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Photographers Jean-Claude Deutsch and Patrick Jarnoux display a fine eye for form, fashion, flesh and finery. French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard, 4 July 1971…

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Credits…

Jean Claude Deutsch and Patrick Jarnoux

Tailpiece: And a nice tail it is…

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jean behra portrait

(Yves Debraine)

Jean Behra portrait taken by Yves Debraine in 1959, the year in which he died at the wheel of a Porsche RSK at Avus…

Not an article about this great and perhaps underrated driver but rather some 1959 snippets.

The shot below is of Behra at the wheel of the works Ferrari 250TR59 at Brunnchen, the Nurburgring on 7 June 1959. He and Tony Brooks were 3rd in the race won by Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman in an Aston Martin DBR1.

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(Klemantaski Collection)

The great Frenchman switched from BRM to Ferrari in 1959, he started the year well winning the non-championship ‘BARC 200’ at Aintree, one of three non-champ events in the UK before the first F1 title events commenced at Monaco in May.

‘BARC 200’ Aintree on 18 April

In an encouraging start to the season Jean won the race from teammate Tony Brooks and Bruce McLaren’s works Cooper T45 Climax.

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Monaco Grand Prix…

At the tiny principality Jean (below) was both a driver and entrant, he had built a Porsche RSK based F2 car which he entered for Maria de Filippis.

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Despite her best efforts she couldn’t qualify the car amongst the mixed grid of F1 and F2 cars. In a sign of the times, and Porsche’s commitment to open-wheelers the factory built and entered their own car which was raced by Taffy Von Trips until a collision with Cliff Allison in an F2 Ferrari Dino.

The car, based on a new RSK had a tubular chassis built by Valerio Colotti (then of Maserati and later of transmission fame) which picked up the original front and rear suspension. The machine followed the general principles of the donor with track and wheelbase the same. The driver was placed centrally of course, the 4 cam spyder engine, gearbox, battery ignition, dynamo starter were all retained.

Colotti’s neat aluminium body was beautifully formed, the result low, streamlined and small given the cars underpinnings. DSJ’s Motorsport report of the event likened it to the Sacha-Gordini of several years before. The circa 150bhp F2 car proved to be prodigiously fast. Hans Hermann raced it for Behra at the Reims GP on 5 July finishing 2nd only to Stirling Moss’ Rob Walker Cooper T45 Borgward…in the process beating the factory Porsches of Von Trips and Bonnier and Allison’s Ferrari 156 much to the consternation of the Maranello management.

Click here for further details on this interesting car;  https://revsinstitute.org/the-collection/1958-porsche-behra-formula-ii/

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The shot above is de Filippis in Behra’s Porsche Spl during Monaco practice, the lines of Colotti’s car sleek and low.

Below the field blasts off at the start, Behra in the middle is first away in the snub-nosed Dino from Moss on the left and Brabham on the right in Cooper T51 Climaxes, Rob Walker’s for Stirling and the works car for Jack, the latter on the way to his first GP win.

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(unattributed)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further back is #48 Phil Hill’s Dino 4th, #50 Tony Brooks 2nd placed Dino and Jo Bonnier #18 in the first of the BRM P25’s DNF.

The photo below shows Stirling Moss chasing Behra’s Ferrari, the Frenchman led the race until Stirling got past on lap 21 and then Brabham, after the Ferrari had engine failure on lap 22. Jack went on to take his first championship win.

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Moss, Cooper T51 Climax chasing Behra Ferrari Dino early in the race (unattributed)

Sportscars…

Jean contested 4 of the World Sportscar championship events from March to June in the Ferrari TR250, his best results 2nd at Sebring with Cliff Allison and 3rd at the Nurburgring with Tony Brooks. The latter combination failed to finish Targa and at Le Mans Jean and Dan Gurney were out on lap 129 with gearbox problems.

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Behra during the 21 March 1959 Sebring 12 Hours, he was 2nd in this Ferrari 250 TR/59, the winning car the sister entry driven by Gurney/Daigh/Hill/Gendebien (TEN)

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Talking to co-driver Tony Brooks during the Targa weekend on 24 May, the winner was Barth/Seidel Porsche 718 RSK, the factory cars all DNF (unattributed)

Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, and 1959…

Behra’s Ferrari Dino 246 being fettled in the Zandvoort paddock, cars were entered for him, Cliff Allison and Phil Hill qualifying 4th, 8th and 12th respectively with Bonnier’s BRM P25 on pole. His promise in practice was fulfilled in the race with the first championship win for the Bourne concern.

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(Inside the motorsport paddock)

Behra below chasing Stirling Moss’ Cooper T45, he qualified 4th and finished in the same position, Brabham and Gregory were 2nd and 3rd underlying the performance of the 2.5 Coopers on a course which required a blend of power and handling.

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Behra chasing Moss, the lines of the ’59 Dino about as good as a front engined GP car got? (Cahier)

French GP…

Onto Reims, Jean’s home race of course where things totally unravelled.

In a year in which the mid-engined revolution took hold, full 2.5 litre FPF Coventry Climax engines made clear the performance advantage of the Coopers, Ferrari only had an advantage on the faster courses of which Reims was one.

Some reports have it that Behra, a handy mechanic with great mechanical sympathy was over driving and abusing his engines in the final months of his life in his efforts to remain competitive.

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Beautiful Reims first lap, 5 July 1959. Brooks winning Dino from Jack’s Cooper T51 3rd, #26 Hill’s Dino 2nd #10 Gregory’s Cooper T51 DNF, #2 Moss’ BRM P25 and McLaren’s Cooper T51 5th then the rest strung out thru Champagne country (unattributed)

 

 

Brooks was on pole with Phil Hill 3rd on the grid, Jean was on the 2nd row. Tony Brooks Ferrari 246 convincingly won the race in a great display of high speed precision driving in an event made incredibly demanding due to heat and stones thrown up by cars as the tracks surface suffered.

Jean qualified 5th and raced hard, having been left on the line, he made a lunge for 2nd on lap 25, but spun and dropped back to 4th. He equalled the lap record set by Trintignant on lap 28, he was racing for a hometown win after all, only for the cars engine to cry ‘enough’ on lap 29, he was out with piston failure.

The only member of the Scuderia driver line-up that year that didn’t speak English, fired up after the race, he had a ‘spirited’ exchange with team manager Romolo Tavoni. Tavoni glanced at the cars rev counter ‘tell tale’ in the pits and began, very unwisely, his driver full of adrenalin, to remonstrate with him about one-too-many over-rev and subsequent engine failure. The stocky Frenchman thumped him, knocking him over with one punch. Inevitably and predictably Jean was ‘shown the Maranello door’ giving Dan Gurney a Ferrari opportunity he took full advantage of.

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Behra hustling his Dino hard, too hard perhaps, at Reims during the ’59 French GP (unattributed)

Ferrari missed the following GeePee at Aintree with industrial strikes in Italy but returned to the fray at Avus for the 2 August German GP.

Jean made contact with Raymond Mays to return to the BRM team there, but there was not the time or resources to make available a P25.

Jean therefore entered and qualified the 1.5 litre F2 Behra Porsche (pictured above) 16th of 17 cars but didn’t take the start of the GP after crashing, in the wet at over 100mph in a Porsche RSK in a support race. He died instantly in the awful accident in which he was flung from the car, hit a flagpole on the bankings outer extremity and then dropped into the outfield below.

A bright, charismatic light was extinguished.

Credits…

Yves Debraine, Louis Klemantaski, Cahier Archive, The Enthusiast Network, MotorSport June 1959/March 1998

Tailpiece: Le Mans 20-21 June 1959. Behra at the wheel of the car he shred with Dan Gurney DNF with gearbox problems on lap 129…

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This race famously won by the Shelby/Salvadori Aston Martin DBR1, none of the factory TR’s finished the race (unattributed)

 

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Interesting drawing of one of the dominant Mercedes W125 during the 1937 Monaco Grand Prix held on 8 August…

Manfred von Brauchitsch won from Rudy Carraciola and Christian Kautz, Goffredo Zehender was fifth, the only interloper to the Mercedes party was Hans Stuck’  Auto Union Type C which was fourth.

von Brauchitsch #10 and Caracciola below in their epic race for the GP lead, these 560bhp 5.66 litre cars GRAND in every sense of the word…

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(unattributed)

Credit…

Imagno, unattributed

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(Jonathon Ferrey)

Christian Fittipaldi’s Newman-Haas Lola Toyota during the Marconi Cleveland Grand Prix at Burke Lakefront Airport on 30 June 2001…

This popular race was held 26 times in Cleveland, Ohio from 1982 to 2007, the operational airport was closed for racing one week a year and converted to a course which was tough for drivers and superb for spectators. Its wide, flat expanses meant punters could see most of the track from the grandstands, the races noted for lots of wheel to wheel dicing and many passing zones.

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Dario Franchitti passes a ship on Lake Erie, Cleveland 2001 (David Maxwell)

The 2001 race was won by Dario Franchitti from Memo Gidley and Bryan Herta the variety in this wonderful class demonstrated by the cars used; Reynard 01i Honda, Lola B1/00 Toyota and Reynard 01i Ford respectively! I loathe the plethora of controlled formulae globally today. Christian Fittipaldi qualified his Lola B1/00 Toyota 15th and finished 11th. Gil de Ferran won the CART title that year in a Team Penske run Reynard 01i Honda.

Credit…

Jonathon Ferrey, David Maxwell

Tailpiece: Dario Franchitti’s winning Reynard Honda…

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(unattributed)

 

 

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The E Type not ‘Pete’ the painter. Never owned or driven one but always loved the things…

The shot is dated 25 May 1961, ‘pete’ is completing the ‘computer aided finish’ of the cars luscious body, looks like a house-brush to me! I’ve got a nice E Type article ready to go, must get reader Rob Bailey, an old Alfisti, racer mate and E Type owner to pen me two paragraphs about ‘the owners experience’ then its done!

The ‘E’ was released, export only at first from March ’61, so this is an early-build 3.8 drop-head in the Browns Lane, Coventry paint shop.

The picture below is at the Geneva Show in November 1961.

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Credits…Getty Images

The shot below is again Browns Lane, the production lines idle on 14 February 1972, during the UK Miners Strike. On the line are V12 E’s and XJ6′, has their ever been a more curvy, muscular but handsome sedan? ‘Grace, Space, Pace’ was Jags sedan advertising tagline of the sixties, says it all really!

Tailpiece…

jags

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Jack Brabham ponders wing settings on his Brabham BT26 Repco during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend at Mont Tremblant, 22 September 1968…

I blew my tiny mind when Nigel Tait sent me the photo, neither of us had any idea where it was. A bit of judicious googling identified the location as Mont Tremblant, Quebec, a summer and winter playground for Canadians 130km northwest of Montreal.

Regular readers will recall  Nigel as the ex-Repco Brabham Engines Pty. Ltd. engineer who co-wrote the recent Matich SR4 Repco article (a car he owns) and has been helping with the series of articles on Repco’s racing history I started with Rodway Wolfe, another RBE ‘teamster’ a couple of years ago.

When Nigel left Repco in the ACL Ltd management buyout of which he was a part, he placed much of the RBE archive with his alma mater, RMIT University, Melbourne. Its in safe hands and available to those interested in research on this amazing part of Australian motor racing history. The archive includes Repco’s library of photographs. Like every big corporate Repco had a PR team to maximise exposure from their activities including their investment in F1. The Mont Tremblant shot is from that archive and unpublished it seems.

Its one of those ‘the more you look, the more you see’ shots; from the distant Laurentian Mountains to the pitlane activity and engineering of the back of the car which is in great sharpness. It’s the back of the BT26 where I want to focus.

The last RBE Engines article we did (Rodway, Nigel and I) was about the ’67 championship winning SOHC, 2 valve 330bhp 740 Series V8, this BT26 is powered by the 1968 DOHC, 4 valve 390bhp 860 Series V8. It was a very powerful engine, Jochen plonked it on the front row three times, on pole twice, as he did here in Canada in 1968. But it was also an ‘ornery, unreliable, under-developed beast. Ultimately successful in 4.2 litre Indy and 5 litre Sportscar spec, we will leave the 860 engine till later for an article dedicated to the subject.

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Check out the DG300 Hewland 5 speed transaxle and part of the complex oil system beside it to feed the 860. Also the big, beefy driveshafts and equally butch rubber donuts to deal with suspension travel. It’s interesting as Tauranac used cv’s in earlier designs, perhaps he was troubled finding something man enough to take the more powerful Repco’s grunt, the setup chosen here is sub-optimal in an engineering sense.

The rear suspension is period typical; single top link, inverted lower wishbone, radius rods leading forward top and bottom and coil spring/damper units. It appears the shocks are Koni’s, Brabham were Armstrong users for years.

The uprights are magnesium which is where things get interesting. The cars wings that is, and the means by which they attach to the car…

See the beautifully fabricated ‘hat’ which sits on top of and is bolted to the uprights and the way in which the vertical load of the wing applies it’s force directly onto the suspension of the car. This primary strut support locates the wing at its leading edge, at the rear you can see the adjustable links which control the ‘angle on the dangle’ or the wings incidence of attack to the airflow.

I’ve Lotus’ flimsy wing supports in mind as I write this…

Tauranac’s secondary wing support elements comprises steel tube fabrications which pick up on the suspension inner top link mount and on the roll bar support which runs back into the chassis diaphragm atop the gearbox.

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The shot above shows the location of the front wing and it’s mounts, this time the vertical force is applied to the chassis at the leading front wishbone mount, and the secondary support to the wishbones trailing mount. This photo is in the Watkins Glen paddock on the 6 October weekend, the same wing package as in use in Canada a fortnight before. The mechanic looking after Jack is Ron Dennis, his formative years spent learning his craft first with Cooper and then BRO. Rondel Racing followed and fame and fortune with McLaren via Project 4 Racing…

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Jim Hall and Chaparral 2G Chev wing at Road America, Wisconsin 1968 (Upitis)

 

 

The great, innovative Jim Hall and his band of merry men from Midlands, Texas popularised the use of wings with their sensational Chaparral’s of the mid sixties. Traction and stability in these big Group 7 Sportscars was an issue not confronted in F1 until the 3 litre era when designers and drivers encountered a surfeit of power over grip they had not experienced since the 2.5 litre days of 1954-60.

During 1967 and 1968 F1 spoilers/wings progressively grew in size and height, the race by race or quarter of a season at a time analysis of same an interesting one for another time.

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Hill’s winged Lotus 49B, Monaco 1968 (Schlegelmilch)

In some ways ‘who gives a rats’ about the first ‘winged Grand Prix win’ as Jim Hall pioneered ‘winning wings’ in 1966, the technology advance is a Group 7 not F1 credit; but Jacky Ickx’ Ferrari 312 win in the horrific, wet, 1968 French Grand Prix (in which Jo Schlesser died a fiery death in the air-cooled Honda RA302) is generally credited as the first, the Fazz fitted with a wing aft of the driver.

But you could equally mount the case, I certainly do, that the first winged GeePee win was Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford victory at Monaco that May.

Chapman fitted the Lotus with front ‘canard’ wings and the rear of the car with a big, rising front to rear, engine cover-cum-spoiler. Forghieri’s Ferrari had a rear wing but no front. The Lotus, front wings and a big spoiler. Which car first won with a wing?; the Lotus at Monaco on 26 May not the Ferrari at Rouen on July 7. All correspondence will be entered into as to your alternative views!

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Jacky Ickx’ winning Ferrari 312 being prepared in the Rouen paddock. The neat, spidery but strong wing supports clear in shot. Exhaust in the foreground is Chris Amon’s Fazz (Schlegelmilch)

 

 

Lotus ‘ruined the hi-winged party’ with its Lotus 49B Ford wing failures, a lap apart, of Graham Hill and then Jochen Rindt at Montjuic in the 1969 Spanish GP. Both drivers were lucky to walk away from cars which were totally fucked in accidents which could have killed the drivers, let alone a swag of innocent locals.

A fortnight later the CSI acted, banning high wings during the Monaco GP weekend but allowing aero aids on an ongoing basis albeit with stricter dimensional and locational limits.

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Mario Andretti has just put his Lotus 49B on pole at Watkins Glen in October 1968, Colin Chapman is perhaps checking his watch to see why regular drivers Hill and Jackie Oliver are being bested by guest driver Andretti who was entered at Monza and Watkins Glen at seasons end! Andretti put down a couple of markers with Chapman then; speed and testing ability which Chapman would return to nearly a decade later. More to the point are the wing mounts; direct onto the rear upright like the Brabham but not braced forward or aft. Colin was putting more weight progressively on the back of the 49 to try and aid traction, note the oil reservoir sitting up high above the ‘box. Stewart won in a Matra MS10, Hill was 2nd with both Andretti and Oliver DNF (Upitis)

 

 

 

Chapman was the ultimate structural engineer but also notoriously ‘optimistic’ in his specification of some aspects of his Lotus componentry over the years, the list of shunt victims of this philosophy rather a long one.

Lotus wing mounts are a case in point.

Jack Oliver’s ginormous 125mph French GP, 49B accident at Rouen in 1968 was a probable wing mount failure, Ollie’s car smote various bits of the French countryside inclusive of a Chateau gate.

Moises Solana guested for Lotus in his home, Mexican GP on 3 November, Hill won the race whilst Solana’s 49B wing collapsed.

Graham Hill’s 49B wing mounts failed during the 2 February 1969 Australian Grand Prix at Lakeside, Queensland. Then of course came the Spanish GP ‘Lotus double-whammy’ 3 months after the Lakeside incident on 4 May 1969.

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Faaaarck that was lucky one suspects the Lotus mechanics are thinkin’!? The rear suspension and gearbox are 200 metres or so back up the road to the right not far from the chateau gate Ollie hit. It was the first of several ‘big ones’ in his career (Schlegelmilch)

For the ‘smartest tool in the shed’ Chapman was slow to realise ’twas a good idea to finish races, let alone ensure the survival of his pilots and the punters.

I’m not saying Lotus were the only marque to have aero appendages fall off as designers and engineers grappled with the new forces unleashed, but they seemed to suffer more than most. Ron Tauranac’s robustly engineered Brabhams were race winning conveyances generally devoid of bits and pieces flying off them given maintenance passably close to that recommended by ‘Motor Racing Developments’, manufacturers of Ron and Jack’s cars.

The Brabham mounts shown earlier are rather nice examples of wings designed to stay attached to the car rather than have Jack aviating before he was ready to jump into his Piper Cherokee at a race meetings end…

‘Wings Clipped’: Click on this article for more detail on the events leading up to the CSI banning hi-wings at the ’69 Monaco GP…https://primotipo.com/2015/07/12/wings-clipped-lotus-49-monaco-grand-prix-1969/

Credits…

Nigel Tait, Repco Ltd Archive, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Cahier Archive, Alvis Upitis

Etcetera…

Hill P, ‘Stardust GP’ Las Vegas, Chaparral 2E Chev 1966

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Now you see it, now you don’t; being a pioneer and innovator was the essence of the Chaparral brand, but not without its challenges! Phil Hill with 2E wing worries at Las Vegas in 1966, he still finished 7th. Jim Hall was on pole but also had wing problems, John Surtees’ wingless Lola T70 Mk2 Chev won the race and the first CanAm Championship  (The Enthusiast Network)

The 13 November 1966 ‘Stardust GP’ at Las Vegas was won by John Surtees Lola T70 Mk2 Chev, CanAm champion in 1966. Proving the nascent aerodynamic advances were not problem free both Jim Hall, who started from pole and Phil Hill pictured here had wing trouble during the race.

The Chaparral 2E was a development of the ’65 2C Can Am car (the 2D Coupe was the ’66 World Sportscar Championship contender) with mid-mounted radiators and huge rear wing which operated directly onto the rear suspension uprights. A pedal in the cockpit allowed drivers Hall and Hill to actuate the wing before corners and ‘feather it’ on the straights getting the benefits in the bendy bits without too much drag on the straight bits. A General Motors ‘auto’ transaxle which used a torque converter rather than a manual ‘box meant the drivers footbox wasn’t too crowded and added to the innovative cocktail the 2E represented in 1966.

Its fair to say the advantages of wings were far from clear at the outset even in Group 7/CanAm; McLaren won the 1967 and 1968 series with wingless M6A Chev and M8A Chev respectively, winning the ’69 CanAm with the hi-winged M8B Chev in 1969. Chaparral famously embody everything which was great about the CanAm but never won the series despite building some stunning, radical, epochal cars.

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Phil Hill relaxed in his 2E at Laguna Seca on 16 October 1966, Chaps wing in the foreground, Laguna’s swoops in the background. Phil won from Jim Hall in the other 2E (TEN)

Hill G, Monaco GP, Lotus 49B Ford 1968

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Interesting shot of Hill shows just how pronounced the rear bodywork of the Lotus 49B was. You can just see the front wing, Monaco ’68 (unattributed)

Hill taking a great win at Monaco in 1968. Graham’s was a tour de force of leadership, strength of mind and will. Jim Clark died at Hockenheim on 7 April, Monaco was on 26 May, Colin Chapman was devastated by the loss of Clark, a close friend and confidant apart from the Scots extraordinary capabilities as a driver.

Hill won convincingly popping the winged Lotus on pole and leading all but the races first 3 laps harnessing the additional grip and stability afforded by the cars nascent, rudimentary aerodynamic appendages. Graham also won the Spanish Grand Prix on 12 May, these two wins in the face of great adversity set up the plucky Brits 1968 World Championship win. Remember that McLaren and Matra had DFV’s that season too, Lotus did not have the same margin of superiority in ’68 that they had in ’67, lack of ’67 reliability duly noted.

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Hills 49B from the front showing the ‘canard’ wings and beautifully integrated rear engine cover/spoiler (Cahier)

Ickx, Rouen, French GP, Ferrari 312  1968

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Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari’s Chief Engineer developed wings which were mounted above the engine amidships of the Ferrari 312. Ickx put them to good use qualifying 3rd and leading the wet race, the Belgian gambled on wets, others plumped for intermediates.

Ickx’ wet weather driving skills, the Firestone tyres, wing and chaos caused by the firefighting efforts to try to save Schlesser did the rest. It was Ickx’ first GP win.

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It looks like Rainer Schlegelmilch is taking the shot of Jacky Ickx at Rouen in 1968, note the lack of front wings or trim tabs on the Ferrari 312 (Schlegelmilch)

Tailpiece: The ‘treacle beak’ noting the weight of Tauranac’s BT26 Repco is none other than ‘Chopper’ Tyrrell. Also tending the car at the Watkins Glen weighbridge is Ron Dennis, I wonder if Ken’s Matra MS10 Ford was lighter than the BT26? If that 860 engine had been reliable Jochen Rindt would have given Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill a serious run for their money in 1968, sadly the beautiful donk was not the paragon of reliability it’s 620 and 740 Series 1966/7 engines generally were…

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James Hunt dives for the inside line in his March 713S Ford, AJ and his Brabham BT28 Ford has left a gap way bigger than he ever did when they slugged it out in GP racing…

It’s 1971, the BRSCC MCD Shell Super Oil British F3 Championship at Brands Hatch on 1 March 1971 and both drivers are trying hard to jump up to the next level, the road for Hunt would be easier than Jones, James a coming star with the Hesketh March 731 in 1973 and Jones an F1 ‘occasional’ from 1974.

The ‘facts’ are from the photo caption, the cars and drivers are correct but the date/Brands event don’t accord with the ‘F2 Register’ record of that event, my F3 race resource. It appears AJ didn’t race with #69, a number with obvious appeal to him at all during ’71.

One for the British F3 historians amongst you!

Credit…

Grand Prix Photos

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Sebastien Loeb takes his Peugeot 208 T16 over the Pikes Peak finishing line on 30 June 2013. He set the current climb record at Pikes Peak in his 208 T16 that weekend…

His time of 8:13.878 was 50 seconds quicker than second placegetter Rhys Millen’s time which was 44 seconds quicker than his previous best! It was an all-out ‘big budget’ attack on the event which was repaid in spades by the 9 times World Rally Champion.

Loeb spoke of the particular challenges of preparing for the event on the Red Bull website;

‘It was quite short on time for Peugeot to build a car and for me to test it. I had the first test near Paris, just for an hour. Then I wanted to go on a track because I needed some space to understand how the car behaves, it’s so impressive, with so much acceleration, braking and downforce, that I needed to drive on a big track. So we went to Circuit Paul Ricard and then to Mont Ventoux in France. It’s a place that looks a little bit like Pikes Peak, so it was good to practice there.’

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‘You need to be 100 percent sure of every corner of the track. Before I went to America, I started to watch some videos to start to learn it. Then I went there with my rally co-driver, Daniel Elena and I took some notes like I take in a rally, describing all the road, all the corners, all the angles, everything. Then I started to learn these notes by heart and before every corner I knew, OK, that’s the 130 right, that’s the 140 left and so I could remember all the track like that.’

‘This car is closer to a racing car than a rally car because you have big slicks, you have a lot of downforce, a big engine. You also have 4WD and that’s a bit closer to rally, but it’s so powerful compared to a rally car that you cannot really compare. The driving is very different, you have to drive more like on a track with a racing car, using the downforce, keeping the speed in the high speed corners and braking very late because of the downforce. It’s a car you cannot slide. When you start to slide it starts to bump, so it’s not made for that! You drive it like an F1 car, just using the right line and not sliding.

‘When I was on the start line I was really ready and 100 percent confident with the car. I was sure of my preparation and feeling good. There was no point where I really had a moment. I was pushing, but I was feeling safe, so no big moments and I was able to put all my best sectors together for race day’.

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Technical Specifications…

Peugeot described the car as ‘practically an out-and-out endurance racing prototype’. Half of the downforce generated by the 208 comes from the specially designed undertray which sits beneath the car.

The 3.2-litre, twin-turbo V6 engine develops 875bhp, a 6 speed sequential gearbox, 4 wheel drive, carbon brakes and double wishbone suspension all round with pushrods actuating torsion bars all part of a highly sophisticated package.

The 208 chassis was of ‘old school’ multi-tubular spaceframe construction the car weighing 875Kg.

Peugeot Sport engineer Jean-Christophe Pallier said: ‘Your imagination is the only limit when you set out to design a car for Pikes Peak. We’ve shaved the car down to 875 kilogrammes and as a result we’ve achieved the magic and symbolic power to weight ratio of 1:1, one bhp for every one kg of weight.’

The six-speed transmission, carbon brakes, air intake and aero-including the two-metre wide rear wing, are all from the 908 Le Mans car. The mid-engined 208, as geared, did 0-62mph in 1.8 seconds and zero to its top speed of 150mph in 7 seconds.

Results…

Click on this link for a good article on the 2013 event

http://www.autoblog.com/2013/07/01/race-recap-the-lion-roars-at-2013-pikes-peak-international-hill/

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YouTube footage of Seb’s run is worth a look!…

Credits…

Joe Klamar, Red Bull Racing

Tailpiece: The Peak 1957…

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schöne Frau mit einem pfeil in den himmel schießen…

Ooh-la-la, or German words to that effect.

Its a Mercedes ad dated 1 January 1937, I’ve no idea what the caption or tag line was, ‘shoot for the stars in a Mercedes’ or some such maybe? My google translate title German is ‘woman shooting an arrow into the sky’. Reader, Don Andreina picks the Benz as perhaps a 380K with touring body, built from circa 1933..

Credit…

Print Collector

 

 

 

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‘The good news is the car isn’t completely rooted, the bad news is I can’t get it going…’

Eric Thomson giving the Aston Martin team the sad news that the impressive run by the big Lagonda (Development Project) DP115 V12 has come to an abrupt halt. As the pictures show it was not for lack of trying. He spun and crashed the car in The Esses.

Thomson got the car mobile and back to the pits but it was retired after completing 26 laps, co-driver Dennis Poore didn’t get a drive in the race. Froilan Gonzalez and Maurice Trintignant won in a Ferrari 375 Plus, click on this article i wrote a while back;

Le Mans 1954…

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No doubt there were plenty of yellow flags but Thomson was exposed as he successfully got the car running. Passing is the Pilette/Gilberte Gordini T17S DNF and Moss/Walker Jag D Type DNF, ’54 the D’s first Le Mans (Jack Garofalo)

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(Klemantaski)

Eric Thomson blasts the brutally handsome Lagonda DP115 towards ‘White House’ during the early hours of the ’54 Le Mans…

He was running strongly in 3rd place at that stage of the race in a field that year which included the Ferrari 375 Plus, D Type Jags making their Le Mans debut, Cunningham C4R Chrysler V8’s, the DB3S were also potential outright cars in the ‘right circumstances’, the V6 Lancia D24’s and Porsche 550 Spyders to ‘pick up the scraps’.

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Some ‘delicate’ panel beating of the Lagonda’s aluminium flanks by Eric (Jack Garofalo)

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Lagonda DP115; Chassis tubular, front suspension trailing links, transverse torsion bars. Rear de Dion, trailing links & torsion bars, roll bars front and rear. Drum brakes.  Engine; 60 degree, aluminium 4486cc DOHC, 2 valve V12. 3 Weber IFC4 carbs, bore/stroke 82.5mmx69.8mm, compression ration 8.5:1. Circa 310bhp@7500rpm. Gearbox DB S32 5 speed. Weight circa 1140Kg (Klemantaski)

Lagonda’s new car during early tests on 22 April 1954.

Gearbox/transmission manufacturer David Brown bought Aston Martin and Lagonda, the acquisitions made as he admired the newly developed box-section Aston Martin chassis and the W.O. Bentley/’Willie’ Watson designed Lagonda straight-six engine. Initially he made the focus on road car development, the Aston’s used the old four cylinder engines.

One of these was hurriedly prepared for the 1948 Spa 24 Hours and won! It was the start of Aston Martin’s renewed racing efforts, both as a works team and selling racers as customer cars into the dawn of the sixties.

Using the Lagonda design as a basis, Aston Martin developed a new ‘DB3S’ sports racer at the start of the 1953 season. It was a  good 3 litre class car, but as an outright car it was bested by Lancia, Ferrari and Jaguar ‘heavy metal’. The CSI didn’t mandate a 3litre capacity upper limit for Sports Cars, to slow them down, until the start of 1958.

To compete for outright victory Aston Martin needed a larger more powerful engine, but there was no road going Aston into which to fit such an engine to make the project economically feasible.

Brown therefore decided to revive the Lagonda name and design a new V12 for both a racer and Lagonda road car.

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Thomson in DP115 ‘neatly parked’ in The Esses. Car looks okey-dokey both front and rear in this shot. Note difference in cars nose compared with the earlier images of Brown at the wheel above and Parnell below (Jack Garofalo)

‘Willie’ Watson developed a 4.5 V12 engine. Following the basic design elements of the straight six, the new engine featured twin overhead camshafts and two plugs per cylinder. To keep weight down, the engine was cast in aluminium. Equipped with three quad-choke Webers it initially produced 280 bhp, but with development there was the potential for much more. Mated to a four speed ‘box, the engine was installed into an enlarger and ‘beefed up’ DB3S chassis. Similarly the body was DB3S derived albeit with three separate front air intakes.

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Reg Parnell racing DP115 in its debut race, Silverstone BRDC International Trophy Meeting on 15 May 1954. Great looking car (GP Library)

During its first test, with David Brown at the wheel ‘DP115’ caught fire! The car was hurriedly repaired to contest the 1954 Silverstone ‘International Trophy’ F1 meeting supporting sportscar race, Reg Parnell finished 5th, well behind the Ferraris and Jaguars, but ahead of its 3 litre class winning sibling Astons.

By then after some fettling the engine produced circa 310 bhp, whereas the Ferrari’s claimed outputs were of greater than 350bhp. Initial problems included cold starting and handling characteristics, but there was no time to do the necessary development work before Le Mans on 12/13 June.

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First lap Le Mans 1954, 2nd placed D Type of Rolt/Hamilton and #10 Bouillin Talbot Lago T26 GS. Check out the photographer? atop the pole!  (GP Library)

For Le Mans the four speed gearbox was replaced by a stronger five speeder and the nose of the modified with a single larger air-intake similar the DB3S.

Aston Martin entered 2 DP115s, but one was withdrawn and replaced by a 4th DB3S. The cars handling contributed to Eric Thompson’s spin after 2 hours, whilst lying in 3rd place. After the strenuous efforts clear in the photos he managed to coax the big V12 back to the Aston pits, but it was damaged too badly to be made raceworthy. In a poor race for the team none of the other Astons finished.

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Thomson beavering away, he did ‘cut and shut’ the rear of the thing considerably, other shot is of Gonzalez in thw winning Ferrari 375 Plus (Getty)

The other DP115 first raced in the 1955 British Grand Prix support sportscar race, it finished 4th behind three DB3S. Neither car was raced again.

The cars 1954 results were poor but unsurprising with a relatively new and underdeveloped chassis and engine. Undeterred, for 1955, Brown’s team built two new multi-tubular spaceframe/backbone chassis to which the engine was fitted, the cars were designated  ‘DP166’.

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The Parnell/Poore Lagonda DP166 in the Le Mans pits 1955 (unattributed)

One car was entered at the ’55 Le Mans, driven by Reg Parnell and Dennis Poore the Lagonda DP166 retired after 93 laps of the tragic race with fuel feed problems. That was the effective end of the V12 program. Encouraging for Brown was the 2nd place finish of the DB3S driven by growing GP star Peter Collins and equally developing endurance racer Paul Frere.

The focus for the next few years was the DB3S program. The chassis of both DP166s were later used to form the basis of the Aston Martin DBR2s. Le Mans and World Sportscar Championship success came of course in 1959 with the glorious 3 litre DBR1’s…

Le Mans 1959: Aston Martin DBR1/300…

Checkout this website of Michael Green’s, his mother, father and uncle worked at Aston’s during these years, his recollections fascinating reading…

http://www.offroadexperience.com/wcb/aminfo.htm

Credits…

ultimatecarpage.com

Tailpiece: Merde! Thomson gets plenty of advice from the Aston pit…

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