McLaren of James Hunt in 1976 British Grand Prix

1976 British Grand Prix

Brands Hatch, July 18th

If there is one thing that you must admire the British for, it is their consistency. Once they get hold of a good idea they do not let go of it easily, though some people think they tend to flog a good idea to death. During the nineteen-fifties and nineteen-sixties the British Grand Prix was held regularly, fluctuating from Silverstone to Aintree to Brands Hatch, but providing some good racing and some classic events in motor racing history. Although we have three major race-organising clubs in this country, at Grand Prix time they combine under the leadership of the Royal Automobile Club to jointly organise our Grande Epreuve which is known as the RAC British Grand Prix. Because the organisers are not very efficient businessmen the race invariably looked like being a financial loss, so help was sought from the world of successful big business, in the form of monetary support or financial guarantees in return for publicity. After a brief flirtation with the Wool Marketing Board the RAC made a deal with the John Player cigarette firm and changed the title of the race to the John Player Grand Prix. They also elicited support from the Evening News newspaper.

In 1970, what had been an interesting and exciting race, in which Jochen Rindt (Lotus) just beat Jack Brabham (Brabham) when the Australian's car ran short of fuel, was turned into a farce when the scrutineers proclaimed the rear aerofoil on the Lotus was above the regulation height (this measuring nonsense went on that long ago and is still not resolved satisfactorily). Rindt was disqualified and then the arguments began. After four hours of comic opera the decision was reversed and Rindt was re-instated as the winner. The measuring was done by a tape measure with the car standing on a piece of rough concrete! We had moved from the "swinging sixties" into the "sordid seventies".

Race Results

Qualifying

Circuit - Brands Hatch

Country

Britain

Location

Fawkham, Kent

Type

Permanent road course

Length

2.6136 (Miles)

Record

Nigel Mansell (Williams FW11-Honda), 1m09.593, 135.200 mph, F1, 1986

3,414

Championships

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19,338

Results

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25,224

Drivers

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14,546

Teams

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920

Circuits

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