Tag Archives: Pratt

GT1 Class Winner – Chevrolet Corvette C6.R #004

Gary Pratt and Jim Miller founded the New Hudson, Michigan based Pratt & Miller Engineering and Fabrication in 1989.

In 1999 their relationship with General Motors, which continues to this day, got off the ground with the development of the Corvette C5.R.

The success of the C5.R program led to the commencement of C6.R GT1 program which took to the endurance circuits in 2005 with 8 GT1 Corvette chassis being built between up until 2008.

Corvette C6R, Clairay, Jousse, Goueslard, Siverstone 1000km,

Today’s featured chassis #C6R-004 was built new for the 2006 ALMS season and was driven to three straight class victories at Sebring, Huston and Mid Ohio by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta who were joined by Jan Magnussen for the longer 12 hour victory at Sebring.

The Sebring class winning trio then drove the car to a fourth class victory at Le Mans the same year after finishing 4th overall from 22nd on the grid.

Luc Alphand Aventures acquired the car for the 2007 European Le Mans Series season and Luc joined by Jérôme Policand and Patrice Goueslard guided the car to another class win first time out in the Monza 1000kms.

Corvette C6R, Clairay, Jousse, Goueslard, Siverstone 1000km,

Later in 2008 Bruno Hernandez and Soheil Ayari drove chassis #C6R-004 and recorded a pair of heat wins in French FFSA GT Championship events run at Albi and Magny Cours.

In 2009 Luc, Jérôme and Patrice drove the car to a class victory at Spa a month before Luc sustained injuries in an all terrain motorcycle event that forced him to retire from competition driving and riding.

Luc was replaced by Julien Jousse at Algarve where #C6R-004 recorded it’s final class victory in 2009.

Jérôme, Patrice and Julien shared the car at the 2009 Silverstone 1000kms, where today’s pictures were taken, to record a 22nd place finish from 23rd on the grid.

After taking part in a couple more FFSA and FIA GT events the car was retired from competition at the end of the season.


World Wide Racing – Lotus 56B R1

The Lotus 56B is the Formula One version of the “Son of Silent Sam” Lotus 56 Indy challenger that came within a couple of laps of winning the 1968 Indianapolis 500 with Joe Leonard at the wheel.

Lotus 56B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

This Formula One version of the Lotus 56 was a fresh chassis built with additional fuel capacity, it was unusual to make scheduled pits stops of fuel back during Grand Prix races in the 1970’s, and with additional wings front and rear to aid the considerable traction and handling advantages of the the all wheel drive transmission.

Just as at Indianapolis in 1968 the Pratt and Whitney STN6/76 had to be considerably detuned to meet the regulations which tried to keep it competitive with the 3 liter / 183 cui piston motors in use at the time.

56B R1 had four non-championship outings before taking part in three Grand Prix. The upshot was that the car was the class of the field in wet conditions, where it’s weight disadvantage was minimised but it struggled to make the top half of the grid in dry conditions.

Three drivers were given a shot in the car, Emerson Fittipaldi, Reine Wisell, and Dave Walker. Fittipaldi managed the cars only finish at the 1971 Italian Grand Prix where he qualified a lowly 18th on the grid and came home 8th well ahead of expectations for the car which was never to be seen in a Grand Prix again.

Regular followers of GALPOT maybe wondering why the car is painted Gold and Black instead of the by now traditional Red, White & Gold of the Gold Leaf Team Lotus.

In 1970 Jochen Rindt had been killed in an accident at Monza driving a Gold Leaf Team Lotus 72. Fearing legal repercussions from the notoriously slow and fickle Italian authorities investigating Rindt’s accident Colin Chapman took steps to avoid encumbrance or at worst arrest by opting to keep a low profile by entering just the one car in place of the usual two in the 1971 Italian Grand Prix.

To further keep the Italian authorities off his trail he entered the Lotus 56B under the World Wide Racing banner and had the car painted in Gold and Black, weather this was to obscurely promote the John Player Special brand which was owned by the same, Imperial, tobacco company as Gold Leaf remains unclear, though in 1972 Imperial switched the brand being promoted by Lotus to John Player Special whose black and gold colours are echoed on the current incarnation of Lotus on the Grand Prix grid.

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


Son of Silent Sam – Lotus 56

The 1968 Lotus 56 picked up on the technology used by the STP-Paxton Turbocar “Silent Sam designed by Ken Wallis for the 1967 Indy 500 with which Parnelli Jones came within 8 miles of winning before a transmission bearing failure intervened.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

Like the STP Paxton Turbocar the Lotus 56, was also bankrolled by STP’s Andy Granatelli, used four wheel drive transmission.

The Lotus 56Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

However the Lotus 56 rather than mounting the engine alongside the driver on a backbone chassis as had been the case with the STP Paxton Turbocar, Maurice Phillipe’s design had the motor conventionally mounted behind the driver in what was to become an influential wedge shaped vehicle.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

Jim Clark was originally penciled in to drive the Lotus 56 but his death during a race in Germany in April ’68 meant British driver Mike Spence was called in to do the early testing of the Lotus 56, unfortunately Mike was killed during practice three weeks before the start of the Indy 500 after hitting the wall in turn one.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

After an accident with in older STP Paxton Turbo car Joe Leonard joined Graham Hill and Art Pollard in the remaining Lotus 56’s.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

Despite running with an air restrictor plate mandated for 1968 Joe managed to qualify on pole for the ‘500’ thanks in part to the efficient aerodynamics and superior 4wd handling.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

The big advantage of using a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turbo shaft motor, more familiarly seen in a variety of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, was reliability these motors are known to have a mean time between outages (MTBO) of 9000 hours !

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

The disadvantage of turbo shaft motor was eye watering fuel consumption which means turbine powered cars carry more weight and have to re fuel more often than cars powered by conventional piston motor’s.

Lotus 56, Goodwood, FoS

In the 1968 500 Graham Hill had an accident Art Pollard broke down while Joe Leonard was leading with a few laps to go when a fuel pump shaft failed meaning Granatelli came close but failed to win a cigar for the second year running.

Turbo shaft motors and four wheel drive were outlawed from the Champ Car circuit from 1969. The Lotus 56 design, in 56B specification, was subsequently sporadically used in Grand Prix races during 1971, but apart from phenomenal performance in the wet no overall advantage was found by using the combination of four wheel drive and turbine shaft propelled vehicles.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Son of Silent Sam’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !