The 1974 RAC Tourist Trophy
In an attempt to bring some semblance of reality to the Tourist Trophy race, this year's event was for production saloon cars with hmited modifications, to what might be termed Group 1½. The very full and varied entry indicated that this was a move in the right direction and no single make dominated the scene, which was refreshing to the onlookers. Naturally the Chevrolet Camaros were the fastest cars, but they were also the thirstiest and hard on their brakes, so that less powerful cars were well in with a chance in the 107-lap race round the full Silverstone circuit. Lasting well over 3 hrs., a degree of reliability as well as speed was called for and tactics played their part as well. Winner Stuart Graham ran a well-judged race, gambling on a single refuelling stop and driving the whole distance himself. Richard Lloyd Shared the driving of his Camaro with Jac Nelleman and set the pace until trouble with the brakes delayed him at the pits, and the third fast Camaro driven by Woodman and Buncombe made two refuelling stops as well as an unscheduled one to look for ..a vibration which let Tony Dron up into second place in a Broadspeed Triumph Dolomite Sprint. A Wankel-engined Mazda RX3, driven by Barrie Williams was very fast and led the smaller cars for a long time, until a tyre change was needed, which dropped it back behind the Dolomite; likewise the fast Opel Commodore of Peter Hanson was well in the running until gearbox trouble intervened. The smooth, well driven, run of the Triumph Dolomite lost second place in the closing laps when Woodman's Camaro caught it on sheer speed after its delay.
Access Credit sponsored the meeting, which included races for Formula Ford, Formula Super Vee and JCB Historic cars, and they put up a manufacturers Team Trophy with a prize of £500, equal to the overall firs prize for the TT. A fine entry of eight threecar teams were nominated, individual rivals getting together to make up a team, such as the Simoniz Team Chevrolet, which won the team prize with Graham, Woodman and Lloyd in their Camaros. The overall entry was made up with cars from Chevrolet, Ford, BMW, Opel, Mazda, Vauxhall, Triumph, Alfa-Romeo, Chrysler-Hillman, Toyota and Volkswagen, many with direct factory support, others with indirect support and some with Dealer-support. The overall scene was one of inter-marque racing and team racing, all of which was very much in keeping with the original concepts of the Tourist Trophy and the 10,000 crowd who lined the circuit on the sunny but cold day, had plenty to watch.—D.S.J.