A motor racing feast
Silverstone, May 11th
An estimated crowd of 100,000 people watched an interesting day of motor racing organised by the B.R.D.C. at the Silverstone circuit and nobody could have gone home feeling they had not had their money’s worth. The racing opened with a 25 lap G.T. race in which Parkes was favourite according to practice times, his driving of John Coombs’ white 1962 GTO Ferrari, entered by Maranello Concessionaires, was more than a match for Graham Hill and Salvadori in lightweight 1963 Jaguar E-types. After being boxed-in at the first corner Parkes took the lead from Hill on the third lap and thereafter had the race in the bag until he threw it away by spinning off at Beckett’s Corner, leaving the E-type Jaguars to romp home unchallenged. In this race was an AC-Cobra, with 4.7-litre Ford V8 engine, but it was poorly tuned and could not get away from two Lotus Elites and a Lotus Elan. Salvadori driving Tommy Atkins’ new E-type Jaguar set a G.T. lap record in 1 min. 42.4 sec.
This race was promptly followed by a Formula Junior race also over a distance of 25 laps and outstanding was the driving of David Hobbs in a Lola-Ford from the Midland Racing Partnership team, who fought a splendid battle with Dennis Hulme in the works Brabham-Ford. The “monocoque” Lotus-Fords run by Ron Harris were still not in the picture, Lola and Brabham dominating the scene, and Hobbs set a new Junior lap record in 1 min. 40.2 sec. The next event on the list was a 12 lap race for saloon cars and the front row of the grid saw Jack Sears in pole-position with John Willment’s vast Ford Galaxie with full “Daytona” 6.9-litre V8 engine, with the 3.8-litre Jaguars of Graham Hill, Salmon and Salvadori alongside. The clutch was the weak point of the Ford so Sears made a very gently start and the three Jaguars shut the door on him going into the first corner and led round Copse and Beckett’s corners, but going down to Stowe Corner, Sears demonstrated that, “there is no substitute for cubic inches” and wafted past the lot. From then on the race was over and Sears demonstrated that Ford from America must be taken very seriously for he just ran away with the race, the cornering of this huge American car being most impressive, while he had so much power in reserve that once he got away into a safe lead he went all the way round in top gear. Needless to say the Galaxie set a new class lap record in 1 min. 51.6 sec. and while trying to keep up, Graham Hill’s Jaguar burst a tyre and Salmon stopped at the pits for attention and was disqualified for having a mechanic working on the car, so it was left to Salvadori to follow the Ford home.
At long last, after a lunch break, the main event of the day took place, this being a 52 lap race for Grand Prix cars for the International Trophy and it was of particular interest for not only was it the first clash between Ferrari and the British teams, but was also the first appearance of the latest Ferraris, described elsewhere in this issue. Practice on Thursday and Friday had found lots of people in trouble, the Ferraris were not performing as well as expected, Clark broke his own Lotus and then spun off in Taylor’s car bending suspension parts, only one Brabham-Climax was ready and the A.T.S. did not appear.
Still in cracking form following his splendid drive at Goodwood and Aintree, Innes Ireland in the B.R.P. Lotus-B.R.M. V8 with fuel-injection made fastest practice lap, but his team-mate Jim Hall blew up his injection B.R.M. V8 engine and had a carburetter version substituted for the race. The Brabham mechanics installed a new Coventry-Climax engine in Jack Brabham’s car overnight after he had blown-up in practice, and Lotus mechanics had a sleepless night repairing Taylor’s chassis and Clark’s engine. The Team Walker had a new fuel-injection Climax V8 in their hired Cooper, for Bonnier to drive, Maggs had a brand-new 1963 works Cooper, as yet unpainted, McLaren had the first of the 1963 Coopers, Clark and Taylor were on the Lotus 25 models from last year, Surtees and Mairesse had the new Ferraris, Hill and Ginther the 1962 B.R.M.s with 1963 engines and Bandini was driving the ex-works B.R.M. V8 as raced by Graham Hill early last season, it now being painted red and owned by the Scuderia Centro-Sud.
The starting grid was a very healthy sight with four makes of car on the front row, Lotus, B.R.M., Cooper and Brabham, and four nationalities of driver, Scot, English, New Zealand and Australian; a truly International Trophy race.
The track was dry but there was a strong wind blowing when everyone was set to go and as the flag went up Ireland’s car began creeping and he had to give a prod on the brake pedal so that he was caught slightly on the wrong foot when the flag fell and the rest of the front line beat him away. All twenty competitors got away in a close bunch and disappeared down to Copse corner in a fine flurry of sound and it was McLaren who got out in front with the first of the 1963 works Coopers, followed by Clark (Lotus), Hill (B.R.M.), Ireland (Lotus) and Surtees (Ferrari), these five being very close together, and Trevor Taylor was leading the rest of the field, apart from Ginther who drew into the pits with gearbox troubles.
On the second lap Surtees was up in third place, the new Ferrari really showing its paces, and Ireland was fourth and Hill fifth, but they were still so close that there was obviously more shuffling to come, though the order remained the same for lap three. The Ferrari was trailing a cloud of blue smoke from the left side of the engine, apparently an oil leak had developed just before the start and it was dripping onto the exhaust pipes, though it was going all right.
On lap four Clark took over the lead from McLaren and the others remained unchanged; meanwhile Taylor was being followed by Brabham, Maggs, Chris Amon in Reg Parnell’s Lola V8, Bonnier, Bandini, Mairesse and Hall, while John Taylor in Bob Gerard’s Cooper with Cosworth Ford 1500 engine was leading the rest. McLaren continued to sit close on Clark’s tail, though Surtees, Ireland and Hill were keeping up until at the end of lap eight Ireland had an almighty spin leaving Woodcote corner, which gyrated him down the track in front of the pits while Graham Hill dodged him. A shaken but unabashed Ireland restarted and set off again, now in eighth place behind Maggs in the unpainted Cooper.
This excitement caused Hill to lose contact with the three cars out in front and on lap 10, in spite of still losing oil, Surtees got past McLaren, and sat quite close behind Clark, and with the race running at record speed, McLaren and Ireland having clocked 1 min. 36.0 sec. it was clear that Surtees in the new Ferrari was a force to be reckoned with; he also equalled this time on laps two and four. Hill’s B.R.M. V8 was definitely going off-colour for he was losing ground and Taylor passed him on lap 15 while at the same time Ireland overtook Brabham, having already dealt with Maggs. In the middle of the field Bandini on his first drive in a B.R.M. was leading Mairesse in the second fuel-injection Ferrari until lap seven, but having got by, the Belgian then overdid it at Stowe and spun-off into the ditch. By 18 laps the first three cars were spacing out, Clark drawing away from Surtees and he in turn drawing away from McLaren and it was now just a matter of seeing how long the Ferrari could go on losing oil before it was all pumped out.
Graham Hill managed to get in front of Taylor once again and Ireland was gaining on both of them, while Jim Clark lapped Bonnier and at half distance he lapped Maggs. The Lotus was 6 seconds ahead of the Ferrari which was still sounding healthy but losing oil and smoking all the time, while McLaren had been left behind and was 15 seconds behind the Ferrari.
In mid-field Jack’s dark green and gold Brabham, with its brand-new V8 Coventry-Climax engine and special VW gearbox was not going too well, the engine cutting out every now and then, but he was staying ahead of Maggs, and behind them Bandini was keeping up with Bonnier, while John Taylor was leading the tail-enders with the Cooper-Ford. On lap 28 Surtees went by without his attendant smoke cloud which could only mean that he was nearly out of oil, and F.I.A. regulations forbid replenishing, and sure enough on lap 31 he coasted by the pits with a dead engine and came to rest further round the circuit, his race over.
On the lap before this Graham Hill had coasted into the pits to retire with electrical trouble in his B.R.M. engine, so now the order was Clark (Lotus) way out on his own, McLaren (Cooper) safely in second place, Taylor (Lotus) third, with Ireland (Lotus) pressing on hard in fourth place and everyone else had been lapped by the leader. Clark now reeled off the laps as he pleased, the V8 Coventry-Climax fuel-injection engine in his Lotus 25 sounding very happy, and a similar reliable power unit was propelling McLaren’s Cooper along into a certain second place. Taylor’s Lotus 25 with carburetter Climax V8 engine was not so secure in third place as Ireland was now really wound up and on lap 39 he set a new 1 1/2-litre lap record in 1 min. 35.8 sec., his fuel-injection B.R.M. V8 engine in the Lotus 24 really pushing out the horsepower and he driving splendidly. On laps 46 and 47 he equalled this time but it was now too late to catch Taylor, but Ireland did not give up hope and on his last lap set yet another lap record with 1 min. 35.4 sec.
This great effort by Ireland almost overshadowed the rest of the runners, but meanwhile Bonnier had gradually worn down Maggs and overtook him on lap 41, and poor Bandini had been slowing with a misfiring engine and stopped at the pits to change plugs. When he came to restart it was found that the battery had gone flat as the bolt drive to the alternator had been slipping and the misfiring was failing sparks not plugs. His mechanics push-started the red B.R.M. but this was an infringement of the rules, so though he was still running when Clark got the chequered flag he had to be disqualified. In the closing laps Hall’s Lotus-B.R.M. V8 died out on the circuit and it was left to Raby and de Beaufort to bring up the rear.
To conclude the long day of racing there was a 12-lap race for sports cars, divided into classes and this was won by Salvadori in Tommy Atkins’ Cooper-Monaco with 2.7-litre Coventry-Climax 4-cylinder engine. Ireland tried his best to challenge the Cooper with B.R.P.’s Lotus 19 but 2 1/2-litres of Climax engine was not enough and he had just finished a very strenuous Formula One race. Interest in this race was the appearance of the 4.2-litre Ford V8 engined Lola G.T. Prototype coupé. Surtees was to have raced it but at the last minute the Ferrari team-manager refused him permission so Maggs was hurriedly pressed into the car, never having driven it before and without practice he had to start from the back of the grid. He did very well to finish on the same lap as Salvadori and Ireland and the car showed promise for a first outing. Lotus 23 cars won both the small sports car classes. D. S. J.
The Formula One race was not exciting but the performance by Surtees with the new Ferrari augers well for the future, and Cooper are still well in the running.
If Jaguars put a 4 1/2-litre V8 Daimler engine in a 3.8-Jaguar saloon body unit it might cope with the American menace from Ford.
A number of saloon car competitors obviously did not read their regulations, for they allowed mechanics to work on the cars during a pit stop, and this was not permitted.
The Ford V8 Galaxie of Willment Automobiles was as impressive as the AC-Cobra was unimpressive.
It’s a good thing that the big saloons do not involve themselves in “bumping and boring” like the small saloons can do. The small and medium size saloons were positively unruly and some of them became inverted.