Broadspeed beat the regulations
APART FROM a break last year, Broadspeed Engineering, the Southam Warwickshire based team, have been preparing Ford racing saloon cars for the factory since the middle 1960s. This season, following a brief flirtation with BMW, the fast talking Ralph Broad is back flying the Ford banner in a bigger and better way than ever before. Broad’s firm has already built six complete Capri RS2600 body chassis units which form the basis of the cars to be raced by the Ford of Cologne team in Europe during 1973. The main difference from last year are re-styled flared wing panels which give the cars a considerably different look, a special ram airbox incorporated in the fibreglass bonnet to give latest Weslake-prepared 320 b.h.p. V6 engine a little bit of boost and slightly revised suspension lay-out.
But Broad is also running a Capri RS2600 in the British Saloon Car Championship and another one in the similar Belgium competition and these two cars are to act as test-beds to try new ideas which may later he incorporated on the European cars if they prove successful. The British-based car is to be driven by David Matthews, who raced a Broadspeed Escort SS last year, and is sponsored by Shellsport and Lindrick Finance. Last month after working night and day to finish the car, Broadspeed brought it along to Silverstone to commence shake-down tests and give the journalists a ride round. This plot unfortunately floundered because the car first developed a steering fault and later blew off an oil pipe so the joy rides were out, although we were given the chance of a ride round in an Escort prepared by Broad to contest the British Championship in the Vince Woodman/Team Esso Uniflo colours.
However, we were able to inspect Broad’s interesting new Capri at close quarters and find that he had managed to circumnavigate the rather loosely written regulations regarding the suspension, with a unique solution. The best way to describe the idea is to use Broad’s own words: “We have taken a leaf out of the Railway Engineer’s Handbook, for they have traditionally mounted their suspension and springing outside the wheels. Car design has always dictated the reverse in an effort to stop the vehicle falling over and, as a result, racing cars have always used utilised very strong and hard spring, damper and suspension settings.
“Our car breaks away from this latter concept entirely by placing the whole suspension and spring set up at each corner of the car enabling the springbase to be outside the wheelbase itself. The effect of this is to give the car a gentle ride and very little roll on soft settings. In addition one is able to overcome dive and squat characteristics and the overall effect gives a very well-balanced car.”
The way Broad has achieved this within, he considers, the regulations applying to Group 2 cars is intriguing. He has retained the normal racing suspension units front and rear although the springs and dampers are really only slave units having no effect. He has then mounted remotely additional spring damper units at the far corners of the car within the wheel-arches and operated them with a system of links rather like the rocker arms. It is a complicated arrangement that is difficult to understand in the metal, let alone explain on paper. The links are all mounted on additional brackets which are allowed, and nowhere in the regulations are additional springs and dampers banned. There could still be some legal squabbles over the set-up but one has the feeling that Broad was, rather looking forward to a confrontation with the RAC’s enigmatic eligibility scrutineers. At the time of writing the car had not raced but by the time you read this Matthews will have taken part in the Race of Champions saloon car event. If he does well and passes the scrutineers then one can be sure that Broad’s unusual theories have worked—they usually do.
Broad says the development of the prototype car without the engine will be over £25,000 and he is offering replicas at £12,500 including spares and already has two orders from the USA. A racing Escort RS comes a little cheaper at £9,000—expensive business this saloon car racing.
As well as running the Capri for Matthews, Broadspeed have also built and will run a pair of Escorts for the Vince Woodman team previously mentioned. Woodman will race a car powered by a 1300 BDA engine and last year’s Escort Mexico Champion, Andy Rouse, who works for Broadspeed, will drive the similar but 2-litre BDA-prepared example. Woodman took me round the Grand Prix circuit for five laps during his running-in period and this was enough to convince me that he will be a hard man to beat in the 1,300 c.c. class this year. The BDA engine screams up to over 10,000 r.p.m. (although Vince was using only 9,000 for testing) and the car handles like a Formula Three. It was great fun although when the car is being driven in anger, which it wasn’t, things would probably get rather more hectic.
More Barclays money for Edwards
Barclays International, Europe’s largest International bank, announced last month that not only would they continue to sponsor a motor-racing team but would enlarge it to three cars and increase the value of the backing of the team to over £40,000. The man on the receiving end is of course the 30-year-old former Durham University graduate Guy Edwards who last year finished third in the 2-litre European Sports Car Championship, with the Barclays-backed Lola T290.
For the coming season Edwards will again race for Barclays in 2-litre sports car events but also in Formula 5000, a class in which he dabbled last year with an uncompetitive car. The sports car plan includes two brand new Lola T292s, a fully works-backed car for Edwards to be entered under the banner Barclays International Team Lola while a second similar machine will be raced by American Jim Bushy.
In addition Barclays International in association with Northern enthusiast John Butterworth and Amoco Petroleum will he running a brand new Lola T330 Formula 5000 car for Edwards in all the rounds of the Rothmans Championship. Barclays say that this increased participation is the direct result of a successful initial year in the terms of both track success and, just as important, the fulfilment of promotional objectives.