Competition Notes and News
News from Ferrari
Due to various delays the factory Ferrari team was not ready in time to take part in the 24-hour Race at Daytona Speedway in Florida, but since then the Maranello Prototype cars have been announced. The works Ferrari team for the long-distance classic races will comprise 4-litre V12-cylinder models, designated 330P3. following on the P1 and P2 cars of previous years, and 2-litre V6-cylinder Dino 206/S models. The 4-litre engines follow the general principles of last year’s cars, having the two banks of cylinders at 60 degrees to one another, with four overhead camshafts, but the detail design of the engine has been reworked to provide a greater safety margin. The bore and stroke are 77 x 71 mm. (3,967.44 cc.), and, using Lucas port-injection, 420 b.h.p. at 8,000 r.p.m. is claimed on a compression ratio of 11.4 to 1. The engine is coupled directly to a 5-speed and reverse gearbox, the whole mounted behind the cockpit. The chassis frame is a mixture of small-diameter tubing and stressed panels, and suspension is independent all round, by double-wishbones and coil-spring/damper units at the front, and single-wishbone and transverse arm, with double radius rods each side, at the rear, with similar coil-spring/damper units. Girling disc brakes are hub-mounted at the front and inboard-mounted at rear, While Dunlop-pattern knock-off alloy wheels are used, with 5.50 x 15-in. front tyres and 7.00 x 15-in, rear tyres.
The open 2-seater bodywork follows the lines of the previous. 330P models, but the cockpit area has been greatly cleaned up, with a vast double-curvature perspex windscreen that blends into curved perspex side panels that together almost form a completely enclosed cockpit. These new works Prototype Sports cars should be a force to reckon with at Sebring at the end of March, and at the other long-distance races.
Looking very similar outwardly, except for the cast-alloy 5-spoke wheels, the Dino 206/S is the first of the batch of 50 to be built, to compete in direct competition with the Porsche Carrera 6, and will no doubt prove to be serious opposition. Until the 50 have been completed the Dino will run as a Prototype Sports car, entered by the Ferrari works team. Like the 330P3 the Dino has an open cockpit, unlike the original Dino, but the opening is very small. Mechanically it follows the specification of the car with which Scarfiotti won the 1965 European Hill-Climb Championship, having a 65-degree V6-cylinder engine, with four overhead camshafts, bore and stroke of 56 x 57 mm. (1,956 c.c.), giving 218 b.h.p. at 9,000 r.p.m. on a 10.5 to 1 compression ratio and using three downdraught Weber 40DCN-2 double. choke carburetters. Chassis construction and suspension layout follow the “bigger brother,” as does the 5-Speed and reverse gearbox, but 13-in. wheels are used.
It would seem that Lorenzo Bandini is now in the team, along with John Surtees and Mike Parkes, but other drivers will depend on the race in question and the number of cars entered, but we can reckon to see Scarfiotti, Vaccarella, Guichet, Baghetti, Biscaldi, Casoni and possibly Bondurant in the cars at some time during the 1966 season.
News from McLaren
At the recent Racing Car Show at Olympia the McLaren-Oldsmobile V8 sports car in Mk. 2 form was exhibited, this car being produced in production form by Elva. It follows the latest McLaren works car that Bruce McLaren raced at the end of last season, being a more compact version of the original car, but mechanically more or less the same. Of particular interest was the single-seater chassis, with V8 Oldsmobile engine and 5-speed ZF gearbox, built for Patsy Burt to use in hill-climbs. In effect this car is a single-seater version of the Mk. 2 sports car, using all the same suspension and steering components, but having a single-seater space-frame of quite substantial diameter tubing. The object was to build a rugged and practical single-seater rather than a super-light one, and though this prototype was built as a hill-climb car, with 4 1/2-litre engine, any reasonable 3-litre engine could be installed as a private-owner Grand Prix car. This car must not be confused with the McLaren works cars, to be driven by McLaren himself and Chris Amon, for these are not only of entirely different conception and construction, but will be using McLaren-modified Ford Indianapolis engines, and will not be for sale. The space-frame hill-climb car will be put into production by Elva, on the same basis as the Mk. 2 sports cars. The hill-climb type car will be classified under the F.I.A. Category C : Group 8 (Formule Libre racing cars), unless a 3-litre engine is installed, in which case it will be Group 7, Formula One, and the Mk. 2 sports car will in fact be a Group 9 2-seater racer, devoid of interior trim, spare wheel, luggage space and numerous other details required by Prototype Sports cars.
News from Brabham
Having already done one race with the 3-litre Repco engine, Jack Brabham should by now have competed yet again with a 2.5-litre version, in the Australian races. Later we may see him in a “2-seater racer” Group 9 car of his own construction using a 4.3-litre version of the Australian engine, all of which indicates that Repeo are quietly getting on with a pretty extensive engine development programme. Repco Ltd. started business in 1928 as the Auto Grinding Company, in Melbourne, making and selling motor car spare parts, and later they embarked on the manufacture of engine spares, forming the Replacement Parts Company, and in 1935 Repco Ltd. was formed, the title being an abbreviation of the original name. Today Repco have trade connections in many parts of the world, and in addition to motor engine parts they make machine tools, agricultural and electronic equipment, and have manufacturing and technical agreements with leading car manufacturers in Britain, Europe and America, and make original equipment to the design and specification of the Australian companies of General Motors, Ford and B.M.C. Chief Engineer for all this work is Frank Hallam, and for the racing engines Phil Irving worked with Hallam, while Jack Brabham was closely connected with the project, the resultant V8 engine being known as the Repeo-Brabham 620. Brabhams connections with Repco go back to the days before he won the World Championship for Cooper in 1959 and 1960, and he was getting special parts made by the Australian firm for his racing Coopers, subsequently extending this connection when he started manufacturing his own cars, and due to these manufacturing connections his production Formula Two and Formula Three cars have been called Repco-Brabhams. With the manufacturing and technical know-how of Repco behind him, Brabham looks to be well set up for the new Formula One racing.
News from Organisers
The 1966 season might well see motor racing take on a different aspect, for two organisers have announced proposals that will alter the whole system of payment to drivers, and it could well start a new trend. The organisers of the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen have put up a total of $102,400 as prize moneys there being no starting money, nor appearance money. The prize money starts at $20,000 (£7,000) for the winner and is paid out right down the starting list to the last finisher, who receives £1,000. This is the U.S.A.C. system employed at Indianapolis, and it means quite simply that the farther and faster a driver goes the more money he gets. The driver who breaks a driveshaft when the starting flag falls is assured of £1,000, but there will be no question of paying big money to a famous driver because he thinks he can win the race, and then have him retire on the first lap. Those drivers that keep the race alive and finish high up will get good money, irrespective of whether they are the World Champion or a new boy. I must say I like the sound of this new arrangement and it seems very fair, with everyone guaranteed a minimum of £1,000, and for all the entry except one this minimum is certain to be exceeded, and £7,150 for the winner seems like good earning.
The way things have been run up to now, and still will be by many organisers, is a sort of “hole-in-the-corner” arrangement of starting money, with haggling between organiser and driver, so that a total of some £20,000 or more has to paid out by the organiser with no guarantee that he is going to get a race for his money. If the whole entry blew up on the opening lap or in the first quarter of the race, the organiser would be the loser, the drivers and entrants being more than recompensed for the short race. Let’s hope more organisers follow the lead set by Cameron Argetsinger, the director of the Watkins Glen organisation.
The B.A.R.C. have come up with another idea which they intend to implement in Formula Two races this season. Their idea is that drivers should earn their starting money during the practice periods, and in consequence they have drawn up a scale of ”prize” money to be paid out on the results of practice lap times, or, in other words, the starting grid order. Pole position on the grid will get £750 and each position behind the fastest will get a diminishing amount, down to £100 or 20th position. Anybody below 20th position will get £50 starting money. On the face of it this looks like quite a good idea, and it will mean that drivers will be earning their starting money, it being paid on visible merit and not on the efforts of team managers or businessmen. However, there is a strange twist to this B.A.R.C. idea, for they state that prize money in Formula Two races will be £500 for the winner and the money will be spread down the field of finishers to £40 for 15th place. This means that there is more money to be won during practice than during the race, which should encourage some dicey driving during practice and a possible lack of interest in the race itself.
More serious than this is the fact that this new idea opens the gate for some unscrupulous manipulation by team managers and drivers, and it will attract the special attention of those that race purely for money, and that means most people in Formula Two. A clever team will turn up with two cars tuned very differently, one as a single-lap sprint machine, with which the number one driver goes out for fastest lap and pole position, and the other tuned for reliability to win the race; and it will not be difficult to shuffle the cars so that the number one driver gets the “race” car as well as the “sprint” car. In this way a team could clean up the maximum amount of money, with tactics which I do not consider to be in the best interests of the sport. Another problem that is sure to arise is the accuracy of the timekeeping, for every 1/100th of a second could mean £100, and drivers and team managers are going to have some pretty good rows with the B.A.R.C. at the end of practice if the official times do not agree with their own. This sort of bickering goes on when there is no money at stake, merely the grid position, so what is it going to be like when £, s.d. is involved ? To try and obviate this difficulty the B.A.R.C. are improving their timekeeping arrangements, but I feel sure this will not satisfy everyone. With short lap times on our “pocket-handkerchief” circuits, and the equality of the major contenders in Formula Two there is going to be a lot of dead-heating over one-lap times. Perhaps it is time we took a leaf from Indianapolis and re-organised our practice sessions to allow qualifying over four or five laps, on a clear track.
As if £750 was not enough for making fastest lap in a 1,000-c.c. racing car, which is not much more than a glorified Go-Kart, a World Champion driver will get an additional £250, even if he is not in pole position, and ex-World Champions will get a bonus of £200. If Jim Clark makes fastest practice lap at Oulton Park on April 2nd, he will get £1,000, to be shared between his entrant and himself. It is not difficult to see why race organisers keep clamouring for bigger and bigger crowds of spectators.
Of the two new innovations for road racing I prefer the American one, it is far less liable to abuse or doubt.
Before leaving the subject of starting money, it appears that some of the British Grand Prix teams, or their representatives, are already trying to “screw” more money out of the Monaco organisers and threatening boycott action. I would like to see the Monaco Club follow the Watkins Glen lead and pay good, big money on results alone. The driver that keeps his 350/400-b.h.p, single-seater “on the island” for 100 laps of the street circuit this year is going to earn his money. With less than 200 b.h.p. drivers were spinning, bouncing off kerbs and hitting walls, so the new 3-litre cars should keep them busy. They can either sweat blood and do a terrific job of work or be pathetic and nervous and go slower than Formula Three cars. My feeling is that we shall see some of each on May 22nd.
News from Indianapolis
It will not be long now before the Indianapolis Speedway opens for testing and practice in readiness for the 500-Mile race on May 30th, and there will be a number of European drivers making regular flights across the Atlantic to fit in as much practice as possible between European races. There will be no Team Lotus cars sponsored by Ford this year, but no doubt most of the Indianapolis Lotus cars built in the last three years will be competing, having been extensively modified by numerous American racing teams. The 4-o.h.c. Ford engine of 4.2-litres will probably be the most popular power unit. but Offenhauser have built a supercharged 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine that is showing good promise, this being the limit of capacity for a supercharged engine.
At the end of last year, before the Speedway closed for a clean-up, Mario Andretti did some tyre testing for Firestone driving a Lotus-Ford (the Dean Van Lines Special.), and most of his laps were over 160 m.p.h., while he recorded an all-time high of 164.083 m.p.h. for one lap, and 163.5 m.p.h. for a 4-lap run. That he was having a bit of a go was instanced by the fact that just after this Andretti “lost it” on one of the corners and spun. Luckily he did not come into contact with the retaining wall, and no damage was done, but when you spin at this speed you go an awfully long distance before you regain control.
The All American Racers Inc. (President, Daniel Gurney) are out to win Indianapolis this year, their new cars being designed by Len Terry and powered by Ford V8 engines. A batch of Indianapolis cars are under construction, some for customers, but three for a works team headed by Dan Gurney. It would not surprise me if Gurney put all his efforts into Indianapolis, even at the expense of his Grand Prix team f “Eagle” cars, but a lot will depend on the Weslake V12-cylinder engine; such as when it is ready to race, how many are available, and what horsepower it gives. For his Indianapolis project Gurney has no unknowns, so this should have priority.
Jackie Stewart looks like having a go at Indianapolis this year, having already done some laps at over 150 m.p.h. with a Lola-Ford of the Mecom Racing Team, and he will probably race one of their cars. While money is no obstacle to the Texan oil-man, the Mecorn Racing Team have not yet “set the world alight,” even though they have had a go at most things, but you still need mechanical know-how to go with unlimited money.
Before leaving Indianapolis and American track racing, it is interesting that the Director of Competitions of the United States Auto Club is Henry Banks. U.S.A.C. look after all professional racing in America, from 1-mile midgets to Indianapolis cars, and browsing through some old American racing magazines the other day a dirty, oil-stained, dust-laden face kept appearing that was very familiar; it was Henvy Banks; who was one of the top professional racers around 1950, driving any size of single-seater and driving hard, on loose shale or hard tarmac in full-lock slides with the power on. It must be very satisfying for American professional drivers to know that one of their top officials is one of their own clan, who knows what racing is all about. Rather like Tony Brooks or Stirling Moss being in charge of the R.A.C. Competitions Department.—D. S. J.
Since the above comments on the proposed B.A.R.C. system of starting grid payments were written. the Major Formula 2 teams and constructors have had a meeting and registered strong disapproval of the idea. It seems likely that it will he drastically modified or abandoned altogether.
The Motor Vehicles (C & T) Regulations, 1965
It is timely, in this issue. to print a reminder that on March 1st the Motor Vehicle (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1965, become fully operative, and from this day it will he an offence for any person to promote or take part in, a competition or trial other than races or speed events which are already forbidden; involving the use of motor vehicles on a public highway, unless the event is authorised and complies with the many conditions which have been imposed as a result of the Chesham Report. Full details of the procedure to be followed is given on the appropriate statutory instrument obtainable from H.M.S.O. at 1s. 6d.