Posts Tagged ‘Brabham BT23 Ford FVA’

Jack Brabham awaits the start of one of the ‘Wills Trophy’ heats at Silverstone on 27 March 1967…

Is that John Cooper saying gedday before the off?

Jack is aboard BT23 chassis number 1- the very first in a long line of successful F2 and Tasman Formula cars- let’s not forget the BT23 spawned Ron Tauranac’s F1 Championship winning BT24 Repco design too.

Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT24 Repco during the 1967 US GP at Watkins Glen- he was 3rd behind the Clark/Hill Lotus 49 Ford duo (LAT)

Weren’t British enthusiasts blessed with championship F2 choice over Easter 1967?

They could have watched Jochen Rindt win at Snetterton on Good Friday and see him do it all again at Silverstone 180 Km away on Easter Monday aboard the same BT23-5 he used throughout a dominant 1967.

In a small tangent of Australian motor racing history this chassis is the one Denny Hulme raced in the 1968 Tasman Series- he boofed it at Pukekohe in a terrible accident involving Lawrence Brownlie’s Brabham and replaced it with BT23-2 in time for the Lady Wigram Trophy two weeks later.

Feo Stanton and Alec Mildren bought the remains less suspension and sent them off to Rennmax Engineering in Sydney for Bob Britton to built a jig and a run of new cars, the ‘Rorstan’ for Feo and ‘Mildren’ for Alec. Numerous cars really, the Rorstan, Mildren and Rennmax BN3’s all owe their lives to Jochen’s dead BT23-5.

Jochen blasts off at the start of heat 1- wheel on the right is Rees. Stewart’s Matra MS5 behind his Austrian buddy, Brabham’s BT23 #1- behind Brabham is Gardner, BT23 and alongside him in the red helmet is Widdows’ similar car with the red/orange tipped nose to the right on the same grid row, Mike Spence Parnell ex-F1 Lotus 33 FVA (Getty)

The Snetterton ‘Guards 100’ was the first championship race for the new 1.6 litre Formula 2 which commenced on 1 January that year, the category was enormously popular and successful even if, from the off it was ‘Formula FVA’, with special mentions for the Ferrari Dino V6 and BMW M11 in-line four.

Rindt came into 1967 as the acknowledged F2 King and left it with his crown polished ever more brightly, a quick perusal of ‘F2 Index’ results suggests he won all of the rounds in which he started and finished- Snetterton, Silverstone, the Nurburgring and Tulln-Langelbarn.

He had a DNF, a puncture at Jarama, that race was won by Clark’s Lotus 48- whilst he was occupied elsewhere the other race wins were taken by Stewart at Enna, Gardner at Hockenheim and 1967 European Series Champion, Jacky Ickx in a Ken Tyrrell Matra MS5 FVA was victorious at Zandvoort and Vallelunga.

McLaren and Surtees, McLaren M4A and Lola T100 (V Blackman)

 

Surtees in Lola T100 ‘SL/100/4’ given I am bandying chassis numbers around. Surtees primary programs that year were leading Honda’s F1 campaign and his Team Surtees Can-Am Lola program in the US- busy boy. That’s Ickx’ Matra MS5 behind and Mike Spence, Lotus 33 further back

As a ‘Graded Driver’ Jochen was ineligible for F2 Championship points, so Ickx won in 1967 from Gardner’s works BT23 and Jean-Pierre Beltoise’ works Matra MS5, Piers Courage in John Coombs McLaren M4A, Alan Rees in the other Roy Winkelmann BT23 and Chris Irwin’s works Lola T100 FVA and T102 BMW.

Creation of a new category brings forth a wonderful commercial opportunity with Cosworth Engineering flogging heaps of FVA’s (putting aside the derivatives of the motor which followed and the DFV proof of cylinder head design concept Duckworth’s FVA in part represented), Hewland Engineering dozens of FT200’s and of course availed the chassis manufacturers a great opportunity too.

Jack’s new BT23-1 and new Hewland FT200- in front of that 5 speed transaxle is a Ford Cortina blocked, Cosworth four-valve, Lucas injected 1.6 litre circa 210 bhp powerhouse. Tauranac’s typically simple combo of spaceframe chassis and outboard suspension provided a phenomenally fast, chuckable, robust, winning combination year after year. I don’t think he ever built a dog- Brabham or Ralt?

 

Bruce McLaren is aboard chassis number 1 too. M4A-1 was the first of ? such cars, designed by the McLaren/Robin Herd combo

The class of 1967 included the monocoque Lotus 48, Matra MS5/MS7, Lola T100 and McLaren M4A but arguably the car of the year, even putting aside Rindt’s dominance as a driver, was the spaceframe Brabham BT23- bias hereby declared by the way! Perhaps the BT23/23C are the ‘winningest cars’ of that 1967-1971 1.6 F2 period?

I really should prove that assertion statistically I guess, when and if I can be bothered. ‘Nicer cars’ in my book are the Lotus 59 and 69, Matra MS5/MS7 and Ferrari Dino, but more successful, I’m not so sure.

Whatever the case, in this immediate pre-wing year these cars were and are a mouth watering, very fast selection of single-seater racing cars.

Jackie Stewart above and below in one of the two Tyrrell Racing Organisation Matra MS5’s-Ickx in the other car.

Another year of the GP BRM H16 in 1967 was one too many for Jackie, and so it was that Ken Tyrrell stitched together a winning F1 combination of Matra, the Ford Cosworth DFV, Stewart and of course his own team’s preparation and organisational skills.

Bruce McLaren is behind Jackie in the shot below.

Silverstone’s BARC 200 was run over two heats of a little over 30 minutes in duration, Rindt won both with John Surtees third in the two events, Alan Rees was second in one and Graham Hill runner-up in the other.

The aggregated results gave Rindt the round from Rees’ BT23, Surtees T100, Bruce’s M4A, Stewart’s MS5, Gardner’s BT23 and Jacky Ickx’ MS5.

The entry lists right from the get-go of the new category were top notch, other drivers who raced at Silverstone included Robin Widdows BT23, Mike Spence in a Tim Parnell ex-F1 Lotus 33 fitted with an FVA, Denny Hulme BT23 (DNF with a busted conrod in heat 2), Piers Courage M4A, Jean-Pierre Beltoise MS5, Jo Siffert in the BMW factory Lola T100 BMW (all three of whom had injection dramas) Mike Costin, Brian Hart and Trevor Taylor. The list of Did Not Arrives was equally impressive.

Siffert, Lola T100 BMW M11, fuel injection dramas brought an end to Jo’s run (unattributed)

Of twenty-four starters, four were fitted with Lotus-Ford twin-cam motors, Siffert’s Lola (above and below) the very interesting BMW M11 Apfelbeck, the balance were toting Ford FVA’s so Duckworth and the lads had the production line in Northhampton humming along nicely.

There were a couple of FVA users with Lucas injection dramas, but Denny’s buggered rod was the only example of greater mechanical mayhem in a package which proved a paragon of reliability over the ensuing years.

(unattributed)

 

This has to be the most distinctive, simple piece of personal branding ever- in colour or black ‘n white Hill G or Hill D are so easy to pick in their London Rowing Club colours aren’t they? Lotus 48 Ford FVA.

Sydneysiders had the chance to see a Euro F2 1.6 car earlier than most, Warwick Farm promoter Geoff Sykes did a one race deal for Graham to race Lotus 48 ‘R1’ in the Australian Grand Prix that February.

Having come all that way the car’s FT200 expired after 25 laps of the race, Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 2.1 prevailed, the series was won that year by Jim Clark racing an F1 Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8.

Graham raced ‘R2’ back in Europe with Jim Clark using ‘R1’ as his mount in 1968.

Stewart, BRM P261, Clark, Lotus 33 Climax and Hill, Lotus 48 Ford FVA, row 2 Brabham left Brabham BT23A Repco and Leo Geoghegan, Lotus 39 Climax and against the fence, Denny Hulme, Brabham BT18/22 Repco. AGP, Warwick Farm, February 1967 (B Wells)

 

Rindt and Hill- and Rees to the right jump similarly at the start of heat 2.

Thats Brabham, Surtees and McLaren on row two and Hulme, Gardner, Ickx and far right in the red McLaren- Piers Courage. The result was Rindt, Hill, Surtees.

(V Blackman)

Jochen with a delicate slide out of Woodcote, the proximity of ‘snappers to the action back then never ceases to amaze.

Rindt’s car control is right up there with the rest of the Gods of that art- Nuvolari, Fangio, Peterson, Villeneuve et al.

Etcetera…

Jack looks happy enough before the off.

Its only several weeks after the end of the Tasman Series- Brabham finished a pretty skinny series for the full on Repco-Brabham two car works assault on the championship that year well, he won the Longford final round in his one off Brabham BT23A on 5 March.

Two Repco ‘640’ engined cars were raced by Jack and Denny in all eight meetings of the six round championship- that season Levin and Teretonga were not championship rounds.

In fact there were a whole swag of blokes on that Silverstone grid who had raced in Australasia that summer- Stewart, Brabham, Gardner, Irwin, McLaren, Hill and Hulme- Clark was the only absentee from the roll-call.

(L Ruting)

Brabham fries a set of Goodyears and proves just how chuckable a BT23 can be in the hands of an Ace- AGP Warwick Farm 1967.

Its BT23A-1, JB’s 1967 Tasman weapon, a one-of-a-kind BT23 variant powered at that stage by a 640 Series Repco 2.5 litre Tasman V8, this machine is still in Australia, it was acquired by the National Motor Museum in 2018.

Article on the Tasman Brabham Repco’s here; https://primotipo.com/2016/09/29/bathurst-1969-and-jacks-tasman-brabhams/

(Getty)

An imperfectly executed pan of Hill’s Lotus 48 chasing Brian Hart’s Protos 16 FVA. Now there is a interesting marque topic to explore one day!

Who are those fellows looking after Bruce?

Piers Courage in John Coombs M4A behind McLaren, and in the photograph below. This car, ‘M4A-2’, Piers acquired from Coombs and raced in the 1968 Tasman and brained everybody with his speed and commitment.

He capped off an amazing summer with a blinding wet weather drive at Longford, his deft pace won the race from the 2.5’s which were hampered in their ability to put their power down on the slippery, bumpy bitumen.

The car was bought by Niel Allen at the end of the series, he did well in it and survived an almighty car destroying accident in it at Lakeside, it was rebuilt around a Bowin Designs built tub and then was one of the cars in which Warwick Brown made his name when owned by Pat Burke. Not so sure its still in Oz?

Article on Piers @ Longford here; https://primotipo.com/2015/10/20/longford-tasman-south-pacific-trophy-4-march-1968-and-piers-courage/

(LAT)

The photographs of the Courage McLaren in Australia below are during the Warwick Farm 100- he was second in the race won by Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW.

The two monochrome photos below are during his victorious Longford weekend in March 1968, the great circuit’s final meeting.

(P Hudson)

Piers nipping the right front brake of M4A-2 on the entry to Mountford Corner during the dry, earlier over the Labour Day long weekend.

Courage ran the car on a shoestring assisted by Australian ex-Lotus mechanic Ray Parsons with two FVA’s, his performances that summer in many ways re-launched his career.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

It really did piss down on raceday, sadly for all, not least for the venues future, crowd numbers were way down although better than the ‘three men and a dog’ perspective provided by the shot below.

The hardy natives saw one of the great drives, Courage won from Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P261 and Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT23 Alfa with Richard Attwood’s BRM P126 fourth.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

 

(unattributed)

‘And to think Jack pays me to do this shit! Its such a blast!’

Denny having a ball at Silverstone, he seems to have lost his front number but no doubt this was addressed by race day. The stars affixed to the cars are part of the Wills corporate identity i guess, sponsorship became less subtle from 1 January 1968!

Denny is racing BT23-2, his regular mount during 1967, although his primary commitments that year were winning the World Championship, which he managed nicely, and running the second of McLaren Cars, McLaren M6A Chevs in the Can-Am Challenge Cup- he was second to Bruce.

(D Simpson)

Max Stewart is shown above in the Mildren Waggott during the 1970 Sandown Cup, Tasman round.

Niel Allen won that day in his F5000 McLaren M10B Chev from Graeme Lawrence’s ex-Amon Ferrari Dino 246T, Ulf Norinder, Lola T190 Chev and then Max in the 2 litre Waggot TC-4V engined car- Max ‘won everything’ in Australia in this jigger including the 1971 Gold Star.

The photo is included for the sake of completeness to show one of the seven cars built by Bob Britton from the jig created from Rindt’s dead BT23-5, which these days of course is alive and well and racing in Europe.

Speaking of which, the photo below is of Denny ranging up on Lawrence Brownlie at Pukekohe during the 1968 NZ GP on 6 January in BT23-5, Lawrence’s car is a Brabham BT15/23 Ford t/c.

In a move which is still hotly debated by Kiwi enthusiasts decades later, Denny and Lawrence collided destroying both cars and ending Brownlie’s career.

(Classic Auto News)

1.6 F2 Reference Resource…

Most of you know Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com is a primary reference source for me inclusive of F2 1.6, click here for his F2 homepage and then navigate the site easily to look at seasons, individual races and in many cases car and individual chassis histories; https://www.oldracingcars.com/f2/

Here is one of my own pieces on the Lotus 48;

https://primotipo.com/2015/06/05/lotus-48-ford-fva-agp-warwick-farm-1967-graham-hill-and-jim-clark/

Credits…

Getty Images, LAT, F2 Index, oldracingcars.com, LAT, Lance Ruting, Paul Hudson, Dick Simpson, oldracephotos.com.au, Victor Blackman, Bruce Wells, Classic Auto News

Tailpiece: Six 210 bhp F2 Missiles whistle into Copse at speed…

(Getty)

Finito…

Jochen Rindt doing some Brabham ‘grass cutting’ at the Tulln-Langenlebarn airfield circuit in 1967 with the flair and precision for which he was famous…

There are the ‘thinking drivers’ of course but it’s the ones with mesmerising, other worldly driving skills that ultimately excite.

The high priests amongst these fellows are the likes of Nuvolari, Fangio, Peterson, Villeneuve and of course Jochen Rindt. Only two of these chaps died in bed. In the days when racing cars and the geography in which they raced could and did bite, the law of averages, especially if you played with the extremes of the laws of physics too often could bring you undone.

Rindt from JPB at TL in 1968. He won from JPB and Henri Pescarolo in works  Matra MS7 FVA’s. Brabham BT23C’s filled 5 of the top 10 placings (unattributed)

Rindt made his name in F2- he was the dominant player in the class from the time he entered it in 1964 until the time he left planet earth in 1970. For much of that period he raced Brabhams- the chuckability of which were tailor made for the plucky Austrians balls to the wall, tail out, crowd pleasing style. Check out this article about Jochen and the F1 Lotus 72 Ford; https://primotipo.com/2017/05/19/designers-original-intent/

The BT23 family of cars, Tasman and F2/FB variants were ripper cars. They were up there with the very best of customer Brabhams designed by Ron Tauranac, fettled by Jack as to baseline chassis setup and built by Motor Racing Developments in large numbers.

The photos in this article are of Rindt at Tulln-Langenlebaln, Vienna and Thruxton. At TL Rindt’s Winkelmann BT23 FVA won in 1967 from Jack Brabham’s works machine and Jean-Pierre Beltoise’ Matra MS5 FVA , and ‘winged in 1968 from JPB and Henri Pescarolo both aboard  works Matra MS7 FVA’s.

At Thruxton (below) in 1968 he won from JPB in an MS7 FVA and Derek Bell in a BT23C FVA. Jochen also raced a BT23C in ’68, again Winkelmann entered.

Jochen on the way to winning the ‘BARC 200’ at Thruxton on 15 April 1968, Winkelmann BT23C (unattributed)

Bibliography…

F2 Index

Photo Credits…

Unattributed

Tailpiece: Rindt, on it, as usual, BT23C, Tulln-Langenlebaln, Vienna, 14 July 1968…

(unattributed)

image

(John Arkwright)

Check out the view Maxxy!

Niel Allen and Max Stewart having a contretemps at Skyline, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, Easter 1969…

The bucolic terrain of New South Wales Central Tablelands stretches into the distance, the view probably not what the two drivers were focussed upon at the time. The race was the ’69 Bathurst Gold Star round, the field of which was substantially reduced by this first lap prang. The incident happened when Max misjudged his braking behind John Harvey, locked a brake and boofed the fence in his Mildren Waggott 1.6. Niel was right up Max’ chuff in his ex-Piers Courage McLaren M4A Ford FVA 1.6 and couldn’t avoid him. Out of shot is Queenslander Glynn Scott’s Bowin P3 FVA who also joined in the fun!

image

Nice butt shot of Harvey’s BT23E; note wing mounted to cars uprights at rear, ‘RB740’ ‘between the Vee engine’ and oil cooler up in the breeze (oldracephotos.com)

Here (above) is a shot of Harve’s Bob Jane owned Brabham BT23E Repco, it was Jack’s works ’68 Tasman car, sold to Bob at the end of the series then raced by John in the following years. In fact it wasn’t a lucky car for Harvey, he had a big accident at the same Easter meeting in ’68 when an upright broke, rooting the car and John. He was in hospital for quite a while after the prang, his speed undiminished when he returned to racing Jane’s stable of racers, sports-racers and tourers.

image

Harvey’s BT23E at Bathurst after his big practice accident on 14 April 1968 (Dale Harvey)

Click here for an article on this car;

https://primotipo.com/?s=brabham+bt23e

These fellas are favourites; property developer Allen was later as quick as Australia’s F5000 ‘Gold Standard’ Frank Matich without nearly as many seat miles, Stewart a multiple ‘Gold Star’ (1971/4) and AGP winner (19734/5) and Harvey a winner in everything he raced; speedcars, single-seaters, big sportscars and touring cars, the Bathurst enduro included.

image

Start of the Bathurst ’69 Gold Star race: front row comprises Max’ yellow Mildren Waggott, Niel Allen McLaren M4A FVA and on the inside Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco. The blue car behind is Glynn Scott’s Bowin P3 FVA and Harvey’s red Brabham BT23E, the torque of which clearly gobbled up Stewart and Allen on the steep climb up the mountain for Max to nearly run into him heading down the mountain. The white car is Henk Woelders’ 3rd placed Elfin 600 Ford t/c. You can just see Jacks red Brabham on the outside beginning his charge. He had fuel feed problems in practice so was off grid 7 with times well below the cars potential (Neville McKay)

The race was won by Jack Brabham’s F3 based Brabham BT31 Repco on a rare Gold Star Australian appearance fitted into his European program. This little jigger was powered by a 2.5 litre ‘830 Series’ SOHC, 2 valve Repco V8. Easter Bathurst is an historically significant meeting in Repco terms; it was Jack’s last Repco race and win in Australia. Brabham’s last International Repco races were those contested by he and Peter Revson in the USAC Championship that year in Brabham BT25’s powered by Repco ‘760 Series’ 4.2 litre DOHC, 4 valve, methanol fuelled V8’s.

image

Brabham between Skyline and The Dipper, BT31 Repco during the race (Dick Simpson)

Check out, rather than repeating myself these articles on the BT31;

https://primotipo.com/2015/02/26/rodways-repco-recollections-brabham-bt31-repco-jacks-69-tasman-car-episode-4/

and on Brabham’s 1969 and 1970 seasons;

https://primotipo.com/2014/09/01/easter-bathurst-1969-jack-brabham-1970-et-al/

This article was inspired by Lindsay Ross uploading quite a few images of this meeting on his oldracephotos.com Instagram page, check it out, they pop up a post every day or so. It seemed an idea to put the images floating around of this meeting in one place. I’ve an Instagram page too, as well as Facebook, just key ‘primotipo’ into the respective search engines and follow the prompts. The FB page has quite a lot of shots I don’t use on primotipo so may be worth a look every few days.

image

Brian Page in BT23A with ‘740 Series’ Repco, DNF with broken exhaust on lap 15 in the ex-Brabham/Scuderia Veloce machine (oldracephotos.com)

The first lap accident ruined what could have been an interesting race, Jack cruised to an easy race win by 1.5 minutes from Harvey’s car and Henk Woelders F2 Elfin 600B Ford t/cam.

Historically interesting is that this meeting was on the weekend of 7 April 1969, high-wings were banned globally at Monaco on the GP weekend of 18 May 1969, so it’s interesting to see the ‘Australian State of the Art’ in terms of fitment of said aero devices immediately before they were banned. Brabham tried the ‘bi-wing’ below setup on his BT31 in practice but raced with only a rear wing fitted.

image

Of arcane interest, perhaps (from the master of the arcane and tangential) is that all of Jacks ‘works’ Repco engined Tasman cars competed in this race bar one…

Brian Page’s BT23A(1) is JB’s ’67 Tasman car, Harve’s BT23E(1) is the ’68 weapon and Jack raced BT31 the car, late arriving in Australia, which did the ’69 Sandown round only.

Missing is BT19(F1-1-65) the chassis in which Jack won the ’66 World F1 Drivers and Constructors titles, and in 2.5 litre ‘620 Series’ engined form, raced in the ’66 Tasman Series, putting valuable pre-GP season race miles on Repco’s ‘brand-spankers’ V8 at Sandown and Longford.

The only car not in Oz now is BT23E(1) which was, and still may be in the US.

image

Jack Brabham guiding BT19 (F1-1-65) into The Viaduct, Longford on his way to 3rd place during the South Pacific Trophy on 7 March 1966, the third race for the new RB ‘620 Series’ V8. The race was won by Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261

Whilst on the arcane it occurs to me is what a versatile, influential and successful design Ron Tauaranac’s BT23 space-frame was in the Brabham Pantheon…

’twas Ron’s clean sheet design for the new for ’67 1.6 litre European F2; it’s variants won a million F2 races over the following years in the hands of aces like Rindt but also in the care of privateer ‘coming-men’. Mind you it didn’t ever win the title despite winning 6 of the ten championship rounds in 1967, ‘graded drivers’ like Rindt were ineligible for championship points. Matra and Lotus took the ‘works entry’ approach more seriously than Jack and Ron during these years, in any event, as a customer racing car the BT23’s won lotsa races, the 1968 Rindt driven BT23C the most successful car of the year.

image

Jochen Rindt typically all ‘cocked up’ on the way to a win in the 9 July 1967 ‘GP de Rouen-les-Essarts’, Brabham BT23 Ford FVA. 1.6 litre F2 formula one of great chassis, it not engine diversity, Ford’s Cosworth FVA won every title from 1967 to 1971. F2 was 2 litre from ‘72 (unattributed)

From an F1 perspective the ’67 World Championship winning BT24 Repco was a ‘beefed up’ BT23, to the extent that Ron initially raced his BT24’s with an FT200 Hewland, the Maidenhead gearbox gurus ‘F2 box’ but found that tranny overstressed with ‘740 Series’ Repco V8 torque tearing away at its gizzards, its CWP in particular. I won’t bang on about the BT24 now as I’m in the process of writing an article about the ’67 Brabham/Repco winning season and go into much BT24 detail. Suffice it to say that the F2 BT23 begat the F1 BT24, my favourite Brabham.

image

Denny Hulme jumping his BT24 Repco at the Nurburgring during his ’67 Championship winning season. He won the German GP by 40 seconds from Jack (unattributed)

From an Australian viewpoint the BT23 Repco Tasman cars were very important as they provided much needed cars on skinny local grids…

The Tasman Series 2.5 Formula grids were ‘chockers’ with cars and stars, the domestic championship contained quality but not quantity. Budgets for these relatively expensive cars were hard to find in the sixties and Australia’s march to Touring Car domination was already well underway so ‘taxis’ were starting to absorb sponsorship budgets previously devoted to real racing cars.

Funnily enough, even though there was a swag of Repco engined BT23’s running around it was Alec Mildren’s, one off, 2.5 litre Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 V8 engined BT23D(1) which took a Gold Star. Frank Gardner raced this car in the ’68 Tasman, it was then taken over by Kevin Bartlett, the Aussie ace took the ’68 Gold Star in it. Repco never won a Gold Star title, a topic to explore at some stage during the Repco series of articles I am gradually writing with Rodway Wolfe and more recently Nigel Tait’s help.

image

Simply sensational Dick Simpson shot of Kevin Bartlett in BT23D Alfa, Hell Corner Bathurst Easter 1968, KB was walking away with the race until a broken rear upright ended his run. Dominant in this car in ‘68/9 (Dick Simpson)

Delving deeper into this BT23 tangent, whilst a BT23 Repco never won a Gold Star, a BT23 Waggott nee Mildren did…

Denny Hulme raced a works F2 Brabham BT23(5) FVA in the ’68 Tasman Series comprehensively boofing the car in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe on 6 January, the series opening round.

Denny’s chassis was Jochen Rindt’s Winkelmann Racing entry in ’67, he won 9 Euro F2 races in it including the Rouen event pictured above. Another car (BT23-2) was sent from England for Denny to race in the rest of the series. Feo Stanton and Ian Rorison of Rorstan Racing bought the wreck and sent it to Rennmax Engineering in Sydney for Bob Britton to repair.

Instead of doing so Bob made a jig from the bent frame and sent a new chassis, the Rorstan Mk1 back to the Kiwis. Seven cars were built on the BT23 jig; the Rorstan, Mildren, two Rennmax BN2 and three BN3’s. Of these the Mildren, so named by Alec Mildren, the Sydney Alfa Romeo dealer, team owner and former Gold Star champion was the most successful. The Britton jig was also put to good use over the coming years repairing cars like Harvey’s bent BT23E!

image

Max Stewart ‘harry flatters in top gear’ heading down Surfers Paradise main straight and about to guide his 2 litre Waggott powered Mildren missile under the fast right hander and Dunlop Bridge. 9th in the ‘Surfers 100’ Tasman round in 1970 against the F5000’s. Graham McRae’s McLaren M10A Chev won the race but Bartlett’s 2 litre Mildren Mono Waggott was 2nd on this power circuit (Dick Simpson)

So…the Mildren pictured resting against the Skyline Armco fencing at this articles outset is a BT23 design. Max Stewart was prodigiously fast in the Mildren Waggott, he was one of those guys who seemed to get quicker as he got older, in ’69 he was quick, by the mid-seventies he absolutely flew in his Lola F5000’s. He was one of the very small number of blokes in Oz who squeezed absolutely everything out of these, big, demanding, fast, spectacular, fabulous 500bhp V8’s.

Bartlett, Matich, Allen, John McCormack, Bruce Allison, Warwick Brown, John Walker and Stewart in my book were the F5000 aces with Matich, if I have to pick one, the first among equals. Mind you, on sheer speed Alf Costanzo who came relatively late to the F5000 party could have been ‘the one’. Its an interesting topic to debate, end of F5000 tangent!

One of the pit sights which always amused me, and admittedly small things amuse small minds was big Max, he wasn’t a ‘fat bastard’, but he was 6’2”, crammimg himself into one of his cars before setting off for the dummy grid. If there was a taller bloke than Max in F5000 globally I’d be intrigued to know his name. He must have given away at least 10Kg to the rest of the grid before he even plopped his arse into the tight aluminium monocoque confines of the F5000 Lolas in which he excelled.

image

Max was big of stature and heart; here he is after winning the Rothmans International Series ‘Sandown Cup’ on 20 February 1977, his last big win, Lola T400 Chev, sadly not too long before his untimely death at Calder, 19 March 1977 (Ian Smith)

By the time Merv Waggott was building 2 litre variants of his superb DOHC, 4 valve, Lucas injected, bespoke aluminium blocked engines they were outright winners in 2.5 litre Tasman Formula events in the hands on the Mildren Duo, Messrs Bartlett and Stewart. The first Gold Star for F5000 was in 1971; Max’ Mildren Waggott won the Gold Star with about 275bhp from his close mate Bartlett in a much less nimble and reliable 500bhp McLaren M10B Chev in a year of speed and consistency. I don’t care what anyone says, F5000’s driven to their limit were always a little brittle.

So, to join the dots, a BT23 design did win the Gold Star albeit called a Mildren. Stewart’s Mildren Waggott and Bartlett’s Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott are tangents too far for this article and a wonderful future topic, there is a sensational article to be written there with Kevin Bartlett’s first-hand assistance on both chassis’ and engine if I ask him nicely…

image

Merv Waggott changing plugs in his baby, Wigram 1970. Bartlett’s Mildren Mono ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott (Bill Pottinger/the Roaring Season)

Merv Waggott changing plugs in one of his superb jewels. An all alloy, DOHC, gear driven 4 valve Lucas injected circa 275bhp 2 litre engine. Its in the back Of Kevin Bartlett’s Mildren ‘Yellow Sub’ Waggott, shot is in the Wigram paddock, 1970 Tasman round on 17 January on 7 December. KB had a lousy meeting, not setting a practice time and DNF on lap 6 with engine dramas, Stewart was 3rd though in his car, Matich the winner in his McLaren M10A Chev.

The Waggott 2 litre engine was first built in late 1969 and initially developed circa 250bhp, its output later circa 268-275bhp with about 160 lbs/ft of torque. It raced to a win in KB’s hands in the ‘Sub upon debut in the ’69 ‘Hordern Trophy’ at WF, KB won again at the 1970 Warwick Farm Tasman round ahead of all the F5000’s and 2.5 Tasman Formula cars.  2 litre Waggotts won Australias’ Gold Star in 1970 for Leo Geoghegan (Lotus 59) and Stewart in ’71 as noted above.

An article about Merv and his creations is a wonderful feature for another time. Briefly for international readers Waggott’s Sydney shop built race winning engines from the 1950’s, checkout the article below on the WM Special/Cooper T20 Waggott Holden twin-cam 6 cylinder raced by Jack Myers and tested by Stirling Moss in the late ‘50’s as some background.

https://primotipo.com/2015/02/10/stirling-moss-cumberland-park-speedway-sydney-cooper-t20-wm-holden-1956/

Winding the clock forward, as the ANF1 2.5 litre formula spluttered on in the late sixties a ‘battle to the death’ was fought for the new ANF1 category in Oz between opposing forces who supported either F5000 or 2 litre F2. The latter to commence in Europe from 1 January 1972, F5000 commenced in Europe in 1969 and was born in the US as Formula A earlier still.

Waggott engines were initially of 1600cc, then later 1860cc and used the ubiquitous Ford Cortina block, same as Cosworth’s 1’6 litre FVA wherein Keith Duckworth tested his design ideas in advance of finalising his DFV design. In 1600 form the Waggott would have been Euro F2 legal, it used a production block as the regs required. The 1.6 litre F2 started in ’67 and ended in 1971 when it grew to 2 litres. There were a few FVA’s racing in Australia, the 1.6 Waggott more than a match for them, no Waggott’s, sadly, ever raced in Euro F2.

image

Lance Ruting studio shot of one of the engines, Ford block by the look of it so 1600 or 1860 (autopics.com)

Waggott 2 litre engines used a bespoke aluminium block as the stock cast iron Ford block maxxed out at about 1860cc. Beyond that the pistons kissed! Mike Hailwood’s Surtees TS10 won the ’72 Euro F2 Championship running Brian Hart built Ford BDA’s of 1850cc, those competitors running greater capacity than that had unreliability. The final Euro 2 litre F2 regs required production blocks from 1972-75 until ’76 when ‘racing engines’ were allowed. So, in the earliest years of the class the Waggott was ineligible.

Merv’s engines could have raced in F2 from ’76 but he had long before told CAMS to ‘shove it’ after F5000 was chosen (probably rightly given the backing of Ford, Holden and Repco who were building V8’s/wanting to develop an F5000 variant of the Holden engine in Repco’s case) as Australias’ new ANF1 from the 1971 Gold Star competition.

Had the ingenious, beautifully built little engine been Euro F2 Championship legal in 1972 Sydney’s Waggott Engineering had the winning engine! The engines were tried, tested championship winning donks ready to pop into any car. 275bhp and a big fat torque curve, Kevin Bartlett quoted the usable rev range of 6800-8750rpm, would have done the trick in 1972, the BMW M12 changed the F2 game from ’73 of course.

A wonderful ‘mighta-been’ all the same. Merv could have ‘stolen the F2 march’ in 1972 in much the same way Repco did in F1 with its Olds F85 production block based ‘620 Series’ V8 in 1966…

image

Max Stewart on the way to winning the ‘Angus & Coote Trophy’, the 1971 Oran Park Gold Star round on 27 June. Mildren Waggott 2 litre, Graeme Lawerence was 2nd in a Brabham BT30 FVC, the little cars succeeding as the F5000’s fell away (Dick Simpson)

Credits…

John Arkwright, oldracephotos.com, Dick Simpson, Dale Harvey, Bill Pottinger/The Roaring Season, Ian Smith, Neville McKay, autopics.com.au

Bibliography…

oldracingcars.com, F2 Register

Tailpiece: A Lotus to end an article on Brabhams…

image

Leo Geoghegan’s Lotus 39 Repco with ‘830 series’ Repco V8, started from the Bathurst ’69 pole but out on lap 12 with a gearbox problem, his time would shortly come with this car, winning the JAF Japanese GP later in 1969 amongst a classy field (oldracephotos.com)

Click here for an article on this ex-Clark chassis;

https://primotipo.com/?s=lotus+39

Finito…