Posts Tagged ‘Jochen Rindt’

lot 72

This photo of the front of the epochal Lotus 72 Ford was taken in the Jarama paddock upon the cars race debut during the Spanish GP weekend on 19 April 1970…

It wasn’t quite the debut the equally trendsetting Lotus 25 Climax and Lotus 49 Ford made in ’62 and ’67 respectively, but Jochen popped it 8th on the grid and then failed to finish, his Cosworth DFV had ignition problems. Jackie Stewart won the race in Ken Tyrrell’s March 701 Ford.

I like the shot as it shows the car as Maurice Phillipe originally detailed it. The jewel of a thing won at Zandvoort on June 21, 2 months later as a Lotus 72C! It evolved from 72, 72B to 72C spec in 2 months.

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‘Gees Colin it needs some work!’ Rindt to Chapman in the Jarama paddock 1970. The ‘SOL’ pitboard is local boy Alex Soler-Roig who had a steer of Jochen’s old Lotus 49C, failing to qualify, as did John Miles in the other works 72 (unattributed)

Jochen loathed the 72 in its original form. It had severe handling deficiencies, the car rolled excessively and lifted inside rear wheels. The anti-dive geometry made the light steering lack feel as the suspension stiffened under braking. Anti-squat was suspected of inducing a diagonal jacking moment across the car causing that inside rear wheel to lift in corners.

Chapman prescribed a raft of changes including removing the anti-dive and anti-squat aspects of the cars suspension geometry front and rear. It’s easy to say but involved Hethel’s fabricators unpicking the cars lovely aluminium monocoques to change the suspension pick up points at the front, and to make a new subframe at the rear.

Chapman, not only one of the design greats but also a race engineer of extraordinary ability and perception turned a ‘sows ear into a silk purse’, the car famously winning its first titles that year, Rindt’s drivers championship posthumously of course.

Other changes to the car before the French GP, held that year on the rolling glorious roads of Clermont Ferrand included stiffening the rear of the chassis by cross bracing it, fitting stronger suspension pick-up points and re-siting the rear Koni shocks which were being ‘fried’ by hot air exiting the hip radiators.

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Lotus 72C Ford cutaway; aluminium monocoque, wishbone upper and lower front suspension, torsion bars providing the spring medium and Koni shocks. Single top link, parallel lower links and again torsion bars and Koni shocks at the rear. Ford Cosworth DFV 3 litre V8 and Hewland FG400 gearbox (unattributed)

Checkout the following in the first photo at the articles outset; the monocoque ending at the front, drivers feet bulkhead, fabricated tubular steel front subframe and all it supports. The infamous inboard front brakes are clear, a design tenet of the car was reduced unsprung weight. I can’t see the front torsion bars, but the lack of co-axial coil springs and use of long solid torsion bars as the springing medium was also revolutionary at the time. The front battery is handily placed to be removed in the event of a front impact, as is, sub-optimally, the onboard fire extinguisher.

The front of the 72 is far less ‘butch’ or strong, than, say, the ‘full monocoques’ of a 1970 BRM P153, or a McLaren M14 but the perils for racing drivers of frontal impacts at any speed in all of the cars of the period are clear in this shot. Note the hip-radiators, Chapman was playing with weight, which he placed increasingly onto the rear of the car over the 72’s long, 1970-75 life as well as aerodynamics. Still, the wedge wasn’t new, his 1968 Lotus 56 Pratt & Whitney Indycar first deployed the approach.

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Press launch of the Lotus 72 wedge in London, 6 April 1970 (Norman Quicke)

A magic car with a long competitive life, yet again Chapman set a path so many others followed…

Credits…

The GP Library, Norman Quicke, Doug Nye ‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’

Tailpiece: Jochen Rindt riding the Lotus 72 roller-coaster at Jarama in 1970, ‘anti-dive’ inclination of top wishbones clear in shot…

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Nina Rindt keeping a close eye on Jochen, Jo Siffert and Graham Hill all doing their best to focus on their Loti and need for speed rather than the black booted babe…

A famous Rainer Schlegelmilch shot at Monza in 1969, i don’t think its ever been established exactly who ‘boots’ is? Quite a tidy unit.

Jackie Stewart took the race, the best placed Lotus 49 was Rindt in 2nd. Siffert was classified 8th but withdrew with engine failure, Hill retired his 49 the lap before Jo with driveshaft failure and was classified 9th.

Photo…Rainer Schlegelmilch

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Jackie Stewart being largely ignored by most of the ‘snappers’ at Zandvoort during the Dutch Grand Prix weekend in 1971…

Rainer Schlegelmilch’s shot seems to be a portrait of his colleagues, Diana Burnett is the lady, the distinctive figure of Bernard Cahier is the chap in the blue cap and Goodyear jacket. It’s dry which makes it practice, the wet race was won by Ickx’ Ferrari with JYS 4th in Tyrrell 003 Ford.

I was first smitten by single-seaters upon spotting Jochen Rindt’s sensational ‘Gold Leaf’ Lotus 72 in the Automobile Year 18 ‘centrefold’ below.

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Rindt on his way to a joyless first GP win for the Lotus 72 Ford during the 1970 Dutch GP at Zandvoort, his close friend Piers Courage perished in a grisly, fiery accident during the race in a De Tomaso 505 Ford (Automobile Year)

The book came from the Camberwell Grammar School library, I was an inmate for 6 years and borrowed these annuals, they bought the latest each year, hundreds of times over the years. If truth be known I surgically removed many of the full page color shots from the books which somehow found their way onto my bedroom wall, I was skilful with a razor blade long before I could shave!

So, I was a devotee of Colin Chapman’s Lotus 56/72 side radiator, chisel nose aero approach rather than Derek Gardner’s chunky ‘sportscar nose’ alternative he pioneered in F1 with Tyrrell in ’71. That the alternative approaches worked equally well was proved by the results of practitioners of the ‘two schools’ of aerodynamic thought throughout the ‘70’s, visually though it was ‘no contest’!

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Derek Gardner and Ken Tyrrell outside the Ockham, Surrey factory in August 1971. Tyrrell Ford could be ‘002 or 3’, ‘bluff nose’ first raced at the 4 July ’71 French GP  (Klemantaski)

Gardner’s Tyrrell period was relatively short but wonderfully sweet, although 7 years is a pretty long stint with one team I guess. His first series of cars was the 1970-72 ‘001-004’, the second series the 1972-3 ‘005-6’. Both design series won Grands’ Prix and World Titles. His ’74-5 ‘007’ and ’76-7 ‘P34’ six-wheeler won Grands Prix only, no titles. I doubt there are too many of the F1 design greats who can claim such a record.

I’ve written a few Tyrrell articles, which are worth a look if you haven’t done so; one is on innovation; https://primotipo.com/2014/09/16/tyrrell-019-ford-1990-and-tyrrell-innovation/ , the other on aerodynamics; https://primotipo.com/tag/tyrrell-007-ford/

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The car pictured above is Jackie Stewart’s ‘004’, the last of Gardner’s first series of designs. It’s being prepared for the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix, ‘004’s race debut, the GP classic won by Jean-Pierre Beltoise’ BRM P160B, famously his first and last GP win was also BRM’s last. JPB’s delicacy in the wet was aided by some schmick Firestone wets but it was a great drive by any measure. Jackie was 4th in ‘004’, he was not feeling 100% shortly thereafter was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. Francois Cevert non-classified further back in ‘002’.

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JYS practices ‘004’ at Monaco in 1972, the race was somewhat wetter! (unattributed)

The first Tyrrell, ‘001’ made its race debut in Stewart’s hands at Oulton Park in the ‘International Gold Cup’ on 22 August 1970, the car famously designed and to an extent constructed in secret in Gardner’s home garage in Parklands Avenue, Leamington! The ‘bath tub’ monocoque chassis was built to his design by Maurice Gomm’s Gomm Metal Developments, later chassis were built at Tyrrell’s famous woodyard, the base of his timber business in Ockham, Surrey. Other notable sub-contractors were Jack Knight Engineering who did much of the machining, Aeroplane and Motor who provided the centre lock magnesium alloy wheels, Laystall the stub axles, not to forget Cosworth Engineering, Hewland’s and others.

‘001’s championship debut was at Mont Tremblant, the Canadian GP on 20 September where Jackie plonked it on pole and was leading strongly before a stub axle broke on lap 32. The car was ‘match fit’ at the start of its dominant 1971 season having done vast amounts of Goodyear testing, Dunlop, Tyrrell’s hitherto tyre supplier having withdrawn from F1. Over the South African summer at Kyalami over 400 tyres were tested by the team.

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Tyrrell and Stewart during the Oulton Park International Cup weekend in August 1970 upon ‘001’s debut. In a meeting of contrasts JYS qualified poorly after the fuel metering unit failed, then had a stuck throttle during the race which was fixed, the Scot broke the lap record twice later in the race, the cars competitiveness clear from the start. John Surtees won the event on aggregate, he won the second heat in his Surtees TS9 Ford and Henri Pescarolo the first heat (his only F1 win?) in a March 711 Ford

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More shots of ‘001’ during the Oulton August weekend. The cars distinctive bodywork was Gardners work and was tested at 1/10th scale in the wind tunnel of the University of Surrey in Guildford (Getty)

Powered by the good ‘ole 3 litre Ford Cosworth DFV V8 and using the equally ubiquitous Hewland FG400 5 speed transaxle, the bolides were ‘kit cars’ of the period derided by Enzo Ferrari but  remarkably quick bits of kit!

Look back to the photo of ‘004’ chassis at Monaco above. The monocoque was made of 16 guage NS4 aluminium alloy and like ‘002’ and ‘003’ was 4 inches longer in the length of the tub and 1 1/2 inches longer in the wheelbase than the prototype ‘001’.

You can see the wide based lower one piece wishbone is mounted both to the tub and at its outer end the tubular suspension carrying frame which was first made up on a jig and then slipped over the top of the monocoque to which it was externally riveted. The upper suspension arm is a top link and locating link mounted to a bracket on the tub. Shocks are alloy bodied, double adjustable Koni’s again period typical. The simple steering column is clear, the rack made by Tyrrells.

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Tyrrell 002-4 cutaway drawing, all chassis the same design, this car is ‘003’. Specs as per text (Tony Hatton)

The vastly strong 360 degree roll bar encircled the the rear bulkhead and was both spigoted and bolted through into the monocoque. The DFV, stressed of course, was then bolted through this hoop. The forward radius rod pickups you can just see attached to the bar structure.

The rear was also a close to perfect expression of period paradigm; single top link, twin parallel lower links to better control toe than the inverted lower wishbone used for the decade before, two radius rods for fore and aft location and again coil spring/Koni dampers.

Brakes are Girling calipers, ventilated rotors front and solid rears of 10 1/2 inch diameter Goodyear tyres were used from the start of 1971.

‘004’ was completed at the end of the ’71 season as a spare car for Stewart, it was relatively lightly raced by the works, click on this link for a full, interesting article on the car which is still alive, well and historic raced; http://www.britishracecar.com/JohnDimmer-Tyrrell-004.htm

Gardner’s ‘005-006’ cars were low polar moment, very quick, nervous devices from which the aces for which they were designed, Stewart and Francois Cevert extracted ‘every ounce’ of performance in later 1972 and in 1973. Here is my short article about these cars; https://primotipo.com/2014/08/25/jackie-stewart-monaco-gp-1973-tyrrell-006-ford/

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Ken Tyrrell supervising the packing away of ‘003’ at the end of a Goodwood test session on 16 January 1972 prior to shipping the car to Argentina for the start of the 1972 season. There Jackie drove it to his first win of a season in which Emerson Fittipaldi prevailed in the gorgeous, chisel nosed ‘John Player Special’ Lotus 72 which I think is about where we came in…

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The ever thoughtful Derek Gardner in blue shirt watches ‘Emmo’ head out for some more practice prior to the ’72 Italian GP, Monza. The Brazilian won the race and title in his Lotus 72D Ford. Francois Cevert is behind DG, his car Tyrrell 002, DNF with engine failure (unattributed)

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’71 Dutch GP collage (Schlegelmilch)

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, Victor Blackman, Getty Images, Klemantaski Archive, Tony Hatton

Doug Nye ‘The History of The GP Car’, The GP Encyclopaedia

Tailpiece: Opening Dutch GP shot, uncropped, low res…

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(Schlegelmilch)

 

 

 

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(Schlegelmilch)

Silvio Moser’s Brabham BT24 Ford racing with Lancia D50 style pannier tanks during the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix…

He retired from the race won by Graham Hill’s Lotus 49B. Moser is one of those privateers who so enriched GeePee racing in the days when such things were allowed, encouraged even.

Silvio was keen on Brabhams, he raced an ex-works BT20, Denny’s chassis ‘F1-2-6’ in 1968 before buying the car above, BT24/3 after Piers Courage raced it in the 1969 Tasman Series.

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Silvio is his Charles Vogele Racing Team Brabham BT20/2 Repco. DNF, Daily Mail Race of Champions meeting, Brands Hatch, 17 March 1968. Bruce McLaren won in his M7A Ford (Ed Lacey)

It was the last of the BT24’s built, Jochen Rindt raced the 1967 championship winning design during early season ’68 Grands Prix whilst Jack tried to coax some reliability from the quad cam, 32 valve, powerful but problemmatic ‘860 Series’ Repco V8 engined BT26.

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Jochen Rindt’s Brabham BT24/3 Repco, his ’67 spec ‘740 Series’ Repco SOHC V8 powered car beside Jack’s new BT26 powered by the ‘860 Series’ DOHC, 32 valve V8, DNF for both, Monaco 1968. Hill won in a Lotus 49 B Ford (Schlegelmilch)

Dan Gurney also had a steer, the lanky Californian crammed himself into the car at Zandvoort (below) then Kurt Ahrens raced it to 12th in the German GP, the cars only GP finish in 1968.

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Kurt Ahrens (below)  in BT24/3 during the awfully wet German GP at the Niuburgring, Jackie Stewart triumphed in his Matra MS10 Ford aided by some trick Dunlop wets. Kurt was on Goodyears, finishing 12th in a one off drive on home turf. The cars spec was ever evolving, check out the wing package, the same as that used on the factory 1968 BT26’s, Nurburgring was the only race of the year in which both Jack and Jochen finished a race in the fast but unreliable BT26. Kurt’s cars wing has ‘Fosters Flop’, it’s in full droop mode, the simple support bracket having come adrift on the bumpy Eifel Mountains course.

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(Unattributed)

Frank Williams then bought the car and converted it to Tasman spec by fitting a Ford Cosworth DFW V8, the 2.5 litre variant of the famous DFV. Piers did well in it in the Antipodes, his best result 1st at the Teretonga International on 25 January 1969. Here (below) he is behind Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 49 DFW and the Ferrari 246 T twins of Chris Amon and Derek Bell, the ‘flash’ grandstands nicely juxtaposed against  the cars. Might be on the warm up lap as Jochen’s driveshaft failed on the line, the cars are in grid order.

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(Ian Peak)

And below Bell’s Ferrari 246T from Hill’s Lotus 49B and Courage’s BT24/3. Courage won from Hill and Amon. Variety of approaches to wings interesting, checkout that crowd and the el-casual vantage points.

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(Ian Peak)

Courage had a sensational season driving another ex-works Brabham, a BT26 adapted to accept a DFV, he established himself as an F1 front runner in 1969, 2nd at Watkins Glen to Jochen Rindt the seasons highlight.

Frank Williams popped the BT24 into Autosport after the Tasman to sell it, Silvio the eager purchaser. All the hard work had been done, he bought a DFV and slotted it into the spaceframe whence the DFW had been. He needed more tankage though, Tasman races were 100 miles, GP’s 200 miles, hence the pannier tanks, ok for 1969 but no-go in 1970 when ‘bag tank’ rules came into being.

BT24/3 still exists in Switzerland, there is also a replica tagged 24/3.

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Silvio’s Brabham BT24 DNF engine, about to be swallowed by Amon’s Ferrari 312 3rd, Hulmes McLaren M7A Ford 4th and Brabham’sBrabham BT26 Ford 6th, Zandvoort, Dutch GP June 1969 (unattributed)

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, Ed Lacey/Popperfoto, Ian Peak Collection/The Roaring Season

oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece: Silvio Moser on his way to a great 6th place in his Brabham BT24/3 Ford at Watkins Glen during the 1969 USGP, he is being passed by Jacky Ickx’ latest, works Brabham BT 26 Ford DNF. Rindt won in a Lotus 49B Ford…

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(unattributed)

 

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(Imago)

Jochen Rindt showing good form in his ‘Kneissl’s’ in early 1968…

Love this PR shot, its useless from a skiers perspective tho as the caption includes no information as to the resort, Austria is as precise as it comes!

Jochen joined Brabham for 1968 from Cooper, it wasn’t a great season for the team as the Repco ‘860 Series’ DOHC, 32 valve 3 litre V8 was as unreliable as its forebears in 1966 and 1967 were paragons of dependability, in the main at least, drivers and manufacturers titles won for Brabham and Hulme in 1966/67 respectively.

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Rindt BT24 Repco, Monaco 1968 (Getty)

Until the ’68 Brabham BT26 was ‘ready’ Jochen raced the 1967 BT24 in South Africa, Spain and Monaco, the cars speed demonstrated by Q4 and 5 at Kyalami and Monaco. These shots are all of the ’68 Monaco GP race won by Graham Hill’s Lotus 49 Ford, Jochen qualified 5th and boofed the car in the race.

Detailed stories about the 1967 and 1968 Brabham Repco seasons i will write soon.

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The ’67 BT24 ‘760 Series’ 2 cam/2 valve Repco beside its ’68 BT26 ‘860 Series’ DOHC/4 cam sibling and Jochen happy despite a character-building season. Despite the difficulties Jochen enjoyed his year with Brabham and likewise Brabham and Tauranac working with him. ‘Twas a close run thing that he didn’t rejoin the team for 1970. He had committed to Jack who waived the verbal agreement when Chapman offered Rindt a ‘deal he could not refuse’, so off to Lotus he went… (Getty)

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Monaco; 68 lap 1 down the hill past Rosies Bar and into Mirabeau; Rindt BT24 from Hulme’s McLaren M8 Ford, the BRM’s of Attwood (not in shot) then Rodriguez P133 and the rest (Schlegelmilch)

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Rindt, again at Monaco 1968, the elegant simplicity of the ’67 Championship winning Brabham BT24 Repco clear (Getty)

Credit…

Imago, Getty Images, Rainer Schlegelmilch

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Eyes on the apex! Rindt, Monaco 1968 (Getty)

Tailpiece…

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The 1968 Repco ‘RB 860 Series’ engine may have lacked reliability but not poke! Rindt put it on pole twice in ’68, here at Rouen and at Mosport, Canada. In France Jochen picked up a puncture from the debris of Jo Schlesser’s horrific Honda RA302 accident and had a fuel tank leak later in the race, DNF . Here he is in the cockpit of his BT26 during practice. French GP 1968 (Schlegelmilch)

 

 

stewart spain

(unattributed)

Jackie Stewart passes the burning molten alloy remains of Jackie Oliver’s BRM P153 and Jacky Ickx’ Ferrari 312B, fortunately both drivers escaped with only minor injuries, burns in Ickx’ case, lucky, it could have been much worse…

On lap 1 of the 90 lap 19 April 1970 event Oliver had a suspension failure at the Ciudalcampo, Jarama, Madrid circuit, ploughing into Ickx and puncturing his fuel tank.

The other P153 BRM of Pedro Rodriguez was withdrawn as a precautionary measure, Ollie reported stub axle failure as the accident’s cause.

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#2 Ickx Ferrari 312B and Oliver’s white BRM P153, inside an inferno. ‘Bag type’ safety bladder fuel tanks mandated from the start of the 1970 season. The FIA at this time, pretty much year by year changed the regulations to improve safety around fuel tanks; safety foam around tanks in ’72, crushable structures around tanks in ’73, selfseal breakaway tank/hose coupling in ’74. (unattributed)

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The full horror of the situation confronting the two drivers; Oliver has punched the release on his Willans 6 point harness and is jumping out of the BRM, Ickx is in the process of popping his Britax Ferrari belts…Johnny Servoz-Gavin’s Tyrrell March 701 Ford 5th passes. (unattributed)

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Ickx disoriented and on fire in search of a marshall (Automobile Year 18)

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A soldier beckons in Jacky’s direction. (Automobile Year 18)

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The soldier, not a marshall puts Ickx’ overalls fire out. At this stage foam is being sprayed on the car fire but the foam extinguishers were soon emptied leaving water only, the impact on the molten magnesium componentry was to make the fire worse. (Automobile Year 18)

Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT33 Ford was on pole, reinforcing the speed of Ron Tauranac’s first monocoque GP contender, but Jackie Stewart won the race in one of his least favourite cars, the March 701 Ford.

The accident happened at the 2nd corner, the ‘Esses Bugatti’, a stub axle failed and Oliver’s BRM rammed Ickx’ Ferrari puncturing its fuel tanks and releasing 45 gallons of avgas, a similar amount aboard the BRM. Oliver got out quickly, Ickx finally emerged with his overalls on fire, the flames put out by a soldier, Ickx suffering as a result of keeping on his fuel soaked overalls.

‘The accident created race havoc, not only the visibility being dangerously reduced for drivers…but the flaming petrol constituted another hazard. The fire-fighting was abysmal, vast quantities of water being hosed on the flames for a long time-a procedure which caused the magnesium elements to ‘gas’ and flare up time and time again. The BRM was still burning at the end of the race, but miraculously no-one was hurt’ the Automobile Year report of the race said.

Stewart didn’t have the race to himself; he initially pulled away from Brabham and Hulme, electronic dramas causing the Kiwi’s demise. Despite spinning twice Jack chased Stewart and Pescarolo, taking second when the Frenchmans Matra V12 seized, he was 5 seconds behind JYS. Only a few metres separated them when Brabham’s Ford Cosworth failed, allowing Jackie to ease off to take victory.

Bruce McLaren was 2nd, McLaren M14A and Mario Andretti in another privately entered March 701, 3rd.

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The 1970 speed of BT33 was reinforced by Jack’s pole. He won the season opening South African GP. Here spinning on the ‘extinguisher foam rink’. He spun twice but despite that was right on Stewart’s tail when his engine blew. Jarama 1970. (unattributed)

Jarama 1970 was also notable for the race debut of Chapman’s latest design the Lotus 72. Jochen Rindt qualified his 8th, John Miles in the sister car did not make the cut. Rindt was out of the race on lap 8 with ignition failure.

It would take intensive development by Colin Chapman and his team to make the car competitive, the cars monocoques had to be ‘unpicked’ to make the suspension changes to eliminate a lot of the anti-dive/squat geometry and many other modifications but by June they had a winning car; victorious for Rindt in the sad Dutch Grand Prix, unfortunately the fire on that day had far more serious, fatal consequences for Piers Courage and his De Tomaso 505 Ford.

The sad reality of days like Jarama and Zandvoort in 1970, look how ill equipped in terms of fire protective clothing the marshalls are in the photos above, was the acceptance that safety standards in every respect; circuits, car construction and race support services had to improve to societal levels of acceptability. Thankfully we are on a different level in every respect today…

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Rindt, Lotus 72 Ford, Jarama 1970. Look at the suspension travel on that early 72! (unattributed)

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Jochen and Colin making a long joblist during Spanish GP practice. The car which won at the Dutch GP in June was a 72C which shows how much change there was in 2 short months. ‘Sol’ pitboard is Alex Soler-Roig who failed to qualify a Lotus 49C. (unattributed)

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John Surtees ran as high as 3rd in his ex-works McLaren M7C Ford but faded and then retired with gearbox problems. Back at base his team were building John’s first F1 car the ‘TS7’ which made its debut at the British GP in July. (The Cahier Archive)

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Piers Courage during Jarama practice 1970. His Frank Williams De Tomaso 505 Ford non-started after a practice accident. (The Cahier Archive)

Tailpiece: Stewart’s winning March 701 passes the conflagration…

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(The Cahier Archive)

Credits…

Automobile Year 18, The Cahier Archive

 

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(Brian Watson)

Graham Hill having a squirt of  Jack’s Brabham BT26A Ford in British GP practice, Silverstone July 1969…

GH in a Brabham is not such a big deal; he raced F2 Brabhams with success for years as well as Tasman Formula ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams in the mid-sixties. Later he was the pilot of Ron Tauranac’s intriguing ‘Lobster Claw’ BT34 in 1971 but he was a Lotus F1 driver in 1969, so ’twas a bit unusual  to practice an opponents car.

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Hill’s red Brabham BT11 Climax from Clark’s Lotus 32B and Aussie Lex Davison Brabham BT4, all Climax 2.5 FPF powered on the way to an NZGP win for Graham. Pukekohe, 9 January 1965. Hill also raced an earlier BT7A in the ’66 Tasman for David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce, the entrant of the car shown, he was familiar with Brabham ‘GP’ cars long before 1969! (unattributed)

Jack was still recovering from a testing accident at Silverstone in June when a Goodyear popped off a front rim, his car ploughed into an earth bank, his ‘equal worst accident’ with the Portuguese Grand Prix one in 1959. He lay trapped in the car with a badly broken ankle, Cossie V8 screaming at maximum revs until he punched the ignition cutout and extinguishers to minimise the chance of the pool of fuel in which he lay igniting. Eventually a touring car also on the quiet circuit mid week stopped and raised the alarm.

Jacky Ickx driving the other Brabham was late for Silverstone’s first session, all timed for grid positions in those days, so Tauranac had 2 cars idle.

Graham and teammate Jochen Rindt were peeved with Colin Chapman, to say the least, as the Lotus transporter was not in the paddock when the session got underway. Graham was ‘ready to rock’ all suited up but had no car to do so and was more than happy to put in a few laps for Tauranac. Rindt remained in his ‘civvies’ and fumed as the rest of the field practiced.

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Ron Tauranac giving Hill a few tips on his very quick, twice a GP winner in ’69, BT26. ‘Just don’t over rev the thing for chrissakes Graham, Jack will kill me if you do…’ Is that Ron Dennis at right? (unattributed)

1969 was the year of 4WD experimentation for Matra, McLaren, Lotus and Cosworth. Ultimately, very quickly in fact, 4WD was determined an F1 blind alley; the traction the engineers sought was more cost effectively provided by advances in tyre technology, Goodyear, Firestone and Dunlop were all slugging it out in F1 at the time, none of ‘yer control formula’ bullshit then. The effectiveness of the ‘low wings’ mandated from the ’69 Monaco GP also played its part in getting grip.

Chapman’s issue was pursuading his pilots to treat the Lotus 63 Ford, his 4WD design seriously, to test it with a view to developing it rather than to humor him. 4WD was successful at Indy; Chapmans ’68 Indy Lotus 56 ‘wedge’ was 4WD and came within an ace of winning the race, so was the ’69 Lotus 64, ignoring the misfortune surrounding both of these cars.

It was a challenge to get Rindt into the thing at all but he did finish 2nd in the August 1969 Oulton Park Gold Cup. The result meant nothing though, in front of him was Ickx’ Brabham BT26A but all the cars behind were F5000 and F2 cars not GP machines. Still, it was useful testing for Chapman if not for Rindt, his 4WD view was formed!

Chapman’s solution to his drivers recalcitrance was to sell 2 of his Lotus 49’s, one each to Jo Bonnier and Pete Lovely, leaving only one 49 in Team Lotus’ possession! A car you don’t have is a car you cannot drive. Said drivers were not best pleased.

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Hill, Lotus 63 Ford 4WD, British GP practice, Silverstone July 1969. ‘Turn in bitch!’, understeer and the inability of these cars to respond to delicate throttle inputs plus excessive weight were the main performance deficiency issues. As well as the absence of the electronic trickery which helped make 4WD work into the 80’s (Brian Watson)

When the showdown with Chapman occurred and the speed, or lack thereof, of the 63 was clear Col borrowed back the car he sold to Bonnier, GH raced that 49 and JoBo the 63. Chapman rescinded the contract with Lovely.

The ever restless Lotus chief didn’t give up on 4WD in Fl, the gas turbine powered Lotus 56 campaigned in some 1971 events had its moments and potentially a great day in the wet at Zandvoort until Dave Walker ‘beached it’.

The 49 raced on into 1970 and in ‘C’ spec famously won the Monaco GP in Rindt’s hands before the Lotus 72, Chapman’s new 2WD sensation, which made its debut at Jarama was competitive.

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Hill races his Lotus 49B to 7th place. Silverstone 1969 GP (unattributed)

At Silverstone Hill raced the 49B to 7th having qualified 12th and Bonnier retired the slow 63 with a popped engine. John Miles making his F1 debut raced the other Lotus 63 to 9th, the young, talented Lotus engineer stroked the car home from grid 14.

Stewart won a thrilling high speed dice on the former airfield with Rindt, only ruined when Jochen’s wing endplate chafed a rear Firestone, some say it was the greatest British GP ever, on the way to his world title in a Matra MS80 Ford.

It would be interesting to know Graham’s opinion of the Brabham BT26 compared to his 49, the competitiveness of which, especially in Rindt’s hands not at all in doubt despite the 49’s middle age, it was a little over 2 years old in 1969.

I am a huge Graham Hill fan, he was well past his F1 best by the time i became interested in motor racing in 1972 but he was still quick enough to take F2 and Le Mans wins then, he was my kinda bloke, sportsman and champion. A statesman for his sport and country.

joc and jack

Jochen and Jackie scrapping for the ’69 British GP lead, Jochen’s Lotus 49B with bulk, uncharacteristic understeer. Look closely and you can see the closeness of his LR wing endplate to Firestone tyre, the cause of a pitstop to rectify and then back into the fray only to run outta fuel, the 49 notorious for its incapacity to sometimes scavenge the last few gallons from its tanks. Stewart Matra MS80 Ford (unattributed)

1969 was as tough a year for Hill as 1968 was great.

Jim Clark’s April 1968 death impacted Hill deeply on a personal level, they had been friends for years and Lotus teammates since the ’67 Tasman Series. Colin Chapman and Clark were like brothers and whilst Colin struggled with his grief, Hill in a tour de force of character and leadership marshalled Team Lotus by their bootstraps and refocused them on the year ahead. The result, World Titles for Hill and Lotus by the seasons end.

graham and jim

Clark and Hill beside Graham’s Lotus 48 Ford FVA F2 car prior to the start of the Australian Grand Prix, Warwick Farm, 1967. Car behind is Kevin Bartlett’s Brabham BT11 Climax. Clark was 2nd in Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre, GH DNF with a gearbox failure. JYS won in BRM P261 2.1 litre (History of The AGP)

The Tasman Series in early 1969 showed just how tough a year Graham was going to have within Lotus. Rindt joined them from Brabham and whilst enjoying it, he had committed to Jack verbally to return to Brabham in 1970, landed in the team in the year the Repco 860 quad-cam engine failed consistently.

Jochen had been in GP racing since mid 1964, was a consistent winner in F2 and had taken the 1965 Le Mans classic with Masten Gregory in a Ferrari 250LM, was regarded as one of the fastest guys around, if not the fastest but had still not scored his first GP win. Graham was simply blown-off by a guy with it all to prove, Jochen finally got the breakthrough win at Watkins Glen, the last round of the season in which Graham had what could have been a career ending shunt.

He spun mid race, undid his belts to bump start the car and of course was unable to redo them unaided; he spun again on lap 91, this time the car overturned throwing him out and breaking both his legs badly.

What then followed was a winter of Hill’s familiar grit and determination to be on the South African GP grid in March 1970. He was and  finished 6th in Rob Walkers Lotus 49C Ford.

Quite a guy, G Hill.

graham and col

Team Lotus 1969. Hill, Chapman and Rindt. A tough season all round. With some reliability from his Lotus and mechanical sympathy to it from Rindt, there was a serious opportunity at the title that year, not to be (unattributed)

Etcetera: Lotus 63 Ford…

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John Miles races the Lotus 63 to 10th on his GP debut at Silverstone 1969. Rounding him up is Piers Courage’ Frank Williams owned Brabham BT26 Ford, he finished 5th at Silverstone in a ripper season in this year old chassis. He emerged as a true GP front runner in ’69 (unattributed)

63 1

Cutaway self explanatory for our Spanish friends! Key elements of 4WD system in blue; see front mounted Ferguson system diff, Ford Cosworth DFV and Hewland DG300 ‘box mounted ‘arse about’ with driveshafts on LHS of cockpit taking the drive fore and aft to respective diffs. Rear suspension top rocker and lower wishbone, coil spring/damper, brakes inboard (unattributed)

miles 2

John Miles, young Lotus engineer and F3 graduate ponders his mount. Lotus 63 Ford. He was later to say the 63 was not so bad, he did more miles in it than anyone else, until he first parked his butt in a conventional Lotus 49! which provided context. Note forward driving position for the time and sheet steel to stiffen the spaceframe chassis. Nice shot of disc, rocker assy and stub axle also (unattributed)

63 2

Fantastic front end detail shot of the Lotus 63. Spaceframe chassis, Lotus first since 1962, beefy front uprights, upper rocker actuating spring/shock, lower wishbone. Ferguson system front diff axle and driveshafts to wheels. Big ventilated inboard discs. Intricate steering linkage from angled rack to provide clearance required (unattributed)

Photo Credits…

Brian Watson…http://www.brianwatsonphoto.co.uk/FormulaOne/races/brit69.html#1

Graham Howard ‘History of The Australian GP’

Tailpiece: Tauranac, Hill and the ‘Lobster Claw’ BT34 1971…

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RT seeks feedback from GH during Italian GP practice Monza 1971. Hill Q14 and DNF with gearbox failure on lap 47. GH best results in 1971 5th in Austria and Q4 in France. Teammate Tim Schenken, in his first full F1 year generally quicker than GH in the year old, very good BT33, BT34 not RT’s best Brabham. No doubt RT missed Jack Brabham’s chassis development skills, Jack was on his Wagga Wagga farm from the start of 1971 (unattributed)

Finito…

hill hi wing

Graham Hill in his hi-winged Lotus 49 during practice for the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix, he went on to win the last of his five Monaco victories on Sunday May 18 1969…

‘Twas his last Grand Prix win as well but his competitiveness was still there, wins were to come in F2 and in endurance racing. His ’72 Le Mans Matra victory with Henri Pescarolo made him unique in our sport as the only winner of ‘Motor Racing’s Triple Crown’; victories in the Drivers World Championship, (BRM 1962 Lotus 1968) Indy (Lola 1966) and Le Mans.

The story of the weekend was all about wings. There had been some big failures as engineers battled with forces they did not fully understand, notably the collisions, fortunately without serious injury to both Hill and Jochen Rindt at Barcelona on May 4, the race before Monaco.

Hill’s rear wing failed on lap 9 as he crested the rise after the Montjuic Park pits, he crashed heavily but was uninjured. Eleven laps later Rindt’s leading Lotus 49 suffered the same failure, collided with Hill’s abandoned car and overturned. He emerged with cuts, bruises and a broken nose. The wing on Ickx’ Brabham BT26 fell apart during the race as well.

There had been other failures in the recent past, the authorities needed to act before someone was killed.

rindt rooted lotus

Rindt’s rooted Lotus 49, Montjuic Park Barcelona 1969. Jochen was a very lucky boy to escape withour serious injury after a wing support failure, Hill’s car into which Rindt collided is just down the road. (unattributed)

The CSI met in Monaco and acted after first practice by banning high wings forthwith, times were scrapped and the process of qualifying recommenced.

The sport was made safer as a consequence, some remain of the view that wings should have been banned then. Full stop.

hill monaco interim

Wonderful overhead shot of Hill in qualifying post the wing ban; Chapman chose to keep the front wings, meanwhile the tin-snips were being put to work…3 litre Ford Cosworh DFV, big rear oil tank, external extinguisher the first thing to leave the car in the event of a major rear impact (handy for the driver in need of foam!), and Aeroquip brakelines running along the radius rods all clear to see. You can just about read the Smiths tach and chassis plate! (Automobile Year 16)

Stewart took an early lead from Amon’s Ferrari 312 in the race, Hill moved into third shortly after the start and after differential failures to both Amon and Stewart’s Matra MS80 Ford gained the lead he never lost. He took victory from Piers Courage’ Brabham BT26 Ford and  Jo Siffert’s Lotus 49B.

hill low level spoiler

By the time of the race’ start Chapman and his team had fashioned this neat spoiler…not as nice as the 49 used at Monaco in ’68 but that was built at the factory, this was not bad overnight and ‘ in the field’. (unattributed)

Winners are grinners, Hill ‘The Mayor of Monaco’ was always a popular victor in the Principality…

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Hill victorious in Lotus 49 ‘R10′, first debut’ by Jochen Rindt at Wigram NZ in January 1969. Victories in the Tasman Warwick Farm 100 in Rind’ts hands and Hill at Monaco. 49’s much raced by many drivers this chassis also raced by John Miles. Alex Soler-Roig and Emerson Fittipladi, Emmo raced it in its final GP, Austria in August 1970. Car still exists in the UK. (unattributed)

Etcetera…

montjuic

All those hi-wings in the Montjuic dummy grid, soon to be a thing of the past. #7 Jackie Stewart with teammate Jean Pierre-Beltoise behind, both Matra MS80 Ford, Graham Hill Lotus 49 Ford beside Stewart, #6 Bruce McLaren McLaren M7A Ford, #15 Chris Amons Ferrari 312 and #4 Jacky Ickx Brabham BT26A Ford (unattributed)

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Rindt’s Lotus 49B and its broken wing supports clear in this shot of the ‘unguided missile’. Spectators and Rindt fortunate. Montjuic Park 1969. (unattributed)

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49 ‘R9’ decidedly second-hand, Jochen was so lucky to ‘walk away’ from this accident (Getty Images)

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Rindt’s 9 May 1969 letter post Spanish prang to Chapman is widely circulated and a classic! Prophetic sadly. (Jochen Rindt Archive)

Credits…

oldracingcars.com chassis research, Automobile Year 16, Getty Images

lotus 72

Amazing composition, Jochen Rindt en route to the 72’s first victory, the car still competitive in Petersens’ hands, winning four Grands Prix in 1974…

The car made its championship debut at Jarama in April and was already in ‘C’ spec by Monaco, major changes centred around taking out the anti-dive, and anti-squat geometry of front and rear suspension respectively. Easy to say but it involved ‘unpicking’ the tub to do so.

No joy in the win for Jochen as his good friend Piers Courage perished in his De Tomaso 505 Ford during the race.

Chapman showed his hand with the wedge shaped, Pratt & Whitney turbine powered Lotus 56 at Indy in 1968, but the 72 with its wedge shape, hip radiators, torsion bar suspension and inboard front brakes, lowering unsprung weight and rear weight bias set a new F1 design benchmark and aerodynamic direction, as Colin Chapman was want to do every few years!

Few cars are as competitive for so long, the venerable 72 being pushed into service long after it’s useby date as a consequence of its successor, the Lotus 76’s ‘failure to produce the goods’ in 1975.

Another of my top 10 racing cars ever!

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Rindt ahead of the Ickx Ferrari 312B, he placed 3rd. Jochen scoring the Lotus 72’s first victory (Pinterest unattributed)

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The passing of the baton from the Lotus 49 to the Lotus 72 at Monaco 1970. The 72 was not raceworthy, Rindt elected to race a 49 and won its last Championship GP. Cars # 2 are John Miles, standing to the right of Chapman in the red GLTL jacket…Rindts’ winning 49 behind car # 2 (Pinterest)

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Cockpit of Rindts’ Lotus 72, Zandvoort ’70, as luxurious as the Elan of the day! Mota-Lita steering wheel, Smiths chronometric tach and subsidiary instruments, ‘tell-tale’ @ about 10000rpm ,’fire-bomb’ button, chassis plate under the LHS guage, Fibreglass bodyword, aluminium tub, ducts for inboard discs all there…(Autosport)

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Cutaway drawing showing the essential elements of another of Chapmans masterpieces; aluminium monocoque, wedge shape, hip radiators, Ford Cosworth DFV V8, torsion bar springs, inboard front & rear brakes …

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Poignant shot in the context of Rindts’ tragic Monza ’70 death. Jochen famously refused to wear crotch straps, only a 4 point belt. Absence of coil spring/shock aids front aerodynamics of the car. Extinguisher mounted legally but pointlessly where even a minor frontal impact would remove it from its mountings. Inboard discs and driveshafts, one of which failed causing Rindts’ accident clearly shown. (Pinterest unattributed)

rindt british gp

In this case the photographers toes mark the apex…Druids Hill, British GP, Brands Hatch 1970. A win for Jochen after Jack Brabham ran low on fuel on the last lap (Pinterest)

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Wonderful Bernard Cahier portrait of Jochen in his Lotus 72 Ford, 1970. (The Cahier Archive)

Photo Credits… Autosport, Pinterest unattributed, The Cahier Archive

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Max Stewart, Niel Allen & Leo Geoghegan (L>R) , Easter Bathurst, 1969 (Wayne McKay)

Start of the ‘Gold Star’ race Mount Panorama, Easter 1969…

In the Good ‘Ole Days there used to be 2 meetings a year at Mount Panorama, Easter when the Gold Star race was the feature and of course the ‘Taxi’ classic  later in the year.

In those days the Gold Star, the Australian Drivers Championship meant something. A lot in fact, it was won down the decades by some great, World Class drivers including Lex Davison, Stan Jones, Bib Stillwell, Spencer Martin, Kevin Bartlett, Frank Matich, John McCormack, Max Stewart, Alfredo Costanzo and many others.These days it does not have the same cachet, and ‘Taxis’ dominate in Australia. Sadly.

This photo was posted on Facebook recently by Wayne McKay and shows the grid of the ’69 Gold Star event.

Leo Geoghegan is on pole in his evergreen, white, ex-Clark Lotus 39 Repco, alongside is Niel Allen in his ex-Piers Courage McLaren M4a Ford FVA (a European F2 car) Max Stewart having joined Alec Mildrens team that year is at the wheel of the yellow Mildren Waggott in which he would have so much success over the following 3 years. The Mildren was a car built by Rennmax’ Bob Britton on his Brabham BT23 jig.

The red car on the second row is John Harvey in Bob Janes Brabham BT23E Repco, repaired after his huge Bathurst prang the year before. The light blue car is Queenslander Glynn Scott in his Bowin P3 Ford FVA, a wonderful monocoque built by John Joyce in Sydney, Joyce not long before having returned from a longish stint as an Engineer at Lotus.

The red car towards the rear of the grid, on the fence side of the track is Jack Brabham in his Brabham BT31 Repco. Jack was making a rare Gold Star appearance in the F3 based car built for his 1969 Tasman Series campaign, but which could not be unloaded because of a ‘Wharfies’ strike, and only raced in the final Sandown Tasman round.

This car was the lowest mileage Brabham ever built, it raced at Sandown and then Bathurst, the 2.5 litre ANF1 was in its dying days, Repco were unable to sell it. Years later, after being a Repco display car Rodway Wolfe acquired it, eventually it commenced its second career as a historic racer in Bib Stillwells’ hands.

jack

Jack Brabham Brabham BT31 Repco , Bathurst Easter 1969 between ‘Skyline’ and ‘The Dipper’. He tried the car both bi-winged and with rear wing only during practice , racing the car as shown. BT31 a one off car based on the F3 BT28. Repco 2.5 litre ‘830 Series’ SOHC, 2 valve V8, circa 295 BHP @ 9000 RPM (raSimmo)

The Tasman 2.5 Formula…

The grid shows just how poor fields had become as the 2.5 litre formula came towards its end.

The Tasman 2.5 litre Tasman Formula commenced in 1965 in Australia and New Zealand. The Tasman Series, 8 events initially, 4 in both Australia and NZ over two months in the Southern Summer was well attended by works or semi works cars from BRM, Lotus, and Ferrari running 2.5 litre variants (bored versions of their 1.5 litre F1 engines out to about 2 or 2.1 litres, or ‘de-stroked’ versions of their 3 litre F1 engines) of their F1 engines.

Local competitors could, on more or less equal terms, compete with the internationals using cars in the early Tasman years powered by the Coventry Climax 4 cylinder FPF engine, dominant in the final years of the 2.5 Litre F1 and later on Repco’s Tasman V8’s, which were available to anyone with the cash.

As the 60’s went on it became harder to attract the European teams to the Tasman Series as the F1 season became longer, and local competitors, other than a small number of teams struggled with budgets to run a Repco.

Mind you, budgets in open-wheeler racing in Australia, whatever the era have always been a problem. It was time, in all the circumstances to consider a new ANF1. CAMS were vacillating between 2 litre F2, to commence in Europe in 1972, and Formula A or Formula 5000, which used ‘stock block’ American V8’s, and which had commenced in the US, but ‘taken off’ in Europe in 1969.

CAMS announced the change to 2 Litres, which made sense as Merv Waggotts’ engine had already proved competitive. Under pressure from Ford, Holden and Repco, all of whom had commercial interests in the V8’s introduced into Australian road cars in preceding years, so ultimately and controversially in some quarters, F5000 became the new ANF1 from 1971, with the 2.5 Litre cars legal in the early years of Formula 5000.

Presumably Jack came to Australia to fulfil commitments to Repco, as a non-resident he was not eligible for Gold Star points, either way he was a welcome addition to the thinning Gold Star grid.

He was a busy boy in April and May. He was in Australia in April, raced in the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix in Barcelona and Monte Carlo on May 4 and 18, also practising, qualifying and then racing at Indianapolis on May 30. Indianapolis itself  occupying a big chunk of May.

indy

Jacks car for the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 was the BT25 built the year before. In 1968 they (2 cars bult by MRD) were raced throughout the season by Jack, Jochen Rindt, and Masten Gregory. Repco ‘760 Series’ 4.2 litre normally aspirated, alcohol fuelled V8, circa 500BHP @ 8500RPM. Hewland GB300 gearbox, chassis using sheet aluminium as a stressed member for the first time in a Brabham.

Jack engaged Peter Revson to drive the other BT25, the cars powered by big 4.2 litre normally aspirated, alcohol fuelled ‘760 series’ Repco V8’s, close cousins of the F1 ‘860 Series’ engines which had given so much grief in 1968.

AJ Foyt was on pole at 170.568 MPH, with Jack on 163.875MPH, Revvie squeaking into the field slowest qualifier at 160.851MPH. Revson showed his class in the race won by Andrettis’ Hawk Ford, finishing fifth whilst Jack had ignition failure.

The cars were competitive that season Revson winning a race at Indianapolis Raceway Park later in the season.

jack and pete

Jack Brabham and Peter Revson at Indianapolis 1969

High Wings…

Looking at the Bathurst cars the high-wings stand out, pun intended.

They had grown larger and higher over the previous 12 months, developments in F1 emulating the wings used first by Chaparral on their Cam Am and World Sports Car Championship cars.

Things were about to change though after numerous failures to wings and their mounts, Jochen Rindt and Graham Hill both experienced near catastrophic failures of the wing mounts on their Lotus 49’s in Barcelona on May 4. The FIA acted decisively at Monaco, banning high wings in all classes globally after Monaco GP practice. There on Saturday, gone on Sunday.

Jack experimented with bi-wings in Bathurst practice, had fuel feed problems problems so he qualified well back, but settled for a wing on the rear, and went sans aero-assistance on the front for the race. The fuel delivery problems were alleviated with the installation of the electric fuel pump from Repco Director, Charlie Deans’ Lancia and an on/off switch to avoid flattening the cars battery.

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Rodway Wolfes’ shot of Jack in practice, here with both front and rear high-wings, Mount Panorama Easter 1969. (Rodway Wolfe)

The skinny grid looked even thinner by the time the cars appeared out of ‘Murrays’ and onto pit straight at the end of lap 1, Stewart and Allen had a territorial dispute going into the Dipper tangling and neatly parking nose to nose high above the Bathurst Plains below.

maxxy

Niel Allen #2 and Max Stewart neatly parked high on the mount…’The Dipper’. McLaren M4a and Mildren Waggott respectively, Max extricating all 6’4” from the Mildren. Superb shot shows both the height and elevation of Mount Panorama. (John Arkwright)

Jack cantered way and won the Bathurst Gold Star race, his last win in Australia, but one?…

Brabham retired from F1 at the end of 1970, but let’s come back to that.

In 1971 Bob Jane promoted a Formula Ford “Race of Champions’ at Calder in August pitting some of the stars of the past and present against each other. Kevin Bartlett, Frank Matich, Bib Stillwell, Alan Hamilton and Alan Moffat were amongst the drivers who took on Jack in his Bowin P4x. Jack Brabham Ford sponsored Bob Beasley who raced ‘Jacks’ car in the ‘Driver to Europe Series’, the Australian Formula Ford Championship that year, Jack taking the car to victory to much public acclaim…no way were one of the locals going to beat him having just retired!

So that little known FF event, I think, was JB’s last ever race win?

stillwell

Formula Ford ‘Race of Champions’. Calder August 15 1971. # 6 Bib Stillwell Elfin 600, in his old helmet!, #1 Jack Brabham Bowin P4x, # 7 Unknown Elfin 600, and the obscured car alogside Jack is Frank Matich in, i think an Aztec. Trivia is that car # 6 is the Elfin 600 raced by Larry Perkins to win the FF Championship in 1971, Mike Stillwell raced the sister BS Stillwell Ford # 7 entry in the same Championship. (Unattributed)

Jack ‘came back’ and did some touring car events in the mid 70’s,including the Bathurst 1000 several times and even shared a Porsche 956 in the World Sports Car Championship race at Sandown in 1984, but I reckon that FF win was his last.

l34

In a promotional coup, Jack Brabham and Stirling Moss shared a Holden Torana L34 in the 1976 Bathurst 1000. Unfortunately the car had a driveline failure and was hit up the ar$e badly damaging the car. Patched together, the pair put on a show for the crowd but the car did not finish (autopics)

porker

# 56 Porsche 956 driven by Jack Brabham and Johnny Dumfries in the Sandown 1000 round of the World Endurance Championship in 1984. The car was a camera vehicle, and again a promotional coup but still competing, although suffered rear suspension failure so was a DNF. Brabham and Alan Jones careers did not overlap in F1 but both Australian World Champs competed in this race Jones sharing another Rothmans Porsche with Vern Schuppan, also DNF. It was Jacks first experience of a ground effect car, at 58, quite different to the last ‘serious car’ he drove, the Brabham BT33 Ford in which he finished the Mexican GP in 1970, he acquitted himself well. (Pinterest)

jack 1

Whats it like out there Jack? It was a hot weekend, the challenge of the powerful ground-effects Porsche must have been considerable but Jack drove for over 2 hours in total, the car eventually failing. Whilst in works Rothmans colours it was a Richard Lloyd Racing 956

F1 in 1970…

These days F1 is all about youth, drivers start in Karts, some are in F1 by 20. Jack was 44 when he commenced his last season and was incredibly competitive at an age F1 drivers these days are long since retired. It was to be a very full season for Jack in a large number of different categories.

He won the season opening South African GP, made a last lap mistake at Monaco under pressure from Jochen Rindt whilst leading and came second. He also finished second to Rindt in the British GP at Brands Hatch as well  having passed him and was pulling away before running short of fuel on the last lap, an error made by then Brabham mechanic, and now McLaren chief, Ron Dennis.

monaco

Brabham leading a gaggle of cars early in the Monaco GP 1970. Brabham BT33 Ford, Jean-Pierre Beltoise Matra MS120, Jacky Ickx Ferrari 312B, Denny Hulme McLaren M14a and one of the Lotuses…Jack lead the race but Rindt gave the Lotus 49 its last victory in a phenomenal chase of Brabham, pressuring him into a last lap error into second place. Had Rindt re-joined Brabham for 1970, he enjoyed 1968 with them despite the foibles of the Repco ‘860 Series’ DOHC V8, instead of staying at Lotus Jack would have retired at the end of ’69 and Rindt, who knows?…(Pinterest)

He could have won the World Title in 1970 with a little more luck. Mind you luck was in short supply that year, friends and former teammates, Bruce McLaren and Jochen Rindt as well as Piers Courage  perished in 1970.

Grand Prix racing is the pinnacle but 1970 was a year of great depth, the grid comprised the established aces ; Stewart, Rindt, Hill, Ickx, Hulme and Rodriguez, as well as young chargers in their first F1 year ; Regazzoni, Petersen, Fittipaldi and our own Tim Schenken. Ferrari, Lotus, BRM, Brabham and March all won races in 1970 as well.

Ron Tauranac designed Jack a ‘pearler’ of a car for 1970. The team had been successful with space-frame chassis’ since it was formed. Chapman popularised the monocoque with his 1962 Lotus 25 but Brabham won championships in all formulae with their simple, used friendly, easy to repair, and forgiving cars. The latter both a design feature and a function of Jack doing the final chassis settings before ‘sign-off’.

For 1970 monocoques had effectively been mandated by the FIA, new regulations demanding bag fuel tanks to improve the safety of the cars. Tauranacs’ first stressed-skin chassis was the BT25 ‘Indycar’ pictured above. The BT33 could be said to be standard ‘Cosworth powered kit-car’, an aluminium monocoque, Ford DFV engine and Hewland gearbox were its essential elements, but it was a very good one, and still competitive in Tim Schenkens hands in 1971.

bt33

This shot is at Hockenheim 1970, Stommelens’ car in front (5th), Jacks (DNF) at rear. Essential elements the ‘bathtub’ aluminium monocoque chassis. Front suspension by top rocker and lower wishbone operating inboard mounted coil spring/damper unit. Gearbox and rear suspension ass’y rolls away for the engine change minimising time spent especially on time consuming wheel alignment in the field..mechanics will still align the car mind you..but not as big a job! The more you look, the more you see…(Pinterest)

Matra…1970

Jack had decided to retire due to family pressure at the end of 1969 when he agreed terms verbally with Jochen Rindt to rejoin the team for 1970. Jochen enjoyed his season in 1968 despite the problems with the ‘860 Repco’ engine but ultimately asked Jack to release him from his undertaking as a consequence of an offer from Lotus which was too good to refuse. Had that course of events transpired history would of course been quite different…Rindt dying at the wheel of a Lotus 72 at Monza and winning the 1970 World Championship posthumously.

Jack told his wife Betty he would compete for one more year, putting everything into that last season, and not just F1.

He participated in the World Sports Car Championship for Matra competing at Le Mans in an MS650, a spaceframed car using an endurance version of the compnay’s F1 3 litre, 48 valve V12. He shared the car at LeMans with Francois Cevert, the car not finishing with engine failure.

He also did the lead up events to Le Mans including Daytona, 10th with Francois Cevert, Cevert breaking into F1 that year. He also shared a car with Jean-Pierre Beltoise at Brands and Monza finishing 12th and 5th respectively.

1970 and 1971 were the years of the ‘5 litre monsters’ the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512S, it was tough for 3 litre prototypes, Matra steadily evolved their cars to be the class of the field in 1973/4/5, but Jack enjoyed the season and having simply to drive, not do literally everything else.

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In search of downforce…Brabham in the Matra MS650, Brands Hatch 1000Km, April 1970, 12th sharing the car with Beltiose (Pinterest)

And Indy…1970

Ron Tauranac built a new monocoque car for  the race using  a 2.65 litre turbo-charged 4 cylinder ‘Offy engine and Weisman gearbox. Jack was classified 13th but had piston failure which carved the block in half. The race was won that year by Al Unser in a Colt Offy ‘Johnny Lightning Special’.

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Formula 2 in a Brabham BT30…1970

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Pau GP 1970 front row L>R : Jochen Rindt on pole Lotus 69, Francois Mazet & Jack Brabham both in Brabham BT30’s. Green helmet in the secong row is Henri Pescarolo in another Barbham BT30, and alongside Clay Regazzoni, Tecno 69. All Ford FVA powered. Rindt won from Pescarolo and Tim Schenken, also in a BT30…(DPPI)

John ‘Nuggett’ Coombs was a longtime privateer entrant running Brabhams and in 1970 had a ‘dream team’ of Jackie Stewart and Jack sharing a Brabham BT30.

Jack competed at Pau, Rouen and Tulln-Langenlebarn (Vienna), his best result second in the latter meeting to the Ickx BMW 270.

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Brabham ahead of Jochen Rindt at Pau, France 1970. Jack DNF, Rindt winning the race in his Lotus 69 Ford FVA. The European F2 Championship was won in 1970 by Clay Regazzoni in a Tecno Ford FVA. Brabham is driving a Brabham BT30 FVA owned by John Coombs. (Pinterest)

Tasman Series 1970 and Retirement…

The only series he didn’t do that he usually did was the Tasman Series in our Summer, his Matra campaign commenced on January 31 at Daytona, but it was the first year of the F5000 Tasman series, albeit the 2.5 Litre cars were still eligible, maybe he figured it wasn’t worth the effort as MRD didn’t build an F5000 car at the time? Either way he spent February in Australia.

Graham Lawrence won the Tasman series that year with his ex-Amon Ferrari 246T, consistently running with and beating the more powerful but less nimble F5000’s.

If only Jack had dusted off the BT31 which won at Bathurst the previous April, fitted current tyres and wings maybe he would have taken the Tasman Series a second time…

Jack said in later years that he felt he had another 3 or 4 competitive years in him. He recounts to Doug Nye in his biography that his father, who had always been his strongest supporter within the family and reinforced his decisions to continue racing, advised him not to reconsider his retirement during 1970 given the deaths which occurred that season.

At the end 0f 1970 Jack returned to Australia to a farm near Wagga, Jack Brabham Ford in Sydney and his aviation interests in addition to investments in the UK.

What can you say about this remarkable Australian which hasn’t already been said? To my way of thinking he is Australias greatest sportsman ever. No other individual performed at the same level for so long, was as innovative as he was, and took on the best in the world and won, both in terms of his driving and in the deployment of Australian technology.

RIP Jack Brabham and thank goodness you did retire at the end of 1970.

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Jack Brabham, sans wings, Sandown Tasman practice 1969…surely a competitive mount in Tasman 1970 had he entered…?(Flickr unattributed)

 

jacks

Deep in set-up thought. Jack in his BT33 F1 car during 1970. ‘Jet Jackson’ fighter pilots helmet that he, Jackie Stewart and Piers Courage tried that year. Skiers goggles. No nomex gloves, leather, nice Rolex watch. Lovely shot which captures the essence of the guy i think!? (Getty Images)

 


 

Etcetera: Bathurst 1969…

 

bathurst

bathurst

Jack Brabham , Bathurst practice Easter 1969. Brabham BT31 Repco ‘bi-winged’ in practice (Facebook)

bathurst 3

Brabham in the race which he won, sans front wing. Bathurst Easter 1969. (Facebook)

 

Etcetera: Calder FF Race 1971…

 

calder

 

calder

Brabham takes the spoils of victory…’Race of Champions’ Calder, Australia August 1971. Car is a Formula Ford Bowin P4x (Facebook)

 

Etcetera: F1 1970 and Brabham BT33…

 

bt 33 cutaway

Drawing of Ron Tauranacs’ 1970 Brabham BT33 Ford, Motor Racing Developments first ‘real’ monocoque chassis car

spain

Jarama, Spanish GP 1970. Avoiding the fire as a result of the Ickx/Oliver collision, both the Ferrari and BRM were destroyed but the drivers escaped an accident caused by a stub axle failure of the BRM (Pinterest)

monaco

Jack Brabham, Monaco 1970 . BT33 from above, wet Saturday practice (Pinterest)

rolf

Jack trying teammate Rolf Stommelens BT33 in Spain practice, both DNF in the race won by the March 701 Ford of Jackie Stewart (Pinterest)

 

Etcetera Matra…

 

daytona

daytona

Jack Brabham, Matra MS 650, Daytona 1970 (Nigel Smuckatelli)

Photo and Other Credits…

oldracingcars.com, Pinterest, Getty Images, ‘Jack Brabhan with Doug Nye’, Nigel Smuckatelli

The End…