at the Jane-Gardner Race Driving School in mid 1975 – but on the other I’ve always thought the flat, featureless hot n’ dusty or freezin’ and wet joint a bit of a shit-hole. Gimme Sandown, the Island, Winton, Eastern Creek, Wakefield or Mallala.

But it’s close to Melbourne, I’ve probably done more laps there than anywhere else despite it being closed forever. While the layout has always been simple (Thunderdome challenges duly noted) the challenge of doing a great time are there given ya have so few corners to work with.

I thought Keilor farmer Jim Pascoe built it, then Bob Jane bought it in the early seventies, several years after Pascoe died. The Jane Estate still owns it, how wrong about the early days I was though.

Pat Hawthorn aboard his ex-works/Davison Aston Martin DBR4/250 3-litre F1/F Libre car at his servo in Clayton, on the corner of Thomas and Centre Roads. While there wouldn’t have been another Aston Martin resident in that part of the world, for some time, new AMs were retailed from a showroom in Springvale Road, Springvale – right ‘on’ the railway line near Sandown. A most unlikely place as well, the good residents of Toorak struggle to go further east than Glenferrie Road let alone Burke Road (Hawthorn)
The Spanos sportscar is an Elfin Streamliner Coupe, a car George owned all of his life, and still retained by his family I think
1962 meeting at Calder, advice welcome on whom is whom (O Campion)

It turns out that racer/garage proprietor Pat Hawthorn is the man we should all thank for the original entrepreneurship.

For some years Pat had a servo in Clayton. One of his regular customers, Jim Houlahan had land on the Calder Highway, he wondered if Pat would be interested in helping develop it for use as a wreckers yard.

Pat thought the location was ideal for a race track, a dream he had for a while. Soon a company was incorporated with funds provided by Melbourne bookie (bookmaker) John Corry and Jim Pascoe. His business interests spanned several fields including Drive-In-Theatres (very much a sixties and seventies thing) and race-horse training.

A simple layout to Pat’s design provided the track layout, a fundamental element of which was that spectators be able to see most of the action.

Australia had a shortage of racetracks from the beginning of time. With a global economy that was booming, a strongly growing Australian population thanks to post-war immigration, and plenty of young men with money in their pockets resulted in an epidemic of circuit construction. Within a short space of time circuits popped up across the country; Lakeside, Warwick Farm, Catalina Park, Oran Park, Hume Weir, Winton, Sandown, Calder and Mallala were all built over a span of four or so years.

I don’t propose to write the history of Calder, but rather to put on-the-record some wonderful pages of the late Pat Hawthorn’s scrap-book posted on Bob Williamson’s Australian Motor Racing Photographs Facebook page.

While Pat Hawthorn died some years ago, we have his son Russell Hawthorn to thank for sharing these invaluable records for preservation. Click here for a piece on the Aston Martin DBR4 Grand Prix cars, including Pat Hawthorn’s; Lex’ Aston Martin DBR4/250s… | primotipo…

Back Straight, one turns right at the end  (Hawthorn)

As the newspaper articles tell us, the star of the first meeting held on Sunday 14 January, 1962 – the public were invited to the rehearsal on 6 January (a freebie I wonder?) – was Bib Stillwell who had wins in both his Cooper T53 Climax Formula Libre single-seater and Cooper Monaco sportscar.

A quick glance at the results shows many of the names-of-the-day supported the opening meeting including Stan Jones, Jon Leighton, Jack Hunnam, Brian Sampson, Ian McDonald, Harry Forde, Norm Beechey, Bill and Bob Jane, John Ampt, John Roxburgh and Bob Page.

Pat Hawthorn receiving a trophy at Calder from the then Victorian Government Minster for Sport. The man in the suit behind the microphone is Jim Pascoe- both part-owners and directors at the time, date uncertain (Hawthorn Family)

Before too long the ownership of the business changed from the syndicate of businessman to Jim Pascoe solo. While Warwick Farm and Sandown were the blue-blood Tasman Cup venues, shorter tracks like Oran Park and Calder also thrived. Calder held a round of the Australian Touring Car Championship for the first time in 1969, that was symbolic of the venue’s rise in the tracks-of-Oz pecking order.

Geoghegan, Moffat, Jane and Thomson (?) at Calder in late 1969

Peter Brock and 1970 Australian Rally Champion, Bob Watson during a 1970 Calder rallycross event. HDT LC Holden Torana GTR XU1 and works-Renault R10 Gordini (I Smith)

Look at that crowd! Bryan Thomson’s Chev Camaro SS outside Allan Moffat’s immortal Trans Am Mustang as they blast onto the main straight in 1970 (R Davies)

Kevin Bartlett’s Lola T300 Chev during one of the Repco Birthday meetings in 1972. ‘Grandstand dreaming’ as per text below (I Smith)

Later, when Bob Jane bought the place it was subjected to constant change, development and improvement.

I can remember going to a meeting as a teenager with my father in the early seventies. At one stage Bob was standing at the very top of the new, but not quite opened grandstand at the start of the main straight, he was staring into the distance, all alone and dreaming of what might be. Perhaps he had aspirations of the Thunderdome even then?

At various times the venue hosted many international rock concerts (I couldn’t think of a worse place to see a band) and became a wonderful rallycross track, you could see all of the action, such was the compact nature of the place.

For decades the place was the capital of drag racing in Victoria, if not Australia. To see a pair of Top-Fuel dragsters do five-second (or whatever it was) passes is indelibly etched in my mind, that evening is the only day of race spectating where I felt I ‘tasted’ the cars. It was such a visceral, tactile assault on all of ‘yer senses.

Alan Jones on the way to winning the 1980 AGP at Calder, Williams FW07 Ford (unattributed)
Niki Lauda, Ralt RT4 Ford BDA (and below) during the 1984 AGP won by Keke Rosberg in a similar car (C Jewell)

Recent drag racing action, advice as to chassis/drivers/date welcome (calderparkdragracing.com.au)

Whilst Calder never held an F1 AGP, as Bob hoped, the 1980 Formula Libre AGP at Calder, and the 1981 to 1984 Formula Pacific AGPs were important steps in the direction Adelaide eventually seized.

I always thought ‘If only Bob owned Phillip Island instead of Calder’ his great acts of promotion could have played out on a vastly more impressive stage, but hey let’s be thankful for a venue so close to home.

It must be fifteen years since I last had a gallop there, in the last VHRR’s Summer Test Days they ran annually. I’m a regular traveller up the Calder Highway, it’s sad to drive past that huge wasted resource and think of the clusterfuck of family and CAMS disputation dramas that stopped the joint dead in its tracks, pun intended.

Mind you, the tom-toms are rattling a little at the moment, it might not be all over, after-all…

‘Rockarena’ at Calder in November 1977. Fleetwood Mac headlined and were supported by Santana, Little River Band, Kevin Borich Express and Creation (jpjaudio.com.au)

Etcetera…

I love improvisation, it seems CAMS didn’t have a Track Licence form so they adapted a Competitor Licence and issued that to Pat and his partners – ‘Calder Motor Raceway Pty. Ltd’, that registered address is at Kew Junction, a drop kick from Bib Stillwells’ then Holden dealership.

Bob Jane in his period of ownership tried plenty of great ideas as a promoter, but a race between Pat Hawthorn’s Aston and a trotter is very much on the innovative side!

Credits…

Pat Hawthorn Collection via Russell Hawthorn, Chris Jewell, Ian Smith, Ollie Campion, Robert Davies, jpjaudio.com.au, calderparkdragracing.com.au

Tailpiece…

Finito…

(MotorSport)

French Grand Prix ace Francois Cevert raced this McLaren M8F Chev with great skill, flair and commitment during 1972, here over the July 23 weekend at Watkins Glen.

His best results in the Young American Racing Team (YART) ex-works/Peter Revson 1971 Can-Am Cup winning M8F/1 chassis was a win at Donnybrooke in mid-season, second place at Road America and third placings at Watkins Glen and Laguna Seca.

The dashing, fast Frenchie adapted well to the big-cars, was rarely out of the top-five qualifiers, and finished fifth in the drivers title behind three Porsche 917/10s – headed by George Follmer – and Denny Hulme’s second placed McLaren M20 Chev.

(MotorSport)

The shot above shows the great Frenchman pressing on at Watkins Glen, and loading up below in front of 8 to 8.4-litres of 740-830bhp big-block aluminium injected Chev V8.

(MotorSport)
(MotorSport)

The wonderful thing about Can-Am cars is the subtlety and nuance of the things! Everything about them is big, brash, brassy and loud, quintessentially American some might say.

What’s not to like? Oh to have seen theses babies race in anger, in period…

(MotorSport)

Watkins Glen, the first of sixty 5.435km laps, 326km in total. Francois leads a pack comprising David Hobbs, Lola T310 Chev, Jackie Oliver’s Shadow Mk3 Chev, then Greg Young in the other YART M8F #2 and Milt Minter’s Porsche 917/10 to the right. The Hulme and Revson McLaren M20s, and Follmer’s 917/10 are already up the road a bit.

Hulme won from Revson and Cevert but it was all Porsches up-front for the remaining six rounds with the exception of Francois’ Donnybrooke win; the McLaren Can-Am era which commenced in 1967 was finally, sadly, over.

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch-MotorSport Images, classicscars.com

Finito…

(LAT)

What a magic Pau Grand Prix vista on April 5, 1964.

Jim Clark’s one-litre Formula 2 Lotus 32 Cosworth SCA leads Peter Arundell’s F3 Lotus 27 Ford Cosworth MAE during the 80 lap, 220km race held around the streets of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques city in France’s southwest.

The yellow nose car in third is Richard Attwood’s Lola T54 SCA. Clark won from Attwood and Arundell in a stellar field which included Paul Hawkins, Tony Maggs, Frank Gardner, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Maurice Trintignant and Denny Hulme.

Jim Clark right up Paul Hawkins’ clacker during the 1964 GP. Hawkeye was seventh aboard John Willment’s F3 Alexis Mk4 Ford Cosworth MAE. There were nine or ten Ford Cosworth MAE, and Renault Gordini engined F3 cars in the F2 race, doubtless to keep numbers up in the first year of the new 1-litre F3 and F2 (LAT)
Dickie Attwood during the ’64 F2 race, Midland Racing Partnership Lola T54 Cosworth SCA. Past Saint Martin Church perhaps, help please Frenchies? (LAT)

It amused me, flicking through some Pau GP photographs that numbers two and four also loomed large the year before, in 1963, when the F1 Lotus 25 Climax V8s of Clark and #4 Trevor Taylor (below) finished one-two from Heinz Schiller’s Porsche 718.

(LAT)

The 1930 French Grand Prix was held on a triangular 15.8km road circuit at Pau. It was won by Philippe Etancelin’s Bugatti T35C, this toe-in-the-water for the town led to the Pau GP’s inauguration as an annual event in 1933.

Marcel Lehoux’ Bugatti T51 won that snowy February race from Guy Moll’s similar car.

The 1930 grid including #10 Lehoux Bug T35B, #44 the winning Etancelin Bug T35C, the #28 or 38 Bugatti of De Maleplane or De L’espee, while towards the top is the #42 Daniel T35B. 25 cars started this race (unattributed)

Happily, the race is still held around the 2.769km Circuit de Pau de Ville.

The Pau GP is up-there in a list of global continuous events. Down the decades it’s been held for GP cars until 1963. It then morphed thru F2 (1964-1984), F3000 (1985-1998), F3 (1999-2006), World Touring Car Championship cars – an unfortunate aberration – (2007-2009) then back to F3 (2012-2012), Formula Renault (2013), then F3 again (2014-2019) until this year (2022) when Vladislav Lomko, a Russian (oh dear, how very passé and politically incorrect) won the May race aboard a Dallara 320 Euroformula (F3 variant) machine.

Far-canal I HATE all the global one-make shit, it’s so fuggin boring. I don’t want to sound like a silly old tugger, but it is boring isn’t it, the lack of variety? And don’t give me the economics lesson, I just don’t give a shit…

Tazio Nuvolari on the way to victory at Pau in February 1935, he is closely followed by Rene Dreyfus, both driving Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo Tipo P3s (unattributed)
Alberto Ascari in the fabulous Ferrari 375 during the ‘51 Pau GP, DNF transmission from Q2. His teammate, Gigi Villoresi, won from pole in another 375. Ascari won in 1952-53 aboard Ferrari 500s (unattributed)

The list of drivers who have won around the demanding track includes many of the gods; Tazio Nuvolari, Jackie Stewart and Lewis Hamilton won once, while JM Fangio, Alberto Ascari and Jack Brabham were victorious twice, Jochen Rindt won thrice during his King of F2 reign, with Jim Clark a four-time winner.

This wonderful poster for the 1963 event shows 1962 first lap action. Jo Bonnier’s Porsche 718 leads Ricardo Rodriguez’ Ferrari 156 and Jim Clark’s Lotus 24 Climax, #8 is Lorenzo Bandini’s 156. Maurice Trintignant’s Lotus 18/21 Climax won from Rodriguez, and Jack Lewis’ BRM P48/57

Throughout motor racing history France has held god knows how many car races on road circuits. It would be a great idea to tour France and tick a few off, for me Pau and Clermont Ferrand are top of the list. Doubtless that’s a function of my age, ten years older perhaps the top-two would be Reims and Rouen…

Jean-Pierre Jabouille aboard his self constructed Elf 2J (nee Jabouille 2J) Renault 2-litre F2 car, from Jacques Laffitte, Chevron B35 BMW during the height of the F2 era in 1976. First to fourth were Frenchmen; Rene Arnoux, Martini Mk19 Renault, Laffitte, Jabouille and Jean-Pierre Jarier, Chevron B35 BMW (DPPI)

The 2-litre F2 and F3000 period of incredibly quick, spectacular racing cars stretched from 1972-1998, any of you who saw the race during that period had a special treat.

Every winner of the Pau classic in that period raced in F1 with the exception of Jorg Muller, who was a test driver for Arrows, Sauber and Williams but never quite got a race-steer.

Mike Thackwell’s Ralt RH6/81 Honda during the June 1981 race won by his teammate, Geoff Lees, Thackwell was sixth (MotorSport)

Red Bull Supremo, Christian Horner raced at elite level including F3000. He is shown below at Pau in 1997 aboard his Lola T96/50 Zyrtec-Judd leading Marcus Friesacher.

It was after following Juan Pablo Montoya for a few laps the following year that Horner realised his future was better devoted to racing outside the cockpit! Still, his management capabilities are enhanced by the knowledge of exactly what his drivers are dealing with.

(MotorSport)
Pau modern era F3 race (unattributed)

Etcetera: 1952 Pau GP…

A couple of days after publication, Australian enthusiast/restorer/vintagent Chester McKaige got in touch and provided these wonderful colour images taken during the 1952 race by his father, George McKaige.

George was doing what we Colonials have always done, the Grand European Tour enroute to the UK. There he worked for the de Havilland Aircraft Company for a couple of years, on his weekends and holidays he attended many British and European racing events taking along his trusty camera.

Twenty years ago Chester printed two volumes of George’s photography in Europe and Australia, my copies of ‘Beyond The Lens’ are among my favourites of that golden-age.

Alberto Ascari in typical race attire, and Ferrari 500 in 1952. Note the stub exhausts fitted at this stage (G McKaige)
Toulo de Graffenried, Plate Maserati 4CLT-48, sixth and final car classified, Pau 1952 (G McKaige)

The XIII Grand Prix de Pau – also the first round of the Grands Prix de France F2 Championship – was won convincingly from pole by Alberto Ascari in a Ferrari 500, chassis #0003 it seems, not #0005, the car in which he won so many races in 1952-53 before passing into the hands of Australians Tony Gaze and Lex Davison.

Sharing the front row with him were Gigi Villoresi’s similar works car, and Lance Macklin’s HWM Alta. Second and third placings in the three hour, 280km race were Louis Rosier’s Ferrari 500 and Jean Behra Simca Gordini T11.

Johnny Claes’ Simca Gordini T15, DNF transmission. Pau 1952 (G McKaige)

By that early stage of the season Ascari had also won the GP di Siracusa. In a year of complete dominance he was also victorious in the GP de Marseille, a heat of the GP di Monza, the GP de Comminges, the GP de la Baule plus the championship Grands’ Prix of Belgium, France, Britain, Germany, Holland and Italy; not to forget the drivers World Championship!

Lance Macklin, HWM Alta, running at the end but unclassified, Pau 1952 (G McKaige)

Credits…

MotorSport Images, LAT, Jean Philippe Gionnet, DPPI, F2 Index, George and Chester McKaige

Tailpiece…

(JP Gionnet)

Lewis Hamilton pinging his F3 Dallara F305 Mercedes through the Esses in May 2005.

He had the perfect weekend, two poles, wins and fastest laps early in the season on the way to winning the F3 Euro Series with victories in 15 of the 20 races – and F1 beyond.

Finito…