The Way it was

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Sir,

I note with interest the article in the April issue on the finding of another Lola-Aston Martin, and particularly references to myself.

I would like to point out that the whole responsibility of creating the Lola-AsIon Martin programme and the original idea came from myself. We carried out as much testing as engine availability allowed, engines being scarce and very late. No sponsorship involved the cars in using materials which were inferior or unsuitable, and I certainly have no knowledge of any problem experienced with Marchal plugs, which of course were largely used by Ferrari at that time, nor of any advice from Aston Martin that the plugs they would have used in their test bench running were unsuitable.

The problems experienced at Le Mans were largely due to one thing — revised cylinder-head gaskets and sealing which we had not tested in the car and were not aware had been changed. It is also quite incorrect to surmise some 29 years later that the retirement of the car at Reims was due to my over-revving and breaking a crankshaft. I never recall having broken a crankshaft with a Chevrolet engine, and if overrevving for whatever reason had taken place, it is more likely to have created other problems. Certainly a suggestion of one-upmanship over gearing would be wrong. As the official Lola development team we were quite aware of the capabilities of our cars, and having been at Le Mans would have had gears available for speeds in excess of 190mph. Also I doubt whether we would have needed to sit in Paul Hawkins’ slipstream for performance purposes: more likely with a 12-hour race in front of us it would have been strategy to let someone else set the pace.

In relation to the Nurburgring, I don’t recall any of the circumstances surrounding the comments made. As to the remark that we retired with broken suspension, it is a wonder that your correspondent has not attributed this to me hitting the kerb or something. The Lola-Aston project unfortunately failed. It was low-budget, and the car did approximately 12 hours testing at Goodwood prior to Le Mans, but the lessons learned were not acted upon by the engine suppliers and they did not commit the resources to meet the levels of development and preparation required. What was possibly most important of all was that the various people working on the engine did not make a co-ordinated effort in resolving the problems.

The Lola-Aston Martin project should have worked. The chassis/driver combination we had was capable of beating the opposition. The engine just needed to have a reasonable power curve and moderate power, and, with perhaps the help of a wet spell witness the fastest time set in the Le Mans test trials in the wet we would have been in with a chance. It didn’t happen because the resources, time and level of co-operation and dedication to make the engine work just did not happen.

It is therefore wrong for people who have recreated these cars with engines that have had close on 30 years of further development carried out on them to look at this project through rose-coloured spectacles and try to attribute blame without any knowledge and based on hearsay from uninformed people.

John Surtees, Edenbridge, Kent.