Comment on the Racing and Club Scene
World Motor Sport Tour
Last month we gave readers brief details of the around the World tour being offered exclusively to Motor Sport readers by Worldmark Travel Ltd. Negotiations for this exciting trip were only just complete as we went to press and we now have further details available.
First, there is the fantastic 30-day itinerary which covers such varying countries as the USA and South Africa, Australia and Japan and plus Singapore and Hong Kong. As a world-wide sight-seeing trip we think there is little to compare, but added to this, we have managed to find some of the best motor races of the year and the good majority of them in the sun, too.
The party will leave London on Friday, October 6th, bound for New York on the 11 a.m. BOAC flight. This will give plenty of time to get up to Watkins Glen to catch the final practice session for the US Grand Prix. For those that don’t know, “the Glen” is in the upper parts of New York State about 260 miles from New York itself. Watkins Glen is normally a little sleepy town lying on the banks of Lake Seneca, one of the finger lakes. But it really comes alive on race weekends and the Grand Prix is superbly promoted and run. For last year’s event the circuit had been lengthened to 3.377 miles. The new extension certainly added a great deal to the character of the track and offers some of the best vantage points. Jacky Ickx set the record last year with 1 min. 43.37 sec. (117.495 m.p.h.). The Grand Prix usually has the biggest World Championship fields of the season and pays the largest prize money, so both aspects usually make it one of the best rounds. This year, particularly, it also looks as if the World Championship could still be in the balance before the race.
The day after the race, the party will make its way back to New York for an afternoon flight to the other end of the United States—to California and the excitement of San Francisco. There is so much to do and see in the area that the rest of the week will be spent there.Trips will be organised, probably including one to Los Angeles, but also on the itinerary will be the chance to see two typically American forms of racing—drag racing and sprint racing. The exact meetings will be selected nearer the date when details of the entry are available.
However, the main sporting event of that weekend will be the penultimate round of the Canadian-American Championship at Laguna Seca. The Laguna Seca Raceway is some 120 miles south of San Francisco and nine miles from Monterey. It is a course of tremendous character, with its dips and dives, and certainly one of the most difficult tackled by the Can-Am circus. The works McLarens of Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart will, hopefully, be evenly matched by the works turbo-entered by the Roger Penske Organisation. Lola are also promising a new car for the series and hoping to name a top-line driver soon while Jack Oliver’s Shadow could also be a challenge. The track is only 1.9 miles in length but offers some superb viewing.
On Tuesday, October 17th, the party will switch continents and cultures, for this is when the tour leaves the USA and flies to Toyko, crossing the International date line as it goes. There will be six days in the fascinating capital of Japan. Unfortunately there are no major international race meetings during the period of the stay but hopefully we can find a smaller event during the weekend. The main motoring part of the Japanese trip will be a factory visit. The Japanese industry is really thriving and you can see just why. The tour operators are presently in contact with Datsun.
On Tuesday, October 24th, the party moves on to Hong Kong and then, on Friday. October 27th, to Singapore. These stop-overs are primary sight-seeing visits and we feel that tour members will find plenty to explore in both these fascinating Eastern parts. On Monday, October 30th, there is another switch of Continent for the party will fly to Perth, Australia. There will be two days for sight-seeing before the party departs for South Africa and the final motoring event of the tour—the Kyalami 9-flours. The Kyalami track is some 16 miles out of Johannesburg—on the road to Pretoria. The 9-Hours has long been a popular event, particularly for British competitors; mainly because of the hard work and attention to detail by promoter Alex Blignaut. The race is not in the World Manufacturers’ Championship but often attracts the new contenders for the following year. Last year’s Ferrari victory was a foretaste of the onslaught they have been making this year. Another fascination of the race is that it finishes in the dark. Because the race is on a Saturday it means the party will be back in London first thing on Monday morning November 6th.
There is no doubt that the World Motor Sport Tour will be a very full month but the itinerary has been drawn out so as not to be too tiring. Naturally there are some overnight flights but a comfortable bed will be available at the end of them.
The World Motor Sport Tour is being managed and run by Worldmark Travel Ltd, who have a wealth of experience in organising trips of this nature. It is their first motor racing tour but other world-wide trips they have successfully organised have catered for enthusiasts of golf, horse racing, yachting and there has even been a world-wide trip for rose-growing enthusiasts. A senior member of the firm will act as tour leader for the party while it is envisaged that a member of the staff of Motor Sport will also be on the trip.
The retail price of the tour will be £780 and this includes all flights by scheduled services. First class hotel accommodation will be provided throughout, including continental breakfast and some other meals, and the cost of the tour will also include admission to the various events plus the usual airport taxes and so on. Illustrated brochures are now available direct from Worldrnark Travel at I0 Duke Street, London W1M 6DP (Tel. 01-486 1961). By the very nature of th,.’ Tour the numbers will be strictly limited so any one interested would be well advised to contact Worldmark as soon as possible.
New Fire Protection Systems
During practice for the International Trophy meeting last month the Graviner fire extinguisher people held a demonstration to show a new fire protection method. Unfortunately the demonstration was rather poorly organised for members of the public were allowed to crowd around the BRM which was being used and members of the press, ourselves included, were not able to view it properly. Apparently, the new system introduces a second fire extinguisher which provides a two level protection capability, most single-seaters presently only have one. The engine is protected by a 2 1/2 kg BCF filled high rate discharge extinguisher which can be actuated by either of two temperature sensors. Secondly, the cock-pit area is separately protected by a 5 kg BCF filled extinguisher located on the floor of the cockpit. This low-rate discharge extinguisher is actuated by two temperature sensors or a manual over-ride which has switches both on the dashboard and outside the car. The switches also actuate the Graviner “Life Support” system which consists of a supply of compressed air, piped into the driver’s full face helmet, which according to the press release “has been specially sealed to reduce the escape of air”. Quite how the chap breathes if there isn’t a fire or how the helmet is sealed was not explained.
While we commend Graviner for their interest we feel this is attacking the problem from the wrong end. How much better if the cars were made safer so that they did not explode in a ball of flame on crashing. We understand that some new tanks, which have been developed in the USA by Uniroyal, have proved to be a great stride forward and look forward to more details.
New Racing Drivers’ Association
Attempts to form associations for the non-full time professional racing driver, for the club driver and the like have come and gone with monotonous regularity over the last few years. Now, however, it looks as if a serious attempt may get off the ground. The British Racing Drivers Club have announced the formation of a new Association for British racing drivers under their aegis and guidance. Membership will be open to all holders of current international, national and restricted licences issued by the RAC.
The basic object of the Association will be to represent the interests of its members to the various committees and organisations concerned with motor racing. Negotiations are also in hand to provide personal accident insurance.
The Association will be administered initially from the offices of the BRDC, 9 Down Street, London W1. The Secretary will be Anthony Salmon who is, at present, preparing the rules and details of membership application.
Pit Stops • Our
• Our recent article on Group Racing Developments Ltd in the “They Make Racing Cars” series has caused some embarrassment to Griston Engineering Ltd. We Said that Griston Engineering is owned by Mike Warner, the former Lotus Racing managing director, which is incorrect. Incidentally we also said that the GRD Formula Three raced by Pierre-Francois Rousellot is sponsored by Gauloises. Wrong French brand—it should have been Gitanes.
• Dr. Tony Goodwin has found an unusual sponsor for his Dulon-FVA sportscar which he is racing in several long-distance classics this year. The sponsor is ASH (Action on Smoking and Health Ltd), the organisation run by Dr. John Dunwoody which has been opposing sport sponsorship, including motor racing, by tobacco companies. Needless to say Dr. Goodwin is a non-smoker but for that matter so is Emerson Fittipaldi, number one driver for John Player-Team Lotus.
• The British branch of the Kleber tyre company have announced details of a new scholarship for rally drivers which is being run in association with the BBC Wheelbase motoring programme with a tremendous first prize. The scholarship will be awarded to the most promising rally driver selected by a panel of expert judges. He or she must be British and under 30. The judges will select their choice from studying performances in four major rallies. The winner will receive a fully works prepared Escort RS 1600, a grant of £2,000 to assist the winner’s entry in four major rallies and up to £500 of spares.
• The Intertech Development Ltd steering wheel people are sponsoring two racing cars this season. One is the Chevron B21, being driven by Trevor Twaites, and the other is a Group 2 Escort GT being raced by Paul Ridgway.
• Car and motor cycle enthusiasts in many parts of the country should soon be able to go into their local travel agency or car accessory shop to buy tickets for race meetings at any tracks operated by Motor Circuit Developments. Airline type tickets, which are filled in by the issuer for the appropriate race meetings, are presently being distributed to the growing list of agents who are paid a commission. Tickets will still be available at the gate, of course, although prior bookings could save queueing.