peterwindsor.com

…chance doesn't exist; there's always a cause and a reason for everything – Elahi

Archive for the tag “Sport”

Ingliston Interlude

Jim Clark had been impressed by Jackie Stewart from the moment he saw him drive.  Jackie hailed from Glasgow, Jimmy from the Borders; Jackie’s family ran a garage, Jim’s ran a farm: the differences were pronounced. In common, though, was their love of driving nice racing cars on the absolute limit. Quite what defined that limit, in their respective minds, is still an open question: Sir Jackie today remembers Jim saying very little to him about how he actually drove. “You knew, with Jimmy, when to push and when not to push,” he says. “He always gave me the impression that he didn’t want to talk about the very precise details. They were private to him – and I respected that. Of course we talked about cars and racing in general and strategy and those sorts of things…but Jimmy always kept a little bit in reserve. That was his nature.”

Their friendship blossomed in 1965. Jackie also became a familiar face at Sir John Whitmore’s Balfour Place apartment and in so doing opened Jim’s perspectives to a very different way of life. Jackie, even then, was both fashion- and financially-sophisticated. Jim was less so. The interesting thing, looking back, is that Jackie had no doubt about how to solve the high-earner’s tax problems: he would move to Switzerland and operate as a pro racing driver from that one, central base. Jim, despite his friendship with Jackie, continued to do his own thing with his own, local advisers. He would take the complicated option of moving his “goods and chattels” to Bermuda while residing for a full racing season in Paris.

By the mid-1965, Jackie had also finished second to Jim at Spa, Clermont and Zandvoort: the magazines were calling it a “Highland Fling” and referring to “The Flying Scotsmen” in the plural. None of this troubled Jim.  On the contrary, he was delighted for Jackie – for that was his nature. Jim had persuaded Colin Chapman to give Jackie a quick F1 outing during practice for the 1964 British GP and Jackie had stood-in for Jim in the Rand GP later that year. With Jim’s Indy win paving the way for drivers like Jackie also to race in the States, motor racing north of the border had never looked healthier.

Thus the two friends attended a race meeting at the new Ingliston circuit in Edinburgh on July 25 – in the time between the Dutch and German GPs (at the vortex of what was already a breathlessly intense season). Already well-known to Jim as the site of the Royal Highland Showground, the new circuit was made up from in-field and perimeter roads. It wasn’t long or too demanding – but it was another motor racing circuit for Scotland.  In many ways it was a product of Jim’s success.

The race meeting itself, organised by the Scottish Motor Racing Club, was relatively low-key, as you would expect.  Jackie would have been interested in Bill Stein’s Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro while Jim would have had a laugh with his old Normand team-mate and fellow F2 competitor, Mike Beckwith, who raced spectacularly at Ingliston in his Elan.  The Rover-BRM turbine “hoover” was on-hand, fresh from Le Mans, for Jackie to demonstrate with Jim alongside him (!) and Jim, ever the man of detail, performed the start-line duties for the Guards Trophy event, stop watch in hand, flag accurately poised. It’s also worth noting that both Graham and Gerry Birrell raced on this day at Ingliston – both were quick and destined for greater things – and that Jock Russell was much in evidence: the irascible Scot would later buy Jim’s 1966 US GP-winning Lotus 43-BRM.

Click on the first image to open this short gallery of the Ingliston Interlude.

 

Pirelli react to the BCN pit-stop plague

Modified the Pirelli hard tyre may have been in Barcelona; still, though, F1’s monopoly tyre supplier is planning further changes from the Canadian GP onwards. How Monaco will work out in the interim, with the soft and super-soft in use, remains an unanswered question.  This was the statement issued today by Pirelli.  Note that the thrust of the piece reflects Fernando Alonso’s four-stop strategy.  LotusF1, and Kimi Raikkonen, who managed to split the Ferraris with a nice three-stop run, do not get a mention…

Milan, May 14, 2013 – This year’s Pirelli P Zero Formula One tyre range will change from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards, using a revised construction. 

The move follows the Spanish Grand Prix, which had four pit stops per driver. The new range will combine elements from the 2012 and 2013 tyres to have both durability and performance. 

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Our aim is to provide the teams with a new range which mixes the stability of the 2012 tyres and the performance of the current ones. As a company, we have always moved quickly to make improvements where we see them to be necessary. After evaluating data from the first few races this year, we’ve decided to introduce a further evolution as it became clear at the Spanish Grand Prix that the number of pit stops was too high. The Spanish Grand Prix was won with four pit stops, which has only happened once before in our history. These changes will also mean that the tyres are not worked quite as hard, reducing the number of pit stops.”

With limited testing time, it’s clear now that our original 2013 tyre range was probably too performance-orientated for the current regulations. However, having identified this issue, we’re determined to rapidly resolve it. It’s worth underlining that the current regulations for winter tests limit the opportunity to test the tyres under the same conditions as the race season because of the lower temperature and restricted time. The Teams are of the same opinion as we are in wanting longer testing times and different locations for the next tests. We developed the 2013 tyres on the basis of careful simulations that were, however, not sufficient, taking into account the improved speed of cars (up to 3 seconds per lap). 

We’ve also taken this step to avoid the delaminations that were caused by track debris. It’s important to point out that these delaminations, which occur when the tread comes off, do not compromise the safety of the tyres as the core structure of the tyre is not affected in any way, helping drivers to complete the lap and to change the damaged tyres safely. These delaminations were due to damage from debris that overheated the tread.   We’d like to thank all the teams for their continued and extremely valued support as we worked with them to identify the correct compromise between the pure speed that makes us the world leader in the Ultra High Performance sector and a global spectacle that is easy for Formula One fans to follow.” 

 

The win that Clark tried to share

18275.tifAnd so Jim Clark’s 1963 season begins to gather pace:  after a further few days at Edington Mains, Jim set off for his two-week trip to Southern France and then Italy.  Ian Scott-Watson drove him in the factory prototype Lotus-Cortina to Edinburgh airport, where Jim flew first to London – in a turbo-prop BEA Vickers Vanguard – and then on to Pau.

The warmer Mediterranean weather was a pleasant change from the rigours of the British winter.  There was a carnival atmosphere about the town this second week of April – partly because Pau was hosting an F1 race in its own right, with its own heritage and character;  partly because the race would be run on a public holiday – Easter Monday (April 15); and partly because, from the standpoint of Team Lotus, this weekend was effectively a demonstration run.  The opposition was negligible, for all the major works teams (bar Ferrari, who were busy on their Michael May-inspired fuel-injected semi-monocoque cars for John Surtees and Willy Mairesse) were racing at Goodwood in the Glover Trophy.  Once down near the Pyrenees, though, reality set in:  opposition or not, the works Lotus 25s were facing a 100-mile race in demanding track conditions.  Even as practice began on Saturday, the public roads began to melt and then to crumble.  The weather stayed warm; the crowds expected a speed-fest.  As it happened, the track grew slower and slower and increasingly treacherous…

Jim (in the Lotus 25 he had last raced in South Africa, at the end of 1962) nonetheless took an easy pole after two days of practice. Such was the potential danger of the stones, though, that he fixed masking tape over his nose and upper lip for the race.  He again wore his trusty Everoak;  his Panorama goggles were fitted with dark lenses for his exploits in the golden spring sunshine.

Trevor Taylor, Jim’s team-mate (in the 25 Jim had raced at Snetterton) actually led away from the line but – as great team-mates do – he backed-off before the first, fast right-hander to give the lead to Jim.  1963 Pau Grand Prix.Jim responded – then slowed down a little for Trevor.  And so it went on.  The crowd drank their wine, ate their baguettes, took their naps – but always, when they raised their heads to watch the leaders, there were Jim and Trevor, having fun, swapping places and demonstrating their skill amidst the rubble and the marbles and the frequently-waved yellow flags.

Who would win?  Trevor (right) was happy to cross the line right behind his team-mate.  Colin Chapman would be impressed – and Trevor was keen to consolidate his position as a perfect complement to Clark’s genius.  They’d raced this way in the Springbok series of 1961 – and Trevor had already scored a strong second place for Team Lotus in the Lotus 24 (1962 Dutch GP).  Now, with the 25s heading for more wins in 1963, Trevor wanted solidly to be a part of that.  For his part, Jim thought it much fairer to cross the line in a dead-heat finish.  Showpiece endings like this weren’t that difficult to organize in the 1960s (timing was down only to a tenth of a second), and even four years later (at Syracuse, in 1967, when the timing was a little more sophisticated) the feat would be pulled off by Ferrari.18228.tif

On this occasion, though, Trevor dabbed the brakes just before the line, foiling Jim in a neat reversal of what would see years later at Imola, 1982, and Malaysia, 2013:  Trevor wanted the win to go to Clark, despite Jim’s best efforts to share it.

As light as the opposition had been, Jim and Trevor were nonetheless exhausted after their torrid day’s work.  Over dinner, as plans were made for the drive down to Italy for the following Sunday’s Grand Prix of Imola, a radio crackled out some of the latest hits from England and America – “Big Girls don’t Cry” and the Beatles’ new single, “Please Please Me”.  Then, after phone calls back home, they discussed the news of the day: Innes Ireland had won at Goodwood in front  of 50,000 spectators in the BRP, from Bruce McLaren in the works Cooper and Tony Maggs’ Parnell Lotus 24 – but not before Graham Hill (’62 BRM) and Jack Brabham (’62 Brabham) had both run into mechanical dramas (fuel and ignition respectively).  The Formula Junior race went to Frank Gardner and Denny Hulme (Brabhams), from Richard Attwood’s MRP Lola; Graham Hill made up for his BRM disappointment by winning the Jag 3.8 battle for the St Mary’s Trophy from Roy Salvadori and Mike Salmon; Jack Sears had been quick in the new Ford Cortina GT; Sir John Whitmore and Christabel Carlisle led the Mini division; Graham Hill also won the Sussex Trophy GT race with John Coombs Jag E-Type; and Roy Salvadori won the sports car race – the Lavant Cup – with his Cooper Monaco. Normand Racing had been right up there in the wet, with Tony Hegbourne driving Jim’s Oulton Lotus 23B alongside Mike Beckwith.  The pair had eventually finished second and fourth (despite spins!).20328098

Images: LAT Photographic

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: