Matters of moment, April 1965

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Anticipation

Last month we referred to the greater variety which should enliven the 1965 motor-racing season. Certainly it is possible to look forward to this year’s races with considerable anticipation.

In the field of Grand Prix racing there is interest in speculating on how effective the new flat-16 Coventry-Climax engine will be in the hands of those fortunate enough to acquire one of these exciting power units. On paper this is a splendid piece of design work but it has come at the very end of the 1½-litre Formula, is untried on the circuits-and in limited supply, so that it is by no means certain that the Brabham, Cooper and Lotus cars thus powered will walk away from cars with the older Coventry-Climax V8 engines, or the B.R.M.s, which use their own make of racing engine. Couple this with speculation as to whether Honda will this season reach race-winning form, and the G.P. prospect is entirely encouraging. Already, at Brands Hatch, Spence in a Lotus has won our first important F.1 race.

The prospects in the sports-car and GT sphere are equally promising. There is the interest of seeing whether Ferrari, who has now dominated the Le Mans 24-hour race for five years in succession, can again stave off the threat of the American-engined GT cars, in this and the other classic long-distance races, the opposition embracing as it does cars like Carroll Shelby’s Ford GTs, the Lola Type 70, the Lotus 30, the McLaren-Elva, the Repco-Brabham BT17 and the A.C. Cobras, etc. They use 4.7-litre Ford V8 engines with the exception of the McLaren-Elva which initially has a 4.5-litre Oldsmobile V8 engine. The Anglo-American challenge to Italy is heavily loaded and already the Ford GT, which made fastest lap in Phil Hill’s hands at Le Mans last year, has finished in first and third places in the recent Daytona Continental 2,000 kilometres race. But can they vanquish the experienced Enzo Ferrari on European circuits? With such a question in the air and multi-litre GT cars battling for top honours, this class of motor racing will be far from dull.

Then there is the added interest of which tyres the successful car will be shod with, for although Dunlop gained supremacy over the Italian constructors of racing tyres some years ago, this year the American Goodyear and Firestone Companies, the latter supplying all the tyres for the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race up to this year, and both making tyres for Land Speed Record cars, will be competing directly against Dunlop. As in some quarters there is a belief that the tyre manufacturers keep back some of their rubber technique, letting out improvements to racing tyres a step at a time, rather as the pre-war record-breakers earned better bonus money by improving on a given speed or distance in gradual stages, it is possible that different tyres will be successful at different periods during the season.

Clearly, there is much to anticipate in the coming racing season. Further vivid attempts to lift the Land Speed Record above Arfons’ 536.7 m.p.h. and to better Campbell’s 403 m.p.h. with a “conventional” car are in the wind. New engines, Honda included, will enhance the interest in F.2 racing. Then the inclusion of front-engined 2-½ litre cars in Historic Car races will enliven this popular aspect of the Sport, although one hopes that such cars will be properly prepared and run on the correct fuel, for otherwise they could be damp squibs, at the mercy of the Hon. Patrick Lindsay’s pre-war E.R.A. Remus. As much of the appeal of such racing is a knowledge of the background of the competing cars, it is also to be hoped that the histories of the post-war interlopers will be correctly ascertained and that every 250F Masetati, for instance, will not inevitably be referred to as Fangio’s winning car. . . .

Wait until Easter!

Already organisers have paid the penalty of starting the British racing season before Easter, with the postponed B.R.S.C.C. Boxing Day Brands Hatch, a seriously curtailed B.A.R.C. programme at Silverstone on March 20th, and all B.R.S.C.C. racing suspended at Snetterton the following day, due to bad weather. The moral seems to be to revert to the tradition of regarding Easter as the proper time to open the new season.

I.R.S.

Although we were unable to accept Standard-Triumph’s invitation to drive to Geneva in the new 104-b.h.p. Triumph TR4A with all-round independent suspension we acknowledge that here is another maker convinced that i.r.s. is a worthwhile improvement. We hope to publish a report on the new TR4A and improved 67-b.h.p. Triumph Spitfire sports cars later on.

This year’s Brooklands Re-Union is scheduled to take place on the last Saturday in June.

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