New Grand Prix Cars at Monza

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Practice for the Italian G.P. at Monza saw the first appearance of three new cars, the completely revised A.T.S., the Ferrari with flat-12-cylinder engine and the B.R.M. with the latest V8 engine from Bourne. At the end of last year the A.T.S. concern, who set out to beat Ferrari at building Grand Prix cars and Gran Turismo cars, got into financial difficulties and some of the backers got out before they lost any more money. The Grand Prix car project was shelved, after some abortive appearances during 1963, and a few 2½-litre rear-engined GT coupes were completed, two of them appearing at the Targa Florio early this season. The car-building firm of A.T.S. folded up and the factory and its facilities divided up into three separate groups, one was the foundry doing contract work, another was the machine shop, also doing contract work, and the third was A.T.S. Racing, comprising the Formula One cars and components and all the spares. Alf Francis and V. W. Derrington formed a partnership to continue the racing activities of A.T.S. and Alf and a handful of mechanics set about the problem of sorting out the 1963 Grand Prix cars, there being two in existence. All the untenable parts were scrapped and this left the front cross-member, the upper front wishbones and inboard springs, the front hub carriers, wheels and brakes. At the back it left only the hub carriers, wheels and brakes, the V8 engine and the Colotti-G.S.D. gearbox. The wheelbase was shortened 6½ in, the gearbox attached directly to the rear of the engine, in conventional style, and an entirely new tubular space frame was constructed along the lines of a Lotus 24 or a Brabham, and a similar rear suspension layout was adopted, but the rear disc brakes were kept mounted inboard. Water is taken from the engine to the radiator via the top loft side frame tube, and it returns via an external pipe, while oil travels both ways by external pipes. The original A.T.S. nose cowling was tidied up and abbreviated bodywork covers the engine. The V8 engine was developed during the winter and a lot of the 1963 troubles with the oil system were eradicated, and on Lucas fuel injection it has given just on 200 b.h.p. at 11,000 r.p.m.

The general finish and detail work of this completely revised A.T.S. is of a very high standard and in complete contrast to the shabby and untidy turnout of last year, and is a credit to Francis and his mechanics for the whole project has taken a bare two months to complete. For the Italian race the driver was Mario Cabral, from Portugal, and the car was painted a strange shade of red/orange, and for a first time out it ran satisfactorily until engine trouble put it out of the race. Known as the Derrington-Francis A.T.S. the car is a credit to the Grand Prix scene, by its turn-out, which is more than cans be said of the original A.T.S. which Count Volpi, Jamie Patino and Georgio Billi financed in order to try and beat Ferrari at car building, a project and aim that was doomed before it began. The Derrington-Francis intention is to run one car in Grand Prix racing, develop the engine for sale to interested chassis builders, and build engines for future racing, a 3-litre version of the Gran Turismo engine already being under way.

Last winter photographs were taken of Ferrari’s latest project, a horizontally opposed 12-cylinder 1½-litre Grand Prix engine, but time spent on other things held up its development and it did not appear in public until the second day of practice for the Italian G.P. This flat-12 unit has two camshafts to each bank of six cylinders and the vertically disposed inlet ports are fed by very long intake tubes in which are situated Lucas fuel injectors. Exhaust pipes are under the engine and a bunch of six protrude on each side of the car, running into single tail pipes. The engine is remarkably compact and is installed in a similar chassis to that used for the V8 Ferrari engines, and the overall width of the 12-cylinder is no wider than the bulkhead behind the driving compartment, the same rear suspension being used as on the V6 and V8 cars and a gearbox similar to the V8 is used, bolted to the tear of the flat-12 crankcase. The drive for the camshafts is at the front of the engine and from this two distributors are driven, ignition being by coils, while a toothed belt front the right hand inlet camshaft drives the injector pump, fuel pressure being by a Lucas 100 lb./sq. in electric pumps. So compact is this new power unit that it is not easy to distinguish the car from the earlier V6 engined cars, apart from the number of air intakes; and it also has a very low centre of gravity. Due to missing Friday’s practice it could only practise in the wet on Saturday, driven solely by Bandini and he got within fractions of a second of a 2 min. lap in conditions in which Gurney and Clark were the only drivers to get below 2 min. for a lap. Due to being comparatively untried the car was not used in the race, but promises well for the future. The third new car at Monza was the revised “monocoque” B.R.M. with a new engine. Like the Ferrari flat-12 this B.R.M. engine was meant to be finished during last winter but various problems and pressure of work in keeping the team cars in one piece throughout the season, as well as continual rebuilding after crashes, has delayed the project. Originally a version of the B.R.M. V8 engine was built using 4 valves per cylinder, having the inlet ports in between the valves, in best 328 B.M.W. fashion, and the exhaust ports in the see of the engine in 2-litre V12 Delage fashion, of the vintage years, but also recently revived by Ford as well as B.R.M. The 1964 B.R.M. chassis was designed to take this 4-valve engine, which is why the rear springs were moved outboard, in contrast to the 1963 layout. The new engine did not give the anticipated results so it was redesigned using all orthodox 2-valve layout, but keeping the new inlet and exhaust arrangement. As an interim measure the 1963 V8 engine was installed in the new chassis, and this meant cutting holes in the rear portions of the stressed-skin box side members, for the exhaust pines to run through; this being illustrated in Motor Sport last July. With the new engine completed one of the 1964 chassis frames was rebuilt from the cockpit rearwards, using side members that were scaled off and containing rubber fuel tanks. The intake trumpets for each bank of cylinders sticks out of the sides of the engine hatch, and the exhaust pipes form into two tail pines sticking out of the tail of the car. The throttle Slides for each row of four inlets are connected to a cross-shaft in front of the engine and the throttle cable operates a lever on this cross-shaft.

With this engine installed the whole layout of the 1964 B.R.M. makes sense, whereas previously it has obviously been a compromise and the advantages are that the inlet pipes are clear of exhaust pipe heat and a lot of the total engine heat, different exhaust systems can be experimented with much more easily, the whole of the chassis boxes can be used to carry fuel and the rear of the car is much cleaner and slimmer. The only disadvantage would seem to be the concentration of exhaust pipe heat in the centre of the vee and the car had to have cooling vents cut on top of the neat engine cover. A number of onlookers did not appear to appreciate that the cylinder heads were entirely new, the inlet camshaft being the lower one and the exhaust camshaft the upper one, in direct contrast to the orthodox B.R.M. V8 engine, apart from the inlet tracts being down by the sparking plug holes. In addition there were those who thought the engine must have 4 valves per cylinder, but a close study of the inlet ports and the head casting was all that was needed to ascertain that there was only one inlet valve per cylinder. While studying this it was interesting to note that the injectors squirted “upstream” in the inlet pipes, as is usual with the Lucas system, but for reasons of space and constructional limitations the fuel pipes fed downwards into a casting that was hairpin shape, the drilling in this costing turning the fuel back “upstream” before it reached the injector nozzle.

There was no reason to suppose that this engine would give any more b.h.p. than the conventional one, though cooler inlet tracts might help a little, but the main reason for the layout was to fit in with the design of the car as a complete entity. In practice Graham Hill was third fastest with the new car, but in the race the clutch thrust withdrawal mechanism siezed in the “out” position so that when the flag fell there was no way of transmitting the power of this new engine to the gear box. A frustrating debut for a new car.—D. S. J.