Posts Tagged ‘Jacky Ickx’

French GP, Rouen 1968…

It has the feel of final practice/qualifying about it doesn’t it?

The wing in the foreground is either Jacky Ickx’ winning Ferrari 312 or Chris Amon’s sister car.

Graham Hill stands patiently at left whilst the mechanics make adjustments to his car with Lotus boss Colin Chapman leaving the boys to it, resting against the pit counter.

At far left, obscured, Jack Brabham is being tended to in his Brabham BT26 Repco ‘860’ V8- Jochen Rindt popped his BT26 on pole proving the car had heaps of speed if not reliability from its new 32 valve, DOHC V8. The speedy Austrian took two poles with it that year.

The dude in the blue helmet is Jackie Oliver who is about to have the mother and father of high speed accidents when wing support failure saw him pinging his way through the French countryside, clobbering a set of chateau gates and dispensing aluminium shrapnel liberally about the place at around 125 mph.

He survived intact – shaken but not stirred you might say. It wasn’t the last of his career ‘big ones’ either. Click here; https://primotipo.com/2017/01/13/ollies-trolley/

In the distance is Goodyear blue and white striped, jacket wearing Tyler Alexander so there must be a couple of McLaren M7A’s down that way.

Ickx won a tragic wet race in which French racer Jo Schlesser died on lap 2 when he lost control of the unsorted Honda RA302 in the fast swoops past the pits, burned alive in the upturned car it was a grisly death.

Ickx’ first GP win, no doubt it was memorable for the Belgian for all of the wrong reasons.

He won from John Surtees, below, in the conventional Honda RA301 V12 and Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS10 Ford.

Surtees did not have a great Honda season retiring in eight of the twelve GP’s- his second at Rouen and third place at Watkins Glen were the two high points of the season.

Honda withdrew from GP racing at the end of the year to return with a vengeance a decade or so hence.

Click on this article for a piece on the 1968 French GP and also the evolution of wings in that period; https://primotipo.com/2016/08/19/angle-on-the-dangle/

Credits…

Getty Images, oldracingcars.com

Tailpieces: Jo Schlesser, Honda RA302…

You would have to have a crack wouldn’t you?

The offer of a works car in your home Grand Prix, however badly your vastly experienced team leader felt about the radical magnesium chassis, 3 litre (88mm x 61.40 mm bore/stroke- 2987 cc) 120 degree air-cooled V8 machine would have been too much to resist ?

And so it was that poor, forty years old, Jo Schlesser died having a red hot go after completing only 12 Km of the race.

Denis Jenkinson looks on, above, as Schlesser prepares for the off during practice, the look on the great journalists face says everything about his interest in this new technical direction. The car behind is Richard Atwood’s seventh placed BRM P126 V12.

The air ducts here and there are clear and necessary to try to keep the engine lubricant coolish.

I’ve a feature part finished on this design so let’s not go too berserk now.

A magnesium monocoque chassis supported the unstressed, fuel injected V8 which is variously quoted at between 380 -430bhp at this early stage of its development- I am more at the conservative end of that range.

Inboard rocker front suspension and outboard at the rear, note the ‘boxed’ inboard lower inverted wishbones, single top link and two radius rods. Engine ducting again clear.

John Surtees tested another RA302 during the Italian GP weekend at Monza in September but declined to race the car, that chassis still exists.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see that machine at the Phillip Island Historics/Australian GP ‘double-whammy’ one March?

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…

(Schlegelmilch)

 

Jo Siffert and JW Automotive’s John Horsman with Jo’s Porsche 917K during the Brands Hatch 1000 km meeting on the 4 April 1971 weekend…

This is a bit of a signature Rainer Schlegelmilch shot- framed through the engine cover of another team car in the Brands pitlane- that of Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver to be precise.

It was always going to be tricky winning in the 917 at Brands- and so it was that more nimble 3 litre prototypes finished in front of the Siffert/Derek Bell machine.

Stommelen Alfa T33/3, Ickx #51 Ferrari 312PB, Pedro in the #7 JW 917 and the rest, gotta be the warm up lap (unattributed)

 

Future sportscar ace Henri Pescarolo in the winning Alfa T33/3- his first Le Mans win was in 1972 aboard a Matra with Hill G (unattributed)

Andrea De Adamich and Henri Pescarolo won the race in an Alfa T33/3 V8 from the flat-12 engined Ferrari 312PB of Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni.

The Alfas were pretty pacey that weekend, Rolf Stommelen popped the T33/3 he shared with Toine Hezemans on grid 2 in addition to the efforts of the winning car.

Ickx was on pole in the 312PB which had a limited campaign in 1971 as a dress rehearsal for the great pace the evolved 312PB had in 1972 when the cars won pretty much everything except Le Mans. They entered but did not appear such was the lack of confidence in the F1 derived engines ability to last 24 hours.

Regga aboard the 312PB whilst Ickx looks on from the rear.

I always thought it a huge shame that Scuderia Ferrari didn’t race the 512M as a factory entry in 1971- it would have been great to see the 5 litre cars with both ‘factory teams’ going at it for the final year of the championship under those Group 5 rules.

Ferrari certainly spent 1971 wisely developing their 312PB for 1972 however, dominant as they were in the first year of the 3 litre prototype formula.

Rodriguez, Stommelen and Siffert (unattributed)

Carlo Chiti and his merry band at Autodelta built a really nice bit of kit in the 1971 iteration of their long running series of Tipo 33 sportscars.

With an aluminium monocoque chassis, double wishbone/coil spring dampers at the front and single upper link, inverted lower wishbone/coil spring damper and twin radius rods at the rear the chunky looking design was an expression of sportscar orthodoxy of the time.

The 90 degree all aluminium 2998cc, quad cam, 4 valve, Lucas injected V8 gave around 420 bhp @ 9400- and with a decent roster of drivers the car won Targa (Vaccarella/Hezemans), Brands and the season ending Watkins Glen 6 Hour (De Adamich/Pescarolo) in a very good year in which the 5 litre monsters again took the bulk of the wins, and Porsche the manufacturers championship for the second year on the trot.

De Adamich, Alfa T33/3, Brands 1971 (unattributed)

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece: Derek Bell, Porsche 917K from the winning car in Henri Pescarolo’s hands- Alfa T33/3…

Finito…

french ickx

(Rainer Schlegelmilch)

Jacky Ickx warms up his Bugatti T35B prior to the start of the 1969 French Grand Prix at Clermont Ferrand, 6 July 1969…

He qualified his Brabham BT26A Ford fourth (below) and finished third in the race won by Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS80 Ford. He had a good season with Brabham taking two wins; at the Nurburgring and Mosport but the lure of Ferrari was too great, he returned to the Maranello squad in 1970.

french brabham

(Rainer Schlegelmilch)

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

image

Jack Brabham ponders wing settings on his Brabham BT26 Repco during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend at Mont Tremblant, 22 September 1968…

I blew my tiny mind when Nigel Tait sent me the photo, neither of us had any idea where it was. A bit of judicious googling identified the location as Mont Tremblant, Quebec, a summer and winter playground for Canadians 130km northwest of Montreal.

Regular readers will recall  Nigel as the ex-Repco Brabham Engines Pty. Ltd. engineer who co-wrote the recent Matich SR4 Repco article (a car he owns) and has been helping with the series of articles on Repco’s racing history I started with Rodway Wolfe, another RBE ‘teamster’ a couple of years ago.

When Nigel left Repco in the ACL Ltd management buyout of which he was a part, he placed much of the RBE archive with his alma mater, RMIT University, Melbourne. Its in safe hands and available to those interested in research on this amazing part of Australian motor racing history. The archive includes Repco’s library of photographs. Like every big corporate Repco had a PR team to maximise exposure from their activities including their investment in F1. The Mont Tremblant shot is from that archive and unpublished it seems.

Its one of those ‘the more you look, the more you see’ shots; from the distant Laurentian Mountains to the pitlane activity and engineering of the back of the car which is in great sharpness. It’s the back of the BT26 where I want to focus.

The last RBE Engines article we did (Rodway, Nigel and I) was about the ’67 championship winning SOHC, 2 valve 330bhp 740 Series V8, this BT26 is powered by the 1968 DOHC, 4 valve 390bhp 860 Series V8. It was a very powerful engine, Jochen plonked it on the front row three times, on pole twice, as he did here in Canada in 1968. But it was also an ‘ornery, unreliable, under-developed beast. Ultimately successful in 4.2 litre Indy and 5 litre Sportscar spec, we will leave the 860 engine till later for an article dedicated to the subject.

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Check out the DG300 Hewland 5 speed transaxle and part of the complex oil system beside it to feed the 860. Also the big, beefy driveshafts and equally butch rubber donuts to deal with suspension travel. It’s interesting as Tauranac used cv’s in earlier designs, perhaps he was troubled finding something man enough to take the more powerful Repco’s grunt, the setup chosen here is sub-optimal in an engineering sense.

The rear suspension is period typical; single top link, inverted lower wishbone, radius rods leading forward top and bottom and coil spring/damper units. It appears the shocks are Koni’s, Brabham were Armstrong users for years.

The uprights are magnesium which is where things get interesting. The cars wings that is, and the means by which they attach to the car…

See the beautifully fabricated ‘hat’ which sits on top of and is bolted to the uprights and the way in which the vertical load of the wing applies it’s force directly onto the suspension of the car. This primary strut support locates the wing at its leading edge, at the rear you can see the adjustable links which control the ‘angle on the dangle’ or the wings incidence of attack to the airflow.

I’ve Lotus’ flimsy wing supports in mind as I write this…

Tauranac’s secondary wing support elements comprises steel tube fabrications which pick up on the suspension inner top link mount and on the roll bar support which runs back into the chassis diaphragm atop the gearbox.

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The shot above shows the location of the front wing and it’s mounts, this time the vertical force is applied to the chassis at the leading front wishbone mount, and the secondary support to the wishbones trailing mount. This photo is in the Watkins Glen paddock on the 6 October weekend, the same wing package as in use in Canada a fortnight before. The mechanic looking after Jack is Ron Dennis, his formative years spent learning his craft first with Cooper and then BRO. Rondel Racing followed and fame and fortune with McLaren via Project 4 Racing…

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Jim Hall and Chaparral 2G Chev wing at Road America, Wisconsin 1968 (Upitis)

The great, innovative Jim Hall and his band of merry men from Midlands, Texas popularised the use of wings with their sensational Chaparral’s of the mid sixties. Traction and stability in these big Group 7 Sportscars was an issue not confronted in F1 until the 3 litre era when designers and drivers encountered a surfeit of power over grip they had not experienced since the 2.5 litre days of 1954-60.

During 1967 and 1968 F1 spoilers/wings progressively grew in size and height, the race by race or quarter of a season at a time analysis of same an interesting one for another time.

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Hill’s winged Lotus 49B, Monaco 1968 (Schlegelmilch)

In some ways ‘who gives a rats’ about the first ‘winged Grand Prix win’ as Jim Hall pioneered ‘winning wings’ in 1966, the technology advance is a Group 7 not F1 credit; but Jacky Ickx’ Ferrari 312 win in the horrific, wet, 1968 French Grand Prix (in which Jo Schlesser died a fiery death in the air-cooled Honda RA302) is generally credited as the first, the Fazz fitted with a wing aft of the driver.

But you could equally mount the case, I certainly do, that the first winged GeePee win was Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford victory at Monaco that May.

Chapman fitted the Lotus with front ‘canard’ wings and the rear of the car with a big, rising front to rear, engine cover-cum-spoiler. Forghieri’s Ferrari had a rear wing but no front. The Lotus, front wings and a big spoiler. Which car first won with a wing?; the Lotus at Monaco on 26 May not the Ferrari at Rouen on July 7. All correspondence will be entered into as to your alternative views!

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Jacky Ickx’ winning Ferrari 312 being prepared in the Rouen paddock. The neat, spidery but strong wing supports clear in shot. Exhaust in the foreground is Chris Amon’s Fazz (Schlegelmilch)

Lotus ‘ruined the hi-winged party’ with its Lotus 49B Ford wing failures, a lap apart, of Graham Hill and then Jochen Rindt at Montjuic in the 1969 Spanish GP. Both drivers were lucky to walk away from cars which were totally fucked in accidents which could have killed the drivers, let alone a swag of innocent locals.

A fortnight later the CSI acted, banning high wings during the Monaco GP weekend but allowing aero aids on an ongoing basis albeit with stricter dimensional and locational limits.

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Mario Andretti has just put his Lotus 49B on pole at Watkins Glen in October 1968, Colin Chapman is perhaps checking his watch to see why regular drivers Hill and Jackie Oliver are being bested by guest driver Andretti who was entered at Monza and Watkins Glen at seasons end! Andretti put down a couple of markers with Chapman then; speed and testing ability which Chapman would return to nearly a decade later. More to the point are the wing mounts; direct onto the rear upright like the Brabham but not braced forward or aft. Colin was putting more weight progressively on the back of the 49 to try and aid traction, note the oil reservoir sitting up high above the ‘box. Stewart won in a Matra MS10, Hill was 2nd with both Andretti and Oliver DNF (Upitis)

Chapman was the ultimate structural engineer but also notoriously ‘optimistic’ in his specification of some aspects of his Lotus componentry over the years, the list of shunt victims of this philosophy rather a long one.

Lotus wing mounts are a case in point.

Jack Oliver’s ginormous 125mph French GP, 49B accident at Rouen in 1968 was a probable wing mount failure, Ollie’s car smote various bits of the French countryside inclusive of a Chateau gate.

Moises Solana guested for Lotus in his home, Mexican GP on 3 November, Hill won the race whilst Solana’s 49B wing collapsed.

Graham Hill’s 49B wing mounts failed during the 2 February 1969 Australian Grand Prix at Lakeside, Queensland. Then of course came the Spanish GP ‘Lotus double-whammy’ 3 months after the Lakeside incident on 4 May 1969.

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Faaaarck that was lucky one suspects the Lotus mechanics are thinkin’!? The rear suspension and gearbox are 200 metres or so back up the road to the right not far from the chateau gate Ollie hit. It was the first of several ‘big ones’ in his career (Schlegelmilch)

For the ‘smartest tool in the shed’ Chapman was slow to realise ’twas a good idea to finish races, let alone ensure the survival of his pilots and the punters.

I’m not saying Lotus were the only marque to have aero appendages fall off as designers and engineers grappled with the new forces unleashed, but they seemed to suffer more than most. Ron Tauranac’s robustly engineered Brabhams were race winning conveyances generally devoid of bits and pieces flying off them given maintenance passably close to that recommended by ‘Motor Racing Developments’, manufacturers of Ron and Jack’s cars.

The Brabham mounts shown earlier are rather nice examples of wings designed to stay attached to the car rather than have Jack aviating before he was ready to jump into his Piper Cherokee at a race meetings end…

‘Wings Clipped’: Click on this article for more detail on the events leading up to the CSI banning hi-wings at the ’69 Monaco GP…https://primotipo.com/2015/07/12/wings-clipped-lotus-49-monaco-grand-prix-1969/

Credits…

Nigel Tait, Repco Ltd Archive, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Cahier Archive, Alvis Upitis

Etcetera…

Hill P, ‘Stardust GP’ Las Vegas, Chaparral 2E Chev 1966

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Now you see it, now you don’t; being a pioneer and innovator was the essence of the Chaparral brand, but not without its challenges! Phil Hill with 2E wing worries at Las Vegas in 1966, he still finished 7th. Jim Hall was on pole but also had wing problems, John Surtees’ wingless Lola T70 Mk2 Chev won the race and the first CanAm Championship  (The Enthusiast Network)

The 13 November 1966 ‘Stardust GP’ at Las Vegas was won by John Surtees Lola T70 Mk2 Chev, CanAm champion in 1966. Proving the nascent aerodynamic advances were not problem free both Jim Hall, who started from pole and Phil Hill pictured here had wing trouble during the race.

The Chaparral 2E was a development of the ’65 2C Can Am car (the 2D Coupe was the ’66 World Sportscar Championship contender) with mid-mounted radiators and huge rear wing which operated directly onto the rear suspension uprights. A pedal in the cockpit allowed drivers Hall and Hill to actuate the wing before corners and ‘feather it’ on the straights getting the benefits in the bendy bits without too much drag on the straight bits. A General Motors ‘auto’ transaxle which used a torque converter rather than a manual ‘box meant the drivers footbox wasn’t too crowded and added to the innovative cocktail the 2E represented in 1966.

Its fair to say the advantages of wings were far from clear at the outset even in Group 7/CanAm; McLaren won the 1967 and 1968 series with wingless M6A Chev and M8A Chev respectively, winning the ’69 CanAm with the hi-winged M8B Chev in 1969. Chaparral famously embody everything which was great about the CanAm but never won the series despite building some stunning, radical, epochal cars.

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Phil Hill relaxed in his 2E at Laguna Seca on 16 October 1966, Chaps wing in the foreground, Laguna’s swoops in the background. Phil won from Jim Hall in the other 2E (TEN)

Hill G, Monaco GP, Lotus 49B Ford 1968

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Interesting shot of Hill shows just how pronounced the rear bodywork of the Lotus 49B was. You can just see the front wing, Monaco ’68 (unattributed)

Hill taking a great win at Monaco in 1968. Graham’s was a tour de force of leadership, strength of mind and will. Jim Clark died at Hockenheim on 7 April, Monaco was on 26 May, Colin Chapman was devastated by the loss of Clark, a close friend and confidant apart from the Scots extraordinary capabilities as a driver.

Hill won convincingly popping the winged Lotus on pole and leading all but the races first 3 laps harnessing the additional grip and stability afforded by the cars nascent, rudimentary aerodynamic appendages. Graham also won the Spanish Grand Prix on 12 May, these two wins in the face of great adversity set up the plucky Brits 1968 World Championship win. Remember that McLaren and Matra had DFV’s that season too, Lotus did not have the same margin of superiority in ’68 that they had in ’67, lack of ’67 reliability duly noted.

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Hills 49B from the front showing the ‘canard’ wings and beautifully integrated rear engine cover/spoiler (Cahier)

Ickx, Rouen, French GP, Ferrari 312  1968

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Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari’s Chief Engineer developed wings which were mounted above the engine amidships of the Ferrari 312. Ickx put them to good use qualifying 3rd and leading the wet race, the Belgian gambled on wets, others plumped for intermediates.

Ickx’ wet weather driving skills, the Firestone tyres, wing and chaos caused by the firefighting efforts to try to save Schlesser did the rest. It was Ickx’ first GP win.

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It looks like Rainer Schlegelmilch is taking the shot of Jacky Ickx at Rouen in 1968, note the lack of front wings or trim tabs on the Ferrari 312 (Schlegelmilch)

Tailpiece: The ‘treacle beak’ noting the weight of Tauranac’s BT26 Repco is none other than ‘Chopper’ Tyrrell. Also tending the car at the Watkins Glen weighbridge is Ron Dennis, I wonder if Ken’s Matra MS10 Ford was lighter than the BT26? If that 860 engine had been reliable Jochen Rindt would have given Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill a serious run for their money in 1968, sadly the beautiful donk was not the paragon of reliability it’s 620 and 740 Series 1966/7 engines generally were…

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Finito…

 

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(Schlegelmilch)

Jacky Ickx astride his MV Agusta 750 after the 1972 Belgian Grand Prix, 4 June 1972…

The 911 is Prince Rainier’s. It wasn’t a great weekend for the Belgian ace; he qualified his Ferrari 312B2 fourth and was running in the lead group early in the race but retired with fuel injection dramas on lap 47. Emerson Fittipaldi won the race in his Lotus 72D Ford, he took the first of his two world titles that year.

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Ickx, Ferrari 312B2, Nivelles, June 1972 (unattributed)

Credit…

Rainer Schlegelmilch

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Chris Amon is not a driver one readily associates with the very successful 1970 Ferrari 312B and even then only in a ‘lost opportunity’ kind of way…

As he drove from his digs in Maranello the 20km to the Modena circuit Ferrari used for testing each time in mid 1969 he did so with an increasingly heavy heart.

Chris had motor racings dream job; Ferrari’s ‘number one’ driver and the considerable resources of the famed Scuderia at his disposal. He tested and raced F2 and Tasman Dino’s, Sports Prototypes, big CanAm Group 7 cars and of course GP cars. The company car was not to be sneezed at. Ferrari’s drivers were only marginally less popular than the Pope. He loved living in Italy, enjoyed the food, people, the vibe in Maranello and testing the cars, Mauro Forghieri rated him one of the teams greatest test drivers, and of course his racing of them.

But in his terms, as one of the five best drivers in the world at the time, he was not achieving the grand prix winning success he deserved. So many times he had lead races in 1968 and early in 1969 only to have the car fail beneath him.

And now, a car he thought looked fabulous and was testing well had an engine which consistently ‘grenaded’ behind him at Modena in the most spectacular fashion.

What should he do?; stay with Ferrari in the belief the engineering problem would be solved or move to another team with a Ford Cosworth powered car was the decision which tortured him…

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Amon, Monaco 1967 in the awful race in which his teammate Lorenzo Bandini died the most gruesome, fiery death. Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT20 Repco won from Hill’s Lotus 33 BRM and Amon  (unattributed)

 

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The partnership between Amon and Mauro Forghieri was a fruitful one based on great mutual respect, which is not to say they always agreed! Here with 312 at Zandvoort in 1967. How young does he look?! Ferrari team-leader at 24 by the end of 1967 (unattributed)

He joined Ferrari in 1967 as one of four drivers; Lorenzo Bandini, Mike Parkes, Ludovico Scarfiotti and himself. The ‘pudgy’, heavy 312 of 1966 evolved into the 1967 car, quite the sexiest looking of any GP car. After the end of the sports car season it became a very fast car; fitted with a lightweight block and F2 derived gearbox and from Monza with 4-valve heads the car flew. Amon believed the 390bhp claimed for it and described the (’67 and ’68) chassis as ‘an absolute dream to drive’. Amon should have won at Watkins Glen in front of the two Lotus 49’s but the engine blew 12 laps from the end. In Mexico Chris qualified well in 2nd but pitted for fuel.

A road accident early in the season put him out for a while. His speed had been demonstrated in all types of car, his place in the team cemented despite an awful season for Ferrari. The tragic death of Bandini at Monaco and the effective end of Mike Parkes’ career in a huge, high speed Belgian GP, Spa shunt.

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Amon with Ferrari 312 in the Monza pits, Italian GP 1967. Q4 and 7th in the race won by John Surtees Honda RA300 (Schlegelmilch)

For 1968 his teammate was Belgian ‘Wunderkind’ Jacky Ickx.

One of the ‘crosses Ferrari F1 drivers sometimes bore’ was Enzo Ferrari’s obsession with sports car racing, particularly Le Mans. Whilst the team had better resources than most the impact of the sports car program on F1 was great or little depending upon the competitiveness of said GP cars at the time! In mid-season, the focus was on the Sports Cars, after that F1 was re-prioritised.

In 1968 Ferrari ‘spat the dummy’ at  CSI rule changes (ending unlimited cars and changing to 5 litre Sports Cars and 3 litre Prototypes) not building a car for the season with a consequent focus on F1 and development of a car which could have won both ’68 world titles.

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1968 Spanish Grand Prix. Ferrari 312/68 Q1 and led until fuel pump failure on lap 58. Hills Lotus 49 Ford won (unattributed)

The 48 valve V12 was developed to give circa 410bhp at a time the Ford Cosworth DFV gave much the same, albeit the Fazz lacked the mid-range punch of the DFV, Amon quipped that ‘there was nothing at home below 9800rpm’. The engine also had high water and oil temperatures with consequent power loss. The Ferrari’s went to the grid carrying 8-10 gallons more ‘juice’ than the Cosworth cars, a weight penalty of 55-70 pounds. Despite all of that the 312/68 was a very competitive, if unreliable beast.

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In amongst the damp North Sea dunes at Zandvoort in 1968. Dutch GP Q1 and 6th, the race won by Stewart’s Matra MS10 Ford  (Schlegelmilch)

 

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French GP, Rouen 1968. Q5 and 10th in the race won by teammate Ickx, the ‘rainmaster’ who started the damp race on full wets and drove away in the early laps when, again, a driver, Jo Schlesser, died in another fiery accident in the Honda RA302. These accidents accelerated changes to circuit and car safety, not that they were the last horrible fiery deaths in the period. Amazing Rainer Schlegelmilch shot of Rouen and the butt of Amons 312; look at the hay bales, tyre distortion and the presence of wings which grew thru ’68 (Schlegelmilch)

In 1968 the grid was ‘awash’ with Ford Cosworth DFV’s; Lotus, McLaren and Ken Tyrrell’s Matra’s were fitted with them. Colin Chapman waived his exclusivity agreement to the engines upon Ford’s Walter Hayes request that he do so ‘for the good of GP racing’ such was Hayes fear of Lotus dominance. Not that Ford’s position was diminished by more DFV powered cars on the grid than less!

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Amon in the Oulton Park Gold Cup 17 August 1968. I had this shot on my bedroom wall for years as a scho0l kid! Wings are growing…Amon 2nd to Stewart’s Matra MS10 Ford (unattributed)

For Ferrari, BRM, Weslake and Honda the impact of the Ford engine was great. The DFV was built on modern, tape controlled equipment bought for the purpose which meant the quality of the product was consistent, parts made would fit all engines. Prior to that some GP engines were to an extent hand fettled and bits needed to be modified to fit each engine, which was effectively bespoke. Cosworth’s quality control and the pressure on them to rebuild the engines in a timely consistent way for all took a while to get sorted. But the writing was well and truly on the wall. The Ford engine a considerable F1 weapon of course right into the eighties and beyond in F3000 guise.

None of this was lost on Amon of course, the competitiveness of his compatriot Bruce McLaren’s cars in 1968 was something he observed and discussed with both Bruce and Denny Hulme.

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Italian GP, Monza 9 August 1968. Giulio Borsari makes some adjustments to Ickx’ 312. Forghieri devised this ‘movable aerodynamic device’ operated by oil pressure. The wing went to hi-angle mode in 1/2/3rd gears but feathered for low drag with the throttle open in 4/5th gears. It returned to download position in those gears when the brakes were applied. An override switch was fitted which Chris liked and Ickx had removed (Klemantaski)

 

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Amon putting the movable wing to good effect at Monza in 1968. Q3 and DNF after an accident, Hulme won in a McLaren M7A Ford  (unattributed)

But Chris was ‘on fire’ in 1968. Ferrari were on the front row 9 times, 8 to Amon and took 4 poles, 3 to Amon. Unreliability robbed them, and Chris of  3 probable wins. Ickx took the only race win at Reims during the tragic French GP in which Jo Schlesser died in the Honda RA302.

At Monza Chris lead until an oil leak onto a rear tyre caused an almighty accident which destroyed the car. Amon dominated in Canada despite clutchless gear changes from lap 12 but of course the gearbox broke under the strain, the clutch should not have failed.

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Chris on the way to a 1969 Australian GP victory at Lakeside, Queensland on 2 February. He won the Tasman Series beating the Team Lotus Rindt/Hill duo and others. Left front of the Dino 246T off the deck thru the very fast kink opposite the pits (Rod MacKenzie)

1969 started well. Chris tested his 246 Dino Tasman cars thoroughly at Modena before shipping the cars home to New Zealand. He convincingly won the series in 300bhp, 24 valve cars he helped develop and a team he put together. He collaborated with David McKay’s Sydney based Scuderia Veloce who provided on ground back-up for the mix of speed and reliability needed for this championship of intensity; 8 races in 8 weeks.

He beat the factory Lotus 49’s of Hill and new-signing and probable ‘fastest guy on the planet’ Jochen Rindt taking 4 wins including the NZ GP at Pukekohe and AGP at Lakeside. The series of depth also included Derek Bell (in the other Dino), Frank Gardner (Mildren Alfa T33 V8) and Piers Courage (Brabham BT24 Ford DFW).

Back at Maranello the finishing touches were being made to the 312P, Ferrari were back in endurance racing that year, and the latest evolution of the 312 GP car.

Strategically the future for Ferrari was bright despite the financial difficulties the team were in early in the year. Discussions underway with Fiat were consummated in June; Enzo Ferrari had effective control of the racing department for his lifetime whilst Fiat took over the development of the road cars. And a considerable amount of cash changed hands.

The injection of working capital allowed Ferrari to build the 25 512S Sports Cars required for homologation into Group 5 for 1970 and to develop Ferrari’s first ‘clean sheet’ 3 litre F1 car, the flat-12 312B.

Ferrari authorised Forghieri to start this program  early in the year well before the Fiat deal was done. The Fiorano test facility, opened in 1972 is another example of the sort of investment which would not have been possible without Fiat’s investment in Ferrari.

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Monaco 1969 Amon beside Jackie Stewart’s Matra MS80 Ford which won the title that year . Q2 anf a failed diff. Note the lack of wings, banned overnight by the CSI. Hill won in a Lotus 49 Ford (Yves Debraine)

From Amon’s perspective then, he was potentially in the right place.

He was esconced in one of the sports greatest teams, he had won the Tasman, Ferrari was in the process of doing a deal with a partner with deep pockets. A new car was underway for 1970 but 1969 could be a challenge with an evolution of the ’68 cars and more Cosworth powered cars on GP grids! It was critical to Chris the 312B tested well.

Whilst Mauro Forghieri worked on the design of the 312B Ing Stefano Jacoponi was responsible to do what he could with the obsolescent V12. The chassis was much the same although the cars appearance was different with a flatter nose and evolution of wings, partially at the whim of the (CSI) rulemakers who banned, rightly, high-wings during the Monaco GP weekend.

The V12 was changed with heads which reversed the porting, returning the exhausts to outside the Vee lowering the cars centre of gravity and reducing turbulence around the rear wing. Inlets were in the Vee, more radical cams were developed and disastrous efforts made to reduce frictional losses and release power, by reducing main bearing area…

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Amon, Q2 DNF engine, Spanish GP, Montjuic Park, Barcelona 1969. Stewart won in a Matra MS80 Ford. Look at that oil cooler trying to do just that (unattributed)

 

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Forghieri with the 312/69 in the Silverstone, British GP paddock. V12 cooling issues clear by the ‘orrible oil cooler/duct incorporated into the rear wing. Amon Q5 and DNF lap 45 with gearbox failure. Stewart’s Matra won after a titanic battle with Rindt’s Lotus. 3 Ferrari’s were entered #32 the spare (unattributed)

Early in the season Ferrari entered only one car for Amon. He was 2nd on the Spanish GP grid and inherited the lead after the two Lotus 49’s crashed with wing failure, with a lead of over 30 seconds the engine seized. At Monaco he was 2nd when the diff failed and at Silverstone, joined by Pedro Rodriguez both retired with ‘box and engine failures.

To add to these frustrations and be in no doubt elite sport is as much mental as physical his erstwhile teammate Ickx, Amon had been demonstrably the quicker of the two in 1968 was winning races in Brabham’s year old spaceframe chassis BT26. That car was now as consistently fast and reliable with a DFV in 1969 as it was consistently fast and unreliable with a Repco ‘RB760 Series’ V8 in 1968. Amons disappointment with his situation was immense, he was a race-winner in a reliable Ferrari or another car.

Such were their problems Ferrari withdrew from the German GP on 3 August, Ickx won there, to prepare the new 312B for Monza, it simply was not worth racing the fast but unreliable 312/69.

Amon had great hopes for Mauro Forghieri’s new for 1970 car, the ‘clean-sheet, Flat-12 engined 312B…

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Amon readies himself for the off, Modena, exact date unknown (GP Library)

Mauro Forghieri’s Ferrari 312B was one of the most beautifully integrated Ferrari’s ever built, whilst much is made of the engine the success of the car was about far more. Doug Nye; ‘The 312B…was quite the best integrated 3 litre F1 package yet created. It would remain the best packaged of all Ferrari’s until the Postlethwaite 156 appeared in 1985’ he said writing in 1986. I always thought the 312T/T2 were pretty handy bits of integrated kit, but the point is, the car was a beautifully designed and executed car!

The talented Modenese born engineer saw at close hand as an at thecircuit race-engineer the success of the Lotus 49 and its imitators, the engine beautifully integrated with the chassis and the powerful, torquey, compact, relatively frugal and reliable nature of the Cosworth DFV itself. The engines basic dimensions and valve angles gave instruction to a whole generation of engine designers.

The suspension of the competition were all period conventional; wishbones/wishbones or rocker/wishbones at the front and single top-link, lower wishbones and radius rods for fore and aft location. The 312B followed that course.

Aerodynamics were still a black art but the CSI’s mandated lower wings meant airflow to the critical rear wing needed thought as the wing could no longer be mounted high in ‘clean air’. Remember, at the time traction was important, the cars had a wonderful surplus of power over grip.In the end that problem solved as much by tyre alchemy as wings let alone the 1969 4WD blind-alley of which Ferrari was not a part.

A 12 cylinder engine was a ‘Ferrari given’. Forghieri’s challenge was to unlock sufficient power to combat the DFV despite the inherent packaging issues of the longer engine and frictional losses and other bottom end shortcomings which were such problems in the existing V12.

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Ferrari 312B 1970 showing the chassis structure and rear ‘boom or beam’ to which the engine attaches (Nye)

Forghieri’s chassis was another of Ferrari’s ‘aero constructions’. They were not monocoques in the British sense but rather a tubular internal frame stiffened by riveted on ‘ally panels. Not a problem, Ron Tauranac’s old-fashioned spaceframe BT26’s were race winning GP cars in 1969 until effectively outlawed by the ‘bag tank’ rules of 1970.

The clever bit, ‘praps learning from the DFV’s simple chassis mounts mandated by Lotus designer Colin Chapman to Cosworth’s Keith Duckworth was the use of a ‘beam’ aft of the usual drivers bulkhead to which the engine mounted. This provided a very stiff structure but also very good, better than all other cars in 1970, airflow to the rear wing. It promised more downforce and therefore grip for less angle, drag, than the other cars.

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Note the rivets on the rear beam which is part of the cars chassis to which the engine attaches, it also biolts to the bulkhead behind the driver. Low nature of engine and good airflow onto the wing. Oil cooler ducts also in shot (GP Library)

 

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Ferrari factory drawing of the Flat-12 312B engine showing its deep base chamber, roller bearing mains, narrow included valve angle, induction tracts above the heads, exhausts below and extensive cross-bolting of the split crankcase castings (Nye)

Engineers Forghieri, Rocchi and Bussi’s 3 litre Flat-12 engine was conceived in that horizontally opposed configuration to get the cars centre of gravity low and get the engine out of the airstream to the wing. The need for lower frictional losses was met by the use of just 4, the old V12 had 7, main bearings. The design used  2 plain bearings in its centre and ball bearing races at each end.

Bore and stroke were 78.5mm x 51.5mm, vastly oversquare, for a capacity of 2991cc. Four overhead camshafts and 4 valves per cylinder were used, the heads evolved from ’69 V12 practice. Lucas fuel injection was carried over onto the new engine. The cams were driven by gears  from the crank’s nose.

Doug Nye; ‘The light alloy block was cast in 2 parts and united on a crankshaft centreline bolted flange…Light alloy cylinder liners were used, cooled by water circulation at their upper ends, by oil circulation down below. The crankshaft was machined from a steel forging, each of its six crankpins carrying two con-rods. The crankshaft nose gear drove alternator, ignition distributor and and fuel metering unit via gears and pinions. The crank tail drove the valvegear train. A tiny flywheel assembly incorporated a rubber vibration damper. Forged titanium con-rods were used…and Mahle forged aluminium pistons…a single oil pressure pump was driven off the rear of the RH cylinder timing gear fed the oil filter mounted behind the fuel metering unit.’

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Side on flat-12 engine detail, DOHC, 4 valve, Lucas injected, single plug, how low do they take the CofG with this approach?! See rad header tank and extinguished bomb, the latter messy in terms of flow to the wing and exposed! Check out the very clever roll bar brace; it triangulates and stiffens the rear beam structure as well as providing a neat, faired mount for the wing itself (GP Library)

 

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312B front end detail. Suspension top rocker actuating coil springs and Koni shocks and lower wide based wishbone. Note ally ducting behind rad to exhuast hot air via ducts in the fibre-glass nose (GP Library)

 

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Butt shot of the 312B as it heads out onto Modena Autodrome with Amon saying a few silent ‘Hail Marys’ as to engine life no doubt! Ducting to oil coolers, rear mounted battery and outboard brake discs/suspension all clear (GP Library)

Amon watched the jewel of a car evolve at Maranello, it was with a great deal of optimism that he approached his early tests at Modena.

Right from the start he and Forghieri were happy with the chassis, the sort of balance they achieved with the earlier V12’s was still present. The car was lighter, was good under brakes had good traction and top speed for as long as the new, powerful engine lasted…

With Chris in the car the 312B had a series of monumental, catastrophic engine failures due to piston, crankshaft and lubrication problems. Amon; ‘I could feel that it was tremendously strong and powerful during those early tests, but it kept flying apart, i thought hell i can’t stand any more of this…’

After one of these sessions in August Chris said ‘enough’ and decided to leave the team.

Its ironic that Amon made the decision to leave due to the early failures of an engine which became a paragon of powerful reliability for a decade winning 3 drivers, 4 manufacturers and 1 sportscar championship for the Scuderia. Its performance was only compromised by its low/bulky architecture, a strength but an impediment in the ‘wing car ‘ era when the engine took space needed for ground-effect tunnels.

The engines bottom end failings were resolved by building a tilting dyno-bed at Maranello  to reproduce oil surge in corners. The crank torsional issues were sorted by the addition of a Pirelli cushion coupling between the crank and flywheel. In this form the 1970 spec engine developed 460bhp from 11500-11700 rpm rising to 510bhp@12000 rpm in 1979/80.

But for Chris it was all too much, he could see another season of Ferrari DNF’s caused by the repeated engine failures which had cost him victory or good placings on so many occasions. He saw his immediate future best served by driving a Ford Cosworth DFV powered car, the dominant engine of the time, so off to the nascent March concern he went.

He hadn’t burned his Ferrari bridges though, he was invited to be a member of the teams 512S sportscar squad in 1970…but Enzo Ferrari did say to the Kiwi that he, Ferrari, would win a race before Chris did!

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Ickx, having made a smart move to Brabham in 1969 came back to Maranello for 1970 as ‘numero uno’ and was unlucky in some ways, in a season of great cars, not to win the title in the 312B!

The 312B came on strong, all issues solved in the second half of the season, the car won in Austria, Mexico and Canada for Ickx and at Monza for Regazzoni. Had the car started the season as well as it finished, noting Rindt’s death at Monza took out the seasons fastest combination, Ickx would have won the title. Mind you, there are plenty of new cars down the years that if they had reliability from the start of the season would have taken the title.

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This group of shots (the one above and those at Modena below, all are undated sadly) are included for the sake of completeness; they are all of the same session. They show the beauty of this incredibly good, important for Ferrari car.

The photos convey a certain sense of calm as well, despite the problems which were apparent with the engine from the start. Apart from Chris of course, i am sure he felt far from calm trying to best assess his short and longer term options!

Driving careers are fickle things; he felt he had to seize the moment having in his mind stayed at Ferrari a season too long. Hindsight is brilliant of course, in fact he stayed a season too little, his testing skills may well have meant the car started the season better prepared than it did. Ickx wasn’t a noted test driver and new-boys to F1 Regazzoni and Giunti weren’t in a position to make the contribution Chris could and had made since 1967…

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Another view of the roll bar/wing mount covered earlier (GP Library)

 

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Forghieri with the pad, sans rear wing in this shot (GP Library)

 

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Who is the belle of the ball!? Lotus 72 was ‘the radical’ of 1970: side rads, rear weight distbn, torsion bar suspension but all the other race winners that year were ‘conventional’ front rad cars; 312B, BRM P153, Brabham BT33, March 701. Best aero direction not clear at this point in GP history nor would it be until the Lotus 78 started the ‘wing car’ trend (GP Library)

 

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Chris Amon, Modena June/July 1969. He lost many races due to bad luck, the decision to leave Ferrari tho wasn’t so much bad luck as a judgement call which time proved was the wrong one. Wonderful hindsight i know (GP Library)

 

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(GP Library)

 

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Amon lost in his thoughts, Modena 1969 (GP Library)

Amon Post Ferrari…

This article is not about Amon’s career, rather Ferrari elements of it. What follows is not a full summary of the balance of his wonderful career.

For Chris 1970 was frustrating!

The March 701 was not the best car of the season but both he and Jackie Stewart in Ken Tyrrell’s car ‘made it sing’. Stewart took a Spanish GP win and Chris the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, an F1 win but not the GP win he sought.

He came close to that in a titanic battle with Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P153 at Spa in a test of the brave, bold, skilful and precise, just coming second.

He proved as quick as anyone in 1970, again. His record head to head in the 10 Championship GP’s he and Stewart raced the 701, the Scot in a Dunlop rather than Firestone shod car was 8/2 in Stewart’s favour. In all but 2 occasions Chris was only 1 or 2 grid slots behind Stewart who was arguably the best driver in the world at the time if not its fastest. Until his death most would argue that was Jochen Rindt. There is little doubt the Tyrrell 701 was a better prepared car than Amon’s March works car. The point to take here is that Amon was ‘right thereabouts’ with the best driver in the world at the time.

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Amons March 701 being tended by the cars designer Robin Herd at Monaco 1970, Q2, DNF suspension failure,Ronnie Peterson’s customer, Colin Crabbe owned yellow March 701 behind. Rindt won in a Lotus 49C Ford (unattributed)

If the departure from Ferrari was not strategically the right one for all the reasons outlined earlier in the article, the departure to the new March outfit was a ‘leap of faith’ largely i suspect in designer Robin Herd which provided a competitive Cosworth powered car if not the quickest one. Amon knew Herd from their March days, Robin designed the first McLaren F1 car, the M2B and the ’67 CanAm Championship winning M6A Chev.

March were a company whose very successful raison d’etre was the construction and sale of production racing cars, its works teams secondary considerations. Its not hard in that context to work out what Max Mosley and Robin Herd’s prime focus was in 1970; to win in FF, F3 and F2 to flog cars for the coming year. Chris signed relatively early for March, before he knew they were selling 701′ s to ‘every man and his dog’ including the 1969 world champion for 1970. In 1970 Amon, Siffert, Stewart, Servoz-Gavin, Cevert, Peterson, Andretti and others raced 701’s. Works drivers Amon and Siffert didn’t have the cars to themselves.

Brabham, McLaren and BRM would have been better places to be in 1970 than March. Not that BRM was an attractive option in 1969.

Chris joined Matra who made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, back to a V12 for 1971 and 1972, taking a Non-Championship GP win in Argentina in 1971 and again lead races more than once only to experience car failures or punctures.

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1971 Argentinian GP placegetters; Henri Pescarolo March 701 Ford, Amon 1st where he belongs! Matra Ms120 and Carlos Reutemann McLaren M7C Ford Ford (GP Library)

During 1972 Matra were mainly a single-car entry for Amon its focus increasingly on Endurance Racing success.

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German GP 1972. Amon Matra MS120D Q8/15. Ickx won in a Ferrari 312B2 (unattributed)

Tecno in 1973 was a disaster but Chris raced a third Tyrrell in Canada (Q11 2 slots behind Stewart in the unfamiliar car and 10th in the race) and the US (Q12 at the time the team withdrew from the race) for Tyrrell but not converting that into a 1974 drive after the death of Francois Cevert and retirement of Jackie Stewart at Watkins Glen.

His own Amon F1 car was also a disaster in 1974, a project commenced after a return to March in ’74 ‘evaporated’ over the Christmas New Year period seemingly after a failure in communication between Max Mosley and Chris. An engine development business with ex-BRM engineer Aubrey Woods also cost the Kiwi a lot of money. Looking at Chris’ career and some of the decisions suggests he needed a decent business manager, or a better one if he had one!

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In Tyrrell 005 in the Kendall Centre, Watkins Glen. Note the inboard front brakes of Derek Gardner’s design. Tragic weekend with teammate Francois Cevert’s high speed, fatal practice crash in an 006 chassis. Both remaining cars withdrawn and Jackie Stewart didn’t get the chance to race in his last, planned GP (Mike Glynn)

 

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Amon in Tyrrell 005 Ford, Watkins Glen, USGP practice, 6 October 1973 (unattributed)

In 1975 he raced  the Talon MR1 Chev F5000 (nee McRae GM2) in the Tasman Series and in the US showing he had lost none of his skill despite a car not as good as the ubiquitous, highly developed Lola T332’s.

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Amon enters the Sandown paddock, Saturday 22 February 1975. 5th in the race, Talon MR1 Chev, car behind is John McCormack’s 2nd placed Elfin MR6 Repco. John Goss won in a Matich A53 Repco (M Bisset)

The only time i saw Chris race was in the final round of the ’75 Tasman at Sandown in February, he did the full series in one of Jack McCormack’s Talons, not the ‘fastest tool in the shed’ but Chris made the car sizzle despite junk engines which failed 3 times. He took a win at Teretonga, the final Kiwi round and was quick everywhere whilst the car stayed together.

I was a starstruck teenager who didn’t stray too far from his pit the whole weekend. On circuit what was impressive was his speed which was deceptive. He drove the car in a very ‘neutral’ fashion through the slow/medium corners where so many others were ‘tail out’. Across the top of ‘Marlboro Country’ a fast entry quicker corner his carrying speed and control was a joy to watch as was his precision under brakes into ‘Dandy Road’. I still recall the toe/heel too; on the brakes late and a change down late as well, a short/few revs blip at the throttle, easy on the DG300 box. A pro.

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‘Auto Actions’ Paul Harrington gets the gen from Amon, Sandown Tasman ’75 practice Saturday, looks like its tough going! McRae GM2/Talon MR1 clones lovely cars (M Bisset)

Late in 1975 he had some drives of Mo Nunn’s Ensign GP cars, he and Nunn developed these pretty, effective cars into machines which shaded many of the big budget teams in 1976.

He was 10th on the Spanish GP grid, finishing 5th, 8th on the Zolder grid but lost a wheel and flipped the car emerging unscathed in the race. At Monaco he was Q12 and 13th. At Anderstorp he was a terrific 3rd on the grid but crashed out of 4th on lap 39 when the cars suspension failed.

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Swedish GP, Anderstorp 1976; Amon Ensign N176 Ford in between Patrick Depailler’s Tyrrell P34 Ford and Gunnar Nilsson’s Lotus 76 Ford. Scheckter won in the other P34, Amon an amazing Q3 and accident caused by suspension failure (unattributed)

Chris missed the French GP injured after Sweden, Patrick Neve qualified the car 26th, perhaps more indicative of the machines pace without an ‘ace’ at the wheel…

At Silverstone for the British GP, Chris qualified 6th, this time a water leak the cause of a DNF.

The problems of a low budget team in terms of design and preparation were clear, Chris decided he had ‘had enough’ of GP racing in this way and elected not to take the re-start of the German GP after Niki Lauda’s accident. The risk of something breaking on that circuit in that car was simply too great.

1976 showed he had lost none of his sublime, deceptively fast skill, speed and testing ability. He was still only 33 despite having his first Championship GP drive in 1963.

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Amon’s last pro drive. Mont Tremblant CanAm 12 June 1977 in Walter Wolf’s Wolf Dallara WD1 Chev, grid 2 and DNF. Race won by Klauser’s Schkee Chev (Bob Harmeyer)

Amon’s last race was in Walter Wolf’s single-seat Can Am car in 1977 before saying ‘enough’, recommending Gilles Villeneuve for the ride before returning to his native New Zealand and farming at Bulls in the ‘Land of The Long White Clouds’ North Island. He sold the property some years ago but is not too far from the local racing scene and maintains a long-standing commercial relationship with Toyota.

Chris Amon had a career most of us can only dream about, life is all about the decisions we take, perhaps the decision to leave Ferrari in 1969 was the worst he ever made but in the same circumstances i suspect many of us would have made the same call.

To me though he should be remembered for what he achieved rather than what he didn’t: wins at Le Mans, Daytona 24 Hours, Monza 1000Km, a Tasman Championship, NZ (2) and Australian GP wins against some of the best drivers in the world, two non-championship F1 races and many individual race wins and the respect and fear of his peers. From 1967 to 1972 he was in the top 10 drivers in the world, for some of those years top 5.

Bot wow, Amon in a 312B in 1970, if only…

Etcetera…

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Ferrari 312B cutaway (unattributed)

 

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Bleeding the brakes with Dave Ramsay, F5000 Talon MR1A Chev during the Long Beach GP weekend in September 1975. Amon 4th, race won by Brian Redman’s Lola T332 Chev (D Ramsay)

Bibliography…

Automobile Year 16, 17 and 18, Doug Nye ‘History of The GP Car 1965-85’, GP Encyclopaedia, MotorSport March ’84 Amon article by Alan Henry

oldracingcars.com is one of my standard, always reference sources- checkout Allen Brown’s piece on the cars and each chassis built here; https://www.oldracingcars.com/ferrari/312b/

Photo Credits…

Getty Images, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Mike Glynn, Klemantaski Collection, GP Library, Rod MacKenzie, D Ramsay, Bob Harmeyer, Yves Debraine

Tailpiece: ‘This thing is a Jet if only they could keep it together for more than 10 laps?!’ …

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Finito…