Posts Tagged ‘Eagle T1G Weslake’

Stoffel Vandoorne, 7th, McLaren MCL32 Honda, Singapore GP 2017 (

‘There is no point rueing the good ole days!, you just sound like a silly old tugger!’ my youngest son observed of his father with all the respect typical of the ‘friggin millennials…

He is right of course. Every era of motor racing is interesting, the challenge is to keep up. But I must say, as a humanities graduate, the physics of kinetic recovery systems and the like is simply beyond the conceptual capacity of my noggin. No way can I write about it as I simply don’t geddit.

During the same research session that i was reading about McLaren’s use of 3D-Printing (announced April 2017) to more quickly design and deploy components on their cars- hydraulic line bracket, rear wing flap, radio harness boot and carbon fibre brake ducts to be specific, i also found some photos of those designer/builders Messrs Brabham, Gurney and Surtees.

I smiled to myself at the thought of those inveterate fettlers, fiddlers and finessers of racing cars and the manner and pace at which they would have used the tools of today.












Its Dan Gurney bearing down on Jack who is just pulling his Brabham BT24 Repco up in the 1967 Monza pitlane having tried the ‘cockpit streamliner’ he and Ron Tauranac concocted to squeeze a few more top speed revs out of the reliable- but not as powerful as the new-fangled Ford Cosworth DFV V8 in the hands of Clark and Hill, Repco SOHC ‘740 Series’ V8.

Dan is anxious to know the response of his mate and former employer, his own F1 experiment is about halfway through its life at this point. The Gurney-Weslake V12 engined variant of Len Terry’s Eagle Mk1 design (#10 in the pitlane- the car behind Dan’s is the Eagle raced by Ludovico Scarfiotti) made its debut at this very race meeting twelve months before.

‘Black Jack’- he of the permanent 5 o’clock shadow, would have driven Tauranac bonkers with the 3D technology and his ideas- imagine what Colin Chapman, always a man of the future and of overnight tweaks would have done with it!


Meanwhile at Warwick Farm John Surtees is looking for a way to get a few tenths out of his Surtees TS8 Chevy F5000 car during practice for the 1971 Australian Grand Prix at Warwick Farm.

One of the reasons Alan Jones left Surtees was just how painful ‘Big John’ was with car adjustments he ‘knew would not make the car quicker’ observed Jones of Surtees attitude on Jones requested TS19 chassis changes- despite Surtees ‘pottering around 2 seconds off the pace’ whilst forming his views.

The beauty of the 3D production process is the cost-effective manner in which (some) ideas can be tried, something all three of the impecunious owner/engineer/drivers mentioned would have approved.

2017 Singapore GP, Vandoorne, McLaren MPL32 Honda. Lewis Hamilton the winner in a Mercedes F1 W08 (McLaren)

There is no reason why engineer/drivers are not in F1 now, either in a formally qualified manner or via the ‘school of hard knocks’ but so far no-one has challenged an article i wrote a while back which anointed Larry Perkins as the last of the engineer/mechanic/racers at F1 level?

The truth is that we misty-eyed enthusiasts do look back with fondness at the racing we savoured to watch or contest in our youth, whereas the pro-elite level fellas never cast a glance to the rear but only forward to find the next means to win…

Credits…,, Bernard Cahier,, McLaren

Tailpiece: McLaren MPL32 Honda, 2017 Singapore GP…





french gp 1967

As Jeremy Clarkson would say. The 3 litre Formula 1 ushered in another era when a surfeit of power over chassis grip made the cars spectacular to watch and a challenge to drive…

Here Graham Hill #7 gets off pole with a minimum of Firestone wheelspin, not so Jack Brabham #3 and Dan Gurney #9, Repco V8 and Gurney-Weslake V12 leaving behind plenty of ‘Goodyear’. The noses of the cars behind are Clark’s yellow striped Lotus and Bruce McLaren in Dan’s second Eagle, his own car being not quite yet ready.

french bruce

Bruce McLaren getting the feel of the Eagle T1G Weslake. Q5 and retired on lap 26 with ignition failure. He also raced the car at Silverstone and the Nurburgring (The Cahier Archive)

Dan was on top of his game, he won the Belgian Grand Prix a fortnight before in his Eagle T1G and Lotus the first race for the 49 and its Cosworth engine two weeks before that. But it was the ‘old stager’ Brabham who took the French Grand Prix win in his BT24 from teammate Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261.

french jack and dan

Brabham’s BT24 ahead of Dan Gurney’s Eagle T1G DNF fuel line. Circuit Bugatti 1967 (unattributed)

The Automobile Club de France laid out a ‘pissant’ circuit built for the racing school which also used the start-finish straight of the classic 24 hour circuit but the ‘Circuit Bugatti’ had none of the atmosphere, grandeur or challenge of Reims, Rouen or Clermont Ferrand the other options available to them!

The ‘punters’ reacted accordingly, only 20000 showed up, the race was held at Rouen the following year.


Grid ready to go, G Hill popping on the Nomex, Bruce McLaren in an Eagle T1G and to his right Jochen Rindt’s Cooper T81B Maserati DNF engine (Getty)


frencj barabhams

#4 Hulme’s Brabham BT24 Repco 2nd in front of Jack’s car, #16 is Guy Ligier’s Cooper T81 Maserati N/Class. Le Mans paddock 1967. How small, light and neat do those BT24’s look? Champions in ’67 of course with Hulme D (unattributed)


Superb shot of Chris Amon’s Ferrari 312. He qualified 7th and ran as high as 3rd before the throttle cable broke at half distance (Sutton)

Jack lookin’ pretty happy with a good days work in his BT24 Repco both before the race and after its successful conclusion…



Credits: The Cahier Archive, Getty Images, Sutton Images

Tailpiece: You can take the Racing Driver out of the Engineer…

mc laren le mans eagkle

Ever the engineer Bruce helps with a plug change on his Weslake V12. Le Mans 1967 (Getty Images)




Jim Clark in his last Championship drive of a Lotus 33…

Colin Chapmans’ revolutionary family of cars, the Lotus 25/33 had been kind to Jim, World Championships in 1963 and 1965 in his symbiotic relationship with Chapman, his Team, his Cars.

The ’25’, introduced at Zandvoort in 1962 was not the first ‘monocoque’ chassis but it was the first ‘modern one’, all Grand Prix cars, indeed most racing cars can trace their parentage back to the 25 and the trends it set.

The good ‘ole multi-tubular spaceframe wasn’t dead mind you, Brabham were still winning Grands’ Prix in 1969 with their BT26, but even Brabham changed to aluminium sheet ‘tubs’ in 1970 as the use of ‘bag’ safety fuel tanks effectively precluded spaceframes.

At Zandvoort in 1967, the following race Chapmans’ Lotus 49, and its Ford Cosworth engine again set a standard all others followed, much as the ’25’ did in 1962, the ’72’ did in 1970 and the ’78’ did in 1977…

clark 2

Clark qualified his 2 litre Lotus on the third row amongst the 3 litre cars, spun on lap 2, battled his way up to fourth from fourteenth, his race ending on lap 43 with a duff shocker. This tragic race claimed the life of Lorenzo Bandini who died when his Ferrari caught fire after an accident with the straw bales on the outside of the corner where Clark is pictured. Denny Hulme won the race in a Brabham BT 20 Repco. (Pinterest)


Graham Hill in the other Lotus 33, BRM powered did better than Clark, finishing second, always a happy hunting ground for Hill who won the race 5 times. Amazing shot, he looks a bit wide! (Cahier Archive)

lotus 33

Lotus 33 : aluminium monocoque or stressed skin chassis, inboard suspension at front by top rocker and lower wishbone, coil spring damper unit within the tub. Rear suspension outboard by single top link, inverted lower wishbone, 2 parallel radius rods and coil spring/ damper unit. Coventry Climax 2 litre, by this stage, DOHC, 4 valve V8, 5 speed ZF gearbox, just a lovely, successful bit of kit…! (Bruno Betti)

Photo Credits…

Pinterest, Bruno Betti cutaway drawing, Cahier Archive

Tailpiece: You don’t often see the super smooth Clark with so much attitude on a car. Here he is giving the 33 plenty of welly ahead of Dan Gurney’s Eagle T1G V12, Dan’s car out on lap 4 with fuel pump problems so ’tis early in the ’67 race…