Archive for February, 2015
Tags: 1969 Easter Bathurst, 1969 Tasman Series, Australian Motor Racing History, Australian Racing Cars, Brabham BT31 Repco, Jack Brabham, Kevin Bartlett, Repco '830 Series' V8, Rodway Wolfe
Tags: Ayrton Senna, Gerard Ducarouge, Lotus 95T Renault, Matra MS80 Ford, Peter Warr
Lotus council of war…Peter Warr, Ayrton Senna and Gerard Ducarouge with Niki Lauda. The three men responsible for the recovery of Lotus competitveness in the Mid-80’s…
I read with sadness of the death of French design great Gerard Ducarouge on 24 February at 73 years old.
At the weekend I drafted this introduction to an unpublished piece on Adrian Newey…It’s been interesting to learn about and admire the careers of the sports outstanding engineer/designers before my time and since i became interested in motor racing enjoy the efforts of the design stars of the day and wait in eager anticipation of their next creations.
It’s the ones who have enjoyed enduring success I have always been most drawn to. Janos’ and Chapmans’ contributions over 30 years truly amazing.
Dr Porsche, Vittorio Jano and Jim Hall predate my period of interest but Colin Chapman, Mauro Forghieri, Gerard Ducarouge, Gordon Murray, John Barnard and Adrian Newey i have followed since 1972.
Ducarouge obtained a Degree in Aeronautics and commenced his career with Nord Aviation and soon moved to Matra where he worked his way up through the ranks and was responsible for the fabulous 1969 F1 Championship winning Matra MS80 Ford, Jackie Stewart winning the drivers championship and Matra the manufacturers.
He was also responsible for the equally fabulous Matra MS670 championship winning sportscars before moving to Ligier, also Matra powered, when they entered F1 in 1976.
He was dropped by Ligier in 1981 after the success of the ground effects JS11 in 1979 and 1980, moved to Alfa and then Lotus where, together with Peter Warr (team manager) and Ayrton Senna turned around the fortunes of one of the great marques which had floundered since Colin Chapmans death in 1982. The Lotus 95T Renault was very competitive in Mansell and DeAngelis’ hands in 1984 and provided a base for the 97T which followed, a winner in Sennas’ hands in 1985.
He later worked with Larrousse and returned to Ligier in 1991, leaving in 1994 to return to his roots at Matra as International Development Director.
This is not a detailed account of a great career, rather a short piece to recognise the passing of a great man and an innovative and intuitive designer
Tags: Mini, Morris 850, Morris Mini
The Mini photographed in the year of its launch, 1959, at Paddington Station by Henry Manney of ‘Road & Track’ fame…
The Mini was launched to the press in April 1959, this photo taken by Henry Manney at Paddington Station. Maybe one of our British readers can tell us if this is the site of the cars launch?
Leonard Lord, the head of British Motor Corporation, laid down the design parameters for a small fuel efficient car during the Suez Crisis, which spiked the price of oil and caused its rationing in the UK. Alec Issigonis and his small team at Morris created a design icon which was voted the second most influential car of the last century after Henry Fords Model T.
The Cheltenham Spa Express or ‘Cheltenham Flyer’ is a train service from Paddington to Cheltenham Spa in Gloucestershire. Rivalry between railway companies in the 1920’s increased speeds, the ‘Cheltenham Flyer’ so named as trains on this route were the fastest in the world at various times…Train Driver Harry Rudduck, the Tazio Nuvolari of steam ! pushed his ‘Castle Class 5006 Treganna’ train to a record of an 81.6 mph average for the 77 mile trip in 1932.
Steam hasn’t survived nor has the ‘A Series’ powered Mini but it’s comforting that both forms of transport are as contemporary now as they were in 1959…
Tags: 1939 Australian Grand Prix, 1947 Australian Grand Prix, Alan Ashton, Alf Barrett, Alfa Romeo 8c2300 'Monza', Alfa Romeo 8C2300 Monza # 2211134, Australian Grand Prix, Bathurst 100, BWA, Lobethal, Ron Edgerton, Rupert Steele, Wirlinga
Alf Barrett leads Frank Kleinig, Alfa 8C2300 Monza and Kleinig Hudson Spl, Australian Grand Prix, Mount Panorama, Bathurst 1947…
This was the race within the race, these quite different cars outright contenders but the AGP was a handicap Formula Libre event in those days, the race won by Bill Murray in an MG TC, neither Barrett nor Kleinig finished the race. Alf Barrett and the Monza were the fastest combination in the immediate pre and post war periods in Australia, he was regarded as one of the countries greatest drivers.
Noted motoring writer and journalist Mike Kable wrote in 1998 upon Barretts’ death…’Alf Barrett was known as the maestro. It was an appropriate nickname because of his achievements between and after World War 2 in a supercharged straight 8 Alfa Romeo 2300 Monza at his favourite circuit – Mount Panorama at Bathurst, New South Wales.
The dapper Barrett drove the thoroughbred Italian car with world class finesse and flair with exceptional physical and mental coordination and intense concentration that enabled him to control sliding the car at its absolute limits with a calm smooth flick-of-the-wrist precision. Seeing the black-helmeted Barrett in action, sitting high in the cockpit, wearing his trademark dark blue short sleeved shirt was a never-to-be forgotten treat.
In an era of self funded amateurs who drove for token prize money, the challenging 6.2 mile Mount Panorama circuit was the standard setter by which the best drivers were judged. Barrett became the master in 1940 with an against-the-odds victory in the New South Wales Grand Prix. The classic race was a handicap with Barrett starting from scratch position, many of his rivals had already covered several laps before he started. He went on with a stunning performance where he set a new outright lap record that made the ‘King of the Mountain’. He had started last and finished first’.
Barrett was born in 1908 to a well to do family in the affluent Melbourne suburb of Armadale, he and his brother Julian or ‘Gib’ inherited their fathers passion for cars. Before too long the boys were experimenting with all kinds of petrol powered devices in the large grounds of their home.
Not too far away a young mechanic, Alan Ashton was serving his time as an apprentice at AF Hollins Motors, the three of them met and were messing around with cars and bikes which they tested at Aspendale Speedway. Alf and Alan built their first racing car, a Morris Bullnose Special in 1933, initially entering hillclimbs. The car was competitive, winning the Junior 50 and Winter 100 at Phillip Island in 1934.
Barrett then bought the ex-Jack Day Lombard AL3 in late 1935 and raced the car in his first Australian Grand Prix at Victor Harbour, in South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula on December 26 1936,
It was the first AGP held outside Victoria and has been known over time as the 1937 AGP despite being held on Saturday 26 December 1936…and named when held as the ‘South Australian Centenary Grand Prix’. It seems this ‘corruption of history’ as historian John Medley called it, commenced in the 1950’s, whence it originated nobody seems to know.
The Sporting Car Club of South Australia was formed in 1934 and played an active part in the celebration of 100 Years of European settlement of South Australia, the piece de resistance of the organising committee of the South Australian Centenary Committee was SA’s first real road race held 50 miles from Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, only a few miles from the mouth of the mighty Murray River on public roads beteen Port Elliott and Victor Harbour, then as now a summer playground. The event was run over 32 laps, 240 miles in total.
The race attracted the best cars and drivers from all around Australia, the limit men of the handicap race drove MG K3’s and Bugatti Types 37 and 43…and over 50000 paying customers came to an event then a long way from Adelaide.
Barrett entered the Morris for Colin Anderson, his MG ‘P type’ for Tim Joshua, driving the Lombard himself. He had a handicap of 21 minutes but lost a supercharger pop-off valve and failed to finish, Andersons Morris was delayed by overheating problems and was flagged off. Tim Joshua drove an exceptional race in the P Type and was leading the event for some laps before a 7 minute stop in the pits for unidentified maladies, he finished the race second behind the winning MG P Type of Les Murphy.
In the 1938 AGP Barrett again raced the 1927 Lombard but the Cozette supercharged car, running off 22 minutes retired from the race held at Mount Panorama. Visiting Englishman Peter Whitehead won in his ERA Type B off a very favourable handicap winning from Les Burrows in a Terraplane Spl.
As part of the Albury 150th anniversary celebrations a new 4.2 mile circuit was laid out on public roads at Wirlinga, an Albury suburb.
Albury is a town on the Murray River on the New South Wales/Victoria border. Barrett contested the ‘Kings Birthday Grand Prix’ or ‘Interstate Grand Prix’, the event seems to have been attributed a variety of names, in the Cowley on 19 March 1938. The event was won by local Wangaratta boy Jack Phillips in his self built Phillips Ford V8 Spl.
In late 1938 Barrett acquired and imported the Monza from the UK, it had been raced successfully there by AP ‘Ginger’ Hamilton…
Chassis #2211134 was built in 1932 and sold to Raymond Somner, he won the Marseilles Grand Prix at Miramas in September 1932 and several other events selling the car back to the factory having acquired a Maserati for 1933. Hamilton bought it in late 1933 and raced the car extensively in the ensuing 5 years. There is a more comprehensive record of the cars competition record in Europe in ‘Etcetera’ at the end of this article.
I wrote about the design and specifications of the Alfa Romeo Monza in an earlier article so will not repeat that information here, click on this link to that article. https://primotipo.com/2014/10/09/antonio-brivio-targa-florio-1933-alfa-romeo-8c2300-monza/
When the car arrived in Australia it was prepared by Alan Ashton, Ashton acquired a reputation which recognised him as one of the most talented engineers in the country, he fettled cars for Barrett until the end of his career and later Lex Davison throughout his reign in the 1950’s and 1960’s as well as various international drivers who sought his talents.
The Alfa arrived in time for the last pre-War AGP held on the fast, daunting road course at Lobethal in South Australia’s Barossa Valley...
South Australian, Patrick Atherton in his website ‘Lagler Racing’ paints a vivid picture of the circuit, these are still public roads upon which you can drive thus…
‘From the old start-finish and grandstand area north of Charleston you could be forgiven for thinking it’s nothing special. No really challenging corners just sweeping curves. But put it into context; these cars had spindly wires and tyres, cart springs and beam axles and near useless drum brakes. These ‘curves’ are all blind. There are crests preceding all of them, particularly the bridges, which funnel into chutes. Think of these machines dropping on to their suspension in mid-air whilst turning at 100mph.
Through the little town of Charleston, with it’s pub (still there) the crowds were thick. Stories abound of drivers stopping, mid practice sessions for a pint or two.Out past here are frightening kinks, all blind, all crests and dips. Then a blind right hand kink sucks you into Kayannie corner, the tight right hander leaving Woodside Road and heading towards the township of Lobethal. Here the spectators got off the train from Adelaide straight into spectator areas at the side of the track, driver’s left.
The climb up the hill is significant, mostly straight for almost two km, but at the top, this track steals straight from the soul of Nurburgring. Lined by trees, the blind crest plummets away left, bottoms out right, drops away again, into a rollercoaster left. Then it flattens, raises slightly, then another drop into the braking area for the hard right hander (Mill corner) into Lobethal’s main street. Even the main street isn’t straight. Past the pub on the right there’s now a little ribbon of paving (Indianapolis-style) across the road and a plaque to commemorate the racing era.
Up the hill it funnels between shops and houses and then there is the blind, off-camber Gumeracha Corner, which claimed lives. The stretch from here to the start-finish hairpin has to be experienced. 5 km of crests, blind curves, feature changes and major undulation. Here is where the truly great drivers would have made up time on nothing more than sheer bravery. Indeed they did, and one in particular, winner Alan Tomlinson.’
Jack Saywell had the car with the most potential, an Alfa P3 fitted with a 2.9 litre supercharged straight 8, Barretts’ Monza, also designed by Vittorio Jano, had a less sophisticated 2.3 litre supercharged straight 8. A big incident in practice involved Barretts’ avoidance of a slow moving MG, the Monza ran off the road at high speed, a rear wheel hitting a gutter and throwing the car high into the air landing 20 metres down the road. Alf brought the car back under control, the incident causing a bent back axle and buckled wheel which were fixed by Ashton overnight, but the wheelbase was 2 inches shorter on one side of the car than the other.
60000 people attended the event, Barrett stalled at the start, losing 5 minutes in the process. He finished 8th, the handicap event won by Alan Tomlinson in a supercharged MG TA Spl.
Despite his handicap Tomlinson ‘punched way above his weight’, his preparation for the race meticulous. He walked the circuit in the weeks prior to the event and drove around it in another TC practicing each section patrticularly the 5Km stretch from Gumeracha Corner to the Start-Finish hairpin, he knew that section would be key for a driver in a notionally slower car, if you were brave enough…Tomlinson was to say after the race that Saywells Alfa held him up on that stretch! Tomlinson returned to Lobethal in 1940 for the SA Trophy and almost lost his life in an horrific accident after colliding with another car, careering off the road through a wire fence, lucky not to be decapitated and hit a tree. The young WA driver did not race again but lived into his 90’s.
Check out this fabulous documentary on the short but sweet history of Lobethal road circuit…https://vimeo.com/83756140
The Monza quickly established lap records at Lobethal, Bathurst, Albury Wirlinga, Nowra, Ballarat and Point Cook. It’s last pre-war start was at Wirlinga in 1939, winning a short handicap and setting a lap record of over 90mph on the gravel course.
During WW2 Alf and ‘Gib’ served in the RAAF, returning to racing after hostilities ceased…
In late 1946 the Monza was again race prepared.
The first race meeting organised by the LCCA in Victoria was at Ballarat Airfield in February 1947, the RAAF making their facility available for creation of a road circuit. Over 30000 people attended the event which featured all of the stars of the day Barrett thrilled the crowds with his driving and the sight and sound of the fabulous supercharged straight 8 engine. Alf didn’t beat the handicappers on the day, off scratch he gave away 22 minutes to the limitman, Hollinsheads’ MG J2, victory in the feature race, the Victoria Trophy going to Doug Whiteford in ‘Black Bess’, the Ford V8 Spl later to win the 1950 AGP.
This fantastic bit of footage shows both the Ballarat 1947 event and 1961 International Meeting contested by Dan Gurney, Graham Hill and many others. Don’t be put off by the commentary, Barrett is driving his Monza not an Alfa P3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2uwd7m6UGo
At Nowra, a new airstrip venue in June Barrett won both the over 1500cc event and 110 mile NSW Championship in the Monza achieving both the fastest lap at 93mph and time despite a pitstop.
Whilst motor racing recommenced post war in Paris on September 9 1945 the first post war Australian event seems to be a Hillclimb at Foleys Hill out of Sydney.
The first post-war AGP was not held until 1947 at Bathurst…despite problems with the police in getting the requisite permit and dissension in the ranks of the drivers there were 29 acceptances and 22 starters of the race.
Barretts’ Monza was off scratch due to the absence of Saywells faster P3, it’s engine was dispatched by sea prewar to Italy for a rebuild, never to survive the voyage. Lex Davison entered a Mercedes SSK 38/250, the first of many successful AGP’s for the Victorian, other fast cars the Kleinig Hudson Spl of Frank Kleinig, Hope Bartletts’ Dixon Riley and Ewings’ Buick Spl.
Practice was on the preceding Thursday and Sunday, Barrett enlivening proceedings by taking all and sundry for rides around Mount Panorama in the Monza, as did Lex Davison in his Merc complete with linen helmet, goggles, coat and tie!
Barrett gave away 37 minutes to the first car away, Alf lapping at 3:08 and 124mph down the ‘narrow, bumpy and spooky Conrod Straight between the trees’ but retired on lap 27 with valve insert trouble. He didn’t ever have a surplus of AGP luck! The race was won by Bill Murrays’ MG TC.
‘Alf in his 8C2300 was the fastest driver in Australia in 1947’ according to John Medley but for 1948 the level of competition increased with Tony Gaze and Lex Davison importing a 2 litre supercharged Alta and Alfa Romeo P3/Tipo B respectively.
The 1948 AGP was held at Point Cook…
Its easy to forget the context of the post war times in a low key year for motor racing in Australia, John Medley in ‘Cars and Drivers #3’…’The post war age of austerity with its restrictions and ration books still prevailed with a shortage of fuel, oil, paper, steel, food and power. In fact fuel rations were tightened during the year which placed a limit on the number of events…The mainstay of Australian motor racing still remained the homebuilt sprecial, a few of them single-seaters but most two seaters used on the road with number plates and lights, and for racing’.
Point Cook is in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs, the first time the AGP was held at an airforce base and the first AGP not held on a course using public roads.
26 cars entered the race, held on Australia Day , 26 January which was over 42 laps of a 3.85 km circuit comprising airfield runways, taxiways and service roads. A total distance of 100 miles. Only 10 cars completed the race which was held in excruciating hot conditions. No shade was to be had on the desolate airfield. The handicap event, AGP’s not held as scratch events until 1951 was won by Frank Pratt a Geelong, Victoria motorcycle racer/ dealer in a BMW 328.
Barrett started the race poorly having some issues which slowed him down then was the fastest car in the race for a while before withdrawing from the event with heat exhaustion on lap 22. He was far from alone, only 10 cars completed the event.
Alf contested the Easter Bathurst meeting which comprised some short handicap races, he didn’t win but set fastest lap in his. Gaze blew the Altas’ 2 litre engine and Davison retired early after troubles arising from a spectacular practice crash. The feature, handicap race, the ‘NSW 100′ was won by John Barrcloughs’ MG NE with a fine battle between the Barrett and Davison Alfas’, Barrett in the older car breaking the lap record at 3m 01 seconds with Davo recording 144mph down Conrod in the P3, a new straight line speed at Mount Panorama.
Melbournes’ Cup Weekend in November seems to be Alfs’ final race with the Monza, winning his class at Rob Roy Hillclimb at the Australian Hillclimb Championship. With a growing family and a business to run Barrett sold the Monza and retired from racing, not entirely though!
Alf retired at the top, John Medley commenting about 1948 as follows…’Cars new to the scene included Lex Davisons’ Alfa P3 and Tony Gazes’ two Altas with Alf Barretts’ Monza Alfa Romeo still the car to beat in major races’
The Monza passed into the hands of Rupert Steele in late 1949…a Victorian who was very quickly on the pace, practising the car on the back roads between Beaconsfield and Dandenong to help get the feel of the fabulous car.
He raced at Fishermans Bend, was 6th in the SA Championship at Nuriootpa, SA in 1949 and put that practice to good effect in the 1950 AGP which was also held on that quick road course in the Barossa Valley. The race was still a handicap event, Steele finished 2nd to Doug Whitefords’ Ford V8 Spl ‘Black Bess’ and shared the fastest lap with Whiteford, a formidable driver with vastly more experience than Steele albeit a much less sophisticated car. ‘Black Bess’ famously based on an ex-Victorian Forestry Commission Ute!
Steele didn’t own the car for long, later in life he became a notable Victorian in business and horse racing, the car was advertised again for sale.
Ron Edgerton was the buyer… Victorian ‘Racing Ron’, a very experienced driver was very competitive in the Monza racing it around the country, an initial win at Ballarat Airfield in the 1950 Victorian Trophy against strong opposition was impressive.
The car raced at the Bathurst October meeting in 1951, finishing 4th in the ‘100’ and 3rd in the 50 Mile ‘Redex Championship’. The year was capped with a 4th in class at the Australian Hillclimb Championship at Rob Roy, in Melbournes’ Christmas Hills.
The Winter 2012 issue of ‘Loose Fillings’ the wonderful Australian Newsletter about air-cooled racing cars had an article by the late lamented Australian Historian/Enthusiast/Racer Graham Howard…
‘He (Barrett) was at Bathurst in October 1951 as a spectator when offered a drive in Misha Ravdell’s Firth-prepared Mk4 Cooper Vincent… after Ravdell himself had been injured in a local road accident. Not having driven a racing car of any kind for more than a year and with no experience whatever of a Cooper-style car, he won a six-lap under 1500cc handicap and was well placed in the main event when he ran over a displaced sandbag and broke a driveshaft universal joint. He vividly remembered the Cooper’s vibration. ‘It was like driving a lawnmower– dreadful. You’d get out of it as if you’d been driving a lawn-mower.’ But everything else compared to his beloved Alfa was a revelation.
‘The Cooper made my hair stand on end. It ran so straight and it stopped straight. The brakes were like running into cotton wool. With the Alfa you always felt you were a foot off the ground and it would get such dreadful brake tramp. ‘The thing I noticed with the Cooper, it held on until all four wheels went together. You could go too far with the Alfa and cars like that, and they’d still hang on, the Cooper would just go snap. ‘But that little Cooper – it just went straight, it stopped straight. So when I say the Alfa was good, it was good-until the Cooper’.
Its fascinating to get the insights of the day from a top driver of the comparison between ‘the old and new paradigms’ of front and mid engined cars…Cooper won their first Grand Prix in Argentina 1958, in Stirling Moss’ hands, himself a former Cooper 500 exponent.
The Monza was offered for sale by Edgerton in ‘Australian Motor Sport’ in April 1951 and was bought by Toorak, Melbourne enthusiast Earl Davey Milne, it is still owned by the family and whilst in good hands and complete it remains disassembled and unrestored…
Alf made a comeback of sorts in the 1953 Australian Grand Prix, the first held at Albert Park…Alfs’ brother Julian or ‘Gib’ was also a racer and built a 2 seater sports car called BWA, colloquially the ‘Bloody Work of Art’ pre-War but actually named after the cars builders Barrett/Ashton/White.
The BWA was converted into a single-seater post war, the 1953 AGP regs allowed 2 drivers so Alf started the race and handed over to Gib. It wasn’t their best of races the pair losing 15 minutes at the start with fouled ‘plugs and then managed to set fire to it after a fuel spill at a pitstop. Still, they finished 12th, Doug Whiteford won the race in his first Talbot Lago, it was his third and final AGP win, the Lago as aristocratic as Black Bess, his 1950 AGP winner, was proletariat having won the AGP at Bathurst in 1952 in the Lago as well.
Barrett remained a motor racing enthusiast and in a neat bookend to his careers commencement also finished it in a Morris…
He contested the 1969 Bathurst 500 in a Morris 1500 shared with Kyneton, Victoria motor dealer/racer Mel Mollison. They finished 37th Barrett driving the car with the same verve and flair for which he was famous if not wearing the blue T-Shirt for which he was also renowned…he died in 1998.
Monza # 2211134 History…
Bibliography and Credits… John Medley in Graham Howard’s ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’, John Blanden ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’, ‘Loose Fillings’ Winter 2012, Motor Sport, MotorMarque, Patrick Atherton Lagler Racing, ‘Cars and Drivers’, John Medley
John Blanden, George Reed, Dacre Stubbs Collection, John Blanden Collection, Ean McDowell, John Medley, autopics, State Library of Victoria, W J Farncourt, George Thomas, Byron Gunther, Norman Howard, Allan Griffin Collection
Tags: Ferrari F2001, Hungarian Grand Prix 2001, Michael Schumacher
No-one in Schumi’s era consistently extracted more from their car and team than he did…
He raised the bar in terms of driver performance and commitment and lowered it if ‘sportsmanship’ has its place in modern professional sport/business. I like to think that it does.
Schmachers’ win in the Hungarian Grand Prix was his 51st, equalling Alain Prosts’ record. It also secured his fourth world-championhip.
2001 brought a repeat of the previous year’s great results. Schumacher and Ferrari won the Drivers’ and Constructors’ title an incredible three months before the end of the season in a magnificent one-two at the Hungaroring (Schumacher from Barrichello).
It was an amazing season with nine wins (Australia, Malaysia, Spain, Monaco, Europe, France, Hungary, Belgium, Japan), 11 pole positions, 19 placings in the points with 15 of those podium positions. Ferrari finished the Championship with a total of 179 points in the Constructors’ and 123 in the Drivers’ World Championships.
F2001 Design and Specifications…
Ferrari by this time were designing a completely new single-seater each year to keep ahead of the competition, starting with the engine, the Tipo 050, which had the same 90° vee-angle but was lighter at just 100 kg. The whole car was lighter and had been tweaked so that the regulation 600 kg minimum weight could be reached with ballast strategically positioned by the engineers around the chassis to suit the track to be raced on.
The engine is a 90° V10 Bore/stroke 96 x 41.4 mm, 2996.62 cc in total. Compression ratio 12.6 : 1 Maximum power 607 kW (825 hp) at 17,300 rpm. Valve actuation by DOHC per bank, four valves per cylinder. Magneti Marelli electronic indirect injection. Ignition electronic, single spark plug per cylinder, dry sump lubrication.Clutch multi-plate. Transmission electro-hydraulic 7-speed + reverse
The chassis was a honeycomb and carbon-fibre composite monocoque. Front suspension independent push-rod, twin wishbones, torsion bar springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar. Rear suspension independent push-rod, twin wishbones, torsion bar springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar.
Brakes carbon-carbon composite discs. Steering electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion. Front tyres 13”, Bridgestone Rear tyres 13”, Bridgestone.
Tags: BRM 'H16' engine, BRM P75 engine, Colin Chapman, Italian Grand Prix 1966, Jim Clark, Lotus 43 BRM, Lotus 49 Ford, Oulton Park Gold Cup 1966, US Grand Prix 1966
Jim Clark takes a deep breath as he aims his big, heavy Lotus BRM around Oulton Park in 1966…
The Oulton Park Gold Cup was one of numerous non-championship F1 races still run in the mid-sixties.
Clark practised the car but discretion was the better part of valour, he raced his reliable, nimble Lotus 33 Climax in the race won by Jack Brabhams’ BT19 Repco, the dominant car of 1966.
Clark finished third in the 33, a car he took over from teammate Peter Arundell after the H16 engine in his Lotus blew up shortly after setting the third fastest time, a time equalled by Jackie Stewarts’ BRM ‘H16′.
The engine famously had it’s only victory, in a Lotus 43 in Clarks’ hands in the US Grand Prix several months later.
The Lotus 43 was a much maligned car…but the facts tend to suggest it wasn’t quite as bad as many would have us believe. Clark raced the car four times in the 1966 Italian, US and Mexican GP’s and in the first of the 1967 Grands’ Prix in South Africa. He scored one win at Watkins Glen, qualified on the front row three times, once on the second and was competitive in all four events…i’m not saying he wasn’t happy to race a nimble 33 at Monaco rather than the 43 or that he was sorry to forsake the 43 for the 49 at Zandvoort however!
Its technically interesting in that the P75 BRM engine was used as a stressed member of the chassis in the same way the Ford Cosworth DFV in the 49 which followed was, much is made of this aspect of the Ford DFV’s attachment medium to the car but Vittorio Jano used the technique in his 1954 Lancia D50 GP car. T’wasnt the first time it was done.
The BRM engine was attached to the rear bulkhead, as was the DFV to the 49, the suspension mounted to the engine and gearbox as was the case with the 49.
Look at the 43 and 49 from the front and they are hard to pick…conceptually they are similar in terms of chassis and suspension, but look aft of the rear bulkhead and the massive girth of the BRM engine is in marked contrast to the svelte Keith Duckworth designed, Ford Cosworth 3 litre DFV V8… Chapman famously concepting the engine he wanted and the means by which it was to be attached to his chassis…
The BRM P75 engine was a massive lump…essentially it was two of the P56 BRM 1.5 litre V8’s, but at 180 degrees, placed on top of each other. Its designed weight of of 380Lbs ballooned to 555Lbs…the DFV weighed less than 400Lbs.
‘Road and Track’ magazine published the scrutineered weights of the cars at the 1966 Italian Grand Prix, the ‘Twiggy like’ Brabham BT19 weighed 1219Lb, a marked contrast to the Cooper Masers 1353Lb, and the ‘pork-chop’ BRM and Lotus 43 at 1529Lb and 1540Lb respectively.
Mind you, the Honda topped the scales at 1635Lb. Interestingly the ‘Hondola’ (Lola designed chassis) which won Monza in 1967 weighed 1309Lb, having lost 300 Kg in twelve months whereas the BRM’s had gotten heavier at 1570Lb…the Lotus 49 weighing 1200Lb.
The DFV at that stage developed about 405 BHP whereas the BRM P75 ‘H16’ never developed its claimed 400BHP and had a lot of weight to carry.
The Lotus 43 was far from the worst Lotus ever built…and many of its GP cars didn’t win Grands Prix, for sure the BRM P75 ‘H16’ engine was never to have the reliability of the 49’s Ford Cosworth DFV which one wag descibed as ‘ the spacer between the rear bulkhead and the gearbox’ such was its dependable nature!
The 49 deserves its place in the pantheon of Great Grand Prix cars but the 43 is conceptually closer to the 49 than Chapman probably wanted to admit at the time…
The Nostalgia Forum, Brian Watson
Tags: 1963 Nurburgring 1000Km, Ferrari 250P, John Surtees, Willy Mairesse
Surtees races through the ‘Green Hell’ to victory, Nurburgring 1000Km 1963 in his Ferrari 250P shared with Belgian Willy Mairesse…
It was a Ferrari 1-3 with a 250GTO and 250 Testa Rossa in second and third driven by Noblet/Guichet and Abate/Maglioli respectively.
The 250P was Ferrari’s first mid-engined V12 sports prototype and the class of the year comprehensively winning the championship for the Scuderia.
The 3 litre V12 engined cars won the Sebring 12 Hour, Nurburgring 1000Km, Le Mans 24 Hour races and spawned the 250LM, effectively a 250P with a roof and 3.3 litre engine, the 250/275LM winning Le Mans in 1965. https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/
(Automobile Year 11)
Tags: 1966 Surfers Paradise 12 Hour, 1966 Surfers Paradise Gold Star Race, Alfa Romeo TZ2, Brabham BT11a Climax, BRM P261, Doug Chivas, Ferrari 250LM '6321', Frank Matich, Jackie Stewart, Keith Williams, Kevin Bartlett, Surfers Paradise International Raceway
Jackie Stewart in the ‘Scuderia Veloce’ Brabham BT11A Climax ‘Tasman Formula’ car during the Surfers Paradise ‘Gold Star’ Australian Drivers Championship Round on 14 August 1966…
Jackie squeezed in a visit to Australia to drive in both this event and the ‘Surfers 12 Hour’ a week later in between the German and Italian Grands Prix on 7th August and 4 September respectively.
The visit was a welcome respite from the World Championship that year, Jack Brabham dominating in his Repco engined Brabham BT19, with BRM for whom Stewart drove, struggling with their new uncompetitive, complex and heavy P83 ‘H16’.
Jackie won the Monaco Grand Prix in a ‘Tasman Spec’ BRM P261, his 1.5 litre F1 car squeezed to about 2.1 litres, well short of the 3 Litre capacity limit which applied in Grand Prix racing from that year, the nimble car producing the goods on this tight circuit.
In the Belgian Grand Prix three weeks later he experienced an horrific accident on the first lap of the race at Spa, conditions having changed from wet to torrential conditions on this long track, leaving the circuit at high speed on the Masta Kink. He was trapped upside down in the car, the monocoque twisted around him covered with fuel with a broken shoulder, cracker rib and internal bruising, whilst Graham Hill and Bob Bondurant who had also crashed freed him with tools borrowed from spectators …And from that moment starting Stewart on the crusade for driver, car and circuit safety which are amongst his many racing legacies.
No doubt Jackie was looking forward to some racing and the recuperative powers of the Gold Coast sun and surf.
Jackie enjoyed his successful championship winning 1966 Tasman Season in our summer, campaigning a BRM P261, his 1.5 litre F1 car V8 engine bored to around 2.1 litres, as outlined above, so he was happy to return to Australia to race Jack Brabham and the locals in the ‘Gold Star’ round and Sports Car enduro which comprised Keith Williams ‘Speed Week’.
Williams was a remarkable entrepreneur, he left school at 13 to help supplement the family income pumping fuel at a local ‘Servo’, formed his first business making leather products three years later and soon employed fifty people manufacturing Disney licensed products.
He was an Australian Water Skiing Champion in the late 1950’s, via that sport both making industry products and forming ‘Surfers Paradise Water Ski Shows’ together with Jack Joel.
He built Surfers Paradise and Adelaide Raceways in 1966 and 1970 respectively. Williams was a leader in the tourism industry building ‘Sea World’ on the Gold Coast in 1971 and started the development of Hamilton Island as a global tourist destination in 1978. His remarkable life ended in 2011 after a series of strokes aged 82.
The Surfers circuit was finished in early 1966, the first meeting held on 22 May. The Grand Opening though was ‘Speed Week’ in August, the great promoter holding a number of events over ten days including two weekends of circuit racing described in this article, drag racing, Concours D’ Elegance, motor cycle racing and a speedboat racing event on the nearby Gold Coast Broadwater.
Surfers immediately became a drivers and crowd favourite, its fast flowing nature a challenge for drivers and their machines, the circuit facilities and viewing mounds providing a world class amenity at the time to we ‘punters’.
My only visit was as a spectator on a family holiday, i convinced my dad to deposit me at the circuit for the day of the ‘Glynn Scott Memorial Trophy’ meeting in September 1973, the feature event a round of the ‘Gold Star’, the Australian Drivers Championship, contested by F5000 cars.
The sight and sound of these fabulous cars bellowing through the fast right hander under the Dunlop Bridge, a true test of ‘gonad dimensions’, ‘flat knacker’ at 7500RPM in fifth, unmuffled Chev and Repco V8’s roaring away into the distance, was truly a sight and sound to behold and feel!
Frank Matich was running away with the race in his brand new Matich A52, until the ‘flat plane crank’ experimental Repco V8 ‘shook the shitter’ out of the Varley battery, no spark, no go. John McCormack won the race in his Elfin MR5 and the Gold Star that year, the inherently dangerous nature of the track clear to anyone seeing Warwick Brown hobbling around on crutches that day. Brown joining the ‘Lola Limpers Club’ having comprehensively destroyed his T3oo and his legs in the Surfers Tasman meeting earlier in the year.
But wow! What a circuit it was!
Williams sold it in 1984, the circuit closed in 1987 and is now part of the ‘Emerald Lakes’ canal estate, like so many of our circuits given over to advancing urban encroachment, but that was a long way away in 1966.
Gold Star Meeting…
Jackie had some idea about the local talent from his very successful Tasman Tour early in the year, he won the series in his P261 BRM, taking four wins, but probably got more than he bargained for.
Kevin Bartlett had stepped up since the Tasman Series from the Mildren Teams 1.5, to 2.5 litre Brabham, Spencer Martin also racing a Brabham BT11A for Bob Jane.
Brabham was there, in BT19 the chassis which carried him to victory in that years World Championship, fresh from his German GP win a week before, the car still fitted with its 3 litre ‘620 Series’ Repco V8.
Leo Geoghegan and Greg Cusack were entered in ex-Clark Lotus 39 and Lotus 32B respectively. Both these cars also Coventry Climax FPF 2.5 litre four cylinder engines.
Ray Bell, ‘Racing Car News’ magazine reporter at the time recalled the meeting on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’…
‘Jack had pole, from KB, JYS and Spencer Martin. KB lead the way, this to be the drive that made everybody sit up and take notice, he’d not been long in 2.5’s and was leading a Grand Prix Winner and pretender to the World Championsip throne. Brabham managed a lap and a half before the rotor button went and he dropped out…Stewart hounded KB for five laps before outbraking him at Lukey…Bartlett finishing two-tenths behind the Scot ‘ (in an identical car)
‘With KB on pole for the main event , Stewart had something fail in the clutch mechanism and dragged away badly…Martin got the jump, leading KB for seven laps before Bartlett went past into Lukey, Stewart looming in a comeback drive all the while.
On lap fourteen they set a new lap record of 1:13:0, a few laps later JYS passing KB under the bridge…KB coming back at the clutchless Brabham…there was more passing and re-passing until the magneto in Bartletts car failed. Stewart blew his engine giving Martin the win having shaken off Leo Geoghegan to do so’.
If there was any doubt, Kevin Bartlett ‘arrived’ as a Top-Liner that day…serving it up to a Grand Prix winner in absolutely equal cars.
Kevin Bartlett recalled recently…’The dices that weekend live in my mind forever. I knew him well before that meeting, his SV Brabham was the equal of mine. We both knew the cars capabilities, the dice was not out of the ordinary as far as we were concerned, the cars were very close but we gave one another room but if you got the line you would slipstream past. We respected each others abilities, we both DNFd the feature race but laughed about it later. He had no ego.’
Surfers Paradise 12 Hour…
Stewart returned from the beach for the second weekend of Williams ‘double header’ to drive the Scuderia Veloce Ferrari 250LM with Kiwi Andy Buchanan, I wrote about this car a while back….https://primotipo.com/2014/07/03/pete-geoghegan-ferrari-250lm-6321-bathurst-easter-68/
The entry also included a Ford GT40 for Frank Matich and Peter Sutcliffe, another LM for Jackie Epstein and Aussie International Paul Hawkins, David Piper and future LeMans winner Richard Attwood raced Pipers’ ex-works Ferrari P2.
Given our paucity of top-line sports cars in Australia of this type, the grid was bolstered by sprint sports cars such as Lotus 23’s, production sports cars and touring cars…including a Mini Moke entered by later Touring Car Ace ‘Bo’ Seton and Charlie Smith, the closing speed of Stewarts LM and the like would have been well over 80MPH!, the Moke having little power and the aerodynamic efficiency of a ‘dunny-door’.
The chequered flag was shown to the Matich GT40, but Scuderia Veloce boss David McKay successfully protested the result giving the win to the Stewart/Buchanan LM. It was not the first time a major event in Australia was clouded by lap-scoring disputes these things not uncommon in those far off, pre-digital days!
Kevin Bartlett and Doug Chivas finished third in the Alec Mildren racing Alfa Roneo Tz2, Kevin Bartlett again recalls…
‘The 12 Hour was tough going for a little 1600, but Doug was on top of his game, a helluva driver who was kind to the car and did the times. It was a tactical race for us, Alec had worked out a plan and the times we needed to do, which we did consistently. I drove a TZ1 years later at an AGP support event but the TZ2 was areodynamically better, it was quicker in a straight line and had a better track and wheelbase which got it out of corners better. The TZ1 handling was not as good, the tyre and wheel package wasn’t as good.’
Photo and Other Credits…
autopics.com.au, John Stanley Collection
Many thanks to Kevin Bartlett for sharing his recollections of both events
Tags: Helen Stewart, Jackie Stewart