Tag Archives: Herbert

The Jaguar Judd – Mazda MX-R01

With the mandating of 3.5 litre / 213.5 cui piston engines for the 1992 World Sports Car Championship Mazda were left with no choice but to abandon their rotary powered 787B which won the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Mazda MX-R01, Le Mans

With insufficient funds to develop a new motor and or chassis they bravely decided not to abandon sports car racing altogether and elected instead to buy a suitable V10 from Judd Engine Developments and modify chassis bought from Tom Walkinshaw Racing that had been designed by Ross Brawn and run the previous year as the 1991 Championship wining Jaguar XJR14 with a Jaguar badged Ford HB V8.

Mazda MX-R01, Le Mans

Five Mazda MV10 powered Mazda MX-R01’s were built; chassis #001 was used exclusively in the Japanese Sports Car Series, #002 was a spare test car taken to Le Mans, #003 was another spare test car taken to Le Mans, today’s featured #004 raced in the whole 1992 World Sports Car Championship and #005 was only raced at Le Mans.

Mazda MX-R01, Le Mans

The MX-R01 made it’s debut in the 1992 Japanese Sports Car series at Suzuka where Youjirou Terada and Takashi Yorino drove chassis #001 to finish 7th from 8th on the grid in the 500 km race. Volker Weidler and Brazilian Maurizio Sandro Sala then drove #004 on it’s European debut at Monza where they retired with engine failure after starting from 7th on the grid.

Mazda MX-R01, Volker Weidler (D)/Johnny Herbert (GB)/Bertrand Gachot (B)/Maurizio Sandro Sala, Le Mans

For the Fuji 1000 kms Youjirou Terada, Takashi Yorino and Maurizio Sandro Sala qualified #001 8th but also retired with engine failure, before #004 scored the teams best result of the season in the BRDC Empire Trophy at Silverstone where Maurizio Sandro Sala and Johnny Herbert finished second from 7th on the grid.

Mazda MX-R01, Volker Weidler (D)/Johnny Herbert (GB)/Bertrand Gachot (B)/Maurizio Sandro Sala, Le Mans

Chassis #005 driven by Maurizio Sandro Sala, Takashi Yorino and Yojiro Terada qualified 10th at Le Mans, but retired with accident damage after 124 laps which allowed Sala to join Volker Weidler, Johnny Herbert and Bertrand Gachot in chassis #004 that started 7th on the grid and finished 4th, 16 laps down on the winning Peugeot, having lead itself briefly led during the opening hours of the race.

Mazda MX-R01, Volker Weidler (D)/Johnny Herbert (GB)/Bertrand Gachot (B)/Maurizio Sandro Sala, Le Mans

Over the remaining World Sports Car Championship season #004 finished 5th at Donington and 6th at Magny Cours with Sala and Alex Caffi at the wheel, posting a retirement with gearbox failure at Suzuka when Takashi joined Maurizio and Alex in the cockpit.

In the Japanese series Takashi Yorino and Youjirou Terada finished a season high 7th in the Fuji 1000kms, Mazda finished 3rd in the final 1992 World Sportscar Championship standings and 2nd in the final 1992 All Japan Sports Prototype Championship standings.

Mazda withdrew from sportscar racing at the end of the 1992 season and the World Sportscar Championship was cancelled in 1993 with only Peugeot willing to compete in the series.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Jaguar Judd” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at this years Le Mans LMP2 winner. Don’t forget to come back now.


ECU Controlled Telescopic Intake Runners – Mazda 787B #002

The news from Mazdaspeed in 1990 was that they had further developed their 4 rotor wankel to include stepped variable telescopic intake runners and three spark plugs per rotor so that their motors could produce a peak 900 hp or 700hp in race configuration.

Mazda 787B, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

To cope with the new demands of the more powerful motor Nigel Stroud designed the 787 chassis which most obviously differed from it’s 757 and 767 predecessors by having more forward weight distribution with front mounted radiator with vents in front of the windscreen replacing the previous side mounted radiators.

Mazda 787B, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Two 787’s were built for the 1990 season, both cars retired from the 1990 Le Mans race and the best result for the 787 was recorded in 1991 at the Nurburgring where Maurizio Sandro Sala and David Kennedy finished 5th from 14th on the grid.

Mazda 787B, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

For 1991 the four rotor wankels were further upgraded with ECU controlled continuously variable telescopic intake runners which optimised engine power and torque at varying rpm.

Mazda 787B, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Three new 787B chassis were built for the 1991 season and the two existing 787’s were fitted with the continuously variable intake motors.

Mazda 787B, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

The 787B’s proved far more reliable than the 787 predecessor clocking up two 6th place finishes at Suzuka and Fuji before two 787B’s were sent to Le Mans.

Mazda 787B, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Unlike the old turbocharged Group C cars which had to run a 1000kg weight limit the IMSA GTP spec Mazda was allowed to run at 830 kgs.

Mazda 787B, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

As a consequence the #55 787B chassis #002 featured today driven by Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler and Bertrand Gachot which started only 19th on the grid, 12th fastest qualifier, came through to score the first Le Mans win for a car powered by a non reciprocating engine and the first and so far only Le Mans win for a Japanese manufacturer after all the faster, but heavier Group C turbo cars had wilted.

Thanks for joining me on this “ECU Controlled Telescopic Intake Runners” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a French Le Mans challenger. Don’t forget to come back now !


Cd 0.14 – FIAT 8001 Turbina

Spurred on by the news that Rover was looking to transfer it’s WW2 jet engine technology to production car use FIAT joined the fray in 1948 led by technical director Dante Giacosa.

FIAT Turbina, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

FIAT at the time was building building gas turbines for aeronautical and civil applications but in order to maintain secrecy from others in the FIAT empire Giacosa had a team of three engineers develop a purpose built turbine from scratch.

FIAT Turbina, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Former Isotta Fraschini stylist Fabio Luigi Rapi was responsible for the shape of the 8001 Turbina which when tested at Turin Polytechnic indicated the drag co efficient was down to a record low of cd 0.14.

FIAT Turbina, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

Carlo Salamano first tested the 8001 Turbina on the famous oval test track set on the roof of FIAT’s Lingotto building in Turin in February 1954.

FIAT Turbina, Goodwood Festival of Speed,

With 300hp available the the 8001 Turbina was thought to be easily capable of breaking the 152 mph gas turbine powered world record set by Rover in 1952, however before the Turbina got a chance to go record breaking Frenchman Jean Hebert set a new gas turbine powered record of 191.8 mph in Renault’s purpose built record breaker “Etoile Filante” in September 1956 and it was recognised immediately that this was beyond the FIAT’s capability.

Thanks for joining me on this “Cd 0.14” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Smaller, Lighter, RHD – Cunningham C6R

After experiencing less than outright success at Le Mans with the Cadillac Le Monstre Cunningham in 1950, Chrysler powered Cunningham C2R in 1951, similarly powered C4R in 1952 and C5R in 1953 Briggs Cunningham decided that three short comings of the previous designs had to be addressed.

His next new project the C6R, had to be smaller, lighter and right hand drive to optimise weight distribution on a circuit with predominantly right hand corners.

Cunningham C6R, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The C6R was also originally intended to be powered by a race bred 340 hp 4.5 litre / 274 cui Ferrari V12 motor of the type more commonly found in a Ferrari 375MM of the type he had run at Le Mans in 1954 for Phil Walters and John Fitch.

Cunningham C6R, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Responsibility of the design for the body of the C6R was handed over Herbert “Bud” Unger who had worked on the bodies of the Cunningham C4R and C5R Cunningham’s as a metal worker.

In correspondence with me, about the design, Mr Unger said; “The engineers wanted maximum air flow to the brakes front and rear…” These were 13 inch air cooled drum brakes, prone to fading when hot. “I made the front air intake as large as possible and also extra air intakes on both sides beside the main grille air intake.

Cunningham C6R, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Next, I tapered the side of the body in from the front fenders all the way back to the rear fenders and by large air scoops to get maximum ram air into both rear brakes.”

By the time the car appeared at Sebring in 1956 with it’s unpainted aluminium body, crafted by “a man form Europe that was an expert with the (English) wheel.

Cunningham C6R, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Briggs, for reasons unknown, compromised the original design criteria by fitting a modified 3 litre Indy 500 engine running on petrol instead of the usual alcohol brew.

Le Patron shared the driving at Sebring with John Gordon Bennett and they retired from the race on the 54th lap after the clutch disintegrated.

Cunningham C6R, Goodwood Festival of Speed

When the C6R appeared at Le Mans the body had some alterations including a single smaller front intake and a D-Type Jaguar like headrest and rear fin and the car ran over the weekend with the rear brake cooling intakes in open and blanked off configurations.

During the course of it’s second race Briggs and Sherwood Johnson found the C6R started loosing gears and it retired from 13th place after 18 hours after the engine had enough of pushing the car round in forth, top, gear only.

Cunningham C6R, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Briggs Cunningham raced the car one more time in 1955 at Road America where the Offy motor again expired for good.

The car did not run again until 1957 by which time a 3.8 litre 6 cylinder Jaguar six cylinder motor had been fitted.

Cunningham C6R, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Briggs raced the car on four occasions with a best known result of 9th at Lime Rock in June 1957.

The car was permanently retired to Briggs Cunningham’s collection thereafter which has since become part of the Collier Collection. It is seen here at recent Goodwood Festival of Speed meetings.

My thanks to Mr Unger, Cunningham Motorsport Historian Lawrence W. Berman, Paul Kierstein from the photo archive and Sondre Kvipt in Norway who facilitated my correspondence with Mr Unger. Thanks also to Herbert at The Nostalgia Forum who brought up the subject of the C6R’s blanked off rear air intakes.

Thanks for joining me on this “Smaller, Lighter, RHD” edition of “Gettin’ A L’il Psycho On Tyres” I hope you will join me for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


It Is Not A Green Audi – Bentley Speed 8 #004/1

Just over a week ago I visited Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power where I manged to catch up with today’s featured Bentley Speed 8 of the type which ten years ago were entered in the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

The origins of the Speed 8 lay in two Audi projects that raced at Le Mans in 1999 one of which was designed by Peter Elleray who would go on to design the Bentley’s which competed at Le Mans from 2001 and 2003.

Audi R8R, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Audi entered four cars in the 1999 endurance classic two open cockpit LMP class Audi R8R’s like the one above that was built by Dallara and entered by Audi Sport Team Joest which Frank Biela, Didier Theys and Emanuele Pirro drove third place one spot ahead of the sister R8R driven by Michele Alboreto, Rinaldo Capello and Laurant Laurent Aïello.

Audi R8C, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The two remaining Audi’s were closed cockpit LMGTP Audi R8C’s designed by Peter Elleray and built by Racing Technology Norfolk (RTN) using the same twin turbo V8 motors and gearboxes as the R8R. Veteran Porsche Group C entrant Richard Lloyd ran the R8C’s in the ’99 Le Mans Race under the Audi Sport UK banner with James Weaver, Andy Wallace and Perry McCarthy in the #10, seen above which retired after 198 laps. The #9 R9C was driven by Stefan Johansson, Stéphane Ortelli and Christian Abt retired after 55 laps both cars experiencing gearbox issues that were shared with the R8R’s but which the Joest mechanics were better able to cope with.

Audi R8, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The R8R’s were quicker than the R8C’s which suffered from being the second project to get the go ahead and Audi decided to go with the open cockpit concept and developed the R8 of the type seen above which won five Le Mans 24 hour races in ’00, ’01, ’02, ’04 and ’05.

Bentley EXP Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

In 1998 the Volkswagen Group, which includes Audi, acquired Bentley and Rolls Royce, for reasons that are not clear they did not acquire the rights to use the Rolls Royce name which went to BMW and an agreement was reached that saw Rolls Royce production separate from Bentley at Crewe, where the two marques had been manufactured alongside each other since 1946, with Rolls Royce becoming a BMW owned company located in a new production facility at Goodwood.

Following the acquisition of Bentley in 1999 a 220 mph concept car was announced. The Bentley Hunaudieres powered by a normally aspirated W16, a version of the motor that would be used to power another super car from the Volkswagen Group namely the Bugatti Veyron.

In 2000 Bentley announced that it was to return to Le Mans, for the first time in 71 years, in 2001 with two closed cockpit LMPGTP entires and that a prototype was being worked on by Peter Elleray at Racing Technology Norfolk.

By the time the design for the EXP Speed 8 was finalised it had been decided to use the same twin turbo V8 as was being used in the Audi R8 programme but fitted with an X-trac transmission. During the 2001 Le Mans race chassis #002/4 seen above was driven by Martin Brundle, Guy Smith and Ortelli, qualifying 7th but retiring with transmission failure. Chassis #002/3 driven by Andy Wallace, Eric van de Poele and Butch Leitzinger qualified 9th and finished 3rd overall behind two Audi R8’s 15 laps adrift of the overall winner, but winning the GTP class.

Bentley EXP Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

For 2002 only one Bentley entry was prepared for the Le Mans 24 Hours, it’s upgrades included a new 4 litre / 244 cui version of the Audi based twin turbo V8 up from 3.6 litres / 219 cui, the 4 litre motors were unique to Bentley.

Driving a new chassis, #002/6 seen above, Wallace, van de Poele and Leitzinger qualified over two seconds faster than they had in 2001 but wound up only 11th on the grid. In the race they covered 62 laps more than in 2001 but finished 4th behind three Audi R8’s now only 13 laps behind the overall winner and again winning the LMGTP class.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

For the third and final planned onslaught at Le Mans Peter Elleray designed a completely new car based on a completely new safer carbon fiber tub.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

After Johnny Herbert crashed one of the new #004 cars, chassis #004/2, at 100 mph into a concrete wall without injury during testing, Peter persuaded the management that two even stronger tubs should be built. However one of these #004/4 “blew up” while being cured in the autoclave and the other #004/5 was prepared for the 2003 Le Mans 24 hours.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

Today’s featured chassis #004/1 along with #004/3 was sent to Sebring to compete in the Sebring 12 Hours as a warm up preparation for Le Mans. However two privately entered Audi’s did not read the script and ended up beating the Bentley’s by 4 laps. #004/1 driven by Capello, Tom Kristensen and Smith qualified and finished 4th 5 laps down on the overall winner and behind the Johnny Herbert, David Brabham and Mark Blundell entry.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

Both of the Sebring cars were then sent to Le Mans in May 2003 for the Le Mans test weekend where Capello, Kristensen and Smith driving #004/1 set the fastest time ahead of the Audi Sport Japan Team Goh R8 driven by Seiji Ara, Marco Werner and Jan Magnussen. Third fastest time went to Herbert, Brabham and Blundell in chassis #004/3.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

Like the 2002 EXP Speed 8 the 2003 Speed 8 retained exclusive use of the 4 litre twin turbo V8 which produces around 600 hp. When designing the prototype Bentley Le Mans challenger, 001 in 2000, Peter Elleray was expecting to use an unspecified normally aspirated motor apparently several options were discussed including the W16 and the prototype was tested with a Cosworth DFR Formula One motor before the twin turbo Audi V8 and later larger Bentley V8 derivative were selected.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

The Speed 8 Bentley’s were perfectly prepared for the 2003 Le Mans 24 hours and in the absence of works Audi R8 entries they called on Joest Racing to support their efforts in the pit lane. Capello, Kristensen and Smith were entered in the new chassis #004/5 which qualified on pole 2 seconds faster than older sister car #004/3 driven by Herbert, Brabham and Blundell that completed a Bentley sweep of the front row.

Bentley Speed 8, Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power

The Bentley’s then ran a text book race finishing in the order they qualified with the lead car two laps ahead completing 377 laps in total seven more that the third placed Champion Racing Audi R8 driven by JJ Lehto, Emanuele Pirro and Johansson. The last time a Bentley had won the Le Mans 24 hour race was when Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston led the similar Bentley Speed Six of Frank Clement and Richard Watney in 1930 having completed ‘just’ 179 laps.

Bentley Speed 8, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Designer Peter Elleray believes that Bentley possibly choose to enter the LMGTP class because of the ‘visual presence’ of the closed cockpit cars and it must have been satisfying to him that his final Speed 8 design was the first non Formula One car in 14 years to win be awarded the 2003 Autosport Racing Car Of The Year Award.

There have been many uniformed opinions that the Bentley Le Mans project that ran from 2001 to 2003 was simply a badge engineered Audi R8 with a roof, however this was most certainly not the case.

The Bentley Speed 8 had more British content than the successful Italian Dallara Audi R8’s had German content even though the British car was powered by a unique to Bentley version of the Audi V8.

Peter patiently answered some of the misinformed opinion about the cars he designed at The Nostalgia Forum recently.

I’ll leave the final word on this project to Peter “i(t) will be on my tombstone – “it wasn’t a green audi…”

My thanks to Peter Elleray for an engaging discussion on his involvement with today’s featured car at The Nostalgia Forum.

Thanks for joining me on this “It Is Not A Green Audi” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a car that was developed with a very different approach to winning the Le Mans 24 hours. Don’t forget to come back now !


Ultimate Cars Ultimate Race – Porsche 917K #053

If there is one race I’d love to be able to turn the clock back for in order to attend it would be the 1971 Le Mans 24 hours which for my money was the ultimate road race with the ultimate cars.

Porsche 917K, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Lined up on the grid were seven Porsche 917’s with a variety of body configurations against 9 Ferrari 512s in both closed M spec, earlier open S Spec and two unique 512’s one from the Penske team which had a large rear wing and the F spec car of Scuderia Filipinetti that had a narrow cockpit built around a Porsche 917 windscreen.

Porsche 917K, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The race was an uneven contest between the Porsches as the Ferraris suffered from inferior reliability and top speeds were down on the Porsche’s 230 mph plus capabilities. However it was the fastest to be run at the circuit until 2010.

Porsche 917K, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The winning car chassis #056 seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed featured a special lightweight magnesium chassis built only for the works supported Porsche Salzburg team much to the annoyance of Porsche’s other works supported team run by John Wyer who’s employees had developed the Porsche body work in short (K Kurz) and long (LH Lang heck) tail forms and shared them freely with all the other teams running 917’s.

Porsche 917K, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Gils van Lennep and Helmut Marko shared the winning 600 hp 4.9 litre 299 cui aircooled flat 12 powered #22 car which traveled 3,107.7 miles in 24 hours covering 397 laps at an average speed of 138.6 mph the equivalent to five consecutive Coke 600’s !

They beat the next car driven by Richard Attwood, Herbert Muller and Brian Redman in a Gulf Porsche 917 by two laps, 16 miles, and the third finisher the Ferrari of Sam Posey and Tony Adamowicz by 31 laps.

After the race chassis #053 was immediately retired and so has a 100% winning record.

Thanks for joining me on this “Ultimate Cars Ultimate Race” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1925 3 litre / 183 cui Bentley. Don’t forget to come back now !


The father of BMW, Jaguar, Bristol and Lotus cars – Austin 7 Part 2/2.

Today I’ll be looking at the legacy left by the humble little Austin 7 on the European Automotive industry, if you missed my introduction to the Austin 7 here is a link to yesterdays post.

The Austin 7 deserves it’s place in British automotive history simply for being it’s first mass produced car, but it’s real standing becomes clear when one considers the Austin 7 was manufactured under licence by the Automobilwerk Eisenbach car factory.

Above Joe Tisdall, 1930, Austin 7 Ulster, VSCC Prescott,

Their Dixi variant of the Austin 7 supplied in kit form initially in 1927 was so successful that within a year BMW bought the company after its own primogenitor vehicles proved less than viable. So the Ausitn 7 saved BMW from ruin as its aeroplane engine manufacturing business began to fail after shady dealings with the USSR came to light.

Above Mark Groves, 1930, Austin 7 Ulster, VSCC Loton Park.

This next bit traces the development of engines if you stick with it you’ll see the blood line from Austin 7 through BMW to Bristol.

In 1932 BMW used the 4 cylinder 747 cc / 45 cui Austin 7/ Dixi engine as the starting point for their own 4 cylinder 788cc / 48 cui motor used in their first all in house designed BMW 3/20

By 1933 BMW built a 1182 cc / 72 cui six cylinder version of the 3/20 engine called the M78 for their 303 model.

In 1934 a larger 1,490 cc 90.9 CUI six cylinder engine was developed from the M78 for use in the BMW 315/319 series of vehicles, which was superseded in 1936 by the hemi head 1971 cc / 120.3 cui six cylinder engine for the 328 model of 1936.

Above Miss Katherine Everett, 1930, Austin 7 Ulster, Prescott.

The plans for the 328’s engine first built in 1936 were appropriated as war reparations by HJ Adlington who was both in the British Army and Managing director of BAC Cars in 1947. The 328 engines designer Fritz Fiedler was also persuaded to move to England where he continued to develop the engine for the Bristol Aeroplane Company cars sold under the new ‘Bristol’ brand, thus the Austin 7 747 cc / 45 cui engine can be seen to be of the great, great, grand father of the Bristol marque which used hemi head 6 cylinder engines derived from the 1936 BMW 328 from 1947 to 1961.

I hope that wasn’t too convoluted or painful.

Above Edward Williams, 1930 Austin 7 Rolt Ulster, Supercharged, VSCC Prescott.

Rewinding back to 1927, Sir William Lyons took the basic Austin 7 and made a high end body for it which sold as the Austin Seven Swallow, moving the Swallow Sidecar Company from side car manufacture into motor car manufacture. In 1945 the Swallow Sidecar Company was renamed the Jaguar Car Company.

Mark Lance, 1930 Austin 7 Ulster TT Replica, VSCC Loton Park.

After WW2 many Austin 7’s were converted into specials as there were not enough new cars to meet demand in England. One of those converting an Austin 7 into a special was Colin Chapman who gave his special a now popular and familiar name Lotus Mk1.

Above Ms Penny Jones, 1931, Austin 7 Ulster Replica, VSCC Loton Park.

The Austin 7 leant it’s name to another influential vehicle the original Austin Mini in 1959 which was originally marketed as the ‘Austin Seven’ and ‘Morris Mini Minor’.

Above Benjamin MARCHANT, 1928 Austin 7 Chummy, supercharged, VSCC Loton Park.

I respectfully suggest that the humble little Austin Seven, which the Austin board only reluctantly agreed to back, became, through it’s role in the development of four prestige automotive manufacturers, one of the most influential vehicles of all time.

Thanks to Roger French and Julian Hunt at TNF for their help identifying a couple of these vehicles, to Tim Murray for his assistance identifying the Chummy and to everyone else for their time and patience, tomorrow I have the first instalment of another two part blog about an absolutely stunning replica of a vehicle which shines in one of my favourite stories about Le Mans, debutantes & underdogs, wishing everyone a fabulous Friday, don’t forget to come back now ! Class Dismissed 🙂