The 19th British Grand Prix
A CLEAN SWEEP
BRANDS HATCH, ENGLAND, July 16th
THE R.A.C. organised the British Grand Prix this year and took it to the Brands Hatch circuit, where it had previously been held in 1964, and a day of racing and stunts was concluded by the 80-lap Grand Prix for Formula One cars. A large and representative entry was arranged, the outstanding omission being the Ferrari team, their absence being attributed to various causes, depending on which "spokesman" you listened to. It could have been because of general workers' strikes in Italy, or because Ferrari felt that he was wasting his time sending Parkes or Bandini to the acrobatic little Kentish circuit, or again it could have been because the starting money offered by the R.A.C. was not sufficient, or because Ferrari is getting tired of motor racing generally. Whatever the reason, the result was a complete absence of works Ferraris, which tended to make the event a motor race rather than a Grand Prix motor race.
Everyone else was there, even if some were not in very good order, but there was no question about the orderliness of the Brabham team for Brabham and Hulme had the two cars that had run so well at Reims, the new car of Hulme having a tidier exhaust system, with the bunch of pipes from each bank of cylinders outside the top radius arm instead of around it. Brabham Racing also entered their 4-cylinder Coventry-Climax-engined car for Chris Irwin, the Formula Three driver. Tearn Lotus were in a sorry state, with only one car ready for practice and the second one being worked on back at Cheshunt. With the H16 B.R.M. engine and gearbox back at Bourne for modifications, the Lotus 43 was out of action, but realising a little while ago that this B.R.M. project was not going to do them much good before the end of the season, Chapman approached CoventryClimax about continued use of the 2-litre V8 Climax engine, and they agreed and were even more helpful by producing bits to make another 2-litre V8 engine. Lotus responded by building another Type 33 chassis and it was planned that Clark should have the new one, which was R14, and Arundel' should take over R11. At the last moment trouble developed in the second 2-litre Climax engine and it could not be got ready in time, so R14 was completed for Clark and R11 was without an engine; Arundell being without a car. B.R.M. then "found" a spare 2-litre B.R.M. V8 engine and gearbox and Lotus set to work to install the unit in R11, which meant a lot of modifying, in particular moving the gear-lever and linkages from the right to the left, to suit the B.R.M. gearbox. It was not surprising that Arundell was without a car on the first day of practice. Who would try and be a racing car constructor without the facilities of your own engine design and building department?
The B.R.M. team, who do design and build their own engines and gearboxes, were not much better off for at Reims they had trouble with the gearbox and transmission of the H16 unit, which called for some re-thinking, and they had to rely on their Tasman 2-litre cars. With Stewart's car being wrecked at Spa they only had one left, the others having been sold, so that they had to snatch back the last one to return from the Far East, where it had been on exhibition, and prepare it for Stewart, while Graham Hill retained the one he had used at Reims and elsewhere. The Cooper team decided to run only two cars, for Rindt and Surtees, so Amon was out of work, but this enabled him to drive a McLaren in the supporting sports car race. The two team drivers had the cars they had driven at Reims, Rindt's being the one with the duct on the nose to feed air to the driver's feet, while Surtees no longer had the forward-facing air ducts on his engine.
The remainder of the entry was of single cars from teams or private owners, the regulars being Anderson with his bright green Brabham-Climax 4-cylinder, Siffert with the Walker team's Cooper-Maserati, Ligier with his own Cooper-Maserati, Gurney with the Eagle-Climax 4-cylinder, Bondurant with Bernard White's 2-litre B.R.M. V8, the owner having dropped the name Team Chamaco-Collect, Spence with Tim Parnell's Lotus-B.R.M. V8 and John Taylor with the Brabham-B.R.M. V8 belonging to David Bridges. The Swede Bonnier had an entry and some film-unit cars to choose from, none serious contenders, while Bruce McLaren made a reappearance with his white McLaren car using a new Serenissma engine, since the McLaren-Ford V8 unit was still not ready. To complete the entry there were two new 3-litre "specials" built by private enterprises; the first from Shannon Racing Cars (that inveterate special-builder Paul Emery and his associates) and the second from J. A. Pearce. Engineering in conjunction with Chris Lawrence. The Shannon was a one-off stressed-skin chassis frame, with pannier fuel tanks, powered by a 3-litre engine built from components of the 1954 Coventry-Climax 2½-litre V8 "Godiva" engine, coupled to a Colotti gearbox. The Pearce car was a 1965 works Cooper chassis. lengthened very neatly at the engine bay in order to take the V12 engine from the ex-Coombes white GTO Ferrari. It was joined to a Hewland gearbox, with new drive-shafts and axle-shafts and new "knock-off" alloy wheels.
The R.A.C. provided plenty of practice time, starting on Thursday morning at 10.30 a.m, in dry and windy weather, and going on until 1 p.m. Then later in the day there was a further hour between 4.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. and this excellent arrangement meant that any modifications found desirable during the morning practice could be tried out before the end of the day. The only snag was that some of the Grand Prix teams were parked on part of the paddock that was like a bomb site, while saloon cars in the supporting race were on good tarmac under shelter. No one seems to ask mechanics whether their conditions are suitable, yet they have to do the work and prepare the cars. Missing from the first practice were Arundell's Lotus, which was still being modified, the McLaren which was in the same state, as the engine was late in arriving from Italy, the Shannon-Climax and Bondurant's B.R.M. Jim Clark was late in arriving as he had to visit the doctor to see if his vision was now 100%, which it proved to be, so Arundell did some laps in R14 to see that all was well. Stewart was making his first appearance since his Spa accident, and looking fit and well, while Irwin was about to mix in with the "big boys" for the first time, having often had the opportunity of watching them.
Anyone who has watched Brabham and Hulme working together must have appreciated their complete accord and team spirit which has been growing all season. It was very obvious last year when Hulme first joined Brabham in Grand Prix racing, and this year it has been consolidated in a most impressive manner, and this must have affected the whole team, while the successes in Formula One and Formula Two have been putting Brabham and his whole entourage on a rising wave that is inevitably self-energising. The morning practice exemplified this state of affairs and Brabbam and Hulme finished up with equal times of 1 min. 34.8 sec., there being no serious opposition, either from the Cooper-Maseratis or the fast 2-litre machinery. Their lap times beat the existing Brands Hatch lap record, which Clark set up in 1965 with a time of 1 min. 35.4 sec.
In the afternoon Bondurant joined in the practice, while Anderson did not complete a lap due to a leak from the oil filter on his Climax engine. Bonnier was driving a Brabham-B.R.M. V8 belonging to M.G.M. and it was fitted with dummy exhaust pipes and painted red to make it look like a Ferrari, but Hollywood was "double-crossed" when the B.R.M. blew up almost as practice started! Once again the Brabham-Repco V8 cars were unchallenged and Hulme had time to show Irwin the way round, the Formula Three driver doing a very neat and tidy job of driving. Brabham improved on his morning time, reducing F.T.D. down to 1 min. 34.8 sec., an average of 100.63 m.p.h., which is remarkable for a circuit with no serious straights and lots of slow corners. Hulme was a bit slower than he had been in the morning, but nevertheless was still second fastest. Clark and Hill in their 1965 model 2-litre cars were remarkably well matched, just as they had been in the 1964 Grand Prix when they drove similar models with 1½-litre engines. The Cooper-Maseratis did not seem at all happy on the Brands Hatch circuit and neither Rindt nor Surtees could beat the 2-litre cars. Stewart was doing a lot of laps but not going very fast, obviously feeling his way back wisely if gently.
On Friday morning there was practice from 10.30 a.m. to. 12.30 p.m., again under dull but dry skies and the Brabham team still did not have to bother unduly, Brabliam himself being content to scrub in some tyres, while Hulme's best was a comparatively slow 1 nun. 35.6 sec. which still netted him the fastest time of the morning. Revelation of the morning was to see good old Gurney really having a go with the Eagle. At Spa and Reims there was no incentive for Gurney to put any effort into his driving for the low-powered 2.7-litre Climax engine would have lost on the fast straights any time he might have made up on the corners. At Brands Hatch, where maximum speed is of academic interest only, it was worth putting some effort into cornering and this occasion coincided with Len Terry getting the Eagle's handling well adjusted and to Gurney's liking. The result was the fine sight of Gurney at his best and a time of 1 min. 35.8 sec., which put him securely on the front row of the grid. When the Eagle gets its rightful V12 engine and more than 300 b.h.p. Gurney is going to be back where he really belongs, which is right up at the front. The Shannon-Climax got going for this practice and Trevor Taylor drove it, while poor Arundell managed to qualify in the hastily converted R11 Lotus, and Bonnier turned out in yet another fake Ferrari for the film-makers, this time a Brabham-Climax V8, it being the one he used to drive for Rob Walker last year.
For anyone who still felt they had something to learn there was an hour of untimed and unofficial practice at the end of the day. For this how it rained, but it did provide Hill with the opportunity to try Goodyear tyres in the wet, and for Stewart to rehabilitate himself in bad conditions, for the Brands Hatch track was very slippery with rain on a layer of rubber that must be almost permanent by now, with the constant use of the track by all manner of vehicles.
By the time the Grand Prix was due to start around mid-afternoon on Saturday, rain had fallen and was still drizzling down, so the R.A.C. wisely extended the "warm-up" lap to number of laps and at some points the more powerful cars looked as though they were driving on ice. All 20 cars were present on time, though some were not absolutely correct and the Hollywood film-makers had "got at" Parnell's entry so that his Lotus-B.R.M. V8 was red instead of its usual dark green and Spence had a white helmet painted with a circle of red dashes to make, it look like Parkes' helmet, instead of his own yellow-hued helmet. Bonnier was still in the "phoney pherrari," no doubt more intent on being a film star than a Grand Prix driver and one wondered if Enzo Ferrari realised his abstention was giving the film producers ulcers. One suspects that B.R.M. are not co-operating in the comedy for some of their mechanics were wearing the usual orange overalls and others were wearing red overalls. [How easy life would be if the colour film had not been invented.] However, to the serious business of the day, everyone was delighted to see Gurney on the front row of the grid, alongside Brabham and Hulme, making a complete front row on Goodyear tyres, while next in row two was Graham Hill racing on Goodyear tyres for the first time, while alongside him was Clark with Firestone tyres on his Lotus, and behind these two a row of Dunlop runners.
Right from the start Brabham leapt into the lead, followed by Gurney, while Hulme got hemmed in during the rush up to Druids Corner and Surtees and Hill collided unintentionally and the B.R.M. got a bent wishbone, but they both pressed on. Anderson was late away from the start, losing a lap, and the Shannon expired on the opening lap, but the remaining 18 runners got on with the racing. Brabham was in terrific form, the Repco V8 engine running perfectly, the Brabham chassis handling to perfection, and it was sheer joy to watch Jack Brabham enjoying himself, sliding the corners with beautiful precision and leaving everyone behind him. Having got himself all fouled up on the opening lap, Denis Hulme just could not get into his stride and was down in mid-field. The rain had not developed, but the track was still wet and appallingly slippery so that there was a lot of slipping and sliding about, Rindt spinning right round and continuing at unabated speed, already having got past Gurney. The situation had settled into Brabham leading from Rindt, then Gurney and Surtees in close company, followed by the expected Clark/Hill duel, and Stewart, McLaren, Hulme and Siffert in a bunch that was obviously going to sort itself out as time went on. Gurney's race was very short-lived as his engine went sick on lap 7 just as the track began to dry out and some semblance of tyre grip began to appear, and after making his own fastest lap of the race he had to retire. Rindt's spin had lost him his contact with Brabham, and now Surtees closed up on him, while Stewart seemed to wake up to the fact that he was racing again and caught up with the Clark/Hill two-some and got between them. In only 10 laps Bondurant, Arundell, Lawrence and Bonnier had all been lapped, the last-named even being lapped by a group consisting of Spence, McLaren, Ligier and Irwin.
The two works Cooper-Maserati drivers could still see Brabham ahead of them, but had no hope of closing up on him, while Stewart had his engine go sick on him and after a stop at the pits to try and rectify the misfire he was forced to retire as something had broken inside the engine. Surtees had got by Rindt, into second place, but as the track dried the Coopers seemed to handle worse and both drivers were having "moments" on corners where Brabham and the others just motored through. As the race went on, with Brabham gaining more and more lead, the two Coopers kept close company for second and third places, and Hill and Clark continued to race against each other for fourth place, while Hulme was at last getting into his stride and closing up, being in sixth position since Stewart went out. Whereas the Coopers were losing ground on the dry track, being on "wet" tyres, Hill and Clark were benefiting and urging each other on so that they caught up with the 3-litre Maserati-engined cars. Hulme was close behind them as they got in with the Cooper cars and after Hill had got by Rindt, with Clark following him through, he dived inside Surtees at South Bank Corner with smoke pouring from a locked rear wheel as he stood on the brakes, and was then firmly in second place. By now 30 laps had gone and Brabham had 23-sec. lead over the 2-litre B.R.M., and next lap Clark and Hulme got by Surtees, so the order was Brabham-Repco, B.R.M., Lotus-Climax, Brabham-Repco, and the two works Cooper-Maseratis, everyone else being lapped. Arundell was a long way back after delays with the gear-change on his hastily-prepared Lotus-B.R.M. V8 and finally gave up the unequal struggle. Siffert had a pit stop to investigate overheating, which put him at the back of the field, and these troubles let the steady runners gain places. McLaren was running regnlarly with a very confident Chris Irwin following him round, doing a nice job and justifying the loan of the works Brabham-Climax. Hulme was continually pressing the Hill/Clark duet, but they were not going to relax and give the New Zealander an easy second place, but on lap 37 he was between them and two laps later he was in second place. At half-distance, or 40 laps, the order was Brabham, comfortably out on his own, with Hulme aiming to join him, then Hill and Clark still at it and undisturbed by the passage of Hulme. while Surtees and Rindt, in that order, were struggling along in fifth and sixth places. Then came McLaren, Irwin, John Taylor, Ligier, Bondurant and Lawrence, the Pearce Cooper-Ferrari V12 running very consistently, if not very fast, which was better than being in and out of the pits all the time like some cars. Clark's brakes seemed to be disappearing and on lap 45 his brake pedal went right down and he was lucky to scrabble round the next bend; he pulled into the pits and it was found that the reservoir was empty of fluid. After having it refilled he was back in the race and the brakes gradually improved, but he had lost a lap and was behind the works Coopers on the track.
The race was now all over, providing no mechanical trouble intervened, for Brabham and Hulme looked so confident that one felt that nothing could alter the situation, and certainly Graham Hill in third place was not going to give them any trouble. Suttees was very unhappy in his Cooper-Maserati, the handling appearing to deteriorate steadily, and when he spun on lap 55 it was obvious that something had gone wrong. It was suspected to be the limited-slip differential. After struggling along for some more laps Surtees finally had to give up, leaving Rindt to keep the Cooper flag flying. Clark was going very fast again and steadily made up the lap he had lost on Rindt, catching him five laps before the end. In the closing laps Hill saw his oil pressure sinking on the corners and had to slow down considerably and nurse his car along, with his fingers crossed, but his third place was safe providing the engine didn't break. This trouble meant that the two Brabham-Repco V8 cars lapped Hill as they finished the race a triumphant 10 sec. apart from each other, and Clark and Rindt followed these three home. McLaren was content to have finished a trouble-free run, and Irwin had done just what was expected of him, finishing just behind McLaren. Of the remaining runners Taylor finished a non-stop run, to follow up his Reims performance, Bondurant was regular but not on his usual form, while Ligier at last managed to finish and qualify, while the Cooper-Ferrari V12 ran to the end and Siffert brought up the rear with Anderson.
While it had not been an exciting race for first place, everyone seemed more than satisfied with the outcome, especially as Brabham had dominated the scene from the beginning of practice its well as from the beginning of the race.
This question of the winning car in Grand Prix racing having the owner at the wheel is indeed rare and I cannot recall the last time it happened. Must be back in the 1920s, with the Maserati brothers.
After seeing the Spa chaos the R.A.C. wisely curbed the enthusiasm of the M.G M. film-makers, limiting their activities during practice and the race, and the Americans behaved like gentlemen and did not overstep the mark.
It was a day of fun, spectacle and music for the 50,000-strong who spectated, from helicopter to jet-planes, "flying me " propelled by jets to "floating me " on parachutes, and military bands to Chris Barber jazz. There was some motor racing as well.
With B.R.M. running Graham Hill's car on Goodyear tyres, it was a 1-2-3 victory for Fred Gamble and his Goodyear team, with Firestone fourth and Dunlop fifth.
Of the two new Formula One "specials" that appeared, one died on the opening lap and the other ran to the finish; such are the fortunes of racing.
19th BRITISH GRAND PRIX - Formula One - 80 laps - 341 kilometres
Damp and dry
1st: J. Brabham (Brabham-Repco V8 - 3-litre) (Entrant: Brabham Racing Organisation) 2hr. 13 min. 13.4 sec. - 153.661 k.p.h.
2nd: D. Hulme (Brabham-Repco V8 - 3-litre) (Entrant: Brabham Racing Organisation) 2hr. 13 min. 23.0 sec
3rd: G. Hill (B.R.M. V8 - 2-litre) (Entrant: Owen Racing Organisation) 79 laps
4th: J. Clark (Lotus-Climax V8 - 2-litre) (Entrant: Team Lotus) 69 laps