For my final blog on cars that participated in the 1973 Formula 5000 grid I am thrilled to be returning to Chadwell Heath and Peter Connew’s team who against all odds managed to build a car with beer money, run it on a wad of French Francs and made one world Championship start in the 1972 Austrian Grand Prix. After the Austrian Grand Prix where the team won £40 for completing more than 1/3rd distance before the suspension collapsed the Connew team entered a couple of non championship races at Brands Hatch. At the first the engine blew up after which they parted ways with driver Francois Migault. For the second Lec Refrigeration paid for the engine to be rebuilt in exchange for running David Purley who inadvertently knocked the steering wheel mounted kill switch off, that he had insisted on having fitted, on the warm up lap.
The freshly rebuilt Ford DFV motor was sold at the end of 1972 to pay off outstanding bills and Peter Connew struck a deal to run Swiss driver Pierre Soukry who had Formula 5000 Morand Chevrolet motor he had been using in his McLaren M10B for French Hillclimb events, European Formula 5000 races and had tried to qualify for the two non championship events which the Connew team had attempted at Brands Hatch in 1972. Mechanics Pinky and Perky are seen above sitting on the front wheels of the Connew with Pierre left and Peter right behind in this photograph taken outside the Whalebone Library Chadwell Heath just down the road from the Connew teams lock up.
The Connew PC1 02 is seen above in this photo by Don Shuttleworth taken at Mallory Park where the PC1 in F5000 guise was to have made it’s debut. Unfortunately before it had completed much more than a flying lap of practice Pierre had to return to the paddock to have an oil leak fixed. The problem proved insurmountable, the team tried to qualify for a F5000 race at Brands Hatch in August 1973 but again Pierre did not set a competitive time nor one representative of the speed he had shown in his Trojan built McLaren M10B #400-20.
After the Brands Hatch Meeting Pierre was never seen or heard of again which is odd because he appears to have competed with a German licence since at least July 1967, when he won his class racing a FIAT Abarth at the Hockenheimring and was quite well known in hill climbing circles with an Abarth. Equally nothing has been heard of his 1971 ex team VDS Tasman McLaren M10B chassis 400/20. If you should happen to know what became of Pierre please do not hesitate to chime in below, Peter Connew would welcome any news of him.
For the final race of the 1973 Formula 5000 championship Peter did a deal with Portobello Inn Racing to run Tony Trimmer in the car. Tony qualified 23rd one spot behind his Portobello Inn Racing team mate Arie Lyendijk who on this occasion was driving a McLaren M18. After several laps of the race Tony suffered a suspension failure which put the Connew into the crash barrier with neither driver or car suffering further damage.
The Connew was taken home for the final time with many parts sold off, that might ordinarily be the end of the story but 40 years later there are plans afoot to put the old girl back on her wheels. Stay tuned.
My thanks to Peter Connew, Barry Boor and Don Shuttleworth for sharing their photographs.
Thanks for joining me on this “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #4” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the last model to be built by ISO Rivolta . 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.
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.
Thanks and please spread the word through whatever social media you have at your disposal.