(D Cooper)

Antipodian enthusiasts can argue the toss but I think the 1968 Tasman was about as good as it ever got…

Here Clark, Amon and Hill- Lotus 49 Ford DFW, Ferrari Dino 246T and 49. Two Cosworth V8’s and a Maranello V6. There were a swag of Repco V8’s of different configurations, BRM V8’s and V12’s- Len Terry’s new P126 was blooded in the Tasman in advance of the F1 season, Alec Mildren’s Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo using a 2.5 litre variant of the Tipo 33 sports prototype V8, plus cars using the good ole Coventry Climax four cylinder FPF.

As good as it gets in terms of variety of cars and drivers- in addition to the fellas on the front row of the dry, preliminary, Saturday race we had Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren (in NZ), Frank Gardner, Pedro Rodriguez, Piers Courage, Richard Attwood…apart from the local hotshots.

Clark and Hill raced 49’s ‘R2’ and ‘R1’ during their 1968 tour down south.

Hill had mainly raced ‘R1’ since the 49’s race debut at Zandvoort on 4 June 1967. He joined Team Lotus in Australia whereas Jim did the full eight weeks and had almost exclusively raced ‘R2’ from his first up win in the chassis amongst the Dutch dunes. Motors fitted for the Tasman were Cosworth’s 2.5 litre variant of the 3 litre Ford DFV dubbed ‘DFW’.

(D Cooper)

Jimmy has a tyre issue he is sorting with the Firestone man.

The fag packet Gold Leaf Players livery is new- the cars were green and gold at Pukekohe and Levin and red, white and gold at Wigram only a month or so before Longford, as shown in the Wigram front row photograph below. That’s Denny’s F2 Brabham BT23 Ford FVA behind Jim in the Longford pitlane.

(B Wilson)

Clark has won his last championship GP by this stage, the South African at Kyalami on New Years Day, 1 January 1968, he won at Sandown the week before Longford on 25 February taking the Australian Grand Prix, his last, from Chris in a ‘thriller-driller’ of a race which could have gone either way right to the finish line.

Racing’s tectonic plates shifted with his Lotus 48 Ford FVA F2 death in Hockenheim only months hence.

(D Cooper)

In a tour de force of leadership Graham Hill picked up Team Lotus lock, stock and barrel and drove the team forward as Colin Chapman regained his composure and focus after the death of his great colleague and friend.

No seatbelt in Graham’s car above, there would be by seasons end.

No wings either, there would be by mid-season, 1968 was a year of change in so many ways.

Wings here; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/12/wings-clipped-lotus-49-monaco-grand-prix-1969/, and in more detail, here; https://primotipo.com/2016/08/19/angle-on-the-dangle/

Chris loads up in the Longford paddock. That’s Denny’s Brabham BT23 Ford FVA F2 atop the Alec Mildren Racing transporter behind (D Cooper)

The Scuderia Ferrari presence, or more precisely Chris Amon’s single Ferrari 246T raced under his own banner raised enormous interest, the great Kiwi did not disappoint either- and of course came back the following year with a two car squad and won.

In Australia we got a double 1968 whammy in that David McKay acquired one of the P4/Can-Am 350 Group 7 cars for Chris to drive in the sports car support races.

Frank Matich served it up to him big-time in one of his Matich SR3 Repco 4.4 litre V8’s, disappointingly Matich did not cross Bass Straight for this meeting so Chris set the fastest ever lap of Longford despite not being pushed by the oh-so-fast Sydneysider.

(D Cooper)

The gleaming Ferrari Can-Am 350 Scuderia Veloce raced all too briefly throughout Australia in 1968 by Chris Amon, and Bill Brown upon the Kiwis departure back to Italy and all points beyond.

(D Cooper)


With the 1967 Manufacturers Championship over Ferrari modified two of the P4’s, this car, chassis ‘0858’ and ‘0860’ to better compete in the Can-Am Championship and naming them ‘350 Can-Am’ to contest the prestigious series in their most important market.

The cars were lightened considerably becoming curvaceous Spiders instead of even more curvaceous Coupes! Weight was reduced from 792Kg wet to 700Kg wet, engine capacity was increased to 4176cc raising the engines power to 480bhp @ 8500rpm.

It wasn’t enough to compete with the McLaren M6A Chevs of Bruce and Denny, that story is told in this article about the Ferrari P4/Can-Am 350 and ‘0858’ specifically; https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/


Dennis Cooper, Historic Racing Car Club of Tasmania, Bruce Wilson

Tailpiece: Look at the crowd…

(D Cooper)

Talk about missing out…


  1. Jonny'O says:

    The Ferrari tasman v6 Amon 1968 is oficial Ferrari team or Scuderia Veloce?

    • markbisset says:

      I believe it goes like this. The P4/350 Can-Am was ex-works and owned by David McKay/Scuderia Veloce.
      The Dino’s Chris raced were works cars in both 1968- Amon, and 1969- Amon/Bell.
      1968 was a single car effort with Amon ‘persuading employers Ferrari to field a car’, his small team was led by Kiwi mechanic/engineer Bruce Wilson, using oldracingcars.com as the source, the cars were entered by SEFAC Ferrari in NZ, with no entrant listed in Australia except Warwick Farm where the entrant is listed as ‘Chris Amon’. What sponsorship arrangements were who knows. Chris’ team carted the machine around in NZ whereas in Australia Scuderia Veloce took care of that- easy given they were running the 350 Can-Am in the same meetings.
      1969 was a more serious effort with two cars albeit there was not a surfeit of engines as Derek was kept to a strict rev limit. I think SV handled logistics throughout the successful 8 week campaign with Bruce Wilson again Chief Mechanic. Commercial arrangements, who knows…
      Hope this helps
      ps; Graeme Lawrence acquired the 1969 car Chris raced and won the 1970 Tasman in it.

  2. Jonny'O says:

    Thanks Mark!!!

    I like to know the way of the independent teams, not easily understand, because when they are involved with factories, usually their name is in the background or simply disappears.

    And you have to go putting pieces together to close the puzzle, If in F1 it is complicated to follow the transformations of the small teams of the 60s, imagine in national championships.
    That’s why your work is remarkable!

    ……. but a big ghost still haunts me, what was the history of the Ausper F1 really? after all is an australian pride?

  3. David E.M. Thompson says:

    Two articles in a row featuring wingless, truly open-wheeled cars. With lots of beautiful photos and links to more. The two with Jack and Denny in roaring oversteer (last article) are especially nice.
    Thank you, Mark.
    PS: Why did the 3-liter cars move the coolant pipe to the exterior?

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks David,
      Things of beauty aren’t they!? Which cars are you referring to re coolant pipes?

      • David E.M. Thompson says:

        In particular, the Loti 49. The left side in the photos here.

      • markbisset says:

        Not pretty is it, I imagine the pipe runs were just easier that way rather than within the tub. The 49’s changed so much from 1967 to 1970! I’m gradually accumulating some interesting shots of the cars to do a ‘Lotus 49 At Random’ some time in the next 12 months, so many cars, and drivers and ongoing development over four years at the top level- three anyway, only Jochen would have won in that car at Monaco in 1970!

  4. […] Skinny rears are to allow the 49 to fit on its narrow, cheap, open trailer! Lotus 49 in the ’68 Tasman see here; https://primotipo.com/2019/11/05/clark-hill-amon-longford-1968/ […]

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