This month’s Saturday posts will feature 4 Formula 5000 cars built for the 1973 season. Formula 5000 was an open wheel Formula for vehicles fitted with stock block motor up to 5 litres / 302 cui which ran from 1967 in the USA 1969 in Europe and 1970 in the Antipodes coming to a stop in 1975 in the Antipodes and 1976 in the US and Europe.
With the fall in competitiveness of the McLaren Can Am and Formula 5000 programmes, in 1972, McLaren Cars focused it’s attention on it’s Formula One and USAC Champ car programmes with the McLaren M23 and McLaren M16 respectively.
This left Trojan in a difficult spot since their business had been increasingly built on manufacturing McLaren Can Am and Formula 5000 open wheel cars under licence since the demise of their own Elva branded operations in 1964.
A compromise to keep Trojan going was reached which saw Trojan fuse an open wheel Formula 2 McLaren M21 chassis with a strengthened rear bulkhead to the rear end from the 1972 McLaren M18/M22 Formula 5000 car with a ubiquitous Chevrolet small block for power. McLaren Cars would not countenance the use of their name with the new car so it was called the Trojan T101. Former Brabham designer Ron Tauranac was brought in to help develop the model once it was built.
In all six T101’s were built and of the first five built for the 1973 season, the first four were driven to race victories in the UK and USA by the likes of Keith Holland, Brett Lunger, Jody Scheckter and Bob Evans. Scheckter won four races in the USA on his way to becoming L&M Champion in the SCCA Series.
Today’s featured car #T101-102 was sold new to Sid Taylor, for Brett Lunger, Brett won on his debut in the car at Snetterton and set an all time 124 mph outright lap record, on the old long circuit in the 4th round of the Rothmans European Formula 5000 championship. Brett also won the 10th round at Mallory Park. Vern Schuppan raced #T101-102 in the opening four races of 1974 and thereafter it was driven by a variety of drivers of increasing obscurity in events of equally increasing obscurity in to the 1980’s which included, Leen Verhoeven, Damien Magee, Jim Kelly, Robin Hamilton, Jon Bradburn and Anthony Taylor in 1982.
Simon Hadfield acquired the remains of #T101-102 in 2006 and has restored it, as seen here at last years Race Retro, with the livery and #11 originally seen on Alan McKechnie’s T101-104 raced by Bob Evans to victory at the second Snetterton round of the 1973 Rothmans European Formula 5000 championship.
Thanks for joining me on this “Going It Alone Again” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.
18/12/13 My original post inadvertently incorrectly implied that Trojan #T101-102 was jointly entered by Sid Taylor and Jerry Entin for Brett Lunger, in fact Brett’s car was solely entered by Sid Taylor, however Sid and Jerry did jointly enter the Trojan #T101-103 driven by Jody Scheckter in the 1973 L&M Series. Apologies for any confusion.