On this day in Motor Racing's past

Racing events, drivers, cars or anything else from the past.
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Everso Biggyballies
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Re: On this day in Motor Racing's past

Post by Everso Biggyballies » 2 months ago

Latest post of the previous page:

PTRACER wrote:
2 months ago
Thanks for posting that Chris, great tribute to a great man. He must be one of the oldest living F1 drivers now.
Cue an article I read when looking for stuff on Sir Stirling.... I think the info will now be a couple of years out of dateas it lists John Surtees as the oldest lvng but sadly we know he is no longer with us. I know Tony Brooks is still around but at 87 is just a kid comparing to Stirlo.Article comes after some other info.

Oldest living drivers of Formula One.

I think the oldest survivor is probably Ken Kavanagh,
who I think is now 95. The oldest surviving WDC is I guess Sir Jackie Stewart, at 80 years old.. Kavanagh (born 12 December 1923) is an Australian former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and racecar driver. He was more famous in motorcycle circles

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Ken Kavanagh (Norton) 1951 Senior Ulster Grand Prix

In 1952, Kavanagh became the first Australian to win a motorcycle Grand Prix race when he won the 350cc Ulster Grand Prix. In 1956, he won the Junior TT at the Isle of Man TT races. Kavanagh entered two Formula One Grands Prix in 1958 with his own Maserati 250F, firstly in Monaco where he failed to qualify, and lastly in the Belgian Grand Prix where he missed out on the race having blown his engine in practice, after having qualified 20th of 28 entrants. He also did some non championship events, with a best result 6th at the Syracuse GP

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Non championship F1 events for KK.

1959 200 miles d'Aintree Maserati 250F Maserati
1959 Glover Trophy Maserati 250F Maserati
1958 International Trophy Maserati 250F Maserati
1958 200 miles d'Aintree Maserati 250F Maserati
1958 Grand Prix de Syracuse Maserati 250F Maserati
1958 Glover Trophy Maserati 250F Maserati
1958 Grand Prix de Buenos Aires Maserati 250F Maserati

Next up will be Hermano da Silva Ramos, former racing driver with dual French-Brasilian nationality.... he was born on December 7th 1925, so he will be 93 this year He has had experience in motorcycle racing, sports car racing, rally racing and even particpated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans once. The son of a successful Brazilian businessman and French mother, Nano da Silva Ramos was 21 years old when he first raced an MG in Rio de Janeiro. He then competed in Europe and won the 1953 Rallye de Sable with a newly acquired Aston Martin DB2.

With further experience in minor events, da Silva Ramos joined the under-funded Gordini team in 1955. That national institution added a welcome speck of French blue to Formula 1 grids but hopes of victory (or even finishing) were always slim. He became Brazil’s third Grand Prix driver (after Chico Landi and "Gino Bianco") at the 1955 Dutch GP – running among the tail-enders to finish eighth before retiring from the British and Italian GPs.

The 1956 season began with victory in the Coupe de Vitesse at Montlhéry and scored his only F1 points with a 5thin the Monaco GP a full seven laps off the pace. Also fifth in the International Trophy at Silverstone, he started another three GPs that year. Neither da Silva Ramos nor Gordini appeared in an F1 world championship race again but he was second at Pau in 1958 with Alan Brown’s Cooper T45-Climax. He also started at Le Mans on four occasions although he did not finish.

Da Silva Ramos drove Scuderia Centro Sud’s old Maserati 250F in three early 1959 non-championship events and was fourth at Aintree in what was his final season in the sport. He has occasionally been seen at historic meetings and shares his time between homes in France and Brazil.

CHAMPIONSHIP SEASONS
Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1959 World Sportscar Championship
Scuderia Ferrari 1 0 0 0 0
1956 F1 World Championship
Equipe Gordini 4 0 0 0

19th 2
1955 F1 World Championship
Equipe Gordini 3 0 0 0


1955 World Sportscar Championship
Equipe Gordini 1 0 0 0 0
1954 World Sportscar Championship
JP Colas 1 0 0 0 0
NON-CHAMPIONSHIP RACES
Title Date Circuit Laps Position
1959 International Trophy 02/05/1959 Silverstone 50 R
1959 Aintree F1 18/04/1959 Aintree 67 4
1959 Goodwood F1 30/03/1959 Goodwood 42 R
1957 Naples Grand Prix 28/04/1957 Posillipo 60 R
1957 Pau Grand Prix 22/04/1957 Pau 110 6
1956 Caen Grand Prix 26/08/1956 Caen 70 R
1956 Le Mans 24 Hours 28/07/1956 Le Mans 300 R
1956 International Trophy 05/05/1956 Silverstone 60 5
1956 Syracuse Grand Prix 15/04/1956 Syracusa 80 R

TEAMS
Title
Ferrari
Gordini
JP Colas
Scuderia Centro Sud

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Silverstone 1956 with Gordini


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Those are I believe to be the oldest two.... not including any Indy drivers from when it was a WDC race.
KK definately did F1, but never qualified for a Championship race. Actually that is wrong, he suffered engine failure when he did qualify and was a DNS.

Da Silva Ramos is the oldest still alive F1 racer who scored points.


Anyway here is the article I mentioned. As mentioned article is a couple of years old so things have happened n the meantime. ie John Surtees passing, plus others.
There aren’t many race drivers who can tell their grandchildren and great-grandchildren stories about driving the Formula 1 races 50 or 60 years ago. But there are still a few dozen of living legends who can remember how Formula 1 looked like at the very start.

Among the living champions and winners from 1950s and 1960s are Stirling Moss, John Surtees, Jackie Stewart, Dan Gurney or Tony Brooks for example. However, we checked the list of all the drivers who have competed in at least one Formula One Grand Prix to see who are the oldest among them.

Robert La Caze and Eric Thompson died in 2015
Unfortunately, we lost few names from the top of the list recently. Robert La Caze died on July 1, 2015, at the age of 98. He was a Frenchman but raced under the Moroccan flag at 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix at Casablanca. It was his only Formula One race and he drove a privately run F2 car Cooper T45.

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Another „oldtimer“ Eric Thompson died on August 22, 2015, at the age 95. He took part in the 1952 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, driving a Connaught and finishing 5th. His biggest racing success was to get 3rd place overall at 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans with Aston Martin DB2.

Andre Guelfi was oldest until June 2016

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Guelfi

That brings us to the Frenchman Andre Guelfi. He was born on May 6th 1919 in Morocco. His only Formula One race was the same as La Caze’s – the 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix, and he finished one place behind La Caze, also driving a Climax-engined Cooper T45. This was the only Moroccan GP ever held as a part of a F1 World Championship. Stirling Moss won the race, Mike Hawthorn took the championship, but the race was marked by the big accident of Stuart Lewis-Evans, who succumbed to his injuries six days later because of terrible burns from that accident.

Guelfi’s racing career started in 1950 with the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He participated in the Le Mans endurance race five times, finishing best 6th overall in 1954 and losing two co-drivers in fatal accidents (Jean Lariviere 1951 and Jean-Marie Brousselet 1958). Guelfi also competed in many F2 and sportscar races.

Guelfi died on June 28, 2016, at the age 97.

Fighter pilot Kenneth McAlpine founded Connaught Racing Team
After Guelfi’s death, Kenneth McAlpine took the number 1 spot on the list. He was born on September 21st 1920 in Surrey, England. During the World War II he was a fighter pilot. He participated in seven Formula One GP races from 1952 to 1955, debuting in the 1952 British GP at Silverstone with Connaught Type A.

The wealthy McAlpine was a financial backer and the co-owner of the Connaught Racing Team, which lasted until 1958. McAlpine’s best result was achieving 13th place at the 1953 German Grand Prix at Nürburgring Nordschleife. He retired from racing to marry and to supervise the work on the farm and the vineyard by his house in Kent, which produces award-winning grapes. He was also involved in his family’s building industry.

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Kenneth McAlpine raced in seven Grand Prix races between 1952 and 1955

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For renown painter Leslie Marr, racing was a hobby
Next on the list of oldest living racers is another British driver – Leslie Marr. He was born on August 14th 1922 in Durham. He is a renown painter and racing was just his hobby. He participated in two British Grand Prixes, in 1954 driving his private Connaught Type A and in 1955 driving the Connaught Type B. In the first race he finished 13th, but a year later, he retired. He also competed in several non-championship races, with his best performance winning him the 1955 Cornwall MRC Formula 1 race.

There are four more drivers aged 90 or more who competed in Formula One races 60 or more years ago: Chuck Weyant (USA), Ken Kavanagh (Australia), Paul Goldsmith (USA) and Hermano da Silva Ramos (France-Brasil).

Americans Weyant (born April 4rd 1923) and Goldsmith (born October 2nd 1925) recorded their F1 GP races at the famous Indianapolis 500, which was a part of the Formula One World Championship during the 1950s. Weyant raced four times at the Indy 500 between 1955 and 1959, while Goldsmith competed six times from 1958 to 1963. In the 1960 Indianapolis 500, the last time when the race was a part of World Championship, he scored a podium with the 3rd place finish. Goldsmith was more known as the NASCAR driver, with 127 races over 11 years.

Australian Ken Kavanagh (born December 12th 1923) also deserves his place on this list although he didn’t start any F1 GP race; he tried twice but failed. He entered the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix with his own Maserati 250F and failed to qualify. A month later he tried at 1958 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, but the engine of his car was blown during practice. Despite that, Kavanagh was a very successful racer albeit with motorcycles. He became the first Australian to win a motorcycle Grand Prix race (1952 Ulster Grand Prix). He competed in 38 motorcycle GP races and scored 5 wins and 24 podiums

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Maria Teresa de Filippis – the first woman in F1
We are continuing the list with drivers aged between 85 and 90; there are 10 of them: John Rhodes (UK, August 18th 1927), Hans Herrmann (Germany, February 23rd 1928), Andre Milhoux (Belgium, December 9th 1928), Ian Stewart (UK, July 15th 1929), John Barber (UK, July 22nd 1929), Stirling Moss (UK, September 17th 1929), John Campbell-Jones (UK, January 21st 1930), Don Edmunds (USA, September 23rd 1930), Bernie Ecclestone (UK, October 28th 1930) and David Piper (UK, December 2nd 1930).

Among them were also Guy Ligier, but he died in August 2015. Maria Teresa de Filippis, the first woman in Formula One, who died in January 2016, at the age 89.

As you noticed, some very famous names are here, for example Stirling Moss (one of the greatest F1 drivers in a history), Bernie Ecclestone (big boss of modern Formula 1) or Maria Teresa de Filippis (first woman in F1). They already have separate stories.

Stories as a inspiration for modern racing drivers

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Bernie Ecclestone failed to qualify for two Grand Prix races in 1958


There are almost 80 drivers aged over 75 on the list, we will count them all and in the following months we will also feature the stories of many of these drivers, because their life stories can be an inspiration for all modern racing drivers.

The drivers aged between 80 and 85 are: Dan Gurney (USA, April 13th 1931),
Alex Soler-Roig (Spain, October 29th 1931),
Tony Brooks (UK, February 25th 1932),
Fred Gamble (USA, March 17th 1932),
Tim Parnell (UK, June 25th 1932),
Mike MacDowel (UK, September 13th 1932),
Gaetano Starrabba (Italy, December 3rd 1932),
Nino Vaccarela (Italy, March 4th 1933),
Bob Bondurant (USA, April 27th 1933),
Mario de Araujo Cabral (Portugal, January 15th 1934),
Giorgio Bassi (Italy, January 20th 1934),
George Follmer (USA, January 27th 1934),
Ernesto Brambilla (Italy, January 31st 1934),
John Surtees (UK, February 11th 1934),
Bobby Unser (USA, February 20th 1934),
Paddy Driver (SouthAfrica, March 13th 1934),
Mike Taylor (UK, March 24th 1934), Brian Gubby (UK, April 17th 1934),
Michael May (Switzerland, August 18th 1934),
Peter Ashdown (UK, October 16th 1934),
AJ Foyt (USA, January 16th 1935),
Hubert Hahne (Germany, March 28th 1935),
Vic Elford (UK, June 10th 1935),
Carlo Facetti (Italy, June 26th 1935),
Jim Hall (USA, July 23rd 1935),
John Cordts (Canada, July 23rd 1935),
Massimo Natili (Italy, July 28th 1935) and
Bill Brack (Canada, September 26th 1935).
South African Peter de Klerk died on July 11th this year, in the age 80.

Oldest living F1 champ Jack Brabham died in 2014
The last group is of the drivers aged between 75 and 80:
Bruce Kessler (USA, March 23rd 1936),
Gerry Ashmore (UK, July 25th 1936),
Jackie Lewis (UK, November 1936),
John Skip Barber (USA, November 1936),
Ben Pon (Netherland, December 9th 1936),
Bruce Johnstone (South Africa, January 30th 1937),
Roger Penske (USA, February 20th 1937),
Brian Redman (UK, March 9th 1937),
Gus Hutchison (USA, April 26th 1937),
Gunther Seiffert (Germany, October 18th 1937),
Keith Greene (UK, January 5th 1938),
Alan Rees (UK, January 12th 1938),
Carlo Franchi Gimax (Italy, January 1st 1938),
Fritz D’Orey (Brasil, March 25th 1938),
Peter Westbury (UK, May 26th 1938),
Eppie Wietzes (Netherlands, May 28th 1938),
Ernie Pieterse (South Africa, July 4th 1938),
Neville Lederle (South Africa, Septemebr 25th 1938),
Brausch Niemann (South Africa, January 7th 1939),
David Hobbs (UK, March 9th 1939),
Basil van Rooyen (South Africa, April 19th 1939),
Mike Harris (Zimbabwe, May 25th 1939)
Dieter Quester (Austria, May 30th 1939),
Jackie Stewart (UK, June 11th 1939), Chris Craft (UK, November 17th 1939),
Conny Andersson (Sweden, December 28th 1939) and
Mario Andretti (USA, February 28th 1940).

Among all those ‘oldtimers’ are three world champions: Mario Andretti, Jackie Stewart and John Surtees, who is oldest. Until 2014, the oldest living F1 champion was Sir Jack Brabham (born April 2nd 1926), but he died on May 19th 2014, at the age 88. Mario is 80 this year.

http://www.snaplap.net/oldest-living-dr ... rmula-one/

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Post by theracer120 » 2 months ago

From what I can tell both Kenneth McAlpine and Leslie Marr are still alive, they are both older then Kavanagh. Paul Goldsmith is the oldest of the Indy 500 drivers still alive and the second oldest living NASCAR winner (behind Dick Passwater)

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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 2 months ago

theracer120 wrote:
2 months ago
From what I can tell both Kenneth McAlpine and Leslie Marr are still alive, they are both older then Kavanagh. Paul Goldsmith is the oldest of the Indy 500 drivers still alive and the second oldest living NASCAR winner (behind Dick Passwater)
Thanks for that info.... yes I agree McAlpine is still listed as living, now aged 98. In fact he will be 99 in a couple of days time, 21st September!

Kenneth McAlpine
Nation: United Kingdom
Born the 21 september 1920 - Chobham - 98 years old
First Grand Prix:Britain 1952
Last Grand Prix:Britain 1955
Best result:13th
Best grid place:13th
7 Grands Prix
(3 British GP
3 1955 Aintree 32 Connaught Bs Alta L4 Dunlop 17 ab Oil line
2 1953 Silverstone 11 Connaught A Lea Francis L4 Dunlop 13 ab Water pipe
1 1952 Silverstone 3 Connaught A Lea Francis L4 Dunlop 17 16

2 Italian GPs (1952 and 1953)
Race
2 1953 Monza 24 Connaught A Lea Francis L4 Dunlop 18 nc
1 1952 Monza 28 Connaught A Lea Francis L4 Dunlop 22 ab Suspension

I German GP (His best result, 13th in 1953 driving his Lea Francis powered Connaught )

1 Dutch GP 1953... qualified 14th but had an engine failure in the race

He also took part in 22 non championship GPs


Leslie Marr.

Also still alive as @theracer120 pointed out. He is 97. Actually he is Sir Leslie Marr.

Marr was a professional artist who raced primarily for Connaught at national races in 1952 and 1953, and was successful in various events in 1954, such as the Glover Trophy, where he finished third.

2 grand Prix to his name, firstly the 1954 British GP at Silverstone where he finished 13thBritish Grand Prix, Aintree where he finished in thirteenth position.

In 1955, Marr was driving the Connaught model B for the British Grand Prix at Aintree. He retired with brake failure.

These are his only two Formula One appearances.He also did 22 non championship GPs.

He continued to race in other categories, including third place at the Lady Wigram Trophy in Christchurch New Zealand..


so our 4 oldest surviving F1 drivers are....

1. Kenneth McAlpine, 99 y.o in a couple of days (British)
2. Sir Leslie Marr 97 years old (British)
3. Ken Kavanagh, 95 years old (Australian)
4. Hermano da Silva Ramos 92 years old (will be 93 this year) (French Brazilian.)

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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 1 month ago

20th September 1970...

Saw the debut of the Tyrrell Formula 1 team at the Canadian Grand Prix at Mont Tremblant. Tyrrell of course had run and been involved in the Matra F1 project but they were entered not as Tyrrells, but as Matras.

Ken Tyrrell had also been involved in motor racing for many years prior in lower categories, both as driver and entrant. (John Surtees was first put in a racecaar by Tyrrell)

Of course the Tyrrell Team is the acorn from which evolved via BAR and Brawn to todays all conquering Mercedes team.

On the day before practice Stewart had tried to test the new Tyrrell car, with some modifications to the fuel system completed, but bad weather and an engine failure stopped him learning much. Consequently he spent most of the first official practice in his March, while the Tyrrell was having another engine installed.

The next day Stewart was not happy with the feel of the throttle pedal on the Tyrrell, the trouble being in the slide mechanism on the engine, so he jumped from the Tyrrell to the March and back again all afternoon. Having got the engine working right he roared off in the Tyrrell, only to have a rear-wheel centre-lock nut come loose, the safety-pin luckily keeping everything in place. The loose wheel nut problem was solved with the aid of a six-foot extension lever on the wheelnut spanner. :haha:

Saturday's final practice / qualy Stewart was away in a flash in the Tyrrell and it looked as though they had got it working properly, but the loose wheel-nut problem arose again, which caused owner Tyrrell and designer Derek Gardner to look very worried.

At the very end of practice suddenly the blue March was overdue and Stewart was seen running across the inside of the circuit. The March had broken a rear-wheel bearing and he had parked it by the roadside. Practice was nearly over, and without any fuss Cevert had got the second Tyrrell-March round in 1 min. 32.4 sec. to hold fourth fastest time. As practice was ending Stewart leapt into the Tyrrell, did a spectacular standing start in the pit area and roared away. The last lap of the day he did in a shattering 1 min. 31.5 sec. to snatch pole-position from Ickx, and as someone remarked "How professional can you get". After three days of practice Stewart held fastest lap with the Tyrrell and equal third fastest with the March, the difference in time between his two cars being four-tenths of a second. He then had to make the difficult decision on which car to use, and opted for the Tyrrell on the front row rather than the March on the second row, even though the Tyrrell had not done sufficient running to prove itself race-worthy.

So, Tyrrell / Stewart took the pole on debut.

When the Canadian flag fell Stewart shot into the lead, followed by Ickx, but Regazzoni made a poor start and Surtees and Rodriguez went round him
Stewart was pulling out such an enormous lead without really trying that it all seemed ridiculous and you wondered what everyone else was doing, so it was just a question of whether the Tyrrell/Cosworth/Hewland "assembly" could last for 90 laps. By ten laps it was all a bit of a follow-my-leader affair, with Ickx, Rodriguez and Cevert together, then a gap to Regazzoni and Amon, and another gap to Pescarolo leading Gethin, de Adamich, Hulme and Beltoise and obviously holding them all up, while Siffert, Brabham and Hill were following. Regazzoni began to get into his stride and close up on the trio in front of him, and Amon clung on grimly to the Ferrari and moved up with it. Hulme got tired of waiting fbr Gethin to overtake Pescarolo and quickly passed them both, but he had lost contact with the leading groups. It was clear that the Ferraris were handling better as their fuel load went down, for as Regazzoni closed up Ickx went further ahead of Rodriguez and Cevert, but he did not close up on the flying Stewart, who was so far ahead he seemed to be in a race of his own.

At twenty laps Stewart was out on his own, Ickx was safely in second place, Regazzoni had passed Cevert and was getting ready to pass Rodriguez, and Amon was with them all.

On lap 32 Stewart's impressive progress came to an unimpressive halt for the left front stub axle on the Tyrrell chassis broke off and that was that, the brake caliper luckily keeping everything in place, but even so Stewart was kept very busy bringing everything to a stop. He limped round to the pits to retire and watch the Ferraris of Ickx and Regazzoni settle down into a solid first and second triumphal tour, for though Amon was holding on to third place now he was losing touch with the second-place Ferrari. Behind Amon the young Cevert was driving splendidly and giving the New Zealander a bad time and no respite.

So not quite the dream debut.

Above is a precis of the full Canadian GP report of that year from Motorsport Magazine.
https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/arch ... gn=1114578

But Tyrrell of course went on to win races, titles and in doing so became a legendary team in their old timber yeard in Horsley ,Surrey.
In fact their first championship was in 1971, starting just a couple of races after their Canadian debut

They took part in 430 GPs over 29 seasons.
They used 5 different engine manufacturers over the years, most with the ubiqutous Ford Cosworth. The Cossie powered all of their 23 GP wins.

Image


5 engine builders GP
Ford Cosworth 310
Yamaha 65
Renault 26
Ilmor 16
Honda 16

Tyrrell also had
14 pole positions
20 Fastest Laps
77 podiums
8 one-twos

Oh and 3 World Championships.... two driver and one constructors title.

They also brought us the only 6 wheeler to race in Formula 1.

Image

As an aside that Canadian GP was the first race following the death of the soon to be posthumous champion Jochen Rindt.

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Post by erwin greven » 1 month ago

Bruce on Denny: "She'll be right"

Our founder gives fascinating insight into the incomparable Denny Hulme

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“His favourite expression ‘She’ll be right’ is pure Denis.” It was also the response often heard after a last-minute fix to the car before it went back out onto the track and invariably won the race.

Denny Hulme was known by his peers as a fearsome but popular competitor: strong and brave behind the wheel, shy and retiring away from it. He was a true gentleman racer and a key part of McLaren’s legacy in Formula 1 and Can-Am.

Here we delve into the archives to a profile of Denis ‘Denny’ Hulme, written by none other than his boss, fellow racer, New Zealander, and friend, Bruce McLaren. The article originally appeared in the November 25, 1967 edition of Motor magazine (at the princely sum of two shillings), and gives a fascinating insight into the man behind that steely, determined, and often stubborn exterior.


The World Champion I know

We were racing on the Ohakea airfield about 30 miles from nowhere in the North Island of New Zealand when I first heard of Denis Hulme. He was just some kid from Tauranga who was going to drive a 2-litre Cooper. He has only driven MGs before, and I can remember the mutterings that kids shouldn’t be allowed to drive these sort of cars. Denny has been playing havoc with the pundits ever since.

I’ve never asked him how he learned to drive, because I’m sure I know exactly how he started out. In time – a long time, I suppose – they will tar seal more than just the major roads in New Zealand, but until they do there will be a few dozen youngsters each year who learn to drive cars in conditions that will make them expert car handlers. These country roads have a layer of loose stones on top of a clay base, and even a fairly sedate family saloon gets quite lively on a twisting, narrow loose metal ‘shingle’ road. Not much of the countryside is flat in New Zealand, so any trip is liable to be a much bigger exercise than driving from London to Brighton, or from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the freeway. Motoring in New Zealand is still something of an adventure away from the main highways. There’s a chance that you’ll hold a bigger slide on your way to the beach than Jim Clark ever did while he was winning the British Grand Prix.

Denny must have made a good impression with his Coopers. The New Zealand Grand Prix Association’s ‘Driver to Europe’ scheme was in operations but they had one problem: young Hulme was doing very well for himself, but so was a lad from Whangarei, George Lawton, who also drove a 2-litre Cooper. They compromised wisely and sent them both abroad on the racing scholarship that had brought me to England a couple of years earlier. They arrived on the English scene in March, 1960, with Team Manager Feo Stanton, to go Formula 2 racing.

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Feo’s job, apart from trying to keep them out of trouble, was to look after the cars, enter them in races, introduce the boys to race promoters, and generally show them off. They had only been in England a couple of days when they went to a cocktail party at the Savoy. There was just no way that two New Zealand country boys were going to have the poise and grace of a Lord Fauntleroy, but even allowing for that I wasn’t amused when a leading journalist – who shall be nameless – asked me: “Have your monkeys had their tails pulled yet?” I can think of a hundred replies now, but at the time I was stuck for an answer. I wonder if the scribe in question remembers the occasion in the light of one monkey’s future achievements? George was tragically killed when his Cooper flipped at the Danish Roskildering.

You would have to call Denny a relaxed sort of bloke. Big and strong, yes, but gentle and shy with it, and just a little suspicious of people. He likes getting the job done, whether putting a car together, making the fastest practice lap, or getting an interview over with. A clue that gives an insight into the Denny that doesn’t show is that he hates to waste a day; unless he accomplishes something he’s not happy. It’s a part of the drive that made him World Champion.

He has never been afraid of work, but he won’t overdo it if it’s not necessary. As I said before, he likes to get the job done – quickly. He did all the preparation on his own racing cars (before he was famous, that is!) and one thing he didn’t believe in then, and still doesn’t, goes under the heading of “Technical B.S.” and the people who purvey it. I could almost accuse him of being a bit crude, and I could get away with it because I’m a bit that way myself. His favourite expression “She’ll be right” is pure Denis.

Image

He was putting his Formula Junior Cooper together in Surbiton once, and I mentioned to him that perhaps he should make proper brackets for the hoses. “Nah. I’ll tape 'em up. A bloke might want to take 'em off again. She’ll be right…”.

And a couple of years later at the Brabham factory Jack tells the story of the cars being prepared for Reims. Denny was working on the electrics of his Formula 2 car, and he had just twisted the wires together and taped them. Jack said: “You can’t do that! Put some proper connectors on it.” But “She’ll be right” won again. In the Formula 1 race one of Jack’s electrical connections came adrift when he was well placed, while I think Denny went on to win the Formula 2 race. Tape and all.

Denny Hulme has notched up a few records now, but there’s one that very few people know about. He has built a Formula 2 Cooper in record time. In 1960 they had pranged one of the cars and with a race the following weekend they set about building a new car. With Denny doing the welding and Feo and George cutting and filing the tubes they made a chassis in two and a half days! When I think of the complexities of current monocoque construction, those really were the good old days…

Denny is never too proud to lend a hand. On the Can-Am series we had only two working days between Bridgehampton and Mosport. The Bridgehampton track was particularly rough and the crew were going to need every bit of available time to check the two cars thoroughly. Denny’s car needed an engine change but he had a feeling (as he often does about some things) that either the heads or the manifold on his old engine were a bit special judging by the way it had run in the last two races. But to put those heads on the new engine required stripping, checking, re-lapping the valves and rebuilding. “I’ll grind the valves if that’s what you’re worried about. You get the engine apart and I’ll have them done while you’re talking about it!” He did too. It was an excellent job, even checking them with marking blue, and that engine won him the race. Everyone was happy. Denny had accomplished something that day, time was saved, and the job was done. I’ve tried to imagine a similar situation with, say, Ford’s racing operation – but it just couldn’t happen!

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As a racing driver Denny becomes a slightly different person. He has always had a lot of natural ability and he doesn’t have to work at going fast. He picks up a new circuit very quickly. I think he has always had potential, and this is one of the rare times when Ken Tyrrell, the ace picker, was wrong. He didn’t think Denny would make it.

In the past two years, apart from getting better with every race and without hitting anything in the process, Denny has become more determined. He had a year when he couldn’t find anyone to give him a drive; he had to spend all his own money on his Cooper, and he worked in Jack Brabham’s garage servicing customer’s cars. Ken Tyrrell, to give him credit, has always said that a good hungry driver will beat a good fat one any day, so maybe this spell of ‘hard times’ was the best thing that could have happened to Denny. You wouldn’t call him brave, and you wouldn’t call him daring because he doesn’t do anything dangerous. He always has the situation under control. He can get very sideways on, but he takes one hand off the wheel, and with the other hand and brawny arm he can apply a bucketful of lock so fast that it would shock the front wheels right off some cars. He’s pretty hard on gear changes too!

He is a good man to have on a team from a mechanic’s point of view. He knows that he wants and how it should be done, because he’s done it all himself at some stage. He is easy on the car because he doesn’t wear it out with a lot of practice.

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In the whole of the Can-Am series he has only ‘blown his cool’ once – at us, anyway. Minor officialdom, scrutineers and the few little jobsworths that you tend to come up against at motor races had better watch out for Denny, though. He objects strongly to red tape, or the wheels being pushed on his racing car by someone who probably doesn’t know anything about it.

Denny said he taught himself to go fast this year from the first lap on the track, due to the fact that at Indianapolis you have to qualify for the race in just four timed laps. It was in connection with this newly acquired ability that our ‘cool blowing’ incident occurred. At the start of the practice session at Bridgehampton he charged out, and it was three laps before the crew had got themselves sorted out, organised their tools and set up the original board. By the fourth lap he was back in the pits and taking his helmet off. “I’m wasting my bloody time! Why the hell weren’t you giving me lap times?” Now we give Mr Hulme signals every lap!

One thing has changed for Denny – there was a time when he had to chase people for a car to drive. Now they chase him.
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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 1 month ago

*Looks for 'Thanks' button* :sorrow:

Thanks @erwin greven for sharing this interesting article. :thumbsup:
Denny was always a favourite of mine back in his F1 / Can-Am days. :bow:
I was very sad to be at Bathurst the day of his passing away, out on track doing what he loved.

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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 1 month ago

5th October.

On this day in 1969, Jochen Rindt took his first F1 race victory at Watkins Glen to win the United States Grand Prix from Piers Courage. Sadly both were to die before the next visit to the Glen 12 months later.

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Post by DoubleFart » 1 month ago

5 years since Jules Bianchi's accident. RIP #JB17

6th October will mark 5 years since Andrea De Chesaris passed as well.
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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 1 month ago

DoubleFart wrote:
1 month ago
5 years since Jules Bianchi's accident. RIP #JB17

6th October will mark 5 years since Andrea De Chesaris passed as well.
6th October also marks the day when Francois Cevert died in practice at Watkins Glen in 1973.

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Post by erwin greven » 1 month ago

Francois Cevert, minutes before his last lap at Watkins Glen.
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Post by erwin greven » 1 month ago

Brian Redman: "Mr. Fangio, how do you come so fast?" "More throttle, less brakes...."
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Post by MonteCristo » 2 weeks ago

RIP Greg Moore...

Good lord, 20 years...

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Post by Antonov » 2 weeks ago

thought about that as well. Remember seeing it on the news. Brutal crash. RIP.

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Post by PTRACER » 2 weeks ago

It seems like Greg Moore's death had a greater impact on American motorsport than anyone else's in the past 20+ years and I don't understand why.
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Post by MonteCristo » 1 week ago

PTRACER wrote:
2 weeks ago
It seems like Greg Moore's death had a greater impact on American motorsport than anyone else's in the past 20+ years and I don't understand why.
He was at the time the youngest winner at the height of CART, in badass cars, who never had the best of cars/engines.

It's a natural 'what if' story. Having signed for Penske, who knows what would have happened.

He was also pretty much the most liked character on the circuit. A fun guy. People miss him.
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