Archive for February, 2012

Class is in Session with Prof. McLaren

Settle down, class. Now take your seats. Mosport 101 is about to begin.

thanks, @Pete_Aron.

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Late Night Prep at ’65 Sebring

BARCboys‘ photo archives never fail to turn up a unique angle on the races they travelled to. Dave Nicholas’ shots from the 1965 Sebring Endurance Race are no exception. The race was a wet one and the sparse accommodations for spectators at the race makes me wonder if a greater percentage of competitors or spectators made it to the end of the race. Thankfully, Dave stuck it out to document the race.

What interests me just as much, though, are these images that Dave managed to capture of the Mecom team making some final preparations on Friday night—and look like they could well have been included in our factories at work series. I always enjoy seeing the pit facilities from years past and while Sebring may be an extreme example owing to its reputation as a “primitive racetrack”, the team garages at LeMans or Monaco were little better.

Seeing this Hansgen/Donohue Ferrari 250LM and Cannon/Saunders Lola T70 wedged in here between the tractor and the steel tubing, though, really illustrates the shocking range of difference in amenities between contemporary racing facilities and those of 40 or 50 years ago. This is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about when I talk about the kinship that vintage racing teams had with Hot Rod garages. They were damn near the same thing.

Walt Hansgen and Mark Donohue’s Ferrari 250 LM finished 11th overall (4th in class). John Cannon and Jack Saunders qualified in 6th, and were fast runners in the opening laps of the race, but dropped out with a failed oil cooler after 55 laps.

More of Dave Nicholas’ photos on BARC Boys’ 1965 Sebring Gallery. Sports Car Digest did a lovely profile of the race that’s well worth a read.

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Maserati A6GCS 2000 c.c. Sport Competizione

I’ve always admired this perfect halfway point between Formula car and American hot rod. It’s just so masterfully stripped of un-necessary bits and so singularly purposeful that I can’t help but admire it as much for her simplicity as the glorious lines of her barely there aluminum bodywork. I can only imagine the joy of popping in to my local sports and racing car dealer and thumbing through the brochure while the proprietor finishes ordering this beauty from Bologna for me.

Doesn’t matter an ounce to me that I can’t read the specs. When it looks this good, who cares abut the specs? Quite simply, the Maserati A6GCS 2000 Sport Competizione is among the most beautiful cars.

Via Forum Auto.

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Reddit Interviews Jacques Couture, Racing Instructor

Reddit’s “I Am A” forum is always a fascinating peek into people’s lives. The premise is simple enough, someone pops on and starts a thread with “I am ___, ask me anything”. r/IAmA has hosted a variety of fascinating discussions with a wide variety of diverse and public people such as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, military whistleblower Justin Watt, and comedian Louis C.K. It’s a wonderful and rare opportunity for people to directly ask questions of someone, without the filter of a more traditional interviewer acting as our proxy. Plus they’re just a good read (I got distracted from writing this post and read all three of those I linked… Focus!).

Recently Jacques Couture, a founder of the Jim Russell Racing School North America and racing instructor to Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve, Al Unser, Jr., and myriad other famous and not so famous racing drivers started a thread.

What a rare and tremendous opportunity for motorsport enthusiasts to interact with such an influential figure in the sport as Couture.

Some of my favorite questions and responses from the discussion:

Q: Motor racing is well known for rewarding those with money over those with talent. Were there any students that you thought were unbelievably talented; maybe even better than Gilles Villenueve; but due to lack of funding ended up never getting anywhere?

A: Absolutely. over the 35 years i ran the school. there have been hundreds of extremely talented individuals that have come through that showed great promise, but just didnt have the money to continue.

Q: We hear a lot about drivers like Gilles, Senna and Prost, but who’s the greatest unsung F1 driver of the last 30/40 years?

A: There are quite a few great drivers who just never got the break they needed. Chris Amon is one. exceptional driver who was always right behind the front runner waiting for that mistake that never came.

Q: What is the biggest difference between teaching Jacques who had probably some aptitude and a beginner without any knowledge (Celebrities)?

A: Someone who has no experience is actually easier to teach because they have no bad habits you have to reverse. Many people with some racing experience, in the beginning, may be more difficult to teach because they may have one or more bad habits you have to deal with first before they can progress.
later on though, once those bad habits are broken, someone with experience, such as Gilles and Jacques, will then progress much more quickly.

Click on through for the full discussion, and thanks to Ral for writing in and pointing me in the right direction.

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1959 Johannesburg 9 Hours Program

“Kyalami” loosely translated from Zulu is “My Home”. It’s a lovely name; evocative of the region and there’s something about the sentiment of it that I love. For Andrew Duncan though, it’s damn-near the literal truth. Andrew grew up a few miles from Kyalami and attended a variety of events with his father. He’s been scanning the programs from his collection and has graciously shared them here.

This event, however, pre-dates the opening of Kyalami by two years. This second 9-Hours endurance race was held on the then aging Grand Central Circuit. In the pre-Kyalami years the race was much more of a local affair, with nearly all of the entrants being South Africans.

Locals Chris Fergusson and Hugh Carrington took the win in Carrington’s Dart-Climax (via). It’s fun to consider when we look upon these pages that the 9 Hours was on the brink of becoming a major international event.

Thanks again, Andrew. There’ll be more scans from his collection here soon. In the meantime, check out previous posts from the Andrew Duncan Collection.

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Circuito Reggio Calabria. 1953.

Lovely footage from Italy’s Circuito Reggio Calabria in 1953.

Magnificent to see all these little etceterini in action. Seger doesn’t hurt either.

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Rindt in F-V

It’s easy to forget that before karting became the dominant proving ground for Formula 1 drivers that World Champions once came from a variety of motorsport traditions. Rindt, Lauda, Fitipaldi, and Rosberg all spent their formative years in a Formula Vee.

I thought I knew my Vee makers reasonably well, but this one I’m not so sure of. Can anyone Identify what FV Jochen is driving here? Is it a Beach?

Ed wrote in to identify Rindt’s Vee as an Astro. Thanks, Ed! (Editor’s Note: Well, in the comments below, Chris also thinks it looks like a Beach. That makes two of us, what do you think?)

More Formula Vee history at The Vee Centre.

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A Steady Hand

Love this shot of a sign painter at work from the USA Diligence Flickr stream of Jim Kimberly’s Ferrari 166 MM being prepared for a race at Palm Springs. Check out more of Kimberly’s Ferrari here.

Thanks John for pointing this one out!

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Trusting Your Stevedore

This is what it looks like when your GT40 is being off-loaded on a Brizilian dock in 1969. I’m sure there were some nervous folks on the docks that day watching this incredible machine twisting in the air high over the deck of the ship. Tense moments for sure. This footage is of GT40 chassis GT/40P 1083, currently on offer from Fantasy Junction. She looks as beautiful and determined today as when she was winning races for Sidney Cardoso and his Colegio Arte e Instrucao (C.A.I.) Racing team.

More information and a TON of photos on Fantasy Junction’s detail page. Thanks for the heads up, Paul!

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Scarab Intercontinental: For Sale in All Forms

Scarab Intercontinental

Reventlow Automobiles, Inc., Culver City Calif., has announced that they are prepared to build machines for the new USAC road racing formula. The prototype, designed by Eddie Miller, is now nearing completion and should be tested within the next few weeks. The prototype will be powered by the 4-cyl Scarab engine while the V-8 aluminum Buick engine slated for ultimate use is being brought up to peak output. Reventlow will offer these cars for sale in all forms, much as F-Jr constructors have been doing, with complete cars, kits, or components available for sale. The bodywork, aluminum in the prototype, will be fiberglass for the production models. (Drawing by Bill Motta)

Wheelbase, inches……..90.0
Track, front……..47.5
rear……..49.5
Weight (dry), estimated……..1050
Engine location……..rear
Engine……..V-8 Buick Spl
Bore x stroke, inches……..3.50×2.80
Displacement, cu. in……..215
Horsepower, estimated, bhp……..250
Torque, estimated, bls/ft……..150
Gearbox: Colotti 5-spd with integral transmission and ZF limited-slip differential.
Suspension: Front & rear—unequal A-arms with coil shocks.
Steering……..Scarab rack & pinion
Wheels: Magnesium, Front 5×15; Rear, 6.5×15
Brakes: Girling discs, 10:25 dia., outboard front & rear
Body: Prototype, aluminum; Fiberglass, production

Mfgd by: Reventlow Automobiles, Inc., 1042 Princeton Dr., Venice, Calif.

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