I was pleased to see some Interserie photographs from the vaults of Walter Hoffmann in the September issue as there are not many people who share my passion for the subject.
The occasion was the Preis von Baden-Württemburg, staged at Hockenheim in October 1971. However, the car in Jo Bonnier's colours looks more like a Lola T222, probably chassis number HU4. Although not easily visible in that shot, I would also reckon the pilot is in fact Peter Westbury of Felday fame.
Brian Redman in his BRM P167 won the race on Sunday, something like two minutes (almost a complete lap) ahead of Michel Weber in his Porsche 917 Spyder in Gesipa colours. Both Teddy Pilette (in Count van der Straaten's McLaren M8E, chassis No 80-08) and Derek Bell (in Sid Taylor's M8E) suffered engine problems on lap three of 40.
Teddy Pilette's VDS car usually appeared in red with white and blue centre stripes and carried permanent race number 6 throughout all 1971 Interserie events.
Pilette's car carried on in 1973 and '74 under the banner of Eve Escorts with Kaye Griffiths as pilot, while Sid Taylor's car passed on to Bernd Seidler, previously a Lola T70 pilot, for '72. Unfortunately it did not survive its first outing at the Nürburgring 300Km in March of that year. By midway through the season, Bernd offered his engine "due to the loss of my race car".
Silverstone was fab
I read with much interest the September edition of Simon Taylor's 'Notebook' column, concerning as it did the Silverstone Classic meeting in July. I attended this meeting and I would agree with Mr Taylor's comments on the quality of the entry. I am not so sure, however, about his criticisms of the paddock arrangements.
While it cannot be denied that the Silverstone paddock was a bit chaotic, I actually found that wandering around never quite knowing what gem would be unearthed next was a pleasant experience. My one complaint would be that the racing programme started quite early, thus limiting foraging time!
The Goodwood Revival meeting is unquestionably the benchmark event in historic racing, but that does not mean that every historic meeting should aspire to its levels of presentation and organisation. The comparative informality of the Silverstone Classic, coupled to the organisers' wise choice of having plenty of races for cars not eligible for the Revival, gave it an appeal of its own. A fine first effort.
Three of a kind
As someone who saw him win all four of his Indianapolis 500 races, I fear I must correct Rick Mears (October issue): there are three men who have won the Indy 500 four times: A J Foyt, Al Unser Snr and himself. Unser Snr also holds a unique and unapproachable record in Indycar racing: he was the only man to win all three major 500-mile races in a single season (Indy, Pocono and Ontario in 1978, driving for Jim Hall). I was lucky enough to witness that feat as well!
I enjoyed Nigel Roebuck's feature on Keke Rosberg (August issue). My brother, nephew and I attended the '84 Dallas GP and it was indeed hot. I don't recall the track temperature on Saturday but it was the highest recorded — hotter even than Rio. On the Saturday the Can-Am cars pulverised the asphalt parts of the track. We arrived on Sunday morning expecting to see the warm-up but there were no cars on the track; instead workers were resurfacing the Pennsylvania Avenue chicane with quick-setting concrete. But Nigel Mansell and Rosberg had a good battle. I wonder if Keke ever got his trophy?
A correction to your news article about Rubens Barrichello (October issue): Barrichello is not the fourth most successful driver in the history of the Ferrari team. Behind Schumacher comes Ascari, and then Lauda and Jacky Ickx who each have a total of 16 wins. Ickx won seven Formula One races (six grands prix) and nine long-distance races for Ferrari, including the Nine Hours of Kyalami in 1970.
To Derek Bell's remark in the news pages that the Belgian "was always a lucky bugger", Ickx was surely not lucky in 1968, when he could have won the F1 championship in his very first season, nor in 1970 and '72, where an unreliable Ferrari also very likely kept him from winning the championships.
But I do believe that both Derek Bell and Ickx were lucky to be partners at Le Mans 1975, '81, and '82.
We meant World Championship GP's -- Ed
Belgians were first
I was very pleased to read your article on Hans Stuck in the October issue of Motor Sport. He is without doubt one of the best endurance drivers in the world and his career at BMW, Audi and Porsche is almost unique. But at the end of the story Mr Stuck explains that he would be proud of doing the 'Ring 24 hours with both his sons and he called this dream 'unique' for one of the 24-hour races in Europe. Well, this 'unique' record has been achieved in Belgium (in the 24 Hours of Zolder) this year by the Dumarey family. Father Guido drove together with both his sons, Maxime and Guillaume, in a Porsche 996. They finished ninth overall and second in class. Guido Dumarey is a successful businessman, running Body Coach, one of the sponsors of the Aston Martin GT team. His son Maxime races in Formula Renault 1600 for Marc Goossens Motorsport, a team run by the experienced Belgian endurance ace.
Senna in context
Having read Malcolm Parker's letter in the October 2005 issue, I think the coming together of Senna and Prost at Suzuka in 1989 should be set into context.
While it is the case that Senna was a great talent, his ruthless approach left much to be desired. On numerous occasions he would employ overtaking tactics that left his rival with the choice of yielding or being involved in an accident. This approach is now adopted frequently: the sport is poorer for it.
Prior to the Suzuka incident Senna had made several such moves, some of them on Prost, while the latter always took the pragmatic approach. On the other hand the Frenchman always showed great trackcraft and sportsmanship.
Perhaps Senna did not hear Prost saying prior to the event that he would drive "an attacking race" and perhaps it did not occur to the Brazilian that for once his rival would not be intimidated.
I have been a Motor Sport reader for the past 40 years. I still look forward each month to receiving my copy. Since the new format I have particularly enjoyed the Track Visit articles and hope in retirement to visit some of these historic venues myself. I took a particular interest in the Longford feature (October issue) because of the Porsche 718 RSK replica used for the visit.
To change tack slightly, I am a great admirer of these little cars and own a similar car. There are only a few of the original Porsche factory 718 RSKs which still survive, and most of these are now in the USA.
The point I would like to make is that RSK Spyders seem always to be overlooked in any account of '50s sportscar racing or Porsche competition history — there is usually a leap from the 550 Spyder to the 904! These little cars were surprisingly successful and were driven by many of the top drivers of the day. I am sure a feature in Motor Sport on the Porsche RSK Spyders would be a refreshing and interesting read.