Posts Tagged ‘Lola T330 Chev’

Sandown main straight, November 1974, Matich A51 Repco-Holden (autopics.com)

‘Who the bloody hell is Lella Lombardi?’ I thought.

The Sandown and Oran Park promoters were bringing an ‘unknown chick’ to contest back to back Gold Star rounds at Sandown Park and Oran Park- the Australian Grand Prix that year, in November 1974.

The series needed some fizz too.

The season looked good on paper at it’s outset, but Warwick Brown nicked off to the States to race after the first round, then John Walker and Graeme Lawrence boofed their Lolas at Surfers Paradise, whilst John Goss didn’t seem to have the dollars to run his ‘spankers’ ex-Frank Matich, A53 Repco. All of a sudden the grids looked decidedly skinny.

I thought i knew what was going on in Europe too.

You couldn’t buy Autosport in yer suburban newsagent in Oz back then, still can’t. So, once a month after school on a Friday i jumped on a tram and headed into Melbourne’s emporium of fine publications, ‘Tech Books’ in Swanson Street to buy a copy.

Lella did not jumped off the pages, nor should she as her European F5000 Championship performances aboard a Lola T330 Chev were average to good rather than the ‘next greatest thing’ since sliced bread. Her machine, T330 ‘HU18’ is now Peter Brennan’s car which has been well ventilated on these pages; https://primotipo.com/2014/06/24/lellas-lola-restoration-of-the-ex-lella-lombardi-lola-t330-chev-hu18-episode-1/

Oulton Park 12 April 1974. Brian Redman, Lola T332 Chev (winner) with the two VDS Chevron B28s on row 2- Pilette #1 and Gethin #8. Yellow car is Ian Ashley, Lola T330 Chev, the blue Lola alongside him is David Hobbs T330 with Mike Wilds, red with yellow striped March 74A Chev- Lella’s yellow Lola is at far right. Redman won from Hobbs and Ashley (S Jones)

 

Lombardi during 1974- top shot, where folks? Lola T330 Chev (unattributed)

 

Lombardi at Brands during one of the 1974 Euro rounds held there (unattributed)

 

Five foot two inches of Lella, in the Australian colloquially uncouth circles in which I mix, is a ‘Pocket Rocket’. She fits rather easily into the Matich A51 designed to keep just under 6 foot of Frank Matich comfy. Love to know what she thought of the A51 Repco-Holden compared to her T330 Chev- both 1973 model 5000’s, here at Oran Park

So it was with a great deal of interest i watched her at Sandown.

What struck me was how small she was, strong too. Those 500bhp roller skates are not for the faint hearted or weak. She was very self-contained, focused on the job at hand, not the attention of thousands of males wanting to check her out. She was here to do a job, her mind was concentrating on just that- new country, unfamiliar langauge, new car, no testing, new circuit- a lot to process quickly.

Alf Costanzo was on hand to interpret, it was a wise choice of a racer to interpret set-up communication, whilst noting, with an affectionate smile on my face, that Alfie’s English after only fifty years in Australia still requires concentration on the part of the listener!

Frank Matich was in attendance to lead the crew looking after Matich A51 chassis ‘5’, one of the two cars FM used in the 1973 L&M F5000 Championship stateside. FM retired after the 1974 Tasman Cup, by that time Kevin Loy owned the car but a lease deal was done- this machine was the same chassis Gossy used to win the AGP at Sandown in 1976.

On circuit she was quick, right into it despite not being familiar with the car. Beautifully timed changes up and down, on the throttle nice and early and ‘Matich precise’ with not a lot of attitude on the car rather than ‘Bartlett sideways’.

Lella was race fit big time. She had come off the back of the eighteen round Euro championship, many of which had heats, as well as a final, plus a couple of races in the US so she had raced the big cars over thirty times between mid-March and late October in addition to test sessions and practice.

In the Brands pitlane during the Race of Champions weekend, March 1974, NC. Nose of Gethin’s Chevron B28 behind. Jacky Ickx Lotus 72E Ford won the F1/5000 race, Ian Ashley’s Lola T330 the first 5 litre car home (P Diegoli)

 

Lella, Sandown Park, punching out of Dandy Road (B Keys)

 

Lombardi during the 1973 Monaco GP weekend, Brabham BT41 Ford-Novamotor (R Pagliacci)

 

Lombardi from Sam Posey at Riverside in October 1974- Lola T332 Chev and Talon MR1 Chev (M Hewitt)

Fresh out of 1.6 litre F3- again with average results, she started the European Championship with back third of the field qualifying and mid-field finishes, and ended it with front third of the field qualifying efforts and top five finishes.

That year the series had depth too- the likes of Redman and Hobbs were there early on, before heading to the US with regulars Peter Gethin, Teddy Pilette, Guy Edwards, Bob Evans and Ian Ashley doing the championship in full.

In Europe with grids of around twenty cars, her best qualifying performances were fourth, fourth and fifth in the final three rounds at Snetterton, Mallory Park and Brands Hatch, whilst Lella’s best finishes were fourths- at Brands, Monza, Oulton Park and Mallory Park.

Between the 26 August Brands, and 8 September Oulton Park Euro rounds Lombardi contested two SCCA/USAC F5000 Championship meetings in the US- the California Grand Prix at Ontario on 1 September and the season ending Riverside Grand Prix on 27 October.

At Ontario she qualified an Eagle 74A Chev fourteenth, then finished a good fifth in her heat and retired from the final but was classified fourteenth- Brian Redman won in a Lola T332 Chev. At Riverside, Lella ran the Lola T332 Hunt had raced at Ontario, she was a poor Q21 and finished eighth in her heat. Mario Andretti won the race in another T332, with Lombardi ninth.

In front of Lella that weekend were Andretti, Redman, Warwick Brown, Al Unser, Graham McRae, Brett Lunger, John Morton and David Hobbs, all experienced hands and in the case of Andretti and Redman arguably two of the decade’s Top 20 Racing Drivers regardless of class.

What comes through strongly looking at her European Championship results is progressive improvement and speed and a great finishing record throughout the season. A reasonable conclusion is that the car was well prepared, that she had mechanical sympathy, was easy on cars which were and are notoriously fragile.

Lets not forget the jump straight from 160bhp F3 to 500bhp F5000, not necessarily an easy transition.

Lets go back to Australia. At Sandown Lombardi started from the second row of the Victoria Trophy nine car grid. She had second place ‘in the bag’ of the 32 lap race behind Max Stewart’s Lola T330 Chev until the car started to splutter for want of fuel on the last lap letting Kevin Bartlett’s T332 Chev back into second- she shared fastest lap of the race with Stewart.

It was a great start to the tour. The promoters worked things pretty hard, there were good crowds at both races with large chunks of Australia’s Italian population turning out to support their intrepid female racer.

Lella and Australian ace Test fast bowler Dennis Lilley at the Sydney Cricket Ground, 12 November 1974. And below. Quite what this has to do with the AGP i’m ferked if i know- any column inches are good ones i guess, to get bums on seats

 

 

Lella, Oran Park

At Oran Park in a race of misfortune up front, Warwick Brown ran away with the race from the front row and looked a winner until his crankshaft harmonic balancer failed taking with it an oil pump belt and a fuel line.

Lombardi’s Matich was out the lap before with a seized oil pump whilst running third. Bartlett led until he too had dramas, his engine was starved of fuel when a one way valve in the fuel line restricted the flow of fuel on right hand corners- allowing lucky Max Stewart to take the AGP despite a rear anti-roll bar mount breaking very early in the race, slowing him. Lella was quick again too- clutch problems limited her practice on the short, tight circuit, but she still did second quickest lap of the race behind Brown.

It would have been magic had Lombardi contested the 1975 Tasman Cup where she would have been up the pointy end but there were bigger fish to fry in 1975- F1.

A pair of Matiches- Lella’s A51 from Jon Davison’s lapped A50- Davo was fourth behind Stewart, McCormack and Lawrence. AGP 1974

 

Lella wheels the A51 thru BP and onto the main straight- big crowd there on the day. Oran Park AGP 1974 (R Garth)

 

Shidday or the Italian equivalent are the words of Lombardi and Kevin Bartlett at right- and lucky Maxxie at left. Still, to finish first, first yer have to finish. Stewart is 6′ 2″ and Lella 5′ 2″- it says a lot about a Lola’s capacity to absorb drivers of all shapes and sizes! AGP Oran Park (Fairfax)

The ‘Tigress of Turin’, Maria Grazia Lombardi was born in a small town of about 2,000 people, Frugarolo, Piedmont on 26 March 1941- 80 km south-east of Turin. Hey, it was a great ‘handle’ by one journalist, which stuck even though she did not live that close to Turin.

Lella was the last born of four daughters, her father was a butcher/meat trader who operated between Frugarolo and the Ligurian Riviera. Her early competition years are a bit hazy, it’s variously said she started in Karts or local touring car races and rallies in the mid-sixties, with her savings bolstered by contributions from her partner Fiorenza, her sister and brother in law.

She bought a C.R.M. Formula Monza 875 during 1965, with money tight, the machine was paid for by instalments.

The new 500cc C.R.M. arrived on a truck only an hour before her first race, Lella’s team comprised the local blacksmith who ‘knew a bit about engines’ and Pino, a childhood friend. By May 1965 she had some support from Sandro Moroni’s automotive business in Lodi. Lombardi contested the first F Monza ‘Trofeo Cadetti’ in the C.R.M. at Monza that May, the machine was entered by Scuderia Moroni, she was unplaced in the big field.

Lombardi did not have the overt support of her father, but when she was not around he proudly spoke of his racer daughter and accomplishments reported in the local papers.

In 1967 after scrimping and saving Lella entered four rounds of the Italian F3 Championship aboard a Branca Ford for three DNQ’s and an eighteenth at San Piero a Sieve in June, part of the old Mugello road course.

The Branca F3 was a ‘Brabham knock-off’ built by Aquilino Branca in a Buscate workshop on the outskirts of Milan. There was nothing wrong with them either, Grand Prix winner GIancarlo Baghetti drove one to victory in the 4 June Monza Lottery race which Lella, Dave Walker, Allan Rollinson and Wal Donnelly failed to qualify for.

She did some Formula 850 events that year in a Biraghi, including the occasional hillclimb. In 1968 Lella raced in one Italian F3 round at Monza in April, but in essence she needed to step backwards to advance,

In 1970 she raced a Biraghi Fiat, Formula 850 winning four races and taking the well contested championship overall. Lella also raced an Alfa Romeo GTA in May in the Coppa Piemonte at Monza, a relationship with a marque she would renew several years later. She won two further F850 races at Monza and Vallelunga early in 1971 which allowed her to put together a good F3 program for 1972.

The Lotus 69 Ford-Novamotor was one of the great F3 cars of 1970-1971, it was perhaps a tad over the hill in 1972 but still not a bad thing to have, the machine was run under the Scuderia Jolly Club banner. Her program comprised twelve Italian F3 meetings and the Monaco F3 GP. Lella’s best results at home were a pair of fifths at Imola and Varano in July and August, the Brabham BT35 was the winningest car in Italy that year. Lombardi’s later teammate at March, Vittorio Brambilla  won the title using a mix of Birel 71, a Brabham BT35 and BT38, Lella was tenth.

At Monaco the winner was Patrick Depailler’s Alpine A364 Renault, the long list of non-qualifiers included Lella, James Hunt, Alan Jones, Tony Brise, Vittorio Brambilla and Tom Pryce.

Only Barrie Maskell in England and Claudio Francisci in Italy achieved more with a Lotus 69 in 1972- Lella did well with the tool at her disposal.

Demonstrating versatility, Lella’s Alfa Romeo interlude that year was the Monza 4 Hour where she and fellow F3 pilot Carlo Giorgio raced a GTAm to twelfth place. Another opportunity to broaden her experience and compete in a powerful car was at Interlagos that September- she was eleventh in an Abarth 3000.

Lombardi appropriately stayed in F3 in 1973 with a campaign of nine meetings at home, and four in England later in the year, her weapon of choice was a new Brabham BT41 Ford-Novamotor. It was a car which did plenty of winning that year in Italy at least, three of the top five cars in the Italian F3 Championship were BT41s- Carlo Giorgio won in a March 733 Ford.

Lella’s best result was a win in her heat and fourth in the final at the season ending Vallelunga meeting in November and a pair of of fifths at Alessandria and Varano early in the season. Lella finished eighth overall- that is not really indicative as she missed several rounds. Still had the odd DNQ too- Italian F3 then typically had entries of over thirty cars.

Monaco met with more success too- she was ninth in her heat and twelfth in the final won by Jacques Laffitte’s Martini Mk12 Ford. DNQ’ers of note that year included later F1 drivers Tony Brise, Brian Henton, Alan Jones, Larry Perkins and Bob Evans- that was and is such a tough event!

Lombardi in a Branca Ford F3 at San Piero a Sieve, 20km north of Florence on 11 June 1967 (N Ricci)

 

Lella during the 1967 Coppa CPF Cavagna- Sarezzo-Lumezzane hillclimb, Brescia on 17 September 1967- Biraghi Formula 850. FTD that day went to later Ferrari driver and Team Manager Peter Schetty’s Abarth 2000 Prototipo from Nanni Galli’s Alfa Romeo 33 Fleron (A Vimercati)

 

Lombardi with her Biraghi Fiat, Formula 850 during 1970 (Getty)

 

Lella at Monaco in 1972- Lotus 69 Ford-Novamotor- missed the cut that year (unattributed)

At this stage John Webb, Britain’s most successful race circuit owner and promoter spotted Lombardi and saw her potential as a drawcard.

‘She performed exceptionally well (at Monaco). ‘We’d just started the Shellsport Celebrity Series (for Ford Escort Mexicos) and my wife Angela invited her to compete at Brands Hatch in July. She won from the third row, beating Jacques Laffitte and Mike Wilds and we became friendly and kept in touch’ Webb said when interviewed by MotorSport.

Whilst Lella shone in the Escort her four British F3 events in July, September and October were unimpressive- a DNQ, DNF and twelfth at Brands and a thirteenth at Oulton Park was the yield. The BT41 was competitive in Italy, it was not so in the UK, no BT41 figured in the Top Ten of the BRSCC John Player British F3 Championship with Russell Wood the only driver in the Top Ten of the BRSCC Lombard North Central F3 Championship, to put Lella’s BT41 British performances into perspective.

Looked at objectively Lombardi had not done enough to jump clear of F3, but, after a decade of toiling away, doing the hard yards and paying her dues she was about to get her big chance.

Back to John Webb, ‘Jackie Epstein was running a Formula 5000 team out of Brands (he ran Vern Schuppan and Alan Jones in Lola T332 Chevs in the Australian Rothmans Series a couple of years later) and we pursuaded him to give Lella a try that winter. She impressed him not only with her driving but also by her mechanical knowledge and feel. Towards the end of the test she pitted because she correctly thought the car had developed a puncture; not severe but enough to make a difference.’

And so it was that Lombardi raced a Shellsport Lola alongside Ian Ashley in 1974 finishing fifth in the championship behind Bob Evans, Lola T332 Chev, Peter Gethin, Chevron B28 Chev, Ian Ashley, Lola T332 Chev and Teddy Pilette in the other VDS Chevron B28. This was no mean feat as all of the guys in front of her had extensive F5000 experience with Gethin a Grand Prix winner- all became GP drivers.

Lella also had a serious crack at qualifying for the 1974 British GP aboard a Brabham BT42 Ford run by Hexagon Racing. By Thursday’s end she was within 1.1 seconds of John Watson’s sister car but had a broken driveshaft later in the day preventing a final crack at the grid. The pint sized Italian lapped as quickly as Tom Belso, who had raced her Lola T330 for Epstein in 1973, Vern Schuppan, John Nicholson, Howden Ganley, Mike Wilds and Leo Kinnunen.

Other one-off endurance drives that year were in a Lola T282 Ford DFV for third in the Casale Interserie round in September and the Brands Hatch 1000 Km with Pino Pica, DNF.

Lombardi at Brands Hatch during the 1974 British GP weekend, Brabham BT42 Ford. DNQ race won by Sceckter’s Tyrrell 007 Ford  (MotorSport)

 

Anderstorp 1975 March 751 Ford. DNF fuel system after 10 laps from Q24. Lauda won in a Ferrari 312T (unattributed)

 

Race of Champions, Brands Hatch, March 1975, March 751 Ford. DNF from Q11. Tom Pryce won in a Shadow DN5A Ford

 

Lella and March Director/Partner Max Mosley who was also her Race Engineer

Lombardi had done enough to break into F1, plenty have ascended having achieved far less, this she did with March in 1975 thanks to the financial support of Italy’s Count ‘Gughi’ Zanon di Valgiurata.

Lella famously became the only woman to score a championship point so far when she gained a half point from the flagged off ’75 Spanish GP at Montjuic Parc after the accident which befell Rolf Stommelen’s Hill GH1 Ford.

Somewhat well known now, Lombardi did not get the best opportunity with March due to a problem with the car diagnosed by Lella but which was failed to be acted upon by the team.

After a crash during practice in Monaco, and the car was repaired, Lombardi complained consistently of a problem with her car, (751-2) which understeered badly into corners, then its rear end would suddenly ‘fall over’ into a big oversteer when the power was applied.

March’s Robin Herd, ‘He (Max Moseley), a much better engineer than some people might think, asked me if he could borrow Vittorio (Brambilla) for a few laps. Vit would come back and say, ‘Yeah, yeah, car’s perfect’. But i don’t think he ever did a flying lap in that car. I totally trusted him. On reflection, however, he was probably looking after himself.’ When Ronnie Peterson described the same handling characteristic in 1976 Lella was vindicated. We gave Ronnie a new chassis for Monaco after his misundersanding with Carlos Reutemann in Belgium’ said Herd. ‘He did a few laps and said, ‘It’s neutral, It’s perfect. The damaged monocoque was still in the workshop so we took it apart- and discovered a crack in its cast-magnesium rear bulkhead. Poor Lella, she’d had bad traction all along. I feel sorry for her and wonder about it even now’ Herd concluded.

No one is suggesting Lombardi would have gone as quick as Peterson but for sure her results would have been better than they were. She had eleven championship starts with March in 1975 for one DNQ, four DNFs due to mechanical failure, a collision at Monza, with her best results the point-winning sixth at Montuic and seventh, and on the same lap as the winner, at the Nurburgring, the first time she had raced there.

Vittorio Brambilla showed just how fast a good 741/751 was, he rarely qualified outside the top ten, won at the Osterreichring and had even more DNFs than Lella so even someone as biased as i am in the pint sized powerhouse failure cannot say her March was not as well (or poorly) prepared as Vittorio’s…Whilst noting that cracked rear bulkhead which cost her dearly, in noting that i am not saying she would have been as quick as her countryman, but for sure she would have been faster than she was.

In a very full season Lombardi was also engaged by Alpine Renault to race a 2 litre Alpine Renault A441 which was shared with French racer, and regular visitor to Australia, Marie-Claude Beaumont. The pair contested six events with best placings fourth in the Monza 1000 km and sixth in the Mugello 1000 km. At Le Mans they failed to finish.

Lella aboard the Alpine A441 Renault 2 litre V6 at Le Mans in 1975, shared with Marie-Claude Beaumont- DNF after only 20 laps with fuel feed problems. Race won by the Bell/Ickx Gulf GR8 Ford DFV (unattributed)

 

Lombardi, Brazilian GP practice 1976, March 761 Ford- fourteenth in the race won by Lauda’s Ferrari 312T (unattributed)

 

Lombardi/Dacremont Lancia Stratos Turbo, Le Mans 1976. Twentieth and second GTP. Race won by the Ickx/Van Lennep Porsche 936 (unattributed)

 

Austrian GP 1976, Lella the Brabham BT44B Ford- twelfth from Q24 race won by John Watson’s Penske PC4 Ford (unattributed)

Peterson’s departure from Lotus at short notice was the end of Zanon’s support- Count Gughi was a huge Peterson fan and supported his return to March whilst ‘smoothing Lellas’ departure MotorSport wrote. Lombardi’s final race for March was the 1976 Brazilian GP- Q22 and fourteenth.

She had three unsuccessful Grands Prix in a RAM Racing Brabham BT44B for two DNQs and twefth at the Osterreichring, that really was a waste of time for a team which never did much outside British national events.

Lella had a full season of endurance events aboard a factory Osella PA4 BMW and Porsche 934. Her best placings were fifth places at Silverstone and the Nurburgring Interserie. Lella and Christine Dacremont were twentieth at Le Mans in 1976 aboard a Lancia Stratos Turbo.

In 1977 she raced an Inaltera Ford DFV (née Rondeau) in the two 24 hour events at Daytona and Le Mans for a DNF and eleventh. She also raced an Osella PA5 BMW to third at Imola, a Porsche Carrera and Lola T282 Ford.

In a low key year for Lombardi, Fiat contested the 1978 European Touring Car Championship with a 128 Sport Coupe, in seven events with the Jolly  Club car, Lella achieved three class wins with Carlo Giani at Brands, Salzburgring and Estoril. Other interesting drives included a couple of races in the Heims owned Porsche 934, an Alfa GTA in the Giro d’ Italia, Osella PA6 and a Toyota Sprinter Trueno in the Spa 24 Hour where she shared a car with Thierry Boutsen and Avez, their race over with conrod failure after only 5 laps.

Her relationship with Enzo Osella continued in 1979, a good season of fourteen events yielded a win in the Vallelunga 6 Hour and seconds at Wunsdorf and Ulm. More of the same in 1980 resulted in second place at Varano and third placings at Magione and Vallelunga.

It would be intriguing to know what Lella thought of the Jolly Club Chev Camaro she raced in six events in 1981 for a best of third in the 500 km Tourist Trophy at Donington where she shared the car with Anna Cambiaghi. The nimble Osella PA9 BMW was a different kettle of fish, she and Georgio Francia had a great season- a win in the Mugello 6 Hour, a pair of seconds at Monza and Enna-Pergusa and a third at Magione resulted in fourth place in the drivers World Championship.

Lombardi then had a long period as a mainstay of Alfa Romeo’s Touring Car program racing GTV6 and the 75 Turbo from 1982 to 1986, with a best result of sixth place in the 1985 title, her final full season was aboard a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth in 1987.

She fell ill with cancer after the 1985 season and died in a Milan clinic on March 3 1992.

Silverstone 6 Hours 1980, Lella in the Osella PA8 BMW, shared with Vittorio Brambilla DNF. Race won by de Cadenet/Wilson De Cadent LM Ford DFV (M Lee)

 

Lombardi and Tony Parma, Alfa GTV6. 1982 RAC Tourist Trophy, Silverstone (unattributed)

So, what to make of Maria Grazia Lombardi, whilst noting i am about as objective here as i am writing about Kevin Bartlett, Frank Matich and Chris Amon! Lella wriggled into my favourite driver category all those years ago on that fleeting visit to Australia.

Lombardi was a racer to her core, she was smitten by it at a young age. Of modest means she did it the hard way, earning and cadging money from family, friends and the trade to graft away in F Monza and F850, two tough schools in Italy. By the time she got her first decent F3 drive with the secondhand Lotus 69 in 1972 she was already 31- no spring chookin’ even by the standards then.

Were there more deserving drivers of the Shellsport F5000 drive in 1974? Of course, make your own list, it’s not difficult at all. But John Webb was looking through a slightly different prism as a promoter than the average team owner. There were better credentialed drivers but John and Angela Webb’s end game was to promote a female driver. That was laudable, even more so as Lella was homosexual at a time when most were a lot less enlightened than fifty years hence.

She was no more or less physically attractive that most of the 1974 F1 grid, not many of the blokes would have been invited onto the catwalk either! Other women have come into F1 since Lella, none has yet matched the Lombardi’s half championship point- none have come up the hard way either. Desire Wilson was perhaps the female with the greatest F1 potential, but that my friends is a debate for another time.

Lets not forget Lella Lombardi, The Tigress of Frugarolo, a most capable elite level racing driver…

Etcetera…

Formula 875 Monza was created by Romolo Tavoni, Sporting Director of Monza- later Ferrari Team Manager and the Automobile Club of Milan’s Director, Luigi Bertett as a cost effective entry-level single seater racing class. Italy’s Formula Vee if you will.

The cars were based on Fiat 500 components, the ‘875’ bit is that the racer’s purchase price  be less than 875,000 lire- a little less than a new Fiat 500 at the time.

The class started in 1964 with Lella contesting the first Cadet Trophy on 10 May 1965.

Vast numbers of Italians cut their racing teeth in the class and its Formula Panda successor (1983), F1 graduates include Lella, Michele Alboreto and Fabrizio Barbazza.

May 1965 Cadet Trophy, Monza. Lella’s C.R.M is #29

Lella’s Fiat Giardiniera powered C.R.M. was built in Modena, the chassis constructed by Manicardi & Messori and the body by Fantuzzi.

I am intrigued to know more about C.R.M. if any of you can assist, it was one of a vast number of constructors which popped up to cater for cars in a class which exploded with interest, other makes included; Plastic Thiele, Ambivero, Bianchi, Oleari, Amilcar, Cavallini, Vargiu, Lab, Melesi, Santandra, Reggiani, Libertini, Mercatelli, Corsini and more…

Lella with her Biraghi Fiat Formula 850 at Monza during 1970- a strong year with four wins and the championship.

In the shot below she leads an F850 bunch in the Coppa Autodromo di Monza- Lella’s Biraghi from Georgio Francia in a Dagrada, then Piero Bongiovanni in a De Sanctis then a Tecno.

(unattributed)

 

(unattributed)

Lella during the 1974 season, whilst the shot below is the Epstein Lola T330 at Zandvoort on 3 June.

Q12 and seventh in the race won by Gethin’s Chevron B28.

(unattributed)

 

(unattributed)

At home during the European F5000 Championship in 1974- the Monza paddock on 30 June.

Familiarity with the circuit showed too, she qualified sixth and finished fourth behind Gethin, Pilette and Evans.

(Fairfax)

International Formula 5000 buffs will know this as one of Kevin Bartlett’s cars, in this case a Lola T332 Chev at Oran Park during the 1974 AGP weekend.

As an obscurity it would be great if Lella had done a few laps in it, but she didn’t, it seems the car was used as a background shot for the daily papers given her own Matich was late arriving at the circuit.

(unattributed)

That pointscoring race at Montjuïc Parc, Barcelona, Spain in 1975.

Lella’s March 751 Ford in front of Bob Evans, BRM P201, its early in the race as the BRM only completed 7 laps. Rolf Stommelen’s Hill GH1 Ford accident happened on lap 26 with the race ended after 29 laps.

Jochen Mass, McLaren M23 Ford took his only GP win in an extraordinary day.

(LAT)

Lombardi in fifth position ahead of another Porsche 934 (Striebig/Verney/Chasseuil) during the Silverstone 6 Hours on 9 April 1976.

First Group 4 car home, the winner was the Fitzpatrick/Walkinshaw BMW CSL 3 litre.

(unattributed)

Lombardi aviating her RAM Racing Brabham BT44B Ford at the Nurburgring on 1 August 1976- German GP practice.

She did not make the cut, the car carried both #33 and 37 that weekend.

(unattributed)

Le Mans 1977 aboard the Inaltera (Rondeau) LM77 Ford DFV she shared with Christine Beckers to eleventh place, the race won by the Ickx/Barth/Stommelen Porsche 936/77.

The same pair shared the car at Daytona but were outed after Beckers collided with another Porsche having its own moment after a tyre blew.

(unattributed)

Lombardi returned to Australia to contest an endurance Group C touring car race, the 1978 Rothmans 500 together with Sue Ransom at Oran Park- DNF.

Pity she didn’t have a run at Mount Panorama in an outright car, Lella had plenty of taxi experience throughout her career.

Lella aboard the Luigi Racing 5.7 litre Chev Camaro she shared with Anna Cambiaghi, Tourist Trophy, Silverstone, September 1981.

She qualified the car third but the pair failed to finish with engine problems.

Bibliography…

‘She Made Her Point’ Paul Fearnley in April 2015 MotorSport, oldracingcars.com, F2 Index, racingsportscars.com, ‘Formula 875 Monza’ on motormotion.it, ingegnere.it

Credits…

Getty Images, Rosanna Pagliacci, Steve Jones, Bruce Keys, Martin Lee, Russell Garth, Paolo Diegoli, Niccolo Ricci, A Vimercati, Rico Harman, Michael Hewitt, Roger Gerhold

Tailpiece…

Lella at Sydney Airport before heading off to Melbourne for her first race in Australia, 30 October 1974.

Finito…

 

 

(R MacKenzie)

When shots of a bloke at the same circuit pop up randomly a week apart whilst looking for other stuff its an omen right?…

The photographs of Bob Muir a year apart at Warwick Farm aboard his Mildren ‘Yellow Submarine’ Waggott and Lola T300 Chev (below a bit) say much about his fast ascent during this career phase.

The first shot is during the F5000 Tasman 1971 ‘Warwick Farm 100’ in The Esses- he is on the way to sixth amongst the 500bhp beasties in the little, lithe, nimble 275’ish bhp 2 litre Waggott powered ‘Sub- the speck in the distance is, I think, Ken Goodwin’s Rennmax BN3 Ford DNS, it must be practice as he didn’t race. Frank Gardner won come raceday in his works Lola T192 Chev.

Bob raced a Rennmax Formula Vee initially after a dabble in a road Austin Healey Sprite and after showing immediate pace progressed through a Lotus 23B Ford in 1968/9 to a Rennmax BN3 which was raced with a Coventry Climax 2.5 litre FPF and later a 2 litre Waggott TC-4V acquired from Alec Mildren as the long time team owner and patron wound down his race operations.

The Waggott was then transferred to the Sub, when he bought it- his first meeting with that motor fitted appears to be the Mallala Gold Star round in 1970.

Jack Bono, Elfin, from Bob Muir, Mako then Elfin, Nota, uncertain and then probably Ken Goodwin, Rennmax back up the road Warwick Farm 1967 (oldracephotos.com/Phillips)

 

Muir, Lotus 23B Ford, Warwick Farm 1968 (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

 

Muir, Rennmax BN3 Waggott during practice for the Oran Park 1970 Gold Star round- Q4 but DNS after a run bearing (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

Money was always tight as Muir’s motor-dealership provided the funds to race, he did so when he could afford to.

Throughout 1970 he ran his Waggott engined BN3 at Warwick Farm and Sandown for strong thirds stepping into the Sub for the first time at Mallala in October and then the AGP at Warwick Farm in November where a blown tyre caused an accident in the race won by Frank Matichs’ McLaren M10B Repco-Holden.

He sensibly did not contest the Kiwi 1971 Tasman rounds as by then the ‘more modern’ F5000’s had eclipsed the 2 litre cars which could still, in the right circumstances, give a good account of themselves the year before- he raced at the Farm for sixth

Contradicting myself, Max Stewart won the 1971 Gold Star in the Mildren Waggott despite Bartlett’s McLaren M10B being demonstrably the quickest car that season- reliability let him down, and Bob would have given Max a shake had he the wherewithal to run the Mildren. His sole GS 1971 appearance was at Oran Park in Ken Goodwin’s BN3 fitted with his Waggott which blew in testing so he didn’t race, by June the Sub was advertised for sale in Racing Car News ‘Sell as is. Needs rebuild, engine repair’- Ray Winter bought it and did very well in it as an ANF2 car fitted with, in time, a Hart 416-B Lotus-Ford twin-cam. The Sub in period only had aces behind the wheel- Gardner, Bartlett, Muir and Winter.

Bob had bigger plans to have a crack at F5000 with a new car rather than the ‘hand me downs’ he had raced hitherto.

Muir’s Lola T300 Chev, DNF battery from 1972 Tasman Champ Graham McRae, Leda GM1 Chev 4th. Matich won from Gardner and Bartlett- Matich A50 Repco, Lola T300 Chev and McLaren M10B Chev (L Hemer)

Niel Allen’s misfortune created an opportunity for Bob.

Allen missed racing after his retirement at the end of the 1971 Tasman so he acquired a new Lola T300, chassis ‘HU-4’.

Whilst testing the car he lost control of the twitchy jigger- quite a different beast to the McLaren M10B had jumped out of twelve or so months before. Muir bought the car when Niel said ‘enough’ and rebuilt it around a new tub- he was ready for the Australian 1972 Tasman rounds where he was immediately quick- Q4 at both Surfers and Warwick Farm.

This was mighty impressive as the competition were ‘match fit’ having done four rounds over the five preceding weeks so the fact that a young fella had jumped right into these thoroughly demanding machines and was immediately on ze pace was a mighty strong effort.

Great Dick Simpson shot shows Bob hoiking an inside left at Oran Park with Kevin Bartlett’s T300 up his clacker during the 1972 Gold Star round. Bob Q2 behind Matich and DNF tyre/brakes. Matich, A50 Repco won from Bartlett and Max Stewart, Elfin MR5 Repco (oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

 

Lynton Hemer’s shot of Muir heading thru BP and onto Oran Park’s main straight during the 1972 Gold Star round highlights some key aspects of the T300 design- the F2 T240 derived aluminium monocoque chassis, mid-ship, hip mounted radiators the ducting of which gives this whole series of cars (T300/330/332) their thoroughly sexy look- the cars worked rather well too. 5 litre Chev sits reasonably high, in this case fed by four 48IDA Weber carbs (L Hemer)

He spun at Surfers, had a battery problem at the Farm and an engine failure at Sandown’s AGP from Q5 but a point had been made despite not having the dollars to do the final Adelaide round.

His Gold Star appearances were similarly sporadic- Sandown Q2 and second behind the dominant Frank Matich A50 Repco, Q2 and DNF at Oran Park and that was it apart from some ‘Repco Birthday Series’ events at Calder.

He went jumped up into the big league in 1973 contesting most of the US F5000 ‘L&M Championship’ in a new Lola T330 Chev. The car was bought by Australian Garry Campbell and, a bit like the Allen Lola twelve months before, Campbell crashed in testing at Oran Park- Bob repaired it with the assistance of John Wright, later to be a very fast F5000 driver himself and shipped it to the US with a couple of nice, strong Peter Molloy 5 litre Chevs.

He hooked up with Chuck Jones and Jerry Eisert (the exact nature of the commercial relationship is not entirely clear) and together ‘Jones-Eisert-Racing’ attacked the L&M.

In an amazing run of raw pace Bob qualified fourth at Michigan International on 20 May for third in heat and DNF final, then off to Mid Ohio for Q3 and DNS heat and final and then off to the demanding Watkins Glen, a circuit on which he had not competed before for Q2 behind Jody Scheckter and ahead of Brett Lunger, Brian Redman, Peter Gethin, Mark Donohue, Tony Adamowicz, David Hobbs, Kevin Bartlett, John Walker, Vern Schuppan, Frank Matich and others.

Whilst Jody Scheckter was THE find of the series Bob’s performance was amazing, to say the least

His seasons in the US and the UK in F5000, Formula Pacific and a fleeting but impressive F2 appearance or two- is a story for another time.

Michigan International during the 1973 US L&M F5000 Championship, 20 May. Lola T330 Chev- a Peter Molloy Chevy at that. Scheckter, Trojan T101 Chev won from Derek Bell, Lola T330 Chev and Peter Gethin, Chevron B24 Chev. Muir Q4 3rd in heat and DNS final (M Windecker)

 

Etcetera…

 

(J Lemm)

Still wearing Bartlett’s usual #5, Bob sets to work on the Sub during the October 1970 Mallala Gold Star round- his first meeting in the car. Rare photo semi-nude.

 

‘Racing Car News’ June 1971 read it and weep…

 

(oldracephotos.com/Hammond)

Cruisin’ the Calder paddock during one of the ‘Repco Birthday Series’ (fiftieth) F5000 races during 1972, Lola T300 Chev. KB won this four or so championship rounds title from Frank Matich and Muir- all events held at Calder title.

 

(L Hemer)

Bob during the 1972 Warwick Farm Tasman round, not sure if it was practice or the race which was wet- Lynton has captured the reflections beautifully.

Credits…

Rod MacKenzie, oldracephotos.com/Dick Simpson/Hammond, Lynton Hemer, John Lemm, David Cutts

Tailpiece…

(oldracephotos.com/DSimpson)

The Muirs Sports Cars Mildren Yellow Submarine leads Teddy Pilette, Team VDS McLaren M10B Chev through the Warwick Farm Esses during the 1971 ‘100’ Tasman round- sixth and fifth respectively- a good dice, there were two seconds between the cars at the races end. Gardner won in his works Lola T192 Chev from Chris Amon, Lotus 70 Ford and Bartlett’s Mildren Chev.

Finito…

(K Hyndman)

Jody Scheckter’s works F2 McLaren M21 Ford BDF (left) at Trojan Racing’s workshops in Beddington Farm Road, Croydon on 1 October 1972…

Alongside it is the first Trojan T101 ‘101’ F5000 coming together, the cars are close relations.

Jody took one European F2 Championship win in chassis # M21-72-01 at Crystal Palace in May, the title was won that year by Mike Hailwood’s works Surtees TS10 Ford BDA.

The South African charger was competitive throughout the season, but like others running BDA’s stretched close to 2 litres struck engine dramas. The standard cast iron Ford Cortina 711M block just didn’t want to be bored that far, pistons came close to kissing each other which is rather sub-optimal. The bespoke alloy Ford Cosworth BDG block solved that from 1973. Hailwood ran Brian Hart prepped 1850cc BDA’s and took a hotly contested first 2 litre Euro F2 title from Jean-Pierre Jaussaud Brabham BT38 Ford and Patrick Depailler March 722 Ford.

Jody recalled his McLaren M21 F2 year in an article titled ‘McLaren and Me’ on mclaren.com…

It was Phil Kerr who approached me about driving for McLaren…I don’t think F2 was their major interest, and I think in a way they were playing on the side with it. Teddy Mayer preferred the big time stuff.

F2 obviously wasn’t F1 or CanAm, which had been their main thing, and I had the only M21. I can’t remember thinking at the time that they weren’t putting enough effort into it, however I would probably not have known at that stage. That was the first works drive after running my own car, so whatever it was was fantastic.

At the beginning we had an 1800cc motor, and the other guys were 2-litres, so it was underpowered. We would run less and less wing to try and do the same speed on the straights, and then we had no downforce.

The car wasn’t bad. But initially it had a broken shock absorber, which nobody discovered. We weren’t competitive at all, and with me being new in, obviously people thought I wasn’t competitive. If you’re on your own, when you go well it’s good, and if you don’t, you wish had others cars to compare against!

In one way it was nice because you’re the only driver they’re concentrating on. If there was another one could you have developed the car quicker? Possibly, but I didn’t really think about it.

After a few races we went down to Goodwood and Denny Hulme drove the car and played around with it a bit. They had found in the workshop that one of the shock absorbers was broken. So they changed that, and Denny went out and did 1m14.2s or something like that, and I went out and in three laps did a 1m13.8s. I think we were doing 1m15s before that.

London Trophy, Crystal Palace 29 May 1972. Scheckter won in his #60 McLaren M21 Ford BDF by 1.5 seconds after 50 laps from Mike Hailwood’s #46 Surtees TS10 Ford BDA and Carlos Reutemann’s Brabham BT38 Ford BDF (J Fausel)

And then we went to Crystal Palace. I’d raced there in F3 and Ford Escort Mexicos, and I quite liked that circuit. The car was going well, and we won. After that everyone was looking at the car, wondering why it was going so quickly. I remember at Rouen passing Carlos Reutemann on the outside of a bend going down the hill.

Crystal Palace was a real breakthrough in a way. In those days there were F1 drivers competing, and, if you did well in an F2 race, you immediately showed that you were good enough to go up to the next level. Which is what happened.

Later Lotus came and wanted me to drive for them. I told McLaren and they said, ‘OK, we’ll give you a drive in the last Grand Prix, at Watkins Glen.’ I don’t think they’d thought about it, but when other teams start making offers, they knew they had to do something!

Watkins Glen (1972 US GP) was good because nobody recognised me, and I could walk around and not be bothered. I thought the M19 was fantastic. It was my first F1 car, and it just seemed to grip more and more, you could go faster and faster and nothing was happening, rather than sliding all over the place. It was nothing compared to the downforce of today’s cars, but in comparison to my F2 car the M19 had much more downforce, and bigger tyres as well’.

The story of Scheckter’s rather successful F1 career is one for another time.

McLaren pulled out of the production racing car market with effect the end of 1972. Trojan, acquired by Peter Agg in 1960 took over Elva Cars in 1962, Bruce McLaren worked with Elva to develop his McLaren-Elva Mk1A for the 1965 season, the Trojan built McLaren cars dated from 1969. The mutually fruitful partnership lasted until the end of 1972 at which point Agg continued building cars named Trojan- the T101 was the first.

January 1973 Trojan T101 ‘101’ is the car shown ‘as advertised before Ron Tauranac arrived in the design department’ Ken Hyndman

Trojan went into 1973 with a new F5000 design which was in essence the marriage of  the Ralph Bellamy designed F2 M21 front end with an M18/22 McLaren F5000 rear attached to a new chassis. Bruce would have approved, very much in his ‘Whoosh-Bonk’ tradition this machine!

The new car, designated ‘T101’ was designed by Paul Rawlinson with Ron Tauranac- post-sale and exit of Brabham to Bernie Ecclestone, brought in by management at the seasons commencement to ‘make the car work’.

Work it did- Jody Scheckter won the US F5000 L&M Championship in 1973 with 3 wins in T101 chassis ‘103’ at Laguna Seca and Michigan in May and Mid Ohio in early June. He then decamped and raced a Lola T330 (HU20) owned by Bob Lazier winning in it at Watkins Glen in mid-June after boofing T101 ‘103’ during practice.

He was back aboard T101 ‘103’, the chassis repaired at Trojan, at Road America Elkhart Lake on 29 June and Road Atlanta in mid-August and then raced another T330 (HU24) said to have been bought with his winnings, at Pocono on 3 September before ending the season in his faithful T101 ‘103’ in the final of the nine round championship at Seattle on 30 September where he was 3rd.

Scheckter and Redman at Pocono in 1973 (J Knerr)

Brian Redman aboard a sinfully sexy Carl Haas Lola T330 Chev (HU14) at the Riverside first L&M series round in 1973, he won. Mechanics names anyone? (M Paden Hewitt)

The above puts a wonderful gloss on the Trojan season but does not tell the whole truth!

Brian Redman started his reign as the ‘King of F5000’ in 1973, although he was uncrowned that year. He won the US Championship from 1974-76, and aboard the works Carl Haas Lola T330 in ’73 won five rounds- Riverside, Elkhart Lake, Road Atlanta, Pocono and Seattle.

The only thing which cost him the title were his factory Ferrari 312PB World Endurance Championship sportscar rides, he missed several rounds. The only L&M Championship race where Jody beat Brian ‘man on man’ was at Watkins Glen where T330 ‘HU20’ prevailed over Redman’s ‘HU8’.

The evolved for 1973 Lola T330 (from the late ’71-’72 T300) was a stunning production racing car which begat a whole series of dominant F5000 and single-seat Can Am cars- T332, 332C, 332CS and 333. Category destroyers in some ways, these cars!

But let’s not take anything away from the Scheckter/Trojan 1973 L&M wins- to finish first, first you have to finish and that they did that in spades! Jody won with 144 points from Redman’s 130 and Mark Donohue, Lola T330 AMC on 64 points.

Scheckter in the Trojan T101 ‘103’ Chev at Brands on 17 March 1973, first British F5000 championship round. DNF in the race won by Peter Gethin’s Chevron B24 Chev from Brett Lunger’s Lola T330 Chev and Tony Dean’s Chevron B24 Chev (R Bunyan)

The team did a couple of British early season F5000 Championship rounds to shake the car down before shipping it to the US, where they were ‘match fit’ from the start of the season.

Sid Taylor and Jerry Entin owned the car Scheckter raced and expected Tauranac would work on its development during the season but Ron was sucked into the 1974 Trojan F1 program, so Taylor/Entin received little help. What development the car lacked was more than made up for by Jody’s endeavour behind the wheel mind you!

Scheckter 1st from David Hobbs Lola T330 3rd, Peter Gethin Chevron B28 at left 2nd and Kevin Bartlett Lola T330 DNF behind Gethin. Laguna Seca 1973. Bartlett had a guest drive of Redman’s works/Haas machine whilst Brian was away on Ferrari sportscar duties- he was 3rd in his heat and DNF the final (unattributed)

Kiwi Ken Hyndman worked at Trojan Racing and took the colour factory shots on his first work day there on 1 October 1972…

Hyndman wrote on ‘The Roaring Season’- ‘The M21 F2 race car that Jody Scheckter had driven at Oulton Park a few weeks prior (on 16 September, DNF transmission in the race won by Peterson’s works March 722), was in the midst of being dismantled so as to form the basis of a new F5000 car. The main body/tub was a McLaren M22 and the suspension/steering was from the M21.’

In fact it seems clear that whatever Trojan did with ‘M21-72-01’ late in 1972 the car was sold to French hillclimber Yves Martin who used it in the following years.

In more recent decades the car is part of Scheckter’s collection of cars he raced.

Perhaps some components were used in the F5000 T101-1 build. Given the M21 was a one-off- only one chassis was built and raced by Jody in 1972, maybe the car was used in the workshop to help create the necessary drawings/patterns for components needed for the T101 batch build of six cars.

Shape of the T101 nose as raced different in profile compared with the original design as being constructed here in October 1972. M21/1 at right (K Hyndman)

The photo above shows ‘The Trojan F5000 T101X (T101 ‘101’) was first drawn up by a likeable young designer, Paul Rawlinson. He had also been a mechanic…Paul had the design that was M21 ahead of the engine and a M22 F5000 behind.’

‘The T101X had a concave surface nose section like a Porsche 917/10 Can Am car for added downforce. It had a full width nose with NASA type ducts for cooling the front brakes. This was to be powered by an Alan Smith tuned 5 litre engine…and looked pretty neat…’

‘Note in the background is the inverted M10B tub for (then Australian F5000 coming-man) Warwick Brown’ Hyndman observed, adding in relation to the Brown tub ‘that does not seem to match the records of the car (M10B-19)’ which indeed it does not but the chassis at a glance does look like that car at that time Ken!

Etcetera…

McLaren M21 ‘M21-72-01’

Yves Martin in his ex-Scheckter McLaren at Saint-Germain-sur-Ille hillclimb in 1974.

(T Le Bras)

Trojan T101 ‘103’

Ron Bennett and Scheckter (below) ponder the setup of the T101 in the Elkhart Lake paddock in June 1973. Alan Smith brought over his slide-injected engine for this race, Jody didn’t like the feel of it though, so they went back to carbs for the rest of the season. Clearly from the Brands shot above Jody used the injection engine early in the season too.

Suspension of the T101 was period conventional- single top link, inverted lower wishbone, coil spring/dampers and adjustable roll bar at the rear with upper and lower wishbones at the front. The gearbox is the good ‘ole Hewland DG300, F5000 standard issue.

(J Entin)

Scheckter gridding up at Riverside. ‘Look’ of the car in terms of chassis and nose similar to its Chevron B24/8 and Elfin MR5 contemporaries (M Paden Hewitt)

 

References/Photo Credits…

 Ken Hyndman Collection, oldracingcars.com, Jutta Fausel, Jerry Entin, Joel Griffin, Richard Bunyan, Jim Knerr, Thierry Le Bras, Michael Paden Hewitt

Tailpiece: Scheckter in the mist, Trojan T101 Chev, Michigan 1973…

Jody won at Michigan on 20 May from Derek Bell guesting in the Haas/Redman T330 and Peter Gethin’s Chevron B24 Chev (unattributed)

Finito…

(Feisst)

Max Stewart looks pretty happy aboard his pristine, new Elfin MR5 Repco, New Zealand Grand Prix, Pukekohe 1972…

He is talking to Elfin works mechanic Dale Koenneke, well known in Australia for his work with Elfins, John McCormack and later K&A Engineering, an enduring partnership in Adelaide he formed with Harry Aust.

Max took to F5000 like a duck to water. His speed in 2 litre cars- he won the 1971 Australian Gold Star series in his trusty Mildren Waggott 2 litre was immediately transferred across to the more demanding 5 litre, 480bhp MR5. The Elfin wasn’t the ‘ducks guts’ of cars albeit John McCormack developed his car to a fine race, and championship winning pitch. But in 1972 Max was the fastest guy aboard an MR5- a quicker driver than Garrie Cooper, McCormack and John Walker. Very soon McCormack and Walker developed ultimate speed whereas Garrie- quick in a Tasman 2.5 car was never more than a journeyman in 5 litre single-seaters.

Stewart booting the MR5 around Warwick Farm during the 1972 ‘Hordern Trophy’ Gold Star round- 3rd behind Frank Matich’s Matich A50 Repco and Kevin Bartlett’s Lola T300 Chev (Aust Motor Racing Annual)

The MR5 looked superb. Even though Alec Mildren abandoned his race team at the end of 1970 Max kept the Mildren yellow team colour on his own cars- both the Mildren Waggott in 1971 and MR5 in 1972. He retained the Seiko and BP sponsorships too. What a sad day for Australian motor-racing it was when Alec finally pulled the pin. He was such a wonderful benefactor/entrant of Frank Gardner, Kevin Bartlett and Max Stewart and others, but those fellas in particular.

The MR5 wasn’t the ‘Silver Hammer’ at all for Max though. That car was undoubtedly the racer which followed, his ex-works Frank Gardner driven development prototype Lola T330 Chev ‘HU1’. It was the very first of that ‘category destroying’! series of dominant T330/332 Lolas. Max made HU1 sing for years and was always competitive with the T332’s. Both the T330 and MR5 ’5722’ are still in Australia, restored and exercised regularly.

Photo Credits…

Mike Feisst Collection on The Roaring Season, Neil Stratton, Australian Motor Racing Annual 1973, Tony Glenn

Tailpiece: Stewart swallowed by his Lola’s schnorkel, Pukekohe paddock 1973…

(Feisst)

Whilst Frank Gardner ‘retired’ from single-seater racing towards the end of the 1972 Tasman Series he continued to test openwheelers in his capacity as Lola’s development engineer/tester. He also raced this chassis, T330 ‘HU1’ once or twice in some end of season European F5000 Championship rounds in 1972 as he developed the production spec 1973 T330 for Eric Broadley.

HU1 was then sold to Max to run in the ’73 Tasman with Gardner on hand to advise the lanky Aussie on how to extract the best from the car, which he most certainly did. Here the car is in the Pukekohe paddock twelve months after the shot at this articles outset, both photos taken by the same photographer, Mike Feisst.

Max 5th aboard T330 HU1 during the final, sodden Warwick Farm Tasman in 1973. Steve Thompson won in a Chevron B24 Chev (Tony Glenn)

Postscript: The choice of Elfin/Repco/Lola/Chev…

Stewart didn’t have great reliability from the MR5 in either the ’72 Tasman or the Gold Star- his best results were a 5th and 4th at Pukekohe and Levin in the Tasman and two 3rd places in the Gold Star at his home NSW tracks of Oran Park and Warwick Farm.

The decision to go with Lola was an easy one. He had witnessed at first hand the speed of the T300’s driven by his mate Kevin Bartlett, Bob Muir and others and no doubt Frank Gardner was able to impress upon him the speed of the coming T330. Frank Matich was at the front of the Repco queue- FM was their works driver after all, with perhaps McCormack and Cooper getting the next best customer engines.

Lola Chev was an eminently sensible move which paid off in spades for Max albeit not initially! The story of Stewarts’ success in his Lola’s is one for another time, suffice it to say aboard T330 ‘HU1’ he won the 1974 Teretonga and Oran Park Tasman rounds, the Australian Gold Star Series winning five of the six rounds including the Australian Grand Prix at Oran Park. Quite a season for the popular boy from Orange.

Max Stewart ahead of great friend and rival Kevin Bartlett during the 1974 Gold Star round at Oran Park won by Max. Lola T330 from T332 . KB DNF, Max won from the T332’s of Warwick Brown and Graeme Lawrence (Stratton)

Finito…

 

Lola T330 P Island

Peter Brennan blasts his Lola down Phillip Islands straight on Saturday 27 September 2014, the car last ran in John Turners’ hands at Brands Hatch on 19 October 1975, only 39 years ago!…

Over the last three episodes of ‘Racers Retreat’ we have covered Peters’ purchase of the car in the US, and its rapid restoration commencing in August 2013, the car finally made its debut at a Phillip Island test day a month ago.

Australian readers should get to Sandown on 7-9 th November to see the car make its first race appearance in a huge field of F5000 cars in the Victorian Historic Racing Registers’ annual historic race meeting at the great Melbourne suburban venue.

John Taylor lola T330 Thruxton 1975

John Turner at Thruxton in ‘HU18’ earlier in 1975 (tinkerwinkerTNF)

John Turner bought the car from Jackie Epstein at the end of 1974, after Lombardis’ year in it. He raced the car in  many rounds of the 1975 Shellsport UK Series, finishing fifth in that final race at Brands, Peter Gethins Team VDS Lola T400 Chev won the race and the sister T400 of Teddy Pilette won the championship.

Turner sold the car to Jim Burnett for use as a central seat CanAm car, and as covered earlier in the series of articles the car was damaged in a factory fire until rescued by Peter many years later…here in his workshop just prior to the massive job of restoration.

brennans workshop

Phillip Island Test…

Lola T330 Brennan P Island

Peter Brennan all loaded up…livery all 100% period correct 1973 ‘shellSport 208’ team. Front brake ducts taped over in this shot

It was a beautiful September day, fortunately the ‘Islands weather gods were smiling…’I had been looking forward to the first run of the car, checking and re-checking the thing over the prior weeks, and firing it up a million times, then the bloody thing wouldn’t start for the first session!’

‘I had plenty of advice of course, but the bloody magneto had cacked itself, they are like a flighty girlfriend , here one minute and gone the next! I didn’t take a lot of spares with me, but i did have a spare mag, so we fitted that and were ready to rock and roll’.

‘Off we go ot onto the circuit in session two, i went about eighty metres and it died, i slowed down and it cut out. I checked the fuel pressure and volumes, the engine is on Webers. After a lot of thought i took the air-boxes off the carbs and that did the trick. I hadn’t created vents in the airboxes to allow excessive pressure to escape, the set-up cannot be fully sealed, i got advice from Peter Molloy and others after the weekend’.

vent tubes

Look closely at this shot, on the RHS of the carb base plate near the rollbar and you can see the breather holes cut to relieve surplus pressure in the airbox…4 thirsty 48 IDA Webers…’nasty’ magneto cap just visible to the left between the oil tank and carb base plates

‘After that change the car was sensational, even using the basic initial settings. Later in the day i did 6 1:36 laps without pushing hard at all. The thing is a jet, really quick. Most of the fiddling around on the day was just getting comfy in the car, the gearchange is a little close to me and the cockpit is as tight as…i’m not a svelte 18 year old anymore!’

‘Before Sandown we need to just check the thing over, the airbox bleed is done, re-align it and so on. Its amazing how much fuel the thing uses 3.7 litres per lap. I can afford the car but not the fuel to put in it, i used 90 litres on the day at $3.75 per litre! Time to drill an oil-well at home in the eastern suburbs’.

Lola T330 P Island front

Lola T330 Brennan up

See the rear wing compared with episode # 3. Far-back original wing supports banned by FIA at the end of 1973..attention to detail in the restoration superb, our mature age driver doing his best to find some space…

Lola T330 B & W

‘HU18’ to early, original T330 spec. Carbs common in the UK then, early airbox setup, far rear mounted wing, and none of the T332 mods to the tub, bodywork and suspension that most 330’s modifed to T332 spec received in period to keep them competitive

Lola T330 nose

Front suspension typical of period. Upper and lower unequal length wisbbones, coil spring damper units (Koni double adjustable alloy shocks), adjustable roll bar

Lola T332 Chev 'HU18' Phillip Island

Lola T330 Brennan P Is front straight

Roll on Sandown for Episode 5 in November, be there if you can!…

Photo Credits…

Peter Brennan, Jay Bondini

Finito…