Posts Tagged ‘Formula 2’

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…

Surtees, Matra MS5 Cosworth SCA, Rouen 1966 (LAT)

Lordy knows how many different bikes and cars the great John Surtees drove in his lengthy career at elite level, on two and four wheels?!…

His brief Matra F2 phase was a new one on me until tripping over some of these photographs whilst researching an article on Matras.

‘Big John’ did two races for Ken Tyrrells ‘Tyrrell Racing Organisation’ in France in July 1966.

Of course he was a man who was contract free after a series of confrontations with his Scuderia Ferrari employers, which, on the balance of probability, cost the pair the 1966 F1 titles and then caused his departure from the team with whom he was champion in 1964. I wrote a feature about Surtees  a while back which covers all of that and a whole lot more.

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/30/john-surtees-world-champion-50-years-ago/

Surtees on his way to winning the notorious 1966 Belgian GP at Spa. The first lap deluge decimated the field, the supremely brave, stupid cine-cameramen are capturing footage for ‘Grand Prix’. Surtees Ferrari 312 won from Rindt and Bandini- Cooper T81 Maser and Ferrari Dino 246 (LAT)

 

Toto Roche moves out of the way at the start of the 1966 French GP- Bandini’s Ferrari 312 is on pole with Surtees Cooper T81 Maserati alongside and out of shot to the right is Parkes in the other works Ferrari. Brabham won from Parkes and Hulme, Brabham BT20 Repco. Surtees and Bandini both DNF. Jack is behind Bandini and Rindt in the white peaked helmet in another T81 Cooper with Graham Hill’s distinctive helmet behind Jochen- BRM P261 (LAT)

Surtees’ last race with Ferrari was the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa on 12 June- he won it. His first with Cooper, was the French Grand Prix at Reims on 3 July.

There his Cooper T81 Maserati failed to finish with problems, (a small shaft driving the mechanical fuel pump sheared on the first lap but he ‘shoved it right up’ Ferrari by popping the unfamiliar and undoubtedly less competitive car second on the grid- behind Bandini’s Ferrari 312 on pole.

In fact, as Denis Jenkinson reported in MotorSport, the time ‘was artificial and could not last, for unaided a Cooper Maserati did not seem likely to break 2:10 seconds’- the time was recorded by way of the slipstreaming efforts of Rindt and Surtees, slotting John in behind the Bandini Ferrari and getting a decent tow before the ruse was picked up by Lorenzo.

Jack Brabham won the race of course and became the first dude to win a GP in a car bearing his own name and of his own (Ron Tauranac and Jack’s Motor Racing Developments) construction.

In addition to his Ferrari F1 and Sportscar commitments Surtees successfully attacked the 1966 Can-Am championship taking the title with three wins at St Jovite, Riverside and Las Vegas aboard a Team Surtees, Lola T70 Mk2 Chev.

But apart from that, the first Can-Am round at Mont Tremblant wasn’t until 11 September, he could take on rides as he saw fit- a couple of F2 races a week apart in France suited him very nicely indeed.

Surtees was offered the ride as Jackie Stewart was badly injured in his BRM P261, Belgian GP shunt, this accident well covered here; https://primotipo.com/2015/02/13/jackie-stewart-at-surfers-paradise-speed-week-1966-brabham-bt11a-climax-and-ferrari-250lm/

Ken Tyrrell ran Coopers in F2 in 1965 (Stewart and Frank Gardner/John Surtees/Bob Bondurant/Chris Amon/Ludovico Scarfiotti- how is that for a variety of drivers in the second car! in Cooper T75 BRM P80’s) and switched to the nascent Matra marque in 1966 when he ran Jacky Ickx and Jackie Stewart as the ‘primary drivers’ in Matra MS5 Cosworth SCA 1 litre machines. That year, out of interest, the drivers when either of the above were unavailable included Surtees, Scarfiotti, Mike Spence and Hubert Hahne.

Tyrrell and Stewart surfed the Matra wave to great effect and mutual benefit of course, winning the 1969 driver and manufacturer titles in the MS80 Ford- an F1 car Stewart rated as one of the best he ever raced. That story is told here;

https://primotipo.com/2016/07/01/matra-ms80-ford/

1966 was the year the Brabham Hondas blitzed the Euro F2 title, Jack and Denny won most of blue-riband events with the best of the Cosworth SCA’s nibbling at their Goodyears- usually the Jochen Rindt driven, Roy Winkelmann entered Brabham. The Brabham Honda story is here; https://primotipo.com/2015/07/30/xxxii-grand-prix-de-reims-f2-july-1966-1-litre-brabham-hondas/

Right from the start the Matras were regarded as jewels of cars deploying the latest in aeronautical technology applied to automotive engineering.

Matra MS5 Cosworth SCA cutaway drawing, technical specifications as per text (J Marsden)

 

Surtees settles himself into the Tyrrell Matra MS5 Cosworth SCA at a chilly Silverstone- thats Ken hovering over his new recruit (Getty)

Surtees had at least one test at Silverstone before journeying to France, given the engineer/racers knowledge of chassis dynamics his view of the car at the time would be interesting if any of you have any first hand accounts of his view of the car?

The twenty-second GP de Reims was run over 37 laps, 307 km on the same 3 July weekend as the French F1 GP and was predictably, on this power circuit, won by Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT18 Honda from Alan Rees in a Winkelmann Brabham BT18 Cosworth SCA and then Jean-Pierre Beltoise in a works MS5 SCA.

There were a large number of MS5’s in the race, John Coomb’s BRM engined car raced by Graham Hill to eleventh, Ickx and Schlesser were non-classified in their Tyrrell Racing Organisation BRM P80 and works SCA engined cars. Rodriguez was a DNF in his works car, also BRM engined with the Surtees SCA powered car out after completing 10 laps with piston failure.

At the end of the weekend the circus decamped from Reims in the Grand Est region, the ‘unofficial capital’ of the Champagne wine growing region, to Rouen, to the West, in Upper Normandy a distance of about 285 Km.

Reims 3 July 1966. Brabham and Hulme in Brabham BT18 Hondas, Rindt on the inside, Brabham BT18 Cosworth and Surtees Matra MS5 SCA on the outside, then Alan Rees, Brabham BT18 Cosworth (LAT)

The entry was a little smaller than the week before- 21 cars started rather than 24 cars, the Matra marque represented by five cars- works entries for Schlesser and JPB, Tyrrell cars for Ickx and Surtees and the Coombs entry for Hill.

Surtees started on row two with Graham Hill- the two Matras together, with Brabham, Hulme and Rindt up front.

JPB hit Rindt up the clacker going into the Nouveau Monde hairpin on the first lap and spread-eagled the field. Denny worked his way up to second behind Jack whilst Beltoise, sans nose, Rindt and Rees also sought to make up lost ground but JPB retired with a leaking radiator and Rindt with a wrecked Hewland.

‘With six laps to go Brabham (in the lead) failed to appear, his Honda engine having blown up, though he said his gear-lever had broke! (Crankshaft was more like it)…Hulme was just behind so he was able to take over the lead…Rodriguez had been running steadily in the Ron Harris Lotus and gaining places as the faster drivers ran into trouble and he passed Hill and Surtees to take third as the ex-Ferrari driver’s Matra-Cosworth expired and the BRM ex-World Champion struggled along in a sick Matra BRM’ wrote Denis Jenkinson.

Denny Hulme won the 46 lap 301 km race from Alan Rees’ Brabham, Pedro Rodriguez in the Ron Harris-Team Lotus, SCA engined Lotus 44, Hill who was fifth, Trevor Blokdyk in the other Harris entry Lotus 44 SCA sixth- Surtees was classified seventh falling one lap short of the distance with differential failure.

Surtees raced a Lola for the Midland Racing Partnership once in 1966 and ran a full F2 campaign in a Lola T100 Ford FVA with the change to the 1.6 litre formula from 1 January 1967.

Matra’s relentless march to F1 continued- and they achieved Formula 2 success with many race wins and Euro F2 titles for Jacky Ickx in 1967 aboard MS5 and MS7 Ford FVA, Jean-Pierre Beltoise in 1968, MS7 FVA and Johnny Servoz-Gavin in 1969 MS7 FVA.

Jackie Stewart at Silverstone during the ‘BARC 200′ Wills Trophy Euro F2 round on March 27 1967. He raced his Tyrrell MS5 Ford FVA 1.6 to 5th behind the two Winkelmann Brabham BT23 FVA’s of Rindt and Alan Rees, Surtees’ Lola T100 FVA and Bruce McLaren’s McLaren M4A FVA. The Lotus 48’s were non-classified. There was lots of depth in the 1967 F2 fields. JPB gave the new Matra MS7 its race debut at Rouen on 9 July- Ickx used both MS5 and MS7 chassis to win the Euro F2 Championship that year from Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT23 and BT23C FVA and JPB. ‘Graded driver’, Jochen Rindt did most of the winning but was not eligible for championship points

The Early Matras…

Writing about Surtees in 1966 sort of begs the question of what went before that, context is all!

Treat this as nothing more than a summary- I am just skimming the tops of the waves, this is not anything of depth but rather a bit of a teaser for a more comprehensive piece in the future on the early cars built by Matra.

 

Whilst in French, you can probably get the gist of the car specifications from the drawing above.

Matra enthusiast Gerard Gamand on The Nostalgia Forum provides useful information on the production numbers of these early Matras.

He cites 4 cars built in 1965, two each of MS1 and MS2.

The car was designed by Paul Carillo and was based on the Rene Bonnett F2 design- Matra took over the ailing concern, which became Matra Sports.

Most of you would know the Matra monocoque chassis, drawing upon aerospace techniques was fabricated in such a tight and accurate manner, ‘that fuel bag-tanks were not required as the tub was leak proof. This technique meant that lateral bracing to the tub was possible giving it a very high degree of stiffness’ f3.history.co.uk report.

Matra MS5 chassis (G Gamand)

The chassis above is identified as an MS5- the one below an F3/F2 tub bit i am not sure which. Regardless the in-build shot is interesting.

(autodiva)

The MS2 was a ‘long chassis’ development of the MS1.

MS1 was an immediate success with most of the teams focus naturally enough on French events in 1965.

Jean-Pierre Jaussaud was first entered for the Prix de Paris at Montlhery on 23 May 1965 in an MS1, but did not arrive.

The cars baptism of fire was at the biggest international event of the year- the 29 May Monaco F3 GP won by Peter Revson’s Ron Harris entered Lotus 35 Ford Holbay.

MS1’s were entered for JPJ and Eric Offenstadt- Eric DNF’d his heat so missed the final, whilst Jaussaud was tenth in his heat and fifteenth in the final.

Jean-Pierre Beltoise took the first marque win at Reims on July 4- the ‘Coupe Internationale de Vitesse de Formula 3’ support race for the Reims F2 GP.

Reims 1965, the first Matra win- Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Matra MS1 Ford (unattributed)

 

(Matra)

By the end of the season, JPB had taken another win at Cognac on 25 July and JPJ wins in the Coupe de Paris at Monthlery on 17 September and the Coupe de Vitesse at Albi a week later.

Together with points scored for their placings Beltoise and Jaussaud were first and second in the 1965 French F3 Championship- the nascent marque was away…

Whilst the F3 campaign continued, as Rene Bonnett was absorbed by Matra, their Djet (Jet) evolved into a Matra Djet with Matra boss Jean-Luc Lagarde hiring Bernard Boyer- French FJ Champion in 1961, to develop a prototype rallycar for the Tour de Corse, which now can perhaps be seen as the precursor of the sports prototypes which followed.

The resultant MS3/M610 was a Lotus-Ford twin-cam engined closed sportscar which used the Djet as a base but incorporated a new chassis designed by Boyer. Its frst outing was the 1965 26/27 November Criterium des Cevennes Rally driven by Phillipe Farjon and Johnny Servoz-Gavin.

Matra Djet 6 cop-car in December 1965

These forays into Rallying continued before the 1966 racing program got underway wrote Ed McDonough in ‘Matra Sports Cars’.

The MS4/M620 was a 1966 sports prototype powered by a BRM P60 2 litre V8, the gearbox a ZF, 5-speed transaxle- a later variant was powered by a 4.7 litre Ford pushrod V8.

Designed by Jean Hebert it used a spaceframe chassis rather than the now familiar type of Matra monocoque- the BRM engine required a new clutch and 40 amp alternator. The new car was ready by November 1965 but first made its public appearance at the 1966 Le Mans test weekend in April.

Actress Joanna Shimkus takes time out from filming ‘Les Aventuriers’ to show the lines of the MS5 to good effect in September 1966. Note rocker front and traditional outboard mounted spring/dampers at the rear- period typical. Montlhery? Former actress now wife of Sir Sidney Poitier and mother of actress Sydney Tamiliar Poitier

For the 1966 season 12 MS5 chassis were made- 6 each to F3 and F2 specifications.

The build for 1967 totalled 6 cars. Three each MS6 F3 and  MS7 F2. The MS6 was a modified version of the MS5 with wheel and suspension geometry changes to take advantage of the latest in tyre developments

Pau GP April 1969, JPB in the bi-winged Matra MS7 Ford FVA- second, 1 minute behind Rindt’s Lotus 59B FVA (unattributed)

In 1968 a further four MS7’s were built, all were F2 cars built to accept the ‘class standard’ 1.6 litre 210bhp Ford Cosworth FVA engine.

The MS8/M630 was a 1967 BRM V8 engined Group 6 sports-racer coupe.

Many of the cars mentioned in this listing were raced by Johnny Servoz-Gavin, so check out my article on him for photographs; https://primotipo.com/2016/09/02/johnnys-talbot/

Stewart, Clark, Rindt, Surtees Kyalami 1968. Matra MS9 Ford, Lotus 49 Ford, Brabham BT24 Repco and Honda RA300. Its somehat poignant in its majesty- if that is the right word to describe the busy scene of South African enthusiasts thronging this magnificent, challenging racetrack. Clark took his last championship GP win that weekend, his very last was the Tasman Formula, Australian Grand Prix at Sandown Park on 25 February aboard a Lotus 49 Ford DFW 2.5- he won a ripper of a race of 105 miles prevailing over Chris Amon’s Ferrari Dino 246T by one tenth of a second. Clark won in South Africa from teammate Hill and Rindt. Stewart retired after completing 43 laps with conrod failure from grid 3 (LAT)

It may be a tangent too far, but the first F1 Matra, the 1968 Ford Cosworth engined MS9 raced by Tyrrell/Jackie Stewart as a ‘whoosh-bonk’, to use the Bruce McLaren words to describe a quick lash-up, stop-gap early 1968 car used a modified F2 MS7 chassis- with suspension from the MS630 sportscar and a Hewland DG300 gearbox. That car, in brief, is covered in the Matra MS80 article linked above.

For the sake of completeness I also wrote a couple of articles about the MS120 F1 cars here; https://primotipo.com/2014/07/06/venetia-day-and-the-1970-matra-ms120/

and here; https://primotipo.com/2015/12/13/venetia-days-matra-ms120/

Keith Duckworth on his Cosworth SCA 1 litre F2 engine…

Lets get back to where we started, the Matra MS5- in particular the engine which powered the Surtees chassis.

‘It might not have been right, but we had to make it work. It won the F2 Championships of 1964 and 1965…and…until the Honda engine of 1966 with four valves and twin overhead camshafts, tungsten carbide rockers and torsion bar valve springs appeared in Jack Brabham’s cars. We’d run out of breathing at 11,000 rpm so we obviously needed more valve area. That’s what started me thinking about 4-valve heads’.

‘Mike Costin  and I exercised great ingenuity- we had ports that curved around, we had the piston of the week with every kind of shape, dint and odd hole- but the combustion was not good, the mixture never burned properly’.

All the same, the dominant F2 engine of 1964 and 1965 did rather well producing between 115 bhp @ 8700 rpm in its original Weber 40 IDF carburettor form and in ultimate 1966 spec, Lucas injected form, 143 bhp.

Good ole Ford 5 bearing 116E block. Single, (train of seven gears) gear driven overhead camshaft, two valves per cylinder , Cosworth rods and pistons, Laystall steel crank. 997cc- 81mm x 48.35mm bore-stroke.

SCB variant 1498cc 175 bhp – 3 engines only built including the Brabham BT21B raced by ex-Brabham mechanic Bob Ilich in Western Australia

SCC variant 1098cc 135 bhp for North American sportscar racing

Click here for an article about the Lotus 35- and the Cosworth SCA and a little on the P80 BRM unit- the excerpt above is from this piece; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/06/jim-clark-lotus-35-and-the-cosworth-sca-f2-engine/

Matra MS80 Ford cutaway in part. The 1969 World Championship machine (unattributed)

Credits…

LAT, MotorSport, oldracingcars.com, John Marsden, Gerard Gamand Collection, ‘Matra Sports Cars’ Ed McDonough, oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece: Hang on sonny…

(unattributed)

John Surtees giving his Tyrrell Racing Organisation teammate, Jacky Ickx a ride back to the paddock at the Circuit de Reim-Guex on the July 3 weekend- both drivers failed to finish the race.

Finito…

Charles and John Cooper, Cooper Climax and Babe, late fifties…

I’m a big fan of the Getty Images archive, there are so many photographs there to inspire thousands of articles but Joisus the captions are usually pretty blardy useless. Good enough for the mum and dad recipients of the newspapers they were most often published in but lacking the detail anoraks demand!

This one is a case in point, it reads as follows: ‘Building Cooper Formula 2 racing cars for British racing. Charles Cooper (left) with a fitter at (sic) a Cooper Formula 2 car’, no date of course.

I’m not a Cooper expert but am keen to date the shot, identify the Cooper’s type and the name of the lissom young lass on the workshop wall!

Some hints: the Cooper has coil spring (when fitted) rather than transverse leaf front suspension. The Coventry Climax FPF engine is fitted with twin-SU rather than Weber carbs. The chassis is of no help to me in terms of distinctiveness, it’s the same ‘offensive to purists’ but ‘perfect in practice’ curvy Owen Maddock designed spaceframe which went into all Coopers of the period. Having said that an expert will see what I do not.

My guess, and its no more than that, is a 1958 Cooper T45 Climax. Mind you, that fuel tank is a biggie, matched by another on the other side- none fitted at the moment its more likely an F1 Cooper T51. Or maybe an F2 Cooper running in Gee Pee events as the T45 did with 2 litre FPF’s fitted in 1958.

But most importantly what is the name of blondie-locks, she really has the looks to lift the mood of even the snarliest mechanic on the coldest of Surbiton, winter mornings…

 Credit…

 PA Images

 

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)