Posts Tagged ‘Goodwood’

Note ‘bi-hi’ wings mounted to the rear uprights, and front top suspension inner mounting point. Hewland FT200 gearbox (P Strauss Collection)

“A photograph is everything!” Doug Nye told a group of us several months ago when we were arguing the toss about some knotty identification problem...

My Repco Brabham Engines buddy, Rodway Wolfe and I wrote the ‘definitive article’ on Jack’s Brabham BT31 Repco, his 1969 Tasman mount years ago. You’d think that would be easy enough given it only raced twice in-period, see here for the masterpiece; Brabham BT31 Repco: Jacks ’69 Tasman Car…by Rodway Wolfe | primotipo…

We thought the car was assembled and run for the first time in Australia a couple of days after Rodway helped Jack unpack the wooden MRD box in which BT31-1 was shipped to Port Melbourne, and put it together at RBE’s Melbourne factory between February 12-14, 1969.

But no!

Photographs from Peter Strauss’ collection, custodian of BT31 for 15 years or so, clearly show that the car was tested (by Jack) at Goodwood in late 1968 before being pulled apart, packed into the wooden box then shipped far-far away for Jack and Rodway to open at Maidstone on February 12, 1969.

(S Dalton Collection)

This short UK BT31 chapter was covered by Autosport in their January 3, 1969 issue, found by my friend, ace researcher/writer Stephen Dalton.

“The Brabham BT31, MRD’s (Motor Racing Developments – Brabham) new Tasman car, is based on the BT28 F3 design but with 1.75 ins more wheelbase, larger brake discs and calipers, a different engine bay to accommodate the four-cam (actually SOHC, two-valve) 85mm x 55mm Repco RB830 V8 engine, and twin side fuel tanks. The RB830 develops 290bhp at 9000rpm and uses twin Mallory distributors.”

“The engine top bay tubes detach to facilitate engine removal, and side radiator outlets are included. Wheels are 13-ins diameter with 9-ins front rims and 14-ins rears. The car has been tested at Goodwood, and a full kit of suspension, chassis, gearbox and body components has been sent to Australia to be built up locally for Jack Brabham to drive at the Warwick Farm and Sandown rounds of the Tasman Series.”

Over the years Peter told various people his car had run in the UK. Those-in-the-know, including yours truly, thought Strauss had his-hand-on-it (a colloquial Australian expression suggestive of the telling of a porky-pie).

“When I bought the car off the previous American owner a lot of photographs came with it including those two. I was told the pit-shots may have been Snetterton, it will be interesting to find out where they are.” A learned group of British historians confirm the circuit as Goodwood.

I’ve got to know Peter quite well during Covid, it’s funny how many new-Covid-buddies I have. We dealt with the business of the day recently, then he showed me his BT31 photo album, he flicked through the first few pages, then paused on one particular spread…

“Fuck me dead!” I said, rather loudly. It’s another vulgar colloquial expression, of surprise actually. I might add that I wasn’t issuing an invitation to poor Peter.

I couldn’t believe my eyes, but instantly knew what I was looking at! What was it that nice Mr Nye said about photographs as a source of fact rather than the written word?…

(P Strauss Collection)

Postscript…

Peter has three Brabhams, BT31, a BT11A Climax 2.5 FPF and an FJ BT6 Ford Cosworth 1100, lucky bugger. Along the way he met Messrs Brabham and Tauranac, individually and collectively quite a few times.

Brabham is on-the-record – a number of times in conversations with different individuals and groups of people – as saying that had they (MRD, BRO and Repco Brabham Engines) stuck with another simple SOHC, 3-litre V8 in 1968 rather than raced the under-developed, four-cam, 32-valve 3-litre 860 V8 powered BT26 they could have won another world title. That is three-on-the-trot, 1967-1968, rather than two in 1966-1967.

I don’t doubt that Jack said it but the notion doesn’t stack up. Ford Cosworth V8 engined Lotus, McLaren and Matras won every round of the 1968 World Championship with the exception of the French GP which went to Ickx’ Ferrari 312 V12.

In fact the Brabham Racing Organisation did race a simple SOHC BT24 740 (BT24-3) on several occasions in early ’68 while awaiting BT26 to come on stream. At Kyalami it was Q5 and DNF engine for Brabham, in Spain Q9 and DNF oil pressure for Rindt, Monaco Q5 and DNF accident for Rindt. At Zandvoort Dan Gurney returned to the Brabham fold for just that meeting. Dan popped the car 12th on the grid but DNF with throttle problems. For the sake of completeness, Jochen used it at Brands during British GP practice before Kurt Ahrens raced it at the Nurburgring to 12th place under the Caltex Racing Team banner.

So, to Jack’s point, the Brabham Racing Organisation raced a simple SOHC car in 1968 on five occasions, the best the circa 330bhp machine could do among seven or eight 400bhp Ford Cosworth V8 engined cars was a couple of fifths on the grid…

(P Strauss)

Strauss picks up that vein, relating a conversation he had with Ron Tauranac “At Eastern Creek about 2014. While Ron Tauranac (above) was trying to figure out how to make BT31 run cooler, he mentioned that he had built a few cars (sic!) but recalls that they (MRD) were building a car for the ’68 (F1) season, smaller than usual to save weight and make it more slippery. He found out that fuel cells were going to be mandatory which meant that the BT31 would not comply as the tanks were wrapped around chassis members and could not fit bladders.”

A 3-litre 830 engined BT31 is an interesting theory/coulda been but RBE mechanics/engineers have long said that no 3-litre 830 V8 was ever built by RBE in-period, they were all Tasman 2.5s. Some 3-litres (and larger) were built in the modern era by Don Halpin and perhaps others.

Further, the F1 bag-tank rules RT alluded to were mandated from the start of 1970, not 1968 or 1969. This FIA requirement effectively forced Tauranac to part with the spaceframes he had hitherto used to such good effect in F1. His 1970 monocoque BT33 was rather a good thing too, whilst noting his 1968-69 BT25 Indycar used an aluminium monocoque too.

Credits…

Peter Strauss, Autosport, Stephen Dalton

Tailpiece…

(P Strauss Collection)

Brabham at Bathurst during the Easter 1969 Gold Star round, won convincingly by Jack who practiced with various wing combinations and permutations but raced BT31 as above.

One of the various what-ifs about this car is whether, suitably updated, he could have won the 1970 Tasman Series with it? This ignores the fact that his Repco deal was over and Betty probably would have shot him if he had raced that summer rather than chilled with the kids at the beach…

It was quick enough to win the ’70 Tasman Cup mind you.

Maybe.

Finito…

“True enough Sir, it is a spaceframe, but those cars only have 105bhp, so a monocoque isn’t really necessary.”

Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Lotus founder, Colin Chapman discuss the merits of Dave Baldwin’s F3 Lotus 59 Ford at the Racing Car Show, London Olympia, January 1969. It’s a Lotus 47 Ford behind. More on the the show; London Racing Car Show, Olympia 1969… | primotipo…

The Sport and Industry was well connected, there are no shortage of shots of Royals attending motor racing related events or employers. Let’s stick with the Duke.

(PA Images)

“Where’s Norman gone? I’m sure it’s missing a bit over four-five, those Webers need a tickle.”

Here aboard an XKSS at MIRA, Nuneaton on April 2, 1957. “The Duke was reported to have travelled at a speed of 120mph of the circuit in the export model car.” Getty Images wrote. Piece about the XKSS; Is That A Pistol In Your Pocket!? : Steve McQueens Jaguar XKSS… | primotipo…

(PA Images)

Love this visit to Coventry Climax in June 1966.

“Well look, we’d spent a fortune of shareholders money on Grand Prix racing and we just couldn’t continue with it!” Leonard Lee to HRH…

What a shot though; 1.5-litre FWMV V8 at left, the stillborn 1.5-litre FWMW flat-16 in the foreground, an SU fed FPF in front of Prince Phillip, and Wally Hassan to the right. Article about this visit here; Coventry Climax ET199… | primotipo…

(PA Images)

“Ooh-yes! Just a few laps I think, do you promise not to tell my wife?”

Is it David Brown at left? Aboard Reg Parnell’s Aston Martin DB3S at Goodwood in July 1953. Piece on the DB3S here; David McKay’s Aston Martin DB3S’s… | primotipo…

(BRDC)

Alan Jones minding his Ps-and-Qs at Silverstone during the 1975 British GP weekend.

Prince Phillip was President in Chief of the British Racing Drivers Club for 42 years, then remained a member after handing over the baton to HRH The Duke of Kent. “His support of the club for this long period will be remembered with affection, gratitude and respect.” the club recorded upon his death in April last year.

Etcetera…

(Libraries Tas)

Happy days, this homage to Prince Phillip finally gives me the chance to use this gem. It was taken in Tasmania during the 1954 Royal Tour, the first of many trips to Australia by the couple.

It is such a picture of elegance, I’ve no idea who the photographer is, but the artist has done a marvellous job. The joy of the occasion is shown on the Queen’s face, there is a sense of motion given the movement in the dress’ fabric, the Duke is ramrod straight and tall. Jeeves maintains focus looking dead-ahead! Love to know exactly where it is if any of you Tassies can oblige.

Can’t help you with the Rolls’ chassis number…

Credits…

Tim Graham, Paul Popper, Getty Images, BRDC, Libraries Tasmania

Tailpiece…

Fancy giving the Italians a free kick!

The tall Duke trying to extract himself from his small Fiat 500 test-car at Fiat’s Lingotto factory, Turin in December 1962. Fiat 8001 Turbina… | primotipo…

Finito…

(unattributed)

The Richard Attwood/David Hobbs Lola Mk6 GT at Le Mans in 1963.

Q22 after dramas with the French scrutineers, and just outside the top-12 at the end of the first hour. The GT’s first pitstop was to rectify a slipping dynamo belt, later there was a two-hour stop to sort Colotti T37 transaxle dramas. Then Hobbs crashed when having trouble engaging third gear on a down-shift into the Chicane.

Eric Broadley built three Mk6 GTs. Their race record was modest given ‘the Mk6 program’, including two of the cars were sold to Ford as part of the deal with Broadley to design the GT40. One of those two cars was taken by Eric in his settlement with Ford upon exit of the program. See here; https://www.hotrod.com/articles/1963-lola-mk6-gt-ford-gt40/

Lola Mk 6 Ford, Monza October 29, 1963. Roy Lunn, Bruce McLaren and John Wyer (B Sundue)

 

Ditto Monza as above (D Friedman)

 

Lola Mk6 GT Ford. Monocoque aluminium chassis, Ford 4.3 and 4.7 litre pushrod OHV V8. Colotti T37 5-speed transaxle, independent suspension and disc brakes (unattributed)

Bruce McLaren and Phil Hill did a million miles at Goodwood testing the Mk6 and GT40. McLaren’s driving fees from Ford and others were important cashflow as Bruce brought together the key elements of what became Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd in the period between the 1963 and 1965 ‘Tasman’ internationals.

McLaren’s race and test miles in the Zerex Spl Climax, then the evolved Bruce McLaren, Wally Willmott and Tyler Alexander chassis’d Cooper Traco-Olds, the Lola Mk6 and then the Ford GT40 must have been deeply informative as the trio considered, and settled on the specifications of their Group 7 McLaren M1 Oldsmobile.

They got it right too. The McLaren-Elva M1A’s sold well and were good, competitive cars even if Eric Broadley’s ‘this is what the blardy GT40 shoulda been’ Lola T70 rained on the McLaren’s parade. Bruce McLaren’s impressions of a T70, if he ever drove one, would be interesting.

Bruce with his M1 outside the Feltham workshop (G Begg)

McLarens opulent facilities today are a far cry from the company beginnings.

The team moved into the 950 square metres of space at Feltham, South London above on July 27, 1964. HQ prior to that was a dirt floor former earth moving shed at New Malden closeby.

Bruce McLaren on the LA Times GP grid qualifying race at Riverside on October 11, 1964. McLaren Automotive claim this race as their first win. I guess that is right. But the accepted dogma is that the McLaren/Willmott designed and built Cooper T70 Climax 1964 Tasman Cup cars were the first McLarens.

If that is the case, I believe it is, then Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd’s first was Bruce’s Cooper T70 victory in the early morning, first preliminary 33 mile heat prior to the January 11, 1964 NZ GP at Pukekohe. He doubled up and won the GP in the afternoon too- from Denny Hulme’s works-Brabham BT4 Climax and Tim Mayer in the other Cooper T70.

(GP Library)

Tim Mayer at the wheel of the first Cooper T70 Climax 2.5 FPF during its first shakedown test at Goodwood in September 1963.

He was extremely quick that southern summer, running up front throughout with the GP drivers present. Mayer was to be a works-Cooper F1 racer that coming season. Sadly, he perished at Longford during practice of the final round. Tim’s story is here; https://primotipo.com/2016/11/18/tim-mayer-what-might-have-been/

(GP Library)

McLaren testing his M1 in late 1964 in what became his signature manner. He conducted his first, very fast systems checks and initial suspension fettling sessions sans bodywork at Goodwood.

And again at Goodwood below after delivery of the M1’s body, built in aluminium by the two-man-band Robert Peel Coachworks guys at Kingston and styled by ex-Specialised Mouldings man Tony Hilder.

See Doug Nye’s piece on the McLaren M1 here; https://www.goodwood.com/grr/columnists/doug-nye/2018/10/doug-nye-the-first-true-mclaren/

(GP Library)

 

McLaren Elva M1A Oldsmobile. Spaceframe chassis. Traco Engineering modded 3.9/4.5-litre pushrod, 310bhp + aluminium V8. Hewland HD 4-speed transaxle. Independent suspension and disc brakes

Credits…

Brian Sundue, ‘Bruce McLaren: Racing Car Constructor’ George Begg, McLaren Cars, Grand Prix Library

Tailpiece…

(W Willmott/G Begg)

Ford test session of the Lola Mk6 at Goodwood in late 1963, shot taken by Wally Willmott. If you can ID the FoMoCo heavies give me a yell.

I wonder whether this session is part of Ford’s due-diligence process pre-Lola purchase or a post-deal session? McLaren’s test and development abilities were rated bigtime by Ford. The Kiwi’s diagnostic capabilities were matched by his capacity to suggest changes to remedy a problem or exploit an opportunity.

McLaren’s key commercial relationship with Firestone, in place just in time for the ’65 Tasman Cup, arose on the recommendation and introduction by Ford. The sign-on fee, free tyres and ongoing testing program were manor-from-heaven for the nascent company and a major contributor to early successes.

Finito…

image

There is no such thing as too many shots of the great Brit in a Maserati 250F, and I have posted a few…

According to the photo caption the meeting is on 7 June 1954 at Goodwood. The meeting’s F1 race was the ‘BARC Trophy’, Reg Parnell won it in a Scuderia Ambrosiana Ferrari 625, but Moss wasn’t entered, so, a bit of a mystery.

Perhaps it’s the ‘Goodwood Trophy’ on 25 September 1954, he won that event in 250F #2508 and carried his #7 personal preference race number.

Credit…

Universal Images Group