Toggle Sidebar
News Feed

Currently filtering items tagged with #Silverstone


  • Post is under moderation
    SAM’S #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW

    I had been toying with the idea of changing my bucket seats for a while as while the safety from the Recaro Pro Racers was pretty unbeatable it had two downsides: I had to get it in an XL size as being on the tall side my shoulders didn’t fit under the wings in the regular seats, which resulted in the base of the seat being too wide for my lower half, and winged seats are banned from tourist days at the Nürburgring.

    So I stuck both my seats up for sale and they were soon gone. With a pocket full of cash I called Hack Engineering and ordered one brandnew Recaro SPG. I then waited till payday before I ordered the second but, with all this Brexit rubbish, Recaro had hiked its prices up by 10% annoyingly, so I held fire on ordering another and hunted around the second-hand market.

    A few weeks passed and nothing popped up till a good friend of mine, Micheal Evans, offered to loan me his old-skool carbon #Kevlar-Recaro-SPA , which is still the same shape as the current SPG. The Kevlar version is just amazingly light and can be easily held with your little finger alone!

    Seats sorted I now wanted to change my mounts from random steel items to 6mm alley FIA mounts to have it safer and lighter at the same time. I must have saved around 5kg changing seats and mounts so I decided to add the front carpet back in as I could afford the weight gain to make it nicer to drive on the road.

    I got the seat mounted in a nice position for my legs but my arms were too stretched from the wheel so I put a 20mm spacer on; luckily having big hands I can still reach the indicator and wiper stalks. My first outing putting the new seats through their paces was a #PistonHeads-Sunday-Service at #Silverstone circuit. I hadn’t booked any track time but went along with my helmet and #HANS device anyway. The weather was nice so #TBFF decided to book a half an hour session. I felt more exposed not having the safety/blind spot of the winged seat but the base of the SPG held me so much better that I wasn’t having to brace myself with my left thigh anymore. Also it makes for a better GoPro angle to capture track driving footage.

    CONTACT
    Hack Engineering
    www.hackengineering.co.uk
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    The Highs and Lows of Motor Racing. It’s been a busy month for the Saxon team with both the high and low points coming at the Silverstone 24-Hour race.

    Hankook 24-Hour at #Silverstone / SAXON MOTORSPORT / / #BMW-N57 / #N57 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW / #BMW-E87 / #BMW-E87-N57 / #Saxon-Motorsport / #BMW-E87-Saxon-Motorsport / #N57-Saxon-Motorsport / #2016 /

    This 24-Hour race really had everything; there were brilliant drives, some excellent spanner action, typical Northamptonshire spring weather and some seemingly dubious late rule changes. To say the Saxon team went through the mill would be something of an understatement.

    Things started pretty well with a solid testing performance on the Thursday before the race weekend and progressed in a similar vein on Friday with a good showing by the Cotswold #BMW Groupsponsored 135d in free practice, which was watched very closely by competitors and race organisers alike. Despite the rules for the event having been put in place months before the race weekend Saxon Motorsport was informed after the practice session that the team would no longer be allowed to take onboard 100 litres of diesel at each pit stop but that the quantity was being reduced to 80 litres. In addition, the Balance of Performance rules were being adjusted so that the minimum allowable lap time of 2min 18sec was being increased by one second. This had the effect of negating the diesel-powered 135d’s economy advantage by introducing a possible additional four pit stops during the race and also limiting the ability to regain lost time.

    Team owner, Nick Barrow, and team manager, Clare Lee, were involved in a heated discussion with the race organisers who were not penalising the petrol-powered cars in the class to the same extent. Eventually, agreement was reached so that the 2min 19sec minimum lap time would stand and the fuel allowance would be increased slightly to 90 litres. The team and drivers were disappointed to have the potential for their highly developed diesel-engined race car so severely curtailed before the event had even started. It was almost akin to two teams showing up for a football match and one team being told their goal was to be 50 per cent larger!

    Despite the shifting goalposts the team was determined to work within the new limits and prove the quality of the race car built by chief engineer, Jon Taylor. Qualifying proved the ability of the car when Dave Robinson put in two laps, each of which would have placed the car seventh on the grid, much as anticipated by the team.


    Race day dawned bright and sunny and the team was made aware that three of the cars that had qualified ahead of them on the starting grid had been penalised for technical infringements so Saxon would start in fourth place. Dave elected to start the race and was soon challenging the cars ahead.

    As the afternoon and early evening wore on, the car led the race for some 19 laps before the weather intervened and further reduced the car’s competitiveness as in the slippery conditions other cars were able to more closely match the lower fuel consumption of the Saxon 135d.

    Drama then struck during Dave’s second stint at around 1:10am when the gearbox developed a fault and became stuck in first gear. Saxon’s team of mechanics carried out a swift and impressive gearbox change (along with a new set of rear brake pads) and the car was returned to the track after 40 minutes, having dropped to 23rd position from seventh prior to the breakdown.


    The rain and wet track conditions continued throughout the hours of darkness, with Nick and Neil Primrose struggling to gain places. However, towards the end of Neil’s dawn stint, light started to show at the end of the tunnel as the rain eased and daylight began to break. As Dave’s early morning session began, lap times began to fall and car number 117 started to set fastest sector and lap times lap after lap. Bringing the car in for a driver change at 8.58am, Dave had literally driven the tread off the wet tyres but the track had still not dried completely and those on slicks were still not faster than the 135d. However, after a further six laps, Clint Bardwell decided that the time had come to change to slick tyres and immediately showed the choice to have been timed to perfection by continuing to set fastest sector times all around the track.

    At this stage, the team was rapidly rising through positions 17 to 12 and continued to climb as the excitement mounted. Nick and Neil maintained the push hard with a sixth place finish well in their sights, with Dave again scheduled to be at the helm for the final stint. But disaster struck at 2:45pm – just oneand- a-quarter hours from the chequered flag; Neil reported a sudden loss of power on the back straight and drove the car into the pits for Jon to diagnose a faulty turbocharger resulting in an early end of the race for Saxon!

    The team and supporters who had begun to gather in the pit garage in anticipation of the final battle for places were heartbroken. The car and team had proven capable of competing with the best cars entered, having been the fastest throughout dry daylight hours and in different circumstances could well have triumphed. Instead the team were left to pack up and head back to Hereford, imagining what might have been but at the same time looking forward to the next opportunity to prove themselves in the knowledge that so much more is achievable. Post-Silverstone technical update The modifications that the team made prior to the Silverstone race to speed up the pit stops worked well, enabling them to carry out a driver change, complete with four wheel changes and a drinks bottle refill all within about 50 seconds.

    However, more improvement is being sought before the next round with an overall pit stop target time of 30 seconds being the aim. The limiting element now is the wheel changing, whereas before Silverstone it was the driver change and drinks bottle refill. The new system for providing water for the drivers (whereby the mechanic on the left rear attaches a full bottle to the dry break connector fitted into the left rear door) worked well. Fears that he would forget to remove it after he had finished changing the wheel and the car would leave with the fill bottle attached proved unfounded. However, there was a minor problem with operation of the system in the car as when the on-board bottle was full and the driver braked he got a rather unexpected jet of water in the face! The team are confident that this will be cured before their Nürburgring race.

    The wheel changing had been considerably improved for Silverstone by eliminating the need for torquing the wheel nuts individually, but the next most time-consuming part is putting the five wheel nuts back on when the new wheel is fitted. The team is now working on a way of securing a set of wheel nuts on the wheel that is about to be fitted so that they are in place and ready to be tightened as the wheel is put on.

    The modified N57 engine that the team used at Silverstone has now been fully-stripped. Although this wouldn’t normally be Saxon’s practice after one race, this engine featured several new developments that hadn’t been tried before. It was therefore considered expedient to examine everything to be sure no problems were developing.

    In particular, Jon wanted to examine the new oil pump that he had fitted into the sump. This was stripped along with its pipework and everything checked out well. The newly supplied crankshaft from Arrow Precision Engineering had completed its first race distance at Silverstone and so the team wanted to ensure that nothing was showing signs of premature wear. The only issue spotted here was some wear marks on the side of the main bearing shells; this does not appear to be a serious concern but the cause needs to be investigated by the team and Arrow before the next race. In addition, the team had not been entirely happy with the surface finish on the top of the block and the cylinder head so these have been remachined before reassembly to ensure the best possible seal for the head gasket.


    On one occasion during the Silverstone race a ‘low battery voltage’ dash board alarm had been noticed by one driver warning but once cancelled didn’t appear again. After the race Jon started to investigate what could have caused this and eventually found that a connector between a switch panel on the dash board and the main loom had been overheating and looked as if it could fail imminently. This has now been sent to the loom manufacturer to have a higherrated connector fitted.

    Changing focus for the season

    Preparations are now in full swing for the next confirmed outing at the Nürburgring over the weekend of 26-29 May. Those following the Saxon team will know that the intention was to run Italian driver Luca Demarci in the hybrid LPG/diesel car in GT Cup races this year but due to unforeseen budget issues, Luca has had to withdraw from the series at present. This means that the team’s focus is on the Creventic Series of endurance races for road-based cars such as the BMW 1 Series – the Hankook sponsored Touring Car Endurance Series – under the same regulations as the Silverstone race.


    In addition to these races at Slovakia-ring in June and Meppen, northern Germany, Barcelona and Paul Ricard later in the year, Nick is planning to visit the VLN Series at the famous Nürburgring. “Our V10 petrol-engined car is being prepared for a couple of trips to Germany,” he says. “Having raced many times at the ‘Ring in sprint and endurance races, I know that this car will be a formidable tool on that track and can’t wait to give it a try.” Like the diesel endurance car, the V10 will be liveried in Cotswold BMW colours in recognition of its sponsorship and support. The VLN Series consists of ten rounds of four- to six-hour races throughout the year and the team is well acquainted with the track, having run there with many class wins since 2012.


    Nick previously ran this car in Britcar last year, proving its competitiveness and now he wants to prove its durability. The team hope to combine these races with qualifying races for two new drivers who raced with the team at the final Britcar race at Donington last season; Martin Gibson and Ellis Hadley acquitted themselves well in the team’s Cotswold BMW-sponsored 3.0-litre diesel in only their first competitive outing in the car and have embarked on the road to qualifying for the #2017 #Nurburgring 24-Hour race. This will involve a series of sprint races in a 2.0-litre car before they can enter the endurance race. “We are happy to fit a 2.0-litre engine to one of our cars to enable them to qualify with us,” said Jon. “We know the car will be competitive there and they’ve proved to be good drivers and team members so we wish them well trying to qualify.”
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Matt Zollo
    BMW ART CARS / #Frank-Stella : #BMW-3.0CSL / #BMW-E9 / #Kugelfischer-Injection-System / #Kugelfischer / #BMW-E9-Frank-Stella / #BMW-3.0CSL-E9 / / #Art-Cars / #BMW

    Never mind the fine artwork on the bodywork, underneath Stella’s geometric lines this #CSL packed a mighty turbocharged punch.

    The second of BMW’s Art Cars was another CSL and technically this machine was the brainchild of the then-head of #BMW-Motorsport , Jochen Neerpasch. It came about as a result of rule changes for the #1976 season which would have seen the factory works CSLs effectively detuned for the more stringent Group 2 regulations which demanded a return to smaller aerodynamic addenda, wet sump lubrication, and most crucially, a banning of four-valve cylinder heads unless they were used in series production. Neerpasch didn’t take this lying down and decided to strap a pair of turbochargers to the CSL’s engine and take on the dominant Porsche 935s in Group 5.

    In hindsight it might not have been the best idea as the car wasn’t desperately reliable and in the end only raced three times at #Silverstone , #Le-Mans and #Dijon . The Stella CSL used a 3.2-litre version of the twin-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder #M49 / #BMW-M49 unit to which Josef Schnitzer attached a brace of #KKK turbochargers and a Kugelfischer injection system. On the dyno it could crack 1000hp, but it was wound down to develop 750-800hp in race trim in a vain attempt to allow the rest of the car to cope with these monumental forces that it had never been designed to withstand. There was no doubting that it was quick… but on its first outing at Silverstone it lasted just 14 laps before needing a new set of boots that had been vapourised by the engine’s torque and by lap 43 it had retired with a melted transmission.

    At Silverstone the car didn’t yet sport Frank Stella’s geometric patterns but BMW had seen how much interest the Calder CSL had generated at Le Mans the previous year so it commissioned Stella to paint the car for the 1976 running of the endurance classic. With longer gearing for Le Mans the CSL was a monster, allegedly pulling 212mph on the Mulsanne straight – drivers Gregg and Redmond must have been absolute legends – and they managed to put it eighth on the grid. Sadly in the race the inevitable happened and it retired after 23 laps.

    Its last outing was at the last round of the World Makes Championship which was held at the small Dijon circuit in September 1976. By now the turbo CSL sported a reinforced differential, gearbox and halfshafts and was back in the hands of Peterson (who had driven it at Silverstone). In qualifying at least, things at last seemed to be going according to plan as he managed to hold back the phalanx of Porsche 935s to take the top spot on the grid.

    Peterson led from the start and once he’d pulled away from Jacky Ickx’s Martini 935 the boost was wound down until Ickx could maintain the same pace as the CSL but not catch it. However, even this approach didn’t work and on lap 33 the diff turned into a casing full of swarf! A glorious failure then… but just look at, obscenely bulging arches, huge wings and that fantastic livery – what’s not to like?
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Valtteri Bottas: With #Ferrari we can and should fight

    In #Silverstone #Valtteri-Bottas had a chance to fight for the victory, but the discussion with the engineer issues a command of tactics took a few laps in the end the opportunity was missed. In an interview with Autosport Finn said that in certain situations it is willing to risk a fight and hopes Ferrari...

    Valtteri Bottas: "In order to earn a lot of points or win a race, you must first finish. In the race it is important to be able to take risks, but it should not be a stupid risk. I always try to calculate the situation. Usually I try to fly steadily, but can be aggressive when it comes to the struggle for the victory or top position. I think that one day you will see it.

    Mercedes have a significant advantage, expect to fight with them only in the event that, for whatever reasons, the leaders will have problems, but with Ferrari and we have to fight.

    This year we had a few podiums, but we want more. It is important that at the beginning of the season, we have earned more points than the same period last year, and all the new items that prepare engineers make the car faster. We must continue in the same spirit, then everything will turn out. I do not want to say that the victory in this year's unattainable for us, to win the race will not be easy, but we will try to do it."
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Purley accident report #1977 #Silverstone / #LEC-Refrigeration #LEC

    Peter Jowitt, the #RAC ’s expert Accident Commissioner, has completed his investigation into the causes of the appalling accident which befell poor David Purley during qualifying for the John Player #British-Grand-Prix . Jowitt concludes that the accident — which he describes as ‘the most severe known accident’ — was caused by a jammed throttle slide, and found that the actual cause of this was very unusual.

    Jowitt’s full report reads as follows:

    1. Towards the end of the pre-selection practice session for the British Grand Prix, the Lec #Formula-1 car driven by #David-Purley was involved in a major accident. The car cut across the apex of the comer at Becketts, ran across the infield, recrossed the track, went through five catch fences, and hit the earth bank-backed sleeper fence at very high speed, in an almost head-on impact. The chassis of the car was virtually destroyed, complete destruction going back as far as two feet from the seat bulkhead.

    2. An immediate inspection of the car showed the following evidence:
    The front tyres were not flatted, but the rubber indicated that they had been travelling at an angle to the direction in which they were directed. The tyres were all inflated except the front left, which wheel had considerable distortion due to the impact.

    The throttle slide was in the wide- open position.
    The tachometer was stopped at 6000rpm.
    The car was in 5th gear.
    The brake reservoirs were badly damaged, bur still held some fluid.
    The brake pedal linkage, although distorted, was intact, with all pins and pivots in position.
    The steering linkage anchorage to the left front wheel was broken, due to impact, but the steering was otherwise intact, and the rack was operable.

    3. The driver was still trapped in the wreckage at this point, and he was heard to mumble that ‘the brakes had gone spongy'. His six point harness was intact, and had to be cut to release him. It should be noted that releasing the driver was a task done with extreme care and professionalism, and the marshals and medical staff cannot be praised too highly for their part in the operation.

    4. Away from the accident scene, an examination was made of the rubber marks left by the car. These were from the front tyres, and showed a gentle right curve from the left hand side of the track entering the corner, across the track, across the infield kerb, across the infield, across the far infield kerb, across the track, and on to the grass. The total length of rubber marks was 155yds, with the right hand track being slightly shorter than the left. The right hand track showed the wavering edge sometime seen when a tyre deflates and loses wall stability, but the braking from this tyre had been so hard that it had plucked stones from the rather poor tarmac covering the infield of the corner, so that any idea that the tyre had deflated could be discounted, a fact further confirmed by the examination of the car.

    5. The tachometer was of the chronometric type, and would indicate the speed of the engine at the split second before it stopped. 6000rpm in 5th gear would give an impact speed of approximately 110mph, and the severity of the damage to the chassis would tend to confirm this. The braking marks indicate a braking effort of about 1.5g, and working back over the 155yds of the braking distance, this would give a speed at the start of braking of 180mph. which is manifestly impossible at this pan of the circuit. The inference is that the car was being driven on by its engine whilst the brakes were hard on, almost certainly due to the throttle slide sticking. There is some confirmatory evidence for this possibility.

    David Purley — stuck throttle.

    6. Earlier in the day, a pipe in the fuel injection system had spilled fuel, which caused a small fire on top of the engine. This had been doused by dry powder extinguisher, and I personally observed the very diligent efforts made by the mechanics to clean the engine afterwards, using air hoses and a vacuum cleaner. When the air slides were stripped after the accident, the small rollers were found to have flats on them, and traces of a hard, white, cement-like deposit were found. This was shown by subsequent experiment to be the dry powder extinguisher, which had combined with the gasolene present to make this hard deposit, a thing never before noted.

    7. Additionally, another driver, Mike Wilds, was standing on the infield at Becketts Corner, and he describes the car as coming across the infield with a lot of right lock on the steering, and with a lot of engine noise, indicating to him that there was more power coming from the engine than one could reasonably expect at this point.

    8. The inference must therefore be that although the throttle slide was found to be free after the impact, a throttle jam, very probably due to the unexpected combination of dry powder and gasolene, and despite very thorough cleaning, was the cause of this accident. I feel that the attention of competitors must be drawn to this very dangerous potential accident cause.

    9. All the safety measures appeared to have worked well. The driver's helmet had been scraped quite severely by the catch fences, but there was no evidence that any damage had been done by the poles. The accident was an extremely severe one, and it seems probable that the speed knocked off by the fences was crucial to the driver's survival. The harness was not destroyed, and the mountings were not strained. So fuel was spilled, and the foot-box, although severely displaced, slayed reasonably intact. To David Purley, the record of having survived the most severe known accident now passes. Had the safety measures not worked, there is little doubt that he would not have survived.

    10. The main lesson to be learned from this accident is that unexpected factors, such as the combination of dry powder and gasolene, can still undo the most carefully thought out survival measures but we are at least improving.

    David Purley, of course, was severely injured in the accident, and at present he is on a long road to recovery in Midhurst Hospital in Sussex.
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    The #Mercedes did not find the reasons for false starts

    In the last two races at #Silverstone and at the #Hungaroring Mercedes drivers occupied the entire first row of the grid, but is not started in the best way, giving leadership contenders. The team conducted a thorough analysis, but found no obvious reasons for these failures.

    Toto #Wolff head of #Mercedes-Motorsport «We are all analyzed, saw a lot of different reasons and circumstances, but did not find any single factor that would explain everything. Just these starts were unsuccessful.

    In Hungary, you could see that all the riders who started on the right, could not play the position, but #Vettel and #Raikkonen started the race third and fifth, started the race perfectly. Perhaps the whole thing under the circumstances. Another of them was the delayed start, due to which the machine Lewis overheated clutch, he stopped.

    It is obvious that variables in the Spa at the start will be even greater. The FIA ​​changed the rules, but no driver or software will not be able to do everything 100% right. Ideal starting point will remain in the past and we will make a small step back in technology for the sake of entertainment and unpredictability, but I am optimistic hope that it will make the race more interesting."
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Archive Photo of the month. Taking part in the #FIA #Masters-Historic-Formula-One #Formula-1 races at the recent #Silverstone Classic were two Lec CRP1 cars. Raced by David Purley in the #1977 season the first car was virtually destroyed at Silverstone during practice for the 1977 Grand Prix. Purley spent the rest of the season recovering from serious leg injuries suffered in the accident. A further car was built for a recovered Purley to drive in the 1979 Aurora AFX series. He is pictured here at Brands Hatch in August of that year where the car retired. He sadly died in 1985 when his Pitts Special aerobatic plane crashed in the English Channel. ‏ — at United Kingdom
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    It was a promising defeat. #F1 #Ferrari-F1

    Enzo’s belief that equally valuable lessons can be learned from defeats and victories is central to Ferrari’s entire history, prompting many moments of brilliance and some thrilling comebacks.

    The Romans used to say that success has many fathers, while defeat is always an orphan. Napoleon clearly shared this notion, so it might be surprising to learn that Enzo Ferrari, a character with a touch of Bonaparte about him (albeit one who evaded his Waterloo), never quite saw things like that.

    To Enzo’s way of thinking, Defeat, always with a capital D, was seen as a starting point. Yes, to quote another of his celebrated sayings, whoever came second in a race was simply the first last, but disappointment should never lead to resignation. Occasionally, Il Commendatore would use a seemingly contradictory term to describe a defeat: “promising”. It demonstrates the intellectual energy of the man. The ability to avoid the self-pity of the defeated. The tenacity of someone who never stops planning, organising, experimenting.

    One of his best-loved maxims, “the finest victory is the next one”, was born from a desire to always accentuate the positive. At Maranello they refused to give up, a characteristic that’s as resolute as ever. Like any other successful company, the history of Ferrari is littered with difficult moments, some dramatic and some even tragic. Despite the disappointments, that glorious story hasn’t been broken; the dream hasn’t been shattered. The record books speak for themselves.

    Take the autumn of 1974. At the peak of a #Formula-1 One season marked by the Scuderia’s renewed competitive edge, with Niki Lauda at the wheel alongside #Clay-Regazzoni , there was an unexpected set-back. On a gloomy afternoon at the Watkins Glen circuit in the US, #Emerson-Fittipaldi won the title for McLaren. It was a stinging blow for the Prancing Horse and came after a decade of frustrating grand prix results.

    The following morning Enzo ordered Mauro Forghieri to start preparing the 312 T: a great car, noted for its revolutionary transverse gearbox. Within 12 months, Lauda celebrated his comeback as World Champion, demonstrating (talking of well-known sayings) that, in the sporting sense at least, revenge isn’t necessarily a dish best served cold. It’s best hot, almost boiling, if there’s a Ferrari involved.

    A defeat at the start of the Swinging Sixties was also promising. Although waiting for the cultural and musical upheaval provided by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, technology buffs in England were well ahead of their times, introducing the rear engine placement on grand prix cars. A lot has been said about the Drake’s apparent nostalgia for the countryside, and how he liked to tell colleagues that the oxen went ahead of the plough in the fields.

    However, his love of rural life (Enzo wrote about seeing something in the spirit of workers in the fields around Modena that suggested they could become mechanics) didn’t stop research and development. Far from it. By 1961, the 156 F1 had moved its oxen to the rear. The car, designed by Carlo Chiti and driven by Phil Hill, scored a bullseye, bringing the world title back to Maranello.

    In other words, the company founded by Enzo in 1947 has in its DNA the knowledge that the motto “try and try again” isn’t just a homage to Galileo, to Descartes and to Dante’s Paradiso (as his muse, Beatrice, could be considered Dante’s literary and romantic Ferrari). Trying and trying again allows you to sublimate the very idea of defeat. Reinterpreted as another stimulus, painful in its immediate outcomes (who likes to lose?), but hugely valuable in terms of what can be learned in the dark hours of disillusionment.

    Staying with F1, it’s perhaps no coincidence that, in more than 60 years of grand prix escapades, Ferrari is the only team never to have taken a break. The Scuderia has always been there, since #1950 . Others (or rather all of them, from #Mercedes to #Renault , #Honda to #BMW , #Ford to #Toyota ) have come and gone, often due to a lack of results. In so doing, Ferrari’s competitors have unwittingly borne witness to the uniqueness of the Maranello manufacturer.

    But how can you then escape from the magnetic intensity of a memory that takes you straight back to the events of 1982? An annus horribilis for the Drake and his people, struck down by irreparable grief for Gilles Villeneuve, killed on the track at Zolder, followed by Didier Pironi’s awful accident, which saw him confined to hospital when he seemed to have the championship in his pocket. Enzo’s response to these defeats, which were about so much more than merely failing to reach a chequered flag ahead of anyone else, was an extraordinary declaration of bravery and valour.

    Forghieri didn’t give up his responsibilities as Technical Director: amid tears and gritted teeth he carried on with the development of the 126C2, a car propelled by a powerful turbo engine. And, at the end of that ill-fated season, thanks also to the contribution of the Frenchman, Patrick Tambay, and the Italian-American, Mario Andretti, the Prancing Horse went on to win the World Constructors Title.

    A strong sense of identity surfaces among the fragments of glory brought back up to now, extending beyond the legacy of the Founder. Because in #2000 , for instance, when #Mika-Häkkinen ’s #McLaren seemed certain to prolong a barren stretch that had already lasted more than 20 years, promising defeats in Austria, Germany, Hungary and Belgium were the launch pads for an astonishing change of fortunes. At Monza and Indianapolis, Suzuka and Malaysia, the legendary Michael Schumacher turned the lessons he’d learned into gold. The German won every race, in a car designed by Rory Byrne. And a new Ferrari chapter began.

    What rivals find hard to understand is the lack of a particular word in Ferrari’s vocabulary: resignation. Because resignation has never found a home at Maranello.


    After a very difficult #2014 season the Scuderia confirmed Enzo Ferrari’s belief that defeats could still have a promising outcome and force the team to try even harder next time. In #2015 , #Ferrari duly returned to the elite group of competitors, thanks to the determination of its drivers, #Sebastian-Vettel (below) and #Kimi-Raikkonen (right).

    A strong identity surfaces among the glory.
    “Bravery and valour have always been key Ferrari attributes”




    Ferrari team work found its greatest reward during what is now known as the “Schumacher era”. The long title chase, which started in 1996, came to fruition in #1999 , bringing five Drivers Titles and six Constructors Titles to #Maranello . Or, to be precise, six Drivers Titles and eight Constructors Titles, considering that Kimi Räikkönen’s (pictured on this page) 2007 title and the 2007 and 2008 Constuctors Titles had their origins in the German driver’s Scuderia heyday.


    In Brief

    Enzo Ferrari used to keep all the car pieces that failed during races in a cupboard he called “the museum of errors”

    The collection was not only an example of his wit, but also evidence of the man’s intuition and firm belief that every single part of a car was an important component. A message that he was always keen to pass on to his team.

    Publicly, Enzo would always blame a car’s malfunction on a cheap element worth just a few Lire, but had a different message for his staff. He insisted on the absolute care of every minute detail, because even something apparently insignificant could determine the outcome of a race.

    Niki Lauda was famous for his rather direct style of talking. His comments were often censored and repackaged before reaching Enzo’s ears thanks to a dedicated team of mediators close to Il Commendatore.

    The Austrian driver arrived at Maranello in #1974 after a difficult season for Ferrari and soon made some caustic remarks about the car during testing. His comments were altered to ensure that Enzo would not take the opinions of a newly appointed driver who had yet to prove his worth in the wrong way.

    Enzo’s mediators were rewarded with the successful #1975 season, when Lauda won the Drivers Title in the #Ferrari-312T .

    THIS PAGE

    Niki Lauda’s 312 T, with its unique shape and transverse gearbox, seen here at Monaco in 1975, brought the Scuderia its first title in 11 years. Bottom left, Patrick Tambay in #1982 , Ferrari’s annus horribilis, dominated by the Scuderia but forever marked by the death of Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi’s accident.

    At Maranello they have always refused to give up.


    The eternal battle – sometimes successful, sometimes difficult – against British rivals has provided the plotline of many chapters in the history of #Ferrari . #Phil-Hill in #1962 , pictured right at #Monaco , and John Surtees in #1965 , pictured below at #Silverstone , were unable to retain the world titles won in the previous years.


    World Champion in #1964 with #John-Surtees , #Enzo-Ferrari is pictured here the following year, when the Scuderia was defeated but never gave up. This attitude paid off when Sebastian Vettel won the Malaysian Grand Prix in March #2015 (opposite).
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    DRAMA CLASSES RACING FORD CAPRIS

    Willie Green teaches Robert Coucher a thing or two. Robert Coucher meets racer Willie Green at Silverstone to learn how to handle some very hairy #Ford Capris.

    Northamptonshire, England. And it's winter. I'm driving towards Silverstone Motor Circuit, 'The Home of British Motorsport', and feel distinctly ill. It's down to nerves, for two specific reasons. First, heavy black clouds are billowing in and rain is most definitely on the way. Second, I'm due to meet up with race ace Willie Green, who has promised to show me the way around Silverstone in his trackday car. I feel the strong need for a cigarette, even though I gave up smoking years ago.

    As you probably know, Willie Green is a racing driver of the first order. He's competed in more than 1500 races and has won about 600 or 700 of them, not that he keeps an accurate tally. Hailing from a wealthy textile family in Derbyshire, Willie has been racing since the 1960s and has driven everything from a Daytona at Le Mans to numerous D-types, #Ferrari GTOs, GT40s and Maserati 250Fs (he's a maestro in any of those), and he really made his name winning in the JCB 512M Ferrari in the wet at #Silverstone in #1972 , besting a #Porsche-917 . He's an extremely competitive racing driver, who, no doubt, does not suffer fools. At all. Maybe I shouldn't mention the fact that the last time I raced at Silverstone, I crashed at Becketts Comer...

    I arrive at the old pits and the circuit is bustling and busy. This is an RMA Trackday and the garages are full of exciting cars, ranging from Porsche 911s and a bunch of Audi R8s to track-focussed Radicals and Ariel Atoms as well as pure racers. I'm looking out for Peter Whelan and his brace of racing Capris: the Hermetite Group 1 car and a Group 2 RS2600. Peter has also invited me to join the shakedown of his Capris with Willie. How generous.

    ‘I LOVE CAPRIS AND HAVE HAD PLENTY OF THEM. THEY ARE BRILLIANT ON A CIRCUIT’
    - WILLIE GREEN

    Above and right. Racer Willie Green has long been a Capri advocate. This one is lighter, lower, more stiffly sprung and features twin-cam 24-valve Cosworth V6 in place of the old 2.8 OHV. Oversteer aplenty for those who can handle it.

    In the 1960s, the only vaguely sporting Ford on sale in Britain was the #Cortina . Affectionately known as the Dagenham Dustbin, it was very popular but Ford realised that a more stylish, money-spinning sidekick was due. In America the Ford Mustang was launched in April #1964 . It was a hit with younger drivers thanks to its sporting appeal and went on to sell two million examples in two years and set a sales record that stood for 20 years. In #1965 Project Colt was initiated for the British market: the #Ford-Capri .

    Led by John Hitchman, a team of British engineers had prototypes running by #1966 in Boreham, Essex, using prosaic 1.3- and 1.6-litre engines and gearboxes from the Cortina. Launched on 24 January 1969, the #Capri was billed as 'The car you always promised yourself'. And it proved to be an immediate sensation. Over the next 18 years nearly two million Capris were sold in the UK, Europe and America, and it remained in the top ten best-selling cars 11 years after launch.

    It was even popular in Germany, where it became known as the #Maurer-Porsche : the 'bricklayer's Porsche'. In Britain it became infamous for its habit of leaving the road at speed thanks to its supposedly wayward live rear axle, though that reputation was likely due more to over-enthusiastic young drivers.

    'I love Capris and have had plenty of them. They are brilliant on a circuit,' says a slightly prickly Willie Green when I mention the oversteer issue. 'The idea that they don't handle is nonsense. This one is a #1982 2.8 and is fantastic. I have fitted a 2.9-litre 24-valve Granada Cosworth engine, which puts out more than 200bhp, and dropped it all-round on stiffer springs at the front with shorter dampers and de-cambered rear leaf springs. I've fitted uprated front discs, a limited-slip diff, cage and safety fuel cell, and that's about it. It's done 27,0 miles of trackdays and all I have done is change the plugs. Oh good, it's started raining. Put on a helmet and let's go!'

    With me strapped firmly into the suicide seat, Willie fires up his standard-looking British Racing Green - or should that be BRDC Green - Capri and we head out onto the circuit. He winds the car up for a sighting lap, then switches into full tuition mode over the headphones.

    'Silverstone is a great circuit but it is fast and technical,' he says. Going extremely swiftly indeed, Willie then says: 'I tend to enter corners more slowly. If you go in too fast you can end up coming out too slow. Historic cars with limited brakes and unsophisticated chassis need to be sorted out before the corner... You want to get the car turned in and then feed in as much power as it will transmit at the apex... Don't forget, if you make a fast exit you carry the speed all the way up the next straight.'

    All sounds bleedin' obvious but Willie's idea of 'slow in' is somewhat different to mine. Yet I'm amazed at his smoothness and how he then absolutely powers the Capri through on the exits. 'I like to get the car onto the edge and keep it there so I know where I am. In that way there are no surprises.'

    Suddenly we are into Copse Comer, which he says is 'interesting. You want to turn in early... the apex is on the way to the corner at the end of the pitlane and then it opens out. Now we are coming into Becketts, where you can do a Scandinavian flick [at this point I forget what happens next: think there was a rumble strip involved, sideways], then down the Hangar Straight to Stowe, which is fast and enjoyable. Take a late entry and don't turn until you have run completely out of road. Club Corner has changed... be careful... the concrete wall is magnetic! Abbey is great, I love it... really fast. Now, get the silly hairpins out of the way and coming into Brooklands you don't want to be too far right, you have to get it back for Luffield which has twice as much grip on the outside in the wet. OK, flat out through Woodcote, which can be a bit bumpy...'

    With apologies to Willie Green, this is an approximation of Silverstone from the passenger seat of his Ford Capri at racing speed. Well, what I remember with my eyes wide shut. But it's not entirely what I'm expecting. Searing speed, yes. Perfect car control, sure. But a good degree of gentleness and patience, some waiting time to allow the car to gather itself up, with light, minutely judged fingertip inputs? No. And the sheer mechanical grip from the Capri's Toyo 888 tyres and communicative balance from that simple, leaf-sprung chassis? Definitely not.

    This is a lesson in dancing a car around a wet circuit in total control, on the edge, but never over the ragged edge. Certainly Willie is the master of the controlled slide but he does not showboat just for the sake of it, because that's never the fastest way.

    Willie has retired from top-line single-seater racing but he is still on-it. I forgot to mention how we went past a track-missile Atom on the outside of one of the wet corners, hovered up numerous M-badged BMWs and other fast racing cars, and were about to lunch a 6.3 #AMG #Mercedes until the red flag came out because someone had gone off (again) in the rain.

    'What I really enjoy these days is teaching. I love to see people improve. Right: now it's your turn,' says Willie. I strap into the firm driver's bucket seat; the Capri starts with a growl, but it is not noisy. The clutch is light and the five-speed gearshift is pleasant, even though the earlier four-speed is supposed to be better. As the rain abates, I'm out on the circuit with Willie telling me what to do over the headphones. I start tentatively, feeling like a kid learning to ride a bicycle as he eggs me on.

    'Come on, it will take it. Turn in and now add the power on the apex. Now more speed. Keep it flat here, good, now brake gently. Wait, wait, wait, now throttle and let it run wide, it can take more; come on, more speed, that's it...'

    Still going less-than-quickly, a few laps with Willie improve my overall performance significantly. He doesn't bully or harass but remains calm and encouraging all the way. He's patient and gets more excited than me when I get a few of the comers just right. Issuing terse but accurate instructions, the man is an excellent teacher. 'You need to learn the circuit but at least you listen and you've improved a good deal,' he says.
    I'm more than happy with that.

    Back in the garage, it's time to recover and let the pulse rate subside. I pull up a chair for coffee with owner Peter Whelan, racer Mark Waghom and author/historian Peter Darley. Mark raced Peter's Group 1 Capri at last year's Goodwood Member's Meeting, where the tin-tops proved a real hit. 'The Hermetite Recreation Group 1 car is a #1978 model driven in period by Holman Blackburn, who was the sponsor,' says Peter.

    It, too, looks pretty stock apart from the nicely presented racing colours. It has a 3.0-litre Essex V6 engine, uprated to 200bhp thanks to a huge twin-choke Weber carburettor and better breathing. The black alloys are shod with slightly wider 205/15 tyres and the interior is fully stripped, but equipped with a cage and large fire extinguisher.

    Peter suggests I take it out next. The racing bucket is set low and doesn't adjust. The Weber carb needs a bit of a tickle before the engine will start but as soon as it fires the Essex V6 is abundantly rev-happy, which is unusual because they are normally somewhat short of breath. Again the clutch is light but the gearshift is not particularly precise. Get past the carb's fluffiness and the recalcitrance of the high-lift cam and the engine properly ignites. On the track it is noisier than Willie's track car, with sharper reactions thanks to its full race set-up. And the handling is a delight.

    Following Willie's advice I go into corners none-too-quickly but power though the apexes. The Capri is on-side and benign. Through the hairpins the track is very wet and at one point the car begins to slide, so I just lift off, let it come together, then ease on the power again, gently. This is the obedient sort of front-engined, rear-wheel-drive car we would all like to race because of its friendly nature.

    Above and top left This is the real deal, a full-on racebred Capri rather than a road car adapted for track use: one of Ford’s own homologation replicas of the 1972 works Le Manscar.

    The rain is coming down hard now so really it's pros only for Peter Whelan's ferocious-looking #RS2600 - 319bhp on slick tyres! It is an original 1972 RS2600, built as an exact replica of the 1972 works Le Mans car, number 53, that was raced by Jochen Mass and Hans Stuck. It has an original, authenticated, fuel-injected Weslake engine, which was found in Spain, as bought by its then-owner as a spare, directly from Ford via Peter Ashcroft, Ford's competitions manager.

    The ever-energetic Willie dashes over and instructs me to get into the passenger seat of the Weslake monster, never mind the bucketing rain. He jumps in and guns the ferocious- sounding V6. Then the 900kg lightweight is off and attacking Silverstone. Willie's arms are whirling around at speed and his foot is playing the reactive throttle pedal as he tries to throw all 319bhp at the greasy track. The racer is flying even though the angle of attack into some of the comers is a full 45° to the direction of travel, but he's careful to keep off the painted and slippery rumble strips.

    As the line dries, Willie applies the horses ever more firmly and the thoroughbred racer hooks up and comes on song. The stonking Weslake engine is on an entirely different level to the two previous Capri V6s. And yes, it's shod with (gradually warming) fat slicks, but it's obvious that the multi-link rear suspension offers so much more grip than a standard live axle can muster, and the high- revving engine allows a top speed of 170mph. Silverstone disappears below us at an astonishing rate of glorious speed.

    No wonder that, in 1972, the RS2600 won eight of the nine rounds of the European Championships, with Jochen Mass taking the European Drivers' title and Hans Stuck the German Championship. With a proper racing driver at the wheel, I now understand exactly how it was done.

    Above and below Pukka RS2600 flanked by 3.0-litre (on left) and Willie Green’s own 2.9-litre-engined Capri Injection; the man himself, in his element in tuition mode.

    THANKS TO owner Peter Whelan, RMA Trackdays, www. rmatrackdays. com; Peter Darley, historian; Willie Green, racer/instructor, tel: +UU (0)1773 550339, email: williegreenderby@aol.com

    Car #1972 #Ford-Capri-RS2600
    ENGINE 2995cc V6, OHV, alloy Weslake cylinder head, #Kugelfischer fuel injection
    POWER 319bhp @ 7000rpm
    TORQUE n/a
    TRANSMISSION Five-speed #ZF manual, rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
    STEERING Rack and pinion
    SUSPENSION
    Front: MacPherson struts, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
    Rear: live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, radius arms, anti-roll bar.
    BRAKES Discs
    WEIGHT 900kg
    PERFORMANCE Top speed 170mph. 0-60mph 4.6sec (depending on gearing)

    ‘WILLIE’S FOOT IS PLAYING THE THROTTLE PEDAL AS HE TRIES TO THROW ALL 319BHP AT THE GREASY TRACK’

    Above and left. Even a big, old, simple engine like Ford’s 3.0-litre Essex V6 can be coaxed into producing gobfuls of trackday power: witness 200bhp at fully 6500rpm, as here; livery makes it look purposeful outside while interior is, er, functional.

    Car #1978 #Ford-Capri-3000
    ENGINE 2994cc V6, 0HV, #Weber carburettor
    POWER 200bhp @ 6500rpm
    TORQUE 180ft lb @ 3800rpm
    TRANSMISSION Four-speed manual. rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
    STEERING Rack and pinion
    SUSPENSION
    Front: MacPherson struts, coilsprings, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
    Rear: live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, telescopic dampers, radius rods.
    WEIGHT 1000kg
    PERFORMANCE Top speed 135mph. 0-60mph 6.5sec (est)

    ‘THIS IS A LESSON IN DANCING A CAR AROUND A WET CIRCUIT IN TOTAL CONTROL, ON THE EDGE BUT NEVER OVER IT’

    Car #1982 #Ford-Capri-Injection-2.9
    ENGINE 2935cc V6, DOHC, 24-valve, #Bosch fuel injection
    POWER 206bhp @ 5800rpm
    TORQUE 203lb ft @ 4500rpm
    TRANSMISSION Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
    STEERING Rack and pinion
    SUSPENSION
    Front: MacPherson struts, coilsprings, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
    Rear: live axle, semi- elliptic leaf springs, telescopic dampers, radius rods.
    BRAKES Discs
    WEIGHT 1150kg
    PERFORMANCE Top speed 130mph. 0-60mph 7sec (est)
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Brooklands turns back the clock.

    The world’s oldest motor racing circuit is about to be restored to some of its former glory. David Burgess-Wise unravels just how significant that will be. Photographs & Images courtesy of #Brooklands Museum.

    NO MORE HANGAR STRAIGHT!

    No, not a redevelopment at #Silverstone but a major re-engineering of the #Brooklands-Museum , where a confirmed grant of £4.681 million from the #Heritage Lottery Fund will see the last survivor of four #1940 Bellman hangars (erected on the requisitioned Brooklands racetrack - the world's oldest purpose-built motor racing circuit - to meet wartime aircraft production needs) shifted sideways from its present location in the middle of the Finishing Straight to a new location alongside the track. That will at last leave the iconic vista up the straight to the steep rise of the Members' Banking uninterrupted for the first time in 75 years.

    The relocated hangar will be restored as part of the new 'Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed Exhibition' that will not only house many of the museum's collection of pre- and post-1945 aircraft but also create an authentic aircraft factory environment. This will showcase manufacturing techniques from the 'stick-and-string' pioneering era to the modern age, encouraging visitors to apply their own inventiveness and give them hands- on experience of working with materials. 'It will be a kind of "mini apprenticeship",' museum director Allan Winn told me. 'Visitors will don work coats and clock on in the factory and try their skills in building aeroplanes.

    We want to get people inspired by what has been done here and make them want to get involved in engineering.'
    The museum has already raised more than £1.6 million in match funding for the project and is now fundraising for the remaining £370,000. The overall cost of the project will be around £7 million, making this the largest endeavour the museum has ever undertaken.

    Comments Allan Winn: 'This is a project that particularly attracted the Lottery Fund, because it's not - only dynamic, involving moving vehicles and aircraft, but it engages the public in a way that a stately home, which is static, cannot. The chief executive of the fund hadn't seen Brooklands before she came here for the announcement of the grant, so I took her for a tour of the site in the #Birkin/Holder #1929 Double-Twelve 4 1/2-litre #Bentley . She was captivated.'

    Explaining the fund's rationale for the grant, Stuart McLeod, who heads Heritage Lottery Fund South-East, commented: 'The Brooklands site has played such an important role in the country's history - today's glitzy Grands Prix and state-of-the-art airliners can all be traced back to innovation that took place here - and the Heritage Lottery Fund's investment in this remarkable site will help the museum create a unique experience for visitors by helping them understand the pivotal role the UK has played in the field of engineering.'

    A key part of the project is the restoration of the track's Finishing Straight to its pre-1939 appearance, allowing it to be brought fully back into use for motoring and aviation activities. Not only will cars be seen in action on the restored straight, but the Museum's active aircraft, such as its Sopwith Camel and Hawker Hurricane, will be taxied in front of the new 'Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed' complex. Vanished features such as the giant lap scoring board in front of the Edwardian Clubhouse will be recreated: 'We're planning to visit Taunton Racecourse, where a similar lap scorer survives, to study its complex mechanism,' says Allan Winn. 'There'll also be a viewscope machine alongside the track so that when the visitors click the button they will be able to see racing cars speeding past.'

    'Key to the project is to restore the track’s Finishing Straight to its pre-1939 appearance’

    As well as witnessing pre-war cars in action, visitors will be able to learn how to drive them; soapbox racing - another feature of the pre-1940 Brooklands scene - will return to the Finishing Straight. Its surface, badly deteriorated after so many years of idleness, will be repaired to an authentic appearance. This will be ensured by employing a special concrete mix, approved by English Heritage, which matches the old surface.

    Authenticity of appearance is particularly important at Brooklands, because the track - laid amazingly quickly by hand and barrow by an army of 2000 navvies between September #1906 and June #1907 - represented the first significant use of concrete as a road surface in Britain. Some 200,000 tons of concrete were used to make the track but it was only six inches thick, laid direct onto the earth, which meant that the track surface not only settled and became notoriously bumpy over time but also needed almost constant repair during its racing lifetime.

    Brooklands was the brainchild of wealthy landowner Hugh Locke King, who - in an age when British motorists were hamstrung by a nationwide blanket speed limit of 20mph - realised that the country was being left behind in the new world of international motor sport. Believing that 'England should no longer lie behind the rest of the world, but take her place in the very forefront and reassert herself as the Arbiter of Sport', he decided to finance the building of a closed speed circuit where, able to go as fast as they liked, British racing drivers could practise their skills and the country's motor industry develop new models to compete against their Continental rivals. It would be the world's first track of its kind, and was built on his Brooklands estate in Weybridge, a site that 'nature seemed to have formed for the purpose'.

    Locke King had planned to build a conventional tarmac track round the edge of the property at an estimated cost of £22,000, but his consulting engineer, Colonel HCL Holden of the #Royal-Engineers , persuaded him that 'for the safety of cars travelling at highest speed' it was essential to have a banked oval track with 30ft-high curves to allow cars to run at 100mph without steering effort. He claimed that this would be 'naturally safe' at 120mph and 'reasonably safe at higher speeds with the driver counteracting centrifugal force with his steering'.

    Though Holden had designed the world's first four- cylinder motorbike in #1897 , his experience in building racetracks was nil. His well-intentioned advice would cause a near sevenfold increase in the building cost to a crippling £150,000 (equivalent to around £8.7 million today) and almost break Locke King.

    The new track took its lead from horse racing: drivers wore racing silks like jockeys, cars were assembled in the paddock, and the oval circuit was transected by a finishing straight in front of the clubhouse. This had a major disadvantage, for spectators who had been watching the racing on the outer circuit from the members' enclosure had to run down the hill to see the finish...

    The convention of a finishing straight also cost crack racing driver (and champion rollerskater) Dario Resta the Montagu Cup race and a purse of 1400 gold sovereigns at the opening meeting in 1907, for the man who operated the red disc signal to tell him to turn into the finishing straight at the end of the race left it too late. Resta - overtaking another car in his 135hp Mercedes - missed seeing it, and did one lap too many.

    Brakes were uncertain in those early days, so the straight incorporated a noticeable upgrade at its top end to help cars pull up before they reached the banking and crossed the path of cars still racing on the Outer Circuit. This didn't always work, as Keith Davies, veteran of the 1907 Opening Meeting, told me when I interviewed him at his Grosvenor Square fiat in #1966 .

    'I remember that somebody put his foot by mistake on the accelerator instead of the brake at the finish of a race, went straight forward onto the periphery of the track, and went over the trees and somersaulted to his death. He didn't stop at the finishing line; he just continued on, hit the track, and it was rather like how Diavolo the Great used to do his loop-the-loop - the man shot into the air and finished up where you could expect.'

    Between #1907 and 1939 the banked and bumpy Brooklands circuit was the focus of British motor racing; it was only in the 1930s that it faced rivalry from new tracks at Donington and the Crystal Palace. But there was a cuckoo in the Brooklands nest in the shape of the aircraft industry, which had found a home in the centre of the track almost as soon as it had opened, for the towering bankings shielded primitive aircraft from the force of the wind. Indeed, in 1908 AV Roe had managed to leave the ground on the Brooklands Finishing Straight in a biplane of his own design, the first powered - if not particularly controlled - heavier-than-air flight in Britain.

    Vickers built an aircraft factory alongside the track, and Sop with - which later became Hawker - assembled and test-flew its aircraft at Brooklands, so it was natural that, when war was declared in #1939 , Brooklands was requisitioned for all-out military production of aeroplanes. Hangars were erected on the racetrack to augment the production of aircraft for the RAF, with the Bellman hangar on the Finishing Straight carrying out final assembly work on Wellington bombers.

    Though the requisition of both the racetrack and the Bellman hangar was meant to last only until the end of hostilities, the post-war Labour Government reneged on the arrangement. Racing was never resumed and the entire estate remained a closed aircraft production facility, developing many significant aircraft right up to its pivotal role in the development and production of Concorde. Those who wanted to 'Bring Back Brooklands' were only allowed limited access to the site at the annual Reunion meetings until the museum was opened in #1991 on the 30 acres surrounding the clubhouse.

    The track - largely intact, but with holes punched though the bankings at either end of its central runway to allow heavy aircraft to take off in safety - became a dumping ground for discarded jigs and pallets with shrubs growing though its cracks, which is how I saw it when I first trespassed on the Members' Banking as a teenager around #1960 , having scrambled up the back of the bank with a friend after we'd parked his Bullnose Morris at its foot.

    There was even a hangar on the banking, snuggled under the bridge that afforded a privileged route into the trackside enclosure for the private cars of members of the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club. That, happily is long gone, the Members' Bridge has been recreated, and the surviving hangar on the Finishing Straight was Grade 2 Listed in #1999 as a rare surviving example of the taller type of Bellman; it notably retains its original corrugated-iron sheet cladding.

    However, the Bellman hangar was designed for quick assembly during wartime; a stable internal environment wasn't a pressing need in its specification. Unrestored, that flaw leaves the often fragile structures of the historic aircraft inside it vulnerable to the elements. Its relocation and refurbishment will enable that problem to be addressed. The adjoining 'Flight Shed' will not only house the museum's active aircraft, but will incorporate new workshops where museum volunteers will learn and practise aircraft restoration skills, enabling these vital techniques to be handed down to a new generation. Importantly, there will also be a purpose-built storage area where Brooklands' internationally significant archives will be maintained in a controlled environment.

    Building on the work done years ago by the track clearers of the Brooklands Society, who first undertook the task of removing the undergrowth from the banking, the Brooklands Museum has done sterling work in maintaining the section of the historic track that lies within its site, which regularly plays host to the activities of car clubs. This latest project, which will at last reveal the Finishing Straight in its pre-1939 state, opens what Allan Winn terms 'the most significant chapter in Brooklands' rich and varied history since the museum was founded'.

    FOR MORE DETAILS visit brooklandsmuseum. Com
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.