Racing Notes

Forthcoming Events

The International racing season for 1967 is already well under way in New Zealand, Australia and the Argentine and on February 4th the really serious International scene begins, with the 24-Hour race at Daytona Speedway. The races in the Antipodes are run to the local Tasman Formula for “obsolete ” cars of 2-1/2 -litres capacity, while the Argentinian Temporada races are for Formula 3. At Daytona the 1967 International scene really starts, the race being for sports/prototypes, or Group 6 cars, as well as Group 4 sports cars and GT cars. This means that the first of the big Ford versus Ferrari battles will take place, Ferrari seemingly being determined to wipe out the 1966 defeats he suffered at the hands of Ford.

The South African Grand Prix which took place on January 2nd (reported elsewhere in this issue) opened the 1967 Championship season, but was more of an addendum to the 1966 season than a true opening of the 1967 season. On March 12th Formula 1 racing begins in all seriousness with a race at Brands Hatch, run in two heats and a final, and in April there should be two more Formula 1 races, so that the Grand Prix teams should be well organised by the time the Monaco Grand Prix takes place on May 7th. The new Formula 2, for cars with engines of not more than 1,600 c.c. and not more than six cylinders based on a mass-production cylinder block, will start at Easter, with races at Snetterton and Silverstone though whether any of the European opposition that is expected will attend either race remains to be seen.


The Racing Car Show

Whatever the S.M.M.T. or any other organisation thinks, the Racing Car Show run by the B.R.S.C.C. is now firmly established, not only as a January and New Year event, but as the shop-window for competition machinery due to appear in the ensuing racing season. The star exhibit was undoubtedly the brand new Lola Type 70 Mk. III GT, a really beautiful prototype Group 6 coupe that Eric Broadley and the Lola team can justifiably be very pleased with. The chassis follows the design of the Type 70 Group 7 sports/racer that was so successful last year, and with the demise of Group 7 racing on this side of the Atlantic, Broadley set about altering the design to comply with Group 6 specifications. This means that he is prepared to tackle Ferrari and Ford for honours in long-distance racing, and this means the classic events such as Sebring, Nurburgring, Le Mans. This new Lola is designed so that it can take an enclosed cockpit bodywork, just asking to be driven flat out down the Mulsanne straight, or an open cockpit bodywork suitable for American short-circuit sports car races. As sold the car will be fitted with a Chevrolet V8 engine and follows on the development of the cars driven by John Surtees last season. A works entry will be fitted with the new Aston Martin V8 engine, providing this engine comes up to expectations and power output sufficient to deal with Ford and Ferrari. One of these Aston Martin engines was on display at the Racing Car Show, on the John Surtees stand, and it looked very good. If a works Lola-Aston Martin, driven by John Surtees, can get British Racing Green out in front again in classic long-distance motor racing I am sure I shall not be alone in cheering. At the time of showing, the new Lola coupe had not been on test, but the Aston Martin engine was being tested in a Lola 70 Group 7 chassis. This V8 engine has a bore and stroke of 98 x 83 mm. and a capacity of 5,064 c.c. and is an all-alloy unit, with twin overhead camshafts to each bank of cylinders, the camshafts being driven by Duplex chains. At present it is using Weber carburetters, but Lucas fuel-injection is under way and it should be possible to expect 100 b.h.p. per litre from such a power unit. Modern engine design as demonstrated in the old Formula 2 of 1,000 c.c. can produce 150 b.h.p. per litre from small cylinders, so it cannot be too much to expect 100 b.h.p. per litre from large cylinders. This would mean 500 b.h.p. from the Aston Martin engine, and allowing a factor for 24-hour reliability, rather than a 1-hour dash, the aim should be 450-460 b.h.p., at which it should propel the Lola coupe along sufficiently well for Surtees to deal with the P4 Ferrari or the J-type Ford 7-litre.

I feel sure that the good wishes of every British motor racing enthusiast will go with this project, and that the British racing accessory people will be wholeheartedly behind Eric Broadley and this new car.

Rather overshadowed by the impressive looking Lola coupe was the new Lotus 47, a racing coupe from the versatile Colin Chapman and his team, now based in the wilds of Norfolk. As the 1963 Lola and subsequent Lola-Fords and Ford GT40 showed, the right place for an engine is between the cockpit and the rear axle and the new Lotus has this layout. The Lotus 47 is a racing coupe using the 4-cylinder Lotus-Ford twin-cam engine and when 50 of them have been built it will be homologated as a Group 4 sports car. This new model has already appeared in a race, at Brands Hatch at Christmas, which it won, and with suspension derived from the Lotus Grand Prix cars this car can hardly fail to be a success in whatever it tackles. Lotus are producing a similar looking car, but mechanically very different, known as the Europa and this is powered by a Renault R16 engine and gearbox unit, with less sophisticated suspension. Essentially a production car the Europa seeks to establish Lotus markets in Europe. As someone at the Show remarked, Chapman has successfully got the Ford Empire working for him, now he is out to get Regie Renault working for Lotus! Due to S.M.M.T. restrictions the Europa could not be exhibited at the Racing Car Show, but the Lotus 47 was there for everyone to appraise. Whereas the Lola GT coupe brought forth remarks such as ” terrific, beautiful, superb, a winner” the Lotus 47 was greeted with ” hmm, an odd shape; well I’m not sure it’ll grow on us.” This was only referring to the shape, for there was no doubt about the specification and design.

The vogue of mid-engined coupes is growing fast, and the Porsche Carrera Six must surely be a model for all to copy. Among the small British manufacturers the cult is there, with examples of Chevron, Diva and Ginetta to this layout, the Northern-built Chevron being the nicest looking. For those who paused to look at the lone Matra coupe on display, I wonder how many thought it was a new design. It has been in production for more than two years and stems from an original design by Rene Bonnet. It has always had the engine in the right place, between the cockpit and the rear axle, and is being produced in large numbers by Matra.


Formula News

While the numbering of the various formulae sanctioned by the F.I.A. makes sense to the initiated, with Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 3, etc., it does not make for interesting race title. There is a move afoot to add names to the various formulae so that race advertising will sound better and more effective. Formula 1 races in the World Championship series would be referred to as World Championship events, retaining the title Grand Prix races, this also applying to non-championship Formula 1 races. Formula 2 events would be European Championship events, and Formula 3 National Championship events. This suggestion follows on the F.I.A. announcement of a European Trophy for Formula 2, a list of 13 races counting towards this Trophy. Grand Prix drivers will not be allowed to compete for this Trophy, even though they take part in the races, and not more than 50% of the entry may be taken up by the Grand Prix or Graded Drivers. This is a good move, for last year aspiring Formula 2 drivers had little chance of a look in where Formula 2 was concerned, it being dominated by the professionals. It should be regarded as a “second league,” with Formula 3 as the ” junior league,” but too often the entry was swamped by professionals from the “major league ” playing on the village green. The situation is by no means consolidated, and the F.I.A. could well give some more thought to controlling of Formula 2 for the benefit of the sport.


Team News

The B.R.M. team have confirmed that they will continue to run a pair of H16-engined cars in 1967 with Stewart as team leader and his number two will be drawn from Mike Spence, Piers Courage and Chris Irwin. The B.R.M. team will be working in liaison with Reg Parnell (Racing) Ltd., run by Tim Parnell and he will be running B.R.M.-engined cars. In South Africa Spence drove the second works car and Courage the Parnell car, but the driver pool will be shared in different ways depending on circumstances and circuits. One of H16-engined cars has been painted and polished as an exhibition model and will tour various International engineering exhibitions as an example of British design and workmanship. This is well justified because even though it has yet to be completely successful, it does represent an outstanding achievement in courageous and audacious thinking.

During the old 1-1/2 -litre Formula for Grand Prix racing B.R.M. made an experimental 4-wheel-drive car, in conjunction with Ferguson Research, using Ferguson patented 4-wheel-drive mechanism. Due to the pressure of racing this car was never developed or tested to the full. It has now been sold to David Good, who intends to drive it in the R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship, and B.R.M. and Ferguson are co-operating on a new four-wheel-drive car designed around the 3-litre H16-cylinder engine unit. This is no surprise for the H16 engine was obviously laid out so that a drive could be taken from either end, or both ends. The 1-1/2-litre B.R.M. 4-w-d car was essentially a mockup, using many components from the old Grand Prix cars, so that it was too big and too heavy, but if an H16 car is designed from scratch as was the Ferguson P99 it would be an extremely interesting car that could bring a new meaning to Grand Prix performance. It would require a driver whose mind and reflexes are untramelled by conventional practice, or a natural genius like Stirling Moss or Jim Clark, both of whom adjusted themselves to 4-w-d very readily and with control over their natural instincts. This may be the reason for B.R.M. taking an interest in young and inexperienced drivers (as far as super-high-performance is concerned) such as Irwin and Courage.

Team Lotus were well satisfied with the first outing of their two-star team of drivers, Clark and Hill, even though the Lotus-B.R.M. H16 cars did not behave properly. Until the new, small and compact Lotus with the Cosworth V8 engine is ready Team Lotus will continue with the H16-engined cars. Elsewhere in this issue is a letter from Walter Hayes, the Director of Public Affairs of Ford (Great Britain), in which he quite fairly claims one third of any Team Lotus success that may be coming in 1967. Chapman does not often make a bad racing car, Cosworth have an obvious magic touch where engines are concerned and Ford know-how on production and Ford money is beyond reproach. With Clark and Hill as drivers this total combination must surely produce results that will be hard to match, and in these days of international miscellany in racing teams it is nice to know that we have another all-British team to support the B.R.M. all-British team. American Ford-supported racing projects used to carry the notice “Powered by Ford” so perhaps we shall see the new Lotus-Cosworth carrying the notice “Paid for by Ford.”

Ferrari has announced that his Grand Prix team will consist of Bandini and Parkes, with Scarfiotti in addition if he decides to run three cars, such as at Monza. Chris Amon and Jonathan Williams are also on the Ferrari books, but at the moment their activities look as though they will be confined to long-distance racing with the P4 cars. The new 36-valve Grand Prix engine that appeared at Monza last year, with 1st and 2nd places, will undoubtedly form the mainstay of the Ferrari Grand Prix team, and this design of two inlet valves and one exhaust valve, with inlet ports down between the camshafts on each cylinder head of the 12-cylinder engine has been carried on to the large P4 engine in the Group 6 prototype cars. The P4 follows the design trends of the P2 and P3, but the engine has been enlarged to nearly 5 litres and with fuel-injection and the 3-valve combustion chamber layout it should present a strong challenge from Maranello. The factory team will be working closely with the agents’ teams, the North American Racing Team, of Luigi Chinetti, the Maranello Concessionaires team of Ronnie Hoare, the Scuderia Filipinetti and Jacques Swaters of Belgium, so that the Italian factory will be represented by the best possible machinery in all prototype races.

While B.R.M. and Lotus are all-British Grand Prix teams the Cooper team is quite the opposite, with a British chassis, Italian engine, and Austrian and Mexican drivers. However, there is no question about the effectiveness of this gathering, for Cooper-Maserati have won the last two Grand Prix races, and last season they came close to winning many more. The cars for 1967 will not be changed, apart from detail improvements, and Rindt and Rodriguez will certainly make full use of the potential of the cars from Cooper.

The Brabham team of Brabham and Hulme cannot make any new moves until the new Repco engine is forthcoming, which one assumes will be before Monaco if humanly possible. At the moment the 1966 Repco V8 engine is being sold to one or two private people, and if Brabham could arrange a good spares and service department at Byfleet this simple and robust 300 b.h.p. power unit would surely sell like hot cakes for all manner of competition cars.

It was a disappointment that the Gurney-Weslake V12 engine did not go to South Africa, for every race that a new project misses means that it is one more race behind its rivals. The Eagle chassis that Len Terry designed for Gurney is well developed and success for the Eagle depends entirely on Weslake Engineering. At Indianapolis Gurney has been going very fast indeed during some testing, putting in a lap at over 167 m.p.h. using a Ford engine in the Eagle chassis, and I would dearly love to see Gurney win the 1967 Indianapolis in one of his Eagle cars. With Ginther as his number two driver the All American Racers team really is all-American and the whole organisation proudly carry the blue and white colours of America.

The biggest unknown factor and the most feared by some people is the combination of Honda and Surtees. Some think that Surtees will solve the Honda chassis problems and become unbeatable, but I do not subscribe to this view, having great faith in Lotus and B.R.M. The Honda concern can certainly produce engines and horsepower, but they seem to be lacking in chassis and. suspension knowledge, though Surtees ought to be able to put them right, providing that they know what he is trying to convey to them. The suggestion that Honda are or will be all-conquering is a defeatist attitude and one that is not true, they can make mistakes and errors like anyone else. In the motorcycle world they spread this feeling that they were unbeatable and in 1966 they lured Mike Hailwood away from MV-Agusta and produced a 500 c.c. Honda racing bike. It was thought that the 500 c.c. Championship would be theirs for the taking, but the new bike proved unreliable and not that much better, if any, than the MV and young Agostini won the 500 c.c. championship on the Italian MV, leaving a lot of very puzzled Japanese faces about the place. “Honourable Honda machine did not prove to be honourable success.”


Isle of Man Activity

There are still many people who live in hopes that the R.A.C. will take their heads out of the Webb of Grovewood Security and Mickey Mouse racing, and take another look at the T.T. Mountain circuit and put their Tourist Trophy race back on the International map as a classic event. In the meantime the R.A.C. and A.C.U. have been getting together and planning a splendid demonstration on the Mountain circuit, probably during T.T. practice. The idea is to hold a match race between a car and a motorcycle over the 37-1/2 -mile circuit. The idea is that Hailwood should ride a motorcycle and Surtees drive a car. As they are both contracted to Mr. Honda for 1967 it seems that it is now up to the Japanese gentleman to make or mar this excellent idea. With Hailwood on a Honda 500 racing bike and Surtees in a Honda Grand Prix car it should be very exciting to watch (and listen to) for they both know the Isle of Man circuit perfectly. On second thoughts perhaps the choice of machinery is not the best, judging by results up to now, and it would be better for Hailwood to use the 250 c.c. six-cylinder Honda and Surtees a Lola 70. The R.A.C. seem pretty confident that this match race will happen, it is just a matter of details, and they deserve full marks for supporting this idea. While cheering the R.A.C. loudly for doing something interesting, there is news that they do not intend to include the Tholt-y-Will hill-climb in their 1967 Hill-Climb Championship. After the success of the National event held last September and the favourable Stewards’ report, this refusal to put this real hill in the Championship seems unbelievable. Recently Motoring News suggested that perhaps crummy circuits and poor organisation such as Nassau get an R.A.C. permit because the sun shines on the R.A.C. representative, and the wine flows free, whereas it often rains in the Isle of Man. This latest anti-Isle of Man move by the R.A.C. does make it look as though there is something nasty going on behind the scenes. Yet, while doing this, they support the excellent idea of the Hailwood versus Surtees match race. The R.A.C. official outlook seems strangely distorted.—D. S. J.