Clark: Number One?
I read the letter from John Olliver in the August edition of Motor Sport with some interest. I notice he included Jean-Pierre Wimille, surely the most underrated and unknown GP racer of all time, in his list of all-time greats.
I have become fascinated with this French driver recently and yet I have never seen even a photo published of him. Could Motor Sport please do an article on this forgotten man?
My own top 25 is as follows: 1. Jim Clark; 2. Alain Prost; 3. Ayrton Senna; 4. Juan-Manuel Fangio; 5. Tazio Nuvolari; 6. Jochen Rindt; 7. Stirling Moss; 8. Niki Lauda; 9. Jackie Stewart; 10. Richard Petty; 11. Ronnie Peterson; 12. Nelson Piquet; 13. Bernd Rosemeyer; 14. Jean-Pierre Wimille; 15. Gilles Villeneuve; 16. Emerson Fittipaldi; 17. Jack Brabham; 18. Rudolf Caracciola; 19. Tony Brooks; 20. Mario Andretti: 21. Pedro Rodriguez (included for his sports car drives); 22. AJ Foyt; 23. Graham Hill; 24. James Hunt: 25. Nigel Mansell. Don’t lets forget those who perished before they proved their greatness, such as Stefan Bellof, Tom Pryce, Roger Williamson, Tony Brise, Stuart Lewis-Evans and Bertrand Fabi. Also, I have no doubt that the names of Michael Schumacher, Jean Alesi, Paul Tracy, Al Unser Jnr and Michael Andretti will have to be fitted into the above list in the not too distant future.
David Koch, Enfield.
Silverstone In Hock
As one who was at the BRDC’s historic meeting on July 25, I have to admit Silverstone today is fine compared with the runways and straw bales I remember from the first meeting in October 1948. I was saddened to read DJT’s account of the boardroom squabble and the accountants’ predictions of £5.3m profit in four years. I suspect that will come from Joe Spectator, and much-needed improvements to spectator facilities will be further postponed.
For instance, has the toilet block in the paddock areas been cleaned since the RAF or USAAF left at the end of the war? Last month it was impossible to view, or photograph, the racing without being obstructed by the Colditz-style chain-link fencing. As. two weeks before, the circuit invading morons had proved the fencing to be useless, what is its purpose? Let us hope the old airfield we have come to love will survive this latest battle and go on from strength to strength.
J Stickland, Dorset.
The chain fencing was designed to prevent errant cars, or bits thereof, from reaching the public. Silverstone presently is looking at how to prevent the opposite effect for 1993 – Ed.
To my abject amazement, I see no Prost in Mr Olliver’s list of the 25 best drivers (MOTOR SPORT, August). A printer’s error, or is the latter cerebrally challenged?
Jeremy Boyce, Norwich.
Acronyms Anonymous: SWC RIP
With apologies to The Sporting Times of 1882.
“In affectionate remembrance of sports car racing, which died at Donington Park on July 19 1992. Deeply lamented by a large circle of friends and acquaintances, RIP. The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to the Place de la Concorde, Paris.”
It would be interesting to know whether a 10-car SWC race represents very good value for the sponsor of the event, namely Triton Showers, or very good business for Donington Park racing circuit?
Philip T Cracknell, Ripley, Surrey.
It’s Official: 190 mph is pedestrian
One is accustomed to hearing James Hunt and Murray Walker speaking in awestruck tones of modern F1 speeds exceeding 190mph, but it is surprising to read DSJ commenting in similar vein (MOTOR SPORT, August). The younger generation may care to know that the type 158 Alfa Romeos “without the hi-tech”, so presumably “very slow and rather boring” were timed on the Montesilvano straight at the Pescara GP at 193mph. The date? August 15 1950. They were far more spectacular, albeit much slower, through the corners too. No, DSJ, by today’s standards 190mph is almost pedestrian, and it is surely the hi-tech which has introduced the boredom?
CG Martin, Stoke-on-Trent.
I was pleased to note that Mr Oliver included Jean Pierre Wimille in his Top 25 Greatest Driver list (MOTOR SPORT, August), as this great Frenchman has been ignored for far too long concerning the history of Grand Prix racing.
I think the outcome of the first World Championship in 1950 would have been a lot different had Wimille been alive to compete in it.
Of course, his seasons with Alfa Romeo were somewhat overshadowed by the ridiculous ‘team orders’ and thus he was not able to dominate in the fashion everyone knew he could do given the chance.
There is no doubt in my mind that Wimille was the greatest driver, and he certainly deserves more recognition than he has had. He was a great character.
Jonathan Blackwell, Dadford, Bucks.