Tag Archives: Miletich

VPJ Backup – Lola Chevrolet T400 #HU7

As in 1974 1963 Indy Winner Parnelli Jones and his business partner Velko “Vel” Miletich planned to enter teams in Formula One for Mario Andretti who would compete in all rounds of the world championship, US Formula 5000 with Mario joined by Al Unser running in all rounds of the championship and a partial USAC (Champ car) season in which Al Unser would run an Eagle until the VPJ6 Champ car that was powered by the VPJ developed turbocharged Cosworth DFX was ready while Andretti ran the a VPJ Eagle in four races.

Lola T400, Silverstone Classic,

Like many others VPJ bought Lola T400’s to replace the T332’s they had run in 1974 exclusively for Mario Andretti who was beaten to the 1974 title by Brian Redman’s slightly more reliable and consistent Carl Haas entered T332.

Lola T400, Michael Lyons, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Like most other T400 customers the team felt their older T332’s were the better bet and today’s featured chassis #HU7 appears never to have been run by the VPJ team in a race.

Lola T400, Silverstone Classic,

The VPJ team’s other T400 #HU6 was only raced on one occasion by Al Unser at Mosport in Canada where he spun out and damaged the car in the heat, an incident that precluded him from starting the final.

Lola T400, Michael Lyons, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Mario driving his faithful 1974 T332 #HU29 again finished the 1975 F5000 season with the same number of wins as Championship winner Brian Redman, but a couple of failure’s to finish cost Mario a shot at the title.

Lola T400, Silverstone Classic,

John Delane appears to have been the first person to have raced #HU7 after he acquired it in 1990 in 1998 the car was sold on and ended up with current owner Frank Lyons in 2007.

Lola T400, Michael Lyons, Gold Cup, Oulton Park,

Michael and his mother Judy Lyons have both raced #HU7 which is seen in these photographs in the Paddock at Silverstone Classic in 2013 an at Oulton Park with Michael at the wheel in 2011 and 2013.

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


Spanish Sadness – Parnelli Cosworth VPJ4

The 1974 Canadian Grand Prix saw the debut not only of the Penske PC1 which I looked at last week but also of the also the Vels Miletich and Parnelli Jones team Parnelli VPJ4 a car that unlike the Penske PC1 was built in the United States.

The Cosworth DFV powered Parnelli was designed by Maurice Phillipe and on it’s debut in Canada Andretti qualified 16th and finished a respectable 7th just one spot short of a championship point.

At the following US Grand Prix an electrical issue intervened which saw the cars late arrival on grid and disqualification after 4 laps.

For 1975 the team lost one of it’s main backers Firestone who withdrew from Formula One at the end of the 1974 season. However the Goodyears on which the car was forced to run did not seem to hinder the Parnelli’s performance. At the non championship International Trophy run at Silverstone Mario brought the Parnelli home in third.

Andretti, Panelli Cosworth VPJ4, Spanish Grand Prix, Montjuich Park

At the Spanish Grand Prix, where today’s photograph was taken by Carles Bosch, Mario qualified 4th. Mario was involved in an opening lap fracas inadvertently pushing pole starting Niki Lauda in to the path of his team mate Clay Regazzoni while John Watson crashed his Surtees into the back of Andretti.

Mario emerged in second place from the melee behind James Hunt, who was unscathed, with a crabbing car with a bent suspension. Hunt in the Hesketh led until spinning off on oil leaving Mario in the lead ahead of John Watson’s Surtees.

Mario led for ten laps before the suspension finally gave way leading to his retirement. The race, which only started after the teams mechanics had spent Saturday morning ensuring all the barriers around the Montjuich street cuircuit were properly secured, was stopped prematurely after Rolf Stommelen who inherited the lead from Andretti left the road when the rear wing collapsed on his Embassy Hill. Stommelen’s car ended up taking down a lamp post and some fencing which killed a marshal and four spectators and injured several more.

Mario managed two points finishes, fourth in Sweden and fifth in France during the remainder of the 1975 season. With the team running out of funds Mario finished sixth in the 1976 South African Grand Prix, at the inaugural US GP West held at Long Beach Mario retired before the team folded and concentrated on it’s US Formula 5000 and USAC programs. Mario eventually rejoined Lotus for the remainder of the 1976 season and won the season’s finale Japanese Grand Prix.

I have tried unsuccessfully to contact Carles Bosch who took today’s photograph if you know him please do not hesitate to get in touch below.

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