Jim Clark and Graham Hill swap notes prior to the start of the 1967 Australian Grand Prix, Warwick Farm, Sydney. It would be a good season for them both…
Their new F1 Lotus 49’s await their return to Europe, the Ford Cosworth powered cars established a package of integrated design which became the F1 standard for the duration of the 3 litre formula. Their is plenty of press interest in the two stars, teammates for the first time in 1967 and Hill’s #5 Lotus 48.
Behind them in the ‘Farm pitlane is Kevin Bartlett’s Brabham BT11A Climax, KB just in shot with his foot on his front Goodyear. Sixth in the race for him, an excellent result in the old car.
The 48 was Lotus’ new car for the inaugural 1.6-litre F2 1967 season. Designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe, it was in essence a ‘mini’ Lotus 49 which made its successful debut in the ’67 Dutch Grand Prix on June 4.
Keen to get in some early season testing of the new car, Colin Chapman sent the first chassis to Australia for the Warwick Farm round of the Tasman Series, the Australian GP that year, held on 19 February for Graham Hill to drive. Hill was popular at the Sydney circuit, the promoters paying plenty of money to get the Brit and his new Lotus to New South Wales for just one race. Of added local interest was that Hill had just returned to Lotus having been a BRM driver since 1960. Mind you, in Australia he raced in our internationals the Ferguson P99, Brabham Climaxes owned by ‘Scuderia Veloce’ as well as various BRM’s.
Jim Clark did all of the Tasman rounds in New Zealand and Australia that summer. He won the title in a Lotus 33 Climax, his 1966 F1 mount ‘R14’ fitted with the 2 litre Coventry Climax FWMV V8 engine with which he started the 1966 F1 season, the first year of the 3 litre F1. He used the car until the BRM engined Lotus 43 was ‘ready’ to race.
The new 48 F2 car had a full monocoque chassis made from aluminium sheet with steel bulkheads front and rear. Bolted to the rear bulkhead was a tubular steel subframe which carried the unstressed FVA engine and ZF gearbox. Front suspension used top rockers operating inboard mounted springs and dampers. The rear suspension was also conventional; single upper link, reversed lower wishbone, twin radius rods and coil spring/ damper units.
The 48 used the Ford Cosworth FVA, one of two engines contracted from Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin by Ford. Significantly the engine proved Duckworth’s design direction for his F1 V8, the Cosworth DFV which made its race debut at Zandvoort in the back of the equally new Lotus 49. The FVA’s design commenced in July 1965, its first bench test was in March 1966 and its first race in July 1966. The engine was well tested prior to its trip to Australia in the summer of ’67.
The remarkably successful unit combined a four-cylinder cast iron Ford Cortina block with an aluminium Cosworth head. FVA was an acronym of the ‘four valve assembly’ or ‘four valve type A’ of the engine’s new head. Twin overhead camshafts were used of course, driven from the crankshaft by gears. Equipped with Lucas fuel injection, the dry sumped engine developed circa 220 hp @ 9000rpm.
Graham Hill qualified Lotus 48 chassis ‘R1’ well amongst the Tasman Formula 2.5 litre engined cars, 3rd on the grid with only the V8 engined cars of teammate Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart’s BRM in front of him. He may only have had 1.6 litres but the chassis was clearly good and Hill was always been quick around Warwick Farm, the Sydney circuit a very technical one.
Stewart was very fast throughout the Tasman, he won it in ’66, but the BRM’s gearbox was at its limits with the greater stresses of the P60 BRM V8, now at 2070cc and developing much more power and torque than the same engine in its original 1.5 litre F1 guise ever produced. But the car held together at the ‘Farm, Jackie won from Clark and Frank Gardner in a Brabham BT16 Climax FPF, the old 2.5 litre F1 Climax four cylinder engine well and truly outclassed by ’67.
Hill’s new Lotus 48 expired with gearbox maladies on lap 25 but he gained valuable miles on the brand new chassis in advance of the European F2 season, which both he and Clark contested.
Intended as a customer car, the 48 was exclusively campaigned by Team Lotus during 1967, privateers used uprated 41’s. The new Lotus was quick but encountered the Brabham BT23, one of Ron Tauranac’s most successful designs. The 48 won four F2 races in 1967, three in Clark’s hands, the fourth by Jackie Oliver in the combined F1/F2 German GP at the the Nürburgring.
Whilst the Brabham BT23 was the car of the season many of its victories were taken by ‘graded drivers’, notably the ‘King of F2′ Jochen Rindt, whilst graded drivers did win races they could not score championship points. The 1967 title was won by Jacky Ickx using both Matra MS5 and MS7 chassis’, FVA powered.
Lotus continued with the 48 in 1968, 4 chassis were built in total, but struggled again with the dominant Brabham BT23’s. Jean Pierre Beltoise won the ’68 title in a Matra MS7 FVA. 1969 would be a ‘different kettle of F2 fish’, the Dave Baldwin designed Lotus 59 a much more competitive tool.
III Gran Premio Barcelona, Montjuic, Spain 31 March 1968…
Jim Clark aviating his Lotus 48 during practice for the first European F2 event in 1968.
He started the season strongly with victories in his Lotus 49 in both the South African Grand Prix held at Kyalami on 1 January and the Tasman Series, including the Australian Grand Prix at Sandown Park, Melbourne. Jim won 4 of the 8 Tasman rounds, his Lotus used the 2.5 litre Ford Cosworth V8 variant, the ‘DFW’ so he came to this F2 event ‘razor sharp’.
Despite Clark’s speed, Jackie Stewart won the race in his Matra MS7 FVA, Jim was tagged by Jacky Ickx at the first turn, a ‘bonzai’ move down the inside taking out the innocent Scot, deflating a tyre and rearranging the rear suspension. Ickx was involved in another accident on lap 2 and retired. Karma at play!
The shot below is of #1 Clark, with Hills nose in shot, in the middle is an innocent Jochen Rindt, Brabham BT23 FVA. Ickx shot off down the road in his Ferrari 166. The next F2 round was the ‘II Deutsche Trophae’ at Hockenheim the following weekend.
YouTube Footage of the Barcelona Race;
Hockenheim 7 April 1968…
Jim Clark before the off and (below) in the early stages of this fateful, awful race and the probable high speed tyre deflation which caused the accident that claimed the champions life.
Lotus 48 Technical Specifications…
Chassis; aluminium monocoque with rear subframe. Front suspension; lower wishbones, top rocker actuating inboard coil spring/dampers, roll bar. Rear suspension; reversed lower wishbones, top links, twin radius arms, coil spring/dampers, roll bar
Steering rack and pinion, Brakes, discs all-round, Gearbox ZF 5DS12 5 speed.
Weight 420 kilo / 926 lbs. Length / Width / Height 3,797 mm (149.5 in) / 1,727 mm (68 in) / 762 mm (30 in)
Wheelbase / Track (fr/r) 2,330 mm (91.7 in) / 1,473 mm (58 in) / 1,473 mm (58 in). Wheels (fr/r) 13 x 8 / 13 x 10
Ford Cosworth FVA…
Pretty much the ‘engine de jour’ of the 1.6 litre F2 from 1967 to 1971, the FVA won all of the European titles in that period.
Cast-iron Ford Cortina 1600 ‘116E’ 5 bearing block, aluminium head, 1,598 cc. Bore/Stroke 85.7 mm/69.1 mm, DOHC, 4 gear driven valves per cylinder, Lucas fuel injection and electronic/transistorised ignition. Circa 220 bhp @ 9000rpm.
Those with a strong technical interest in the Cosworth FVA and its role in relation to the subsequent Cosworth DFV V8 Design will find this treatise of interest;
Graham Howard ‘History of The Australian Grand Prix’
Max Le Grand, autopics.com.au, MotorSport, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Theo Page, Brian Watson