Posts Tagged ‘John Surtees’

John Surtees looking very cheery prior to the 1960 Solitude GP aboard his Rob Walker/works/AFN Porsche 718/2, 24 July 1960…

And so he should, not long before he had won the 500cc motorcycle GP aboard an MV Agusta before jumping into his car for the Formula 2 Grand Prix, his fortunes in that event not so good.

I found this photo randomly on Getty Images, this brief Porsche chapter of the great mans career was not one I was familiar with but a couple of my online buddies identified the event- many thanks to Roger Virtigo and Glenn Ducey.

My initial plan for this article was a quickie on Surtees’ first year in cars but then I became rather enamoured of the Solitude circuit, in particular the significance of the 1960 race for reasons which will become clear when you read the great Denis Jenkinson’s MotorSport account of the weekend.

Whilst still the benchmark in grand prix motorcycle racing – he would retain both his 350cc and 500cc world titles aboard MV’s in 1960 – Surtees at 26 years of age, stepped into cars that year.

Surtees ventures onto Goodwood, Cooper T52 BMC FJ 19 March 1960 (LAT)

Clark from Surtees, Lotus 18 Ford and Cooper T52 BMC, Goodwood, 19 March 1960 (LAT)

His first race on four wheels was in Formula Junior at Goodwood on 19 March. He finished second to rising star Jim Clark’s Lotus 18 Ford during the BARC Members Meeting in a Ken Tyrrell Cooper T52 BMC. Click here for a short article about his debut; https://primotipo.com/2016/01/18/surtees-first-car-races/

Two months later he made his F1 world championship start at the Monaco GP in late May- Q15 and DNF gearbox on lap 17 in the race won by Stirling Moss in Rob Walker’s Lotus 18 Climax FPF.

In Surtees home GP in July, the British at Silverstone, he finished second, an amazing performance, Jack Brabham won on the way to his second World Championship aboard his works Cooper ‘Lowline’ T53 Climax.

Whilst the Lotus 18, Colin Chapman’s first mid-engined design was in many ways the 1960 ‘Car of The Year’ it was still amazing stuff, the transition from two to four wheels never done as smoothly before or since.

Surtees, works Lotus 18 Climax, on the way to 2nd in the 1960 British @ Silverstone-ain’t she chunky but pretty sans roll bar. And fast (unattributed)

It was with his tail up that Surtees headed off to the Solitude Grand Prix, that year an F2 race for cars of 1.5 litres or less in capacity.

The 7.1 mile Solitude circuit, a few miles out of Stuttgart had been in existence for many years- used mainly for motorcycle racing it took its name from Schloss Solitude, an old German castle on top of one of the hills overlooking the valley in which the circuit lay. The circuits narrow width precluded its use for cars until that was addressed, an international Formula Junior race was run in 1959 with the 1960 F2 race appropriate for a circuit Denis Jenkinson, who had raced on it as a motorcycle competitor, rated as one of the best in Europe.

The entry was excellent with the works Porsche, Ferrari and Lotus teams competing, as well as Jack Brabham with a Cooper

Porsche fielded five cars altogether, determined to win on their own proving ground with Bonnier, Hill and Herrmann driving the regular three factory cars. The Rob Walker car had been retrieved, a standard Porsche racing gear-change put back on it and loaned to Surtees, while a brand new car was finished the night before practice and driven by Dan Gurney, so the whole BRM team were being used!

Team Lotus entered three works Lotus 18’s driven by Ireland, Clark and Trevor Taylor, the last two also driving in the Formula Junior race with other 18’s.

Scuderia Ferrari sent two entries, one a normal front-engined 246 with a Dino 156 engine driven by Phil Hill, and the other a new version of the F2/60 rear-engined experimental car, driven by von Trips. ‘This car was basically the rear-engined model (246P) that appeared at Monaco and Zandvoort, but had undergone a lot of modifications. The construction of the wishbones had been altered and also their size and positioning on the chassis, so that although there were still double-wishbones and a coil-spring to each wheel they were of a new pattern. The 1 1/2-litre V6 Dino 156 engine was coupled to the gearbox/final drive unit used on the car at Zandvoort, still with inboard disc brakes, but instead of the clutch-operating mechanism being mounted on the last chassis cross-member it was now on an alloy casting bolted to the rear of the gearbox casing and curving round the left side of the clutch body, which was still exposed. Consequently the chassis tube extensions beyond the gearbox were cut off and the space frame finished under the gearbox. There was no water header tank over the engine and the vertical distributor had been replaced by a horizontal one on the front of the engine, so the high head faring could be done away with and the rear decking was made flat, like a Lotus, with a perspex bubble open at the front over the three downdraught Weber carburetters. The tail of the car ended in an aperture fitted with a grille that would have made a nice radiator cowling for a front-engined car, and two long thin megaphone exhaust pipes stuck out the back, protruding well beyond the extremity of the body. The short, stumpy nose of the car was much as before, with the radiator fed from a typical 1960 Ferrari cowling and the cockpit having a wrap-round screen’.

The significance of the above car, the mid-engined 1.5 litre V6 Ferrari 246P will be clear to most of you, the car referred to above was the prototype of the machines which would dominate grand prix racing in 1961, the commencement of the new 1.5 litre F1. I wrote about this car a while back;

https://primotipo.com/2015/10/04/monaco-panorama-1958/

GP gridding up. #22 Gurney Porsche 718/2, #4 Bonnier and #5 Herrmann ditto 718/2, #7 is the mid-engine Ferrari 246P 1.5 of Von Trips and the subject of extensive coverage by Jenkinson above. #6 Hill G Porsche 718/2, #14 Wolfgang Seidel Cooper T45 Climax, #16 Innes Ireland Lotus 18 Climax, #11 Jack Lewis Cooper T45 Climax (unattributed)

Jack Brabham represented Cooper with a 1959 car built up from bits and pieces, either a T43 or T45 and was looked after by his own mechanic- they were still cobbling the car together as practice got underway, whilst the rest of the Coopers were private entries.

‘With rain pouring down during the first session of practice there was little hope of judging how things would go, except that von Trips was outstandingly fast in the rear-engined Ferrari, at one time being 30 sec faster than anyone else and passing the factory Porsches on the winding leg of the circuit and leaving them. Although the car was sliding and slithering about in the wet von Trips seemed quite unconcerned, feeling perfectly safe in the car.’

‘The second session was a lot better…The rear-engined Ferrari was still going well and was soon down below the old sports-car record of 4 min 34.4 sec, and went on to get below 4 min 30 sec. The only driver to challenge von Trips was Jimmy Clark, who was benefiting from double practice, being out with the Formula Junior cars as well as the Formula 2 cars, and as the afternoon wore on he went faster and faster. The only other driver to get below 4 min 30 sec was Hans Herrmann and he was down to 4 min 28.3 sec, but von Trips had done 4 min 24.1 sec, while just as practice finished and the track was at its driest for the day, Clark did 4 min 23.6 sec…Practice took place again for 11/2 hours on Saturday afternoon, but once again rain completely washed things out and everyone’s times were nearer 5 min than 41/2 min.’

The challenges of the road circuit resulted in Australian rider Bob Brown’s death later from head injuries sustained when he fell from his Honda 250-4 during the motorcycle practice session.

The 30 year old, born at Little Plains near Inverell, New South Wales trained as motor mechanic and worked as such and as a taxi-driver in Sydney before local success led to seeking fame in Europe in 1955.

After doing well on privately owned bikes he was picked up by Gilera in 1957. In 1959, riding his private Nortons he was third in both the 350 and 500 World Championships beaten only by the works MV’s. Because of his experience aboard the Gilera fours in 1957 he was offered a works Honda 250-4 in 1960 on a race by race basis. On one of these technically very advanced machines, commented upon by Jenkinson below, he was 4th at the IOM TT becoming the first Western rider to score points on a Japanese bike.

Bob Brown, place and date unknown (AMCN)

Solitude was only a month later, Brown crashed on dirt or grit brought onto the surface by errant cars on the ‘notorious sand pit curve’ on the twisty Mahdenthal section of the course. Another theory has it that he was cruising back to the pits with a misfiring engine which suddenly popped onto all four cylinders- whatever the case he was tossed off his mount sustaining head injuries to which he later succumbed.

Even though he only contested four of the seven 500cc championship rounds in 1960, Brown was still 4th in the championship standings aboard his trusty Norton behind three MV’s- at Assen he was 2nd where he split the MV entries. In an lovely tribute to this little known Australian, Honda in its book ‘The Race for Leadership: 1961 World Championship Road Race’ the company produced to celebrate its maiden World 125/250 titles won by Tom Phillis and Mike Hailwood-Honda wrote that ‘Brown untiringly helped the Japanese riders who were new to the game and actively helped to improve the Honda-Four. Bob Brown was one of the foundations of Honda success’.

GP, the off. Bonnier from Hill and Hermann all Porsche 718/2, then Von Trips Ferrari 246P and to the outside of him Ireland’s Lotus 18, #19 Surtees and #22 Gurney both Porsche 718/2 with Jim Clark’s distinctive Lotus 18 to Gurney’s outside and the rest (Getty)

‘Sunday was happily fine and sunny and a crowd of 250,000 lined the circuit to watch first of all the motorcycle races, then a vast procession of publicity vehicles, and finally, the Formula Junior and Formula 2 car races.

In the 250-cc motorcycle race the outstanding thing was the Japanese Honda machine which finished third, this having a four-cylinder twin-overhead camshaft engine with four valves per cylinder and developing its peak power at 13,500 rpm, while it would safely run up to 16-17,000 rpm.

The technical variety of engine development in the motorcycle-­racing world was something which made the Formula 2 racing world realise that we are stagnating for want of new engine designs. The 250-cc motorcycles had vertical twins, transverse fours, single cylinders, and two-strokes both air- and water-cooled, and there seemed to be no accepted layout which everyone was following.’

Surtees on the way to his 500cc MV Agusta Solitude GP win (unattributed)

‘The 500-cc class saw the usual easy win for John Surtees on the MV Agusta four-cylinder machine, and then we passed to Formula Junior.

The race was a complete sweep for Lotus-Ford cars, the works car of Jimmy Clark having an unchallenged win after Henry Taylor in Tyrell’s Cooper­-BMC had blown up his engine. Trevor Taylor was confidently following Clark in second place and they forgot the opposition so much that they overlooked Ouveroff in another Lotus-Ford, who suddenly closed on them two laps before the end and split their confidence, finishing in second place. Of the first six cars, five were Lotus-Fords, odd man out being Ballisat with Tyrell’s second Cooper-BMC.’

Grid of the FJ race. #1 Clark Lotus 18 Cosworth, black Cooper alongside Keith Ballisat Cooper T52 BMC?, #9 Juan-Manuel Bordeu Lola Mk2 Ford, #3 settling into his car Pater Arundell Lotus 18 Cosworth and the rest (unattributed)

‘Finally we came to the race of the day, with weather conditions perfect and twenty cars lined up on the grid, the only non-starter being de Beaufort, whose Climax engine was beyond repair…The race was to be run over 20 laps, a distance of 228.340 kilo­metres and the start was perfect, with Bonnier just leading the field towards the first corner. At the end of the opening lap the first nine cars were so close that it was relatively unimportant who was leading, though in fact it was Graham Hill in front of Bonnier, with Herrmann, von Trips, Gurney, Ireland, Surtees, Brabham and Clark following.

With the track nice and dry for the first time this little lot were really motor racing, the standing lap being in 4 min 24 sec, and the first flying lap in 4 min 15.1 sec (virtually 100 m.p.h. average). Bonnier led on lap two, von Trips on lap three and Clark on lap four, while the others were nose-to­-tail in varying orders, there being no signs of a procession begin­ning as yet. With the exception of Clark and Taylor, who had just driven in the Junior race, none of the others knew anything about the circuit in the dry, so we were witnessing, in effect, the first really serious practice session, and it was really serious. While Trevor Taylor was a bit out of his depth in this race, only his second with an F2 car, Clark was really profiting from his Junior race and his progress on the first few laps was 9th, 6th, 3rd and 1st, and having got the lead he drew away steadily, driving most beautifully, setting a new lap record at 4 min 08.0 sec.’

Clarks’s Lotus 18 Ford during his victorious run in the FJ race, he won from two other Lotus 18’s- Aussie Steve Ouvaroff  and Lotus teammate Trevor Taylor (unattributed)

‘Meanwhile the rest of the runners were learning the circuit in the dry, and Herrmann led von Trips, Bonnier, Gurney, Graham Hill, Brabham and Ireland, while Surtees was having gear-change trouble and dropping back a bit, to be caught by Phil Hill in the front-engined Ferrari. Then came Lewis all on his own, having outstripped the rest of the private owners, but not quite fast enough to keep up with the works drivers, and already Schlesser had fallen out with crankshaft trouble. On lap six von Trips passed Herrmann once more and Graham Hill passed Gurney, but on the next lap Gurney was in front again, and at the end of the field Bianchi retired with a broken oil pipe and Seidel gave up as he thought his shock-absorbers were not working.’

On lap eight Clark had 1/2 sec lead but Herrmann was back in second place and Phil Hill had moved up a place into ninth position ahead of Surtees, and still the first ten cars were all pressing on at unabated speed. On lap nine Clark began to get worried about rising water temperature, for there had been signs of a head gasket leak on the starting line, while Herrmann and von Trips were now getting into their stride and the Ferrari brought the lap record down to 4 min 07.5 sec, and for the first lap since the start of the race there was no change in the order anywhere through the field. Halfway round lap 10 the leading Porsche and the rear-engined Ferrari were gaining rapidly on the Lotus and as Clark finished his tenth lap he drew into the pits, just as Herrmann and von Trips went by. In a flash the next eight cars were past, while water was poured into the Lotus and Clark restarted in tenth place, for Lewis also drew into the pits to retire with two broken main-bearing caps and a ruined crankcase. Behind the leading bunch came Trintignant, Taylor, Gregory, Gendebien, Laureau, Barth and Cabral in that order but spaced out.

Having got the lead Herrmann really flew and lapped in 4 min 07.0 sec, but von Trips was not giving in and two laps later recorded 4 min 06.4 sec and closed on Herrmann, and the two of them were now leaving Bonnier behind, who was being followed by Graham Hill and Gurney, who were changing positions continuously, and behind them came Phil Hill and Ireland, also chopping and changing places, while some way back Trevor Taylor had got in front of Trintignant. On lap 11 Brab­ham gave up with a split head gasket, never having been in the picture, and Surtees was slowing visibly, his continual gear-­selection trouble having caused missed gears and subsequent bent valves.

On lap 13 von Trips was only a few lengths behind Herrmann’s Porsche, on the next lap he was right on his tail and he stayed like that for two more laps, while the two of them drew 16 sec ahead of Bonnier, but Graham Hill and Gurney were urging each other along and were catching Bonnier. On lap 16 Herrmann did 4 min 06.0 sec, but on lap 17 von Trips replied with 4 min 04.7 sec and sailed by into the lead, and the Ferrari really showed its possibilities by pulling out a 11/2-sec lead over the Porsche. Graham Hill and Gurney were still passing and re-passing and were now up with Bonnier, while Ireland and Phil Hill had not yet settled their battle.

On lap 15 Trevor Taylor had retired at the pits when a cam-­follower had broken and on lap 16 Surtees had run wide on a corner trying to take it in a high gear to save the trouble of sorting the selectors out, and had spun on some loose gravel and stalled. Clark was still running, but a long way back from the leaders, and most of the tail-enders had been lapped. The rear-engined Ferrari was now safely in front and von Trips was making no mistake and he finished the 20 laps nicely ahead of Herrmann, having thoroughly trounced the Porsche team on their own door­step. On lap 19 Graham Hill got into third place, but on the last lap Bonnier got by him down the straight and led him over the line with Gurney right behind them, and a little way back Phil Hill led Ireland on the penultimate lap only to be re-passed yet again on the last lap.

For once this had been real motor racing, with the first seven cars all going as hard as they knew how for the whole race, and if this was a foretaste of 1961 Grand Prix racing then no-one is going to be disappointed. Dan Gurney summed up this excellent race very nicely when he said : “I’ve never had to drive so hard in my life just for fifth place”. DSJ.’

Beautiful shot of Surtees Lotus 18 on the cobbled pave of the Oporto streets (LAT)

Surtees further showed his mettle at Oporto, the Portuguese Grand Prix held on 14 August.

In only his third event in 2.5 litre Grand Prix cars he put his Team Lotus 18 on pole on the unfamiliar challenging portside/coastal circuit.

Surtees lost out in the early skirmishes as Dan Gurney’s BRM P48 grabbed the lead, but he soon overcame Stirling Moss, Lotus 18 Climax – returning from injuries sustained at Spa – to run 2nd. The Lotus then closed on Gurney and was poised to challenge for the lead when the BRM hit engine trouble. Moss now moved forward and started applying pressure to Surtees, only to have to pit for a plug change on his Lotus 18. That left Surtees comfortably clear of reigning world champion Jack Brabham.

But Surtees had been battling with a fuel leak and, eventually, his petrol-soaked feet slipped off the pedals. The resulting incident burst the Lotus’s radiator and forced Surtees out of the race, but he looked at home up front of the field, which is rather where he belonged!

Another shot of Surtees on the run at Oporto (B Cahier)

Did you say the motel was to the left or right? Surtees on the road @ Riverside 1960. Lotus 18 Climax (Getty)

With his motorcycle commitments the only other F1 championship appearance for the great Brit that year was at Riverside, site of the 1960 US Grand Prix in late November.

There he qualified his Team Lotus 18 6th but spun and was collected by teammate Clark causing John’s retirement. Clark soldiered on using the nose cone off Surtees car! Stirling Moss won the race in the Walker Lotus 18, the fastest combination of the year- and noting Moss’ monster accident at Spa in June which outed him from mid-June till late November.

Surtees made a huge impact in his first season in cars- he was off to UDT Laystall for 1961 on an inexorable rise which took him via Lola to Ferrari in 1963 and a world title in 1964. Click here for an article on his Ferrari 158 championship year;

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

Etcetera: Denis Jenkinson’s description of the wild Solitude road circuit…

‘The starting area is wide and level and a short straight leads into a series of four left-hand bends, they can be taken in one complete arc, to form a very large-radius hairpin, “Glemseck,” turning the direction of the road through 180 degrees. Between the start and the first corner are the pits, intelligently placed at an angle to the main track, the first pit being some 20 feet from the edge of the track and the last one being about 10 feet from the edge, thus allowing everyone in the pits a fairly unobstructed view and making a very large wedge-shaped pit area.

After turning through 180 degrees the road climbs steeply up the side of a hill, round a very tight hairpin to the right, “Hedersback,” and on up the hill on a gradient of nearly 1 in 61/2, levels out a bit on a left curve and then climbs up round a fast right-hand curve to the top of the hillside. Here it takes a long fast left-hand bend over the brow, “Frauenkreuz,” and down the other side, followed by another very fast downhill right-hand curve, and drops over a sharp brow to plunge down into a sharp left-hand corner, in thick woods. As the road levels out here this corner can be taken faster than imagined for the sudden cessation of losing height as you hit the corner means that the car gets a terrific downward thrust from its own weight, helping the cornering power of the tyres. From here the road is more or less level and to all intents and purposes is straight, although in actual fact there are two left-hand curves, but these are flat out. This ends in a very sharp right-hand hairpin that drops downhill to a left­hand hairpin that continues to drop downhill and is followed by a short straight rush down to a lake.

Here the road turns sharp left round the edge of the lake and from here to the start the road runs along the bottom of a valley and is flat, but by no means straight. From the lake to the starting area there is a series of fast and slow corners, running through woods with a high bank on the right. This is the most difficult part of the course, for so many of the corners look alike and all are rather similar as regards surroundings, making them difficult to identify, and for 31/2 kilo­metres after leaving the lake, on this home stretch, there is no straight and the car has to be whipped from one lock to the other. The last of this long series of swerves is a left-hander which brings you out of the woods and onto the short pits straight.

The circuit measures 11.417 kilometres to the lap (approximately seven miles) and contains just about every situation one could wish for in a racing circuit, and the whole thing is on normal public roads, closed for the occasion of racing, and sports cars lapped it at 150 kph (approximately 93 mph).’

Innes Ireland clipping the grass for the Solitude organisers during his victorious run during the 1961 GP- his works Lotus 21 Climax won from Jo Bonnier’s Porsche 718 and Dan Gurney’s similar car. Here he leads Jack Brabham Cooper T53 Climax not long after the start. The fast, open, wooded terrain of the circuit shown in this marvellous shot (Sutton)

Bibliography…

Solitude GP race report by Denis Jenkinson in MotorSport August 1960, Autosport, oldracingcars.com, Australian Motorcycling News article by Don Cox, ‘Motorcycle GP Racing in The 1960’s’ Chris Pereira, F2 Index

Photo Credits…

Getty Images, LAT, Sutton, Bernard Cahier, Australian Motorcycle news

Tailpiece: Likely Lads- Ireland, Clark, Surtees and Chapman, what an array of talent! Team Lotus, Oporto, Portugal 1960…

Finito…

 

 

John Surtees poses with his Ferrari 312, the Scuderia’s 3 litre V12 new season and new formula contender, March 1966…

‘Big John’ is probably feeling fairly confident at this point, Ferrari seemed to be as well prepared as they had been for the last formula change from 2.5 to 1.5 litres in 1961. They took the title convincingly of course, Phil Hill won it in the Carlo Chiti designed ‘Sharknose’ 156 V6.

Coventry Climax had withdrawn as an engine provider at the end of 1965, other than some transitional support of Team Lotus with a couple of 2 litre FWMV V8’s to tide them over. Generally, 1966 was a year of transition and therefore of opportunity for those who started the season with a fast, reliable package, the Ferrari seemed just that.

Click on this link for my article on the 1966 Grand Prix season;

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/13/winning-the-1966-world-f1-championships-rodways-repco-recollections-episode-3/

surtees 2

‘Down Under’ Jack Brabham installed the first Oldsmobile F85 blocked Repco Brabham ‘RB620’ V8 into a year old Brabham chassis, BT19, built for the stillborn Coventry Climax Flat-16 engine and contested the Non-Championship South African GP at Kyalami in it on 1 January.

Repco then popped a 2.5 Tasman Formula RB620 V8 into BT19 for a couple of Tasman rounds, at Sandown Park and Longford, each time learning a little more about the engine and making it reliable.

Ferrari’s own 3 litre V12 was a trusty old warhorse which had served them well. It was a reliable Le Mans winning unit and more powerful than the Repco V8 but the car was heavy. Brabham’s BT19 was a light spaceframe and his 300 horses were stallions not geldings.

surtees 3

The first GP of the new F1, the 1966 XV Gran Premio di Siracusa was on 1 April, Surtees won it in a 312 from teammate Bandini’s Ferrari Dino 246. The only other ‘new’ F1’s were the Cooper T81 Maserati’s of Jo Siffert and Guy Ligier both of which failed to finish. So too did Brabham’s BT19 with a Repco failure.

On 14 May the teams met at Silverstone for the XVIII BRDC International Trophy which Brabham won from Surtees and Bonnier’s Cooper T81 Maser.

Game on!

Off to Monaco for the first Championship round on 22 May, Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 took the race from Hill’s P261 both cars with 2 litre versions of the old P56 V8 1.5 litre F1 engine, and Bandini’s Dino. Surtees and Brabham were out on laps 16 and 17 respectively with transmission dramas.

Bandini’s use of the Dino which as the teams #1 Surtees should have been allowed to race, in Johns assessment the better of the two cars for the unique demands of Monaco, was one of many dramas within the team which famously resulted in the headstrong Brit telling Ferrari to ‘shove it’ costing both a title which they may well have taken.

surtess 4

Surtees joined Cooper for the balance of ’66 and made the cars sing but Jack was away and running taking the title he and Repco deserved but which perhaps should have been Maranello’s not Melbourne’s…

Click here for an interesting article on Surtees;

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

Ferrari 312 Specifications…

312 engine

The heart of any Ferrari is its engine of course, and what a glorious thing the Tipo 218 unit was.

Cast in aluminium alloy with cast iron wet cylinder liners, the 60 degree V12 had dual chain driven overhead camshafts per bank operating 2 valves per cylinder. The compression ratio was 11.8:1, heads incorporated 2 plugs per cylinder which were fired, old school, by a battery of 4 coils. The engine was dry sumped, the cylinders fed by Lucas indirect fuel injection. Claimed output was circa 360bhp at 10,000rpm, the reality probably a little less than that.

312 rear

The engine wasn’t really the cars weakness, it was probably more so the Tipo 589 chassis’s overall weight. Ferrari really didn’t get the hang of building a modern monocoque in the British idiom until they contracted John Thompson to build them one circa 1973!

Before then their tubs were sheet aluminium panels in a double wall riveted to a tubular steel structure. It was effective but heavy. The Ferrari’s suspension, as you can see is period typical; inboard at the front with a top rocker and lower wishbone and outboard at the rear with a single top link, inverted lower wishbone with forward facing radius rods for location. Uprights were cast magnesium with coil spring/shock units. Girling provided the disc brakes, which were inboard at the rear.

The Tipo 589 5 speed transaxle was sportscar derived, beefy and heavier than the DG300 Hewland box which became ‘de rigour’ in the Pommy cars of the era.

312 engine side

Shot above shows the beautiful standard of Ferrari fabrication and finish. Note the chassis, Lucas injection, twin-plug heads, alternator driven by the cams and wonderful exhausts which are fine examples of the pipe-benders art.

Credits: Popperfoto, GP Library, Reg Lancaster

Tailpiece: Why is that Simple Little Thing So Fast?…

image

Enzo Ferrari ponders the 1966 consistent speed of Jack’s BT19 Repco at Monza on September 3 1966, the ‘Wonder From Down-Under’ beating the might of the Europeans…

What is he thinking I wonder? ‘why is it so fast, its last years spaceframe chassis, engine from someone i’ve never heard of in Australia and the block is an American Oldsmobile…’

In fact the following day was a good one for the Scuderia, Ludovico Scarfiotti’s 312 V12 took the win from Mike Parkes similar car with Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT20 Repco third.

 

 

John Surtees struggles to restart his stalled Lola T70 Mk3 Aston Martin at the commencement of the Nurburgring 1000 Km, 28 May 1967…

Alongside him , slightly obscured, poleman Phil Hill in the sensational Chaparral 2F Chev is also slow away, meanwhile a gaggle of Porsche 910’s sprint away, likely culprits the works cars of Rolf Stommelen, Gerhard Mitter and Jo Siffert.

A happy confluence of events was the construction of Aston Martin’s new V8 engine and racer/entrant Jackie Epstein’s approach to Eric Broadley to build a coupe variant of the 1966 Can Am Championship winning Lola T70 Spyder Group 7 machine. John Surtees of course won the very first Can Am series in a T70 Mk2 Chev. Eric Broadley and Surtees formed Lola Racing Ltd as a works development and racing arm, Surtees honed the T70, he outlined his philosophy in developing the car in a MotorSport interview in August 2003.

‘With a long distance car you can’t have something that rides on a knife edge like a top F1 car…You are trying to get consistency, you don’t want an unpredictable and volatile character. By the time the T70’s got some running in them they were very driveable, very predictable cars which you could drive up to the limit and perhaps a little bit over. This gave the driver confidence’.

Surtees in ‘SL73/101’ at the Nurburgring upon the Lola Astons race debut. The sensational body of the Mark 3 was designed by New Zealander Jim Clark for Specialised Mouldings to make. It was the first racing car to use carbon-fibre reinforced bodywork. Tony Southgate, then at Lola, spent many hours in the Imperial College wind tunnel to give both low drag and some downforce front and rear. The cars side windows were made of Perspex and had small diagonal flaps which could be set open to aid cockpit ventilation, as here (Schlegelmilch)

Surely one of the swoopiest, voluptuous and sexiest racers ever- the Lola T70 Mk3 Coupe ‘SL73/101’ was the first Lola Aston built and was shown to rapturous crowd approval at the annual Racing Car Show at London’s Olympia in January 1967. Tadek Marek’s new Aston Martin ‘DP218’ V8 engine also made its first public appearance at the show on the Surtees Racing stand, the announcement of the relationship between the concerns- Lola, Astons and Surtees was made at the show.

On the face of it the association had every chance of success.

The combination of one of sportscar racings best chassis, a lightweight, powerful engine which promised to provide the Lola with better balance than the Chev engined T70’s and John Surtees track testing ability and sheer speed promised much. Aston Martin chief David Brown was of the view that ‘racing improves the breed’ whilst his chief engineer Tadek Marek was not especially enamoured of the a high risk strategy. After all, his new engine was designed as a road car motor not a race engine.

Undaunted David Brown proceeded and Aston Martin Lagonda supplied special versions of Marek’s design with a capacity of 5008.5cc- bore/stroke of 98x83mm. The all aluminium, duplex chain driven quad cam, 2 valve, dry-sumped, Lucas fuel injected V8 was quoted by Astons as producing 450bhp @ 6750rpm and 413 lb/ft of torque at Le Mans 1967.

‘SL73/101’ in the Nurburgring paddock. Note the shape of the aluminium monocoque chassis, high pressure fuel pumps, note that the engine is now Lucas injected compared with the Webers used at the Le Mans test weekend. DOHC, but 2 valve and chain driven cams. The two suspension radius rods are clear as is the top of the coil spring and roll bar. Ditto the ‘luggage box’ (Schlegelmilch)

‘DP218 was first tested in a T70 Spyder in Autumn 1966. At that first development stage, using a compression ratio of 11:1 and fitted with four Weber 48IDA carburettors the engine was quoted as giving 421bhp @ 6500rpm and 386 lb/ft of torque. Testing showed there were many problems with the engine most notably the motor popped a rod through the side of its aluminium block due to oil starvation. Eventually a much developed engine, one of a batch of ten that had been delivered, with attention to the dry sump system, was installed in March 1967 into the new Coupe for Team Surtees to run. The most obvious problems in testing were a bad vibration and an inability to rev beyond 6100 rpm.

Surtees aboard ‘SL73/101’ at the Le Mans test weekend in 1967 running ahead of the Claude Dubois Shelby Mustang GT350

The big, booming car was the third fastest machine present in the dry and fastest in the wet at the Le Mans test days on April 8 and 9…

The car was fast through the corners but was unable to top 186mph as a consequence of not being able to pull more than 6000rpm on the Mulsanne. Aston’s were convinced that Lucas fuel injection, which was shortly to be installed would cure the problem. The quickest cars were the works Ferrari P4’s of Bandini, Amon, Scarfiotti and Parkes with Bandini at the end of the day the quickest. The two Fords driven by McLaren and Donohue ‘rumbled ominously but did not press the button’. Mind you the Mark 4 was timed at 205mph and Ferrari 198 on the Mulsanne.

T70 ‘SL73/101’ exposed at the Le Mans test weekend. Note the Weber 48IDA carbs and wild exhaust system- two variants were tried that weekend. Gearbox is Hewland LG600 5 speed. Surtees with helmet to right (LAT)

The MotorSport report of the test weekend wryly observes ‘…the two giants (Ford and Ferrari) kept an eye on Lola, Ford knowing that their whole racing effort was born of the brain of Eric Broadley and Ferrari knowing that Surtees can never be underrated’… ‘Although on paper Ferrari left Le Mans as top dog, no one was being fooled by the freak circumstances, for had it been dry on Sunday it might have been a different story and both teams were very impressed with the Lola Aston Martin efforts, remembering their own experiences when running a brand new design for the first time. It seems that Ford did not want to run in the rain for fear of a repetition of the accident to Hansgen last year…’

So, in short, Lola Astons peers were impressed by the car and the threat it potentially represented.

Great front end shot of ‘SL73/101’ at the Nurburgring- the aluminium monocoque chassis, upper and lower wishbone front suspension, magnesium upright and 12 inch ventilated disc brakes. The brakes were a mix of Kelsey Hayes rotors, Girling calipers with some Lola bits too. Steering rack was from the BMC Austin 1800 and wheel widths 8 inches at the front with 10 inchers at the rear. Beautiful Lola knock on mag-alloy wheels  (Schlegelmilch)

Lola Astons first race appearance was at the Nurburgring 1000 Km on May 28…

It was planned to race the car at Spa but it was not ready in time so the beautiful beast made its race debut at the daunting Nurburgring. Lucas fuel injection was amongst the latest refinements to DP218.

On the face of it the car was far from the most nimble present, nor was the Phil Hill/Mike Spence Chaparral 2F Chev on pole, but Surtees popped ‘101’ second on the grid, he shared the drive with David Hobbs. Porsche 910’s were the next quickest group of cars.

Surtees stalled the unfamiliar car at the start but was soon up to 7th place by lap seven when a rear wishbone broke going down through the Fuchsrohre. Surtees managed to stop the car without damage to either the machinery or the driver, but that was the end of the meeting- and of useful testing miles. Udo Schutz and Joe Buzzetta won the race in a 910.

Great contrasting shot of the ‘standard’ T70 rear bodywork at left and ‘more streamlined’ aluminium body at right. #12 Irwin/de Klerk ‘SL73/101 and #11 Surtees/Hobbs ‘SL73/121’. Note mandatory ‘spare’ mounted atop the ‘box. The T70 standard rear bodywork was aerodynamically groundbreaking at the time by rejecting the usual fastback and ‘Ferrari ridge spoiler for a flat rear deck with a slot down the middle to provide visibility for the pilot and largely undisturbed air for the engines injection trumpets. Porsche/John Wyer famously adopted a similar configuration in evolving the 917 from its original far from satisfactory ’69 rear body to its race-winning 1970/71 configuration (Friedman)

At Le Mans the team had both ‘101’ and a new chassis ‘SL73/121’ which was fitted with a longer tail made of aluminium, the standard cars body was in fibreglass made by Specialised Mouldings. The new car was to be driven by Surtees/Hobbs, the other by Chris Irwin and Peter de Klerk.

Both cars had problems in practice caused by overheating, with the Lola mechanics looking after chassis setup claiming the engines ignition timing to be 180 degrees out. Some sources have it that the overheating was caused by the different aerodynamics of the longer tail which enclosed the engine. In addition, against Aston’s advice, Surtees negotiated a sponsorship agreement to use Marchal spark-plugs. The stage was set for the disastrous events which followed.

Before the off, Le Mans ’67. Surtees/Hobbs car in shot with the sister car behind- well down the grid after dramas in practice. Another angle on the unique for Le Mans rear body of chassis ‘SL73/121’ (Friedman)

Poor Surtees started the classic from grid 13 and then only covered 3 laps when ‘121’ was outed by a burned piston. ‘101’, the car started by Chris Irwin was back on grid 25. The drivers struggled with the car for 2.5 hours during which time the mechanics replaced a broken camshaft driveshaft, the engine lost oil pressure, overheated and finally broke a crankshaft damper.

The race was won by the Shelby American entered Ford GT Mk4 driven by the all-American crew of Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt.

Post race the Lola Astons were were returned to Slough, the ‘DP218’ engines removed and both cars re-engined with Chevrolet pushrod V8’s, the Aston experiment was over. It was clear the short term prospects of getting the engine race worthy were slim.

When the race engines were returned to AML and stripped it was found that the blocks had twisted and cracks were found in the main bearing housing. The engine went through a major redesign to strengthen the motors bottom end which prevented the launch of the Aston Martin DBS V8 road car until 1969, initially 6 cylinder variants were sold.

Early laps with Surtees T70 ahead of one of the John Wyer Mirage M1 Fords. Lola a handsome beast (Friedman)

Surtees had this to say about the Lola Aston Martin program…

‘The Aston V8 could have achieved so much but was a total disaster. We didn’t expect to compete on out and out speed- we were hoping to a degree that weather would play a hand. If it rained a bit as it did at the Nuburgring and the Le Mans practice we were very competitive. Before Le Mans we did a long test at Goodwood, ten or twelve hours, but in the race we only lasted a few laps because Aston Martin had changed the design of the head gaskets! As soon as we got the cars back from Le Mans we took the Aston engines out and that was the end of that’.

In addition Surtees felt the T70 Mk3 chassis was inferior to his Can Am T70 Mk2 ‘I didn’t like the Mk3. The front suspension was altered and i hadn’t done any development or testing on the changes. I didn’t like the effect on the character of the car, it lacked the positiveness of the original and didn’t suit my style of driving. I didn’t mind a car being a little loose at times, but i couldn’t stand something which you couldn’t point where you wanted. Some people tried to compensate by playing with the aerodynamics, but i just stopped using the Mk3. Luckily the previous years car was still in America so we dragged that out of retirement’.

In the same MotorSport article Surtees notes the contribution of Firestone tyres to the package. He did most of the Firestone testing in the UK, with a lot of work done on springs and dampers, and working closely with Koni to keep pace with tyre development, a spin-off of the Firestone/Goodyear war of the time. ‘That brought its problems too, because as you improve the tyres you put greater stress through everything, but the car retained its user-friendly character’.

There are some contradictions in the quotes above, Surtees was a tough character, after all, despite the Lola’s shortcomings he was off the front of the grid at the Nurburgring so the chassis cannot have been too bad!

In the end the Lola Aston Martin program was one of unfulfilled promise, but David Brown was right- racing did indeed improve the breed. The rigours of competition identified design shortfalls in the original DP218 engine which were not apparent during road testing. As a consequence the modified production V8 proved to be a strong, reliable unit- and the basis of a good race engine in the decades to follow!

From Surtees perspective he had bigger fish to fry. He was juggling multiple race programs on both sides of the Atlantic with the Lola/Honda F1 exercise, Lola T100 Ford FVA F2 car and in the Can Am where Lola’s dominance was being overtaken by the ‘papaya menace’- Bruce McLaren’s M6 McLaren Chevs. John’s endurance T70 program was best advanced by bolting Chevy’s into the back of the cars in place of the Aston engines. Only a week after Le Mans Surtees ran at the front of the pack so engined at the Reims 12 Hour…before popping his Chevy engine. Unfortunately the Chevs rarely provided the reliability the T70 needed for endurance success in the blue riband events. But what a car all the same!…

Another engine shot similar to one above. Nutty, mandated spare wheel/Firestone clear. Aston all-ally engine very compact and light compared with the cast iron pushrod Chevys which usually inhabited this space. Nurburgring 1000 km’s 1967

1967 Endurance Season…

I wrote an article a while back about the Ferrari P4 which also profiled the main protagonists of sportscar racing in ’67- Ford Mk4, Ferrari P4 and Chaparral 2F Chev which may be of interest. The article also has photos of the Lola Astons at Le Mans.

https://primotipo.com/2015/04/02/ferrari-p4canam-350-0858/

See also this article on Le Mans 1967.

https://primotipo.com/2015/09/24/le-mans-1967/

Bibliography…

‘Aston Martin: A Racing History’ Anthony Pritchard, ‘Lola, The Illustrated History 1957 to 1977’ John Starkey, MotorSport May 1967 and August 2003, Team Dan

Photo Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, Dave Friedman Archive, Autosport, MotorSport, LAT

Etcetera…

Tailpiece: The Lola Aston Martin relationship was rekindled a while later, here the Lola B08/60 Aston Martin 6 litre V12 in 2009…

 

 

 

(P Mellor)

John Surtees cruising his Lola Mk4A Climax around the Lakeside paddock during the 1963 Australian summer…

No doubt he is on the way to or from scrutineering, the Lola devoid of its usual slinky ‘Specialised Mouldings’ fibreglass body. These cars were designed by Eric Broadley as F1 machines, they were the front line weapons of the Bowmaker Racing Team during the 1962 season.

Strong results at championship level were skinny even when the too flexible spaceframe Mk4 chassis was braced with aluminium to become the ‘semi-monocoque’ Mk4A. The last of the Mk4’s was modified in this manner and is the car Surtees raced in Australasia in the summer of ’63- chassis ‘BRGP44′. The chassis made its debut in the non-championship Kanonloppet at Karlskoga in Surtees hands on 12 August 1962 and was then raced in the GP’s of Danske and Italy before being converted for Surtees’ use in the South Pacific.

The Mk4’s were fitted with both the Coventry Climax FWMV 1.5 litre V8 for F1 use and the 2.5 or 2.7 litre Coventry Climax FPF engine for the Intercontinental Formula and for Formula Libre as the Australasian summer races then were.

The global stock of FPF’s found a ready home in Australasia after the commencement of the 1.5 litre F1 as the ‘engine de jour’ in our Formula Libre, Gold Star and Tasman races until 1966 when ‘multi-cylinder’ engines arrived. The BRM P261 V8 won the Tasman in 1966 in Jackie Stewart’s hands, soon the Tasman was awash with interesting engines from BRM, Repco, Ferrari and Ford. Mind you, the good ‘ole FPF was still a contender in Gold Star events with Spencer Martin and Kevin Bartlett consistently knocking off Repco V8’s in domestic Australian events into 1967.

Surtees was on the cusp of four-wheel greatness of course. In 1964 he won the World F1 Drivers Championship for Ferrari in a Tipo 158, an additional title to match those already won on bikes.

Surtees in the Bowmaker Racing Lola Mk4A chassis ‘BRGP44’ Coventry Climax 2.7 FPF during the 1963 Australian GP weekend at Warwick Farm in February. He was 2nd in between winner Brabham and 3rd placed Bruce McLaren in Brabham BT4 and Cooper T62 respectively, both 2.7 FPF powered (Ellacott)

Bowmaker Racing entered cars for John and Tony Maggs that season in Australasia achieving a good measure of success. Competition was stiff too. That year the internationals included Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Graham Hill (Ferguson P99) and coming-man Chris Amon. In addition Australian and New Zealand Champions included Bib Stillwell, Lex Davison, John Youl, David McKay and Jim Palmer- not all of these blokes did the whole series mind you.

The Lakeside International was held in blistering Queensland summer heat with Surtees taking a fine win from Graham Hill and Bib Stillwell. He was first in the NZ GP at Pukekohe early in January too, having gearbox dramas at Levin and Wigram and a distant 9th at Teretonga with undisclosed problems. He then contested the Australian events at Warwick Farm, finishing 2nd in the AGP at Warwick Farm, took the win at Lakeside and then jetted home to the UK and testing duties with Ferrari. The rest, as they say is history…

Photo Credits…

Peter Mellor on The Roaring Season, John Ellacott

Surtees Article…

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

Amon on the way to 7th in the Lola Mk4A ‘BRGP44’ now re-engined with a Coventry Climax FWMV V8, at Rouen, French GP June 30 1963. Clark won in a Lotus 25 Climax (unattributed)

Tailpiece: Chris Amon, Lola Mk4A Climax, French GP 1963…

Lola Mk4A ‘BRGP44’ raced on into 1963. The car was converted back into an F1 machine, the 2.7 FPF was lifted out after its sojurn in Australasia and an FWMV Coventry Climax V8 re-fitted back at Lola in Bromley. Chris Amon was allocated the car for the ’63 F1 season, although Maurice Trintignant raced it at Monaco. The cars best result that year was funnily enough Amon’s first race in it- 5th in the Glover Trophy at Goodwood.

fferrari pit 1966 monaco

(Jesse Alexander Archive)

John Surtees ‘P3’ at this point but his Ferrari gearbox failed in the race won by Stewart’s BRM P261…

surtees and stewart monaco 1966

(David Phipps)

Surtees in his big Ferrari 312, a new F1 car built to the 3 litre formula introduced that year leads Jackie Stewart in his light, nimble BRM P261, a 1.5 litre F1 car bored to around 2.1 litres and shortly to be victorious over ‘Big Johns’ heavy and not so powerful Ferrari.

It may have been different if he had driven the light, nimble Ferrari Dino 246 allocated to teammate Bandini, but that was not to be and so the pressures mounted which lead to Surtees departure from the Scuderia shortly thereafter. And with it any chance Ferrari had of winning the title that year. Brabhams year of course.

https://primotipo.com/2014/11/13/winning-the-1966-world-f1-championships-rodways-repco-recollections-episode-3/

Photo Credits…

Jesse Alexander Archive, David Phipps, GP Library

Tailpiece…

stewy

Nice Stewart BRM P261 cockpit shot en-route to victory (GP Library)

image

John Surtees races his North American Racing Team Ferrari 158 to second place at Watkins Glen on October 4, keeping alive his ultimately successful 1964 title chances…

Enzo Ferrari was in a spat with the Italian governing body at the time over its refusal, Ferrari having failed to build the minimum number of cars, to homologate the sports/racer Ferrari 250LM as a Sportscar. The result of which forced entrants to race it as a Prototype, a category in which it was not competitive and not designed for; putting aside the lucky, outright 250LM Le Mans win for Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt in 1965!

image

Test session for the Ferrari 158’s, one of which is in NART colors, on 15 September 1964. John Surtees in drivers overalls, Technical Director Mauro Forghieri to his left, mechanic Giulio Borsari in the white cap. Modena Autodrome (GP Photo)

Not that the Italian autocrat was going to let principle, as he saw it, get in the way of practicality.

There were Grand Prix World Championships to win so rather than race in traditional racing red he ‘relinquished his entrants licence’, the cars, works cars in every way, shape and form being entered by Ferrari’s concessionaire in the US, Luigi Chinetti’s N.A.R.T at both the final two 1964 championship rounds at Watkins Glen, New York State and in Mexico City.

Surtees second placings in both races gave him the Drivers title and Ferrari the Manufacturers from Graham Hill’s BRM P261 by 9 points.

‘Honour’ and title won, the Ferrari’s raced on in Italian Racing Red and the 250LM as a prototype, much to its private entrants chagrin.

image

Surtees ready for the off, Modena 15 September 1964 (GP Photo)

 

The Vic Berris cutaway above is terrific in showing the semi-monocoque ‘aero’ construction Ferrari used for years whereby aluminium sheet was riveted and glued to a frame, let’s call it a spaceframe underneath.

image

Etcetera…

Lorenzo Bandini being attended to in the Spa pits during the June 1964 Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Great shot of the engine and gearbox and bulkhead in between- note also inboard rear discs and calipers. #10 is the nose of the Surtees 158.

It wasn’t a great weekend for the Ferrari boys, both retired with engine dramas, John in the lead after completing only three laps and Lorenzo after eleven- Jim Clark won in a Lotus 25 Climax.

Photo Credits…

For all shots ‘Grand Prix Photo’ except Vic Berris cutaway drawing

Tailpiece: Camper’s delight as Surtees Fazz speeds past, Watkins Glen ’64…

image

(unattributed)

Finito…

image

Barry Sheene laps Brands Hatch in a 1976/7 Surtees TS19 Ford in his first F1 drive on 25 April 1978…

It would have been interesting if Bazz gave cars a ‘red-hot’ go from about then, born in 1950 he was 28 and had already won the 1973 Formula 750 and 1976/7 500cc World Titles for Suzuki.

Not too many motor-cyclists have made the transition from bikes to cars successfully at elite level. Three spring to mind; John Surtees, Mike Hailwood and less obviously Johnny Cecotto. His speed and race wins on bikes flowed into F2 drives, badly broken legs in his Toleman Hart during 1984 British GP practice, he had already banged himself about on bikes, ended an F1 career of great promise.

image

Buckle up. At the time the Surtees TS19’s were being raced in the British F1 Series, so were ‘still current’

Sheene still had unfinished business on bikes though; always a threat when on a decent machine, he raced on in 500’s, his battles against Kenny Roberts the stuff of legend, his last win the 1981 Swedish GP.

An accident at Silverstone during 1982 British GP practice was one too many. He hit a fallen competitors obscured bike at around 160mph, slid for 150 metres, breaking both legs again, and an arm. Undimished, Sheene had enormous courage and resilience, he raced on into 1983 on a semi-works Suzuki even finishing 8th in the British GP 12 months after the awful accident. Unsurprisingly, his ultimate edge was dulled, he retired from bikes in 1984.

image

Place, date and bike unknown (unattributed)

Barry did race touring Cars and trucks prior to emigrating from the UK to Oz in the late 1980’s, he left his beloved Britain in search of sun to help ease arthritis partially caused by his many race prangs down the years.

An immensely likable character, he was soon as popular here as in Europe mixing property development, motorsport TV coverage and commentary with product endorsements. He and Oz Touring Car Legend Dick Johnson did a series of TV ads for Shell for years which both polished its brand and were iconic in terms of their laconic humor. Sadly lost to cancer at the all-too-young age of 53 in 2003.

image

Isle of Man 1971, Barry Sheene at Quarter Bridge after crashing out of the race in apalling conditions whilst 2nd in the 125cc race on his Suzuki. His only IOM TT race. 21, how young does he look!? (Bob Thomas)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image

‘you missed the apex by that much!’ Sheene, George Harrison and John Surtees, Brands during the test

image

Barry, George and those Linea Sport overalls so period!

Credits…

Roger Lings, Bob Thomas, Patrick Litchfield, Keystone France

Tailpiece: You can be certain the one thing, ‘the two amigos’ aren’t talking about is Texaco…

image

22 May 1978 (Litchfield)

 

 

 

surt

(Getty)

John Surtees smiles for the cameras with his Ken Tyrrell Racing Cooper T51 Climax in April 1960…

The much anticipated switch of the British multiple bike champion to four wheels took place when he contested the Formula Junior races at the ‘BARC Members Meeting’ at Goodwood on 19 March 1960.

Ken Tyrrell entered him in a Cooper T52 BMC, the ‘novice’ raced into second between the Team Lotus duo of Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor both mounted in Lotus 18 Fords, more competitive cars. The field also included other later GP drivers Peter Arundell and Mike Spence.

surt cooper

John Surtees, Cooper T52 BMC FJ, Goodwood, 19 March 1960 (Getty)

It was a great debut so why not jump into the deep end?

The Non-Championship F1 ‘Oulton Park Trophy’ took place at the Cheshire circuit on 2 April, with limited testing the talented Brit took on a field of some depth, starting the race from pole and again finishing second. Innes Ireland took the win in a Team Lotus 18 Climax with the very experienced Roy Salvadori third in another Cooper T51 Climax. The field also included Harry Schell and Chris Bristow.

Surtees had arrived in cars! He mixed racing two wheels and four in 1960 but focussed on cars from 1961…

Photo Credits…

Getty Images

Tailpiece…

surt mv

Surtees winning the Isle of Man Senior TT in 1956. MV Agusta 500 (Getty)

stew laguna

Jackie Stewart and his ‘Cowcatcher Winged’ Lola T260 Chev, Laguna Seca 1971 (Pete Biro)

It was always going to be tough to beat the dominant McLaren team, but the combination of World Champion Jackie Stewart and Lola, who had a strong Can-Am track record looked a good combination to give them a run for their money in 1971…

team meeting

JYS convening a team engineering and set-up meeting in the Road America paddock, August 1971. Bob Marston in red shirt, JYS and in the green hat George Woodward (Jim Buell)

Part 1: Lola and the Can-Am Challenge…

john and bruce

John Surtees, Lola T70 Mk2 Chev leads Bruce McLaren’s McLaren M1B Chev at St Jovite, Mont Tremblant, 11 September 1966, they finished in this order. (unattributed)

The Can-Am morphed out of a series of professional level sports car races which had taken place for over a decade, in 1965 this comprised four events, three were won by the Chaparral 2 and one by a Lola T70.

surteees monterey

John Surtees, Lola T70 Mk2 Chev at The Corkscrew, Laguna Seca, 1966 (Dave Friedman Collection)

The first Can-Am series held in 1966 was won by John Surtees in a quasi-works Lola T70; ‘Big John’ won three races, Dan Gurney and Mark Donohue one apiece in Lola T70s, with Phil Hill taking a solitary win aboard a Chaparral 2E.

While Colin Chapman designed the first modern-monocoque single-seater, the Lotus 25, which made its debut at Zandvoort in 1962, it was Eric Broadley who first applied the new construction technique to a sports-racer with his 1963 Lola Mk6 Ford.

lola mk 6

Augie Pabst’s John Mecom owned Lola Mk6 Ford, Road America 500 1964 DNF (unattributed)

Chapman was convinced the backbone chassis which worked so well in his Elan road car would migrate to sports-racing success but the Lotus 30/40 chassis were as floppy as a centenarians todger with results reflecting same; even Jim Clark could not make those cars sing.

So impressed were Ford with Eric’s Mk6 he was famously contracted to lead the design team of its GT40, a car with a steel tub.

monterey vista

Monterey Grand Prix, Laguna Seca, 16 October 1966. Phil Hill won in a Chaparral 2E Chev. Bottom left is Dan Gurney with his Ford powered Lola T70 (Dave Friedman Collection)

surtees

#7 John Surtees Lola T70 Mk2 Chev 12th and #30 Dan Gurney Lola T70 Ford DNF, Laguna Seca, October 1966 (Dave Friedman Collection)

The aluminium tubbed T70 was one of his first designs after his Ford sabbatical, that design process was useful in terms of evolving the car Eric thought Ford should have built in the first place!

In all its variants the T70 remained a competitive tool in both Group 7 (Can-Am) and Group 5 World Sports Car Championship events into the dawn of the 1970s. Teddy Pilette qualified his Team VDS Mk3B 19th at Le Mans in 1971, not bad for an old car with a pushrod OHV V8 against the might of the 5-litre, 12 cylinder Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512!

In endurance racing the T70 was really only held back by a suitable engine, the 12/24 hour longevity or lack thereof of the Chev engines usually chosen to power it. The small block Chev didn’t have the benefit of factory investment in its development in the same way Ford’s Le Mans winning small block Windsor V8 did.

sebring

Roger Penske’s Donohue/Parsons Daytona winning Lola T70 Mk#B Chev at Sebring in 1969. Here DNF driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Mark Donohue (unattributed)

interview

Top Guns interviewed for the TV, Las Vegas 1966: McLaren, Parnelli Jones and Surtees (Dave Friedman Collection)

start

Stardust Grand Prix 13 November 1966, Las Vegas 1966 start. #7 Surtees Lola T70 Mk2 Chev first, #65/66 Phil Hill seventh, Jim Hall DNF both Chaparral 2E Chev, #5 Chris Amon McLaren M1B Chev DNF (Dave Friedman Collection)

surtess 2

Surtees from Jim Hall’s Chap 2E Chev early in the race. Vegas 1966 (Dave Friedman Collection)

gals

Las Vegas 1966 (Dave Friedman Collection)

surtees and hall

Surtees from Jim Hall’s Chaparral 2E Chev, first and DNF. Las Vegas 1966 (Dave Friedman Collection)

surtees 3

Surtees, Lola T70 Mk2 Chev, Las Vegas 1966 (Dave Friedman Collection)

surtees happy

Happy Chappy. Surtees after his race and Can-Am series win, Las Vegas, November 1966 (Dave Friedman Collection)

Things would get tougher for Lola, Chaparral and the rest of the grid for the 1967 Can-Am.

surtees bridge

Surtees Lola T70 Mk3B Chev in the Bridghampton pitlane, September 1967, fourth (Dave Friedman Collection)

Jim Hall made it tough for himself  in ’66/7 by chasing championships in both Europe and the US, Chaparral sought titles in both the World Sportscar Championship and the Can-Am. They were always a threat with their unique blend of factory Chev engines, stunning chassis and aerodynamic innovation and quasi General Motors support.

Click here for an article on his 2F and it’s 1967 endurance campaign; https://primotipo.com/2014/06/26/67-spa-1000km-chaparral-2f/

But Bruce McLaren was the dark horse challenger.

McLaren had been racing in US sportscar events since his Cooper days, he became more serious with the acquisition of Roger Penske’s Cooper/Zerex Special, click here for an article on that car;

https://primotipo.com/2015/03/19/roger-penske-zerex-special/

The Zerex became a test-bed for his own cars, the M1 which he raced in the UK and US until 1966. These light spaceframe cars handled well but the aluminium Oldsmobile V8s deployed – which provided weight and balance advantages – were limited by their power. The blocks maxxed-out at about 4.5-litres so the cars gave away plenty of mumbo to those running 6-litre engines.

McLaren and Chris Amon ran Chevs in their factory M1Bs in 1966 so Bruce had clarity about the bigger engine and its packaging needs, the Kiwi had a clear fix on what was needed to win in the Can-Am. He couldn’t match Jim Hall’s innovation but perhaps he could with a mix of sound design, engineering and good aerodynamics.

In essence this was the design brief McLaren gave to Robin Herd, the 6-litre monocoque McLaren M6 was the result. The M6 started the Bruce and Denny Show with five wins and Bruce deservedly taking the championship.

las vegas

Class of ’67 at Las Vegas, 12 November. Jim Hall’s Chaparral 2G Chev from #4 McLaren’s McLaren M6A Chev, #21 Parnelli Jones’ Lola T70 Ford…all DNF, the race won by Surtees Lola T70 Mk3B (unattributed)

The dominance of the McLaren was a function of several elements. The design and execution of simple well engineered cars. Shaking them down thoroughly in England meant they were race-ready when the short season began. The team comprised three cars and world class drivers every year. They had a US base in Livonia, Detroit and their own engine program, its 6-litre Chevs were built by George Bartz and tuned and assembled in-house under Gary Knutsen’s supervision. Finally the team had adequate sponsorship to do things properly.

The 1968 McLaren M8 was a clean sheet design built from the learnings of the M6; the M8B, M8D and M8F works cars of 1969/70/71 were all evolutions of the M8A with sufficient change to stay ahead of the pack.

The dominance of McLaren was enhanced by ex-works cars passing into the hands of the best privateer drivers at the end of each season and customer cars available to whoever wanted one. Last years works-car became this year’s customer car, such bolides were built by Trojan Industries so the works team didn’t have to worry about pesky customers! By the end of 1968 at least, Lola’s dominance of grid numbers was over.

Such was the challenge Lola, Chaparral, John Surtees, Dan Gurney and the other best team owners faced.

Eric Broadley updated the T70 into the Mk3B for 1967, Surtees and Donohue were third and fourth in the Championship with John taking a win at Las Vegas at the seasons end.

bridge start

Bridghampton September 1967 start; the McLaren M6As of McLaren and Hulme are in front of this group headed by #7 Surtees and #52 Revson both in Lola T70 Mk3B Chevs, #11 Motchenbacher’s T70 Chev, Jim Halls winged Chaparral 2G Chev clear. Hulme won (Dave Friedman Collection)

lola ts

John Surtees much developed Lola T160/TS Chev at Bridghampton, September 1968, DNF having qualified 10th (unattributed)

The T160, Lola’s 1968 car was in essence a development of the T70. Surtees only raced in several rounds of the championship, Sam Posey was the best placed Lola T160 driver, finishing ninth in the drivers championship.

la times 1

Surtees in his modified Lola T160/TS Chev. LA Times GP, Riverside, 27 October 1968. DNF water pump in the race won by McLaren’s M8A Chev (Dave Friedman Collection)

For Surtees it was time to do his own thing, his first customer car was the Surtees TS5 F5000 car for 1969. In the Can-Am he jumped out of the fat and into the flames, Jim Hall’s 1969 Chaparral 2H was not his best car. Surtees got a taste of the M8 McLaren when Hall realised he had built a clunker and bought an M12 customer McLaren for John to drive whilst the team sorted the 2H, Surtees revelled in the car on the few occasions he raced it!

la times 2

Surtees T160 at Riverside from the rear. Top left Surtees in the pits, right Mark Donohue talking with his crew (Dave Friedman Collection)

Commercially for Broadley the appointment of Carl Haas as the Lola importer in 1967 was an astute move and provided the base for both firms success for decades with Haas having the required attributes above to take on the papaya McLarens.

chuck

Chuck Parsons in Carl Haas ‘factory’ Lola T163 Chev at Laguna Seca in 1969. 3rd in the race won by Bruce’s McLaren M8B Chev (T Ferrari)

In 1969 Chuck Parsons proved the Lola T163 was not too bad a car, he finished third in the points chase, while the Chaparral was not a threat, and Porsche first appeared with the 917PA, the Can-Am variant of its dominant in 1970 and 1971, 917 endurance racer.

chap 2 j

Painting depicting Vic Elford’s Chaparral 2J Chev leading Peter Revson’s Lola T220/2 during 1970 (unattributed)

1970 was one of the great years of the Can-Am. The sound, conservative engineering of the McLaren M8D was juxtaposed by Jim Hall’s outrageous Chaparral 2J Chev, one of the most stunning, original, innovative, epic racing cars ever built. The two stroke engines which created the vacuum for its ground effects were its weak link and the cause of too many retirements but the car was stunningly fast while it lasted in Jackie Stewart’s and Vic Elford’s hands.

The Establishment had it banned at the end of the season of course; ‘movable aerodynamic devices were illegal’ but the Can-Am lost its soul and it’s ‘unlimited nature’ in making that decision, Hall told the organisers to go jam it and with it the Can-Am lost its biggest draw if not its most successful team.

revson

Peter Revson destroyed his Lola T220 Chev after a 180mph tyre blowout at Road Atlanta in 1970. He raced a new 10 inch longer wheelbase car, 98 inches, the T222 for the rest of the season. Here at Watkins Glen he was third (Automobile Year)

Haas convinced Broadley to design a new Lola for 1970 and signed Peter Revson, just peaking as a world class driver, to get the best from it.

The gorgeous, swoopy T220 had a very short 88 inch wheelbase which made it difficult to drive, a tyre failure at 180mph at Road Atlanta destroyed it, but fortunately not Revson. It was a blessing in disguise as the replacement T222 had an additional 10 inches added to its wheelbase which made it a much more competitive car.

t220

Revson’s T220 at Road Atlanta and destroyed that weekend. ‘Fence’ an addition from original body spec (Jim Hayes)

Having said that the T220 was fast if unreliable. Revvie qualified it second at Road America, third at Mid Ohio and fourth at Watkins Glen and Mosport, his best finish was second to Hulme at Mid Ohio.

With the longer wheelbase T222 he immediately banged the car on pole at Donnybrooke, finishing third behind the two McLarens and qualified third at both Laguna Seca and the final Riverside round for a third and DNF respectively.

So, by the end of the year the Lola car/driver combination was close to the McLarens, Hulme took the 1970 title with Revson sixth. He was off to McLaren for 1971, all Lola/Haas had to do was build a better car and hire a driver of the required calibre.

Part 2: The Lola T260…

t260 cutaway

Lola T260 Chev cutaway (Tom Strongman)

Having had a taste of the Can-Am in 1970 and earlier years Jackie Stewart was keen to return. TThe professionalism of the Carl Haas team and Lola, a marque familiar to him having raced a T90 successfully at Indy together with Graham Hill in 1966, had appeal. He could fit the series into his 1971 F1 program with Tyrrell, or so he thought. Click here for an article on the Lola T90 and the 1966 Indy 500;

https://primotipo.com/2015/06/12/graham-hills-american-red-ball-spl-lola-t90-ford-indy-winner-1966-2/

Lola’s mount for Stewart was designated the T260 which was designed by Bob Marston with Eric Broadley’s guidance.

Lola Heritage; ‘The chassis was a…Lola full monocoque in L72 and NS4 light alloys bonded and riveted together with the fuel bags in either side of the tub with a total capacity of 60 gallons. The oil tank was contained in the rear of the left-hand fuel section. The rear of the monocoque extended to the back of the engine which was sandwiched between two bulkheads, a bell-housing supported the gearbox and absorbed suspension loads.

Cooling was via two brass-finned Serck radiators mounted behind the driver’s shoulder level and fed by two large NACA ducts on the top of the bodywork, the radiators vented through large louvres in the rear bodywork. Two oil coolers were mounted behind the water radiators and used the same ducts, an additional transmission cooler lay flat over the gearbox.

The bodywork was evolved following extensive tests in the Specialised Mouldings wind tunnel and featured a short, bluff nosecone with gauze-covered holes on the top to equalise pressure. At the base of the nose were two air ducts to feed air to the front discs, at the rear two ram pipes on the top of the rear body section collected the cooling air for the rear discs’.

Pete Lyons described the cars aerodynamic approach ‘The T260…was built to an aerodynamic theory already embodied in a few small-bore sports cars of the day. The intent was a shape that would bullet through the air on the straights and also remain stable as the car’s pitch attitude, ride height and positioning behind other cars changed everywhere else. In particular…a more conventional downforce-producing wedge nose, such as McLaren’s…could abruptly change from downforce to lift under certain conditions…’

t 260 aero

CAD sketch showing the T260 aero treatment. (unattributed)

‘The front suspension on the T260 comprised unequal length wishbones, the upper ones were triangulated to form bell-cranks that operated Bilstein dampers and coil springs which lay almost horizontally across the front of the tub. The unusual spring-medium location freed space for the front brakes to be mounted inboard. Eric Broadley’s intention was to reduce the unsprung weight of the front wheels by moving the brakes inboard from their conventional hub location. This would have permitted the lighter wheel assemblies to ride better over the often bumpy Can-Am circuits. Jackie Stewart was adamantly opposed to inboard brakes after the death of his close friend Jochen Rindt due to the failure of an inboard-brake driveshaft on his GP Lotus 72 at Monza in September 1970. Conventional outboard brake mountings were used on the finalized T260 instead.’

A tangent is the fact that later JYS was comfortable enough with Engineer Derek Gardner’s approach to inboard front brakes, his 1973 Championship winning Tyrrell 005/006 being so equipped.

front

T260, Stewart up, Road America. Shot included to show the unusual location, for the time, of the spring/shocks referred to in the text. Graviner fire extinguished ‘bomb clear in shot. Chassis aluminium full monocoque (Jim Buell)

Rack and pinion steering was ahead of the front suspension.

Lola Heritage; ‘At the rear there was a short top link and a long radius arm attaching to the front engine bulkhead, a lower member extended rearwards to a cross-member bolted to the rear face of the gearbox. The springs and dampers fixed to the lower member and transmitted their load to tubular outriggers on the gearbox bell-housing.

Lola-made centre-lock, peg-drive magnesium wheels were fitted, their diameter 15 inches with 10.5 inch front and 17 inch wide rear Goodyears. The battery was mounted in the nose and a Graviner onboard fire extinguisher was fitted behind the dashboard’.

Two cars were built for Haas, chassis HU1 was Stewart’s race chassis, HU2 was an unused spare  in 1971.

The engine was a 496 cu in (8.1-litres) V8 Chevrolet tuned by George Foltz, it produced circa 700 bhp and 618 lb/ft of torque, Lucas fuel injection was fitted with a Scintilla Vertex magneto and a Hewland LG600 four-speed gearbox transmitted the power.

engine

Aluminium block 8-litre engine of the T260 at Mosport. June 1971 (Jerry Bendl Collection/The Roaring Season)

lola t260

(Werner Buhrer)

gardenr back

Frank Gardner testing the Lola T260 at Silverstone in May, note how far forward the rear wing is in relation to shots taken later in 1971 (LAT)

When completed the car was tested by Lola racer/tester/development engineer Frank Gardner at Silverstone in May, FG was also turning his mind and skills into getting more speed from Lola’s F5000 T190/2; no doubt the F5000 was a kiddy-car compared to its 8-litre big brother!

Stewart drove the car in a rain soaked run at Silverstone prior to the cars shipping to Canada for the season opening Can-Am round at Mosport, Canada.

gardner side

Gardner in T260 HU1 at Silverstone, the shortness of the car and different to anything else in the Can-Am aero-treatment, clear in this shot (unattributed)

stewart sikverstone

Ropey shot of Stewart sheltering from the Silverstone weather during his brief drive of the T260 prior to shipment to North America, June 1971 (Sutton Images)

Other 1971 Can-Am Contenders…

hulme and stewart

Denny Hume and Jackie Stewart at Mid Ohio 1971. Stewart in his T260 office (Ron Laymon)

road mclaren

Denny Hulme, McLaren M8F Chev, Road America, August 1971. DNF engine. Engine 494cid Reynolds aluminium block Chev, circa 740bhp @ 6400rpm (Jim Buell)

In reality the likely outright contenders in 1971 were the factory McLaren M8Fs, Stewart’s T260 and Jackie Oliver’s Shadow Mk2 Chev, designed by Peter Bryant.

road shadow

Jackie Oliver’s Shadow Mk2 Chev, Road America 1971, 12th in the race (Jim Buell)

Jo Siffert’s Porsche 917/10 was gathering valuable data for a serious tilt in 1972. In exceptional circumstances (the wet) it was a contender as were a number of the best privateers in either ex-works or carefully developed M8’s: Lothar Motschenbacher, Vic Elford and Tony Adamowicz the most likely.

road pors

Siffert’s Porsche 917/10, Road America 1971. Spaceframe chassis, 5-litre flat 12 (Jim Buell)

road revvie

Peter Revson, Jackie Oliver in the helmet and front suspension detail of a McLaren M8F in the Road America paddock, August 1971 (Jim Buell)

The detailed specification of the McLaren M8F I wrote about a while back; click on this link to read the short article; https://primotipo.com/2015/03/08/peter-revson-mclaren-m8f-chev-1971/

watkins grid

1971 Mid Ohio rolling grid. #5 Hulme, #7 Revson, #1 Stewart, #2 Jo Siffert,Porsche 917/10, #51 Dave Causey Lola T222 Chev, #54 Tony Adamowicz, McLaren M8B Chev, #88 Hiroshi Kazato, Lola T222 (Ron Laymon)

Part 3: Racing: 1971 Can-Am Round by Round…

mosport 1

Mosport 1971 vibe, looks fantastic! (Jerry Bendl Collection/The Roaring Season)

Round 1: Mosport, Ontario Canada 13 June 1971
Stewart grabbed pole position from the works McLaren M8Fs of Hulme and Revson then led the race from Hulme, an oil leak from the LG600 Hewland ‘box resulted in its seizure on lap 18.

Hulme won from Revson and Lothar Motschenbacher in one the 1970 ex-works McLaren M8Ds.

mosport 2

Pan of Stewart at Mosport shows the cars original aero treatment before ongoing modifications and experiments. Rear wing far forward and nose devoid of appendages (Jerry Bendl Collection/The Roaring Season)

Rounds 2 and 3: St Jovite, Quebec Canada 27 June and Road Atlanta, Georgia, 11 July
Stewart put the T260 on the front row next to pole sitter Hulme’s McLaren M8F at St Jovite. Denny led from the start but Stewart sat in second until lap 52 when Hulme, tiring from a stomach bug, had to slow due to exhaustion. Stewart won from Denny and Peter.

st jovite

Stewart a race winner at St Jovite, here beside Hulme with Revson just behind (Lola Heritage)

Stewart recalled in an interview with Gordon Kirby, ‘St Jovite was a good win because with that car, that track was hard work! The other race where we did quite well was at Road Atlanta. We led the race then had a puncture and a whole series of other problems but still turned the fastest lap of the race, quicker than Hulme’s pole time’.  Revson won from Hulme and Motschenbacher.

road atlanta

Stewart had great pace at Road Atlanta, wonderful high speed shot of the short, squat, original T260 (unattributed)

watkins glen

Stewart ahead of Revson, Mario Cabral Porsche 917K and Hulme in the distance, Watkins Glen, 1971 (unattributed)

Round 4: Watkins Glen, New York, 25 July
The T260’s speed was not in doubt, it was back on pole again with Hulme and Revson right behind. Stewart got the drop putting the T260 into the lead from Revson, the Lola and McLaren diced until Stewart pitted with another puncture, losing a lap while the wheel was changed.

Stewart returned to the race and began to fly, setting the fastest lap but on the 56th lap he retired the car after detecting vibrations which proved to be a failing transmission. Revson won from Hulme and Siffert’s factory Porsche 917/10.

stew watkins

JYS at Watkins Glen, site of the US GP in upstate New York, it was a circuit he knew well (LAT)

jackie

Stewart loaded up and all ready to go in the Mid Ohio pitlane (Terry Capps)

Round 5: Mid Ohio, 22 August
Stewart, famously a successful campaigner for better circuit safety, was unhappy with the track; its surface was excessively bumpy and the presence of trees and telegraph poles surrounding the course meant mistakes would be punished severely.

Much overnight work was carried out to remove some of the trees and poles, and add straw bales where possible, but after looking at the result Stewart declared he would ‘run but he wouldn’t race’. Stewart’s position could be appreciated after the bumpy track caused three rear suspension failures to the T260 during qualifying.

front f

Bucolic Mid Ohio paddock. Team busy this meeting, several suspension failures over the bumpy circuit. Standard-aero at this point (Terry Capps)

Stewart qualified third and was second behind Revson at the end of lap one but the McLaren drew away as Stewart drove well within himself. On lap 72 Revson’s driveshaft universal joint failed (the same problem sidelined Hulme) and Stewart took the lead and race win from Siffert’s Porsche and Tony Adamowicz’ 1969 ex-works McLaren M8B Chev.

back

Mid Ohio paddock, this time a butt shot. Neat brackets to support beefy exhausts and lights, black ducts are cooling for inboard discs located beside the Hewland ‘box. Note also ducts/louvres on the rear of the bodywork to exhaust hot air (Terry Capps)

From this point on, the continual development of the McLarens told while the Lola effort didn’t improve enough. McLaren were a well drilled team and both drivers were  experienced campaigners with whatever changes needing to be made could be done quickly in their Detroit workshop or back at Colnbrook.

While the T260 was effectively a works effort run by the marques US importer, Lola were at their core a manufacturer of customer racing cars with many customers, not a race team with only one focus.

stew m10b

Included in JYS program for 1971 was the Questor Grand Prix at Ontario Speedway in March. He was second in his Tyrrell to Mario Andretti’s Ferrari 312B…but here Jackie is putting in a few laps in AJ Foyt’s McLaren M10B Chev in his only F5000 drive?? (Getty Images)

Jackie Stewart on driving the T260 and stresses of two major campaigns, F1 with Tyrrell and the Can-Am Lola in 1971…

Stewart related to Gordon Kirby and Adam Cooper in separate MotorSport magazine interview’s; ‘There were no wind tunnels in those days and Eric (Broadley) would suddenly arrive and under his arm was a new front wing. There was one we called ‘the cowcatcher’. It was hung out front of the car and what it was doing I just don’t know’

‘The car was very short wheelbase and very difficult to drive. In comparison to the McLarens, (Stewart was approached to drive for them in 1972 and actually signed to do so but withdrew when the extent of his health problems were clear) the car was just a monster to drive and we were just trying to keep up’.

‘I tested the McLaren and it was just like a passenger car compared to the incredibly nervous, pointy, short wheelbase Lola where you were a millisecond from an accident all the time.’

Stewart said the Lola T260 was the most physically demanding car he raced in his career ‘On the very fast circuits like Riverside it was awfully tricky because you never knew where you were going’. In order to make up for its shortcomings ‘I sweated more. It was just a difficult car to drive. There are some cars which are easy to drive and others not and that was one of the ones that was not’.

In a contest for the worst car he ever drove; ‘The Lola T260 Can-Am car would probably make that one…the H16 BRM runs it a close second’.

The main problem was dire understeer in addition to ultimate twitchiness at speed. The Lola’s blunt nose was dotted with mesh covered holes through which the underbody air could pass. In theory this helped provide some downforce. In its initial guise the shape of the front didn’t seem to have any obvious way of providing grip. Broadley deliberately opted not to have a fashionable chisel nose. But the lack of downforce at the front was borne out by the position of the giant rear , which was usually far forward, just behind the injection trumpets  in an attempt to achieve some sort of balance.

A combination of racing around the world in two series and lots of promotional work gave Stewart mononucleosis. ‘I was flying back and forth from Europe to do F1, I won the world championship that year and two Can-Am races, but I also got mononucleosis (glandular fever), a really debilitating disease that took your energy away. You couldn’t sleep and yet you were overly tired. So it was a tough year, a really exhausting year’.

stew montjuic

Stewart racing his Tyrrell 001 Ford to victory in the Spanish GP, Montjuic Park, Barcelona on 18 April. He took six wins in 1971 and his second drivers title (unattributed)

It’s interesting to reflect on Jackie’s comments on the differences between the two cars. In fact both the T260, which retained the same wheelbase as the T222, and the M8F had 98 inch wheelbases.

The front/rear track of the Lola was 58 inches, of the M8F 60/57.75 inches, while the overall length of the Lola was 139 inches compared with the much longer M8F’s 167 inches. The aero treatment was radically different of course, a lack of downforce something the team chased progressively throughout the season.

road america

Stewart in the T260 at Road America and trying a different aero configuration comprising; a new profile ‘clip’ on the lower nose at the cars front and McLarenesque wing and integrated mounts, wing now much further back than the original (Jim Buell)

Round 6: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, 29 August
Stewart was third fastest in qualifying but his engine, also used at Mid-Ohio, was tired.

A new Chev was fitted for the race but high temperatures during warm-up were hoped to be vapour lock in the cooling system.

road am 1

Stewart ready to rock at Road America and a close-up of the configuration pictured above (Jim Buell)

Stewart ran second early on but after 10 laps the engine was smoking so Jackie parked it. Later examination showed a dropped cylinder liner was responsible for the high engine temperatures.

Revson won from Siffert and Vic Elford’s McLaren M8E Chev.

stew road am

Stewart T260 Road America, note that in this shot he is running the original nose and rear wing setup (Carl Knopp)

Round 7: Donnybrooke, Minnesota
The T260 had revised rear suspension but the McLarens were continually being developed as well, Stewart’s third fastest time was two seconds adrift of the factory M8Fs.

Stewart got away well and led for two laps until Revson found a way past, Hulme was unable to pass Jackie as the McLaren was losing grip in the Lola’s slipstream. The positions remained until lap 22 when Stewart felt something amiss and pitted, nothing could be found, he resumed in 10th a lap and a half down.

The Scot raced the T260 back to fourth but another puncture saw Stewart back in the pits, the T260 finished sixth, two laps down. Revson again won from Hulme and Gregg Young’s McLaren M8D/E Chev in third.

edmonton

Stewart about to load up on the wet Edmonton grid, September 1971. #11 is Motchenbacher’s McLaren M8D . See another variation of the T260 nose, the front ‘clip on’ less bluff than the original and more ‘scooped’. Rear wing mounted back (Jerry Bendl Collection/The Roaring Season)

Round 8: Edmonton, Alberta Canada, 26 September
The T260 featured a revised nose shape designed to give more downforce while the rear wing was moved back to balance the new nose.

Stewart qualified third again and had a great start on the wet track and led. The T260 was handling well in the rain, the Scot extended his lead over Jackie Oliver’s Shadow and Hulme’s McLaren. Stewart was still leading at half distance but a trip onto the grass when lapping Motschenbacher’s M8D lost the Lola’s handling balance.

Gradually Hulme closed the gap and he suddenly found himself in the lead with 13 laps remaining, the deteriorating handling caught Stewart out and he spun. The T260 resumed in second but with it’s competitiveness lost Stewart settled for a safe second. Jackie Oliver finally got the Shadow Mk2 into the points in third place.

cow catcher

Stewart runs the cow-catcher set up at Laguna Seca, in search of downforce or what! Far forward wing and much larger rear wing to balance things up (Tony Ferrari)

Round 9: Laguna Seca, California, 17 October
At Laguna Seca the T260 had lost its high downforce nose from Edmonton and now featured a huge, front cow-catcher wing projecting out in front of the nosecone.

Stewart managed fourth on the grid behind the McLarens and David Hobbs in the Ti22 Chev.

Stewart soon passed Hobbs – David raced the Carl Haas factory Lola T310 in 1972 – and after 10 laps passed Hulme who had some broken valve springs.

Revson seemed secure 25 seconds ahead of Stewart but a collision with a backmarker required a pit stop to secure a loose door. Stewart was now nine seconds behind. Revson started to pull away again but with 20 laps to go Revvies engine lost power, he nursed it over the remaining laps but with two to go the M8F was puffing blue smoke.

He drove the last two laps cautiously to win and but Stewart took the chequered flag as Revson had been shown a black flag, Revson claimed he hadn’t seen it.

The Carl Haas team protested Revson, the results were pending for some hours, but eventually Revson got the win but received a $250 fine. Hulme was third.

corkscrew

Stewart ahead of David Hobbs Ti22 Chev, Jackie Oliver Shadow Mk2 Chev, another unidentified car with Jo Siffert Porsche 917/10 at rear. Corkscrew, Laguna (Hal Amarantes)

riverside

riverside 2

Stewart at Riverside, again with the cow-catcher aero setup. Side on profile shot gives an idea of just how far forward the front wing was and how big the rear one was! Lola T260 Chev (MP Hewitt)

Round 10: Riverside, California, 31 October
The series’ final round was at Riverside on October 30, only 3 1/2 short months since its commencement in mid-June.

Stewart again qualified third, the T260 now had bigger sideplates on its rear wing.

Hulme took the lead at the start but Stewart got up to second as Revson, looking for points to clinch the Championship, didn’t make it difficult. Unable to challenge Hulme, Stewart was running happily in second until a piston failed in the big aluminium Chevy on lap 27.

Hulme won from Revson and Howden Ganley in the BRM P167 Chev.

The end of the 1971 Can-Am Championship resulted in Peter Revson as champion with five wins to Hulme’s three, Stewart finished an honourable third to the two McLarens…

As Lola Heritage puts it ‘He had been their only consistent competitor over the ten rounds and there was a certain ‘what may have been’ feeling over the whole series, if only reliability had been better and punctures had been less’.

In addition to that it’s a shame the car hadn’t been finished earlier and tested extensively at Goodwood and Silverstone prior to crossing the Atlantic, but it wasn’t and the dominant McLaren’s reaped the rewards.

t310 front

David Hobbs in the Watkins Glen pits 1972, Lola T310 Chev (unattributed)

For 1972 Lola again contested the championship with a new car, the T310, McLaren built a new car, the M20 Chev to take on the pride of Stuttgart, but the mighty turbo-charged Porsche 917/10 was battle ready in the hands of the Penske Team and Mark Donohue in a way the 1971 Lola/Carl Haas/Stewart combination were not…

t 310 watkins

David Hobbs Lola T310 Chev fourth ahead of Jackie Oliver’s Shadow Mk3 Chev DNF and the dominant Porsche 917/10 turbo of George Follmer fourth. Hulme won this round in an M20 McLaren. Watkins Glen 1972 (unattributed)

Etcetera…

dimensions

Bibliography…

Lola Heritage, MotorSport October 2000 article by Adam Cooper and December 2013 article by Gordon Kirby, Automobile Year 19, ‘Can-Am’ Pete Lyons

Photo Credits…

Lola Heritage, Ron Laymon, Getty Images, LAT, Jerry Bendl Collection/The Roaring Season, Automobile Year, Jim Hayes, Tom Strongman cutaway drawing, Carl Knopp, Jim Buell, Terry Capps, Hal Amarantes, Tony Ferrari, MP Hewitt

Tailpiece…

Turn in Biiitch!

bitch

Stewart Lola T260, Road America 1971 (Jim Buell)

Finito…

image

Bonnier/Abate Porsche 718GTR in the Sicilian Hills. (Yves Debraine)

Jo Bonnier victorious in the Porsche 718GTR together with Carlo Abate…

The 718 Porsche was a development of the earlier, successful 550A/RS61, the GTR coupe the ultimate expression of the 718 was developed for the 1961 Le Mans classic. It was fitted with either the earlier 1.5 litre 4 cylinder or as here, a 2 litre variant of Porsches’ flat 8, quad cam F1 engine developing around 210bhp all of which hit the road through a 5 speed gearbox. Disc brakes were used, torsion bar suspension, the car very light at circa 570Kg.

The 904 followed the 718 as Porsches’ next racer hence the family resemblance…

Very successful, 718 variants won Targa in 1959/60/63 and the Sebring 12 Hour enduro in 1960.

The Bandini/Scarfiotti/Mairesse Ferrari Dino 196SP looked a certain winner until Willy lost the car on the last lap, he recovered but fell short of victory by 12 seconds.

It wasn’t Willy Mairesse’ race, he had started in a 250P 3 litre 12 cylinder Ferrari co-driven by Ludovico Scarfiotti and managed to hit a bump which flattened a fuel line, ultimately putting the car out of the race.

John Surtees then blotted his copybook, chucking the leading 250P co driven by Mike Parkes into the bushes leaving Lorenzo Bandini to uphold Ferrari honours with the 2 litre V6 Dino.

image

Scarfiotti/Bandini/Mairesse Ferrari Dino 196SP. Nowhere quite surpasses the rugged majesty of this place? (Yves Debraine)

Scarfiotti was enlisted to assist in the Dino to uphold Maranellos’ honour, the Bonnier Porsche very competitive in the cool, experienced and fast hands of the Swede.

Abate wasn’t as quick as Bonnier, slowly the Ferrari gained the lead, Ferrari team-manager Eugenio Dragoni putting Mairesse into the car as a fresh driver for the last two laps. A fresh driver but perhaps not the most ‘calm’!

The Sicilian weather deteriorated, rain began to fall and poor Mairesse goofed under brakes as he approached the finishing straight and off the road he went. He gathered up the car, dragging the engine cover along the ground as Bonnier looked on, the Ferrari just falling short of Bonniers time by 12 seconds…

image

The Ferrari boys watch their clocks! Bonnier has finished, it’s all down to Willy Mairesse as the weather deteriorates. Bandini in the pale blazer beside the ‘Wallopers’ and Scarfiotti to the left of Lorenzo. (Bernard Cahier)

 

image

Mairesse finishes the race dragging the engine cover of his Ferrari behind …(Bernard Cahier)

 

196 sp cutaway

Ferrari Dino 196SP: multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, 690Kg, 1983cc 60 degree V6, SOHC per bank, 3 Weber carbs. 210bhp @ 7500rpm, 5 speed transaxle. (Unattributed)

 

targa 'motor racing' mag

‘Ludovico Scarfiotti shakes the quiet Sicilian village of Campofelice in his 3 litre Ferrari 250P’, the first of 2 Ferraris’ crashed by Willy Mairesse, this one on on lap 4… (Stephen Dalton Collection)

Bibliography…

Automobile Year 11, Yves Debraine, Bernard Cahier, Stephen Dalton Collection