The VSCC is very proud that the first-ever race victory by ERA GP1 was achieved by Duncan Ricketts at their Hawthorn Memorial Spanish Trophy race at Silverstone on 26 August. Intended to follow the great successes of the earlier ERAs in GP racing, GP1 and GP2 were never fully developed after the demise of the earlier ERA concern. GP1 was tested at Donington in 1938 and its 2.2-litre engine changed fora 1.5-litre one in 1939. The war retarded development and Raymond Mays moved on to the BRM project. But these two E-type ERAs did race before that and then up to 1950, when GP1 crashed and was burnt out. Its best show had been Peter Walker’s two second places and a third at the Goodwood Woodcote Cup Meeting in 1949.
GP1 has since been resuscitated with a 2-litre ERA engine thought to have been used in the car during its prototype period. Naturally the VSCC was delighted with the race win by this advanced car with its de Dion rear axle, after all these years, and appropriately at the club’s celebration of 100 years of grand prix racing, especially as the car is in its original form, even down to its original-sized wheels and tyres. In the wet conditions Duncan could outbrake Julian Bronson driving ERA AJM1, but it could repass him on the straights.
The good news is that Ricketts intends to keep GP1 as original as possible and to drive this historic ERA not only in suitable races, but hopefully in hillclimbs to complete her history.