Tag Archives: Schlesser

TdF – Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione #2127GT

The Tour de France Automobile (TdF), sponsored by the Le Martin Newspaper and organised by the Automobile Club de France, was first held in 1899 and won by René de Knyff driving a Panhard et Levassor. The event continued until 1986 when François Chatriot and Michel Périn won the last competition in a Renault Maxi Turbo. The event was revived in 1992 under the Tour Auto name for pre 1966 cars.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, Hall & Hall, Bourne

Today’s Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione chassis #2127GT , seen in Hall & Halls care, was the 40th 250 GT SWB to be built and was supplied new to Pierre Dumay who raced it under his ‘Loustel’ team banner on at least three occasions the first of which was the 1960 Tour de France.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, Hall & Hall, Bourne

Pierre shared the driving with Jo Schlesser and they finished the event 2nd behind Belgians Willy Mairesse and Georges Berger driving the Ecurie Francorchamps Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizone chassis #2129GT which coincidentally was the 41st 250GT SWB to be built.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, Hall & Hall, Bourne

Pierre Dumay is known to have entered the car in at least five further events up until the end of 1961 before the cae was sold to the Senegalese driver entrant Cicoira who is known to have raced the #2127 on three events between 1962 and 1964.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, Hall & Hall, Bourne

Cicoira recorded a 6th place finish in 1962 Angola GP, a 4th in the 1962 Prix of Luanda and a 3rd in the 1964 Dakar 6 Hour race in which he was improbably listed as the sole driver of the car.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, Hall & Hall, Bourne

#2127 returned to France in 1965 where it remained until 1986 when it was acquired by an MG Metro Challenge driver, aspiring to the British Touring Car Championship, Laurence C Bristow. #2127 appears to have remained in the UK with at least three different owners ever since.

My thanks to Rick Hall at Hall & Hall for his kind permission to take these photographs and to Ted Walker at Ferret Fotographics for taking me there.

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


Championship Dinger UnStuck – Brands Hatch 1000 Kilometers

Thirty years ago this weekend give or take a day or two I found myself at Brands Hatch for the 1000 kms race, only the second Group C race I had seen, thanks mostly to the fact that my mate Sven was racing his Ford Capri in the supporting Uniroyal Production Saloon car race.

Jaguar XJ6, Brands Hatch 1000 kms

My pit pass from the support race got me into the pits prior to the start of the main event and I wasted no time taking pics of the leading runners from Lancia, Porsche and Jaguar who had locked out the first three rows of the grid in Noah’s Ark fashion during qualifying, above is the Tony Southgate designed Jaguar XJ6 driven by recent Formula One returnee Alan Jones who joined TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) regular Jean-Louis Schlesser in the leading TWR entry that qualified 5th, but retired from the event early with engine damage after the throttle jammed open.

Porsche 962C, Brands Hatch 1000 kms

Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass qualified 4th on the grid in the #1 Porsche 962C seen above and finished second in the race experiencing only one problem, a faster than mandated refueling stop, which the team corrected by holding the car in the pits for an additional 10 seconds on the cars final fuel stop.

Lancia LC2 85, Wollek, de Cesaris, Baldi, Brands Hatch 1000 kms

The Lancia LC2’s with 800 hp qualifying motors, against Porsches 720 hp qualifying spec, locked out the front row with the #4 driven by Ricardo Patrese and Alessandro Nannini on pole, but in the final hour when the Lancia’s were running 3rd and 4th team mate Andrea de Cesaris ran into the pack of Patrese’s car damaging the exhaust on the #4 forcing a quick stop for repairs to secure it again which left the #5 Lancia Andrea shared with Brilliant Bob Wollek and Mauro Baldi to claim 3rd one lap down on the leading Porsches.

Gebhardt  JC843, Adams, Taylor, Harrower, Brands Hatch 1000 kms

One car I had been particularly looking forward to seeing in the flesh was the super slippery Group C2 #75 Gebhardt JC843 seen above driven by Nick Adams, Ian Taylor and Ian Harrower, on this occasion the 3.3 litre / 201 cui Cosworth DFL car finished tenth, 46 laps behind the winning Porsche, from 15th on the grid.

Ecosse C285, Wilds, Mallock, Brands Hatch 1000 kms

Winners of the Group C2 class were Ray Mallock and Mike Wilds in the Ecurie Ecosse #79 Ecosse C285 which was similarly Cosworth DFL powered, starting from 14 on the grid Ray and Mike came home 6th, 19 laps behind the winning C1 car, but crucially 11 laps ahead of the C2 turbocharged Carma powered Alba AR6 driven by Martino Finotto, Almo Coppelli and Carlo Facetti.

Porsche 962C, Derek Bell, Brands Hatch 1000 kms

Starting from third on the grid thanks to the efforts of Hans Stuck was the #2 Porsche 962C he shared with local boy “Dinger” Derek Bell who crossed the line less the 12 seconds ahead of the #1 Porsche and in the process Hans and Derek more or less secured their first World Endurance Drivers Championship, this would become Derek’s first drivers championship ever in over 18 years as a professional.

My belated thanks to Sven who got me into see the show.

Thanks for joining me on this “Championship Dinger Unstuck” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be locking at a Formula One Toleman that nearly never ran for the want of a tyre contract. Don’t forget to come back now !


Lowering The Centre Of Gravity – Mercedes Benz C291

When the rules of the Group C Sports cars were ruined for the 1991 season, to the advantage of Formula One, at the behest of Messrs Ecclestone and Moseley to mandate 750kg vehicles to be powered by 3.5 litre / 213 cui motors of the same size as had been introduced to Formula One in 1989 Dr Hermann Hiereth sat down at Mercedes Benz offices in Stuttgart-Ünterturckheim and devised a flat 12 engine with transverse gearbox that lowered the center of gravity compared to the twin turbo V8 design that was being used to power the Group C Sauber C9 and C11 designs for the 1989 and 1990 seasons.

Mercedes Benz C291, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Unfortunately Leo Ress responsible for chassis design at Sauber based in Hinwill, Switzerland was not present at the meeting in Stuttgart when the new engine layout was approved and so he had to make do with a low wide power unit that limited his options for the ground effect venturi that helped to suck the car to the ground as had become de riguer in racing cars since the advent of the Lotus 79 Formula One car.

Mercedes Benz C291, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Perhaps as a consequence of these restrictions Leo was left with no choice but to design a car that optimised top speed at the cost of handling, the exact opposite of what his rivals at Jaguar and Peugeot were doing with their V8 and V10 powered challengers.

Mercedes Benz C291, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

The overweight C291 driven by 22 year old rising stars Karl Wendlinger and Michael Schumacher retired from it’s first race at Suzuka after starting from 3rd on the grid and catching fire during the race after the fuel filler jammed partially open during a pit stop, at Monza the engine failed on the grid from which it was to have started 6th and again during the race which it started one lap down.

Mercedes Benz C291, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The youngsters recorded an excellent 2nd place finish 1 lap down on the winning Jaguar XJR14 driven by Teo Fabi and Derek Warwick at Silverstone, before a disgraceful lap of 6m 55.969s convinced the team to stick with the heavily ballasted, to the mandated 900kg, but reliable C11 model for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Mercedes Benz C291, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

At the Nurburgring two C291’s were entered with Jean Louis Schlesser and Jochen Mass qualifying 6th right behind the sister car driven by Wendlinger and Schumacher, both cars retired gearbox and engine failure respectively.

Mercedes Benz C291, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

The two C291 cars qualified in the same order at Magny Cours as in Germany 6th and 3rd respectively, but retired with a broken throttle linkage and water leak respectively.

Mercedes Benz C291, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Little changed in the C291’s fortunes in Mexico where Wendlinger and Schumacher qualified 2nd but failed to finish due to oil pump problems and where Schlesser and Mass retired from 6th on the grid with electrical issues.

Mercedes Benz C291, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

The C291’s final appearance was at Autopolis in Japan where against form Jean Louis and Jochen translated a 7th place start to a fifth place finish and even more remarkably Karl and Michael translated a sixth place start in to a win.

Much as Ecclestone and Moseley had hoped Mercedes Benz abandoned Group C at the end of the season and entered the Formula One fray as an engine supplier initially to Sauber for whom Karl continued to drive.

Micheal of course after a one off appearance in a Jordan moved to the Benetton Formula One team with whom he won the first two of his eventual seven world championships.

Le Mans was as usual left to pick up the pieces wrought by the wreckless legislation promoted by Moseley and Ecclestone.

At the time of writing it is not exactly clear which C291 belongs to Andrew Haddon who is believed to be the owner of the car shown in these photo’s taken at Race Retro and Goodwood Festival of Speed some years ago.

Thanks for joining me on this “Lowering The Centre Of Gravity” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for another raucous Mazda Monday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Another Austrian Hillclimber – Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione #2701GT

Today’s Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione chassis #2701 GT was taken by the Ferrri factory it’s debut at the 1961 Le Mans test weekend for Fernand Tavano, Mike Parkes and Jo Schlesser to drive.

After setting the 6th fastest time, fastest in class, #2701GT ended the weekend with accident damage and after being rebuilt Count Carlo & Masalmo Leto di Priolo of Milan bought the car for Masalmo to race in 1962.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, Rolex Reunion, Laguna Seca,

Austrian Egon Hofer bought #2701GT from German Guenther Peter-Lex for DM 6,000 in February 1967 and is known to have driven it to class victory on the Weerberg and Gaisberg hillclimbs.

Egon then took #2701GT to the 1967 Targa Florio where he shared the car with Anatoly Arutunoff where carrying the #74 it failed to finish.

After the original motor was repaired, sold on and replaced with a Ferrari 330GT unit Anatoly bought the car for $3,900.

Since then it has remained in US ownership and is said to have had an unspecified “American drive train” fitted in the 1970’s, which was replaced by a Ferrari 250 GTE motor in the 1980’s.

Current owner Warren ‘Ned’ Spieker has owned the car since 2004 and he shared driving it at Goodwood in 2005 with Sir Stirling Moss in the TT Celebration race.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who took today’s photograph at the Rolex Reunion a couple of years ago.

Thanks for joining me on this “Another Austrian Hillclimber” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1952 Allard. Don’t forget to come back now !


Dealer Pressure – Aston Martin DP 212

Following the success of the Aston Martin DBR1 at Le Mans and the 1959 World Sports Car championship the Aston Martin team refocused it’s attentions on an ill timed Grand Prix effort that folded by the end of 1960, by which time the front engined Aston Martin DBR4 and DBR5 were completely out classed by rear engined cars.

Aston Martin DP212, Goodwood Revival

Under pressure from dealers to come up with a new racing program David Brown sanctioned the development of the DP 212 for the 1962 Le Mans 24 hours.

The cars was built using an Aston Martin DB4GT frame with a 345hp 4 litre / 244 cui six cylinder motor and a sensuous slippery long body to suit the potential of 4 mile Mulsanne straight at Le Mans.

Graham Hill and Richie Ginther were engaged to drive the car at Le Mans where it had a brief moment of glory leading the opening lap of the 24 hour endurance race with Graham Hill at the wheel, however from there on the car dropped down the field over the next six hours until it retired from 9th place with piston failure following an oil pipe fracture.

The original bodywork was found to experience stability problems at speed and after aerodynamic tests was replaced with a Kamm tail of the sort that was later used on the back of the Aston Martin DB6.

Subsequently DP212’s only other appearance was at the 1963 Le Mans test weekend where Jo Schlesser, Bruce McLaren, Lucien Bianchi and William Kimberly drove the car which recorded 5th fastest time. By the 1963 Le Mans 24 hour race the DP212 had been replaced by the DP 214 and DP215 models.

DP212 was later converted to a road car with even larger 349 hp motor and driven in a variety of events by Hon.John Dawnay, later Viscount Downe, and Mike Salmon the later winning the 1974 Classic Car Championship with it.

Thanks for joining me on this “Dealer Pressure” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a Le Mans winner from Germany. Don’t forget to come back now !