James Garner is fitted to a Jim Russell Racing Drivers School Formula 3 car on 14 April 1966…

Jim Russell supervises ‘Pete Aron’s’ preparation for some laps at Snetterton. I wonder exactly what make and model it is?!

The business end of the iconic film ‘Grand Prix’ is about to get underway, the race scenes were filmed, famously, during the 1966 Grand Prix season.

Garner is sharpening his driving skills to cope with the in-car rigours of his role as Peter Aron. Of course he rather enjoyed it all didn’t he, becoming a racer and an entrant of some note.

Garner’s ‘American International Racing’ Lola T70 Mk3B Chev finished second in the 1969 Sebring 12 Hour driven by Ed Leslie and Lothar Motschenbacher behind the winning Penske T70 of Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons.

By the time these shots were taken in the UK Garner had already done quite a lot of driving under the tutelage of Bob Bondurant in the US, but I wonder if the JRRDS laps were his first in single-seaters?

The ‘Tailpiece’ workshop shot below is on-location at the Cooper, Surbiton, Surrey factory. ‘Pete’ is sitting aboard his Japanese Yamura car which looks rather suspiciously like a Lotus 25 Coventry Climax, the cam-covers of the little 1.5 litre FWMV V8 are removed.

What a film! I wrote a short piece about it ages ago, click here if you’ve not read it, its focus is on Francoise Hardy;

https://primotipo.com/2014/10/17/francoise-hardy-on-the-set-of-grand-prix-1966/

Photo Credits…

Jim Gray, Evening Standard, J Wilds

Tailpiece: Pete being fitted to his Yamura F1 car, July 1966…

The on-circuit shots of the Yamura were of Bruce McLarens 1966 F1 contender, the McLaren M2B that year fitted with Ford, Serennissima and BRM engines. The contract was a nice little earner in the team’s first year in Gee Pee racing. Aron’s helmet design was Chris Amon’s sans the Kiwi logo. Checkout this really interesting article about McLaren’s involvement in the film on mclaren.com;

http://www.mclaren.com/formula1/heritage/action-mclaren-at-the-movies-6114785/

Comments
  1. David Thompson says:

    Pete Aron’s helmet did have Chris Amon’s helmet’s design, but with the colors reversed.

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