It’s All Happening 3…

Posted: July 12, 2019 in F1, Fotos
Tags: , , , , , ,

French GP, Rouen 1968…

It has the feel of final practice/qualifying about it doesn’t it?

The wing in the foreground is either Jacky Ickx’ winning Ferrari 312 or Chris Amon’s sister car.

Graham Hill stands patiently at left whilst the mechanics make adjustments to his car with Lotus boss Colin Chapman leaving the boys to it, resting against the pit counter.

At far left, obscured, Jack Brabham is being tended to in his Brabham BT26 Repco ‘860’ V8- Jochen Rindt popped his BT26 on pole proving the car had heaps of speed if not reliability from its new 32 valve, DOHC V8. The speedy Austrian took two poles with it that year.

The dude in the blue helmet is Jackie Oliver who is about to have the mother and father of high speed accidents when wing support failure saw him pinging his way through the French countryside, clobbering a set of chateau gates and dispensing aluminium shrapnel liberally about the place at around 125 mph.

He survived intact – shaken but not stirred you might say. It wasn’t the last of his career ‘big ones’ either. Click here; https://primotipo.com/2017/01/13/ollies-trolley/

In the distance is Goodyear blue and white striped, jacket wearing Tyler Alexander so there must be a couple of McLaren M7A’s down that way.

Ickx won a tragic wet race in which French racer Jo Schlesser died on lap 2 when he lost control of the unsorted Honda RA302 in the fast swoops past the pits, burned alive in the upturned car it was a grisly death.

Ickx’ first GP win, no doubt it was memorable for the Belgian for all of the wrong reasons.

He won from John Surtees, below, in the conventional Honda RA301 V12 and Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS10 Ford.

Surtees did not have a great Honda season retiring in eight of the twelve GP’s- his second at Rouen and third place at Watkins Glen were the two high points of the season.

Honda withdrew from GP racing at the end of the year to return with a vengeance a decade or so hence.

Click on this article for a piece on the 1968 French GP and also the evolution of wings in that period; https://primotipo.com/2016/08/19/angle-on-the-dangle/

Credits…

Getty Images, oldracingcars.com

Tailpieces: Jo Schlesser, Honda RA302…

You would have to have a crack wouldn’t you?

The offer of a works car in your home Grand Prix, however badly your vastly experienced team leader felt about the radical magnesium chassis, 3 litre (88mm x 61.40 mm bore/stroke- 2987 cc) 120 degree air-cooled V8 machine would have been too much to resist ?

And so it was that poor, forty years old, Jo Schlesser died having a red hot go after completing only 12 Km of the race.

Denis Jenkinson looks on, above, as Schlesser prepares for the off during practice, the look on the great journalists face says everything about his interest in this new technical direction. The car behind is Richard Atwood’s seventh placed BRM P126 V12.

The air ducts here and there are clear and necessary to try to keep the engine lubricant coolish.

I’ve a feature part finished on this design so let’s not go too berserk now.

A magnesium monocoque chassis supported the unstressed, fuel injected V8 which is variously quoted at between 380 -430bhp at this early stage of its development- I am more at the conservative end of that range.

Inboard rocker front suspension and outboard at the rear, note the ‘boxed’ inboard lower inverted wishbones, single top link and two radius rods. Engine ducting again clear.

John Surtees tested another RA302 during the Italian GP weekend at Monza in September but declined to race the car, that chassis still exists.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see that machine at the Phillip Island Historics/Australian GP ‘double-whammy’ one March?

Finito…

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