Posts Tagged ‘McLaren M4A Ford’

Jack Brabham awaits the start of one of the ‘Wills Trophy’ heats at Silverstone on 27 March 1967…

Is that John Cooper saying gedday before the off?

Jack is aboard BT23 chassis number 1- the very first in a long line of successful F2 and Tasman Formula cars- let’s not forget the BT23 spawned Ron Tauranac’s F1 Championship winning BT24 Repco design too.

Denny Hulme’s Brabham BT24 Repco during the 1967 US GP at Watkins Glen- he was 3rd behind the Clark/Hill Lotus 49 Ford duo (LAT)

Weren’t British enthusiasts blessed with championship F2 choice over Easter 1967?

They could have watched Jochen Rindt win at Snetterton on Good Friday and see him do it all again at Silverstone 180 Km away on Easter Monday aboard the same BT23-5 he used throughout a dominant 1967.

In a small tangent of Australian motor racing history this chassis is the one Denny Hulme raced in the 1968 Tasman Series- he boofed it at Pukekohe in a terrible accident involving Lawrence Brownlie’s Brabham and replaced it with BT23-2 in time for the Lady Wigram Trophy two weeks later.

Feo Stanton and Alec Mildren bought the remains less suspension and sent them off to Rennmax Engineering in Sydney for Bob Britton to built a jig and a run of new cars, the ‘Rorstan’ for Feo and ‘Mildren’ for Alec. Numerous cars really, the Rorstan, Mildren and Rennmax BN3’s all owe their lives to Jochen’s dead BT23-5.

Jochen blasts off at the start of heat 1- wheel on the right is Rees. Stewart’s Matra MS5 behind his Austrian buddy, Brabham’s BT23 #1- behind Brabham is Gardner, BT23 and alongside him in the red helmet is Widdows’ similar car with the red/orange tipped nose to the right on the same grid row, Mike Spence Parnell ex-F1 Lotus 33 FVA (Getty)

The Snetterton ‘Guards 100’ was the first championship race for the new 1.6 litre Formula 2 which commenced on 1 January that year, the category was enormously popular and successful even if, from the off it was ‘Formula FVA’, with special mentions for the Ferrari Dino V6 and BMW M11 in-line four.

Rindt came into 1967 as the acknowledged F2 King and left it with his crown polished ever more brightly, a quick perusal of ‘F2 Index’ results suggests he won all of the rounds in which he started and finished- Snetterton, Silverstone, the Nurburgring and Tulln-Langelbarn.

He had a DNF, a puncture at Jarama, that race was won by Clark’s Lotus 48- whilst he was occupied elsewhere the other race wins were taken by Stewart at Enna, Gardner at Hockenheim and 1967 European Series Champion, Jacky Ickx in a Ken Tyrrell Matra MS5 FVA was victorious at Zandvoort and Vallelunga.

McLaren and Surtees, McLaren M4A and Lola T100 (V Blackman)

 

Surtees in Lola T100 ‘SL/100/4’ given I am bandying chassis numbers around. Surtees primary programs that year were leading Honda’s F1 campaign and his Team Surtees Can-Am Lola program in the US- busy boy. That’s Ickx’ Matra MS5 behind and Mike Spence, Lotus 33 further back

As a ‘Graded Driver’ Jochen was ineligible for F2 Championship points, so Ickx won in 1967 from Gardner’s works BT23 and Jean-Pierre Beltoise’ works Matra MS5, Piers Courage in John Coombs McLaren M4A, Alan Rees in the other Roy Winkelmann BT23 and Chris Irwin’s works Lola T100 FVA and T102 BMW.

Creation of a new category brings forth a wonderful commercial opportunity with Cosworth Engineering flogging heaps of FVA’s (putting aside the derivatives of the motor which followed and the DFV proof of cylinder head design concept Duckworth’s FVA in part represented), Hewland Engineering dozens of FT200’s and of course availed the chassis manufacturers a great opportunity too.

Jack’s new BT23-1 and new Hewland FT200- in front of that 5 speed transaxle is a Ford Cortina blocked, Cosworth four-valve, Lucas injected 1.6 litre circa 210 bhp powerhouse. Tauranac’s typically simple combo of spaceframe chassis and outboard suspension provided a phenomenally fast, chuckable, robust, winning combination year after year. I don’t think he ever built a dog- Brabham or Ralt?

 

Bruce McLaren is aboard chassis number 1 too. M4A-1 was the first of ? such cars, designed by the McLaren/Robin Herd combo

The class of 1967 included the monocoque Lotus 48, Matra MS5/MS7, Lola T100 and McLaren M4A but arguably the car of the year, even putting aside Rindt’s dominance as a driver, was the spaceframe Brabham BT23- bias hereby declared by the way! Perhaps the BT23/23C are the ‘winningest cars’ of that 1967-1971 1.6 F2 period?

I really should prove that assertion statistically I guess, when and if I can be bothered. ‘Nicer cars’ in my book are the Lotus 59 and 69, Matra MS5/MS7 and Ferrari Dino, but more successful, I’m not so sure.

Whatever the case, in this immediate pre-wing year these cars were and are a mouth watering, very fast selection of single-seater racing cars.

Jackie Stewart above and below in one of the two Tyrrell Racing Organisation Matra MS5’s-Ickx in the other car.

Another year of the GP BRM H16 in 1967 was one too many for Jackie, and so it was that Ken Tyrrell stitched together a winning F1 combination of Matra, the Ford Cosworth DFV, Stewart and of course his own team’s preparation and organisational skills.

Bruce McLaren is behind Jackie in the shot below.

Silverstone’s BARC 200 was run over two heats of a little over 30 minutes in duration, Rindt won both with John Surtees third in the two events, Alan Rees was second in one and Graham Hill runner-up in the other.

The aggregated results gave Rindt the round from Rees’ BT23, Surtees T100, Bruce’s M4A, Stewart’s MS5, Gardner’s BT23 and Jacky Ickx’ MS5.

The entry lists right from the get-go of the new category were top notch, other drivers who raced at Silverstone included Robin Widdows BT23, Mike Spence in a Tim Parnell ex-F1 Lotus 33 fitted with an FVA, Denny Hulme BT23 (DNF with a busted conrod in heat 2), Piers Courage M4A, Jean-Pierre Beltoise MS5, Jo Siffert in the BMW factory Lola T100 BMW (all three of whom had injection dramas) Mike Costin, Brian Hart and Trevor Taylor. The list of Did Not Arrives was equally impressive.

Siffert, Lola T100 BMW M11, fuel injection dramas brought an end to Jo’s run (unattributed)

Of twenty-four starters, four were fitted with Lotus-Ford twin-cam motors, Siffert’s Lola (above and below) the very interesting BMW M11 Apfelbeck, the balance were toting Ford FVA’s so Duckworth and the lads had the production line in Northhampton humming along nicely.

There were a couple of FVA users with Lucas injection dramas, but Denny’s buggered rod was the only example of greater mechanical mayhem in a package which proved a paragon of reliability over the ensuing years.

(unattributed)

 

This has to be the most distinctive, simple piece of personal branding ever- in colour or black ‘n white Hill G or Hill D are so easy to pick in their London Rowing Club colours aren’t they? Lotus 48 Ford FVA.

Sydneysiders had the chance to see a Euro F2 1.6 car earlier than most, Warwick Farm promoter Geoff Sykes did a one race deal for Graham to race Lotus 48 ‘R1’ in the Australian Grand Prix that February.

Having come all that way the car’s FT200 expired after 25 laps of the race, Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 2.1 prevailed, the series was won that year by Jim Clark racing an F1 Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre V8.

Graham raced ‘R2’ back in Europe with Jim Clark using ‘R1’ as his mount in 1968.

Stewart, BRM P261, Clark, Lotus 33 Climax and Hill, Lotus 48 Ford FVA, row 2 Brabham left Brabham BT23A Repco and Leo Geoghegan, Lotus 39 Climax and against the fence, Denny Hulme, Brabham BT18/22 Repco. AGP, Warwick Farm, February 1967 (B Wells)

 

Rindt and Hill- and Rees to the right jump similarly at the start of heat 2.

Thats Brabham, Surtees and McLaren on row two and Hulme, Gardner, Ickx and far right in the red McLaren- Piers Courage. The result was Rindt, Hill, Surtees.

(V Blackman)

Jochen with a delicate slide out of Woodcote, the proximity of ‘snappers to the action back then never ceases to amaze.

Rindt’s car control is right up there with the rest of the Gods of that art- Nuvolari, Fangio, Peterson, Villeneuve et al.

Etcetera…

Jack looks happy enough before the off.

Its only several weeks after the end of the Tasman Series- Brabham finished a pretty skinny series for the full on Repco-Brabham two car works assault on the championship that year well, he won the Longford final round in his one off Brabham BT23A on 5 March.

Two Repco ‘640’ engined cars were raced by Jack and Denny in all eight meetings of the six round championship- that season Levin and Teretonga were not championship rounds.

In fact there were a whole swag of blokes on that Silverstone grid who had raced in Australasia that summer- Stewart, Brabham, Gardner, Irwin, McLaren, Hill and Hulme- Clark was the only absentee from the roll-call.

(L Ruting)

Brabham fries a set of Goodyears and proves just how chuckable a BT23 can be in the hands of an Ace- AGP Warwick Farm 1967.

Its BT23A-1, JB’s 1967 Tasman weapon, a one-of-a-kind BT23 variant powered at that stage by a 640 Series Repco 2.5 litre Tasman V8, this machine is still in Australia, it was acquired by the National Motor Museum in 2018.

Article on the Tasman Brabham Repco’s here; https://primotipo.com/2016/09/29/bathurst-1969-and-jacks-tasman-brabhams/

(Getty)

An imperfectly executed pan of Hill’s Lotus 48 chasing Brian Hart’s Protos 16 FVA. Now there is a interesting marque topic to explore one day!

Who are those fellows looking after Bruce?

Piers Courage in John Coombs M4A behind McLaren, and in the photograph below. This car, ‘M4A-2’, Piers acquired from Coombs and raced in the 1968 Tasman and brained everybody with his speed and commitment.

He capped off an amazing summer with a blinding wet weather drive at Longford, his deft pace won the race from the 2.5’s which were hampered in their ability to put their power down on the slippery, bumpy bitumen.

The car was bought by Niel Allen at the end of the series, he did well in it and survived an almighty car destroying accident in it at Lakeside, it was rebuilt around a Bowin Designs built tub and then was one of the cars in which Warwick Brown made his name when owned by Pat Burke. Not so sure its still in Oz?

Article on Piers @ Longford here; https://primotipo.com/2015/10/20/longford-tasman-south-pacific-trophy-4-march-1968-and-piers-courage/

(LAT)

The photographs of the Courage McLaren in Australia below are during the Warwick Farm 100- he was second in the race won by Clark’s Lotus 49 Ford DFW.

The two monochrome photos below are during his victorious Longford weekend in March 1968, the great circuit’s final meeting.

(P Hudson)

Piers nipping the right front brake of M4A-2 on the entry to Mountford Corner during the dry, earlier over the Labour Day long weekend.

Courage ran the car on a shoestring assisted by Australian ex-Lotus mechanic Ray Parsons with two FVA’s, his performances that summer in many ways re-launched his career.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

It really did piss down on raceday, sadly for all, not least for the venues future, crowd numbers were way down although better than the ‘three men and a dog’ perspective provided by the shot below.

The hardy natives saw one of the great drives, Courage won from Pedro Rodriguez’ BRM P261 and Frank Gardner’s Brabham BT23 Alfa with Richard Attwood’s BRM P126 fourth.

(oldracephotos.com.au)

 

(unattributed)

‘And to think Jack pays me to do this shit! Its such a blast!’

Denny having a ball at Silverstone, he seems to have lost his front number but no doubt this was addressed by race day. The stars affixed to the cars are part of the Wills corporate identity i guess, sponsorship became less subtle from 1 January 1968!

Denny is racing BT23-2, his regular mount during 1967, although his primary commitments that year were winning the World Championship, which he managed nicely, and running the second of McLaren Cars, McLaren M6A Chevs in the Can-Am Challenge Cup- he was second to Bruce.

(D Simpson)

Max Stewart is shown above in the Mildren Waggott during the 1970 Sandown Cup, Tasman round.

Niel Allen won that day in his F5000 McLaren M10B Chev from Graeme Lawrence’s ex-Amon Ferrari Dino 246T, Ulf Norinder, Lola T190 Chev and then Max in the 2 litre Waggot TC-4V engined car- Max ‘won everything’ in Australia in this jigger including the 1971 Gold Star.

The photo is included for the sake of completeness to show one of the seven cars built by Bob Britton from the jig created from Rindt’s dead BT23-5, which these days of course is alive and well and racing in Europe.

Speaking of which, the photo below is of Denny ranging up on Lawrence Brownlie at Pukekohe during the 1968 NZ GP on 6 January in BT23-5, Lawrence’s car is a Brabham BT15/23 Ford t/c.

In a move which is still hotly debated by Kiwi enthusiasts decades later, Denny and Lawrence collided destroying both cars and ending Brownlie’s career.

(Classic Auto News)

1.6 F2 Reference Resource…

Most of you know Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com is a primary reference source for me inclusive of F2 1.6, click here for his F2 homepage and then navigate the site easily to look at seasons, individual races and in many cases car and individual chassis histories; https://www.oldracingcars.com/f2/

Here is one of my own pieces on the Lotus 48;

https://primotipo.com/2015/06/05/lotus-48-ford-fva-agp-warwick-farm-1967-graham-hill-and-jim-clark/

Credits…

Getty Images, LAT, F2 Index, oldracingcars.com, LAT, Lance Ruting, Paul Hudson, Dick Simpson, oldracephotos.com.au, Victor Blackman, Bruce Wells, Classic Auto News

Tailpiece: Six 210 bhp F2 Missiles whistle into Copse at speed…

(Getty)

Finito…

It’s the end of the swinging-sixties- the Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and others ‘Pop Art’ phase is in full bloom…

It’s interesting to look at the graphic design and advertising imagery of the period which is wonderfully full of it, the style even extended to some stickers in Australia’s ‘Racing Car News’ magazine.

For the princely sum of 20 cents the six decals would be in your letterbox within the week, don’t you love the immediacy of snail-mail? The cheap giveaway was a time honoured technique in the pre-internet days of building a database of potential customers, oh for simpler times when identity fraud was rare rather than something to be mindful of in our daily online interactions.

The cars and drivers are all well known to Australian enthusiasts and include some of the stars of the day many of whom I have written about in whole or in passing.

The first image is Kevin Bartlett’s Alec Mildren Racing Mildren Waggott ‘Yellow Submarine’, a car first raced by Frank Gardner in the 1969 Tasman Series and then used by KB to win the Gold Star later that season. Click here for more; https://primotipo.com/2017/11/14/missed-it-by-that-much/

Frank Matich’s Matich SR4 Repco was built to contest the 1968 Can-Am series but ran hopelessly late so crucified local opposition in the 1969 Australian Sportscar Championship instead. Click here for a long feature on it;

https://primotipo.com/2016/07/15/matich-sr4-repco-by-nigel-tait-and-mark-bisset/

Whilst the Niel Allen sticker says McLaren M10B, the car depicted is the M4A he acquired at the end of the 1968 Tasman Series from Piers Courage. This piece on the ’68 South Pacific Trophy at Longford, won by Courage tells a bit about this car; https://primotipo.com/2015/10/20/longford-tasman-south-pacific-trophy-4-march-1968-and-piers-courage/

The final three cars featured are Pete Geoghegan’s Australian built Mustang above (as in built for racing), Norm Beechey’s Holden HK Monaro GTS 327 with Bob Jane’s Shelby constructed Mustang as the ‘Tailpiece’. All of these machines are covered in an article I wrote about the 1969 Australian Touring Car Championship won by Geoghegan. Here ’tis; https://primotipo.com/2018/02/01/1969-australian-touring-car-championship/

 

Credits…

Bob Williamson Collection

Tailpiece…

Finito…