Around and about, May 1973



A glassfibre F3 car

When you spot an entry in a Formula Three race within the next few weeks for a car called a Genie to be driven by a man named Woody Harris, take a second look. Harris is a Californian who has just brought his home-developed car over to Europe for a season’s racing. It is particularly interesting because the Genie features a fibreglass and polyurethane foam chassis, and is said to be the only current racing car using this method of construction. The original chassis was laid down by Joe Huffaker who has also designed and built several Indianapolis and Can-Am cars and started life as a Formula B car, and has subsequently been developed by Harris.

Harris, a San Francisco State University graduate, started motor racing as a teenager in Germany where his father was a government official. He has since packed in a good deal of racing in America, won a Formula Vee title in 1965 and has since raced in Formula B and in the NASCAR Super Modified category. But his ambition has always been to race in Europe and, to finance this latest project, Harris has sold up his service station in Sacramento, Calif.

The car itself will probably be powered by a Novamotor engine and apart from its special chassis, features fairly conventional outboard link and wishbone suspension. Amongst the spares is another complete monocoque and various other parts. Harris is making no claims to leave the competition in the dust but hopes the car will at least be competitive. His team is actually called Sierra Racing and he has a small degree of sponsorship from Airheart disc brakes, with which the car is fitted but, Harris hopes to tie in a commercial sponsor as well. It will be interesting to see how the car fares in the competitive world of Formula Three.

Two men to watch

Two men who Woody Harris is going to find hard to beat burst on the Formula Three scene at the Silverstone International Trophy meeting. They are Larry Perkins of Australia and Leonel Friedrich of Brazil. Neither finished in the final but both served notice that they will be strong runners in the forthcoming rounds of the John Player Championship. Perkins comes to Britain with a home reputation something like that with which Emerson Fittipaldi or Jody Scheckter arrived. He started racing in Formula Vee less than four years ago and by the end of 1970 was the Victorian Formula Vee Champion with 11 wins to his credit. In 1971 he dominated Formula Ford driving for Bib Stillwell’s team and his nine wins helped him towards the Australian Formula Ford Championship.

Last year the success continued in the Australian Formula Two Championship, which he won in an Elfin, including a run of eight straight victories. He came over to Britain for the Formula Ford World Championship and finished fifth and laid plans for a European season of F3 with a GRD, before returning home. His second ever F3 race with the car was at Silverstone and he surprised everyone with a victory in his heat, although he retired in the final.

Perkins comes from the little Victorian outback town of Cowangie which claims a population of 25, most of whom seem to be Perkinses. He has a well-organised little outfit and make no mistake he is heading for the big time.

The Brazilian Friedrich actually made his F3 debut at Silverstone, doesn’t speak a word of English and actually sat in a single-seater racing car for the very first time on the day of the Silverstone heat. All credit to March Engineering that the car was immediately competitive for, in his first drive at Silverstone (and in the car) Friedrich was eighth fastest in practice. It made all the “aces” who had been in F3 for two or three years look rather sick. The 23-year-old Brazilian went on to finish sixth in his heat and he was contesting third place overall in the final when he had to retire with engine trouble.

It must have all seemed very different from racing a Volkswagen around his home circuit at Taruma, Port Alegre; Friedrich is the 1972 up-to-1600-c.c. Brazilian Touring Car Champion. Another Emerson Fittipaldi perhaps?

Hill goes rallying

One of the first entries for the forthcoming Avon Tour of Britain is for Graham Hill, who hasn’t taken part in a rally since 1967. He is scheduled to drive a Datsun Bluebird 180B SSS in the £1,059-£1,500 class and will be part of a three-car team run by Datsun (Baker Street) Ltd. This firm is run by David Joliffe who used to be a mechanic to Hill some ten years ago.

. The event, which is to be staged in early July, is already attracting an enormous amount of attention and it seems that various other leading Grand Prix drivers will take part. It is to follow the pattern of the popular Tour de France with a route which includes races at Llandow, 0ulton Park, Silverstone, Snetterton and Brands Hatch plus seven more rally-like special-stages. We will bring you more details nearer the date.

Silverstone sky day

Anyone who was at Silverstone for the International Trophy meeting no doubt noticed the number of private planes which landed at the circuit. On June 23rd the famous racing circuit will be taken over completely by the flying fraternity with the first “Sky Day”. The gates will open to spectators at 8 a.m. and from then on there will be static displays, pleasure flights and a fair.

Then in the afternoon there will be a flying programme which will consist mainly of aircraft of the Royal Air Force supplemented by a number of other attractions including “The Barnstormers” Flying Circus. There will also be musical entertainment from the Southern Band of the RAF and it is hoped that there will be exhibits arranged by the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force Career Information Offices.

Admission to the special spectator enclosures will be 50p for adults, and 20p for children and the net proceeds will go to an RAF charity.

Drag gets RAC backing

The National Drag Racing Championship, which covers six meetings, is now being recognised as the official RAC Championship and is also being sponsored by Castrol. Over the past year drag racing has been rapidly gaining popularity in Britain and there has been an influx of several new cars, particularly in the awe inspiring AA Fueller category.

The first round of the championship was held at Wroughton Naval Air Yard last month and was won by Clive Skilton in his brand new Kuhl & Olson American rail although his last years mount the Accles & Pollock Revolution 3 showed well in the hands of its new driver Roland Pratt.

The championship moves to Fulbeck Airfield near Newark, Notts. on May 6th for round two and then on to Silverstone on June 24th for the third round. Further details of the meetings are available from the National Drag Racing Club, 11 Northumberland Avenue, Hornchurch, Essex.

Pit stops

• Two new championship sponsors have been announced recently. The BARC For mula Ford series is to be backed by Wella for Men. Wella is an international company which claim to be the largest international hair cosmetics house and this initial involvement could lead to bigger things in the future. Meanwhile the Monoposto Club has found a sponsor for its annual championship. The sponsor is Sta-Power (UK) Ltd., the British wing of a Californian company, who have just launched their range of oil additives in this country.

• Spectating at race meetings can sometimes prove quite a problem, particularly when the crowds are thick. To combat this is a new device called the Seemore Grandstand which fits on your car roof. It comes complete with a ladder, is light, and stows away neatly. The price works out at about £35 and further details are available from Seemore at Sutton Mandeville, Salisbury, Wilts. (Tel.: Fovant 671.).

Club items

The BMW Car Club is now doing well, with a membership approaching 400. It is a private, non-profit club which issues a newsletter and printed Bulletin and is open to all BMW supporters, not just owners. The Secretary is P. E. L. Carmichael, Tower Hill House, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon.

A proposed Honda AC is suggested by P. S. Goodger, 1 Marlow Road, Bishops Waltham, Hants, to cater for Honda car owners. Mr. Goodger is a member of the HOC which caters for Honda motorcycles and has some 800 members.

Marc H. Bruna, Delistraat, 57 The Hague, Netherlands, wants to start a register of early divided-rear-window VWs. He asks owners to send him details of year, car nos., etc.

The recently-formed Metropolitan OC has a membership of 32. Details from W. E. Dowsing, 4 Burnham Road, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey.

Malcolm Buckler, son of the late Derek Buckler, asks us to say that he has formed a Buckler Register. His address is: Fairy Oak, Regaby, IOM.