Posts Tagged ‘1952 Daily Express Formula Libre Trophy Silverstone’

gonz silvers start

(Louis Klemantaski)

Froilan Gonzalez launches his BRM V16 Mk1 off the line. 19 July, Silverstone ‘Daily Express Formula Libre Trophy’…

He is slow away on the inside though, Piero Taruffi is quicker off the line in the Thinwall Ferrari on the outside with Ken Wharton in the other #8 BRM, similarly sluggish. Big, heavy beasts that they are, with Gigi Villoresi in the factory Ferrari 375 V12 between the two V16’s.

gonz and ray

‘Get knotted’, hmm, maybe not. ‘Take it easy for two laps’ Raymond Mays seems to be saying to his driver? (Ronald Startup)

2-litre F2 became the World Championship category in 1952, a consequence of there being too little opposition to Ferrari upon Alfa Romeo’s withdrawal from Grand Prix racing at the end of 1951.

BRM’s unreliability in terms of commitment to GP racing forced the issue upon the CSI. The choice was to have Ferrari dominate F1 or potentially open up the fields by running the World Championship to F2 of which their were plenty of manufacturers, ignoring the fact that the Scuderia dominated there anyway.

Despite the change to F2, ten F1 races of substance were held in 1952, but quite a few of them were in reality Formula Libre events, as Silverstone was. Event organisers were keen for the Grand Prix car spectacle, there were plenty of them even if the grids were thin of recent F1 cars.

gonz silvers astraight

The big, brutish, distinctive BRM Type 15 profile. Gonzalez, Silverstone (Louis Klemantaski)

The 35 lap race was won by Piero Taruffi in Tony Vandervell’s Ferrari 375 Thinwall Special from the Scuderia Ferrari 375 of Luigi Villoresi and Chico Landi’s 1951 spec Ferrari 375. Fourth was Australian Tony Gaze in a pre-war Maserati 8CM.

Gonzalez was out on lap eight after an accident, Ken Wharton in the other BRM completed 33 laps before retiring with a gearbox problem. The mixed nature of the grid is indicated by the place-getters below fourth who were Ron Flockhart and Bob Gerard in ERA D and A Types, John Barber in a Cooper T20 Bristol, Graham Whitehead in ERA C Type, and Bira in Maser 4CLT Osca V12 and the rest. There was no shortage of variety in the field which comprised pre and post War, supercharged and normally aspirated, F1 and F2 cars.

Although not GP wins the BRM was finding some form later in the season with victories for Reg Parnell at Turnberry in August and Gonzalez at Goodwood in late September. Gonzalez led home Parnell and Ken Wharton in a BRM 1-2-3 in the 15 lap ‘Daily Graphic Goodwood Trophy’ that day in a grid comprising mainly F2 cars.

If only it’s development were a year or so further advanced at the time…


Louis Klemantaski, Ronald Startup

Tailpiece: Gonzalez wowing the Silverstone crowds with the stunning music of 1.5-litres of supercharged BRM V16…

gonz silvers truck

(Louis Klemantaski)