Archive for January, 2022

(MotorSport)

Beautiful shot of the great South Aussie in the Embassy Hill Lola T370 Ford during practice for the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp.

It’s been a great pleasure working with Vern over the last month or so on a two-part ‘Living Legends’ feature in Auto Action, click here to buy the first one; AUTO ACTION 1827 – Auto Action

He is an ace-bloke with a career of great diversity; Karts, Formula Ford, Formula Atlantic, F2, F1, Indycars, Sportscars inclusive of a Le Mans win, not to forget a few taxi-races, team ownership and an amazing, but ill-fated Supercar manufacturing phase.

I’ve had a crack at him before in a couple of small bites, here; In Short Pants… | primotipo… and here; Singapore Sling with an Elfin Twist… | primotipo… oh, yes, this one in a Macau GP context too; Macau Grand Prix… | primotipo… Oops, more here too; 1977 Macau Grand Prix… | primotipo…

Success in various Formula Fords in 1969-1970 propelled him into a works FF Palliser in mid-1970, and in 1971, Formula Atlantic rides; he won the very first Formula Atlantic championship in the world, the British in 1971.

Schuppan, Palliser WDB4 BRM-Ford twin-cam at Brands Hatch on March 7,1971. He won the first round of the British Championship. I think it’s Graham Eden, Chevron B18C alongside, and #25, or perhaps #35 is not listed on my results site (V Schuppan Collection)

Of course it all started with karts in South Australia, here carrying the #1 plate, with loads of brio and intent on display, as State Champion at Whyalla, circa 1966.

Schuppan, March 722 Ford BDA F2 with Falconer body during the Rothmans 50000 at Brands Hatch in 1972 (V Schuppan Collection)

Schuppan’s March 722 (chassis 40) was bought for him by Marlboro, BRM’s sponsor, the March was to keep him busy, to supplement limited F1 drives in 1972.

He raced it in both Formula Atlantic and F2 guise in Europe and Asia. Notable victories include four British FA rounds in 1972, the 1973 Singapore GP (Ford twin-cam) and 1974 Macau Grand Prix. Teddy Yip became a long-term Schuppan sponsor, he bought the car circa 1973. Apart from Schuppan, it was raced by such notables as Alan Jones, Derek Daly, Patrick Tambay, and, when quite long-in-the-tooth, in 1981 by Roberto Moreno who raced it after boofing his Ralt RT4 in practice.

Here it is above in Dennis Falconer bodied, big-tank Formula Libre guise during the August 1972 Rothmans 50,000 500km libre race at Brands Hatch.

£50,000 was a huge prize-pool, 58 cars attempted to qualify, 30 raced with F1 cars in the top-five. Emerson Fittipaldi was up front in a Lotus 72D Ford. Vern qualified 20th in the F2-spec March, but he was the first retirement, on lap 10, after driveshaft failure.

Schuppan at Brands Hatch again, racing the March 722-40 Ford BDA. In box-stock 722 F Atlantic spec, probably on his winning way, April 16, 1972 (N Snowden)

Dennis Falconer was a Canadian born aerodynamicist employed by March who designed bodies for various smaller single-seaters. Ralph Hume worked for Vern in-the-day and describes the ever-changing modifications to keep the 722 competitive.

“Vern’s 722 was updated for 1973 with a wide nosed body kit developed by Falconer and raced in this form in England and the far east. The body was great on handling circuits but slow on fast ones. It was on the front row of an F2 race at Oulton Park and at the next race at Hockenheim we struggled for straight-line speed.”

“The body kit further evolved in 1974 to narrow nose and wings, we did a few Atlantic races in this form. At the end of the year we fitted a modified March 732 body and narrow track 732 suspension. We spaced the nose forward about 300mm and added a splitter but retained the side radiators. At the back we fitted a tweaked Lola T360 (F Atlantic) wing.”

“It’s first race in this spec was at Macau, out-of-the-box it was great. Vern put it on pole, and won the race. The car stayed at Macau and in subsequent years was raced by guests of Mr Yip…” as described above. For many years the March has been in the Macau Car Museum.

Same car folks, 722-40 in 1980, Vern was fifth at Macau behind three modern Ralt RT1s, and a March 79B. At this stage the car is described as a March 722/76B Ford BDA

Credits…

MotorSport Images, Vern Schuppan Collection, Nigel Snowden, Getty Images, Ralph Hume on tentenths.com

Tailpiece…

Brian Hatton’s cutaway of Eric Broadley’s Lola T370 Ford Cosworth DFV 3-litre V8, a quintessential British kit-car of the period

Finito…

(Ullstein Bild)

On July 28, 1935 Tazio Nuvolari defeated nine superior Silver Arrows over 22 laps, 312 miles, on the challenging, treacherous, Nurburgring in an outclassed 265bhp Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 during the German Grand Prix…

The foreboding, moody image above shows seventh placed Hanns Geier’s Mercedes Benz W25A 3.4-litre 302bhp straight-8 supercharged (s/c). He is ahead of one of four Auto Union B Types in the race, these machines powered by 5-litre 375 bhp V16 s/c motors.

Overnight, thousands of spectators arrived in the Eifel Mountains, what greeted them on race morning was fog and light, misty rain. It rained progressively harder as the 11am start time approached, then stopped not long before the off.

(unattributed)

In front of some 300,000 spectators, Rudy Caracciola led initially in a Benz W25B 4-litre 370-430 bhp for the first nine laps, with Nuvolari in second after one lap aboard his 3.2-litre straight-8 s/c Alfa. He fell back after a lap two spin at Bergwerk. At this stage of the race Bernd Rosemeyer, AU mounted, broke the lap record in his chase of Rudy, but he was unable to close the gap completely.

Rosemeyer then spun into the Breidscheid ditch, and arrived well back then went into the pits with a wobbly rear wheel and a throttle linkage jammed with mud. The only Alfa left in the race at the end of lap six was Nuvolari in fifth place.

Tazio made up time in the winding and downhill sections where the greater engine power of the German machines could not be successfully deployed. Nuvolari then passed Von Brauchitsch, Mercedes W25B for third on the outside of the Karussell, Brauchitsch regained the place on the following lap.

What a drive – one of the greatest in the opinions of all who matter (unattributed)

Caracciola still led on lap nine, but Tazio was now within eight seconds of him, and passed him on lap 10. The first four cars were then covered by just over 10 seconds, and the three Silver Arrows by only a few metres; the order was Nuvolari, Caracciola, Rosemeyer, and Brauchitsch.

The top three cars pitted on lap 11, Nuvolari’s stop was a shocker, the mechanics, in their excitement, broke the refuelling pump handle! He lost one minute 27 seconds to his competitors, the order at the end of lap 12 was the Luigi Fagioli Merc W25A, Brauchitsch Merc, Rosemeyer AU, Caracciola Merc, Stuck AU B-Type, and the Nuvolari Alfa.

At the end of the following lap the order was Brauchitsch, Rosemeyer, Caracciola and Nuvolari. Rosemeyer pitted at the end of lap 13 to address his throttle linkage, which was still binding, that must have been somewhat of a problem in a car of power on those tyres in such greasy conditions – this put him out of contention. Von Brauchitsch led on laps 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21- with Nuvolari second from lap 15.

“The German had to pay for his tyre-murdering style of driving,”when the left rear tyre came apart on lap 22, only nine km from the finish. Nuvolari passed Von Brauchitsch, stricken Mercedes, heading towards a well-deserved victory for Alfa Romeo.” Stuck’s Auto Union was second, ahead of Caratch, Rosemeyer and Von Brauchitsch with his Mercedes on the rim in fifth.

Whilst the crowd cheered, the win it was not quite so popular with the Nazi mob present…

Credits…

Ullstein Bild, race report summary by Hans Etzrodt on Kolumbus.fi

Finito…

It’s amazing given that the Monaco quayside was unguarded for so many decades, that only two drivers took involuntary Monte Carlo Harbour dips, Ascari, aboard a Lancia D50 in 1955, and Hawkins in a Lotus 33 Climax a decade later.

The Australian was still making his name, while Ascari was at the top of his game, and enjoying somewhat of a renaissance at the wheel of Vittorio Jano’s masterpiece. The fates of both Monaco bathers were similar, both died aboard sports-racers. Poor Ascari in a pointless testing accident aboard a Ferrari 750 Monza at Monza on May 25, 1955, only three days after Monaco. Hawkeye died a grisly, fiery, probably component failure caused death aboard a Lola T70 Mk3B Chev at Oulton Park on May 26, 1969.

Paul Hawkins in the ex-Clark/Spence Lotus 33 Climax R8 early in the 1965 Monaco GP (MotorSport)
Alberto Ascari, Lancia D50 ahead of the Maserati 250F shared by Jean Behra and Cesare Perdisa. Monaco 1955 (unattributed)

In 1955 Ascari inherited the lead after the Mercedes W196 duo of JM Fangio and Stirling Moss dominated the first half of the race; Fangio retired with transmission trouble, then Moss blew an engine on lap 80. Ascari approached the chicane too quickly – perhaps distracted by crowd reaction to Moss’ retirement, or the lapped Cesare Perdisa behind – and burst through hay bales and sand bags into the harbour, having missed a huge steel bollard by only centimetres.

The Lancia bubbled to the bottom of the harbour while the crowd were mesmerised with fear for his safety, only three seconds passed before Ascari’s familiar blue-helmet appeared above the surface. He was taken aboard a boat, with a broken nose, but otherwise ok.

Ascari a split second before his swim (unattributed)
One shaken and plenty stirred Lancia D50 being recovered from the depths after the race (MotorSport)

Lancia had given dispensation to Ascari to race a Ferrari 750 Monza with his friend, Eugenio Castelotti in the Monza 1000km on May 29. Ascari travelled to Monza only to watch Castellotti test the car, then decided late in the day to do a few laps wearing jacket, tie and Castellotti’s helmet. On his third lap he inexplicably crashed on the high-speed Curva del Vialone, he died within minutes of having been thrown out of the somersaulting car.

All of Italy grieved.

Tin Tin Ascari cartoon

Wonderful Alberto Ascari portrait from El Grafico, an Argentinian magazine. 1950 Ferrari 125

British Boys Own Character – WW2 Spitfire pilot, highly credentialled amateur racer and man of independent means – James Richard ‘Dickie’ Stoop (July 30, 1920-May 19, 1968) acquired the first Lotus 33, chassis R8, for Paul Hawkins use in early 1965. See here for its history; Lotus 33 R8 race history | OldRacingCars.com

The Equipe’s first race was at the Sunday Mirror Trophy at Goodwood in mid-May, there Hawkins started from the rear of the grid after mechanical dramas which continued in the race, he was out after one lap with oil scavenge problems. Jim Clark won in a Lotus 25 Climax.

The BRDC International Trophy followed at Silverstone a month later. He had a better weekend, qualifying on the second last row and finishing tenth, up front was Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 and John Surtees Ferrari 158.

Then it was off to Monte Carlo for Hawkins’ championship debut.

He qualified the car 14th and was running well, then, on lap 80 (of 100) he clipped the barrier on turn-in, causing the car to turn sharp-left – between the bollards, exactly as Ascari had managed – then sank 10 metres to the bottom. “Only when it settled on the bottom and rescue divers arrived did Hawkins extricate himself, take a huge gulp of air from the proffered mouthpiece and rocket back up to the surface,” John Smailes wrote.

The elegance of simplicity belies the deep underlying insights of Lotus 25/33 conception. Paul Hawkins flat-chat in R8 at Monaco in 1965 (MotorSport)
It ain’t perfect, but David Hudson’s shot catches Hawkins mid-flight just before splashdown (MotorSport)

“He’d had the extraordinary presence of mind to hit the engine kill-switch just as the car entered the water, saving the very expensive motor owned by the very poor team from instant destruction. It was dried out and used again in the following Grand Prix.”

R8 recovery post race. That the car is upside down makes you wonder if that is the way it settled on the bottom of the harbour. And therefore that Hawkeye made his escape on the way down – which cannot have been easy (Getty)

Well, not quite actually! While Paul was ok, the team missed both following GPs at Spa and Silverstone while the car was dried out, and carefully made-good, before reappearing at the Nurburgring on August 1.

Paul again failed to finish, having qualified 19th, he was out with undisclosed mechanical dramas after four of the 15 laps.

It was the final race for Paul aboard R8, Stoop sold it to MGM for a planned film, it then passed via Jo Siffert to Sweden’s principal museum of modern art, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, where it remains as a prized exhibit. 

No shortage of comedians during the German GP weekend. R8 looks no worse the wear for its dunking two months before! (MotorSport)
Paul Hawkins at right, with fellow Porsche colleagues, Huschke von Hanstein, and co-driver Rolf Stommelen, after winning the 1967 Targa Florio in a Porsche 910 (MotorSport)
Dickie Stoop aboard his Porsche 911S at Snetterton, March 24, 1968 (MotorSport)

Etcetera…

Dickie Stoop : Autosport Obituary May 24, 1968.

“It is very sad to have to record the death during a club meeting at Croft last Sunday of Dickie Stoop. Apparently Dickie suffered a coronary thrombosis and died at the wheel of his Porsche 911S, which veered off the track into the bank.

James Richard Stoop had been an amateur racing driver of considerable standing for many years. His first race was the supporting F3 event at the Daily Express Silverstone in 1948, when he drove a GS1, and over the last 20 years he campaigned many types of car, but remained faithful for most of his racing to the marque Frazer-Nash.

He competed at Le Mans no fewer than 10 times: in 1950 he was 9th overall and won the 2-litre class, in 1951 he was 19th and in 1955 he was 10th. In 1958 he drove the works spaceframe AC into 8th place, again winning his class. He also took part in long-distance racing at Spa, Rouen, Montlhery and elsewhere, and in 1964 was 3rd overall in the Rand 3 hours co-driving Peter Sutcliffe’s E-type.

He performed prolifically in club racing, not only in Frazer-Nashes but also in triumphs, Healeys, a D-Type Jaguar and a Lotus 11. He also drove a Formula 2 Cooper in the late ‘50s, and with the passing of Frazer-Nash line he transferred his loyalties to Porsche. His successive Type 356 Carreras, registered YOU 4 and 5 HOT, brought him a lot of wins; having been co-victor in the 1959 Autosport Championship with the Sebring Frazer-Nash, he won the Autosport 3 hours at Snetterton the following year in YOU 4 after a tremendous battle with Chris Summers’ Elite, won his class in 1961, and then won the 2-litre division of the championship in 1962 and 1963. He also had a few races with an RS60 Porsche Spyder, and in 1964 drove a 904.

More recently he had concentrated on club production sports car racing with his silver 911S Porsche, also registered YOU 4; this car was a frequent class winner. A retired RAF officer, he was only 47.”

Credits…

MotorSport, Getty Images, Allen Brown’s Oldracingcars.com, ‘Formula One: The Australian and New Zealand Story’ John Smailes

Tailpiece…

Alberto Ascari chases teammate Eugenio Castellotti, superb MotorSport image, Lancia D50s, Monaco 1955.

Finito…

(R Schlegelmilch)

David Walker lined up for the final of the Monaco F3 GP, May 22, 1971.

He won his heat and the final in a race which was something of a metaphor of an incredible season aboard his works Lotus 69 Novamotor-Ford 1.6. Giancarlo Naddeo, Tecno 69 Ford was second, and Patrick Depailler’s Alpine A360 Renault, third.

The grid that year also included Steve Thompson, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Roger Williamson, Rikki Von Opel, David Purley, Bob Evans and Francois Migault.

Walker’s F3 year included wins at Silverstone and Cadwell Park in April, Brands Hatch, Zandvoort (Dutch GP F3 race) and Oulton Park in May, and Silverstone in June. Early July brought victory in the French Grand Prix support race at Paul Ricard. That month got better with a win at Croft which ensured the Sydneysider was razor-sharp over the British GP weekend at Silverstone, Walker also won that blue-riband support event.

But there was no break for the team, the following day he won the the Cadwell Park BARC British F3 Championship round. August yielded wins at Thruxton and Croft, while Mallory Park fell to Walker in September and Snetterton in October.

Dave Baldwin’s F3 Lotus 69 design (there were also F2, FB and FF 69s) had a spaceframe chassis based on his Lotus 59, disguised with the bodywork and beefed up front suspension of the 69 F2 car. 1.6-litre Novamotor Lotus Ford twin-cam, Kugelfischer injected via air restrictor Walker again at Monaco (R Schlegelmilch)
Oh-so-period cockpit! Leather bound wheel and a dash full of Smiths instruments. Wonderful. Monaco (R Schlegelmilch)

In one of the most dominant ever seasons of F3 racing Walker won most of the big races and two of the three British F3 Championships – the BRSCC/MCD and BARC – with Roger Williamson taking the other, the BRSCC/MCD Lombard.

For the sake of completeness, Walker’s season commenced with the ‘Torneio Internacional de Formula 3 do Brasil’ (Brazilian F3 championship) run at Interlagos and Taruma during January.

Dave raced his (1970) works Lotus 59A Ford to third, second, 12th and first in the four round series, placing third overall behind Wilson Fittipaldi and Giovanni Salvati in Lotus 59A, and Tecno TF70 respectively.

Walker, Lotus 59A Holbay Ford, (1-litre 100bhp ‘screamer’) Interlagos, Brazil, January (FL Viviani)

Walker was the most successful of the 1971 Gold Leaf Team Lotus drivers, Emerson Fittipaldi and Reine Wisell had a lean year in Grand Prix racing, Lotus failed to win a GP for the first time in over a decade.

F1 proved a much harder nut for Walker to crack, and that story is a good deal more nuanced than most pundits would have you believe…one for another time.

Walker during a much tougher 1972

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, Fabio Luiz Viviani, F2 Index, Allen Brown in Oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece…

Finito…

sebring e type

Sebring 1970, marvellous composition by Bill Warner

(more…)