Posts Tagged ‘Monaco Grand Prix 1965’

It’s amazing given that the Monaco quayside was unguarded for so many decades, that only two drivers took involuntary Monte Carlo Harbour dips, Ascari, aboard a Lancia D50 in 1955, and Hawkins in a Lotus 33 Climax a decade later.

The Australian was still making his name, while Ascari was at the top of his game, and enjoying somewhat of a renaissance at the wheel of Vittorio Jano’s masterpiece. The fates of both Monaco bathers were similar, both died aboard sports-racers. Poor Ascari in a pointless testing accident aboard a Ferrari 750 Monza at Monza on May 25, 1955, only three days after Monaco. Hawkeye died a grisly, fiery, probably component failure caused death aboard a Lola T70 Mk3B Chev at Oulton Park on May 26, 1969.

Paul Hawkins in the ex-Clark/Spence Lotus 33 Climax R8 early in the 1965 Monaco GP (MotorSport)
Alberto Ascari, Lancia D50 ahead of the Maserati 250F shared by Jean Behra and Cesare Perdisa. Monaco 1955 (unattributed)

In 1955 Ascari inherited the lead after the Mercedes W196 duo of JM Fangio and Stirling Moss dominated the first half of the race; Fangio retired with transmission trouble, then Moss blew an engine on lap 80. Ascari approached the chicane too quickly – perhaps distracted by crowd reaction to Moss’ retirement, or the lapped Cesare Perdisa behind – and burst through hay bales and sand bags into the harbour, having missed a huge steel bollard by only centimetres.

The Lancia bubbled to the bottom of the harbour while the crowd were mesmerised with fear for his safety, only three seconds passed before Ascari’s familiar blue-helmet appeared above the surface. He was taken aboard a boat, with a broken nose, but otherwise ok.

Ascari a split second before his swim (unattributed)
One shaken and plenty stirred Lancia D50 being recovered from the depths after the race (MotorSport)

Lancia had given dispensation to Ascari to race a Ferrari 750 Monza with his friend, Eugenio Castelotti in the Monza 1000km on May 29. Ascari travelled to Monza only to watch Castellotti test the car, then decided late in the day to do a few laps wearing jacket, tie and Castellotti’s helmet. On his third lap he inexplicably crashed on the high-speed Curva del Vialone, he died within minutes of having been thrown out of the somersaulting car.

All of Italy grieved.

Tin Tin Ascari cartoon

Wonderful Alberto Ascari portrait from El Grafico, an Argentinian magazine. 1950 Ferrari 125

British Boys Own Character – WW2 Spitfire pilot, highly credentialled amateur racer and man of independent means – James Richard ‘Dickie’ Stoop (July 30, 1920-May 19, 1968) acquired the first Lotus 33, chassis R8, for Paul Hawkins use in early 1965. See here for its history; Lotus 33 R8 race history | OldRacingCars.com

The Equipe’s first race was at the Sunday Mirror Trophy at Goodwood in mid-May, there Hawkins started from the rear of the grid after mechanical dramas which continued in the race, he was out after one lap with oil scavenge problems. Jim Clark won in a Lotus 25 Climax.

The BRDC International Trophy followed at Silverstone a month later. He had a better weekend, qualifying on the second last row and finishing tenth, up front was Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 and John Surtees Ferrari 158.

Then it was off to Monte Carlo for Hawkins’ championship debut.

He qualified the car 14th and was running well, then, on lap 80 (of 100) he clipped the barrier on turn-in, causing the car to turn sharp-left – between the bollards, exactly as Ascari had managed – then sank 10 metres to the bottom. “Only when it settled on the bottom and rescue divers arrived did Hawkins extricate himself, take a huge gulp of air from the proffered mouthpiece and rocket back up to the surface,” John Smailes wrote.

The elegance of simplicity belies the deep underlying insights of Lotus 25/33 conception. Paul Hawkins flat-chat in R8 at Monaco in 1965 (MotorSport)
It ain’t perfect, but David Hudson’s shot catches Hawkins mid-flight just before splashdown (MotorSport)

“He’d had the extraordinary presence of mind to hit the engine kill-switch just as the car entered the water, saving the very expensive motor owned by the very poor team from instant destruction. It was dried out and used again in the following Grand Prix.”

R8 recovery post race. That the car is upside down makes you wonder if that is the way it settled on the bottom of the harbour. And therefore that Hawkeye made his escape on the way down – which cannot have been easy (Getty)

Well, not quite actually! While Paul was ok, the team missed both following GPs at Spa and Silverstone while the car was dried out, and carefully made-good, before reappearing at the Nurburgring on August 1.

Paul again failed to finish, having qualified 19th, he was out with undisclosed mechanical dramas after four of the 15 laps.

It was the final race for Paul aboard R8, Stoop sold it to MGM for a planned film, it then passed via Jo Siffert to Sweden’s principal museum of modern art, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, where it remains as a prized exhibit. 

No shortage of comedians during the German GP weekend. R8 looks no worse the wear for its dunking two months before! (MotorSport)
Paul Hawkins at right, with fellow Porsche colleagues, Huschke von Hanstein, and co-driver Rolf Stommelen, after winning the 1967 Targa Florio in a Porsche 910 (MotorSport)
Dickie Stoop aboard his Porsche 911S at Snetterton, March 24, 1968 (MotorSport)

Etcetera…

Dickie Stoop : Autosport Obituary May 24, 1968.

“It is very sad to have to record the death during a club meeting at Croft last Sunday of Dickie Stoop. Apparently Dickie suffered a coronary thrombosis and died at the wheel of his Porsche 911S, which veered off the track into the bank.

James Richard Stoop had been an amateur racing driver of considerable standing for many years. His first race was the supporting F3 event at the Daily Express Silverstone in 1948, when he drove a GS1, and over the last 20 years he campaigned many types of car, but remained faithful for most of his racing to the marque Frazer-Nash.

He competed at Le Mans no fewer than 10 times: in 1950 he was 9th overall and won the 2-litre class, in 1951 he was 19th and in 1955 he was 10th. In 1958 he drove the works spaceframe AC into 8th place, again winning his class. He also took part in long-distance racing at Spa, Rouen, Montlhery and elsewhere, and in 1964 was 3rd overall in the Rand 3 hours co-driving Peter Sutcliffe’s E-type.

He performed prolifically in club racing, not only in Frazer-Nashes but also in triumphs, Healeys, a D-Type Jaguar and a Lotus 11. He also drove a Formula 2 Cooper in the late ‘50s, and with the passing of Frazer-Nash line he transferred his loyalties to Porsche. His successive Type 356 Carreras, registered YOU 4 and 5 HOT, brought him a lot of wins; having been co-victor in the 1959 Autosport Championship with the Sebring Frazer-Nash, he won the Autosport 3 hours at Snetterton the following year in YOU 4 after a tremendous battle with Chris Summers’ Elite, won his class in 1961, and then won the 2-litre division of the championship in 1962 and 1963. He also had a few races with an RS60 Porsche Spyder, and in 1964 drove a 904.

More recently he had concentrated on club production sports car racing with his silver 911S Porsche, also registered YOU 4; this car was a frequent class winner. A retired RAF officer, he was only 47.”

Credits…

MotorSport, Getty Images, Allen Brown’s Oldracingcars.com, ‘Formula One: The Australian and New Zealand Story’ John Smailes

Tailpiece…

Alberto Ascari chases teammate Eugenio Castellotti, superb MotorSport image, Lancia D50s, Monaco 1955.

Finito…