Tag Archives: Maldonado

Wrecked Prototype Reincanated – Nimrod Aston Martin NRAC/1 #001

With a world caravan speed record in his pocket set with his twin turbocharged Aston Martin ‘Muncher’ Robin Hamilton came to an agreement with Aston Martin Chairman Victor Gauntlet to enter a partnership to form Nimrod in 1981 which set out to build Aston Martin powered prototype Group C and GTP racing cars.

Nimrod Aston Martin NRA/C2, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The design of the cars was credited to Eric Broadley, though I have always had my doubts about the extent of his involvement because the design does not feature ground effect aerodynamics that were de rigeur in Formula One and becoming rampant in prototype sports cars such as Eric’s contemporary Lola T600 Group C / IMSA GTP design shows.

Nimrod Aston Martin NRA/C2, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Nimrod chassis tubs were certainly built by Lola, they were known in the Lola factory as T385’s and the cars do appear to bear a familial resemblance to the smaller open Lola T380 of the type Alan de Cadanet purchased in 1975. The heavily modified Aston Martin V8’s were prepared initially by Aston Martin Tickford and later by Aston Martin Lagonda.

Nimrod Aston Martin NRA/C2, Goodwood Festival of Speed

It is believed that the 1981 car, seen here at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, belonging to the Louwman Museum is the rebuilt wreck of the prototype that crashed before ever turning a wheel in open competition, that was never raced subsequently either.

Nimrod Aston Martin NRA/C2, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Nimrods turned out to be underfunded and inevitably disappointed, the works cars best result, in second generation NRAC/2 guise that appeared in 1982, was a 5th place finish in the IMSA GTP series which fell to Reggie Smith, Lyn St. James and Drake Olson in the 1983 Sebring 12 Hours. At the end of the season Nimrod Racing folded.

The best Nimrod finish in the World Sports Car Group C series fell to Ray Mallock and Mike Salmon on the Nimrods debut at the 1982 Silverstone 6 Hours. This private entry by Viscount Downe was independently developed by Ray Mallock until 1984 and proved quicker and more reliable than the works entries scoring the marques only Le Mans finish in 1983 when Ray and Mike were joined by Simon Philips and finished 7th from 23rd on the grid.

In 1983 for the Daytona 24 Hours Nimrod manged to team up both 4 time Indy 500 winner and one time Daytona 500 Winner AJ Foyt up with fellow Daytona 500 winner and three time NASCAR Cup winner Darrell ‘Jaws’ Waltrip and an unknown Argentinian Guillermo Maldonado with Darrell’s sponsor Pepsi in their lead #11 car.

They qualified 13th, but retired with engine failure to be classified 54th. AJ who had not driven the car in the race moved over to join Preston Henn in the Henn’s Swap Shop Porsche 935 and shared a victory with Preston, “Brilliant” Bob Wollek and Claude Ballot-Lena.

Thanks for joining me on this “Wrecked Prototype Revived” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again for Maserati Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Failing To Build Momentum – Williams Renault FW35

The 2013 season was an “annus horribilis” for the Williams Grand Prix Engineering after a promising win at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix for Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, seen below at Silverstone.

Maldonado, Williams Renault  FW35, British Grand Prix P1, Silverstone

The team simply failed to build any momentum on that success and after finishing eighth in the 2012 Constructors Championship it was not until the tenth round of the 2013 season that Pastor managed to score a single point.

Wolff, Williams Renault  FW35, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

Bruno Senna left the teams driving strength at the end of 2012 and was replaced by the teams Finish test driver Valtteri Bottas seen below, with the Williams Teams Executive Directors wife and former German Touring Car Driver Suzy Wolff, nee Stodartt, seen above, taking over the test drivers position.

Bottas Williams Renault  FW35, British Grand Prix P1, Silverstone

Mike Coughlan, brought in from Micheal Waltrip Racing as the teams technical director in May 2011, oversaw the development of the teams Renault powered Williams FW35 challenger for the 2013 season.

Maldonado, Williams Renault  FW35, British Grand Prix P1, Silverstone

Over 80 percent of the FW35 was new including the gearbox, rear suspension, radiators, floor, exhausts and bodywork.

Bottas Williams Renault  FW35, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

After the poor performances in the opening few races of the 2013 season there was talk of the team grafting the back end of the previous years car on to the new one in an attempt to improve the handling.

Wolff, Williams Renault  FW35, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

The teams 2013 highlights were an eighth place for rookie Bottas at the US Grand Prix and a tenth place finish for Maldonado in Hungary, Bottas also caught the paddocks attention by qualifying 3rd in fickle conditions for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Bottas Williams Renault  FW35, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

By the end of the season Toto Wolff had left his Executive Directors position at Williams to join Mercedes Benz, Mike Coughlan had been replaced by Pat Symonds and Pastor Maldonado took his Venezuelan sponsorship to join the financially struggling Lotus team.

Wolff, Williams Renault  FW35, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

For 2014 Williams have engaged Ferrari refugee Felipe Massa as their senior driver to join the incumbent Valtteri Bottas. Williams have also completed a deal for a supply of Mercedes Benz power trains and Frank Williams daughter Clare set to take on the responsibilities of her father as deputy Team principle. If any team can move on and bounce back from an “annus horribilis” then it is, the racers race team, Williams who have known the all the highs and lows the sport has to offer and know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

You can follow developments at Williams on their website linked here and twitter feed linked here.

Thanks for joining me on this “Failing To Build Momentum Edition” of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be giving an overview of The Mobile County Sheriff’s Challenger. Don’t forget to come back now !

Brighton Speed Trials Under Threat of Permanent Cancellation !

In their infinite wisdom, Brighton & Hove City Council are seeking to ban the Brighton Speed Trials from 2014 tomorrow January 23rd.

If you care about speed and or motorsport history, please sign this linked petition to save Brighton Speed Trials in 2014 and beyond.

It’s a faf to Register before signing, but relatively painless compared to loosing the event which has been run with few interruptions since 1905.

You do not need to be resident in Brighton or even the UK to sign.


Young Driver Test – Silverstone

Last Friday I popped over to Silverstone for the final day of the three day Formula One “Young Driver Test”.

Ferrari Trucks, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

On the way over to the paddock there was an imposing array of Ferrari tractor units.

Red Bull Transporters, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

Even though paddock access was restricted there were a few fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Sebastian Vettel on his way from the Red Bull hospitality suite to the pits.

Massa, Ferrari F138, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

The on track action started at 9 am sharp most of the cars were running with an array of extra airspeed sensors, such as that seen on Felipe Massa’s Ferrari F138, not usually seen on the race cars.

Parffett, McLaren MP4-28, Vergne, Torro Rosso STR8, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Torro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo set the pace on day one and day two respectively, on Friday Gary Parffet and Jean Eric Vergne took over the respective cars seen at Becketts above.

Wolff, Williams FW35, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

Making her second appearance in testing for the Williams team was Susie Wolff who recorded 89 laps, nearly two Grand Prix distances recording ninth best time of the day, just under a second slower than Williams team leader Pastor Maldonado recorded the day before.

Prost, Lotus E21, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

Nicolas Prost, son of four time World Champion Alain, driving the Lotus E21 set third fastest time on Friday.

Sutil, Force India VJM06, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

Second best time of the day was recorded by Force India regular Adrian Sutil trying out the new tyres that will be used at the Hungarian Grand Prix next week.

Vettel, Red Bull RB9, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

Fastest time of all three days was recorded by Sebastian Vettel, who like Sutil was testing the Hungarian Spec Pirelli’s.

McLaren MP4-28, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

After the test there was a ‘sold out’ pit lane walk about during which most of the teams put a car out for display. The well worn wheel nut above is seen on the McLaren.

Caterham CT03, Young Driver Test, Silverstone

Caterham put on a demonstration of pit stop drill, blink and you’ll miss it at this close range.

My thanks to Tony “Giraffe” Gallagher for additional track access.

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