Tag Archives: Berger

Français Essence – Silverstone Classic

Today’s post has a Gallic flavour focusing on the French cars at last weekends Silverstone Classic meeting.

Citroën 2CV6's, Silverstone Classic

Taking drivers twixt national and international paddocks was a fleet of Citroën 2CV6’s belonging to 2CV Adventures, an exciting new start up offering bespoke organised tours in a fleet of 15 Red and White 2CV6’s.

Martini Mk37, Jacobs, Brian Henton Trophy Silverstone Classic

The Brian Henton Trophy for Formula 3 cars brought me my first opportunity to see Martini Formula 3 cars in action, thanks to the control tyres used in British Formula 3, Martini Formula 3 cars rarely appeared in Britain except for the European Championship races. Above is a 1982 Alfa Romeo powered Martini Mk37, driven by Ian Jacobs, with body work indicating it may have been raced in period by Gerhard Berger for Josef Kaufmann to a third place finish in the 1982 German F3 championship on his meteoric rise to becoming a ten time Grand Prix winner.

Martini Mk39, Stretton, Brian Henton Trophy Silverstone Classic

For 1983 Martini tidied up the Mk37 in particular from the exterior the safety roll bar lost it’s long rear stay, the bodywork lost it’s perspex ‘window’ and the nose became more rounded to become the Mk39. Martin Stretton is seen above driving a Mk39 to second place in the Brian Henton Trophy, with bodywork indicating it may have been originally driven by 1983 French Formula Three champion Michel Ferté.

Renault, Vauxhall, Nissan, Jet Super Touring Car Trophy, Silverstone Classic

1999 was the final year in which Williams Grand Prix Engineering operated a Touring Car Team in the British Turing Car Championship for Renault. The 1999 #37 Williams Renault Laguna driven by Simon Garrad leads; the 1998 #98 Vauxhall Vectra driven by John Cleland and 1999 #23 Nissan Primera driven by Derek Palmer in a scrap for third place in the Jet Super Touring Car Trophy that was won by Cleland in the Vauxhall.

Talbot Lago T26SS, Pilkington, Maserati Centenary Trophy

Having competed in the 1938 Mille Miglia, Le Mans 24 Hours and French Grand Prix against no less an opposition than the Silver Arrows Richard Pilkington’s #5 Talbot Lago T26, which I looked at in June, can probably lay claim to being one of the most versatile international racing cars of all time.

Courage C26S, Kjallgren, Silverstone Classic

Finally representing French honour in the early evening Group C race was the 1991 Porsche powered Courage C26S driven by Georg Kjallgren, carrying body work suggesting it might be chassis #07 driven to an 11th place finish in the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours by Lionel Robert, François Migault and Jean-Daniel Raulet.

Thanks for joining me on this “Français Essence” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at the Silverstone Classic in further detail. Don’t forget to come back now !


Talent Class Of ’13 – Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8

After 15 years of under achievement, in which the team bearing his name best season was marked by two fourth place finishes, Giancarlo Minardi sold out to Australian Airline Magnate Paul Stodart in 2000.

Kvyat, Toro Rosso STR8, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

Over the ensuing 5 seasons the perennial back markers remained just that scoring just 4 points scoring finishes, to his credit Paul Stodart determined that he would sell the team on only if those buying could add and commit to significantly improving the teams performance. He kept his word selling at the end of 2005 to a pair of Austrians Gerhard Berger, a former driver and Dieter Mateschitz, owner of Red Bull who had bought the Jaguar Grand Prix team only 12 months earlier and rebranded it Red Bull Racing.

Ricciardo, Toro Rosso STR8, British Grand Prix P1, Silverstone

For 2006 the Minardi team became Suderia Toro Rosso in deference to it’s home town in Firenza, Italy, and was operated as a talent feed for Red Bull Racing. The team took over the contract for the supply of Cosworth motors from Red Bull Racing while Red Bull switched to a supply of Ferrari motors. Additionally Toro Rosso used an updated 2005 Red Bull chassis for it’s 2006 programme.

Vergne, Toro Rosso STR8, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

2006 and 2007 saw no significant improvement in results with just three points paying finishes despite the team taking over Red Bull Racings contract for the supply of Ferrari motors in 2007 when Red Bull Racing switched to Renault motors. 2008 however saw Sebastian Vettel join the team and there was a dramatic up turn in results with Vettel scoring 5 consecutive points paying finishes topped by a 100/1 win in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo, Toro Rosso STR8, British Grand Prix P1, Silverstone

With the team finishing sixth in the championship Berger shrewdly sold his share of Toro Rosso to Mateschitz who equally shrewdly moved Vettel over to his main show at Red Bull Racing which now had top designer Adrian Newey on it’s books. For 2009 Toro Rosso managed six points paying finishes and slipped back to a familiar 10th place in the Championship standings.

Vergne, Toro Rosso STR8, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

For 2010 new regulations meant the team could no longer rely on cast off chassis from Red Bull and so came up with it’s first unique chassis and since then points finishes have become a little less sporadic, but the team has not finished any season higher than 8th in the championship. Going into 2013 Jean Eric Vergne, above, and Daniel Ricciardo, below, were retained to drive the Ferrari powered STR8 designed under the leadership of Technical Director James Key.

Ricciardo, Toro Rosso STR8, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

Having scored only 26 points between them in 2012 Vergne and Ricciardo managed an improvement to score 33 points in 2013. The main difference being the improvement in form of Ricciardo who scored seven more points more than his team mate, having scored six less the year before.

Vergne, Toro Rosso STR8, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

This was particularly noticable having kicked in after the announcement of the retirement from Red Bull from Ricciardo’s Australian compatriot Mark Webber. Ricciardo now looks forward to replacing Webber and driving alongside four time champion Sebastian Vettel.

Vergne, Toro Rosso STR8, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

Having scored the teams best finish of 2013 a sixth place in the Canadian Grand Prix Jean Eric secured a third season at Toro Rosso where he will be joined by the teams Russian 2013 test driver Daniil Kvyat (seen testing at Silverstone in the first photo). For 2013 Toro Rosso will be powered by the same Renault power trains as Red Bull Racing and it will be interesting to see if the team can pick up it’s game in a season where reliability is expected to be a key issue with the introduction of new hybrid power trains.

You can follow the fortunes of Toro Rosso on their website linked here and twitter feed linked here.

Thanks for joining me on this “Talent Class Of ’13” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an LA PD Interceptor. Don’t forget to come back now !


Le Mans to Hollywood – Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione Drogo #2445GT

Today’s Ferrari started life as a 250 GT SWB (Short Wheel Base) Competizione chassis #2445GT in 1961, it was supplied to Garages Francorchamps in Belgium.

Ferrari 250 GT Drogo, Goodwood Revival

Jacques van den Haute drove the car competitively at least three times between May and June 1961 with two 3rds in hillclimbs being his best results.

Ferrari 250 GT Drogo, Goodwood Revival

From July 1961 to May 1962 Robert Crevits drove the car competitively in at least 14 events mostly hillclimbs and is known to have won eight of them.

Ferrari 250 GT Drogo, Goodwood Revival

Gustave Gosselin shared the car with Robert in the 1962 1000km Paris, Montlhery where they finished 11th and drove the car alone to a second place finish in an event run at Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

Ferrari 250 GT Drogo, Goodwood Revival

Georges Berger and Robert Darville shared the driving of 2445GT in its last in period race the 1962 Le Mans 24 hours where the car was heavily damaged at the sharp right hand corner Arnage and retired.

Ferrari 250 GT Drogo, Goodwood Revival

The #2445GT was subsequently repaired by Piero Drogo who fitted the body that is seen on the car in these photo’s, the car was renumbered 1965GT for ‘customs reasons’ during the early 1960’s and for a while in 1964 it was one of several Ferrari’s owned by Nebraskan garage owners son James Coburn.

In the late ’70’s #2445GT returned to Europe and is currently owned by Dutchman Hans Hugenholtz who entered the #14 in the 2011 Goodwood Revival meeting for David Hart and Maserati GT racer Micheal Bartels. Last year Hugenholtz shared the driving at Goodwood with one of former New York taxi driver and Indy champion Danny Sullivan.

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


Tour de France Winner – Ferrari 250 GTO #4153GT

On June 2nd 1963 Frenchman Pierre Dumay took delivery of a silver Ferrari 250 GTO chassis #4153 and two weeks later it was entered under the Ecurie Francochamps banner in the 1963 Le Mans 24 Hours for himself and Belgian Léon “Elde” Dernier in which they finished 4th overall and second in class. Dernier means ‘last’ and Léon prefered to race under a pseudonym of the pronunciation of his initials LD. By the following week it appears that ownership of the car had been transferred to Ecurie Francochamps and entered in race for first Dernier and then Dumay at Zolder and Reims where 2nd overall and 3rd in class finishes were recorded respectively.

Ferrari 250 GTO, Goodwood Revival

The following season it appears that the Marquis Philippe de Montaigu bought #4135 but continued to enter it in numerous events from 1964 through 1965 under the Ecurie Francochamps banner for the likes of; Georges Berger, Lucien Bianchi, Pierre Dumay, “Gauvin”, Gustave Gosselin, “Lagae”, “Lambrecht”, Francis van Lysbeth, Willy Mairesse, Gerard Langlois van Ophem

Ferrari 250 GTO, Goodwood Revival

#4153’s biggest win was when Lucian Bianchi and and Georges Berger won the 1964 Tour de France. In 1965 chassis #4153 was entered into the first Marathon de la Route, an 82 hour race held at the Nurburgring that replaced the Liege Rome Liege Rally, but Bianchi, Berger and Jean Blaton failed to finish. Since then the car has remained in Europe with the current German owner acquiring it in 2003.

Ferrari 250 GTO, Goodwood Revival

Seen at the wheel of chassis #4153GT during a 250 GTO demonstration at last years Goodwood Revival meeting is Daniela Ellerbrock.

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