Rome G.P. (October 8th)
THE Formula Two season closed for the year with the final round of the European F.2 Trophy held at the Vallelunga circuit some 25 miles north of Rome. The majority of the graded drivers decided to stay over in the Americas as Rome fell between the U.S. and Mexican G.P.s and only Graham Hill and Jo Siffert returned to Europe to mix it with eighteen of the non-graded boys.
The Formula Two Trophy was still in the balance for Ickx had a 5-point lead over Gardner but if the Australian could finish in the first two and beat Ickx in the process the Championship would be his. Four drivers dominated practice—Ickx who was the fastest, the two works Matra drivers Beltoise and Servoz-Gavin, and Gardner. There were several incidents in practice for the surface of the twisty track seemed to be breaking up in places and the loose grit and gravel had the drivers scooting about all over the place and nearly everyone spun at some time or other.
The race was split int6 two parts a la Brands Hatch and the first opened sensationally. Oliver in the works I.otus 48 made a good start from near the back of the grid but got tangled up with Hahne’s LolaB.M.W. and the Lotus smashed into a steel barrier at the side of the track. Roth cars were eliminated while, there were several other collisions further back as cars tried to avoid hitting the wreckage. Fletcher’s Brabham twin-cam was eliminated in this and Lambert’s Brahham ran the whole race with a bent radius rod. Ickx in the Tyrrell Matra stormed into the lead but his main adversary Gardner had clutch trouble at the start and made a poor getaway. No one challenged Ickx and he came home eight seconds ahead of the works Matras of Beltoise and Servo., while Gardner worked his way up the field but could not get past Redman who was driving his Lola superbly.
The intention of the organisers was to hold the cars in a Parr Fame while the Italian only F.3 final was run and then hold the second part. However, as soon as the first F.2 race was over the mechanics and technicians swooped on the cars and by the time the organisers had tried to enforce parc fermi several of the cars were in pieces. Much shouting and waving arms in true Italian tradition followed but the organisers finally relented.
Part two followed the pattern of the earlier race with Ickx taking the lead, the two works Matras following and Gardner and Redman again scrapping for fourth. Ickx again proved the master and won with a little in hand while Beltoise headed his number two, the much improved Servoz-Gavin. Gardner managed to beat Redman this time and by a larger margin than he had been beaten before, so he took the fourth position. Jaussaud, usually a Matra works F.3 driver, took the second Tyrrell car to sixth on aggregate, in front of Rees, Hill, Siffert and Lambert.
It had been hoped that the Dino-Ferraris would turn out for this Italian race but despite testing earlier in the week they decided not to come after all. Another Italian powered machine which did turn up was a Lucas fuel-injected Alfa Romeo GTA-engined Brabham. This was driven by Autodelta saloon man ” Nanni ” Galli who had never sat in a single-seater before. Although the car broke down early on with camshaft trouble both Nanni and the car showed considerable promise. Autodelta are working on a t6-valve head for this engine next year, while the Italian constructors. Tecno, are seriously considering running a F.2 car next season with a British engine, although the Formula Three tars built by the Bologna firm are not going very well. So the Belgian boy becomes a Formula Two Champion but for more of that see page 1049—A. R. M.
THIS is a section of the tread of Dunlop’s latest radial tyre, the SP Sport, which was announced at Motor Show time. The main feature of the tyre is a three-part tread design : first, the outer channels on each side of the tread have a series of small, lateral tunnels, known as aquajets, which are actually moulded into the rubber; second, closely packed knife cuts, or microslots, are incorporated; and thirdly there is a deep. centre channel. The whole tyre is made with a strong textile casing and a high grip compound rubber developed in motor sporting activities.
The SP Sport is being fitted as standard to Jaguar E-type models, and will also be available in seven sizes, ranging from the 145 to at £7 8s. tubeless (L7 tos. 6d. for the tubed version) to the 185 x 15 at kr’ 19s. tubeless (CM Is. 6d.).
Also new from Fort Dunlop was a low profile SI’, known as the ” 70 ” series, which was evolved for the new Austin 3-litre saloon. The ” 70 ” has a squat look and is the world’s first low profile radial. Incidentally, the ” 70 ” indicates the height-width ratio, the height section being about 70″„ of the width section.
NOTES FROM THE MOTOR INDUSTRY
THE designer responsible for the styling of Ford’s 1967 Cortinas Mk. 4 Zephyrs and Zodiacs, Roy Haynes, is to leave Ford of Britain to take up a similar post for the British Motor Corporation’s Pressed Steel Fisher plant at Cowley. He will become Director of Styling and will be responsible for liaison between the company and their main styling consultants Pininfarina in Turin. Ilaynes, who had been with
Ford for 13 years, will join Chief Stylist, Dick Burzi, who has been working closely with Alec Issigonis on B.M.C. cars. This follows closely on the news that Stanley Dews will also join B.M.C. Dews was also with Ford, being involved as Executive Engineer, commercial vehicle component engineering.
The British Motor corporation’s new engine plant at Longbridge will become operational in a few months’ time. This has cost the company L16-million to construct and is reportedly lbr manufacture of 4and 6-cylinder overhead camshaft engines for mass production. The plant Will be capable Of producing units at the rate of 5,000 per week.
Sir George Harriman, the Chairman, was obviously very serious when he said he wanted to sec Britain jump from her lowly fifth place in world car production and certainly the B.M.C. group are working hard towards these ends.
It might be interesting to note the comparitive production figures for the first six months of 1967, which are as follows : United States, 4,929,196; Japan. 1,452,975; West Germany, 1,209,536; France, 1,098,739; and United Kingdom, 1,033,548. The big jump has been by Japan over those six months; they moved up two places to become second only to the United States in vehicle production. In the first six months of 1967 their inroad into the world vehicle market was up by 54.2% Over 1966. She exported 116,990 passenger cars, .980 of them to Britain.
Honda’s N600 and N36o cars aimed at the British Mini, German Volkswagen and Italian Fiat markets received a good Press, although it is a matter of conjecture whether the British public will take too kindly to being offered a leaf-sprung, beam-axle rear suspension system in place of the I lydrolastic System offered by the B.M.C. car. Interior trim of the Honda has also been criticised—although it seems that when the Japanese firm first heard these comments they began to lay plans to improve this in future ears they were exporting to this country.