Chaparral Chev F5000…

Posted: September 25, 2018 in Obscurities, Sports Racers
Tags: , , , , ,

(Jalopy Journal)

Franz Weis fettles his Chaparral Chev in the paddock prior to the Lime Rock GP, 6 September 1971…

This car has to be the least known of all of Jim Hall’s machines?

The 2J ‘Sucker Car’ frightened the bejesus out of Hall’s fellow Can-Am competitors who leant on the SCCA who banned the car- the combination of fans and Lexan skirts constituted ‘moveable aerodynamic devices’.

Predictably and rightfully Hall told them to go and shove it, after all, he had shown SCCA officials the car before the team raced it and said officialdom had pronounced it legal. It was such a shame because that single action in some ways tore the heart out of the series by removing its most interesting team and the ‘anything goes’ principle which made the Can-Am great.

In any event, into 1971 the Rattlesnake Raceway boys didn’t have much to do so dusted off a chassis built by Don Gates at Chevrolet R&D in 1966- the ‘GS-111’ which was intended as the basis of a Chaparral Indy entry.

This never happened as Chaparral were up to pussy’s-bow with Can-Am and World Sportscar Championship commitments at the time and as a consequence the single-seater languished in a corner of the teams, Midland, Texas base.

Car appears built with low drag in mind, tiny front winglet, rear wing integrated into rear body. Chev engine appears well forward, up and over exhausts and dry sump tank clear- weird vertical brackets at the rear, DG300 Hewland ‘box assumed (Jalopy Journal)

So Franz Weis, Hall’s mechanic, engine builder and test driver dusted the chassis off and turned it into an F5000 machine which he raced in the final two 1971 rounds of the US SCCA L&M Continental F5000 Championship at Brainerd and Lime Rock in August/September.

At the Minnesota GP weekend at Brainerd on 15 August David Hobbs was on pole in his McLaren M10B Chev with a time of 1:31.739, with Franz back in 21st spot on 1:39.973 in a grid of 30 cars.

Franz failed to finish his heat with engine dramas after 19 laps and was 22nd in the final completing 47 of the 60 laps with undisclosed problems. The race was won by Brett Lunger from Eppie Wietzes and Lothar Motschenbacher in Lola T192 and McLarens M18, all Chev powered of course.

It had been a tough weekend but hardly unexpected even for a well tested car. The guys had three weeks before the final round of the series- won that year by David Hobbs’ Hogan Racing McLaren M10B Chev, to get the car ready.

At Lime Rock he qualified the car 13th in a field of 28 cars with a time of 53.276 seconds compared to the well developed and sorted Hobbs M10B pole time of 50.475 seconds. A collision on the first lap ended the cars short racing career. Hobbs won the race from Sam Posey’s Surtees TS8 Chev and Skip Barber in an F1 March 711 Ford.

The remains of the Chaparral F5000 are said to exist but their whereabouts are a mystery. Hall had unfinished F5000 business of course and became the dominant team fielding Lolas driven by Brian Redman until the SCCA ditched the category at the end of 1976 for a return to Can-Am albeit the ‘F5000’s in drag’ were a shadow of the ‘real-deal’ cars we all loved…

Inboard coil spring/shock- rocker top, lower wishbone, hip mounted radiators, totally different in appearance to anything else on the grid in 1971. It would have been very interesting to see how quick the combination was had the car appeared much earlier in the very competitive season (unattributed)

Further Reading…

Checkout Allen Brown’s summary and photos of the car on oldracingcars.com;

http://www.oldracingcars.com/f5000/chaparral/

Note Allen’s request for information on the detailed specifications of the car, please get in touch with either Allen or me and we can publish such details.

Credits…

The Jalopy Journal, oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece: Franz Weis, Chaparral 2J, Watkins Glen 1970…

Franz Weis eases the brilliant new Chaparral 2J Chev along the pitlane in 1970 (unattributed)

Finito…

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