Notes on the Cars at Monaco

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Every year the Grand Prix scene seems to get bigger, better and more exciting and the pits at Monte Carlo were so full of exciting machinery that it was difficult to decide which way to look next. Of the 18 entries that took part the two that did not qualify to start the race were Moser’s 1966 Brabham-Repco V8 and Bonnier’s 1967 McLaren-B.R.M. V12, both obsolete cars as far as the constructors are concerned. Matra made their first appearance with their V12-cylinder car, the MS11 model and brought along MS11-01, the first test-car, and MS11-02. These cars are identical in chassis to the Cosworth-powered MS10, as far back as the cockpit rear bulkhead, it being a riveted and glued aluminium “monocoque”. On the MS10 there is a fuel tank behind the seat, built into the “monocoque”, and from the bulk-head a tubular framework runs back to the rear suspension cross-member, the Cosworth V8 engine not being used as a chassis member, as on the Lotus 49 and McLaren M7A. The main reason for this is that Matra want to keep the MS10 and MS11 as similar as possible and the MS11 has a full-length “monocoque”, carrying petrol, the space behind the cockpit that is petrol tank on the MS10 being used up by the longer 12-cylinder engine. The cars are the same length and all the suspension, back and front, is identical, the rear suspension being carried on the cross-member. On both cars the engines can be removed without disturbing the rear suspension, thus obviating having to reset the geometry after an engine change. The first V12-engined car was very much a “test-car”, with a temporary external oil-cooler on the left of the cockpit and its Hewland gearbox modified for some earlier experiments. The new car was much cleaner and tidier, with no external oil radiator, but both engines were using Lucas fuel injection and very long exhaust pipes, three to each bank of six cylinders, which is unusual for 12-cylinder engines, Ferrari, Eagle and B.R.M. using two tail pipes to each bank. The Matra engine has a bore and stroke of 79.7 mm. x 50 mm., with 4-valves-per-cylinder, two overhead camshafts to each bank of cylinders, single 10-mm. sparking plugs, an 11-to-1 compression ratio and is giving close on 400 b.h.p.

The two MS10 cars of Tyrrell’s Matra-International team were the original car that appeared at Brands Hatch earlier this season and the new one that Beltoise drove in Spain, the differences being only minor, in such things as the use of titanium for suspension parts on the later car, a DG300 Hewland gearbox, with the clutch-operating mechanism on the left and the starter working through a universal joint and sliding-spline drive shafts. The earlier car has suspension parts of chromiumed steel, an FG400 Hewland gearbox, with clutch-operating mechanism on the right so that the starter motor on the left can have a straight drive, and one-piece tubular drive shafts with rubber “doughnuts” inboard. Servoz-Gavin made his fast practice time in the later car and it was intended to use it for the race, but last-minute brake trouble caused Tyrrell to use the earlier car.

Gold Leaf Team Lotus ran 49/5, the much-modified car that started life as a 1967 type at Brands Hatch in March of this year, and 49/1 that won in Spain recently. The new Lotus, although still called a Type 49, is only similar to previous cars in the cockpit section “monocoque”. The upper rocker-arms of the front suspension are angled forwards, to increase the wheelbase by two inches, and the whole of the rear suspension subframes, both upper and lower, are carried on the Hewland gearbox, no loads being put through the cylinder heads as on the first models. There is no chassis aft of the cockpit, so the whole strength of the rear of the car is put through the bell-housing between the engine and gearbox. The lower radius rods have their forward anchorage points sunk much more inboard in the “monocoque” and the bottom wishbones at the rear are no longer adjustable. The rear wheels are made in two pieces, the rim being bolted to the hub-centre by a ring of Allen screws, while the Girling brake calipers are a new pattern with internal piping and a neat spring-loaded clamp to hold the brake pads in place. The small wings on the nose are mounted on a cross-tube running through the nose cowling, rotating about this tube and moving by pulling them outwards against a spring so that the locating pins are pulled clear of the body. They can then be turned and put back into another set of holes giving a different angle of incidence. They were not expected to have any effect at Monte Carlo, but should work well at Spa. On top of the Hewland gearbox is the oil tank, with combined catch-tank, and on top of that is the oil cooler. Engine and gearbox are covered by a rising wedge-shaped tail, an N.A.C.A. duct on the flat top taking air to the oil cooler, and it then passes out of the blunt tail through a rectangular slot.

The Brabham team had the two cars they hurriedly prepared for the Spanish Grand Prix, Brabham having the new 4 o.h.c. Repco V8 engine, and Rindt the 1967 2 o.h.c. unit. The two Coopers had tubular guards round the vulnerable fuel pumps on the rear of the Hewland gearboxes, and Scarfiotti’s car, F1-2-68, runs consistently hotter than the identical sister car, so has an oil radiator on the rear. Gurney’s lone Eagle was chassis No. 104, the titanium and magnesium car that appeared late last season, and he was using the first of the V12 engines built by his own team, independent of Weslake Engineering. Since the Spanish race the Honda engine’s injection system has been improved, but it would still seem to need much development work on its transmission. The McLaren cars, M7A-1 for McLaren and M7A-2 for Hulme, were using an electric pump to return oil from the breather catch-tank, back into the main oil tank, for like the new Lotus the Cosworth V8 engines in the McLarens were breathing more oil than was reasonable. The two works B.R.M. V12 cars were both using the new type magnesium wheels, with thinner spokes, that Rodriguez tried in practice at Jarama.D. S. J.