Posts Tagged ‘Brabham BT18 Ford’

(bilsportarvet.se)

Ronnie Peterson in the style which made him a famous crowd favourite ahead of a gaggle of other karts at Laxa, Sweden circa 1965.

3,000 people watched the Laxa Motorstadion’s – Sweden’s first Kart track – first race meeting in 1961, a venue that can take some of the credit for Sweden’s seventies and eighties motor racing successes.

Ronnie regularly practiced and raced there together with his father Bengt ‘Bagarn’ Peterson, a skilled car builder/fabricator. His competitive instinct was there from the start, but Laxa pit-pundits bet on Ronnie hitting the straw-bales on either lap one or two in his early days.

Prize presentation at Laxa circa 1964 (bilsportarvet.se)
Ronnie, Robardie Parilla circa 1965 (federicascarscelli.com)

By 1964 Ronnie had made a clean sweep of Laxa events, two years later, in September 1966 he place third in the World Kart Championships at Kopenhamm, Denmark in front of Toine Hezemans and one Keijo Rosberg.

While all the hotshots raced Parilla powered Tecnos and Birels, Ronnie’s Robardie was built by his dad. Bengt’s Robardies were good enough to win world kart titles for Tomas Nilsson in 1968 and Francois Goldstein in 1968-69.

By mid 1966 Peterson father and son had progressed to Formula 3, racing the Swebe Ford (most references have it as Svebe but the name on the original steering wheel says Swebe) which was built by Bengt and engineer Sven Andersson. It was essentially a Brabham BT15 clone fitted with Brabham like suspension, uprights and other components.

Ronnie’s best result in a half-dozen mid-year Swedish events was a third at the Dalsland Ring (below) in July.

Ronnie’s car control was legendary from the very start. He was never the best at working with the engineers to get the best out of a car, preferring to just drive around the problem
Ronnie, BT18, on the grid of the Danmarksmesterskab final at the Jyllandsringen, Denmark in October 1967 – second behind Reine Wisell’s BT18

By the Karlskoga meeting in October Ronnie raced a Brabham BT18 Ford in advance of a full campaign at home in 1967. He was fourth in the Swedish F3 Championship won by Reine Wisell, Ronnie then took back-to-back titles in 1968-69.

The 1969 F3 win which vaulted him into consideration for Colin Crabbe’s privately run F1 March 701 Ford in 1970 was victory over Europe’s cream-of-the-racing-crop at Monaco in May.

That field included fellow future F1 drivers Reine Wisell, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Tim Schenken, Patrick Depailler, Howden Ganley and Mike Beuttler. Ronnie won his heat and Wisell the other, with Ronnie nine-seconds in front of Reine in the final.

Happy and exhausted, Peterson after winning the 1969 Monaco F3 GP, Tecno 69 Ford Novamotor (LAT)
Quayside at Monaco. Tecno 69 chassis #TO334 won 16 F3 races in 1969 in Sweden, Italy, France and of course Monaco (unattribured)
SuperSwedes both; friends and rivals Ronnie and Reine Wisell at Anderstorp in June 1969 (LAT)

Even more impressive was that all of his F1 compatriots, with the exception of Howden Ganley, raced works or quasi-works cars, while Ronnie’s Squadra Robardie Tecno 69 Novamotor was spannered by Ronnie and his mechanic.

The world was on notice.

Nascent March Cars co-owner Alan Rees chased Ronnie’s signature at Crystal Palace the following weekend to drive the very first March, an F3 machine designated 693.

Ronnie at Karlskoga, Tecno Ford on the way to a win in May 1969
(MotorSport)

In September Peterson had his first F2 drive for Roy Winkelmann Racing (above) in the Albi Grand Prix.

Ronnie finished fifth aboard the unfamiliar Lotus 59B Ford FVA, in front of him were GP drivers Graham Hill, Johnny Servoz-Gavin, Jochen Rindt and Henri Pescarolo. It was his first Lotus drive, but far from his last!

Ronnie was on his way, and the rest, as they say, is history…

Credits…

‘Laxa-The country’s first Go-Kart Track’ Anders Bjork, bilsportarvet.se, olaussonphoto.com, federicascarscelli.com, LAT, MotorSport, F2 Index

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

So often Ronnie had his cars all cocked up well before the apex of a corner, as here at the Osterreichring aboard his March 721G Ford in 1972.

It wasn’t always the quickest way of course but car control exhibitions like this was the best part of a weekend for many spectators.

He ran as high as third from Q11 in Austria, finishing 12th. Colin Chapman liked what he saw, Ronnie had a Lotus seat in 1973 and gave Emerson Fittipaldi, the reigning World Champ a serious run for his money. Emerson won three GPs, and Ronnie four, which gave Lotus the constructors title but Jackie Stewart won the drivers championship with five wins…

Finito…