Grand Prix of South Africa
Heat and altitude problems
Johannesburg, Monday, 2nd January: Three previous South African Grands Prix have been of world championship status at the coastal resort of East London. However, after the 1966 race being a non-championship event the venue has been moved to the 2.5-mile circuit at Kyalami, just outside Johannesburg. The circuit is narrow, but interesting, the corners being varied and tricky, with a reasonable straight and fair pits. One disadvantage of this circuit is that it is 5,000 feet above sea level and when the weather is hot all the atmospheric and fuel vaporising problems arise. The lap speed stood at just over 100 m.p.h. and was held by John Love's Cooper-Climax 2.7.
All the major G.P. teams had accepted entries with the exception of Ferrari who could not get cars ready in time due to the racing department being rebuilt.
The Brabham team had two cars for Brabham and HuIme. These were unaltered since Mexico and were in their usual well-prepared state. Coopers had brought two cars for Rindt and Rodriguez. Both had the wide-angled inlet trumpets and had Magneti Marelli coil ignition. The car driven by Rodriguez was the one used in Mexico by Surtees, and in a pre-practice run the Mexican settled in very quickly except for vaporisation which slowed him after every few laps. Two new sixteen-cylinder B.R.M.s were here for Stewart, now the No. 1 driver, and for Mike Spence who has joined the team for 1967. Since Mexico B.R.M. have had several test sessions to improve handling and engine reliability. Most of the changes are only detail but two noticeable ones are the air scoops taking air to the centre of the ventilated discs which were first used without scoops at Watkins Glen, and the rear lower wishbones which have been filled in to strengthen them. Three different noses had been brought, the usual one used for most of last year, a very short one which was cut off flush with the radiator and a new wind tunnel designed nose with a number of slit vents behind the radiator line. Team Lotus had two H16 B.R.M. Lotus 43s, both using the older "double-eight " engines, a new chassis R43/2 for Clark and the older chassis R43/1 for Graham Hill. Both cars were the same and there had been no further development as this was expected to be the last race in which Lotus will use the H16 B.R.M. engine, their own Cosworth V8 being scheduled for the beginning of the European season.