(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…

Comments
  1. Great acknowledgement to a little known Australian driver who exceeded against stiff opposition. I am privileged to own a car driven by David in the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon of all events. David was under the Jim Russell Racing school banner at the time and the car was “thrashed mercilessly” by Sir Jack Brabham prior to being prepared with support from the Vauxhall Factory in the UK for the Marathon.

  2. Peter Finlay says:

    David is a terrific bloke and a very handy driver in his day. At the GRD Xmas party at Snetterton 1972, he suggested that we chase a European Championship, as he had done in the past with good results. I followed up on this advice and fund that there would be a 9 round European Formula Ford Championship with events at Zolder, Main-Finthen, Hockenheim, Djursdlandring, Anderstorp, 2 at the Osterrichring, one in Italy and the final on the GP circuit at Brands Hatch. As it happened the two Austrian rounds were combined into one race with double points and prizemoney. Second to Hans Binder there put me into the lead overall after poor Gerhard Irsa had a huge accident in practice involving two team mates,the result of which he lost his legs and never raced again. The Italian round was cancelled due to a cholera epidemic. As reported elsewhere I finished up in second place by one point adrift of Hans who won an F3 car for 1974. He went on to a brief career in F1.

  3. Philippe Demeyer says:

    Interestingly, the 69 “beefed up suspension” (i.e. with raised damper turrets) was not present on Dave’s car(s) in 1971, which was(were) still based on the 59 frame of the previous season.

    • markbisset says:

      Hi Phillippe,
      So, was DW’s 69 his 59A with 69 bodywork??
      Mark

      • Philippe DEMEYER says:

        Mark, most probably.
        Another detail to note (not easy to detect from the photos you posted) is that Dave’s 69 in 1971 also had centre lock wheels, which was a specific feature of the 59.
        Normal production 69s had bolted wheels.
        By the way, a “59A” (as shown above at Interlagos) is generally the terminology already used in 1970 for a 59 with the 69 wedge bodywork.

  4. Philippe Demeyer says:

    One more comment.
    The car would have obviously been adapted/modified to accommodate the Novamotor Twin Cam engine which was in an upright position, while the 1 litre F3 was installed at an angle of 30°.

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