Notes on the cars in the Race of Champions

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The Ferrari factory sent three cars, all with 3-litre V12-cylinder engines, three valves per cylinder, two sparking plugs per cylinder and with four overhead camshafts. Two of the cars were those used at Monza last year while the third had a new version of the 36-valve engine, the three cars being similar to one another as regards chassis and suspension; the two 1966 cars were driven by Scarfiotti and Amon, and Bandini had the new car. The 1966 engines, it will be recalled, had two inlet and one exhaust valve to each cylinder with a combustion chamber that was half pent-roof and half hemispherical, the bore and stroke being 77 x 53.5 mm. The inlet tracts ran vertically down between the camshafts on each bank of cylinders and the exhaust ports were on the outside of heads. On the 1967 engine the camshafts have been reversed and while the inlet ports are still down between the camshafts, the exhaust ports are now on the inside of the heads, the twelve pipes forming a very complex bunch in the vee of the engine. This is the logical layout when using inlet ports running down between the camshafts, and is also used by B.R.M. on their V8 engines, Honda on their 12-cylinder 3-litre, and Ford on their Indianapolis engines. The Ferraris were using 5-speed gearboxes and very thick perforated brake discs and stuck to coil ignition with two 12 cylinder distributors and four coils, an alternator being built into the rear of the gearbox at the extreme end of the car. The latest car also had a revamped nose cowling with improved air ducts, this being a prototype nose in aluminium before a fibre-glass mould is made.

Gurney’s A.A.R.-Eagle team fielded two of their immaculate blue cars with white stripes, both having the Weslake V12-cylinder engine, running on Lucas fuel injection and with Lucas transistor ignition. The four very long exhaust pipes no longer have megaphone ends and the inlet trumpets are short by comparison to some other engines. Gurney was driving the second Grand Prix Eagle to be built, that first appeared at Monza last year, the first car having a 4-cylinder Coventry-Climax engine installed. A brand-new car, the third to be completed in the Grand Prix series, for A.A.R. have built numerous Indianapolis cars, was to all intents and purposes identical to the second car, complete with V12-cylinder Weslake engine and was driven by Ginther. This car had a special seat formed in aluminium, mounted well forward to allow for Ginther’s lack of height, especially compared with Gurney. On their test beds down in Sussex the Eagle engine had been giving a consistent horsepower reading of over 400 b.h.p. and the team felt confident that they would be competitive. The Eagle chassis that Len Terry designed for A.A.R. last year was well proven by the end of that season and obviously was ready to cope with the new engine when it was raceworthy.

Honda Motors of Tokyo sent, one car for John Surtees to drive, this Honda-Surtees set-up now being based at Slough, not far from Lola Cars and Eric Broadley. The Honda was one of the bulky V12-cylinder 3-litre cars, as Surtees raced in South Africa and was depicted on the front cover of Motor Sport for February.

The Cooper team, sponsored by the recently re-organised Chipstead Group of Jonathan Sieff, which is now known as the Cooper Group of Companies, entered Rindt and Rodriguez with Cooper-Maserati V12 cars, as used last year but lightened and improved in detail. Rindt’s car was fitted with a 5-speed Hewland gearbox, while Rodriguez was using a 5-speed ZF gearbox. There was a third car, which Rindt used in practice, which had a modified Maserati engine, this unit having its two 12-pole distributors mounted back to back instead of the more usual side-by-side layout. Also on this engine both distributors had alternators built into the drive, instead of only one alternator as on the other engines.

The Brabham Racing Organisation entered two 1966 Brabham-Repco V8 cars as used in South Africa at the beginning of the year, for Brabham and Hulme, the engines being the 1966 versions as the new one with exhaust ports in the centre of the vee is not yet ready in 3-litre form. Anderson was driving his own Brabham with 2.75-litre Coventry-Climax engine, the car still painted blue with a silver stripe as in Africa. There were no works B.R.M. cars entered but Tim Parnell’s team was running a works 3-litre H16-cylinder B.R.M. with Spence as driver, and he also ran one of his own Lotus 25 cars with 2-Iitre V8 engine, which Irwin drove. There were no Team Lotus cars entered, their only likely winning car, the 2-litre Lotus-Climax V8 not being back from the Tasman races. The Matra factory entered one of their Formula Two cars with new 1,600 c.c. Cosworth-Ford FVA 4-cylinder engine, which Beltoise drove, and Ken Tyrrell entered a similar car for Jackie lckx; the French entry was painted blue and the British one green. These two cars were having to carry 130 lb. of ballast in order to bring them up to the minimum weight limit for Formula One and this dampened their performance a bit. Other entries were McLaren with his 1967 Formula Two-based car, described in last month’s Motor Sport, fitted with a 2-litre B.R.M. V8 engine, the Walker/Durlacher Cooper-Maserati of last year, driven by Siffert, the similar car of Guy Ligier, the Cooper-based Pearce car with Ferrari GTO engine driven by Lawrence, and the modified Lotus chassis with 3-litre Martin V8 engine of the Charles Lucas Racing Team. There should have been two new Pearce constructed cars with Martin V8 engines, but they were not finished in time due in delays in the supply of parts.— D. S. J.

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