2015-07-27: Mazda Monday with six rotary engined sports racers ...
2015-07-24: An all-encompassing look at the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR ...
Mazda, literally, took centre stage at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed
. All eyes were of course on the 1991 Le Mans winning 787B
, which was driven by among others Valentino Rossi. Our attention, however, was grabbed in particular by this Chevron B16 Mazda
that sat stationary in the paddock. Powered by a Mazda 10A engine, this was the very first car to race at Le Mans equipped with a Mazda rotary engine. It proved quick but fragile and after little over a season of racing, the unique Mazda-engined Chevron was retired from contemporary racing by its Belgian owner. He sold the car to the current owner over two decades ago, and he has only cleaned the car. It is believed that the Mazda-engined B16
has not run since 1971, which should make it one of the most original B16s in existence.
Another British sports racer powered by a rotary engine that starred at Goodwood was this Tiga GT286
. It was one of two built in this configuration for the 1986 IMSA Lights championship and features a striking Rusty Jones livery. The best result for this GT286 Mazda
was a second in class at Riverside.
In addition to the Le Mans winning 787B
, Mazda also brought a slightly earlier 787
and the RX-7 GTO
that originally raced in the IMSA GT Championship. The latter three are still run by Mazda North America and will again be campaigned at the upcoming Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
2015-07-21: V8-engined BRM Can-Am racer and Isdera Imperator ...
Having travelled the world for the better part of 15 years to visit the finest automotive events, we are not easily stunned any more. We definitely were at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed
were all but one of the surviving Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs
were lined up side by side. The occasion was the 60th anniversary of the World Championship winning 1955 campaign with the 300 SLR. Well ahead of its time, the Mercedes-Benz sports racer was derived from the equally successful W196 Formula 1 car. In addition to the two-seater body, it also featured a three-litre version of the eight cylinder engine. This remarkable unit featured desmodromic valves and direct fuel injection. Highlighted by Stirling Moss' record breaking performance in the Mille Migla, the 300 SLR
absolutely dominated. Sadly, the car will also be forever linked to the deadliest accident in motorsport history, which saw Pierre Levegh launch off the back of another competitor into the crowd at Le Mans, killing himself and 80 spectators. Mercedes-Benz withdrew the other cars from the race shortly after the accident. It would be the only race the German manufacturer entered in 1955 that they did not win.
So seeing just one of these priceless machines is special but seeing five of the six surviving examples
lined up side-by-side was more than spectacular. Three of the cars also ran throughout the weekend, which has enabled us to further expand our 300 SLR gallery
, which serves to illustrate a comprehensive article with car-by-car histories of each of the seven Roadsters
2015-07-15: F1 Friday with French-engined Williams and Shadow, and Fittipaldi ...
Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen two very different machines that both clearly boasted the distinct rumble of a V8 engine. The earliest of the pair is the very rare BRM P167 Chevrolet
. Built for the 1971 season, it was an evolution of BRM's original Can-Am design and featured more aggressive aerodynamics. First raced in the European Interseries championship, it scored a pair of wins in the hands of Brian Redman. The car did not fair quite as well in the Can-Am series, which prompted BRM to abandon the project. The cars were then raced by the late David Hepworth in Europe. His family has retained both P167s along with all but one of the other BRM Can-Am cars. This year, the featured P167
was restored with the help of original mechanic John Brooke. The work was completed, literally in the paddock of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and as can be seen in this 19-shot gallery
, the very rare BRM was run to the top on each of the event's three days.
Powered by an altogether more sophisticated but similarly sounding V8 is the Isdera Imperator 108i
, which we captured at last month's Modena Trackdays. This rare, German supercar was created by the highly talented engineer Eberhard Schulz. His skills were so diverse that he was offered jobs in both the engineering and design departments at Porsche. Following his spell at the German company, he started to produce cars of his design. Among them was the Imperator, which was built in very small numbers between 1983 and 1991. Inspired by the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, it featured a spaceframe chassis, gull-wing doors and a Mercedes-Benz or AMG V8 engine. The pictured example
is the fourth Imperator built and was originally owned by a German Olympic gold medal winner. In its current ownership, it was restored and subtly modified with the help of Eberhard Schulz himself.
2015-07-14: 2015 Monza Historic report and 250-shot gallery ...
During the 1989 season, Williams and Renault started what would be one of the most successful collaborations between a team and an engine manufacturer in F1 history. The first Renault engined Williams was an adaptation of an existing design before the all-new FW13 was introduced late in 1989. It suffered from some reliability woes, which were addressed over the next winter to create the Williams FW13B Renault
. Driven by Riccardo Patrese and Thierry Boutsen, the FW13B clinched two wins in a season dominated by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, racing for McLaren and Ferrari respectively. The foundation for success was however in place and between 1992 and 1997, the Renault-engined Williams were the fastest cars in the field. At the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, we had the opportunity to shoot not one but two FW13Bs
. Williams Heritage brought a fully functional machine, the Hungarian Grand Prix winning chassis, which was demonstrated throughout the weekend by Felipe Massa and test-driver Alex Lynn. We used this chance to capture every detail as can be seen in 27-shot gallery
Another French-engined Formula 1 car that more than caught our attention at Goodwood was this Shadow DN7 Matra
. Intended to give Shadow an edge over the Cosworth-engined rivals, the one-off DN7 was used only twice during the 1975 season. We, however, found that it was a very serious effort, particularly on Matra's part; the V12 used was a purpose-built unit that was quite different from the Matra engines used before and after. The current owner acquired the car, and one of just three of the Shadow-spec V12s, directly from Don Nichols, and has spent the last couple of years restoring it to its former glory. The result of this labour of love can be admired in this 19-shot gallery
To continue the 'F1' theme of today's news feature, we have also taken a closer look at the Fittipaldi F8C
we caught in action during this year's Modena Trackdays. One of the very last Fittipaldis built, this car was raced with little success during the 1981 season.
Under absolutely scorching conditions, the legendary Autodromo Nazionale Monza hosted the inaugural Monza Historic
over the weekend. Although officially not staged by Peter Auto, the event did feature all of the French organisers familiar grids like the Classic Endurance Racing 1&2 and the Trofeo Nastro Rosso, complemented by the Alfa Revival Cup and the U2TC. Ferraris featured particularly strongly over the weekend, not only in the Trofeo Nastro Rosso, which included a 250 LM, a 330 GTO and the 250 GT SWB Breadvan, but also in the CER 1, which saw a pair of glorious 512s fill the front row of the grid. The racing was impressive throughout but the heat did affect both the drivers and the cars, underlined by the high attrition rates in all races.
As at Dijon a few weeks ago, we braved the high temperatures and spent the weekend trackside. The result is a concise report
, illustrated by a spectacular 250-shot gallery
, which includes all the action.