Tag Archives: Watts

Test Day – Donington Park

With a sunny midweek day off last Thursday I popped along to a Test Day run at Donington Park.

Dallara F308 VW, Robbie Watts, Donington Park

Among the large variety of machines being given a workout was the #7 Volkswagen powered 2008 Dallara F308 which is being prepared by Team Fox Racing for three time Monoposto 2000 champion Robbie Watts’s challenge for the F3 Cup.

Ralt RT1 BMW,  Rob Hall, Donington Park

In 1977 Eddie Cheever was midway through a three year spell with the Project Four Formula 2 team run by Ron Dennis, that year he drove the BMW powered Ralt RT1 seen above to two top point’s scoring finishes at the Nurburgring and Rouen to finish second in the F2 Championship to Rene Arnoux, 39 years later I believe Rob Hall is seen testing the car above which I believe belongs to Peter Wunsch.

Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Darren Nelson, Adam Carroll, Donington Park

I believe Darren Nelson and Adam Carroll shared the driving of the #18 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 with which they are competing in the 2016 GT Cup, they finished second in Sunday’s opening race of the series.

Tyrrell Ford 001, TBC, Donington Park

So far as I know the Tyrrell family are owners of the original Tyrrell Ford 001 seen above and loaned it to John Delane in exchange for it’s restoration and maintenance. John’s helmet is predominantly white, if you know who is seen at the wheel in this photograph’s please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Aston Martin DB4GT, Simon Hadfield, Donington Park

Simon Hadfield was a busy man driving both Wolfgang Friedrich’s Aston Martin DBR1 and his #10 1961 DB4 GT seen above.

McLaren Ford M23, Scott Walker, Donington Park

Looking for details on who might be driving the 1974 built but now 1976 spec McLaren M23/6 looked after by Hall and Hall I came across someone by the name of Scott Walker who had a similar helmet on what appears to have been his only previous appearance in the car at Jarama way back in 2011, if you know anything else about Scott please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Mini Gen3 F56, James Turkington, Donington Park

All of the above were regularly swamped by many Mini’s in Gen3 F56 spec and earlier JCW R56 spec, James, younger brother of double British Touring Car Champion Colin, Turkington will be completing his first full season of racing in the MINI Challenge with the ExcelR8 Motorsport #61 Gen3 F56 MINI seen three wheeling into Coppice Corner above.

Thanks for joining me on this “Test Day” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Concours winning Packard. Don’t forget to come back now !


Front Wheel Drive Monocoque – Bond Formula Junior #2

After working for the Blackburn Aircraft Company during the Second World War Lawrence “Lawrie” Bond turned his attention to designing and building a number of light weight vehicles for competition and road use.

Lawrie’s designs including two 500 Formula 3 cars, both of which predated the Killeen K1, the three wheel Bond Minicar manufactured by Sharp’s Commercials Ltd and both three and four wheel and three wheel Berkley sports cars all featured monocoque construction in aluminium and or fibreglass with front wheel drive.

Bond Formula Junior, Mike Walker, Castle Combe

Lawrie’s competition activities always appear to have taken place alongside his commercial activities and in 1959, just as his collaboration with Berkley was running into trouble, he designed and built the Bond Formula Junior with a fibre glass monocoque supported by strategically placed aluminium and steel inserts.

As with his previous competition designs Lawrie spared no effort designing special hubs, brake drums and unique alloy wheels for the unconventional front wheel drive machine, all of which made for a protracted build time.

Bond Formula Junior, Mike Walker, Castle Combe

Jon Goddard-Watts eventually raced the first Ford powered Bond with it’s unique differential transfer box driving the front wheels twice for the works team without any success in 1961.

Subsequently the car was bought and raced by Chris Featherstone, in 1964 Chris crashed the car at Mallory Park and used the back half of the monocoque from the uncompleted second car to repair the damage and continued racing the Bond until at least 1968.

Bond Formula Junior, Mike Walker, Castle Combe

The original Bond was restored by Andrew Tart for Jon Goddard-Watts and raced to it’s first win by Andrew at Mallory Park in 2010.

Today’s featured Bond is the second chassis which was completed, again by Andrew Tart and stood on it’s own wheels for the first time in 2011, only 51 years after work on it was first started.

Bond Formula Junior, Mike Walker, Oulton Park

Mike Walker is seen at the wheel of the second Bond at Castle Combe in the top three photographs and in the middle of an indiscretion on oil at Oulton Park in the bottom photograph.

Thanks for joining me on this “Front Wheel Drive Monocoque” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be looking at another Healey. Don’t forget to come back now !


That’s Entertainment – 6 Hours Of Siverstone

Last Sunday saw the runners and riders of the World Endurance Championship gather for the 6 Hours Of Silverstone with a smattering of new rules, new cars, cars and new faces.

Of the new rules the most significant was abandoning the safety car in all but the most extreme cases for full course yellow’s and this led to the race being disturbed for only 8 minuets over six hours and no unnecessary bunching of the field.

6 Hours Of Silverstone

Qualifying in the top LMP1 category was locked out by the two Porsche 919 Hybrids, reckoned to be more powerful than the 900hp Peugeot 908 turbo diesels, driven Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber with Brendon Hartley and Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb which can be seen leading the pack of Audi’s and Toyota’s on the opening lap.

Thanks to an electrics problem that knocked out his telemetry and gave him a misfire Benoit Tréluyer is seen on the extreme left of the photo above as he fell all the way back to tenth place in the opening laps before the problem sorted it’s self out.

Ferrari F458 Italia, Shaytar / Bertolini / Basov, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Despite qualifying only 5th fastest in the GTE/Am category Russians Victor Shaytar, Aleksey Basov with Italian Andrea Bertolini came through to finish third in class and 18th overall, with their #72 SMP Racing Ferrari F458 Italia seen above on the Hangar Straight.

Ferrari F458 Italia, Perrodo / Collard / Aguas, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Seen turning into the fast sweeping Abbey above is the #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Frenchman François Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard who with Portugals Rui Aguas qualified 4th in LMGTE/Am and finsihed 2nd in class and 17th overall.

Dalla Lana / Lamy / Lauda, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Only 30 seconds covered the top three LMGTE Am class finishers after six hours of racing, Canada’s Paul Dalla Lama with Portugal’s Pedro Lamy and Austian Mathias Lauda converted their LMGTE/Am pole into a first place in class finish, 16th overall, driving the #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 seen at Becketts above.

Ferrari F458 Italia, Rigon / Calado, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Slowest of the 7 LMGTE Pro qualifiers were Italy’s Davide Rigon and Britain’s James Calado but they dug deep and finished the race third in class, 11th overall, less than 30 seconds behind the class winners.

Porsche 911 RSR, Chevrolet Corvette C7, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

German Richard Leitz and Denmarks Michael Christensen qualified their #91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR in 4th place behind three Aston Martin’s, by the end of the race the Aston’s had all fallen one lap down on the three class leading LMGTE Pro cars.

The 2nd in class, 10th place overall, finishing #91 Porsche is seen lapping the returning Labre Competition teams new LMGTE Am #50 Corvette C7 driven by Italians Gianluca Roda, Paolo Ruberti and Denmarks Kristan Poulsen at Vale above.

Ferrari F458 Italia, Bruni / Vilander, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Winners of the LMGTE Pro class and 9th overall were Italy’s Gianmaria Bruni and Finlands Tony Vilander who qualified their #51 AF Course Ferrari 5th in class, the Ferrari is seen being chased by a LMP1 Toyota at the Arena.

HPD ARX 03B - HPD, Sharp / Dalziel / Heinemeier Hanson, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

While awaiting the delivery of a new pair of LMP2 Ligier’s the Extreme Motorsports team made their debut in the WEC with a pair of HPD (Honda Performance Developmant) ARX O3B’s.

The #30 HPD, seen above exiting Maggots, driven by American Scott Sharp, Britain Ryan Dalziel and Denmarks David Heinemeier Hanson qualified 4th in class and crossed the line third in class.

Regrettably the car was excluded because it was found in post race scrutineering to have been running with a thinner ALMS spec plank under the car than the mandated thicker WEC spec plank, this was a tough break for the popular US team.

Dome S103 Nissan, Leventis / Watts / Kane_6 Hours Of Silverstone

With the exclusion of the #30 the Nissan powered #42 Strakka Racing Dome S103 driven by Britain Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jony Kane was awarded third in class.

Watts ended up going into the kitty litter on the first corner of the first lap but with help from the marshalls the team recovered from last place to finish a respectable 8th overall.

Ligier JS P2 Nissan, Yacaman / Derani / Gonzalez, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Columbian Gustavo Yacaman, Brazilian Luis Felipe Derani and Mexican Ricardo Gonzalez qualified their Nissan powered #28 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2, seen at entering Becketts on class pole, but finished the race 2nd in class, 7th overall and 1 lap behind their team mates …

Ligier JS P2 Nissan, Rusinov / Canal / Bird, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

Russian Roman Rusinov Frances Julien Canal and Sam Bird, who’s class winning #26 Ligier is seen above at Club.

Toyota TS040 Hybrid, Davidson / Buemi / Nakajima, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

At the head of the field representatives from all three leading manufacturers took turns at the lead after qualifying fourth reigning World Endurance Champions Brit Anthony Davidson and Swiss Sébastien Buemi, who were joined by the Japanese Kazuki Nakajima came through to a third place finish just 15 seconds behind the the winning car.

6 Hours Of Silverstone

After easily leading the opening 90 mins of the race from pole position Mark Webber had to retire the lead #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid with transmission issues before team mates Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley had a chance to drive it, leaving the sister #18 front row starter driven by Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani with a small lead over the fast recovering #7 Audi driven by Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fässler and Andre Lotterer.

A fantastic battle between the two leading cars ensued from the half way stage of the race, which included this linked scrap with 50 mins to go, at the end of the day the inferior tyre wear on the faster Porsche swung victory away from them despite trying a two tyres only final stop.

Above Neel Jani slices past the LMGTE Am #96 Aston Martin driven by Francesco Castalocci, Roland Goethe and Stuart Hall while the #1 Toyota awaits to slice past the LMGTE Am Dempsey Proton Racing #77 Porsche driven by Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Long and Marco Seefried and LMGTE Pro #99 Aston Martin driven by Alex Macdowall, Fernando Rees, and Richie Stanamay.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Fässler / Lotterer / Tréluyer, 6 Hours Of Silverstone

With 15 minutes to go the #7 Audi driven by Marcel Fässler had lead of over a minute when it was called in for a splash and dash stop. At the same time the #7 was also awarded a stop go penalty for an overtaking maneuver beyond the track limits at club.

The #7’s lead was just 37 seconds after the splash and dash and less than 10 seconds after the penalty stop, but there were not enough laps left for Neel to chase the #7 down and with a winning margin of less than five seconds it was the Audi Sport Team Joest drivers who’s names were added to the base of the 110 year old Tourist Trophy at Silverstone.

Despite starting with an electical failure the #7, seen passing the 3rd placed #1 Toyota in the Arena above, came through to win by covering a record 201 laps.

Thanks for joining me on this “That’s Entertainment” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Chrysler 300D. Don’t forget to come back now !


60th Anniversary – Oulton Park Gold Cup

On Bank Holiday Monday a couple of weeks ago I picked up GALPOT contributor Tim Murray and headed 175 miles north to Oulton Park for the second day of the Gold Cup meeting which marked the circuits 60th Anniversay. When we got there we met friends Simon and Phil from The Nostalgia Forum who directed us toward the control Tower where Steve Jones invited us to a cup of coffee and we met Alan Cox who also puts in a regular appearance on these pages.

March 761, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Afterwards Tim and I had a wonder around the paddock where we found Greg Thornton’s Formula One March 761 resplendent in the colours of Sweden as would have been seen in the hands of Ronnie Peterson. Greg was declared the winner of the opening Derek Bell Trophy race of the day after Micheal Lyons experienced a pinion failure in his Lola T400 Formula 5000 car and an accident in which no one was hurt blocked the track.

Dodd, Chevron B31, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Despite a sagging rear wing James Dodd driving his, non period, Martini liveried 1976 Chevron B36 appropriately won the Martini Trophy for 2 litre / 122 cui sports cars.

Watts, Peugeot 406, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

I only ever saw Patrick Watts 1998 British Touring Car Championship Peugeot 406 racing on the television but I spent many hundreds of happy hours driving one just like it in a Play Station game called TOCA 2, Patrick found his old car in Australia. Unfortunately he did not finish the Super Touring Trophy which was won by the versatile James Dodd who didn’t have time to celebrate his Martini Trophy win in the Chevron B36 before jumping into his Honda Accord.

Mitchell, Merlin Mk20, Grant, Merlyn Mk20a, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The Historic Formula Fords can always be relied on to provide entertaining racing, Sam Mitchell and Callum Grant in their #40 and #1 Merlyn MK 20’s were never much further apart than this through out the 20 min race. Callum eventually got the better of Sam to take the chequered flag.

Smith, Delta T81, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Nelson Rowe won the Amitstead Barnett Financial Services Formula Ford 2000 race and sowed up the Historic Formula Ford 2000 championship with a fine win in his Reynard SF79, the #10 Delta T81 of Derek Smith above has a chassis design going back to 1978 which was penned by none other than Patrick Head went on to form a formidable partnership with Frank Williams.

Historic Touring Cars, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

The Historic Touring Cars also provided a hugely entertaining spectacle above the #14 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super of Bob Schukburgh takes the bumpy route as he tries to pass a couple Hillman Imps, the #4 Mini was driven by British Olympic Cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy. Richard Dutton in the red and gold #35 Ford Mustang worked his way up from the back of the grid to 5th place in the race which was won by Mark Jones in a Ford Lotus Cortina.

Oosterbaan, Alton Holden AR2 , Gold Cup, Oulton Park

A welcome Antipodean novelty in the Libre race for Classic Racing Cars was the Alton AR2 powered by a Holden straight six driven by Henry Ooterbaan, the race was won by Andy Jones driving his father Ian’s Lotus 59.

Thornton, March, Glover, Lola, Lyons, Hesketh, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

If the first Derek Bell Trophy race disappointed because of it’s premature end, the second made up for it by the bucket load. With Micheal Lyons Lola rendered hors d’combat by it’s gearbox Micheal’s father Frank stepped aside to let his son race the family Hesketh 308E with which he started from the back of the grid. For the first 5 laps Neil Glover driving the #10 Lola T300/332 kept Greg Thornton in the #32 March 761 at bay by which time Micheal Lyons joined the fun. Greg on the left is seen above about to over take Neil in the Lola while Micheal on the right is about to pass on the outside on lap six. On the following lap Micheal got past Greg to take a comfortable win. Afterwards I was left wondering what Micheal might have achieved in his Mum Judy’s Surtees TS9.

Challis, Petty, de la Roche, Smith Buckler, Monro, Cooper, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

Steve Jones won the 500cc / 30.5 cui Formula 3 race in his Cooper, above the #7 Petty of Nigel Challis leads the #65 Smith Buckler of Richard de la Roche and #89 Cooper Mk 4 of Shirley Monro in the squable for 10th place, Challis finished the race ahead of Monro and de la Roche.

Yarwood Ladybird Mk6B,  Gold Cup, Oulton Park

John Harrison led the Classic Clubmans race from lights to flag, above the #77 Ladybird Mk6B driven by Bob Yarwood was built by Oulton Park legend Derek Walker, who is credited with winning more races than anyone else at Oulton Park. Derek received a special award for his achievement during the meeting.

Arculus, Lotus Elite, Gold Cup, Oulton Park

As the sun atarted to set the final race of the day was FISCAR Team Handicap race for sports cars built in the 1950’s was won by Brian Arculus in the #71 Lotus Elite.

After a quick sausage and chips washed down by a strong cup of tea it was time to head the 175 miles into the evening with the heavy bank holiday weekend traffic listening to Radio 2 which was celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the release of Dark Side Of The Moon.

Thanks for joining me on this “60th Anniversary” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again for Americana Thursday tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1958 racing Corvette. Don’t forget to come back now !


Pushing The Backbone – Lotus 30

Allegedly Colin Chapman was a little upset about losing the contract to develop the Ford GT40 to Lola and set out to build a sports racing car in 1964 that would show Ford that they had made the wrong choice.

Colin’s idea was to use a back bone chassis similar to the one used in his successful Lotus Elan but stronger to accommodate a 4.7 litre / 286 cui Ford Fairlane motor in the rear. It is said that Colin stubbornly over ruled his designer Len Terry when the latter advised against such an idea and went ahead and built the car with a sleek curvacious body measuring just 26.5″ high.

Lotus 30 #30-L-12, Dyrham Park

Photo Courtesy of Tim Murray above, shows Andrew Bradshaw’s Lotus 30 at Dyrham Park.

The original Lotus 30 clothed in a fibre glass body that made regular maintenance exceedingly difficult weighed less than 700 kgs / 1600 lbs and had 350 hp which was transmitted to the ground by 13″ wheels and was stopped by solid disc brakes all round. Unfortunately while the car won a few races, notably in the hands of Jim Clark the chassis, as predicted by Len Terry proved insufficiently strong which resulted in the backbone flexing, and on at least one occasion a chassis is recorded as having snapped in half. It is thought 18 Lotus 30’s were built with an additional 2 replacement chassis being supplied for damaged cars.

Lotus 30, Goodwood Revival

Matthew Watts example seen here at last years Goodwood Revival has been fitted with an interpretation of the period body modifications developed by JCB research to over come overheating problems caused by the spare wheel, required by the Group 7 rules, being placed behind the radiator in the nose.

For 1965 the model was updated; with a stronger chassis backbone, spoilers, larger wheels and ventilated disc brakes, was built, though not solving all of the problems 9 examples of the S2 were built and sold. Towards the end of 1965 Colin Chapman uprated this chassis again calling the new model the Lotus 40, dubbed by Richie Ginther as ‘like the Lotus 30 but with ten extra problems’ but the three Lotus 40 chassis were no match for the Group 7 cars produced by either Lola or McLaren.

Despite the lack of success against the Lola’s and McLarens the Lotus 30 was still being raced in British club events until the early 1970’s by John Markey.

My thanks to Lotus30.com for the chassis information Woulter Melisson at Ultimatecarpage.com and Martin Krejci at racingsportscars.com for additional information and results. Thanks also to Graham Gauld, pete53, Roger Lund, Tony Gallagher and Ted Walker at The Nostalgia Forum for additional information regarding today’s featured vehicle.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Pushing The Backbone’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS I hope you will join me in wishing best wishes to GALPOT Concours d’Elegance Correspondent and Birthday Boy Geoffrey Horton ! 🙂