Tag Archives: Fittipaldi

Tyre Contract For Sale – Spirit Cosworth 101D

There is no room for sentimentality in sport even if one has designed a triple Indy 500 winning Indy Car and a car that has secured one constructors World Championship and two world drivers championships after 4 year of steady decline to the bottom of the top ten one must expect ones sponsors to either walk or agree a merger with an up and coming team.

Such was the situation Gordon Coppuck found himself in at McLaren at the end of the 1980 season when sponsors Phillip Morris agreed to fund a merger between the upstart Project Four hither to Formula Two team headed by former Brabham mechanic Ron Dennis and McLaren who had not won a race since the Japanese Grand Prix in 1977.

Part of the deal would include Ron hiring John Barnard to design a new car with a fully composite chassis leaving Gordon little alternative to seek employment else where. Gordon joined his former colleague and McLaren employee Robin Herd at March for 1982 and after a year there became a founding member of a new Formula 2 team with March Formula 2 team manager John Wickham which was funded by Philip Morris and was to be powered by potent 2 litre Honda V6 engines with Belgian Thierry Boutsen and Swede Stefan Johansson as drivers.

Thierry won three races and finished third in the 1982 F2 championship behind March BMW drivers Corrado Fabi and Johnny Cecotto but more importantly for the Spirit team they had outscored the similarly powered Ralts of Kenny Acheson and Dr Jonathon Palmer so that when Honda was deciding on which team to partner in their planned for 1983 entry into Formula One it was easy to go with Spirit.

Withdrawing completely from Formula 2, having won the championship with Geoff Lees in 1981, Honda developed it’s turbocharged 1.5 litre V6 engine while Spirit adapted one of it’s Formula 2 chassis to take the engine while simultaneously working on today’s featured design the 101 from scratch.

Spirit Cosworth 101D, Mark Williams, Silverstone Classic,

Spirit entered a limited programme of six races mid way through the 1983 season and Stefan Johansson managed to qualify the adapted Formula 2 201 and later 201C for all the races entered retiring from three of them and finishing a season best 7th in Holland. The 101 was ready for the last two of this programme but was left unraced.

For 1984 the team had hoped to retain the Honda Engines and attract 1972 and 1974 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi out of retirement, but Honda decided to go with the more established Williams team who had the slightly younger 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg already on their books.

Wickham and Coppuck wasted little time and did a deal to run the 4 cylinder turbocharged Hart 415T engines, that had hitherto been developed exclusively with Toleman since 1980 and Spirit adapted the unraced 101 in time for Emerson to test before the season got underway.

Emerson decided that this was not what he really wanted and so Mauro Baldi was entered for the first six races of the season scoring 8th places finishes in South Africa and San Marino before Huub Rothengatter was entered for the next eight races. With Hart motors in short supply Huub failed to qualify with a Cosworth DFV installed in Detroit but finished a best 8th in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on his final start in the car.

Mauro returned to the seat for the final two races of the 1984 season finishing 8th in the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.

For 1985 Mauro was retained to drive the 101, now in D spec with longer side pods, as was a supply of Hart engines and Pirelli tyres, which would become significant because fellow Hart powered team Toleman had switched from Pirelli to Michelin part way through the 1984 season and when Michelin withdrew from Formula One at the end of 1981 neither Goodyear or Pirelli were prepared to step in and supply tyres to the team.

Without tyres Toleman had to withdraw from the first three races of the 1985 season while Mauro could do no better than qualify 24th for the first two races of the season, after qualifying last at San Marino nearly 10 seconds off the pace and posting it’s third consecutive retirement Spirit decided to call it a day and sold their contract for a supply of Pirelli Tyres to Toleman who could do no better than post one 12th and one 14th place finish all season though Teo Fabi did qualify on pole in Germany which helped secure the teams take over by sponsor Benetton at the end of the season.

Mark Williams is seen at the wheel of the 101D powered by a Cosworth DFV motor at Silverstone Classic a couple of years ago.

Thanks for joining me on this “Tyre Contract For Sale” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Super Saturday Winners – Silver Jubilee Silverstone Classic

Today’s post features all the winners on Super Saturday of the Silver Jubilee Silverstone Classic Meeting, after an aqueous qualification day Saturday emerged as a beautiful sunny.

Lotus, Sam Wilson, Lotus Andrew Hibberd, Silverstone Classic

The action kicked of with the Historic Formula Junior race which was won by the blue #53 Lotus 20/22 driven by Sam Wilson, from 2nd on the grid, seen above being challenged by 4th place starter and 8th place finisher Andrew Hibberd’s red #79 Lotus 22 going into Copse on the opening lap.

Stirling Moss Trophy, Silverstone Classic

Gregor Fisker did a great job driving, the GALPOT Banner car, #46 Ferrari 246S from fifth on the grid to the win he is seen above chasing 3 Knobbly Listers and a white stripped Costin Lister while being pursued by the #25 Lotus by A. Wolfe and I. Vercoutere on lap 5 of the 21 lap / 50 minute race.

Warwick Banks Trophy, Silverstone Classic,

Three Mini’s secured the top three spots for the Warwick Banks Trophy race in the wet conditions, however they were soon swamped by more powerful Lotus Cortinas, BMWs and Alfa Romeos after the start. Richard Meaden in the #63 Lotus Cortina leads coming out of Village above on the opening lap while eventual winner triple British Touring car champion Matt Neal driving the #152 Lotus Cortina, he shared with 2012 British Touring Car Champion Gordon Shedden, has made up 7 places from 14th on the grid going into the third corner of the 50 minute / 18 lap race !

Kidston Trophy, Silverstone Classic

Andrew Hall driving the #69 Frazer Nash Supersports made a super start from 5th in The Kidston Trophy race for pre war sports cars to lead for a couple of corners before Gareth Burnett in the big green #52 Talbot 105 took command for the opening 7 laps of the race. A slick driver change helped Fredric Wakeman and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards take the lead and win the race in the #11 Frazer Nash Super Sports, seen on the extreme left of the photo above in third place.

Tyrrell 012, Martin Stretton, Silverstone Classic

Despite qualifying his #44 Tyrrell 012 nearly 5 seconds faster than Sam Hancock’s yellow #55 Fittipaldi F5A, Martin Stretton, seen above, had to eat Sam’s dust for three laps before pulling away to win the FIA Masters Historic Formula one race by just under 2 seconds.

Honda Dodd, Audi, Wrathall, Silverstone Classic,

12th place starter Frank Wrathall in the 1989 #39 Audi 80 Quattro is seen above lining up to overtake James Dodd driving the 1999 #1 Honda Accord for the lead which Frank would not relinquish on lap 4 of the Super Touring Car race.

Cooper T51, Harvey, Cooper T53, Nuthall, Silverstone Classic,

Racing an open wheeler for the first time since breaking his legs in a Formula Ford car early in his career was 1992 British Touring Car Champion Tim Harvey, who is seen above passing Will Nuttall in the #10 Cooper T53, for the lead on his way to winning the Maserati Trophy race driving Roger Wills #1 Cooper T51.

Jaguar, Nicholl-Jones, TVR, Whitaker, Silverstone Classic,

Mark Whitaker driving the #46 TVR Griffith starting 4th on the grid for the JET Trophy race had left the two Minis that qualified ahead of him way behind and as seen above already had pole sitter Matt Nicholl Jones #85 Jaguar E-type well in his sites as he exited Woodcote for the first time, Mark won the 9 lap race by nearly 18 seconds.

FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars, Silverstone Classic

Martin O’Connell driving the #4 Chevron B19 seen in second above never dropped out of the top 4 on his way to winning the FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars race from the #60 Lola T70 driven by Marino Franchitti and Richard Meaden seen above in 4th place.

Jaguar E-Type, Martin O'Connell, Silverstone Classic

There was little time for Martin to savour his victory as he had a pressing appointment on the 13th row of the grid to start the International Trophy race in his E-Type Jaguar, on lap 11 of the one hour 25 lap race he took the lead and stayed there to claim a second consecutive victory.

11 Nissan / Jaguar_9462sc

Steve Tandy starting from pole in his IMSA Spice, seen in a distant third above, held the lead on the opening lap of the evening Group C race but relinquished it to the #27 Nissan R91CK of Bob Berridge and #17 Jaguar XJR14 of Christophe D’Ansembourg, Bob held the lead for three laps before Christophe, seen in second place above, took the lead on the 4th lap and held on to it for the remainder of the race.

Thanks for joining me on this “Super Saturday Winners” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Mercury. Don’t forget to come back now !


Emmo’s Favourite – McLaren M23 #M23/5

For his 1974 debut with his new team McLaren built 1972 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi today’s featured car the McLaren M23 chassis M23/5.

At the season opening Argetinian Grand Prix Emerson qualified a a promising 3rd on the grid but finished a disappointing 10th, while his team mate Denny Hulme qualified only 10th but won the race.

01 McLaren M23_1213sc

Next there were championship and non championship races in Brazil and Emerson won them both starting from pole and 2nd on the grid respectively.

Having failed to score in South Africa and finished 3rd in Spain all driving M23/5 Emerson then won the Belgian Grand Prix in the same car and took the lead in the points standings for the first time during the 1974 season.

McLaren M23, Emerson Fittipaldi, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Emerson held the championship lead for the next four races until the 1974 French Grand Prix which was won by Ronnie Peterson driving a Lotus 72, retrieved from the Ark, ahead of the resurgent Ferrari 312 B3’s driven by Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni who both displaced Emerson at the top of the table.

Emerson raced #M23/5 for the last time at the French Grand Prix where he started 5th but retired.

McLaren M23, Emerson Fittipaldi, Goodwood Festival of Speed

After the 1974 German Grand Prix, won by Clay Regazzoni Emerson had dropped to fourth in the standings behind Clay, Jody Scheckter and Niki Lauda.

Denny Hulme started the 1974 German Grand Prix in chassis #M23/6 but crashed into the back of team mate Emerson on thegrid of the opening lap which left Denny no option but to abandon the car and Emerson no option but to try and complete the opening 14 mile lap with damaged rear suspension.

McLaren M23, Emerson Fittipaldi, Goodwood Festival of Speed

When Denny returned to the pits he jumped into #M23/5 and set off in pursuit of the field, it took the German race officials two laps to realise what Denny had done and disqualify him from what transpired to be #M23/5’s final race appearance.

At the Italian Grand Prix, won by Ronnie in the Lotus, Emerson finished second to take third in the Championship standings, Ronnie who had won three races was fifth in the standings.

McLaren M23, Emerson Fittipaldi, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Emerson then won the Canadian Grand Prix to jointly lead the championship standings with Clay going into the final round of the championship run at Watkins Glen.

Neither championship contenders Clay Regazzoni of Jody Scheckter added to their point’s totals in the United States Grand Prix and so a 4th place finish was enough to secure a second World Drivers Championship title for Emerson and a first World Constructors title for McLaren.

Emerson is seen at the wheel of his favourite McLaren at this years Goodwood Festival of Speed where he described #M23/5 as his ‘favourite’.

Thanks for joining me on this “Emmo’s Favourite” edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Eau d’Guest – McLaren Cosworth M23 #M23/4

Today’s featured car McLaren M23 #M23/4 appeared in another blog earlier this year in the colours of 1974 sponsors Texaco and Marlboro.

McLaren M23, Silverstone Classic

The car was built in 1973, when McLaren were sponsored solely by Yardley and was driven to a third place finish in the 1974 German Grand Prix by Jacky Ickx in a one off drive.

McLaren M23, Silverstone Classic

Peter Revson drove #M23/4 in the last three races of his career at McLaren finishing 3rd in Monza, winning in Canada and finishing 5th in his home US Grand Prix before leaving to join Shadow for the 1974 season.

McLaren M23, Gregor Fisken, Silverstone Classic

During 1974 both Denny Hulme and Emerson Fittipaldi raced #M23/4 in Marlboro colours with Emerson finishing a best 3rd in the non championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.

McLaren M23, Silverstone Classic

After Mike Hailwood crashed his Yardley sponsored McLaren M23 at the 1974 German Grand Prix and effectively ending his Formula One career, #M23/4 was returned to Yardley livery for David Hobbs to drive in the Austrian and Italian Grand Prix, he finished a best 7th in Austria.

McLaren M23, Silverstone Classic

For the final two races of the 1974 season Jochen Mass was invited to drive the car and he also scored a best 7th in the US Grand Prix.

McLaren M23, Silverstone Classic

During 1975 #M23/4 made two race appearances in Marlboro livery, Emerson finishing second at the non championship International Trophy at Silverstone and Jochen retiring from the German Grand Prix.

There after I believe #M23/4 was turned into a show car and it maybe that it was during this time the car acquired it’s post 1976 US Grand Prix West extended side pods with the two distinctive vents.

The car is seen with Gregor Fisken at the wheel during the Silverstone Classic meeting earlier this year.

Thanks for joining me on this “Eau d’Guest” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Goodwood Favourites – Formula One

Today’s post features a few of my favourite Formula One ’74 to present day cars that appeared at Goodwood last week.

McLaren M23, Fittipaldi, Goodwood Festival of Speed

First up Emerson Fittipaldi gives GALPOT a wave coming back down the hill in his 1974 McLaren M23 chassis #5.

Maki Cosworth F101A, Goodwood Festival of Speed

After Honda’s disappearance from the Formula One grid at the end of the 1968 season there was no Japanese presence in Formula One until the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix. However this was not for the want of trying, Kenji Mimura founded the Maki Team in 1974 and their futuristic F101, which bore a passing resemblance to the experimental 1972 Ferrari 312 Snowplough attempted to unsuccessfully to qualify for the 1974 British and German Grand Prix. After Howden Ganley broke his legs at the Nurburgring the team retired to Japan to rework their ideas for 1975.

LEC CRP1, Wright, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Mike Pilbeam’s portfolio of attractive Formula One cars includes the LEC CRP1 seen above which was driven by David Purley in 1977 to a season high 13th place in Belgium shortly before surviving a 178 g deceleration from 108 mph to 0 in 25 inches / 66 cm against the sleepers during practice for the 1977 British GP. This particular car driven by Gary Wright had not been seen in action for 35 years.

Toleman Hart TG184, Davidson, Goodwood Festival of Speed

There were numerous vehicles which Ayrton Senna had driven present at Goodwood, and the Toleman TG184 above driven by Alistair Davidson may be one of them, an acquaintance who has spent twelve months researching the TG184 chassis tells me each of the five TG184’s has a slightly different rivet pattern where the roll bar connects to the top of the monocoque and is currently looking for body off photo’s of the TG184’s to confirm which car is which.

Jordan Ford 191, Sirgue, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1991 Eddie Jordan graduated to Formula One with one of the most attractive Formula One cars ever seen, designed by Gary Anderson, a fist full of Pepsico dollars, works supplied Ford Cosworth engines and Andrea de Cesaris as his lead driver. The team finished a highly creditable 5th in the constructors championship and Andrea 9th in the drivers championship. The team will also be remembered for introducing Micheal Schumacher to the top table of the sport in Belgium. Owner Didier Sirgue is seen at the wheel above.

Williams Mercedes FW36, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Finally with Mercedes Benz motors and Martini money the Williams team is back on the ascendent this year with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas at the wheel. The FW36 above unfortunately had to remain silent to avoid contravening the no testing agreement currently in operation amongst Formula One teams.

Thanks for joining me on this “Goodwood Favourites” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be celebrating the 120 Anniversary of Motorsport participation with Mercedes Benz at Goodwood. Don’t forget to come back now !


World Champions At Last – McLaren Cosworth M23 #M23/4

The final destination of the 1974 World Drivers Championship was in doubt until the lastof the season with Jody Scheckter driving for Tyrrell, Clay Regazzoni driving for Ferrari and Emerson Fittipaldi driving for McLaren all in with a shout.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Emerson Fittipaldi sealed the deal with a fourth place finish at the US Grand Prix which along with wins in Brazil, Belgium, Canada and six further points scoring finishes gave him a 3 point advantage over Clay Regazzoni who failed to add to his points tally at Watkins Glen.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

For 1974 McLaren had lengthened the wheel base and widened the track of Gordon Coppucks M23 design which was first seen in South Africa in 1973.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

McLaren had also attracted Philip Morris sponsorship that had previously gone to BRM and managed to leverage Texaco sponsorship along with 1972 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi from Lotus.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Denny Hulme was Emerson’s team mate and he contributed to McLaren winning their first World Constructors Championship, at their 9th attempt, by winning the opening race of the 1974 Championship season in Argentina.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

So far as I have been able to ascertain today’s featured car is the forth M23 chassis, which was first raced in the 1973 German Grand Prix when Jacky Ickx made a one off appearance for the team and drove it to a third place finish behind the Tyrrell’s of Jackie Stewart and Francoise Cevert.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Peter Revson then drove #M23/4 to a third place finish in the Italian Grand Prix a win in the Canadian Grand Prix, which would prove to his last Grand Prix win, and a 5th place on his final drive for McLaren in the 1973 US Grand Prix.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Emerson Fittipaldi best results with #M23/4 in 1974 were a 3rd place in the 1974 Race of Champions and a 4th place finish in Sweden, after Mike the Bike Hailwood’s crash at the 1974 German Grand Prix #M23/4 reverted to Yardley colours for the remainder of 1974 to be driven by David Hobbs in Austria and Italy and Jochen Mass in Canada and the United States. With Mass scoring a 7th place at Watkins Glen that matched the older Hobbs 7th place finish in Austria the young German secured himself a ride as Fittipaldi’s team mate to replace the retiring Denny Hulme for the 1975 season.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

#M23/4 only made two appearances in the 1975 season in the non championship International Trophy at Silverstone where Emerson finished 2nd and in the 1975 German Grand Prix where Jochen retired after an accident on the opening, which is said to have reduced #M23/4 to “vitual scrap”.

At Stonleigh #M23/4 appears in these photographs with the correct 1974 colour scheme and early season airbox, extended side pods as fitted to Jochen’s car in the 1975 German Grand Prix but curiously the extended side pods have orifices which did not appear until the Spanish Grand Prix in 1976.

Note: Jochen took the start of the 1975 German Grand Prix in #23/4, distinguished at this meeting by it’s white front wings and hastily applied black #2 race number on the side pod, according to contemporary reports by Dennis ‘DSJ’ Jenkinson and not #M23/6 as indicated by RacingSportsCars.com

My thanks to BSC at The Nostalgia Forum and Allen Brown at OldRacingCars.com for their help identifying the chassis number of today’s car.

Thanks for joining me on this “World Champions At Last” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Fragrant Debut Pole – McLaren Cosworth M23 #M23/1

At the 1973 South African Grand Prix 1967 World Champion New Zealander Denny Hulme qualified on pole for the first and only time in his entire formula one career which lasted from 1965 until 1974. Remarkably he was driving a brand new Ford Cosworth powered McLaren M23, #M23/1 featured today, that was designed by Gordon Coppuck and which was to replace the Ralph Bellamy designed McLaren M19C.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The design of the M23 was broadly similar to the design of the 1972 turbo Offy powered McLaren M16 which Mark Donohue drive to victory in the 1972 Indy 500, except in the DFV motor of the M23 was bolted into the chassis rather to a sub frame and the side radiators of the M23 were surrounded by a deformable structure to protect the fuel tanks in the side of the chassis.

Denny Hulme came fifth in the 1973 South African Grand Prix which was won by Jackie Stewart driving a Tyrrell 006. At the 1973 Swedish Grand Prix Denny Hulme took the first of the M23’s 16 World Championship race victories, two races later Peter Revson scored the models 2nd victory at the British Grand Prix a feat Peter would repeat at the Canadian Grand Prix towards the end of the season. Despite scoring two more wins than in the previous season McLaren again finished third in the 1973 World Constructors championship as they had in 1972.

McLaren Cosworth M23, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

For 1974 McLaren again attracted BRM’s sponsor Philip Morris and the Marlboro brand, Yardley having sponsored BRM in 1970 and 1971 prior to joining McLaren for 1972. Peter Revson moved to join the UOP Shadow outfit and was replaced at McLaren by 1972 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi from Lotus.

Emerson won three world championship races in 1974 on his way to his second World Drivers Championship and McLaren’s first World Constructors Championship, backed up by Denny Hulme who won the first race of the 1974 World Championship season in Aregetina which would be his last prior to retiring from the sport at the end of the season. Chassis #M23/1 was used in the early 1974 season by a third Yardley backed factory entry for Mike Hailwood who joined McLaren from Surtees. Mike ‘the Bikes’ best result was third in the South African Grand Prix which would become his career high world championship result. An accident in Germany at the wheel of another M23 prematurely terminated Mikes driving career, though he would return to motor cycling at which he was a seven time world champion and add two Isle of Man TT trophies in 1978 and 1979 to bring his total to fourteen.

In 1975 Emerson claimed two more championship victories on his way to second in the title behind Niki Lauda in the superior Ferrari 312T which had a more powerful motor and superior handling thanks to a transversely mounted gearbox and the testing skills of it’s driver. Another Surtees refugee Jochen Mass who had teken over Mike Hailwoods Yardley McLaren drive in 1974 replaced Denny Hulme and scored his only Grand Prix victory at the ill feted 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.

James Hunt replaced Emerson Fittipaldi for 1976 and McLaren ended up using the M23 for a forth straight season as they were locked in an epic battle with Niki Lauda for the 1976 title that has been immortalised by Ron Howard in the film “Rush” released earlier this year. On his way to the 1976 World Drivers Championship James won 6 races to become the M23 model’s most successful driver.

By 1977 the M23 was pressed into a fifth season of competition as a works racer before a much modified McLaren M26 was finally brought up to speed mid way through the season, non works McLaren’s were used sporadically in World Championship events until 1978 when rising star Nelson Piquet recorded a 9th place finish in the Canadian Grand Prix on what was to be the M23’s final World Championship appearance.

Tony Trimmer won the British Formula One Championship driving a Melchester Racing McLaren M23 in 1978.

Thanks for joining me on this “Fragrant Debut Pole” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !