Posts Tagged ‘Lola T333CS Chev’

PT aboard the Ligier JS17 Matra at Dijon in 1981. Q16 and DNF wheel bearing in his first race for the team. Alain Prost won in a Renault RE30

Patrick Tambay, grand prix winner and Can-Am champion died on December 4, 2022 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease, aged 73.

Every girl’s idea of a racing driver, the dashing Frenchman developed his need-for-speed in the European Alps where he was a schoolboy ski champion, but cars then grabbed his attention.

Total, Motul and Elf invested vast petro-francs to develop French drivers from the 1960s. The first wave who made it to F1 included Johnny Servoz-Gavin, Henri Pescarolo, Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Francois Cevert. Tambay was one of the mid 1970s talent-wave along with Jacques Laffitte, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Rene Arnoux, Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jarier.

PT at Villars, Rossignol ski type and year unknown! (unattributed)
Aboard an Alpine A366 Formula Renault at Paul Ricard during1972 (Winfield School)
Pau GP 1976, Martini Mk19 Renault V6. DNF accident, Rene Arnoux won in the sister car. Jabouille won the title in a Jabouille 2J Renault (MotorSport)

Tambay won the Winfield Racing School’s Volant Elf competition in 1971. After two years in Formula Renault he graduated to F2, finishing second in the European Championship to Jacques Laffitte’s Martini Mk14 BMW aboard a works March 752 BMW in 1975. He was third in 1976 aboard a Martini Mk19 Renault, behind fellow Equipe Elf pilots, Jabouille and Arnoux.

Patrick was picked up by Carl Haas to replace the injured Brian Redman in his works central-seat Lola T333 CS Chev Can-Am team in 1977. Tambay shone in the 525bhp Chev V8 missiles, taking the championship with six wins, and befriending Gilles Villeneuve who raced an unwieldy Wolf WD1 Chev for much of that season.

Press call for the Alpine A442 Renault at Paul Ricard in April 1977. Obscured J-P Jabouille, PT, Marie-Claude Beaumont, Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Derek Bell. None of the cars finished Le Mans that year, with much more to come!
Feel the earth move. Haas Lola T333CS Chev at Mosport in August ’77. PT won the Can-Am race from George Follmer and Peter Gethin, Lola T332C and T333CS respectively (unattributed)
Ahead of Alan Jones during the 1978 French GP at Paul Ricard. McLaren M26 Ford and Williams FW06 Ford. Ninth and fifth in the race won by Mario Andretti’s Lotus 79 Ford

Both impressed during the ’77 British GP weekend at Silverstone, Patrick aboard a Theodore Racing Ensign N177 Ford, and Gilles a works McLaren M23 Ford. That silly-season McLaren signed Tambay and Ferrari got Villeneuve, Patrick topped the Scuderia’s list but Teddy Mayer beat them to the punch.

Tambay then endured two shocking years with McLaren, who were on one of their downers, then bounced back into F1 in 1981 with Theodore Racing, after winning another Can-Am title for Haas, racing a Lola T530 Chev in 1980.

In mid-1981 fortune again favoured Tambay when he replaced the injured Jabouille at Ligier, but he had shocking reliability, mechanical failures in every race. His GP career seemed on the rocks until Villeneuve’s fatal 1982 Zolder accident, he replaced his friend at Ferrari.

Tambay relished the competitive car, taking a tough win at Hockenheim the day after Pironi’s career-ending Ferrari crash. Third at Brands Hatch and second at Monza helped the team win the Constructors Championship with the Ferrari 126C2.

In the best of company. Ronnie Peterson, PT, Gilles Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter, Paul Ricard 1978
PT, Ferrari 126C3, Italian GP 1983. Fourth, race won by Nelson Piquet’s Brabham BT52B BMW, Arnoux was second in the other Ferrari
It looked the goods at least. PT aboard the Lola THL2 Ford at Spa during the 1986 Belgian GP weekend. DNF after first lap prang, Jones was 11th and out of fuel. Mansell’s Williams FW11 Honda won

Patrick won again at San Marino in 1983, finishing a career best of fourth in the driver’s title. Ferrari won the ‘constructors again, but teammate Rene Arnoux’ three wins eclipsed him.

Two years with Renault followed in 1984-85, he was well placed occasionally, but a second and a couple of third placings was his best. Tambay was reunited with Teddy Mayer and Carl Haas at Beatrice Racing in 1986, his final F1 season. Good as the Lola chassis was, its Hart, and later Ford Cosworth GBA V6 lacked grunt and reliability, Patrick and Alan Jones had a grim season.

After a year aboard a Jaguar XJR-9 V12 in 1989 and two thirds in the Paris-Dakar, an event he loved, Patrick returned to F1 as a TV commentator and involvement in Cannes politics.

Two GP wins isn’t reflective of Patrick Tambay’s place in the pantheon of drivers, but his grit, valour and composure in the face of Parkinson’s reminded pit pundits just what an outstanding man he was.

PT’s Lada ‘Poch’ Samara T3 Porsche 3.6 during the 1991 Paris-Dakar, sharing the car with Lemoyne. The pair were seventh, the event won by the Ari Vatanen/Berglund Citroen ZX


MotorSport Images, Getty Images, Roger Hermsen, Winfield School Facebook page


Hans Stuck and Patrick during the GP Masters round at Silverstone in August 2006. Stuck was fourth and PT 11th in the race won by Eddie Cheever.

The cars, based on Reynard’s 2000 model 2KI Indycar, were built by Delta MotorSport. The engines were Ford XB derived 3.5-litre Nicholson-McLaren 80-degree, fuel injected V8s producing about 650bhp @ 10400rpm.



Warwick Brown, Lola T332 Chev, Riverside 1974 (TEN)

‘WB for 73’ was the T-Shirt catch phrase of Warwick Brown’s team during the 1973 Tasman Series…

The good looking, well heeled young bloke from Wahroonga on Sydney’s North Shore had graduated from the relatively forgiving McLaren M10B Chev in which he cut his F5000 teeth in 1972 Australian Gold Star competition to an altogether more demanding mistress for the Tasman  Series, a Lola T300 Chev.

His ex-Niel Allen/Bob Muir car, chassis ‘HU4’ was a very good one, but the T300 was a fast, albeit flexy, twitchy little bugger. With guidance from mentor and engineer Peter Molloy, Warwick quickly adapted well to his new mount.

He didn’t finish the first Tasman round at Pukekohe, the Lola out of fuel but was third behind Graham McRae and Frank Matich in their own designed and built cars, two very hardened professionals at Levin. He was second the following round at Wigram behind McRae. Warwick then went to Australia feeling great despite a poor seventh at Teretonga with undisclosed car dramas.


WB, Team Target (retail stores) Lola T300 Chev, New Zealand, Tasman 1973

At Surfers Paradise though he became a ‘Lola Limper’ bigtime…

His car got away from him on the fast, demanding circuit spreading bits of aluminium and fibreglass over the undulations of the Nerang countryside and broke both of  Warwick’s legs. He got wide onto the marbles on the entry to the flat out in fifth right-hander under Dunlop Bridge and bounced across the grass into the dirt embankment surrounding the circuit. The light aluminium tub folded back, in the process doing horrible things to Warwick’s feet and lower limbs. He had a very long recovery, made somewhat easier by the promise of a new car from his near neighbour patron, mining millionaire Pat Burke.

That September 2nd in 1973 i attended the ‘Glynn Scott Memorial Trophy’, the F5000 Surfers Paradise Gold Star round in 1973, and hobbling around on crutches was Warwick talking to his fellow F5000 competitors and the fans.

He really was struggling just to get about and obviously in pain. Unbelievably, I couldn’t believe it when I saw the race report, he contested the next Gold Star round on October 7, one month later in Adelaide. No way could he get in and out of the car unaided.

To me it was madness, given his state, but to Warwick it was everything. He withdrew his old M10B after 8 laps and spent the following months getting properly fit for the 1974 Tasman but he had put down a marker as one determined, tough hombre!

Pat Burke bought him a new Lola T332 Chev, chassis ‘HU27’, the first production T332 and WB had a very consistent Tasman series in it…

He never finished worse than seventh, only failing to complete the NZ GP at Wigram, and won the final round, the Adelaide International. The ’74 Tasman had depth, the field included Teddy Pilette, Graeme Lawrence, John Walker, Max Stewart, Kevin Bartlett, John McCormack and Graham McRae- Peter Gethin won it in a VDS Chevron B24 Chev.

Warwick, Pat and Peter Molloy had plans to take on the best in the US by taking their Lola to the ‘States, ‘match fit’ as it was after the rigours of the eight race Tasman program.


WB in ’73 (John Lemm)

In 1974 the SCCA/USAC F5000 field included Mario Andretti, Brian Redman, Jackie Oliver, Sam Posey, Graham McRae, Brett Lunger, David Hobbs, Al Unser, Lella Lombardi, Vern Schuppan, James Hunt, John Cannon and others.

By the time Warwick and his crew got to the Ontario round on 1 September it was ‘Formula T332’- Mario Andretti had won two rounds, Brian Redman a couple and David Hobbs one, all in Lola T332’s, the greatest F5000 car ever.

Brown was eleventh at Ontario and then fifth at Monterey in mid-October behind Redman, James Hunt in an Eagle 755, Andretti, and Eppie Wietzes in another T332. In the series final round, the Riverside GP, he was third behind Andretti and Redman.

As a WB fan reading about these performances in Australian weekly ‘Auto Action’ I remember being blown away by his speed in such august company viewed through the prism of just how badly hurt he was- and would be again, he had three ‘Big Ones’ in his pro career. I could see his pain getting around at Surfers.

It takes extraordinary guts to get back into these things after big accidents in which you are hurt.

The mind management and sheer courage involved has always intrigued me. Not that he was the only ‘Lola Limper’ in Australasia, Graeme Lawrence and Kevin Bartlett spring readily to mind.

But those three US races in ’74 made him really, he proved to himself he could do it. The crew came back to Oz later in 1974 and Warwick was running away with the AGP at Oran Park until mechanical problems intervened. He then won the ’75 Tasman in a close fought battle with fellow T332 drivers Graeme Lawrence and John Walker and set up a US pro-career for the next few years with Jack McCormack’s Talon nee McRae cars in 1975 and then Team VDS.

It’s not an article about the entirety of WB’s career rather a reflection on mind over matter, toughness, passion, resilience and the fierce desire to compete and win that separates elite drivers like Brown, Lawrence and Bartlett from we mere mortals…



Pat Burke acquired the ex-Niel Allen (spare tub) /Allan Hamilton McLaren M10B Chev chassis ‘400-19’ in time for the 1972 Australian Tasman Cup rounds.

As I wrote above, under the tutelage and guidance of Peter Molloy- and using Mighty-Molloy Chevs, Warwick quickly adapted to these savage beasts- he was seventh at Surfers Paradise, ninth at home at Warwick Farm, fifth at Sandown and failed to finish at Adelaide International.

The photograph above is of Warwick with the dominant 1972 Gold Star combo of Frank Matich and his Matich A50 Repco at Oran Park during practice for the ‘Belle Magazine Trophy’ in June- they were fifth and first respectively.

He was equal fourth, together with John Walker, Matich A50 Repco in the 1972 Gold Star series with Matich, Kevin Bartlett, Lola T300 Chev and John McCormack, Elfin MR5 Repco in front of him- but he was well and truly on his way.

Credits…, Bob Harmeyer, The Enthusiast Network, John Lemm

Tailpiece: Brown winning in the Lola T333CS Chev, Watkins Glen 1978…


(Bob Harmeyer)

Warwick Brown’s VDS Racing Lola T333CS Chev enroute to a single-seat Can Am win at Watkins Glen on 9 July 1978.

He won from Al Holbert and Rocky Moran both also Lola T333CS mounted. The car following WB is George Follmer’s Prophet Chev. Brown was second in the championship that year but the class of the field was his countryman, the three years older Alan Jones who took five victories and the title in the ‘works’ Carl Haas T333CS.

Jones was ‘moonlighting’ in 5 litre cars having gained a toehold in F1 which he was in the process of capitalising upon with Williams Grand Prix engineering.



Elliot Forbes-Robinson’s Spyder NF-11 Chev chases Jacky Ickx’ Lola T333CS Chev, Round 1 of the 1979 Can-Am Championship on May 6…

Terry Capps terrific shots capture the essence of this challenging Braselton, Georgia circuit and all of the ‘fun of the fair’ from a spectators perspective in watching and hearing these 5 litre beasties around the courses undulations.

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Keke Rosberg winner at Road Atlanta 1979. Spyder NF-11 Chev (Terry Capps)

Keke Rosberg won the race in another of Paul Newman’s Lola T333 based Spyders with Ickx and EFR second and third. Keke took pole in 8 of the 10 races but had poor reliability and a couple of shunts; Ickx took the title that year in the ‘factory’ Haas Lola.

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Jacky Ickx in Carl Haas’ Lola T333CS Chev. Road Atlanta ’79 (Terry Capps)

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Elliott Forbes-Robinson in the other Newman-Freeman Spyder NF-11 Chev. Road Atlanta ’79. (Terry Capps)

Tailpiece: A Spyder Departs…

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Road Atlanta 1979 (Terry Capps)

Photo Credits…Terry Capps