A Pageant of Speed
Silverstone, Northamptonshire, May 14th.
The annual day of racing on the Silverstone circuit, organised by the B.R.D.C., started off at 10.30 a.m, on a bright and sunny morning with a 35-lap race for sports cars, the majority of which were using large American V8 engines. The entry was mostly of Group 7 FIA 2-seater racers, with the addition of a few homologated Group 4 sports cars, though the organisers were still using the 1965 classification of sports cars and prototypes. Denis Hulme driving Sid Taylor’s beautifully prepared Lola 70 with 6-litre Chevrolet power unit ran away from the rest of the field. In practice he had lapped in 1 min. 27.6 sec. (120.29 m.p.h.), the fastest ever at Silverstone and during the race he set a new official record lap with 1 min. 28.8 sec. (118.66 m.p.h.). The only likely opposition to Hulme was from the works McLaren Elvas of Bruce McLaren and Amon, and Hobbs with the Team Surtees 6-litre Lola-Chevrolet. The Surtees car should have been driven by Graham Hill but at the last moment he went to Indianapolis, and Hobbs took over. After last year’s upset one presumes Enzo Ferrari has asked Surtees to restrict his driving to Ferrari cars. The works McLarens were using Oldsmobile V8 engines bored out to give 5 litres capacity in an effort to combat the 6-litre Chevrolet engines, but in Friday’s practice McLaren broke his engine and a 4 1/2-litre “cooking” engine had to be substituted. In consequence McLaren could barely keep pace with his team-mate, let alone challenge Hulme, and any challenge from the Team Surtees Lola faded very early on when the clutch began to slip. Hulme drove in his usual smooth and unruffled style, the Lola never missed a beat, and he notched up another very impressive win for Sid Taylor and his efficient little team. This excellent performance, both in driving and preparation, could well have been copied by a great many other competitors, for the pits were a constant scene of troubles and retirements in this 105-mile sprint race. Only Amon managed to stay on the same lap as the leader and among the Group 4 (50 off) sports cars the Essex Wire Team’s Ford GT40 driven by Scott led home the 275LM Ferrari of Bondurant (Piper’s car) and Clarke. The results called the Ford GT40 a Prototype !
Results : Sports-car race-35 laps-165 kilometres.
1st : D. Hulme (Lola 70-Chevrolet V8) .. 53 min. 02.4 sec.-186.51 k.p.h. (115.89 m.p.h.)
2nd : C. Amon (McLaren-Elva V8).. .. 54 min. 11.2 sec.
3rd : B. McLaren (McLaren-Elva V8) .. 34 laps
4th : B. Redman (Lola 70-Chevrolet V8) .. 34 laps.
5th : H. Dibley (Lola 70-Chevrolet V8) .. 34 laps.
6th : R. Scott (Ford GT40).. .. .. 33 laps.
7th : D. Piper (Ferrari 375 P2), 31 laps.
8th : D. Prophet (McLaren-Elva), 31 laps.
T. Dean (Brabham-BT8), 31 laps; R. Bondurant (Ferrari 275LM), 31 laps; P. Clarke (Ferrari 275LM), 30 laps; J. Sutton (Attilla V8), 30 laps; J. Scott-Davis (Lotus-Climax 2.7), 30 laps; B. Muir (Lotus 30-Ford -V8), 30 laps.
Fastest lap : D. Hulme (Lola 70-Chevrolet V8), 1 min. 28.8 sec.-192.27 k.p.h. (118.66 m.p.h.) (outright course record).
Hard luck story :
The Epstein team drove night and day with car and trailer to get back from the Targa Florio so that Hawkins could drive their 275LM Ferrari in this race only to have an oil pipe break on the warm-up lap, which prevented them starting.
An International Saloon Car race followed, in which the entry was divided up into four classes, Ford Anglias, B.M.C. Minis, Hillman Imps and a lone Fiat Abarth forming the 1,000 c.c. group; Ford Anglias and Minis the 1,000-1,300 c.c. group; Lotus Cortinas and a lone B.M.W. the 1,300-2,000 c.c. group; and Ford Falcons and a Galaxie the over-2,000 c.c. group. For a moment it looked as though Brian Muir in the Willment Galaxie (7 litres) was going to give John Whitmore in the Alan Mann Ford Falcon (4.7 litres) a run for his money but the bigger V8 engine blew a head gasket. Arundell and Ickx in the Team Lotus Cortinas gave Baillie (Ford Falcon) a lot of trouble, but he finally managed to get to the end of the 35 laps ahead of them. Anita Taylor justified all her publicity by driving her Broadspeed 997 c.c. Anglia with great verve to beat the “fabulous Frazer Imps.” The official race bulletins give a true indication of what saloon-car racing can become and I quote :
“12.09 p.m. Stowe Corner reports cars nos. 28, Spice (Austin Cooper) and 44, Greene (B.M.W.) a touched at apex of corner but continued.”
“12.12 p.m. Copse Corner reports cars nos. 3, Fitzpatrick (Ford Anglia) and 6, McGovern (Hillman Imp) spun. Car no. 3 continued, but car no. 6 retired”.
“12.13 p.m. Club Corner reports car no. 31, Lewis (Morris-Cooper) collided with bank and overturned. Driver O.K”.
“12.20 p.m. Becketts Corner reports car no. 7, Markey (Hillman Imp) retired damaged. Driver O.K.”
However, I am sure motor racing is not really as lurid as this.
1st: Sir John Whitmore (Ford Falcon V8) … 1 hr. 03 min. 19.0 sec.156.23 k.p.h. (97.08 m.p.h.).
2nd: Sir G. Baillie (Ford Falcon V8) … 1 hr. 03 min. 35.4 sec.
3rd : P. Arundell (Lotus-Cortina) … 1 hr. 03 min. 41.2 sec.
4th : J. Ickx (Lotus-Cortina) … 34 laps.
5th : M. Young (Ford Anglia 1,293 c.c.) … 34 laps.
6th ; J. Rhodes (B.M.C. Mini) … 34 laps.
7th : A. Lanfranchi (B.M.C. Mini), 33 laps.
8th : K. Greene (B.M.W.) … 33 laps.
9th : Miss Taylor (Ford Anglia) … 32 laps.
10th : R. Calcutt (Imp) … 32 laps.
11th : H. Ratcliffe (B.M.C. Mini) … 32 laps.
12th : N. Brittan (Hillman Imp) … 32 laps.
13th : M. Salmon (Ford Mustang V8) … 31 laps.
14th : J. Fitzpatrick (Ford Anglia) … 31 laps.
15th : M. Clarke (B.M.C.-Mini). 30 laps.
16th : G. Spice (B.M.C. Mini), 30 laps.
17th : J. Handley (Mini), 30 laps.
18th : A. Mylius (Fiat Abarth) … 29 laps.
19th: P. Webb. (Ford Anglia), 28 laps.
Class Winners : Sir John Whitmore Ford Falcon). P. Arundel! (Lotus Cortina). M. Young (Ford Anglia) and Anita Taylor (Ford Anglia).
Fastest lap: Sir John Whitmore (Ford Falcon), 1 min. 45.0 sec.-161.5 k.p.h. (100.35 m.p.h.).
After a lunch interval filled with demonstrations and “spectaculars,” racing resumed at 2.30 p.m. with the 35-lap Formula 1 race, the first race for 3-litre 1966 Formula cars in Britain. It was preceded by a parade of four Jaguar 4.2 E-types driven by the Grand Prix drivers who were on the front row of the grid and these were Jack Brabham, Surtees, Rindt and Spence, except that it did not look like Surtees in one of the cars, but it did look like him in the V12 Ferrari warming up in the paddock. The “replacement” E-type driver was “Lofty” England of Jaguar Cars.
The grid was most interesting with four makes of car and four types of engine occupying the front row in the order BrabhamRepco V8, Ferrari V12, Cooper-Maserati V12 and Lotus-B.R.M. 2-litre V8, the first three being works cars and the fourth one of the Parnell cars. The second row contained Hulme (BrabhamClimax 2.5-litre 4-cyl.), Bonnier (Cooper-Maserati V12) and Ginther (Cooper-Maserati V12) and these were, respectively, works Brabham with a 2.5-litre engine replacing the 2.7-litre due to piston trouble in practice, brand new 1966 Cooper bought by Bonnier’s Anglo-Swiss Racing Team, and brand new works Cooper only completed two days before. In the third row there were only three cars as Ligier’s Cooper-Maserati V12 had seized its engine in practice; the three cars were, Anderson (Brabham-Climax 2.7-litre 4-cyl.), J. Taylor (Brabham-B.R.M. V8) a 2-litre engined car of Gerard Racing and Wilson with his 1965/66 Tasman B.R.M. V8 with the latest type of centre exhaust engine. In the back row were Hawkins (Lotus-Climax 2.7-litre 4-cyl.) a Parnell car that had suffered piston trouble in practice, and Siffert with the old prototype Cooper-Maserati V12 with tubular space frame, as the 1966 Rob Walker car had broken its engine in practice. The works Ferrari was the one used at Siracusa, as was the Brabham-Repco V8, and all the Cooper-Maseratis had strengthened front wishbones, with a cross strut, and strengthened inner universal joints on the drive shafts. The works Brabham 3-litre was using a new design of 15-in. Goodyear rear tyre that had enormous contact area with the road, while the works Ferrari and Cooper-Maseratis were on Dunlop tyres. After the Ferrari performance at Siracusa it was assumed that Surtees would have little trouble in winning the race, but in fact he had a lot of trouble and did not win the race. The trouble was wily old Jack Brabham, who had snatched a last-minute fastest lap in practice, and who shot off the grid and into the lead with very little fuss. He was on the top of his form, the Brabham chassis was handling splendidly, the Repco V8 running sweetly and giving the right amount of power for the flat airfield circuit and Brabham stayed well out in front for the whole 35 laps, Nothing that Surtees or the Ferrari could do made any impression at all, and Surtees was working really hard, the Australian car and driver drawing away steadily to finish over 7 seconds ahead of the Ferrari. It was a case of car, engine and driver being beautifully in tune to the circuit, having just enough power, not too much weight, good handling and possibly superior traction from the tyres. Rindt’s Cooper-Maserati was handling in a very odd fashion and he dropped back from third place to fifth, even though he battled valiantly and Bonnier, and Hulme drove steadily and consistently and kept on the same lap as the leader. Ginther retired with overheating trouble and Siffert retired with clutch trouble, while Spence went out with engine trouble, as did Wilson, and Anderson and Hawkins made pit stops to change plugs.
Results : 18th International Trophy-Formula One-35 laps 165 kilometres.
1st : J. Brabham (Brabham-Repco V8) .. 52min. 57.6 sec.-186.78 k.p.h. (116.06 m.p.h.)
2nd: J. Surtees (Ferrari V12) .. .. 53 min. 05.0 sec.
3rd : J. Bonnier (Cooper-Maserati V12) .. 54 min. 22.2 sec.
4th: D. Hulme (Brabham-Climax 2.7-litre) … 54 min. 28.8 sec.
5th: J. Rindt (Cooper Maserati V12) … 34 laps.
6th : T. Taylor (Brabham-B.R.M. 2-litre) … 33 laps.
7th : R. Anderson (Brabham-Climax 2.7-litre) … 32 laps.
8th : P. Hawkins (Lotus 33-Climax 2.7-litre) … 31 laps
9th : V. Wilson (B.R.M. 2-litre) …classified but not running at finish.
Fastest lap : J. Brabham (Brabham-Repco V8), 1 min. 29.8 sec.-188.24 k.p.h. (117.34 m.p.h.).
Retired: M. Spence (Lotus 33-B.R.M.), lap 4: R. Ginther (Cooper-Maserati V12), overheating, lap 6; J. Siffert (Cooper-Maserati V12). clutch, lap 12.
12 starters 9 finishers.
After Brabham had done a lap of honour mounted on a trailer, complete with his car, and towed by a tractor, the Formula Three lads came out to do battle and this they did in a big way. After Courage (Lotus 41) had dropped out with a broken oil pipe a terrific battle ensued between Pike (Lotus 41), Irwin (Brabham) and Penning (Brabham), these three chopping and changing positions continuously. Behind them Bondurant (Brabham) and Brian Hart (Lotus 35) were having a race-long scrap and as the laps were reeled off Nunn (Lotus) and Bell (Lotus) caught up and joined in, so that there were two very heated battles taking place, everyone using Ford engines. Towards the end of the 25 laps Pike seemed to be commanding the situation up at the front, leading at the end of each lap, which was the important point, while the following foursome were still swapping places. With the usual Formula Three business of dodging about Pike led over the finishing line in as close a finish as the customers could wish for, and Brian Hart just beat Bondurant for fourth place. The pace of this race can be judged by the average speed which was higher than the old lap record.
Results : Radio London Trophy-Formula Three-25 laps-118 kilometres.
1st : R. Pike (Lotus-Ford) (Lucas Team Lotus) .. 42 min. 04.0 sec. 167.97 k.p.h. (104.37 m.p.h.)
2nd : C. Irwin (Brabham-Ford) (Chequered Flag Team) … 42 min. 04.2 sec.
3rd : J. Penning (Brabham-Ford) (Stockbridge Racing) … 42 min. 04.4 sec.
4th : B. Hart (Lotus-Ford) (Peter Sellars Racing) … 42 min. 42.4 sec.
5th : R. Bondurant (Brabham-Ford) (Chequered Flag Team) … 42 min. 42.6 sec.
6th : D. Bell (Lotus-Ford) (Owner-driver) … 42 min. 44.4 sec.
7th : M. Nunn (Lotus-Ford) (Lewis-Nunn Racing) … 42 min. 48.4 sec.
8th : R. Fielding (Brahham-Ford) (Drummond Racing) 42 min. 57.8 sec.
No other finishers 9 retirements.
Fastest lap : C. Irwin and J. Penning, in 1 min. 39.8 sec.-169.85 k.p.h. (105,58 m.p.h.) (new record).
This fantastic pageant of speed organised by the B.R.D.C. came to an end with a 12-lap race for Historic Racing Cars, competing for the Kodak Trophy and it provided a runaway win for Charles Lucas, owner of the Formula Three team and sometime Formula Three driver, driving a 250F Maserati. He would undoubtedly have been challenged, if not beaten, by Lindsay in a similar car, but a fuel pipe split on the starting line and he only got as far as Club Corner on the opening lap before everything was sprayed in fuel and he hastily switched off. Lucas drove a very smooth race to win comfortably from Spero in another 250F Maserati and Cottam in an A-type Connaught. Of the 22 starters only six fell by the wayside, which says a great deal for the people preparing these cars of a bygone age, ranging from 1960 back to 1925, as well as for the mechanical sympathy that the drivers must have for their machines.-D. S. J.
Results : Kodak Trophy-Historic Racing Cars-12 laps-56 kilometres.
1st: C. Lucas (Maserati 250F) 22 min. 14.6 sec. 150.23 k.p.h. (93.35 m.p.h,)
2nd: J. Spero (Maserati 250F) 22 min. 43.8 sec.
3rd : A. Cottam (Connaught A-type) .. 23 min. 25.2 sec.
4th : P. Waller (ERA. 1 1/2-litre) 23 min. 54.0 sec.
5th: F.P. Brewer (Aston Martin 3-litre) 24 min. 21.0 sec.
6th : J. Brown (Cooper-Bristol) 24 min. 25.4 sec.
Fastest lap Post-War : C. Lucas (Maserati 250F). 1 min. 49.8 sec. 154.44 k.p.h. (95.97 m.p.h.).
Pre-war : P. Waller (E.R.A.), 1 min. 55.8 sec.-146.44 k.p.h. (90.99 m.p.h.).
There was a shortage of “ace” drivers at the meeting as Graham Hill, Clark, Stewart and Gurney were all at Indianapolis. For covering 35 laps in 52 min. 57.6 sec. with a fastest lap in 1min. 29.5 sec. Jack Brabham won £750. For covering the same distance in 53 mm. 02.4 sec., but with a fastest lap in 1 min. 28.8 sec. Denis Hulme won only £100.
Such is the pressure on the results sheet team during a full B.R.D,C. day that they are bound to make mistakes, but the best was the fastest lap in the saloon-car race, which took 1 hour 45 min. 0 sec !-presumably I min. 45.0 sec.
Brewer’s Historic Aston Martin was an ex-works car of 1959 with 3-litre engine, and was recently retrieved from Australia.