Tag Archives: Wisell

Peterson’s Poles – Lotus Cosworth 72E #R6

The 1973 Formula One season is remembered for many things some good Jackie Stewart’s third and final world championship some bad the death’s of Jackie’s team mate Francois Cevert and Roger Williamson who had been selected to replace Jackie upon his retirement. However one of my overwhelming memories of the season, the first which I avidly followed in the printed press which was as close to the internet as I could find back in the day, was the raw speed shown by Ronnie Peterson driving his Ford Cosworth DFV powered John Player Special sponsored Lotus 72.

Lotus Cosworth 72E, Silverstone Classic

During the 1973 season Ronnie Peterson set a new record number of 9 pole position starts from the 15 race championship season as he finally found himself with a car capable of winning races rather than out lasting the opposition has the March cars he drove in 1971 to second place in the world championship standings had done. I believe seven of those pole positions and Ronnie’s four 1973 championship race victories were recorded in today’s featured chassis which I believe to be #R6.

Lotus Cosworth 72E, Silverstone Classic

#R6 first appeared towards the end of the 1971 season in ‘D’ spec wearing the Gold Leaf Team Lotus colours with another Swede Reine Wisell at the wheel. Reine’s best result was a 4th place finish in the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix.

For 1972 #R6 still in ‘D’ spec but now painted in the black and gold livery of John Player Special was driven by Australian Dave Walker. Dave who had built an enviable record in the junior ranks on his way up could not perform to the same level at the sports top table and only managed a best 5th place finish at the non championship Brazilian Grand Prix with today’s featured chassis. Reine Wisell was reunited with #R6 at the 1972 United States Grand Prix where he finished 10th.

Lotus Cosworth 72E, Silverstone Classic

Over the winter of 1972/73 Ronnie Peterson joined Lotus from March and #R6 was brought up to 72 E spec which included wide track front suspension revisions which were soon abandoned and structural revisions to include a deformable structure around the side fuel tanks. By the time R6 appeared in ‘E’ spec at the non championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch Ronnie had already scored his first pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix. At Brands Ronnie qualified 6th and fought his way into the lead by lap 5 an was running away from the field when his gearbox broke and forced his retirement on his 18th lap but not before he had set what would be a shared fastest lap time with the BRM drivers Jean Pierre Beltoise and Niki Lauda who had been Ronnie’s team mate at March in 1972.

Ronnie drove to pole position for the following Spanish Grand Prix in chassis #R8 recording fastest lap before the gearbox failed. Back in #R6 Ronnie then won pole for the Belgian Grand Prix from which he retired after an accident. Ronnie was back in #R8 for the Monaco Grand Prix where he qualified 2nd and finished third behind Stewart and team mate Emerson Fittipaldi. Back in #R6 for the remainder of the 1973 season Ronnie was claimed his forth pole of the season in his home Grand Prix but finished second after leading his team mate for most of the race and in the process wearing out his tyres. Emerson retired with gearbox failure four laps from home leaving Denny Hulme to pick up the pieces and sweep by to win the Swedish Grand Prix.

Lotus Cosworth 72E, Silverstone Classic

At the 1973 French Grand Prix Ronnie finally took his maiden Grand Prix victory from 5th on the grid driving today’s featured car and two weeks later he claimed his fifth pole position of the season at the British Grand Prix, where he finished second. At the Dutch Grand Prix Ronnie was on pole in again but retired with gearbox and engine issues. In Germany Ronnie qualified 2nd but failed to finish. Ronnie won 3 of the final 4 championship races in 1973 in Austria Italy and the United States and pole for the final three races of the season in Italy, Canada and the USA. He retired from the Canadian Grand Prix with a puncture.

Ronnie finished third in the 1973 World Drivers Championship behind Stewart and team mate Fittipaldi and there is no doubt that Emerson might have won the championship if he had not been forced to race his team mate as hard as he did. Lotus again won the constructors championship as they had with the same model in 1970 and ’72.

For 1974 Lotus had planned to replace the Lotus 72 with the Lotus 76, but when that failed to show potential the Lotus 72 design was pressed into service for the remainder of the season in slightly modified form with the oil tank moved from behind the gearbox to a position ahead of the rear wheels as mandated by new regulations.

#R6 ended it’s in period competition career in South Africa where Team Gunston entered the car in the local Formula One series for Ian Scheckter, brother of Jody, in in 1974 Ian scored five wins in the South African series to finish second to Dave Carlton who drove a McLaren M23. For 1975 Ian drove his brothers 1974 Tyrrell 007 and Team Gunston entered Eddie Keizan in #R6. Eddie like Ian the year before in the same car finished 13th in the South African Grand Prix but could only manage a season high second in the local South African championship races after which it was retired.

Ronnie Peterson fan Katsu Kubota is the current owner of #R6 seen here earlier this year at the Silverstone Classic meeting.

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


Right Tyre, Right Time – BRM P180 #P180/2

Despite winning the 1971 Austrian and Italian Grand Prix BRM lost their Yardley sponsor to McLaren at the end of 1971, but started 1972 with a plan for a five car assault on the 1972 World Drivers and Constructors championships using three different models the P153 from 1970, the P160 from 1971 and a new design the P180. All three models were designed by Tony Southgate and there was some interchangeability of suspension that was used to update the older models.

BRM P180, BRM Day, Bourne, Lincs

The P180 differed from the earlier models by having the radiator at the front moved to the rear in a bid to get a 33/67 balance in the weight distribution from front to rear in a bid to improve traction.

BRM P180, BRM Day, Bourne, Lincs

One of the novel features of the P180 was the steering wheel popping up through the cockpit fairing.

BRM P180, BRM Day, Bourne, Lincs

The P180 made it’s debut at the Spanish Grand Prix with Peter Gethin at the wheel, Jean Pierre Beltoise also had today’s featured chassis #P180/2 available to him but found the older P160 more to his liking. Gethin started 21st and Beltoise started 7th, both retired.

BRM P180, BRM Day, Bourne, Lincs

Howden Ganley drove #P180/2 in the ’72 Monaco Grand Prix where he qualified 20th but crashed on lap 47. Beltoise won the race from 4th on the grid in the older P160, this would prove to be BRM’s final championship Grand Prix victory. With the weight balance of the P180 being more like 30/70 the P180’s were modified.

BRM P180, BRM Day, Bourne, Lincs

While the work was carried out the P180’s appeared at two non championship meetings, Reine Wisell qulified 7th for the Gold Cup at Oulton Park but was rear ended by his compatriot Ronnie Peterson on the start line which broke Reine’s finger and caused his retirement. At Brands Hatch for the Rothman’s 50,000 both Beltoise and Ganley preferred to race the older P160’s.

BRM P180, BRM Day, Bourne, Lincs

The P180’s appeared again at the Italian Grand Prix where Beltoise qualified #P180/2 16th and finished 8th to score the models only Championship race finish. Both P180’s were taken to the Canadian and US Grand Prix’s Bill Brack joined Beltoise in Canada and Brian Redman replaced the Canadian in the States. No finishes were recorded and the cars failed to qualify in the top 15 for either race.

BRM P180, BRM Day, Bourne, Lincs

The P180’s final appearance was in the non championship John Player Challenge at Brands Hatch, where Beltoise qualified #P180/2 7th. The track was wet at the start but Beltoise elected to go to the start line on intermediate tyres where as almost everybody else was on wet tyres. At the start of the race Beltoise was left behind but as the track started to dry out he was perfectly placed to pick off those ahead of him to score the BRM team’s final race victory.

Tony Southgate, who say’s of the car what it really lacked was a budget to develop the engine, left BRM to join Shadow for 1973 and BRM decided to retire the P180 in favour of using yet another update of the P160 for 1973.

Howden Ganley is seen driving the car above at last years BRM Day.

My thanks to Ray Bell, RCH, kayemod Rob and MCS at The Nostalgia Forum for their help in finding out the cause of Reine Wisell’s broken finger.

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


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 !