(B King)

Yes, there is such a place, and a good deal of carnage seems to have befallen this Nar Nar Goon race competitor…

It is a small hamlet of a little over one thousand people 65km east of Melbourne in Gippsland- the name is an Aboriginal expression meaning ‘native bear’ or ‘water rat’ the degree of certainty implied is hardly reassuring on a government website!

The Light Car Club ‘ran a surprisingly successful race meeting on a nine furlong grass track at Nar Nar Goon, 40 miles from Melbourne on Sunday 23 November 1947’ MotorSport reported in its February 1948 issue. It covered both this meeting and the 1947 Australian Hillclimb Championship won by Arthur Wylie’s Ford A Model Special ‘Wyliecar’ at Rob Roy, 75km from Nar Nar Goon on 2 November.

Arthur Wylie in his Ford A Spl, ‘Wyliecar’ at Rob Roy, whether these two shots are during the 1947 Oz Title meeting I’m not sure (L Sims)

 

(L Sims)

Owing to doubtful weather, practically no publicity was given to the Nar Nar Goon meeting, but about 3000 spectators turned up to see thirty competitors. At that time, the local population would have been tiny in an area focussed on timber growing, felling and milling. Ideal for motor racing really- out of harms way and the scrutiny of officialdom!

I’m not suggesting the LCCA were ‘hackers’ in any way at all- they were for decades, lets say 70 or so years, one of the continuously premier motor racing clubs in Australia. At one time or other they owned or operated venues such as Rob Roy, Albert Park, Sandown, Balcombe, Ballarat Airfield and others, including the little known Nar Nar Goon.

It isn’t clear to me how many meetings were run at the villages racecourse but cursory research shows LCCA/Junior Car Club/Light Junior Car Club competitions dated back to at least April 1932 when it appears the owner of the course, a Mr Coombes, first gave consent for cars to use his horse racing facility. By November 1933 a range of cars from the pedestrian to Brescia Bugatti’s were being put to the test.

On the wet grass many of the 1947 entrants had incidents during the time trials which preceded the races, ‘spinning with great abandon on one corner in particular’. No damage occurred and by race-time the track had dried out.

Arthur Wylie, racer and founder of Australian Motor Sports magazine at Nar Nar Goon in a Bugatti T37 ‘#37145’ (A Wylie via L Sims)

‘It was decided to run (love the organisation on the fly, can you imagine that today?) four handicaps, each of two or three heats and a final. At first four competitors were on track at a time, but it was found six was safe, so some events were run with six starters. Finishes were close and spectators were treated to eighteen 5 lap events.

‘The LCCA prides itself on organisation, at this meeting the average period between finishing one race and starting the next was less than five minutes’. Happy days indeed.

The LCCA should rightly be proud of its history of race organisation, I can attest to it as a competitor and spectator during the ‘glory years’ which all came crashing down as a consequence of the financially crippling burden of the two World Endurance Championship events the club ran very unsuccessfully in 1984 and 1985.

Sandown lived on of course thanks to the tenacity and entrepreneurship of racer Jon Davison but the LCCA sadly, was no more. A story for another time, not one I really want to tell when I think about it!

‘Racing Ron’ Edgerton in his ex-Charlie East/Advanx Tyres Bugatti T37 ‘#37104’ at Nar Nar Goon (B King)

Etcetera…

 

 

Bibliography…

MotorSport magazine February 1948, Trove, Leon Sims Collection, Bob King Collection, Arthur Wylie Collection

Tailpiece…

Competitor names and cars folks? The leading car is the one which come to grief in the opening shot.

Finito…

 

Ferrari 156 F1 1963, red Lotus Climax FPF and at left Lotus 18 Climax FPF and Lotus 33 Climax FWMV (M Bisset)

The Ferrari 156/63 holding centre stage at the Musee National de l’Automobile, Mulhouse, France July 2019…

I’ve never thought too much about the Ferraris between the 1961-2 156 and the 1964-5 158.

The 156 went from World Champ in 1961 to World Chump the following year and then along came the ‘Aero-framed’ semi-monocoque 1.5 litre V8 engined 158 with which John Surtees won the 1964 championship title in a great year battling Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax and Graham Hill’s BRM P261.

Not so fast…

The cars in between the ‘156’ and ‘158’ are the T56, 156, 156/63, 156 F1-63 and ‘Aero 156’ depending upon your source as to the name. Given the confusion, to be consistent throughout this piece I am referring to Forghieri’s 1963 156 spaceframe machine as ‘156/63’ and his later in 1963 156 semi-monocoque as ‘156 Aero’. Even Ferrari are confused- their formula1.ferrari.com site provides specifications for the Aero with a drawing of the spaceframe 156/63 so go figure…

In any event, it is the 156/63 which looked oh-so-sweet at Mulhouse and piqued my interest in the subject.

Whilst still powered by the trusty Tipo 178 1.5 litre, twelve valve V6, by then Bosch direct fuel injected- well trumped by the British Coventry Climax FWMV and BRM P56 V8’s, the Mauro Forghieri designed chassis was a much nicer modern thingy than the 1961 156 which was ‘made’ by its engine and the lack of preparedness of its opposition.

Forghieri stepped up when others left during the Scuderia’s 1962 ‘Winter of Discontent Palace Coup’. His chassis solution was a neat multitubular spaceframe of small gauge tubes, an evolution of the existing V6 was bolted to a new six-speed gearbox with lightweight magnesium alloy Campagnolo wheels part of an attractive package.

Ludovico Scarfiotti, Ferrari 156/63 from Jim Clark at Zandvoort during the 1963 Dutch Grand Prix- the young Italian was 6th in his first championship GP, Jim won in his Lotus 25 Climax- the track at which this paradigm shifter first raced 12 months before. It is a lovely photo but I have included it to show the relative size and frontal area of the Ferrari challenger to the dominant car/driver combination of the day. Ferrari would of course bridge the gap with the 156 Aero which raced at Monza that September and the 158 Aero which followed- not to forget the 1512…(unattributed)

 

 

Ferrari 156/63 cutaway, technical specifications as per text (Vic Berris)

 

John Surtees on the way to a win, in the Karussell, Nürburgring 1963, Ferrari 156/63

In 1963 specification the two-valve, DOHC V6 was fuel injected and gave a claimed 205bhp. Michael May worked hard to adapt Bosch direct injection to the motor, by the end of 1963 F1 was ‘fuel injected’ by Lucas and Bosch. There were still some downdraft Webers to be seen on customer V8’s but up front fuel injection had finally taken over.

The gearbox had six speeds, front suspension was the usual outboard fare of upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/shocks- at the rear the regime was again period typical- single upper link, a lower inverted wishbone and twin radius rods with coil spring/shocks and adjustable roll bars front and rear, rack and pinion steering and magnesium ally wheels too- the Borrani wires of the 156 were left behind.  Brakes were Dunlop disc, inboard at the rear.

Real progress was made too.

Only three of these 156/63 machines were built- ‘0001’, ‘0002’ and ‘0003’, Surtees achieved the best results of the four Ferrari drivers- Willy Mairesse, Ludovico Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini were also on the squad that year. He won at the Nürburgring, was second at Silverstone, third at Zandvoort and fourth at Monaco. His points haul of 22 placed him fourth in the 1963 drivers championship behind Clark, Lotus 25 Climax, Hill G and Richie Ginther aboard BRM P57’s.

Surtees also won the non-championship GP del Mediterraneo at Enna in August from Peter Arundell’s works Lotus 25 Climax.

Bandini, beautiful Ferrari 158 Aero during the 1964 Belgian GP, Nürburgring. DNF engine, race won by Clark’s Lotus 25 Climax (B Cahier)

Better was to come in 1964 of course with the ‘Aero semi-monocoque chassis’ 158 and 1512 but even there the venerable 156 V6 played an important role. With development of the V8 behind schedule, a 120 degree V6 was adapted to Forghieri’s new chassis to allow its debut at Monza in September 1963.

The chassis, christened ‘Aero’ by Ferrari was based on a simple un-triangulated tubular internal frame to which were riveted stress bearing aluminium skins. This hybrid monocoque was quite unlike that pioneered by Len Terry and Colin Chapman at Lotus but served Ferrari very well for many years to come.

’Two parallel fuel tank pontoons, each of which was fabricated and riveted aircraft style over a sketchy framework of two tube longerons staggered slightly in the vertical plane’ wrote Doug Nye.

‘These tubes doubled as water and oil feeds between engine and coolers. The completed pontoons were then united laterally throughout their length by a stressed floor panel with angle stiffening plates, and at each end were riveted to transverse bulkheads.’

‘That at the front was doubled to sandwich inboard coil spring damper units operated by top rocker arms like Lotus’s, while the entire hybrid monocoque terminated behind the cockpit in a hefty fabricated rear bulkhead.’

Look carefully at the Aero chassis at Monza and you can see the rivet lines where the aluminium skin is attached to the tubes underneath, visible also is the ‘boom’ extension to the tub on this side to support the engine. Rags and things are a pest but you can see the twin-plugs and Bosch injection- the metering unit is between the Vee. Fuel tank forms the seat, note also the inboard Dunlop discs.

 

Ferrari 156 Aero cutaway. Not so easy to quickly pick the spaceframe 156 from the semi-monocoque Aero- easiest difference to pick after the chassis is top rocker front suspension on this car as against wishbones on the earlier 156 F1-63 racer (unattributed sadly but perhaps Cavara)

 

Aero front end detail at Monza 1963. Top rocker and hat of coil spring/Koni- note the bulkheads upon which the rocker pivots, water radiator/cap and oil tank behind, master cylinders for brakes times two and clutch, under these is the steering rack and arm attached to a cast magnesium upright. Mechanics do need nimble limbs and hands ideally the size of a Gynaecologist, do they not?

 

Lorenzo at Monaco in 1964- 156 Aero, nice overhead shot shows the key elements of the car, DNF gearbox. Race won by Graham Hill’s BRM P261

What was radical at the time was that the design of the intended V8 and Flat-12 engines was such that their structures would form stress bearing components of the car rather than the engine being attached to pontoons/booms or an A-frame. That is the motors would bolt to the rear chassis bulkhead and accept suspension loads.

The notion of using the engine structurally to this point was rare- Vittorio Jano took this approach with the 2.5 litre, quad-cam V8 of his front-engined Lancia D50 in 1954. BRM would achieve it with ‘Big Bertha’- the 1966 BRM P83 H16, so too would the similarly engined Lotus 43 but Forghieri and the Ferrari team did so in 1964 with the Flat-12 Ferrari 1512- they never did persevere long enough with the crankcase/block design of the V8 to achieve the feat with the 158. Lets not forget that Jano was one of the consultants still retained by Ferrari during this period, this path was perhaps suggested by him to Forghieri and the design team..

The new V8 engine was running late in its development in the summer of 1963, as related earlier, so the 120 degree V6 was adapted for the purpose to allow testing and racing of the Aero chassis. Support trusses were added to the rear of the chassis to carry the engine which was not designed to be a stressed member, although some references have it as ‘partially stressed’.

The Aero’s front and rear suspension was very much contemporary ‘standard British design practice’, something John Surtees brought with him to Ferrari- in Mauro Forghieri Surtees found a wonderful ally to bring the great marque quickly up to snuff. In Surtees’ short four wheel racing career he had Cooper, Lotus and Lola race and test experience, together with great mechanical understanding and interest he had clear views about what was needed for success, and was forthright in communicating same…

Bandini on his way to victory on the Zeltweg Airfield circuit, Ferrari 156 Aero in August 1964- he is passing Trevor Taylor’s abandoned BRP Mk1 BRM, broken suspension (unattributed)

The 156 Aero made its Monza debut that September and the cars raced on into 1964 in Bandini’s hands, as the definitive 158 V8 was made competitive and reliable by Surtees and Forghieri. When the 158 was race ready Lorenzo also drove it but the 156 was reasonably kind to him.

Whilst ‘Il Grande John’ won the German GP in a 158, Bandini popped the 156 on the outside of the front row and finished third- he went two better at Zeltweg winning the race run on a rough as guts broken concrete airfield surface as other cars, including Surtees’ 158 were shaken to bits! It was the last win for a V6 engine in F1 until the turbo-charged Renault V6’s a decade or so hence.

It was rather a nice last hurrah for a series of engines which had delivered so much for so long since 1957- and was adapted for the 3 litre Formula 246 F1 car for Bandini in 1966 and the Tasman 2.5 Formula for Chris Amon, Derek Bell and Graeme Lawrence when fitted in multiple different specifications to 246T chassis from 1968 to 1971…

Etcetera: Back to the 1963 Ferrari 156/63, the non-Aero design that is…

Giulio Borsari tops up the Ferrari 156/63 125 litre fuel tank, with a dose of Shell’s finest Avgas, at Monaco in 1963.

What a marvellous shot and oh to have a pair of those overalls!

It looks like Surtees car, #21, he was fourth in the race won by Graham Hill’s BRM P57. Note the leather bound steering wheel and chassis cockpit bracing tubes.

What sort of Dunlop in 1963- R5 perhaps?

(B Cahier)

Hill chasing Surtees at Monaco in 1963- Ferrari 156/63 and BRM P57 or P578 depending upon your preference. Graham won from Richie Ginther in the other Owen Racing Organisation entry from Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T66 Climax and then Surtees.

They are such pretty little cars these 1.5 litre GP machines? Mighty fast of course.

(unattributed)

Surtees 156 failed to finish with an inert fuel-pump, perhaps he is seeking to diagnose or rectify the problem- concentration not so easy on this high speed part of Reims.

Clark won from Tony Maggs and Graham Hill- Lotus 25 Climax, Cooper T66 Climax and BRM P61.

(LAT)

At first glance I thought it was Surtees at the Nürburgring in 1963 but its 1964 aboard a Ferrari 158- he won the German GP in both years. Its a Cooper T73 Climax behind- either Bruce McLaren or Phil Hill. Surtees won from pole ahead of Graham Hill’s BRM P261…and Lorenzo Bandini in a Ferrari 156 Aero was third.

A magnificent shot of great majesty, innit like?

Credits…

Getty Images, Sutton Images, LAT, Bernard Cahier, Ferrari website, grandprix.com, racing-reference.info, ‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Pretty as a picture at Silverstone, British GP 1963- driver looks to sit quite far forward, or is it an optical trick?

Surtees 156/63 amongst the Silverstone fields with perhaps not quite enough mumbo to really challenge Clark’s winning Lotus 25 Climax- the BRM duo of Graham Hill and Richie Ginther completed the V8 sandwich for John, in P56 V8 engined P57’s.

Finito…

 

(D Cooper)

Antipodian enthusiasts can argue the toss but I think the 1968 Tasman was about as good as it ever got…

Here Clark, Amon and Hill- Lotus 49 Ford DFW, Ferrari Dino 246T and 49. Two Cosworth V8’s and a Maranello V6. There were a swag of Repco V8’s of different configurations, BRM V8’s and V12’s- Len Terry’s new P126 was blooded in the Tasman in advance of the F1 season, Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo using a 2.5 litre variant of the Tipo 33 sports prototype V8, plus cars using the good ole Coventry Climax four cylinder FPF.

As good as it gets in terms of variety of cars and drivers- in addition to the fellas on the front row of the dry, preliminary, Saturday race we had Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren (in NZ), Frank Gardner, Pedro Rodriguez, Piers Courage, Richard Attwood…apart from the local hotshots.

Clark and Hill raced 49’s ‘R2’ and ‘R1’ during their 1968 tour down south.

Hill had mainly raced ‘R1’ since the 49’s race debut at Zandvoort on 4 June 1967. He joined Team Lotus in Australia whereas Jim did the full eight weeks and had almost exclusively raced ‘R2’ from his first up win in the chassis amongst the Dutch dunes. Motors fitted for the Tasman were Cosworth’s 2.5 litre variant of the 3 litre Ford DFV dubbed ‘DFW’.

(D Cooper)

Jimmy has a tyre issue he is sorting with the Firestone man.

The fag packet Gold Leaf Players livery is new- the cars were green and gold at Pukekohe and Levin and red, white and gold at Wigram only a month or so before Longford, as shown in the Wigram front row photograph below. That’s Denny’s F2 Brabham BT23 Ford FVA behind Jim in the Longford pitlane.

(B Wilson)

Clark has won his last championship GP by this stage, the South African at Kyalami on New Years Day, 1 January 1968, he won at Sandown the week before Longford on 25 February taking the Australian Grand Prix, his last, from Chris in a ‘thriller-driller’ of a race which could have gone either way right to the finish line.

Racing’s tectonic plates shifted with his Lotus 48 Ford FVA F2 death in Hockenheim only months hence.

(D Cooper)

In a tour de force of leadership Graham Hill picked up Team Lotus lock, stock and barrel and drove the team forward as Colin Chapman regained his composure and focus after the death of his great colleague and friend.

No seatbelt in Graham’s car above, there would be by seasons end.

No wings either, there would be by mid-season, 1968 was a year of change in so many ways.

Wings here; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/12/wings-clipped-lotus-49-monaco-grand-prix-1969/, and in more detail, here; https://primotipo.com/2016/08/19/angle-on-the-dangle/

Chris loads up in the Longford paddock. That’s Denny’s Brabham BT23 Ford FVA F2 atop the Alec Mildren Racing transporter behind (D Cooper)

The Scuderia Ferrari presence, or more precisely Chris Amon’s single Ferrari 246T raced under his own banner raised enormous interest, the great Kiwi did not disappoint either- and of course came back the following year with a two car squad and won.

In Australia we got a double 1968 whammy in that David McKay acquired one of the P4/Can-Am 350 Group 7 cars for Chris to drive in the sports car support races.

Frank Matich served it up to him big-time in one of his Matich SR3 Repco 4.4 litre V8’s, disappointingly Matich did not cross Bass Straight for this meeting so Chris set the fastest ever lap of Longford despite not being pushed by the oh-so-fast Sydneysider.

(D Cooper)

The gleaming Ferrari Can-Am 350 Scuderia Veloce raced all too briefly throughout Australia in 1968 by Chris Amon, and Bill Brown upon the Kiwis departure back to Italy and all points beyond.

(D Cooper)

Auto-erotica.

With the 1967 Manufacturers Championship over Ferrari modified two of the P4’s, this car, chassis ‘0858’ and ‘0860’ to better compete in the Can-Am Championship and naming them ‘350 Can-Am’ to contest the prestigious series in their most important market.

The cars were lightened considerably becoming curvaceous Spiders instead of even more curvaceous Coupes! Weight was reduced from 792Kg wet to 700Kg wet, engine capacity was increased to 4176cc raising the engines power to 480bhp @ 8500rpm.

It wasn’t enough to compete with the McLaren M6A Chevs of Bruce and Denny, that story is told in this article about the Ferrari P4/Can-Am 350 and ‘0858’ specifically; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

Credits…

Dennis Cooper, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, Bruce Wilson

Tailpiece: Look at the crowd…

(D Cooper)

Talk about missing out…

Finito…

Jack Brabham awaits the start of one of the ‘Wills Trophy’ heats at Silverstone on 27 March 1967…

Is that John Cooper saying gedday before the off?

Jack is aboard BT23 chassis number 1- the very first in a long line of successful F2 and Tasman Formula cars- let’s not forget the BT23 spawned Ron Tauranac’s F1 Championship winning BT24 Repco design too.

Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT24 Repco during the 1967 US GP at Watkins Glen- he was 3rd behind the Clark/Hill Lotus 49 Ford duo (LAT)

Weren’t British enthusiasts blessed with championship F2 choice over Easter 1967?

They could have watched Jochen Rindt win at Snetterton on Good Friday and see him do it all again at Silverstone 180 Km away on Easter Monday aboard the same BT23-5 he used throughout a dominant 1967.

In a small tangent of Australian motor racing history this chassis is the one Denny Hulme raced in the 1968 Tasman Series- he boofed it at Pukekohe in a terrible accident involving Lawrence Brownlie’s Brabham and replaced it with BT23-2 in time for the Lady Wigram Trophy two weeks later.

Feo Stanton and Alec Mildren bought the remains less suspension and sent them off to Rennmax Engineering in Sydney for Bob Britton to built a jig and a run of new cars, the ‘Rorstan’ for Feo and ‘Mildren’ for Alec. Numerous cars really, the Rorstan, Mildren and Rennmax BN3’s all owe their lives to Jochen’s dead BT23-5.

Jochen blasts off at the start of heat 1- wheel on the right is Rees. Stewart’s Matra MS5 behind his Austrian buddy, Brabham’s BT23 #1- behind Brabham is Gardner, BT23 and alongside him in the red helmet is Widdows’ similar car with the red/orange tipped nose to the right on the same grid row, Mike Spence Parnell ex-F1 Lotus 33 FVA (Getty)

The Snetterton ‘Guards 100’ was the first championship race for the new 1.6 litre Formula 2 which commenced on 1 January that year, the category was enormously popular and successful even if, from the off it was ‘Formula FVA’, with special mentions for the Ferrari Dino V6 and BMW M11 in-line four.

Rindt came into 1967 as the acknowledged F2 King and left it with his crown polished ever more brightly, a quick perusal of ‘F2 Index’ results suggests he won all of the rounds in which he started and finished- Snetterton, Silverstone, the Nurburgring and Tulln-Langelbarn.

He had a DNF, a puncture at Jarama, that race was won by Clark’s Lotus 48- whilst he was occupied elsewhere the other race wins were taken by Stewart at Enna, Gardner at Hockenheim and 1967 European Series Champion, Jacky Ickx in a Ken Tyrrell Matra MS5 FVA was victorious at Zandvoort and Vallelunga.

McLaren and Surtees, McLaren M4A and Lola T100 (V Blackman)

 

Surtees in Lola T100 ‘SL/100/4’ given I am bandying chassis numbers around. Surtees primary programs that year were leading Honda’s F1 campaign and his Team Surtees Can-Am Lola program in the US- busy boy. That’s Ickx’ Matra MS5 behind and Mike Spence, Lotus 33 further back

As a ‘Graded Driver’ Jochen was ineligible for F2 Championship points, so Ickx won in 1967 from Gardner’s works BT23 and Jean-Pierre Beltoise’ works Matra MS5, Piers Courage in John Coombs McLaren M4A, Alan Rees in the other Roy Winkelmann BT23 and Chris Irwin’s works Lola T100 FVA and T102 BMW.

Creation of a new category brings forth a wonderful commercial opportunity with Cosworth Engineering flogging heaps of FVA’s (putting aside the derivatives of the motor which followed and the DFV proof of cylinder head design concept Duckworth’s FVA in part represented), Hewland Engineering dozens of FT200’s and of course availed the chassis manufacturers a great opportunity too.

Jack’s new BT23-1 and new Hewland FT200- in front of that 5 speed transaxle is a Ford Cortina blocked, Cosworth four-valve, Lucas injected 1.6 litre circa 210 bhp powerhouse. Tauranac’s typically simple combo of spaceframe chassis and outboard suspension provided a phenomenally fast, chuckable, robust, winning combination year after year. I don’t think he ever built a dog- Brabham or Ralt?

 

Bruce McLaren is aboard chassis number 1 too. M4A-1 was the first of ? such cars, designed by the McLaren/Robin Herd combo

The class of 1967 included the monocoque Lotus 48, Matra MS5/MS7, Lola T100 and McLaren M4A but arguably the car of the year, even putting aside Rindt’s dominance as a driver, was the spaceframe Brabham BT23- bias hereby declared by the way! Perhaps the BT23/23C are the ‘winningest cars’ of that 1967-1971 1.6 F2 period?

I really should prove that assertion statistically I guess, when and if I can be bothered. ‘Nicer cars’ in my book are the Lotus 59 and 69, Matra MS5/MS7 and Ferrari Dino, but more successful, I’m not so sure.

Whatever the case, in this immediate pre-wing year these cars were and are a mouth watering, very fast selection of single-seater racing cars.

Jackie Stewart above and below in one of the two Tyrrell Racing Organisation Matra MS5’s-Ickx in the other car.

Another year of the GP BRM H16 in 1967 was one too many for Jackie, and so it was that Ken Tyrrell stitched together a winning F1 combination of Matra, the Ford Cosworth DFV, Stewart and of course his own team’s preparation and organisational skills.

Bruce McLaren is behind Jackie in the shot below.

Silverstone’s BARC 200 was run over two heats of a little over 30 minutes in duration, Rindt won both with John Surtees third in the two events, Alan Rees was second in one and Graham Hill runner-up in the other.

The aggregated results gave Rindt the round from Rees’ BT23, Surtees T100, Bruce’s M4A, Stewart’s MS5, Gardner’s BT23 and Jacky Ickx’ MS5.

The entry lists right from the get-go of the new category were top notch, other drivers who raced at Silverstone included Robin Widdows BT23, Mike Spence in a Tim Parnell ex-F1 Lotus 33 fitted with an FVA, Denny Hulme BT23 (DNF with a busted conrod in heat 2), Piers Courage M4A, Jean-Pierre Beltoise MS5, Jo Siffert in the BMW factory Lola T100 BMW (all three of whom had injection dramas) Mike Costin, Brian Hart and Trevor Taylor. The list of Did Not Arrives was equally impressive.

Siffert, Lola T100 BMW M11, fuel injection dramas brought an end to Jo’s run (unattributed)

Of twenty-four starters, four were fitted with Lotus-Ford twin-cam motors, Siffert’s Lola (above and below) the very interesting BMW M11 Apfelbeck, the balance were toting Ford FVA’s so Duckworth and the lads had the production line in Northhampton humming along nicely.

There were a couple of FVA users with Lucas injection dramas, but Denny’s buggered rod was the only example of greater mechanical mayhem in a package which proved a paragon of reliability over the ensuing years.

(unattributed)

 

This has to be the most distinctive, simple piece of personal branding ever- in colour or black ‘n white Hill G or Hill D are so easy to pick in their London Rowing Club colours aren’t they? Lotus 48 Ford FVA.

Sydneysiders had the chance to see a Euro F2 1.6 car earlier than most, Warwick Farm promoter Geoff Sykes did a one race deal for Graham to race Lotus 48 ‘R1’ in the Australian Grand Prix that February.

Having come all that way the car’s FT200 expired after 25 laps of the race, Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 2.1 prevailed, the series was won that year by Jim Clark racing an F1 Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8.

Graham raced ‘R2’ back in Europe with Jim Clark using ‘R1’ as his mount in 1968.

Stewart, BRM P261, Clark, Lotus 33 Climax and Hill, Lotus 48 Ford FVA, row 2 Brabham left Brabham BT23A Repco and Leo Geoghegan, Lotus 39 Climax and against the fence, Denny Hulme, Brabham BT18/22 Repco. AGP, Warwick Farm, February 1967 (B Wells)

 

Rindt and Hill- and Rees to the right jump similarly at the start of heat 2.

Thats Brabham, Surtees and McLaren on row two and Hulme, Gardner, Ickx and far right in the red McLaren- Piers Courage. The result was Rindt, Hill, Surtees.

(V Blackman)

Jochen with a delicate slide out of Woodcote, the proximity of ‘snappers to the action back then never ceases to amaze.

Rindt’s car control is right up there with the rest of the Gods of that art- Nuvolari, Fangio, Peterson, Villeneuve et al.

Etcetera…

Jack looks happy enough before the off.

Its only several weeks after the end of the Tasman Series- Brabham finished a pretty skinny series for the full on Repco-Brabham two car works assault on the championship that year well, he won the Longford final round in his one off Brabham BT23A on 5 March.

Two Repco ‘640’ engined cars were raced by Jack and Denny in all eight meetings of the six round championship- that season Levin and Teretonga were not championship rounds.

In fact there were a whole swag of blokes on that Silverstone grid who had raced in Australasia that summer- Stewart, Brabham, Gardner, Irwin, McLaren, Hill and Hulme- Clark was the only absentee from the roll-call.

(L Ruting)

Brabham fries a set of Goodyears and proves just how chuckable a BT23 can be in the hands of an Ace- AGP Warwick Farm 1967.

Its BT23A-1, JB’s 1967 Tasman weapon, a one-of-a-kind BT23 variant powered at that stage by a 640 Series Repco 2.5 litre Tasman V8, this machine is still in Australia, it was acquired by the National Motor Museum in 2018.

Article on the Tasman Brabham Repco’s here; https://primotipo.com/2016/09/29/bathurst-1969-and-jacks-tasman-brabhams/

(Getty)

An imperfectly executed pan of Hill’s Lotus 48 chasing Brian Hart’s Protos 16 FVA. Now there is a interesting marque topic to explore one day!

Who are those fellows looking after Bruce?

Piers Courage in John Coombs M4A behind McLaren, and in the photograph below. This car, ‘M4A-2’, Piers acquired from Coombs and raced in the 1968 Tasman and brained everybody with his speed and commitment.

He capped off an amazing summer with a blinding wet weather drive at Longford, his deft pace won the race from the 2.5’s which were hampered in their ability to put their power down on the slippery, bumpy bitumen.

The car was bought by Niel Allen at the end of the series, he did well in it and survived an almighty car destroying accident in it at Lakeside, it was rebuilt around a Bowin Designs built tub and then was one of the cars in which Warwick Brown made his name when owned by Pat Burke. Not so sure its still in Oz?

Article on Piers @ Longford here; https://primotipo.com/2015/10/20/longford-tasman-south-pacific-trophy-4-march-1968-and-piers-courage/

(LAT)

The photographs of the Courage McLaren in Australia below are during the Warwick Farm 100- he was second in the race won by Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW.

The two monochrome photos below are during his victorious Longford weekend in March 1968, the great circuit’s final meeting.

(P Hudson)

Piers nipping the right front brake of M4A-2 on the entry to Mountford Corner during the dry, earlier over the Labour Day long weekend.

Courage ran the car on a shoestring assisted by Australian ex-Lotus mechanic Ray Parsons with two FVA’s, his performances that summer in many ways re-launched his career.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

It really did piss down on raceday, sadly for all, not least for the venues future, crowd numbers were way down although better than the ‘three men and a dog’ perspective provided by the shot below.

The hardy natives saw one of the great drives, Courage won from Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P261 and Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT23 Alfa with Richard Attwood’s BRM P126 fourth.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

 

(unattributed)

‘And to think Jack pays me to do this shit! Its such a blast!’

Denny having a ball at Silverstone, he seems to have lost his front number but no doubt this was addressed by race day. The stars affixed to the cars are part of the Wills corporate identity i guess, sponsorship became less subtle from 1 January 1968!

Denny is racing BT23-2, his regular mount during 1967, although his primary commitments that year were winning the World Championship, which he managed nicely, and running the second of McLaren Cars, McLaren M6A Chevs in the Can-Am Challenge Cup- he was second to Bruce.

(D Simpson)

Max Stewart is shown above in the Mildren Waggott during the 1970 Sandown Cup, Tasman round.

Niel Allen won that day in his F5000 McLaren M10B Chev from Graeme Lawrence’s ex-Amon Ferrari Dino 246T, Ulf Norinder, Lola T190 Chev and then Max in the 2 litre Waggot TC-4V engined car- Max ‘won everything’ in Australia in this jigger including the 1971 Gold Star.

The photo is included for the sake of completeness to show one of the seven cars built by Bob Britton from the jig created from Rindt’s dead BT23-5, which these days of course is alive and well and racing in Europe.

Speaking of which, the photo below is of Denny ranging up on Lawrence Brownlie at Pukekohe during the 1968 NZ GP on 6 January in BT23-5, Lawrence’s car is a Brabham BT15/23 Ford t/c.

In a move which is still hotly debated by Kiwi enthusiasts decades later, Denny and Lawrence collided destroying both cars and ending Brownlie’s career.

(Classic Auto News)

1.6 F2 Reference Resource…

Most of you know Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com is a primary reference source for me inclusive of F2 1.6, click here for his F2 homepage and then navigate the site easily to look at seasons, individual races and in many cases car and individual chassis histories; https://www.oldracingcars.com/f2/

Here is one of my own pieces on the Lotus 48;

https://primotipo.com/2015/06/05/lotus-48-ford-fva-agp-warwick-farm-1967-graham-hill-and-jim-clark/

Credits…

Getty Images, LAT, F2 Index, oldracingcars.com, LAT, Lance Ruting, Paul Hudson, Dick Simpson, oldracephotos.com.au, Victor Blackman, Bruce Wells, Classic Auto News

Tailpiece: Six 210 bhp F2 Missiles whistle into Copse at speed…

(Getty)

Finito…

(D Simpson)

Ken Cox’ Cooper T53 Ford at Hume Weir’s ‘New Year’ meeting on 29 December 1968…

The wise owls of ‘The Nostalgia Forum’ have determined this Cooper ‘Lowline’ as either ‘F1-4-61’, the ex Yeoman Credit/Reg Parnell Racing 1961 Intercontinental Formula car raced by John Surtees and then Roy Salvadori in Australasia, or ‘F1-7-61’ the ex-Rob Walker car raced by Stirling Moss in F1 and the Australasian Internationals in 1962. Perhaps the latter is more likely Allen Brown surmises on his excellent oldracingcars.com- see the link at the end of this piece. The car still exists in the hands of the Banister Family in Sydney.

Whatever the case isn’t it a fantastic looking car? Dick Simpson has captured it and Ken’s style marvellously!

I can feel and hear the rumble of the 289 Ford small-block bent-eight. Its not Australia’s ‘first F5000’ mind you, that honour goes to Austin Miller’s Geoff Smedley built Cooper T51 Chev which set an Australian Land Speed Record at Bakers Beach in Tasmania in 1961 at 163.94mph or thereabouts.

Cox from Bob Minogue, Elfin Mono Ford, Hume Weir circa 1969 (C Baron)

 

And again out of Scrub- who and what is the third car I wonder (C Baron)

The essentials of the Cox Cooper are as follows, sourced from a ‘Motor Racing Australia’ story written by Ray Bell in September 2001.

Cox raced anything and everything- speedway, dirt tracks and bitumen from the forties onwards. One of his main supporters was a timber-cutter named John Cierpicki, he acquired the Cooper in a sale of Stan Jones’ assets after Stan got into terrible strife off the back of the 1961 Australian recession- the car was extricated from an old chook-shed in Camberwell, Melbourne circa 1966. As a former long time Camberwell resident I am fascinated to know the whereabouts of said chook-shed…

Norm Beechey’s engine man, Claude Morton with assistance from Kerry Luckins at Paul England Engineering in Moonee Ponds soon had a 179 Holden six-cylinder ‘Red Motor’ race-prepped and inserted into the rear of the T53- its said only one frame tube had to be removed in this process, the tube was returned when the Ford engine went in.

The car raced with the Holden engine for a few years, the Colotti gearbox was rebuilt by Claude Morton and adapted to the Holden-six with a bell-housing made by someone long since forgotten.

The 289 had modified heads and a cam, it was fed by a four-barrel carb with ‘the exhausts made by Alan King’s Panel Shop over a dozen VB’s’. Later a 302 bottom end went in and a mismatched installation of 351 heads.

The car first raced in V8 engined form at Hume Weir on the 30 November- 1 December 1968 weekend which makes this meeting surely its second outing? The machine raced at the Weir, Winton, Calder and Phillip Island and ‘took on some minor kind of prominence at a time when the argument was raging about whether or not Australia should adopt F5000’ Bell observes.

Bryan Thomson raced the car at Winton in 1970, Bob Minogue owned it for a bit than Des Lascelles with the car even contesting an F5000 race- the Motor Show Trophy meeting at Warwick Farm in September 1972- it no doubt looked a bit out of place in amongst the T300 Lolas, Elfin MR5’s and McLaren M10’s…

Click here for Allen Browns piece on Cooper T53’s- all you wanted to know but were afraid to ask;

https://www.oldracingcars.com/cooper/t53/

(C Baron)

 

(C Baron)

Doesn’t it look like a great, race long dice between the nimble, light Elfin and big, booming Cooper- Minogue was that impressed, or needing the challenge he bought the car.

Credits…

Dick Simpson, oldracingcars.com, The Nostalgia Forum, Ray Bell, Charles Baron

Finito…

(unattributed)

Stan Jones, Maybach 1 and David McKay, MG TC Special at Parramatta Park Sydney in 1952’ish…

I’ve done theses fellas to death really, here; https://primotipo.com/2014/12/26/stan-jones-australian-and-new-zealand-grand-prix-and-gold-star-winner/ and here; https://primotipo.com/2018/01/12/bert-and-davids-lola-mk1-climax/

Ditto the track, which as the name suggests, was through a public park in Parramatta only 30km from Sydney’s CBD- here; https://primotipo.com/2018/02/27/parramatta-park-circuit/

The track didn’t last long, which is sad, its very much a place I would like to have attended or raced! I’ve dropped the photos into the linked PP article too but they were too good not to put front ‘n centre given my bias in favour of the track, both drivers and their mounts!

(unattributed)

Parramatta Park again folks- see the railway line in the background, what is the car featured though? The race programs I have are of no assistance, nor do I recognise the cars Greg Smith, John Medley, Ray Bell and Dick Willis?…

Credits…

Flickr

Finito…

The ‘Island was part of Len Lukey’s farm after all, circa 1970. I’ll refrain from lewd, puerile observations about the sexual proclivities of country boys and Kiwis, tempting as they may be…

These are exciting times for Australian single-seater racing with the advent of ‘S5000’, the first Australian National Formula 1 worthy of the name since the demise of Formula Holden/Brabham/4000 way back in 2006…

Perhaps soon the Gold Star will be resurrected and placed back on the pinnacle it represented to so many of us for fifty years or so.

I spotted these images of Stan Jones and Rubens Barrichello rocketing around Phillip Island past and present on the same day a couple of weeks ago. Ruben’s test laps in the Ligier F3-S5000 Ford were in preparation for the first S5000 races at Sandown a week later. They reminded me of my first race meeting- the F5000 Australian Grand Prix at Sandown in 1972 won by Graham McRae’s Leda GM1 Chev.

I was blown away that day and hooked for life as a spectator, competitor and in more recent times a scribbler too. Hopefully- without doubt certainly, some young enthusiasts will have been similarly infected with the sound and fury of these fabulous, fast, spectacular, noisy, contemporary racing cars.

Stan da Man- Stan Jones, Maserati 250F, during the December 1958 PI Gold Star round which he won- ditto that years Gold Star (Repco)

 

Rubens Barrichello, Ligier F3-S5000 Ford, P Island, September 2019. Despite being 47 it was a promotional coup to get such a highly credentialed F1 winner into the car, his technical feedback will have been gold as to baseline setup of the cars (unattributed)

To me touring cars are a pernicious, all pervasive, omnipotent disease- I loathe their dominance here, but it is up to we ‘open-wheeler toss-pots’ as one of my mates thoughtfully describes me and those similarly afflicted, to get behind the class in every way we can.

Yep, it’s a control class which I detest- but the economics of things must rule.

Yep, it’s a big nod to F5000 but that is hardly a bad thing, I loved ‘em, still do, and we seem to like the throb of a big V8 here- so some of the Supercar ‘football, kangaroos and meat pie’ mob will find the cars attractive in a way they would not have found so, a high-revving 2 litre car, for example.

Yep, its not a politically correct poofhouse electric thingy and thank the good lord above for that.

Yep, it’s not affordable to mere mortal enthusiasts running a car themselves with a cuppla mates but that was always pushing shite uphill whether the class was 2.5 Tasman, F5000, F Pacific or F Holden and who gives a shit about F3 as ‘ANF1’ coz it never should have been…

I thought Chris Lambden had the biggest wedding-tackle in Australia when he put his own moola and cock on the block four years ago with his ‘Thunder 5000’ concept car. WTF! you must be bonkers! was my reaction. I was certain the Supercar pricks would shaft him- they did of course, but he is still in the mix, bless him, as S5000 Category Manager. Thank you Chris. I salute you. We all do.

So let’s get behind it trendsetters, in the words of my son’s footy coach ‘talk it up blokes’…

Phillip Island panorama in recent times

 

Ligier F3-S5000 cars…

 

(GRM)

A whole swag of Ligier goodies on the factory floor of Garry Rogers Motorsport, Dandenong, in Melbourne’s outer east, Victoria, August 2019.

I want to focus on the technical specifications of the S5000 cars in this piece.

The detailed specs and concept of Chris Lambden’s 2016 Thunder F5000 machine provided the overall envelope the final design followed- that is a modern, carbon fibre chassis single-seater racing car powered by a contemporary 5 litre V8 engine which is ‘cost-effective’ and safe-ish.

At elite level, single-seater racing in Australia had been in the doldrums- read totally irrelevant, for two decades, some would argue a good deal longer than that.

In 2016 former racer and journalist Lambden built a car for a class he named ‘Formula Thunder 5000’ which used as a base a Swift FN09 chassis of the the type raced in the Super Formula (formerly Formula Nippon) during 2009-2013.

Tim Macrow aboard the Thunder 5000, Swift Ford, Phillip Island in. Deletion of the airbox gave the car less of an F5000 ‘silhouette’- a good thing too. The F5000’s should breathe for what they are- the look should be contemporary not yesteryear IMO (D House)

 

Leanne Tander in the Super 5000 at Sandown in September 2017 (unattributed)

In 2017 an alternative ‘Super5000’ car was proposed- this was a proposal put to but rejected by the Supercars Australia Board of Directors which was then flicked to wealthy enthusiast/sponsor PAYCE Consolidated CEO/entrepreneur/enthusiast Brian Boyd to develop.

This car was designed by Oscar Fiorinotto of Supashock Racing- very retro-F5000 (Eagle or Lola T332/400’ish) in appearance it has a carbon-fibre chassis, V8 Supercar engine and Albins gearbox.

Controversy followed in that the latter machine clearly aped Lambden’s, i’m heavily truncating as I don’t want to get mired in the politics of the past, it is simply not constructive or useful at present. S5000 came about as the result of a truce brokered and agreed between the two parties around eighteen months ago.

A year or so later the cars raced for the first time at Sandown on 20-22 September 2019.

Matt Brabham’s car at Sandown in September 2019 (unattributed)

 

‘001’ front suspension at Sandown in September 2019. AP calipers, cast iron rotors in keeping with cost-effective approach (Holinger)

 

Macrow, Sandown pitlane. The halos are like warts- ya sorta, sorta get useter them. Safety aspect cannot be denied but far-canal they are ugly (Holinger)

The Swift chassis was not compliant with the FIA’s latest regulations so a Ligier (lets come back to Onroak Ligier later) Formula 3 chassis was chosen- it is very similar in size to the Swift and importantly it can accommodate drivers of bulk as well as 16 year old svelte ‘jockeys’.

The chassis choice was made with the lessons learned from Lambden’s use of the Swift chassis. Michael Borland observed in Auto Action ‘The (Swift) car as built is pretty complicated, it was built to a high spec because that is what they wanted…I think that we will simplify components and limit some of the adjustments that can be made to make it cheaper and easier to work on. Chris wanted something that made a good noise and went sideways, and was going to be economical to run over a couple of seasons. You do not want a team of mechanics servicing gearboxes and hubs and so on.’

Lambden’s Thunder car has a Ford Coyote, DOHC, 32 valve normally aspirated 5 litre V8 engine, a choice from a range of alternatives considered by InnoV8’s Roger Higgins who was given that task by Chris. The Holinger transaxle ‘in some ways the centrepiece of the car’ literally and figuratively- is again the same transmission well proven given considerable test miles on the Thunder 5000 car primarily driven by ex-FF/F3(thrice Oz F3 champ)/Porsche Cup and Supercar racer Tim Macrow.

The Ligier chassis/engine/suspension integration design and engineering was developed by ARG- the three photographs below are of ‘001’ coming together at Borlands.

(motorsport.com)

 

(motorsport.com)

 

(motorsport.com)

Michael Borland’s (Borland Racing Developments/Spectrum Cars) Mordialloc business brought Lambden’s original concept together- they also took delivery of the first Ligier, chassis #’JS F3-S5000-001′ (old-timers will probably remember that the JS moniker in Ligier chassis designations is in honour of Jo Schlesser, French racer and close friend of Guy Ligier who died in a gruesome fiery accident aboard a Honda RA302 early in the 1968 French GP at Rouen) developed the suspension and wing package and built up the complete first car.

Be in no doubt folks of the value Lambden and Borland brought to the S5000 table in terms of an engine/transaxle combination and ancillaries which worked well, given the engine and gearbox and related opportunities/problems they had to solve.

Just one example- the Swift had a cable throttle, Borland wanted fly-by-wire. Whilst MoTeC had the electronics they did not have a steering wheel to fit so one had to be made- it sounds easy mating it all to engine/pedals/wheel/paddles but it all takes time, fly-by-wire was important for a whole lot of reasons not least to extend gearbox life. Similarly, their learnings in relation to the Swift chassis helped in the choice of the relatively simple F3 Ligier.

After the engineering specifications and initial testing of the first Ligier chassis was satisfactorily carried out and completed by Borland Racing Developments, Garry Rogers Motorsport (prominent Supercar team) were contracted to build the balance of the ‘initial batch’ of cars- there are currently fourteen in total.

GRM had/has the production capacity (35-40 employees) and technical expertise to undertake this role, the contract was let by the promoters/category manager Australian Racing Group, in the process GRM also became the official sales agents for the cars. Form a queue folks…

A ‘ceremonial handover’ of the first car from Borlands to GRM took place at Winton after a mid-December 2018 test day attended by representatives of each outfit.

In terms of timelines, the original chassis ‘JS F3-S5000-001’ landed in late August 2018, another four jetted in during March 2019 and nine in early July 2019.

Macrow drove the car again in mid April 2019 after GRM made changes to the cooling system, fitted new uprights and suspension arms declaring the changes to the car ‘…absolutely brilliant…made a big difference to the way the car handles’ he was quoted in a GRM release. The final production specifications for the car were at that point completed for the purposes of the build of the thirteen cars which comprised the initial production run.

The Ligier chassis is almost identical to that provided to various F3 series around the globe. For the S5000 application it is fitted with a CNC machined adaptor plate which is bonded and bolted to the rear of the tub to pick up the engine/gearbox. The carbon composite chassis was made in Ligier’s Italian factory before being sent to the Ligier (Onroak) plant in Denver and together with the nose, front wing and sidepods was completed there and then air-freighter to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.

However much a variety of suppliers of chassis/engine would be nice the realities of building cars for a tiny market such as ours renders that impossible. What was sought from the package was a strong, safe chassis of reasonable economy, a sealed engine and common transaxle, wings, wheels and tyres.

The front wing is simple, it funnels air into two tunnels beneath the car with much of the downforce generated from the cars underside. Local carbon-fibre work has been shared by GRM and LC Race Composities.

Suspension is double wishbones front and rear with pushrods at both ends, shocks are JRi three way adjustable and roll bars are of course adjustable. Steering is Ligier rack and pinion- the column is collapsible and with Motec electronics systems.

The car is 4900mm long, 1950mm wide and has a wheelbase of 3000mm.

Wishbone and pushrod rear suspension, calipers AP Racing (unattributed)

 

Pointed in the right direction at Eastern Creek. Note Ligier chassis plate to the left- this is ‘JS F3-S5000-001’. Data by MoTeC (unattributed)

 

(M Bisset)

 

(unattributed)

The marvellously raucous engine is a Ford 5 litre, quad-cam, 32 valve ‘Coyote’ which is shipped from the US to InnoV8 in Brisbane. They prepare the motors to the same specifications to produce circa 560bhp @ 8000rpm. 460 foot/pounds of torque are produced. At this type of spec the sophisticated motors should be relatively under-stressed, it will be intriguing to know the periods between rebuilds and related cost.

These Coyote engines, built in Ford’s Essex, Windsor, Ontario Canada plant have lots of yummy bits- aluminium cross-bolted block and heads, steel crank, they were first fitted to the Mustang in 2010. Then they gave 412bhp and 390lb/ft of torque, they have been updated since then- we get the 2018 Generation 3 variant. The 5 litre is almost ‘square’ with a bore and stroke of 92.2 x 92.7mm.

The engines name drives from Ford’s first four-valve Indy V8 wins in Coyote chassis steered by AJ Foyt in 1967 and 1977- ignoring the fact that the first Indy win of said motor was in the back of a Lotus 38 driven by Clark J in 1965. I guess the slight skew in history to get the name ya want sorta works better if we ignore that…

Series of photographs of the Ford ‘Coyote’ 5 litre, all aluminium, chain driven DOHC, four valve V8 block, heads and crank (Ford)

 

(Ford)

 

(Ford)

 

(Ford)

 

(Ford)

The transaxle is manufactured by Holinger Engineering in Kilsyth South in the outer east of Melbourne, this outfit was founded by ex-Repco Brabham Engines engineer/hillclimb champion (the late) Peter Holinger in the mid-sixties is now pretty well known to enthusiasts globally.

The ‘MFT’ unit is widely used in Porsche competition cars- it is a six-speed sequential box fitted with a pneumatic paddle change. To adapt it to its new single-seater application it has a bespoke drop-gear set at the front to lower the engine to mate engine/box and therefore also the centre of gravity overall. Holinger’s bell-housing, produced in conjunction with Mike Borland and Roger Higgins has an integral oil tank with the gearbox/bellhousing picking up suspension and shock absorber mounts.

Wheels and tyres are 15 x 12 inches at the front and 15 x 17 at the rear- manufacturers are Max Wheels in Sydney, the car has plenty of ‘presence’! Hoosier are the mandated tyre providers in 570/290-15 dimensions front and 680/405-15 at the back.

Some enthusiasts have been muttering about the weight of the cars, that in large part is due to the safety elements in comparison to, say, the ‘gold standard F5000’ Lola T332 Chev. The Ligier complies with FIA 2018, front and rear crash structure, side impact, cockpit halo, side and front intrusion panels requirements. In addition the 6-point harness is of 2018 spec as are the wheel tethers and headrest noting that a couple of the cars have already been ‘put to the test’. By comparison the deformable structures of the T332 and cars of its ilk were the drivers limbs…

Sydney Eastern Creek test ‘001’ driver uncertain (unattributed)

Somewhat predictably, the cars were late in build for all the usual reasons- but who cares, the cars made a spectacular appearance in three races over 20-22 September 2019 weekend.

The list of drivers included Matt Brabham, Tim Macrow, Alex Davison, Rubens Barrichello, Barton Mawer, James Golding, Will Brown, Ricky Capo, John Martin, Tim Berryman, Michael Gibson, Taylor Cockerton and Tom Alexander.

Macrow was quickest in the first two practice sessions with John Martin speediest in the third, his time 1:05.1270- Martin set the lap record at 1:04.5533 in heat 2.

Wonderfully deserved was the first win of the weekend, the first for an S5000 car was Tim Macrows victory in the very first chassis JS F3-S5000 ‘001’, Martin was second and Golding third.

James Golding bagged the second heat after Matt Brabham crashed out- Macrow was second and Martin third. The feature on the Sunday was disappointing as it was marred by two safety car interventions, the first initiated by Ricky Capo, the second caused by Matt Brabham tagging the rear of Alex Davison’s car after the back straight kink- the race was then abandoned after 11 laps completed with Golding declared the winner from Barrichello and Martin.

Somewhat bizarre is that Alex Davison finished in the same part of the infield as his grandfather Lex Davison did after a fatal heart attack caused Lex to veer off the track in his Brabham BT4 Climax during practice for the 1965 Sandown Tasman round. Fortunately Alex walked from the Ligier after an accident that should not have happened.

Wonderfully deserved was the first win of the weekend, the first for an S5000 car was Tim Macrows victory in the very first chassis JS F3-S5000 ‘001’!

The market will of course determine the successof the class, hopefully drivers and sponsors will get behind it…

(Auto Action)

Tim Macrow on his way to the very first S5000 race way at ‘Torana’, make that Pirtec Corner, Sandown on 22 September 2019, Ligier JS F3-S5000 Ford chassis ‘001’.

And below getting crossed up into the right/left combo before the corner above- in front of John Martin’s AGI Sport entry.

(Holinger)

YouTube…

There is plenty of S5000 material there, have a look for yourself

Engineering Detail…

(M Bisset)

 

(M Bisset)

 

(Flickr)

 

(M Bisset)

 

(M Bisset)

 

(M Bisset)

 

(M Bisset)

 

(Flickr)

 

(M Bisset)

 

(M Bisset)

Etcetera: Onroak Ligier…

Lets delve into the companies involved in the group who supply our new cars chassis’.

In December 2018 Onroak Automotive changed its name to Ligier Automotive as part of a rebrand and merger of Everspeed- all companies owned by Jaques Nicolet.

The prototype and open-wheeler constructor, OAK Racing, engine manufacturer Sodemo and Tork Engineering all now fall under the same name. Guy Ligier ‘entrusted the Ligier make into our care to carry forward the adventure he started in 1969’ Nicolet said.

The brief history lesson is that Onroak Automotive initially designed, built and sold sports prototypes- it took over the manufacturing arm of Pescarolo Sport in 2009. They became the developer of the Pescarolo 01 Le Mans Prototype after Henri Pescarolo’s company went into receivership, from then selling the cars under the OAK-Pescarolo name.

Onroak was created in 2012 when new regulations required new Le Mans cars. A new Pescarolo was created, the company pursued sales of the cars to other teams and entered into a relationship with Morgan to brand their LMP2 variant the Morgan LMP2 whilst the LMP1 continued to be called an OAK-Pescarolo.

In 2013 Onroak formed a relationship with Ligier to assist in the design and development of an evolutionary version of the Ligier JS53 prototype, later designing a closed-cockpit variant called the JS 55 in 2014.

As of 2018 about 140 of the Ligier sports-prototypes have been sold.

In October 2016, Onroak bought the motorsports arm of American company Crawford Composites and in 2017 acquired Tork Engineering, a French racing car builder- their cv includes the Bioracing Series and Mitjet Series cars (Yamaha engined Mitjet 1300).

The group has three production sites at Le Mans, Magny-Cours and Amily in France and one in Denver, North Carolina, in addition there is a logistics base at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

By October 2018 the group had over 200 cars competing throughout the world to which can be added another ten or so which commenced competition at Sandown on September 20-22 2019- specifically ten Ligier JS F3 S5000 Ford’s- bit of a mouthful innit?!

Credits…

Repco Collection via Nigel Tait, Barry Rogers at Garry Rogers Motorsport, sportscar365, CEO Magazine, Darren House, Auto Action, motorsport.com, Holinger Engineering, FoMoCo, Payce

Tailpiece: Barrichello at Phillip Island, September 2019…

(Payce)

Finito…