Tag Archives: Courage

Five Group C Classics – Silverstone Classic

Third in a series of five blogs celebrating Silverstone Classic’s Silver Jubilee today’s blog looks at five stunning Group C cars, which round out the meetings Super Saturday’s by racing into the evening, that have competed in the event over the years.

Jaguar XJR-11, Gary Pearson, Silverstone Classic,

Gary Pearson’s 1989 Jaguar XJR-11 above marks a significant ramping up of Jaguar’s efforts to remain at the top of the Group C tree by switching from a stock block derived 7 litre / 432 cui V12 to a MG Metro 6R4 derived twin turbo 3.5 litre / 216 cui V6 that produced around 750hp.

Nissan RC90, Steve Tandy, Silverstone Classic,

For the 1991 season Nissan sold one of there Lola built R90C chassis, #07, to Nova Engineering for use in the 1991 All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, Nova fitted a body developed in the Yatabe (Japan Automobile Research Institute—JARI) wind tunnel and called the car seen above with Steve Tandy at wheel, the R91CK.

Lancia LC2, Roger Wills, Silverstone, Classic,

Going back to 1985 is Roger Wills Ferrari powered Lancia LC2/85 with it’s distinctive wider body than the original LC2’s raced in 1983 and ’84.

Courage C26S, Georg Kjallgren, Silverstone Classic

I believe the Courage C26S, seen above with Georg Kjallgren at the wheel, started life as the second chassis built in Le Mans by Courage Competition in 1984 originally powered by a Cosworth DFL V8, in 1989 it was fitted with a Twin Turbo Porsche flat 6 and brought up to C26S specification for the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours where it failed to qualify on speed and was further disqualified for running under weight.

Mercedes Benz C11, Bob Berridge, Silverstone Classic,

Coolest of the Group C cars in my eyes is the Mercedes Benz C11 built for the 199O World Sports Car Championship which season during which it took seven wins from the eight races started securing the constructors championship for Mercedes Benz and Drivers Championship for Jean-Louis Schlesser and Mauro Baldi, I believe the car seen above with Bob Berridge at the wheel was the prototype which was never raced in period, but has a very successful career as a historic racer.

More, including tickets, on this years Silver Jubilee Silverstone Classic can be found on this link.

Thanks for joining me on this “Five Group C Classics” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a trip to the recent Sonoma Historic meeting. Don’t forget to come back now !


Tube Monocoque – BRM P261 #2615

In 1963 Tony Rudd followed the lead set by Colin Chapman’s 1962 Lotus 25 and designed BRM’s first P61 monocoque chassis, unlike the Lotus bathtub monocoque Tony’s chassis was a tube monocoque which dispensed with the need for a fibre glass cockpit surround.

Despite Graham Hill’s 3rd place finish on it’s debut in the 1963 French Grand Prix the P61 raced only twice in the 1963 season as it became apparent that the chassis flexed.

For 1964 a Mk2 P61 evolved that replaced the separate subrame that carried the motor with pontoons made from stressed sheet metal that extended from the back of the monocoque, the P 61 Mk2 became known as the P261.

BRM P2615, Damon Hill, BRM Day, Bourne,

In all 6 P261’s were built in 1.5 litre V8 spec for the 1964 and ’65 Formula One seasons, in 1.9 litre and 2.0 litre V8 spec for the 1966 Formula One season which now permitted 3.0 litre engines and 2.1 litre V8 spec for part of 1967 Formula season.

BRM also opted to compete with 1.9 litre V8 spec P261’s in the 1966 Tasman series of races, which permitted motors of up to 2.5 litres, run during the winter months in Australia and New Zealand, and ran 2.1 litre V8 P261’s in the following year when Jackie Stewart and BRM failed to repeat the title winning successes, 4 wins from 8 races, of 1966.

These cars served the works BRM team up until 1967 and today’s featured chassis #2615 carried on racing in privateers hands until 1969 by which time it had been fitted with a 3 litre BRM V12 motor.

BRM P2615, Damon Hill, BRM Day, Bourne,

#2615 first appeared at the the 1964 Belgian Grand Prix where Graham Hill drove it qualifying 2nd and finishing in 5th place. At the following race Graham finished 2nd in the French Grand Prix his best result in 1964 driving this chassis. Two wins and two further 2nd places helped Graham secure second place to John Surtees in the 1964 Championship season.

Richie Ginther drove the car at the 1964 US and Mexican Grand Prix’s recording a best 4th at Watkins Glen, Graham returned to drive #2615 a couple of times in early 1965 recording a best 2nd place in the Goodwood non championship race.

Jackie Stewart was the last works driver to drive #2615 in a Championship Formula One race in Mexico where he retired but still finished 3rd in the championship behind Jim Clark and team mate Graham.

BRM P2615, Damon Hill, BRM Day, Bourne,

Bernard White Racing bought the car for 1966 and entered it at various non championship and championship events for Vic Wilson, Bob Bondurant and Innes Ireland who all managed best 4th place finishes, at Syracuse, Monaco and Oulton Park respectively, on their first acquaintance with the car.

BRM borrowed #2615 from Bernard White Racing for the 1967 Tasman Series intending it to be a spare car for the works drivers. However it ended up being driven by Richard Attwood who finished 3rd in his first two starts with the car and won the minor Vic Hudson Memorial non championship race at Levin.

Piers Courage then drove #2615 in three events finishing a best 4th in the Teratonga International at Invergill. Chris Irwin was put in the car for the last three meetings of the Sandown meetings of the ’67 Tasman season finishing a best 3rd at Longford where Jackie Stewart borrowed the car for the 2nd preliminary to finish 2nd before returning to his own car which needed gearbox repairs for the final.

BRM P2615, Damon Hill, BRM Day, Bourne,

After #2615 was returned to the UK Bernard White Racing nominated David Hobbs to drive it in the 1967 British and Canadian Grand Prix but he could do no more than finish 8th and 9th even with a 2.1 litre motor.

For 1968 Bernard White Racing fitted the latest 3 litre BRM V12 but David finished only 9th and 6th in the non championship Race of Champions and International Trophy events run at Brands Hatch and Silverstone respectively.

It fell upon Frank Gardener to attempt to drive a P261 in a Championship Formula One event for the last time at the 1968 Italian Grand Prix however incorrect gearing meant he had no hope of even qualifying.

In 1969 #2615 still fitted with the V12 changed hands twice, Tony Dean bought the car and raced it in the Gran Premio de Madrid de F1 at Jarama, which was run for F5000 and F1 cars with a separate Formula 2 division, where he finished third behind the Formula 5000 Lola Chevrolet T142 driven by Keith Holland and F5000 McLaren Chevrolet M10A driven by Peter Gethin.

Later in the year Ben Moore bought #2615 and entered Charles Lucas to race, still with a V12 fitted, in the Gold Cup at Oulton Park where he retired with ignition box failure on the cars and models final “in period” appearance.

Graham Hill’s son Damon is seen demonstrating #2615 in these photograph’s at the BRM Day in Bourne a couple of years ago.

My thanks to Tim Murray or lending me a copy of Doug Nye’s invaluable BRM Volume 3 which proved to be an invaluable reference resource, incidentally there is a photo of in the aforementioned book showing Graham Hill testing #2615 at Snetterton with an “onboard data recorder, wrapped in aluminised cloth, braced on a tall gearbox bracket and steadied by bungee cords.”

The recorder is described as being attached to sensors taped to every suspension link and the data, which revealed for example that Graham Hill’s height accounted for a loss in performance equivalent to 100 rpm on the straights against his more diminutive team mate Jackie Stewart, appears to have been recorded on light sensitive paper tape.

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


RIP JP B – Peugeot 309 Gti Turbo Cup

Born on April 26th 1937 Jean Pierre Beltoise was part of a cohort of French drivers that emerged in the 1960’s that included Johnny Servous Gavin, Gerrard Larrousse, Henri Pescarolo and brother in law Francois Cevert.

JP B’s started racing motor cycles winning 11 national titles in three years, he raced Motor Morini, Kreider and Bultaco machines in a handful of world championship events from 1962 to 1964 finishing a best 3rd on a 50 cc Kreider in the 1964 French Grand Prix.

In 1963 Jean Pierre started racing Djet sports cars for René Bonnet. After Bonnet sold out to Matra he raced a succession of Formula 3 and Formula 2 Matra open wheelers with sufficient success that led to his Grand Prix debut in the 1966 German Grand Prix with a Formula 2 Matra in which he finished 8th overall and first in the Formula 2 class.

In 1968 JP B was contracted to drive for the French Matra Sports team but did not race a proper Formula One Spec car until the Spanish Grand Prix when he was drafted in to drive Jackie Stewart’s Cosworth powered Matra MS10 for Ken Tyrrell’s Matra International team.

At Monaco he raced the Matra V12 powered Matra MS 11 for the first time but retired with broken suspension, at the Dutch GP he finished a season high second behind Stewart.

Matra Sport withdrew form F1 at the end of 1968 to focus their efforts on getting Ken Tyrrells Matra International Team Matra MS80 cars for Jackie Stewart, JP-B was drafted in as Jackie’s team mate and again finished a season high second this time in France.

Ken Tyrrell and Matra parted way’s after winning the 1969 World Championships and Matra got it’s V12 programme back on track with JP B and Henri Pescarolo in the drivers seats JP B scored two season high thirds to Henri’s one. The following season JP B remained on the Matra team with Chris Amon but the results were disappointing.

For 1972 JP B signed to drive for BRM for which an over ambitious programme was being funded by Marlboro. At the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix Jean Pierre won his only Grand Prix generally reckoned to have been one of the more difficult races thanks to the atrocious conditions.

Note the scuff mark the BRM’s nose in the linked photo this came about after contact with Ronnie Peterson’s March which was baulking his while being lapped.

This race would be the last formula one championship win for a BRM and at the end of the season Jean Pierre won the non championship John Player victory race at Brands Hatch driving a BRM P180 which would be the last win for the BRM team.

Jean Pierre continued driving for BRM in 1973 during which he finished a season high 4th in Canada with the by now ancient BRM P160 and in 1974 during which he scored a great second place finish on the debut of the P201 in South Africa.

Out of a Formula One drive for 1975 Jean Pierre was in the running for a drive with the new Ligier team for 1976 and tested the Matra V12 powered JS5 before it was decided to hand the car over to 1975 Formula 2 champion Jacques Laffite.

Alongside his open wheel racing Jean Pierre continued racing sports cars winning races in 5 litre, 3 litre and 2 litre classes though most, seven, were wins with the 3 litre / 183 cui Matra’s which included the 1970 Tour de France sharing driving with Patrick Depailler and with FIA President Jean Todt doing the navigating.

After winning the sports car World Championship twice in 1973 and 1974 Matra withdrew from racing a Jean Pierre continued racing Ligier and Rondeau built sports cars at Le Mans, but he never improved on his career best 1969 4th place finish with Piers Courage in the endurance classic.

JP B won two French Saloon car championships driving BMW’s in 1976 and 1977 before proving his versatility, despite restricted arm movement that was the result of a sports car accident in the 1960’s, by winning the 1979 French Rallycross Championship driving an Alpine A310.

Peugeot Gti Turbo, JP Beltoise, Le Mans,

Into the 1980’s JP B continued racing Peugeot 505 Turbo’s, a V6 Talbot Tagora and in 1988 he was racing in the Peugeot 309 Gti Turbo Cup series, above Jean Pierre is seen driving the #88 309 to victory in the support race to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Jean Pierre passed away on the 5th of January aged 77.

Condolences to his family and friends RIP JP B.

Thanks for joining me on this “RIP JP B” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Autosport International. Don’t forget to come back now !


Friday At Goodwood – Ferrari

Welcome to another Ferrari Friday coming to you from last weeks Goodwood Festival of Speed where the Ferrari highlights included …

Ferrari 156R, Merzario, Goodwood Festival of Speed

… a Ferrari 156 replica driven by Art Merzario, which when it last appeared on these pages was painted yellow.

Ferrari 250LM, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Unlike the 250 LM, #6045, sold originally as a daily driver, which I looked at recently, this 250 LM, chassis # 5995, was raced first by a private entrant and then converted for road use later by the Ferrari factory who fitted the perspex engine cover seen above.

Ferrari 158, Surtees, Goodwood Festival of Speed

John Surtees had two 1964 Ferrari 158’s to play with at Goodwood to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his World Championship victory. This car was built out of period from remaining parts and is painted in the colours of the North American Racing Team that John’s car wore at the 1964 US and Mexican Grand Prix, he finished both races in 2nd place.

Ferrari 275 GTB/C,  Goodwood Festival of Speed

The 275 GTB/C above was first entered into the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours by British importer Maranello Concessionaires and driven to an 8th place overall finish, first in class by Piers Courage and Roy Pike. It was subsequently bought and raced by Paul Vesty who is still the cars owner and drove it at Goodwood last Friday.

Ferrari 512S Coda Lunga, Meiners,  Goodwood Festival of Speed

For the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours Ferrari had long (coda lunga) tails fitted to it’s 5 litre / 302 cui V12 512 S models. Franco Meiners is seen at the wheel of the 512S above, as also made familiar in the Le Mans film directed by Steve McQueen.

Ferrari 333SP, Pescatori,  Goodwood Festival of Speed

Finally the Ferrari 333SP was launched for the 1994 season at the behest of privateer Giampiero Moretti. Of the 144 races in which at least one of these cars contested the model won 56. I believe this particular second generation chassis, driven above by Christian Pescatori, is the one used by Vincenzo Sospiri and Emmanuel Collard to secure the 1998 International Sports Racing Series.

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


Do Not Lean On This Car – Ferrari 275 GTB/C #9079

In 1965 and 1966 Ferrari built a number of competition versions of the highly praised 275 GTB road car all using motors of the same type as found in the Ferrari 250 LM sports racer.

The last run of twelve competition 275’s known at the 275 GTB/C was built in 1966 and featuring aluminium bodies made of such a thin gauge it was reinforced with glass fiber, if you lean on this car you will almost certainly put a permanent dent in the body work.

Due to what appears to be a clerical error by someone at Ferrari the 275 GTB/C was mandated to run with only three carburetors, because someone at Maranello forgot to tell the FIA that a six carburetor option of the standard 275 GTB was available. This happened before the introduction of the 275 GTB/4 which featured six carburetors as standard.

Ferrari 275 GTB/C, Goodwood Revival

Even with this oversight a 275 GTB/C entered by Maranello Concessionaires and driven by Piers Courage and Roy Pike won its class at Le Mans in 1966 covering 310 laps and coming home 8th overall behind the three all conquering Ford GT40 Mk II’s and a fleet of four Porsche 906’s.

Today’s featured car chassis #9079 was the penultimate of the 12 GTB/C’s built in 1966 and it made it’s public debut at Le Mans in 1967 where it was entered for Swiss drivers Dieter Spoerry and Rico Steinemann by Scuderia Filipinetti. Dieter and Rico came in 11th and first in class covering 317 laps, 71 less than the overall winning Ford Mark IV.

Scuderia Filipinetti entered #9079 for Jaques Rey and Claude Haldi to drive at Le Mans in 1968 but the car retired after completing 78 laps as the consequence of an accident.

Ferrari 275 GTB/C, Goodwood Revival

The following year Jacques shared the car twice with Edgar Berney they came home 14th overall in the Spa 1000kms, 1st class. At Le Mans, where #9079 became the only 275GTB/C to start the race three times, the engine needed an oil top up after 39 laps which was against the regulations and so the car was disqualified.

By the end of 1969 #9079 went to the USA where it remained up until the 1980’s. In 1985 the fragile body, but not the tyres, melted in a workshop fire while in Los Angeles. By 1988 the car had been restored in Italy and sold on to Japan. Current owner Ross Warburton has owned this chassis since 2000.

Thanks for joining me on today’s “Do Not Lean On This Car” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at an brutally noisy Aston Martin. Don’t forget to come back now !


Under Australian Influence – Lotus 41

The Lotus 41 was designed and built to meet the second and third tier European open wheel Formula’s 2 and 3 along with the US Formula B regulations for the 1966 to 1968 seasons.

Lotus 41, Race Retro

Designed by Australian John Joyce assisted by Dave Baldwin the Type 41 featured a space frame constructed from welded steel tubes with stressed steel plates around the foot well, instrument panel and rear bulkhead. Steel was chosen in favour of lighter aluminium to ensure the car met the minimum weight limit requirements stipulated by the Formula regulations for which the car was built.

Lotus 41, Race Retro

Brewery heir Piers Courage driving a works backed Lotus 41, for the same Lucas Engineering team that was involved with the Martin V8 powered Lotus 35 I looked at a couple of weeks ago, won the French Craven ‘A’ Formula 3 series.

Lotus 41, Race Retro

Back in 1966 drivers names were mandated on the sides of open wheel Formula cars to help spectators identify the drivers, the name ‘Williams’ seen here refers not to the Piers Courages team mate and driver of the camera car in Steve McQueens film Le Mans Jonathon Williams, but to Dr Gareth Williams, owner of today’s featured car.

Lotus 41, Race Retro

Dr Williams car chassis 41/F3/12b, seen here at Race Retro, is known to have been used competitively by Swiss driver Jean Blanc in 1966 and ’67 and passed through the hands of four further owners before being restored in 1993.

Lotus 41, Race Retro

History records, Courages success in France not with standing, that the Lotus 41 was out classed by the more numerous Brabham 18A designed by another Australian Ron Tauranac. After returning to Australia in 1968 John Joyce founded Bowin Designs Pty where he built a string of successful cars that dominated the 1970’s Australian Formula Ford scene.

Lotus 41, Race Retro

Sixty One Lotus 41’s are thought to have been built some were still running in much modified form in the early 1970’s Formula B regulations complete with additional bodywork and wings like the one seen in the thread on The Nostalgia Forum linked here.

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


Hot V8 – Lotus 35 Martin #35/F/21

The Lotus 35 was built for the 1965 season to compete in the second and third tier Formula 2, Formula 3 and Antipodean Tasman series fitted with motors 1 litre / 61 cui to 2.5 litre / 152 cui. 22 of these cars were built and fitted with a variety of 4 cylinder motors, chassis #18 apparently was even fitted with a 4.7 litre / 289 cui V8 and driven to a Formula A class victory at Willow Springs by Vernon Shields in 1968.

Lotus 35 Martin, Oulton Park

In 1966 new Formula One regulations came into effect allowing engine sizes up to 3 litres / 183 cui doubling the capacity of the previous regulations which had been in effect since 1961. Few teams were prepared for the new reglulations many teams resorted to using interim 2 litre / 122 cui motors until larger units like the Ford Cosworth DFV became more widely available in 1968. Former MG engineer turned engine tuner Ted Martin who had built heads for Ford based Formula Junior motors and a series of three valve heads for Ford motors used in Saloon car racing designed an unusually compact lightweight all aluminium V8 dry sump competition motor for the new Formula One regulations while working for GM in Canada in the early 1960’s.

Lotus 35 Martin, Oulton Park

Upon returning to the UK, having built his engine, Ted Martin asked his customer racing car entrant Charles Lucas if he could fit his new 3 litre V8 motor into a slightly damaged Lotus 35, chassis number 35/F/19, similar to the one seen here at Oulton Park which belongs to Allan Rennie, that the Lucas team had been running in South America for Piers Courage.

Lotus 35 Martin, Oulton Park

Roy Pike first drove the Lotus Martin, also known as the Lucas Martin at the time, prepared by Roy Thomas in a Formula Libre race at Mallory Park on Boxing Day 1966 and recorded a 3rd place in what proved to be the cars only competitive event. After the 295 hp car had impressed Dan Gurney, by matching his Eagle for top speed at Goodwood, Piers Courage qualified the Lotus Martin 14th for the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch in 1967 but a rocker bent while the engine was being warmed up before the race forcing a DNS.

Lotus 35 Martin, Oulton Park

A further test at Snetterton would be the cars last outing, after dusting Jackie Stewart driving an H16 powered BRM, Piers missed his breaking point and sent the car into the wall with the subsequent fire writing off the car. Piers Courage appears to have been unhurt in the incident but Charles Lucas called it a day and concentrated on building Titan racing cars from then on. Three more Martin V8 powered Formula Once cars were built by motor factor dealer AJ Pearce, during the week before their first event the unattended Pearce transporter burnt to the ground destroying two Pearce Martins, along with a Cooper Ferrari, before they ever turned a wheel in competition.

Lotus 35 Martin, Oulton Park

Allan Rennie started his recreation of the Lotus Martin after finding one of the V8’s under a dust sheet in a workshop in Horsham in 2003. The process of turning the motor into a runner involved spending a year getting a pair of cylinder heads up to scratch, preparing a new pair of cylinder blocks acquired from Ted Martins workshop, selecting the best four pairs of forked and blade rods from over 40 used ones, machining big end shells to match the rods, manufacturing a new set of pistons, the cylinder head volumes turned out to vary and to over come this each has a different thickness head gasket to balance the compression ratio, and machining new rocker shafts. Note the holes in the double skin chassis required for the removal of the spark plugs.

Lotus 35 Martin, Oulton Park

Two years after finding the motor Allan acquired the Lotus 35 chassis #35/F/21 and since 2003 Allan reckons he has spent over 5000 hours and enough money to buy a ready to go Ford Cosworth DFV powered Formula One racing car stripping everything down to the last rivet making all the necessary repairs using all of the usable original materials to put the engine and chassis back to together.

Allan’s five years of hard graft was rewarded with a debut win on 31st May 2009 in the Snetterton Guards Trophy meeting, despite ‘dire’ handling, possibly a result of a motor with 3 times the cui than originally intended, Allan found himself in the right place at the right time when the two leaders retired.

My thanks to Allan who’s Lotus 35 Martin website gives further first hand details and to Macca and everyone who posted information on The Nostalgia Forum Martin Engines thread.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Hot V8’ edition of ‘Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !