Posts Tagged ‘1974 Australian Grand Prix’

(Feisst)

Max Stewart looks pretty happy aboard his pristine, new Elfin MR5 Repco, New Zealand Grand Prix, Pukekohe 1972…

He is talking to Elfin works mechanic Dale Koenneke, well known in Australia for his work with Elfins, John McCormack and later K&A Engineering, an enduring partnership in Adelaide he formed with Harry Aust.

Max took to F5000 like a duck to water. His speed in 2 litre cars- he won the 1971 Australian Gold Star series in his trusty Mildren Waggott 2 litre was immediately transferred across to the more demanding 5 litre, 480bhp MR5. The Elfin wasn’t the ‘ducks guts’ of cars albeit John McCormack developed his car to a fine race, and championship winning pitch. But in 1972 Max was the fastest guy aboard an MR5- a quicker driver than Garrie Cooper, McCormack and John Walker. Very soon McCormack and Walker developed ultimate speed whereas Garrie- quick in a Tasman 2.5 car was never more than a journeyman in 5 litre single-seaters.

Stewart booting the MR5 around Warwick Farm during the 1972 ‘Hordern Trophy’ Gold Star round- 3rd behind Frank Matich’s Matich A50 Repco and Kevin Bartlett’s Lola T300 Chev (Aust Motor Racing Annual)

The MR5 looked superb. Even though Alec Mildren abandoned his race team at the end of 1970 Max kept the Mildren yellow team colour on his own cars- both the Mildren Waggott in 1971 and MR5 in 1972. He retained the Seiko and BP sponsorships too. What a sad day for Australian motor-racing it was when Alec finally pulled the pin. He was such a wonderful benefactor/entrant of Frank Gardner, Kevin Bartlett and Max Stewart and others, but those fellas in particular.

The MR5 wasn’t the ‘Silver Hammer’ at all for Max though. That car was undoubtedly the racer which followed, his ex-works Frank Gardner driven development prototype Lola T330 Chev ‘HU1’. It was the very first of that ‘category destroying’! series of dominant T330/332 Lolas. Max made HU1 sing for years and was always competitive with the T332’s. Both the T330 and MR5 ’5722’ are still in Australia, restored and exercised regularly.

Photo Credits…

Mike Feisst Collection on The Roaring Season, Neil Stratton, Australian Motor Racing Annual 1973, Tony Glenn

Tailpiece: Stewart swallowed by his Lola’s schnorkel, Pukekohe paddock 1973…

(Feisst)

Whilst Frank Gardner ‘retired’ from single-seater racing towards the end of the 1972 Tasman Series he continued to test openwheelers in his capacity as Lola’s development engineer/tester. He also raced this chassis, T330 ‘HU1’ once or twice in some end of season European F5000 Championship rounds in 1972 as he developed the production spec 1973 T330 for Eric Broadley.

HU1 was then sold to Max to run in the ’73 Tasman with Gardner on hand to advise the lanky Aussie on how to extract the best from the car, which he most certainly did. Here the car is in the Pukekohe paddock twelve months after the shot at this articles outset, both photos taken by the same photographer, Mike Feisst.

Max 5th aboard T330 HU1 during the final, sodden Warwick Farm Tasman in 1973. Steve Thompson won in a Chevron B24 Chev (Tony Glenn)

Postscript: The choice of Elfin/Repco/Lola/Chev…

Stewart didn’t have great reliability from the MR5 in either the ’72 Tasman or the Gold Star- his best results were a 5th and 4th at Pukekohe and Levin in the Tasman and two 3rd places in the Gold Star at his home NSW tracks of Oran Park and Warwick Farm.

The decision to go with Lola was an easy one. He had witnessed at first hand the speed of the T300’s driven by his mate Kevin Bartlett, Bob Muir and others and no doubt Frank Gardner was able to impress upon him the speed of the coming T330. Frank Matich was at the front of the Repco queue- FM was their works driver after all, with perhaps McCormack and Cooper getting the next best customer engines.

Lola Chev was an eminently sensible move which paid off in spades for Max albeit not initially! The story of Stewarts’ success in his Lola’s is one for another time, suffice it to say aboard T330 ‘HU1’ he won the 1974 Teretonga and Oran Park Tasman rounds, the Australian Gold Star Series winning five of the six rounds including the Australian Grand Prix at Oran Park. Quite a season for the popular boy from Orange.

Max Stewart ahead of great friend and rival Kevin Bartlett during the 1974 Gold Star round at Oran Park won by Max. Lola T330 from T332 . KB DNF, Max won from the T332’s of Warwick Brown and Graeme Lawrence (Stratton)

Finito…

 

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(Rod MacKenzie)

Graeme Lawrence ‘bang on line’ as Kevin Bartlett remarked upon seeing this shot of the Kiwi champions Lola T332 Chev going through Oran Park’s new ‘twiddly bits’ during the 1974 Australian Grand Prix…

There is something great about seeing a racing cars mechanical elements isn’t there? Rod MacKenzie has captured them beautifully in this shot.

These Lola’s are favourites of mine as some of you would know, and a topic about which I have written at length, specifically Peter Brennan’s restoration of Lola T330 ‘HU18’- Lella Lombardi’s old bus. So I won’t bore you with the technical details again, it’s all in this series of articles, attached is the link to the first of them;

https://primotipo.com/2014/06/24/lellas-lola-restoration-of-the-ex-lella-lombardi-lola-t330-chev-hu18-episode-1/

There is so much to see back there starting, of course, with 5 litres of fuel injected Chev, say 520bhp in period. The poor Hewland DG300 5 speed transaxle coped, just, as long as it’s components were adequately lifed, the ‘box was originally designed around ‘effete’ 3 litre F1 engines, not, big, butch Chevs.

The beefy sliding spline driveshafts are clear as are the big inboard brake calipers and ventilated cast iron discs. These Lolas were beautifully finished, all of the steel fabrications were finished in shiny nickel plating.

Suspension is period typical at the rear; single upper link, two lower links, the earlier T330 you will see via the link above had inverted lower wishbones. Uprights were magnesium alloy, fore and aft location provided by radius rods. The shocks are double adjustable alloy bodied Koni’s. Adjustable roll bars were of course also fitted front and rear. Rod MacKenzie’s shot is so sharp you can see Graeme has the rear bar set at full soft, trying to get rear end bite out of Oran Park’s slower turns no doubt.

The big airbox is clear, within 12 months most of the T332’s on the planet had converted to an all enveloping engine cover cum airbox to better flow air over the car and onto the rear wing, this development was first made by the Haas/Chaparral crew in the US on Brian Redman’s car.

Big, wide Goodyears put the power to the road, the wheels are Lola’s own 14 inch diameter cast magnesium jobbies; within 12 months 15 inch American Jongbloed’s were de rigour on these beasts.

A car of beauty indeed!

Graeme was very successful in it; he came within a bees-dick of winning the ’75 Tasman Series in a last round shoot out at Sandown with fellow T332 pilots, Warwick Brown and John Walker, that story is told here, the battle resolved in Warwick’s favour, the only Aussie to win the coveted Tasman Cup;

https://primotipo.com/2015/03/12/the-mother-and-father-of-lucky-escapes-john-walker-sandown-tasman-1975/

Graeme also won the Kiwi Championship, the Gold Star with Lola in 1974/5.

Credits…

Rod MacKenzie, Terry Marshall

Tailpiece: ‘Team Lawrence’ and trusty T332 after a Tasman Levin win in 1975…

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(Terry Marshall)

The circumstances for the upload of these two photos by Rod and Terry Marshall were in honour of the recent passing of Graeme Lawrence’s late father Doug, helping Graeme out of the car above. He was an integral part of his sons motor racing from the start. Clearly there is deep respect and affection amongst former competitors and their crews on both sides of the Tasman for Doug Lawrence. RIP Sir.