A much-delayed but nonetheless sincere thank you for the excellent series on Graham Hill in your March issue.
I do have some reservations, though. I have always believed that his Triple Crown stemmed from the Formula One World Championship, Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500, as stated by Gordon Cruickshank in his editorial, rather than Monaco, Le Mans and Indy, as headlined forcefully on the cover.
Despite the publicity and glamour that Monaco generates, the event has never overshadowed GP racing in the way that Indianapolis and Le Mans dominate Indycar and sportscar racing. In fact, the race was held on an irregular basis in the decade following WWII. Indeed, in 1954, the year in which Hill drove his first F3 races at Brands Hatch, 20th Century Fox had to pay Louis Chiron to organise a fake Monaco race for their movie The Racers, starring Kirk Douglas.
Ironically the only Motorsport event on four wheels at least which could stand comparison with Indy and Le Mans as a one-off was surely the AC de Monaco’s other and older showpiece: the Monte Carlo Rally. Graham certainly contested at least four classic Montes between 1958 and ’64.
Similarly, Joe Scnlzo may have been right when he suggested that it may have been the “the priceless opportunity to work with George Bignotti” that persuaded Hill to go back to the Brickyard, but there were a couple of changed circumstances in 1966 which would also have been significant.
Development problems with BRM’s new H16 engine not to mention a much publicised burglary at Folkingham had forced the cancellation of his entry for the International Trophy race at Silverstone, scheduled for the same weekend as qualifying at Indy.
Also and this is a major ‘also’ Graham had changed employers in sportscar racing for that year He had previously enjoyed a nice little arrangement with Col. Ronnie Hoare’s Maranello Concessionaires for sports and GT events. This team had secured, among other benefits, works Ferrari prototypes to drive in both the 1964 and ’65 Nürburgring 1000Kms, then Europe’s second-most important sportscar race, which regularly clashed with Indy. But now Hill was part of Alan Mann’s section of the official Ford works team and committed, therefore, to just Sebring and Le Mans.
I am, Yours etc, David Cole, Oakham, Rutland