Senga Sprint Car
Two readers have written in about the Senga Sprint Car mentioned in Around and About last month. The first tells us that Mr. Rogers, the car’s constructor, owned a model aeroplane shop in Woking many years ago, and his object in building the car was to prove a long-held theory that a scaled-up version of the American-type model two-stroke petrol engine would produce an extremely powerful motor from a relatively small capacity.
The second leads us to an article published in our sister publication, Motorcycle Sport, in July of 1968, where the above views are confirmed, adding that the car was built in the early sixties, Rogers building the engine (or engines!) entirely himself. The car was obviously designed for straight courses, as there is hardly any steering lock, and it did compete at Brighton in the mid-sixties, but plug trouble kept the times, down, nonetheless it was reported as having achieved 95 m.p.h. in third gear.
A paragraph from a letter Rogers wrote to his friend K.A. Gregory is quoted, and this confirms our theory that the car was designed specifically with short distance records in mind – “. . . should we fail to break the two records I have in mind, we shall just try again, should we again fail, then another try, and so on. I must add that I have a reasonable hope of success, but would strongly stress that this is our only aim and ambition, and also behind it is the fact that it would give me immense pleasure to prove the two-stroke …. “
Der neue Nurburgring
Anyone can enjoy a lap or two of the famous 23 km. Nurburgring on payment of a small fee. It is something which is well worth doing, for it is only by driving round this spectacular circuit a few times that one begins to realise the enormity of the task involved in learning it well. As the speeds in Formula One racing increased throughout the sixties, there were those who thought the Ring too dangerous for Formula One cars, but such was the magic of the circuit in the Eifel mountains, that the German Grand Prix was held there all through the sixties, and, after a major face lift and something of a taming operation in 1970/1, up to 1976. That year, the race was stopped after Lauda’s terrifying accident on the lower part of the circuit, after the Adenau bridge. Since then, the Grosser Preiz von Deutschland has been run at Hockenheim, leaving the magnificent Nurburgring to the endurance racing cars of the 1,000 km. race, and to lesser events on the short circuit.
It is interesting to note that the fastest lap in the last Formula One race at the Ring was 7m 10.8 secs., a time still some ten seconds ahead of the fastest cars in endurance racing at the moment, but competitors in these races have been murmuring about safety, and this year the 1,000 km. race was stopped after only 17 laps . . . .
However, the management of the ‘Ring have now obtained the necessary permission to enable them to build a completely new circuit of 4.5 kms, with the character of the full circuit but without the safety drawbacks, and it is obviously intended that the Grand Prix should return to the circuit in the forests.
The plans for the new circuit look first class, and it should be ready for 1984, but it will be a great pity if the opening of the new circuit, however good, heralds the final closure of the full 23 km. track, which comes to mind whenever the name Nurburgring is spoken.
Kieft 1100 c.c. Sports Cars
Following Richard Howell’s letter in the July issue of Motor Sport, George Rance, the Editor of the Historic Sports Car Club’s magazine, Recent History, has sent us a copy of an article he wrote about the Kieft 1100 which appeared in that publication in 1980. From this it appears that Mr. Howell may have been mistaken in some of his statements. For instance, it seems that the first 1100 was registered NDA 172, and it was this car which took part in the 1954 Le Mans, being driven by Rippon and Black. This car also appeared at Silverstone in July of the same year, alongside another 1100 Kieft, for the International Sports Car Race – the cars being handled on this occasion by Don Parker and Alan Rippon, who finished third and sixth in their class respectively.
In the Dundrod Tourist Trophy meeting in September, NDA 172 was driven by Rippon and Fergusson, and went on to win its class, despite the presence of the lighter, sleeker and faster Lotus Mk.9s, which used the same Coventry Climax FWA engine. This car was then displayed at the Motor Show in London that autumn, alongside a “production” version for sale to the public. NDA 172 was destroyed in an accident in the TT the following year when being driven by Rippon. In Rance’s words “It is not known what happened to the first ever FWA-engined Kieft after that except that in January 1956 Berwyn Baxter took over Kieft Cars and based himself at Nixons Garage, Handsworth, Birmingham. The Kieft-Climax was offered in 1956 with an alloy body replacing the fibreglass one, and there were plans for a works entry for the TT, Sebring and Le Mans races but this did not happen. Altogether there were no more than six 1100 cars produced with the FWA engine, NDA 172 was the first . . . . “
Lorries at Le Mans
When the regulations first arrived from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest we thought for a moment that there was going to be a 24-hour race for commercial vehicles on the famous Sarthe circuit, but that was too much to hope for. However, what is going to happen on the weekend of October 10th/11th is a weekend of fun and games for heavy lorries with three-hour regularity runs, wheel-changing contests, Le Mans starts, articulated manoeuvres, timed laps, concours d’elegance and driving tests. It will all happen on the little Bugatti circuit that uses the main start/finish area and then runs through the car parks, so you won’t be able to see 38-ton artics thundering down the Mulsanne Straight at 100 m.p.h. However, the circuit village will be in full swing with exhibitions, model lorry racing, army demonstrations, vintage lorries and so on, the whole affair geared to the heavy commercial vehicle or Poids Lourdes.
The major disadvantage of the Audi Quattro for UK use is the fact that it is left-hand drive, with no option – at least, no option from Audi. However, GTi Engineering, the Silverstone based VW and Audi tuning specialists, have devised a method of converting these otherwise superb cars to right-hand controls. A certain amount of specialist fabrication is required, and the central locking system has to be·re-located as well as the more obvious components. GTi have taken the opportunity to add water and oil temperature gauges, items missing from the standard specification of the Quattro, and the cost of the conversion is just under £,3,400, VAT included.
While driving the new 2.8 Capri in Germany, we had the chance to visit Erich Zakowski’s “Zakspeed” premises, near Niedeizissen, to talk to the man who has produced so many successful racing versions of Ford cars, both for German saloon car racing and for the more prestigious European series of races.
Being worked on at the time was the 1.4-litre turbocharged Capri with which Klaus Ludwig scored victories in the first six rounds of the German Championship earlier this season. This car has undergone tremendous development this year, with power outputs of 530 plus b.h.p. being normal. In sprint trim, this figure goes up to some 560 b.h.p.! In the larger capacity class, for which a 1.7 turbocharged unit is used, the claimed output is 620 b.h.p. The boost in this car is adjustable from the driving seat, up to a maximum of 1.7 bar.
Earlier in the season, there were rumours afoot that Zakowski was working on a Formula One project, but Erich says that there are not enough funds available for this project. Nonetheless, there are those who feel that the engine in Ludwig’s car is part of a rather larger development plan, and a colleague who put this to Zakowski was met with the kind of non-committal smile which says so much!
Not all the work going on at Niederzissen is connected with racing – we saw a CVH engine, on methanol fuel, being brake tested and the body shells for the limited edition turbocharged version of the 2.8 Capri, with their subdued, yet very purposeful flared wheel arches, being prepared for assembly. Sadly, there are no plans to bring this exciting car to the UK although, no doubt, some will find their way here privately.