500 Kilometers at Spa (May 17th)
The Automobile Club of Spa ran a 500-kilometre race for homologated GT cars on the magnificent circuit at Francorchamps in weather that was perfect for spectators but a bit too hot for the drivers. Counting for the Manufacturers’ Championship, the race attracted a good entry and 44 cars started, divided into classes of 1,300 c.c.-1,600 c.c., 1,600 c.c.-2,000 c.c., 2,000 c.c.-3,000 c.c. and over 3,000 c.c. Mike Parkes, driving the Maranello Concessionaire’s 1964 Ferrari GTO, ran away with the race completely unchallenged, but for a time Protheroe in his competition Jaguar E-type had the rest of the Ferrari GTO contingent worried, but then his ZF 5-speed gearbox gave trouble and he was forced to stay in 4th gear, and dropped further and further back. A serious challenge could have come from Phil Hill driving the Shelby A.C. Cobra coupé for in practice he was only a fifth of a second slower than Parkes, but in the race he was delayed on the opening lap by fuel starvation and lost a great deal of time while this was cured. He eventually got going, too far behind to be a challenge, but he proceeded to set up new lap records and finally got down to 4 min. 04.5 sec., a speed of 207.607 k.p.h., whereas Parkes could do no better than 4 min. 06.8 sec. The three open 2-seater Shelby A.C. Cobras, driven by Ireland, Bondurant and Schlesser, ran in close company, lacking the speed of the Cobra coupé, and raced against each other, but were only just a match for the privately-owned Porsche 904 cars. While Ferrari was happy to leave the winning to his customers, Porsche took no chances and entered Barth with a factory 904 and he had no difficulty in winning his class and finishing fifth overall. The Aston Martin DB4GT cars of Salmon and Hetreed both succumbed to engine troubles and were never in the running.
Although Ferrari cars had a sweeping victory, and on paper appeared to have been unchallenged, nobody could have failed to appreciate the potentialities of Phil Hill in the A.C. Cobra-Ford V8 coupé, for once the blockage in the fuel system had been cured he went incredibly fast and consistently until the end.—D. S. J.
The B.A.R.C. Whitsun Goodwood Meeting
It is traditional for historic racing cars to deport themselves before the delighted spectators at Goodwood on Whit-Monday, giving the Paddock bays the atmosphere of old Brooklands, and this year the B.A.R.C. put on a race for vintage sports cars as well. The former was the more satisfying, with drivers seen to be working very hard, in cars seemingly on the ragged edge of control. From scratch, over 10 laps, John Williamson in his 3-carburetter 3/4½-litre Bentley struggled to keep in front of Bishop’s 2-litre Aston Martin, a fearfully close battle, until Bishop got by down Lavant straight on lap eight, only to spin at Madgwick and again at St. Mary’s on lap nine, leaving Williamson’s Bentley in possession of the race and Charnock’s 4.3 Alvis and Freeman’s Spa Aston Martin in second and third places. The up-to-1,500-c.c. class was won convincingly by Jones’ Centric-supercharged J4 M.G., which lapped at 71.8 m.p.h. with a surprisingly deep exhaust note, Elwell-Smith’s Aston Martin second and Rolt coming up spiritedly to third place in his Ulster Austin. The onlookers applauded not only the winners but every meritorious driver.
The historic racing cars had a 15-lap scratch race which the Hon. Patrick Lindsay was in process of winning easily in E.R.A. R5B when the key preventing the S.U. piston from turning fell out, allowing Wilks’ 1952 Cooper-Bristol to lead on lap six, hotly pursued by Waller’s E.R.A. R9B which had started from the back of the grid. Whereas Lindsay had cornered faultlessly out of the chicane, Waller slid all over the road. He made fastest lap, at 84.71 m.p.h., but failed to catch Wilks by 0.2 sec. Going considerably slower, Morris was third, in Kergon’s E.R.A., ahead of Salvage’s Connaught, Bishop’s Aston Martin and Smith’s Darracq. Margulies’ Connaught non-started and there were a great many retirements, while the race was also spoilt when Day spun his E.R.A. R6B at St. Mary’s on the opening lap, collecting Gahagan’s E.R.A., Spence’s Frazer Nash-Alvis and another car. In the sports-car race Williamson’s Bentley, of 5.7-litres by using 4 cylinders of an old 8-litre block, with special rods, in Burton’s “de Dion” chassis, was too stiff to run but may soon be a potential E.R.A. eater.
The big race was the 21-lap Whitsun Trophy Race, a sort of very minor Le Mans, which Salvadori dominated from lap seven onwards in Tommy Atkins’ brutish 5-litre Cooper-Maserati, coping manfully with a car he afterwards described as understeering, oversteering and being in trouble generally. The opening stages had shown up Olthoff in a very favourable light, for he fairly flicked the Willment A.C. Cobra through Woodcote. However, this was to no avail, Moss’ 2½-litre Repco Brabham-Climax, driven by Dibley, also passing the A.C., on lap 12. Salvadori lapped at 99.31 m.p.h.—and came in to find they had mislaid the trophy! Class winners were Salvadori, Paterson (Lola-Climax), Olthoff, and Capel (Lotus). Stewart’s Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro with 4.7 Ford engine lasted but two laps before the rear suspension failed, Lumsden’s works Jaguar E-type was delayed by an oil leak, Chambers (Lotus Elan) failed to give way to a faster car and was pushed into the chicane wall, and Lanfranchi’s Elva B.M.W. held fourth place from lap six to 15 before retiring. Moss’ Porsche 904 driven by Trevor Taylor was second in its class to the A.C. Cobra.
The supporting races were the Reg Parnell Trophy (presented by Lord Chesham) for F.3 cars, won easily by Mac’s Brabham-Ford, a saloon-car race from which Doc Merfield’s V8 Ford Cortina dropped out on lap eight while in the lead, Olthoff winning in the Willment Ford Cortina GT from Swanton’s and Nicholson’s Lotus Cortinas, and a saloon-car handicap won by Cox’s A40. Racing was delayed four minutes in deference to the TV cameras.—W. B.
Crystal Palace (May 18th)
The main event at Crystal Palace on Whit Monday was the London Trophy for F.2 cars, split into two 20-lap heats and a 40-lap final, the first four from each heat and the next six fastest going into the final. The first heat consisted of what the organisers the B.A.R.C., considered to be the fastest drivers, with Jim Clark, Peter Arundell and Mike Spence in Ron Harris Lotuses, Graham Hill in John Coombs’ Cooper, Mike Beckwith and Tony Hegbourne in Normand Coopers, Tony Maggs, Richard Attwood and Bill Bradley in M.R.P. Lolas, Dennis Hulme in a works Brabham, Frank Gardner in Willment’s new Brabham, and Brian Hart in a Lotus. All were fitted with the Cosworth SCA engine.
Peter Arundell’s Lotus expired on the warming-up lap with carburation bothers, so he was transferred to heat 2, and the Harris team was reduced to one when Mike Spence’s gearbox packed up on the first bend. Bradley and Hart collided at the same spot and put themselves out. Jim Clark shot through into the lead from row three of the grid but Graham Hill had taken charge by the end of lap one and kept safely in front of Clark for the whole 20 laps. Behind these two a furious battle went on for third place between Attwood, Hegbourne, Beckwith and Hulme. The latter eventually took third place by outbraking Attwood into North Tower bend, with Hegbourne taking fifth place. Poor Mike Beckwith had the misfortune to hit a dog which had been allowed to stray onto the circuit; the dog was killed and Beckwith was lucky not to lose more than a wheel, as the accident happened at the dangerous New Link bend.
Heat 2 had Rodney Bloor, Dave Prophet and Roy Pike in Lotuses, Sid Fox in a Gemini, the Austrian drivers Jochen Rindt and Kurt Ahrens in Brabham and Cooper respectively, David Hobbs in the works Merlyn, Alan Rees in the Winklemann Brabham, French driver Jacques Maglia in a new Brabham, John Ampt in an Alexis, A. J. C. Newton in an elderly Emeryson, and, of course, Arundell.
David Hobbs made a good start and led most of the way round the first lap but Rindt was in the lead by the pits. Alan Rees also passed Hobbs and closed right up to Rindt but could not get past, and the two stayed nose-to-tail for the rest of the race, with the Austrian driving splendidly in his first appearance at the Palace. Peter Arundell worked up to third place but his engine went off song and he dropped to fourth behind Ahrens and ahead of Hobbs, who was suffering from alarming wheel wobble on the bends.
The final consisted of nearly everyone who had finished in the two heats, with Graham Hill, Rindt and Alan Rees sharing the front row of the grid; two drivers from the “slow” heat on the front row!
Alan Rees, who seems to like Crystal Palace, shot into the lead from Graham Hill, Rindt, Clark, Arundell and Hulme, but by lap two Graham Hill was in the lead and moving away fairly comfortably, or so it seemed. On lap four Rindt got past Rees and set about reducing the gap between himself and Hill, which he did quite rapidly. Hill’s Cooper suddenly began understeering violently and he was having difficulty in holding the car on the road, due, it was later discovered, to his rear anti-roll bar having come adrift. This allowed Rindt past and Rees closed right up to Hill and spent the rest of the race trying to get past the Cooper, which was using up most of the road on the bends. Behind the leading trio, Jim Clark and Peter Arundell were dicing with Dennis Hulme but making no impression on the leaders. Ahrens was holding a steady seventh place, while Maggs, Attwood, Hobbs and Hegbourne were constantly changing places in the bid for eighth place. Jim Clark’s Lotus began to misfire badly and he dropped back, eventually stopping at his pit, where a disconnected plug lead was replaced. A thoroughly annoyed Clark returned to the race and put in some rather ragged driving in a bid to get back into the race, but his engine was still sick and he stayed in last place until the end.
Young Jochen Rindt drove his Brabham beautifully and hardly put a wheel wrong throughout the race, looking most relaxed all the time. Virtually unknown in Britain until this race and Mallory Park the previous day, Rindt should not lack works drives in the future. Hill held off Rees until the finish, while Arundell just beat Hulme to the flag, although both drivers were given the same time. Tony Hegbourne worked his way up to sixth place to beat Ahrens and Attwood.
There were three supporting races, two for saloons and one for sports/racing cars. In the first saloon-car race, for over 1,301-c.c. cars, Jack Sears took the lead in the Willment Galaxie and walked away from Clark’s and Arundell’s works Lotus Cortinas until a rear tyre burst on the exit from North Tower corner on lap seven. He held the ensuing slide brilliantly and stopped safely off the circuit. Clark and Arundell went on to a comfortable 1,2 for Team Lotus, ahead of the similar cars of Gardner and Craft, with Sir Gawainne Baillie’s Galaxie in fifth place. The solitary Jaguar was driven luridly, but finished last.
In the 1,150-c.c. sports-car race John Hine took the lead on lap two in his Lotus 23 but retired on lap three, leaving Sid Fox in a safe lead in his Lotus 23 ahead of a fierce dice between Paul Hawkins (Lotus 23), Trevor Bone (Lotus 23) and J. F. Morley (Lola). They eventually finished in the order of Bone, Morley, Hawkins.
In the other up-to-1,300-c.c. saloon-car race John Fitzpatrick led initially in a works 1,275-c.c. Mini-Cooper S from Handley’s Broadspeed 1,275-c.c. Mini-Cooper S. However, these positions were reversed on lap five and Handley retained his lead until the end. John Rhodes in the other works Cooper S diced with Mike Young’s Anglia for most of the race and eventually took third place from the Ford driver.—M. L. T.
Whit Week-End at Mallory
Major events in the crowded week-end of sport at Mallory Park over Whitsun were the Motor 3-hour saloon-car race on Saturday, and the 30-lap Grovewood Trophy race for Formula Two cars on Sunday. The saloon-car race, which was a qualifying event for the 1964 European Touring Car Championship, attracted a strong contingent of top drivers from the Continent; but the first three places went to British Mini-Coopers, two of them being works cars. Warwick Banks and John Rhodes drove the winning works Cooper S, and the second works “S” of John Fitzpatrick and Belgian Julien Vernaeve was next home. The Squadra Tartaruga Cooper of Thurston and Terry was third overall. But if the Portuguese driver Mario Cabral had not crashed the Cooper S he shared with Tommy Weber at Gerrards Bend with only twelve minutes left, it might have been a different story. The car had led for the first hour and a half with Weber at the wheel, but a troublesome jack at the pit stop put them two laps astray. However, Cabral set off after the leaders, and was chipping two seconds a lap off their headway and closing the gap rapidly when he crashed. Last year’s winner Bjorn Rothstein and his fellow Swede co-driver Bo Johansson were fourth overall and first in the 701-850-c.c. class with their works Saab Sport, with the second works Saab of Gosta Carlsson and Sven Johansson fifth, and second in its class. After an excellent drive, the B.M.W. 700CS of Walter Schneider and Hubert Hahne was sixth and top of the up-to-700.-ex. class.
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A formidable array of drivers turned up at the circuit on Sunday to do battle, including Jim Clark, Peter Arundell, Jackie Stewart and the amazing young Austrian, Jochen Rindt. The afternoon saw some first-rate racing during which four lap records, were broken. Driving his Lotus 30, Clark comfortably won the Guards Trophy sports-car race, and in his Lotus 32 he won the main event of the day, the F.2 Grovewood Trophy Race, setting up new lap records on both occasions. For the first few laps of the sports-car race, Clark was led by the potent 4.7-litre Ford-powered Attila of Roy Pierpoint, who came home in second place. In the F.2 race, Peter Arundell was second in the other works Lotus 32 and Rindt—the fastest man in practice—fought through from the back of the field after a shocking start, and took third place in his Brabham. Racing at Mallory for the first time, young Scotsman Jackie Stewart made a brilliant debut by winning the Formula Three race in his works Cooper, and coming home first ahead of Arundell, driving his Lotus Elan in the GT event. In this race he set up a new lap record for Grand Touring cars from 1,151-1,600 c.c. The saloon-car race was won by John Fitzpatrick in his Mini-Cooper S, who also established a new lap record for saloon cars up to 1,300 c.c.