Jenks admired the P99 ahead of its British Empire Trophy debut
This interesting newcomer was built and looked after by Ferguson Research Ltd, and entered by the RRC Walker Racing Team, being painted in dark blue with a white band around the nose. Once again Jack Fairman (above) was the nominated driver though Moss had a keen interest in the car, which treads new ground in having four-wheel drive from a front-mounted engine. The engine is canted to the right so that the crankshaft line lies to the left of the centre-line of the car, and it drives through a normal clutch to a ﬁve-speed gearbox.
From the back the gearbox transfer gears step the drive sideways towards the middle of the car and then propeller shafts take the drive fore and aft, a system of free-wheels and limited-slip differentials ensuring the front propshaft cannot rotate faster than the rear one and vice-versa, thus preventing the possibility of wheelspin.
Bevel gears turn the front and rear drives through 90 degrees onto two short shafts in alloy housings, at each end of which are mounted Dunlop disc brakes and then short driveshafts take the drive to the wheels. All this is carried in a logical spaceframe of small-diameter tubing and a very pretty body covers the whole thing, the shapely rounded tail being very Connaught-like, which is not surprising as Tony Rolt directs operations at Ferguson Research. This delightfully well-balanced looking car is surprisingly small, but the outstanding feature is that the weight has been kept down so well.
The Ferguson Research team are not setting out as a Grand Prix contestant but intend to use motor racing to further the cause of four-wheel drive for road vehicles, along with many other design features, and the Ferguson racing car is intended as a test vehicle. While ‘on test’ it might well win a Grand Prix race, in which case Tony Rolt and his men will no doubt be highly delighted.
Denis Jenkinson was our famous Continental Correspondent for more than 40 years.