Tag Archives: Tambay

Wanted Gofer – Lola Hart THL1 #85-002

It must have been soon after I had helped my school friend Sven by cleaning the windscreen of his Ford Capri during the 1985 Willhire 24 hour race at Snetterton that I realised a year after leaving college my life did not appear to be going anywhere particularly fast and that I ought to expand my horizons when I saw a vacancy for a gopher for Carl Haas’s FORCE Formula One team being run by Teddy Meyer, in Autosport.

Without hesitation and in possession of the aforementioned experience, along with the requisite van driving experience, a clean driving licence and a B.A. Hons in European Business (2,2) from Trent Polytechnic I applied the same day thinking no one on gods great earth could possibly match my credentials… I was of course completely wrong, I got a nice letter from Mr Meyer informing me I had not been selected for interview and wishing me luck for the future, I can’t say I was not disappointed, but at least I had made one attempt, no matter how ill judged, to run away with the circus.

Lola Hart THL1, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

Late in 1984 Carl Haas secured sponsorship for his Champ Car Team which won the ’84 Championship with Mario Andretti from Beatrice Foods, part of the agreement included a deal to part fund and expansion by Haas into Formula One with Carl Haas’s FORCE being responsible for the design, Ford for the exclusive supply of a new Cosworth turbocharged V6 motor and 1980 World Champion Alan Jones who was to make his second return to Formula One since officially retiring at the end of 1981.

For some reason probably not unconnected with the fact that Haas had been the long time US importer of Lola, Andretti drove the T800 in 84 and T900 in ’85, Lola was nominated as the car’s manufacturer although they had no input to either it’s design or manufacture, ex Williams employee Neil Oatley designed the THL1 which was initially adapted to take the Hart turbocharged 4 cylinder engine while the Cosworth was readied for the 1986 season.

Lola Hart THL1, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

The THL1 appeared at the Italian, European, South African and Australian Grand Prix at the end of 1985 and retired from all but the South African event where Alan Jones qualified a season high 18th but was unwell and did not take the start.

At the start of the 1986 season the Cosworth V6 was still not ready and so Alan was forced to soldier on with the Hart motor in Brazil and Spain, he qualified 17th for the latter, but was involved in a collision with Jonathon Palmers Zakspeed which saw both cars retire on the opening lap.

Alan, 1978 Can Am2 Champion driving a Haas Lola, was joined in 1986 by Patrick Tambay who had also won Can Am2 championhships with Haas in 1977 and 1980. Like Alan he had to make do with a Hart powered THL1 for his first three starts, Patrick out qualified Alan qualifying a promising 11th at San Remo where he retired, as in Brazil, but he brought his THL1 home to a non points paying 8th from 18th on the grid and in so doing became the only driver to bring a THL1, chassis #85-002 seen in these photographs taken at Goodwood, across the finish line of a Championship Grand Prix.

The teams fortunes improved moderately with the arrival of the new turbocharged Cosworth V6 powered THL2, Alan scored a best 4th at Monza where he was followed home by Patrick in 5th, at the following Belgian Grand Prix Alan finished 6th and by the end of the season a change of management and policy at Beatrice saw them terminate their sponsorship leaving Haas with little option but to close his team down, while Alan sold his Ferrari and headed home to Australia.

Thanks for joining me on this “Gopher Wanted” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the very first Mercedes Benz 300 SLR. Don’t forget to come back now !


In Law’s Instrumental Help – Ligier Matra JS17

At the end of 1978 Chrysler Europe was taken over by Peugeot and almost immediately rebranded the French Simca and British Hillman models as Talbot’s resurrecting a name that had last appeared in Formula One in 1951.

In 1972 MATRA, who were taken over by Simca, withdrew from Formula One to concentrate on a successful sports car program which was itself discontinued at the end of 1974 after MATRA had won three consecutive Le Mans 24 Hour races and two World sports Car Championships under the direction of Gerard Ducarouge.

Laffite, Ligier MATRA JS 17, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Ducarouge went to work for Ligier to design a Matra powered Formula One car in 1976, the JS5 was quite successful for a new comer and the following year Jaques Laffite won the 1977 Swedish Grand Prix driving a MATRA V12 powered Ligier JS7. MATRA stopped developing their V12 in 1978 and Ligier suffered a consequent dip in their fortunes.

For 1979 and 1980 Ligier opted for the popular Cosworth DFV V8’s and immediately returned to victory lane with two surprising wins for Laffite in Argentina and Brazil with the JS11 model, but the team lost it’s direction did not present the anticipated championship challenge. In 198O Laffite won just one race but the team scored enough points to finish second in the constructors championship.

Tambay, Ligier MATRA JS 17, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

By 1981 Peugeot returned the Talbot name to Formula One by teaming up with Ligier and an updated version of the MATRA V12 was used to power the JS17’s featured today. Laffite was to be teamed up with brother in law, ex Renault refugee, Jean Pierre Jabouille who was recovering from injuries sustained when he crashed his Renault Turbo in the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix.

Jean Pierre Jarrier stood in for Jabouille for the first two races but when Jabouille returned to the cockpit he failed to qualify for two races in five attempts so he was replaced by Patrick Tambay seen at the wheel of the #25 here for the second half of the season, but crucially Jabouille remained with the team acting as an engineer. Patrick qualified for all of the remaining races but did not finish any of them.

Ligier MATRA JS 17, Test Day, Donington Park

Laffite meantime scored a couple of 2nd place finishes in Spain and Sweden along with 3 third place finishes in Monaco, Britain and Germany. Just before the French Grand Prix Gerard Ducarouge was fired by Guy Ligier.

At the Austrian Grand Prix Jabouille was instrumental in helping Laffite choose the correct tyre to suit both the Ligier and the track which resulted in the car qualifying 4th behind two turbo charged Renaults and Villenueve’s turbocharged Ferrari.

Ligier MATRA JS 17, Test Day, Donington Park

During the race after passing Villeneuve and his quick off the grid Ferrari team mate Didier Pironi, Jaques chased down the leading Renaults. Alain Prost in the lead car retired with collapsed suspension before Jacques passed the second Renault for the lead and eventual victory when René Arnoux hesitated over taking a pair of back markers.

Jacques then retired in Holland and Italy before bouncing back with a win from 10th on the grid in Canada to put him 3rd in the championship table, 6 points off the leader, with a slim chance of winning the 1981 Drivers Championship going into the Caesers Palace Grand Prix held in Las Vegas. In the event Jacques qualified just 12th behind Championship leader Carlos Reutemann who was on pole in his Williams and 2nd in standings Nelson Piquet who was 4th in his Brabham.

Reutemann inexplicably choked under the championship pressure during the race to finish 7th out of the points while Piquet salvaged a fifth place finish, one spot ahead of Jacques, enough to win the Championship. Alan Jones won the race in his Williams thereby depriving Jacques of a third place finish in the Championship, so for the third consecutive time Jacques Laffite recorded what would be his career best 4th place finish in the final championship standings.
With only the #26 scoring any points all season Ligier finished the season 4th in the Constructors Championship.

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


Acrylic Glass Bubble Top – Alpine A442 B #A442/3

The Alpine A442 B was the penultimate evolution of Alpines 1970’s sports car program that first came to light in 1973 when Renault sponsored the development of the 2 litre / 122 cui Renault Gordini CH1 V6 that sat in the back of the Alpine A440 sports car driven by Jean Pierre Jabouille at Magney Cours.

The following season the second evolution A441 swept the 1974 European Sportscar Championship scoring 9 wins from 9 races with Jabouille, Alain Cudini, Gérard Larrousse, and eventual champion Alain Serpaggi all wining races. over the winter of 1974/75 one of the A441’s was fitted with a turbocharged version of the CH1 V6 that had been designed by François Castaing and Jean-Pierre Boudy.

Alpine A442 B, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

At the second round of the 1975 World Sports Car Championship the turbocharged A441 made it’s debut and with Jabouille and Larrouse at the wheel became the unfancied winner beating the normally aspirated 3 litre / 183 cui Alfa Romeo and turbo charged Porsche 908 to become the first turbocharged prototype to win a World Championship. For the remainder of the 1975 season the newer Alpine A442 evolution was used but it was no match for the Championship winning Alfa Romeo.

1n 1976 Alpine continued using developing the A442 in the World Sportscar Championship but it was completely overshadowed by the new turbocharged Porsche 936 which won all seven races leaving the A442 with three second places as the best results and a distant second in the championship a position which it shared with Osella. Le Mans which was not part of the championship saw Jabouille, Patrick Tambay and Jose Dolhem qualify on pole but the single A442 entered but it retired with engine failure before half distance leaving the Porsche 936 to claim the first of three Le Mans victories.

Alpine A442 B, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Derek Bell and Jabouille were on pole for the 1977 Le Mans 24 hour race driving today’s featured chassis #A442/3 before it had been upgraded to B spec. However none of the four A442’s finished the race, which was won by the Porsche 936 #001 featured last week, but one of the Renault Gordini CH1 V6 turbo powered Mirages did finish a distant second 11 laps in arrears.

For 1978, by which time Renault and Alpine had been fully financially integrated, a new Alpine A443 had evolved with a longer wheel base, slightly larger motor and an acrylic glass bubble roof. Drivers Jabouille and Patrick Depailler had the roof, which added around 5 mph to the cars top speed, removed because they felt claustrophobic and there was too much heat building up inside the cockpit. Even so they still qualified fastest of the Alpines at Le Mans albeit on second place on the grid behind a works Porsche 936 chassis #003 which qualified with an average speed of 147 mph by Jackie ickx. 3rd on the grid was the monstrous Porsche 935/78 known as Moby Dick with another works Porsche 936 the ’77 winner #001 alongside.

Alpine A442 B, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Todays featured car now in B spec running with an acrylic glass roof and the standard 2 litre / 122 cui turbocharged V6 motor was 5th on the grid at Le Mans with Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud sharing the driving. The A443 of Jabouille and Depailler led much of the first half of the race interrupted by a set of unbalanced front wheels until it retired with a broken motor leaving Pironi and Jassaud to take over a commanding lead which it held to the end. Pironi passed out in the heat of the cockpit after he crossed the finish line.

Two of Porsche 936’s required gearbox rebuilds after which one of them crashed and the other chassis #001 came second ahead of the third placed 936 chassis #002 which required a turbocharger replacement while the 935 Moby Dick suffered from overheating and persistent oil leaks to come home 8th.

Having accomplished what they set out to achieve with the CH1 V6 program, along with two Formula Two open wheel championships in 1975 and 1976, Renault retired the Alpines from Sports car racing to concentrated all of it’s efforts on Formula One where it ran the first turbo charged Formula One car in 1977.

In 1979 Renault would become the first team to win a Formula One race with a turbo charged 1.5 litre 91.5 cui Renault Gordini EF1 motor at the French Grand Prix, which by coincidence was the race before the British Grand Prix where today’s photo’s were taken of #A442/3 in the paddock at Silverstone.

My thanks to Tim Murray for helping to identify the winning chassis of the 1975 Mugello 1000kms race which was widely reported to have been an Alpine A442 in contemporary journals like Motoring News but which contemporary photographs show the A441 development car.

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


Just What the Doctor Ordered – Ferrari 126 C2 #061 & #060

Ferrari’s first attempt at designing a turbo powered Grand Prix car was described by lead driver Gilles Villeneuve in 1981 as handling like ‘a big red Cadillac‘.

Ferrari 126 C2, Brands Hatch

For the 1982 Ferrari hired Dr Harvey Poslethwaite, who had designed Grand Prix winning cars for both Hesketh and Wolf, to design the 126 C2 which would prove to be the class of the field or as Mario Andretti described it ‘the bomb’.

Ferrari 126 C2, Brands Hatch

Despite a lack luster start to the 1982 season for round 4 the San Remo Grand Prix Ferrari had got their act together and cruised to a comfortable One Two victory except for team leader Gilles Villeneuve there was a problem, he had been out fumbled by his team mate Didier Pironi which so enraged the Canadian he promised never to speak to Pironi again.

Ferrari 126 C2, Brands Hatch

Two weeks later at the Belgium Grand Prix Gilles met his death after a practice accident, seemingly leaving Pironi seen in the #28 chassis #060 at Brands Hatch above, to win the 1982 Championship but then three weeks after these photographs were taken Didier Pironi was seriously injured an accident during practice for the German Grand Prix in chassis #060. Didier although eventually recovering never entered a Grand Prix car again and died in power boat racing accident in 1986.

Ferrari 126 C2, Brands Hatch

Patrick Tambay, seen in the #27 chassis 061 at Brands Hatch at the top of this post, took the place of Gilles for the remainder of the 1982 season wining the 1982 German Grand Prix. While Mario Andretti replaced Didier Pironi scoring a pole position and and third place first time out at Monza and ended his Grand Prix career at Caesers Palace with a retirement driving the chassis #061 seen in Tambay’s hands above.

Ferrari with three wins won the constructors championship from McLaren who had 4 wins but appalling reliability in between. The World Drivers Championship was won by Keke Rosberg driving a non turbocharged Williams Cosworth against all expectations with just a single win and a string of podium (top three) finishes.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Just What The Doctor Ordered’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !