Tag Archives: Grand

Grand Finals – Castle Combe

On Saturday I popped along to Castle Combe for the Grand Finals meeting where the sun was trying in vain to dissipate the clouds, but the fine quality of the racing made up for it’s inadequacies.

Reynard/Fisher Spectrum/Moyers, FF1600, Castle Combe

The afternoons racing got off to a scintillating start with the Drive Soutwest and Empire EV Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600, Kent engines, Championship, in which Josh Fisher starting from third on the grid in his 1989 #81 Reynard engaged in a thrilling battle with pole sitter Michael Moyers driving the #125 Spectrum 11c that was twenty years younger than the Reynard.

Josh took the lead on lap six, relinquished it for the next two laps before grabbing it for good on lap 9, Josh is seen above exceeding track limits as he takes the flag after 15 thrilling laps by just 0.212 of a second from Michael, Roger Orgee clinched the championship, 41 years after his farther Roger Snr, won the same championship at he same track, with a third place finish.

BMW 320i, Swaffer, Wileman, Palmer, Davison, Castle Combe

The penultimate round of the Toyo Tyres Production BMW championship saw Gary Feakin and Harry Goodman storm away from the rest and leaving the #145 of Matthew Swaffer, #131 of Matthew Wileman, #8 of Mark Palmer and #17 driven by William Davison to squabble over the final place on the podium in another entertaining race.

When the dust settled William finished third behind Harry but ahead of Matthew Wileman, Rob Cooper and Mark while Matthew Saffer retired the #145, Gary’s win sealed the championship in his favour with one round, run later in the afternoon, to go.

Spire GT3, Tim Gray, Castle Combe

Nottingham’s Tim Gray drove his #96 Spire GT3 to set a pole time for the Castle Combe Sports Racing Series race over three and a half seconds ahead of fellow front row starter Robert Gillman in his #66 Radical Prosport.

It was hardly surprising there for that the closest anyone got to Tim was on the warm up lap when the race ended Robert was 53 seconds ahead of the #12 Radical SR4 driven by Darcey Smith who remained the only unlapped runner, hopefully next year Simon Tilling might bring his Radical out to play in what could be a competitive series.

Audi Hutchings, Volkswagen Scaramanga, Castle Combe

Dave Scaramanga, driving the #6 Volkswagen Scirocco from 9th on the grid, accepted some responsibility for killing Tony Hutchings opportunity to clinch the Class A title of the On Pole Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship after a coming together with the #33 Audi TT a couple of hundred yards after the photo above was taken, leaving Gary Prebble to win the class championship unchallenged in his SEAT Leon 20V T.

Earlier in the race Dave missed the same Bobbies chicane where he came together with Tony on the penultimate lap, after 19 years of trying Mark Wyatt secured his first championship with his class B Vauxhall Astra.

Brabham Thompson, March Armer, Castle Combe

Like Dave Scaramanga, Simon Armer also misjudged Bobbies chicane on the opening lap of the first of two HSCC Historic Formula 3 Races, Simon driving the #22 March 703 is seen making up time as he looks to deprive the #65 Brabham BT21 driven by Peter Thompson of the second place on lap 3 on his way to victory.

Legendary club motorsports journalist and racer Marcus Pye in the commentary box informed us that the Simon’s March belonged to Tom Walkinshaw, who went on to found Tom Walkinshaw Racing with which he won the 1984 European Touring Car Championship at the wheel of a TWR Jaguar before taking Jaguar back to Le Mans in 1986 which resulted in wins for the marque in 1988 and 1990.

Spectrum/Moyers, Reynard/Fisher, FF1600, Castle Combe

The Formula Ford boys made a second appearance at the meeting for the non championship Formula Ford Carnival which again saw a close battle between Michael Moyers and Josh Fisher, this time Michael did not give an inch and won the 15 lap adrenaline rush by less than a second, for his two entertaining drives in such an ancient machine Josh quite rightly won the man of the meeting award.

Ginetta Krayem, Mazda Putt, Castle Combe

Bristol’s Oliver Bull driving a Ford powered Vauxhall Tigra Silhouette in class B of the Avatar Sports Cars Castle Combe Sports and GT Championship managed to secure the overall title with an incident free drive to second overall from pole. Claimants for the win included Barry Squibb who took the lead on the opening lap only to retire his fire belching Mitsubishi Evo on lap 3 which handed the lead to the fearsome 7 litre / 427 cui V8 powered Zilla Killa Mazda RX7 driven by Steve Putt who started second on the grid.

4th place starter David Krayem, driving a 3.5 litre / 213 cui V8 powered Ginetta G50 is seen above at Quarry having just taken the lead, which he held until the end of the race, from Steve with three laps to go.

BMW 320i, Feakins, Goodman, Wileman, Davison, Castle Combe

Gary Feakin #2, Harry Goodman #4 and William Davison #17 again deprived Matthew Wileman of a podium as they finished the second Toyo Tyres Production BMW championship in the same order as the first, Matthew held third place in the #131 until lap 5 before giving way to the William in another event full of close racing through out the field.

March 703, Simon Armer, Castle Combe, Castle Combe

Simon Armer made no mistakes in the second HSCC Formula 3 race in which he smoked the field and led from start to finish to win by just over 3 seconds, although the finishing order with Peter Thompson and Michael Scott finishing second and third the battle was never certain until the checkered flag was shown.

Ginetta Kraymen, Audi Hall, Castle Combe

Finally the Castle Combe Sports and GT’s came out to play with the Castle Combe Saloons for a bit of end of term fun, Steve Hall in the #19 Audi TT starting from 5th on the grid made the move on David Kraymen seen above as they approach the The Esses stick and led the opening lap before relinquishing the lead back to David who won the race by 2.5 seconds from the Audi with Adam Prebbles steel bodied Rover Tomcat a highly entertaining 3rd ahead of the Audi TT driven by Tony Hutchings.

With another full day of motorsport planned in Wales for the following day I declined the kind invitation to all to attend a party at the Strawford Centre where no doubt a good time was had by all.

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


Pete Aron’s Yamura – McLaren Ford M2B

With the decline in fortunes of the Cooper Car Companies Grand Prix program, for which he had been driving since his arrival in Formula One in 1958, Bruce McLaren decided that with the success of his McLaren M1 sports cars he could follow his former mentor Jack Brabham, who left Cooper to build his own Formula One cars in 1962, and start his own Grand Prix team in time for the new 3 litre / 183 cui regulations which came into effect in 1966.

Through 1965 McLaren built and extensively tested the M2A which was designed by Robin Herd and fitted with a 4.5 litre / 274.5 Oldsmobile V8 from the McLaren M1 program.

McLaren Ford M2B, Donington Park Museum

The monococoque of the McLaren M2A made extensive use of compressed balsa wood sandwiched between thin sheets of aluminium called Malite which made the monocoque much stiffer than a conventional monocoque as had been successfully used in the Lotus 25 and it’s successor the Lotus 33.

However Malite proved to be difficult to work with and repair and so for the McLaren M2B the use of Malite was restricted to the inner skins and upper surfaces of the monocoque which still offered significant advantages to the stiffness of the structure.

McLaren Ford M2B, Donington Park Museum

Originally the M2B was powered by a V8 motor derived from Ford’s Indy programme, but this proved way to heavy allegedly when connected to the gearbox the whole power train weighed as much as some rivals entire cars, while later on a much lighter and less powerful Serenissima motor was also tried.

The two engines are easily distinguished the Indy derived Ford has exhausts between the Vee formed by the eight cylinders as seen here and the Serenissima had more conventional side exhausts.

McLaren Ford M2B, Donington Park Museum

Bruce McLaren made 4 starts in the M2B, after retiring at Monaco he realised the Ford based motor needed less weight and more power so he secured the use of the Serenissima’s as an interim measure. At the British Grand Prix Bruce scored his first World Championship point in a car bearing his own name. By the US Grand Prix improved Ford based motors were back from Traco and Bruce came in 5th, before retiring at the Mexican Grand Prix which closed the season.

Although the season was a failure the team learned from their mistakes and made do with BRM 2 litre / 122 cui V8 motors for 1967 before becoming one of the three teams using the Ford Cosworth DFV, alongside Lotus and Tyrrell in 1968.

The white and green colour scheme of the M2B is said to have been mandated by a deal between Bruce and the producers of the John Frankenheimer’s film “Grand Prix” which required the McLaren M2B to look like the fictional Japanese “Yamura” which James Garners character Pete Aron drove to a championship win in the film.

Thanks for joining me me on this Malite 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 !


Limited Fuel Unlimited Boost – Lotus Renault 98T #004

The Lotus Renault 98T was a development of the 1985 Lotus Renault 97T Grand Prix Car designed by Gerard Ducarouge and Martin Ogilvie for Ayrton Senna and Johnny Dumfries to drive in the 1986 Grand Prix season.

Lotus Renault 98T, Autsport International, NEC, Birmingham

Note the small vertical “barge boards” mounted on the front suspension, a feature carried over from the Lotus Renault 97T that are still in evidence on today’s contemporary Grand Prix cars albeit mounted much closer to the side pod intakes.

Lotus Renault 98T, Autsport International, NEC, Birmingham

The main difference between the 1984 and 1985 Lotus Formula One challengers was that the FIA had mandated a 195 litre maximum fuel capacity which meant the new car could be built with a smaller and lower fuel tank.

Lotus Renault 98T, Autsport International, NEC, Birmingham

Elio de Angelis who had won one race in 1985 for Lotus and had been eclipsed by new team mate Ayrton Senna who won two races, moved to the Brabham team for 1986. Elio was replaced at Senna’s discretion by Johnny Dumfries a rookie who had dominated the British Formula Three Championship a Grand Prix feeder series in 1985.

Lotus Renault 98T, Autsport International, NEC, Birmingham

Despite running with a limited fuel allowance there were no limit’s on the amount of boost the turbo’s could run and after the introduction of pneumatic valve springs in the cylinder heads and a common rail injection system with water cooled intercoolers it was estimated that the Renault EF15 motors could produce upto 1300 hp at 5.5 bar boost for a qualifying run, though it transpires these figures could never be verified because there were no testing rigs that were calibrated for that kind of output.

Lotus Renault 98T, Autsport International, NEC, Birmingham

Other novel features of the Lotus 98T included two stage ride height adjustment and a six speed gearbox which was used exclusively by Dumfries.

Ayton Senna scored two more victories in Spain and Detroit along with 4 seconds and 2 thirds but although he scored 55 points 17 more than in 1985 he still finished 4th in the final championship as he had done the previous year. Johnny Dumfries meanwhile scored only 3 points and that heralded the end of his career as a Grand Prix Driver. He was replaced in by Satoru Nakajima backed by Honda who were to supply motor’s to Lotus for 1987. Despite scoring 13 points less in 1986 than they had in 1985 Lotus also finished 4th in the Constructors championship just as they had in 1985.

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


International Gold Cup Winner – Surtees Ford TS7 #01

After quitting Ferrari midway through 1966 John Surtees joined the Cooper Maserati team and finished the season second to Champion Jack Brabham who became the, first and so far only driver to win the Formula Championship in a car of his own design. At the end of the 1966 season John drove a Lola T70 in the inaugural Can Am championship run by his own team winning three races and beating Mark Donohue to the Championship.

Surtees TS7, Wings & Wheels, Dunsfold

For 1967 ‘Big John’ joined the Honda Grand Prix team which netted a win in the Italian Grand Prix while he returned to defend his Can Am championship but with only a single win he could not keep up with the Bruce and Denny show which was gathering steam taking 5 victories between them in their orange McLaren Chevrolet M6A’s.

Surtees TS7, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Two unreliable seasons in formula one followed first with Honda in 1968 and then BRM in 1969, but in 1969 John started building his first cars, designed by Len Terry the TS5’s were designed for the stock block Formula 5000 series, Team Elite ran one of these cars and with Trevor Taylor at the wheel it scored four straight victories.

Surtees TS7, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

After his poor run of results with the BRM P138 and P139 which netted a season best 3rd place finish John determined he would enter the 1970 season as a constructor designing the TS7 seen here with help from Sahab Ahmed and a plucky draughtsmen with not much Formula One experience but plenty designing consumer electrical goods namely Peter Connew.

Surtees TS7, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Seen here earlier this year in the Wings and Wheels paddock at Dunsfold Aerodrome, with an 8′ wheel base the Surtees TS7 was a typical period garagistes car with a monocoque held together by three bulkheads, a Ford Cosworth DFV motor acting as stressed member of the chassis with a Hewland DG300 five speed gearbox at the back.

Surtees TS7, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

John made his debut with his new car at the 1970 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch where Peter Connew’s cousin took the photo below. Peter can be seen at the extreme top right of the photo standing next to him is Sahab Ahmed.

Surtees TS7, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

John scored a season high 5th place finish with the TS7 at the Canadian Grand Prix and won the non championship Oulton Park Gold Cup with the same chassis which was restored to it’s present condition in 2010. In 1971 Brian Redman drove this chassis to a seventh place finish in South Africa, Allan Rollinson then drove it to a 9th place finish in the International Trophy at Silverstone and finally a week after wining the 1971 Le Mans 24 Hours with Helmut Marko, Gijs van Lennep drove the car to an 8th place finish in his home Dutch Grand Prix run at Zandvoort.

My thanks to Barry Boor for sharing his photograph.

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


Improvement Is Not Enough – Lotus Ford 81 #R2

Through out the 1970s Colin Chapman had come up with a string of innovative if not always successful designs and concepts for his Formula One team on the successful side there was the wedge shaped Lotus 72 which remained competitive from 1970 to 1974, the Lotus 78 wing car which won more races than any other design in 1977 but did not win the championship and the Lotus 79 ground effects car which clinched the 1978 World Championships for Mario Andretti and Lotus.

On the less successful side Colin had developed the Lotus 76 with it’s novel twin wing and push button clutch which was abandoned in 1974, Lotus 77 with it’s infinitely variable suspension geometry which caused team leader Ronnie Peterson to quit the team, before it was turned into a one time race winner with Mario Andretti at the wheel in 1976 and the Lotus 80 which took the ground effects concept a little too far and was abandoned after just three starts in 1979.

This left Lotus and Ferrari tied on championships for the 1970’s with three drivers titles each and four constructors titles each with Lotus winning 35 races between 1970 and 1979 to Ferrari’s 39.

Lotus 81, 1980 British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch

1980 proved to be a bad year for both Ferrari and Lotus, Ferrari were busy building a new turbo charged motor and the Ferrari T5 used in the interim was an improvement on the previous years championship winning Ferrari T4, but was way behind the development curve of its competitors, Colin Champman’s Lotus 1981 mean while did not appear to feature any innovations and is probably best described as an improvement on the 1978 championship winning Lotus 79, but was also way behind the development curve of it’s competitors.

Mario Andretti and Elio de Angelis were employed to drive the new cars and it was de Angelis in his second season in the sports top tier that scored the teams best result a second place in the Brazilian Grand Prix along with three further top six, points paying finish. Mario meanwhile had a miserable last season at Lotus with nine retirements and just a single sixth place finish in his last race for the team in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.

The Lotus 81 introduced future world champion Nigel Mansell to Formula One when he became a third member of the team for three races towards the end of the year starting at the 1980 Austrian Grand Prix. Nigel recorded two retirements and a DNQ but had done enough to secure a seat with the team for the following season.

Lotus finished the season in a poor and distant, by their standards 5th place in the constructors championship while Ferrari finished an even more disappointing 10th.

Elio de Angelis is seen above in chassis 81 #R2 on the opening lap of the 1980 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch from which he retired. 81/R2 was used by all three Lotus drivers in 1980, Mario scored a best 7th place finish at Monaco, Elio a best 4th place finish at the 1980 US GP at Watkins Glen while Nigel failed to qualify R2 at the 1980 Italian GP at Monza.

For 1981 chassis 81/R2 was updated to B spec which included a tea tray front wing, as a has been in use by Ferrari since 1974. Nigel Mansell raced the car four times in 1981 scoring a best 10th place finish in the 1981 South African Grand Prix, the cars last race was the 1981 Argentinian Grand Prix from which Nigel retired. The car was subsequently taken to races as a spare car up until the French Grand Prix after which it was replaced by the new Lotus 87/88 design.

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


Worlds First 200 mph Race Lap – Dodge Charger Daytona

On Thursday I looked at a car driven by Jerry Grant the first man to lap an open wheeler at an average 200 mph during qualifying at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1972 and I was surprised to learn that Buddy Baker recorded the first 200 mph race lap, in today’s featured Grand National Dodge Charger Daytona two years earlier at Talladega.

Dodge Charger Daytona, Marin Sanoma Concours d'Elegance

After NASCAR leveled the playing field by allowing Ford to run four barrel carburetor’s against Dodges 2 barrel carburetor Hemi’s Chrysler hit back by introducing the limited edition Dodge Charger Daytona model in 1969 using a Charger body shell with an aerodynamic nose and high rear wing which aided traction to the rear driven wheels.

Dodge Charger Daytona, Marin Sanoma Concours d'Elegance

The 6980 cc / 426 cui Hemi V8 fitted a 2 barrel carburettor was good for over 475 hp. In 1969 Bobby Isaac won 20 poles and won 17 of 54 Grand National championship races in his Charger Daytona but poor reliability meant he only finished 6th in the championship won by David Pearson with ‘only’ 11 wins. The following year Isaac won the championship with only 11 wins with Richard Petty finishing the championship 4th driving a similar Plymouth Road Runner Superbird with 18 championship wins.

Dodge Charger Daytona, Marin Sanoma Concours d'Elegance

For the 1970 season Cotton Owens entered Buddy Baker in today’s featured Daytona, while leading 101 laps at Talladega Baker recorded the world first 200 mph average race lap speed before a spin forced retirement. Note that baker was not driving a #88 Daytona in the Alabama 500 when he achieved this feat as reported in some sources. Baker later drove this car to victory lane at Darlington where he beat the eventual 1970 Champion Bobby Isaac by an entire lap.

Dodge Charger Daytona, Marin Sanoma Concours d'Elegance

NASCAR took the decision to outlaw all of the “Winged Warriors” at the end of the 1970 which included the Charger Daytona, Plymouth Superbird, Fords Torino Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II.

This car has never been restored, simply kept in immaculate condition during long loan spells Cobo Hall in Detroit and the Darlington Museum.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who shared today’s photographs which were taken earlier this year at the Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance.

Thanks for joining me on this “Worlds First 200 mph Race Lap” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #3 – The Connew Story

Two years ago Barry Boor kindly granted me permission to start working on a no budget film about the Connew Grand Prix car which was designed by his cousin Peter Connew and ran 40 years ago today in the Austrian Grand Prix with Francois Migault at the wheel.

Connew PC1 02, Chadwell Heath Library

With many thanks to everyone who has participated in the making of the film I’m pleased to announce that you can now find out how the Connew, designed in a bedroom, built with beer money and run on a wad of French Francs fared on this link.

I hope you will join me in congratulating everyone who was involved in the Connew Team on their most unlikely achievement and wishing Peter well on his mission to rebuild the car. I am sure this will not be my last blog on this triumph of Peters maxim “there is nothing that cannot be done without common sense, application and half an ounce of common sense”.

Thanks for joining me on this “Sweet dreams are made of this #3” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !