Industry insight: Lotus cars
Finally it was time to see how a decade of Esprit progress felt in motion.…
Rouen (July 9th)
Most of the star Grand Prix drivers were taking part in this race, except for Gurney who does not approve of top league drivers playing in a lesser league, so that Ferrari’s first sortie with his new car and new driver had little chance of shining. This was Jonathan Williams’ first Formula Two race in any car, so he was left rather breathless by Clark, Hill, Stewart, Brabham, Hulme, Rindt and McLaren, apart from regular F.2 drivers like Rees, Beltoise, Servoz-Gavin and Schlesser. Nothing like throwing your apprentice into the lion’s den to see what he is made of.
The F.2 Brabhams, Lotuses, McLaren and Matra were all going very fast on the splendid circuit of Rouen-les-Essarts, one of Europe’s best circuits, and all seemed set for a terrific race, but it all went wrong and Rindt won with ease. Trouble began when Clark had a rear tyre puncture, on his works Lotus-Cosworth FVA, when he was just behind Stewart (Matra), and as the Lotus spun and went across the road it struck Brabham’s car and both were badly bent. Rindt (Brabham-Cosworth) was in the bunch but was missed and McLaren was able to dodge, but it caused him to lose contact with Rindt and Stewart. Then Rindt spun on one of the hairpin bends and Stewart looked all set to win, but he also spun on the same hairpin and struck a wall which tore off both left-hand wheels. This left Rindt to win easily from McLaren.
Hill in the second works Lotus had gear-selector rod trouble in the opening laps, but then got going and challenged Rindt for fastest lap, even though he was three laps behind. Hulme went out very early when his transmission broke, leaving him stranded on the back of the circuit, while Beltoise joined the wreckers, getting all out of line under braking and bending the nose of his Matra. Rees had a rear spring unit break and after it was changed he rejoined the race and finished. Oliver had a great battle with Schlesser and Servoz-Gavin until the Lotus 41 pulled a rear wishbone mounting away from the chassis, and Servoz-Gavin went out with a broken brake pipe on his Matra. The Ferrari did not last long, suffering from a slipping clutch, but in practice Williams had lapped at 2 min. 06.6 sec. against Rindt’s fastest of 2 min. 01.9 sec. —- D. S. J.
Hockenheim (July 9th)
With the prestige and financial aspects attracting most of the Formula Two circus to the French Championship race at Rouen there were only nine of the genuine Cosworth FVA-powered machines at the fast wooded German circuit near Mannheim. The rest of the field was made up with Ford twin-cam-engined cars. However, the German race qualified for the fourth round for the European Trophy for non-graded drivers and previous scorers Ickx, Irwin, Gardner and Courage were again after points, although the Trophy leader, Alan Rees, surprisingly went to Rouen.
B.M.W.s were still in trouble with their engines and although they had entered two cars did not show up, so apart from the Gardner and Irwin entries the only works machines were the two Ron Harris-sponsored, Frank Costin-designed and constructed Protoi and the outclassed Coopers. After a series of accidents the Frenchman Offenstadt had been dropped from the Harris team and his place was taken by the Mexican Rodriguez. Rodriguez was the only graded driver present and for him it was his first drive in 1,600-c.c. Formula Two.
The Germans seemed to have inherited the rather cumbersome two-part race system employed regularly in England but further complicated matters by making one part twice as long as the other for no apparent reason. Fortunately they worked on combined times and not places.
Surtees’ decision to step down and let Irwin take his place in the only serviceable Lola was fully justified in practice when the B.R.M. “cub” driver was easily the quickest leading Ickx (Matra), Rodriguez (Protos) and Widdows (Brabham).
The first and shorter race was closely fought with Rodriguez leading for most of the distance, but his driving became wild in an attempt to hold off Irwin and Gardner and he spun. Gardner just won in the final dash to the line from Irwin, while Courage was third ahead of Rodriguez and Hart who was in the second of the wooden monocoque cars.
A bunch of five cars soon broke away from the rest in the second part with the previous first five, bar Courage who had an early spin, joined by Ickx in the Matra, which had retired in part one with a broken clutch. Rodriguez again did most of the leading but he made another error, this time taking off Irwin in the process and damaging the rear suspensions of the two cars. This left Ickx, Gardner and Hart to settle the lead, and the verdict finally went to the Belgian although he had no chance in the overall placings. Gardner was inches behind in second place, with Hart third and Courage fourth.
On overall placings Gardner was easily the winner, with Hart, who brought the lap record down to exactly two minutes, in second place. Courage was third, while Widdows, the winner of a recent Hockenheim F.2 race, was placed fourth although he retired with clutch trouble in part one with two laps still to go. — A. R. M.
1st: F. Gardner (Brabham BT23-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Motor Racing Developments Ltd.) … 1 hr. 32 min. 48.3 sec.
2nd: B. Hart (Harris Costin Protos-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Ron Harris Racing Division)
3rd: P. Courage (McLaren M4A-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: John Coombs)
4th: R. Widdows (Brabham 13T23-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Witley Racing Syndicate).
5th: I. Raby (Brabham BT14-Ford T/C)
6th: A. Rollinson (Cooper T82-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Gerard Cooper Racing)
7th: A. Fletcher (Brabham BT18-Ford T/c.)
Fastest lap: B. Hart, 2 min, 00.0 sec. — 203.7 k.p.h.
Langenlebarn (July 16th)
Following the Formula Two calendar clash of the previous week, the circus were re-united the day after the British G.P. at the rough, makeshift airfield circuit of Tulln-Langenlebarn near the Austrian capital of Vienna. Although the organisational team were keen they only had limited resources and so decided to invite four graded drivers, Hill, Clark, Brabham and Rindt, plus the leading contenders in the European Trophy for which the race counted. Apart from the three Matra drivers Beltoise, Servoz-Gavin and Ickx, most of the top contenders did not arrive until Sunday, and the majority by courtesy of Jack Brabham airways!
The hour and a half session was enough for them all to learn the straw-bale-lined track which was being used for the first time, although Beltoise’s best time of the previous day still left him in pole position.
Rindt scorched off into the lead in the Winkelmann car but Brabham gave chase and overtook him in the early stages but could only hold the place for one lap as the fuel pressure to the Lucas injection was soon on the low side. He continued to give good chase however and finished just over a second behind after almost an hour’s racing. Beltoise in the Matra was a steady third, for which he was rewarded with nine championship points, his first in the competition. A race-long duel for fourth place finally went to Gardner’s Brabham, from Ickx’s Matra and Hill’s Lotus which was suffering from clutch trouble. It was not a happy day for Team Lotus as Jim Clark hit a large lump or tarmac ripped from the track which burst a rear tyre, while their non-graded driver, Oliver, lost a fuel injection trumpet. Gardner’s fourth place puts him into the lead of the European Trophy as Rees was feeling unwell and finished near the back with the second Winkelmann Brabham.
It was certainly fitting that the only Austrian driver of International repute should win the only major race of the year in his own land and in the class of racing which, at present, he so dominates. — ARM.
1st: J. Rindt (Brabham BT23-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Roy Winkelmann Racing) 54 min. 44.40 sec. — 148.17 k.p.h.
2nd: J. Brabham (Brabham BT23-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Motor Racing Developments) 54 min. 45.80 sec.
3rd: J.-P. Beltoise (Maira MS5-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Matra Sports) 55 min. 07.54 sec.
4th: F. Gardner (Brabham BT23-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant:Motor Racing Developments) 55 min. 21.79 sec.
5th: J. Ickx (Matra MS7-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Tyrrell Racing Organisation) 55 min. 23.61 sec.
6th: G. Hill (Lotus 48 Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Team Lotus)
7th: C. Irwin (Lola T100-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Lola Racing Ltd.).
8th: J. Servoz-Gavin (Matra MS5-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: Matra Sports)
9th: P. Courage (McLaren MP4A-Cosworth FVA) (Entrant: John Coombs)
Fastest Lap: J. Clark (Lotus 48-Cosworth FVA) 1 min 04.24sec.-151.399 k.p.h.
Finally it was time to see how a decade of Esprit progress felt in motion.…
by W. Boddy. 27 pp. 9-3/4 in. x 6 in. (Grenville Publishing Co. Ltd., Standard…
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