Archive for the ‘Racing Drivers’ Category

A Vintage Racer Vintage Racing

Jimmy Clark in Ford Model T Sprint Car

This photo of Jim Clark in a Model-T Sprint Car almost breaks my brain. It only makes sense for Jimmy in the context of the celebrations surrounding the Indianapolis 500.

This photo was included in a Ford press release for the race and their 495 horsepower V8 that would power the Lotus-Ford in the race. What better way to showcase Ford’s history with the 500 and demonstrate 48 years of automotive engineering maturity than to contrast these two racing machines—each at the pinnacle of technology for their time. Magnificent.

More at Auto Gift Garage.

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Art Appreciation: The Borg-Warner Trophy

The Borg-Warner Trophy

The winners of the Indy 500 might not get to take home the Borg-Warner after they drink their post-race milk but there’s something even more precious to each winner of the Borg-Warner trophy and how they are commemorated. Going all the way back to the 1911 victory of Ray Harroun and his Marmon Wasp, a relief of each winner of the 500 wraps around the trophy, transforming the trophy into a figurative wall of victors.

Like hockey’s Stanley Cup, the actual trophy isn’t kept by the winners but their legacy lives on for all-time as each successor to the crown is inscribed onto the trophy itself—which becomes its own history book. As a bauble to the winner it is unwieldy and heavy. That heft, however, is part of what makes the trophy important with each victory adding further physical manifestation of the hard work, determination, and luck of each of those successful drives.

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Proto Go-Pro

Jackie Stewart for Nikon

I wonder how Jackie Stewart controlled the shutter on this early attempt at onboard driver-controlled photography at Monaco in 1966. Do you think that cable stretched down to the steering wheel? More importantly, where do you think his photos from the “35mm Helmet” are?

Monaco in 1966 would have lined up nicely with the production of John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix. I’m speculating here, but perhaps this is how some of the stills for the posters, premier program, and other ephemera were captured.

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Sir Jack Brabham 1926—2014

Gnoo-Blas Championships Program

Of all the imagery we’ve seen commemorating the passing of Jack Brabham this week, my favorite might this shot of Jack in the Redex Special on the cover of this 1955 Program for the Gnoo-Blas Road Racing Championships. Looking back at his early midget racing days and knowing where he would go from there is a lovely way to appreciate his racing legacy.

Although I frequently glorify the records and accomplishments of racing drivers in the early years of Formula 1, the truth is that most of those records have been beaten and most of those glories have faded (at least in the minds of the general racing fan public). I feel pretty confident though, that one of Jack Brabham’s records will stand for a very long time indeed. I can’t imagine a future where another figure in Formula 1 emerges to design, build, and drive a Formula 1 car to another championship.

Jack Brabham: the ultimate union of engineer and driver.

Race in Peace.

Photo via Stephen on The Nostalgia Forum.

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Drivers React to Germany’s Bilster Berg Resort

I love the idea of these driving resorts, and I hope that Bilster Berg is a huge success. There’s a lot of love in this video of racing drivers’ reactions to their initial experiences on the track. Directed by GT Racer’s Alexander Davidis, there’ll be some familiar faces here for fans of the series. But there’s also some tremendous vintage racing machinery in the form of E-Type Lightweights, 911s, Austin-Healeys.

One thing in particular stood out as drivers describe the difficulty in learning the track and the learning curve in coming to terms with its compact complexity. One driver says it requires many, many laps before you start to get it right; another driver says a couple of hundred laps would be necessary to learn it properly. That sounds about right for a track that has been described as a mini-Nürburgring.

Did you catch what Derek Bell said, though? “To come back on my own without other cars, just sort of do five or six laps to get it all together”.

A couple hundred laps vs. Five or six laps. That right there is the difference between even a highly skilled racing driver and Derek Bell.

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Carlo and his Apples… and His Hotted-Up Cars

Carlo Abarth and a fleet

Do you think it’s just because Abarth started with small displacement engines that his name isn’t whispered with reverence by every hot rodder? You’d think that everyone tearing into a Ford flatty or Chrysler FirePower would offer a silent prayer to Abarth and the empire he built hot-rodding Fiat engines.

Why the apples? Under a doctor’s care as part of an intense weight loss program, Carlo apparently adopted a diet of apples and steak. Only apples and steak.

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Onboard with Fangio at Monaco

These weren’t little GoPros hanging off of the Maestro’s Lancia. Each of these cameras had to be loaded with film, started up, and run a few laps. Then they had to do it again and again so that you don’t see the giant camera in the other angles. It’s easy to dismiss the complexity of these earlier onboard films when we can easily toss a half-dozen or more digital video cameras on a car at every possible angle. It’s part of what makes early onboard footage so precious.

Looking through the slow motion montages in this clip, I have to believe it was part of the inspiration for Saul Bass’s racing sequences in Grand Prix.

via Retro Formula 1

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Who Needs Umbrella Girls?

de Portago gridding up for the 1957 GP de Cuba

How hard do you think that Alfonso de Portago would laugh if we could tell him that racing teams have models in the pit lane who’s job it is to shield the drivers from the sun? De Portago didn’t need someone to cover his head when it started to rain before the 1957 Cuban GP and he certainly didn’t need it for the sun. A Shell ad wedged in the windscreen of his Ferrari 860 does just fine, thank you very much.

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Masten Gregory and the Art of Looking Sharp

Masten Gregory at Sebring. 1960.

Every year we see a new collection from a fashion designer talking up his inspiration from Steve McQueen. My recommendation: Look to his countryman Masten Gregory. Dude was stylish. Seriously, when you can make two sets of goggles hanging around your neck look badass you’re doing something right.

Masten Gregory in Nassau. 1955.Masten Gregory in LeMans. 1959Masten Gregory in the pits.

Masten Gregory looking determined.

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Plump, Dapper, and Charming

I’m not entirely sure that Alberto Ascari would have loved Murray Walker’s introduction in this clip from Walker’s F1 Greats. Once the stats start rolling in I’m sure the mood would have lightened. Tremendous.

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