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Marlboro Masters 1998:

Historic Grand Prix Cars (1/7)

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Zandvoort circuit a race with historic Grand Prix cars took place just after the formula three race. The difference couldn't be bigger: the excitement and spectacle of the old, unrefined historic race cars eclipsed the almost sterile modern day racing of the highly developed formula three cars. It brought tears to my eyes, or was it just the very sharp smelling fumes that came from the cars?
Anyway, the drivers didn't spare their almost priceless cars and pushed them to the limit. You could feel the heat coming from the cars every time they came by and see the drivers hard at work as they took the corners, breaking, shifting gears and wrestling with their big steering wheels. For me it was the highlight of the day. It's a pity that the technical developments since the days these cars were built took away the real essence of the battle of man against machine that autoracing is all about. I think it also explains the growing popularity of classic car racing like at the reopened Goodwood track in England.

HGP_1.jpg (37352 bytes)The fastest of all historic cars in the race was this Ferrari Dino 256 driven by Robin Lodge. It won the race and lapped most of the field.
The Dino 256 was actually the last front-engined Grand Prix car that Ferrari developed. In 1958 it won the World Championship in the hands of Mike Hawthorn. In 1959 Carlo Chiti revised the car, making the body sleeker and fitting it with disc instead of drum brakes. By then the English rear-engined cars were taking over but Tony Brooks managed to win two Grand Prix with it that year.
Although a rear-engined version of this car was introduced in 1960 (the Dino 246P), modified versions of the front-engined 256 were entered by the factory in Grand Prix up to 1961, when it was replaced by the shark-nosed and rear-engined 156.

HGP_2.jpg (37772 bytes)This light and nimble V6 engined car was beautifully prepared and had terrific roadholding compared to the rest of the cars. Look at the remarkable shark's gills at the end of the car and the aerodynamic wings at the sides behind the front wheels.
The main advantage of the Dino 256 in its heyday was its straight line speed. It started out in 1958 as the 246 with an 2147 cc V6, but the 256 had a 2474 cc V6 delivering some 290 hp. Being the most recent and fastest of all historic Grand Prix cars it easily mopped up the rest of the competition.

HGP_3.jpg (37959 bytes)Another of the more modern historic racing cars was this BRM of John Harper. It trailed the Ferrari, but it's roadholding and tire wear was worse.
BRM entered the P25 in formula races from 1955 to 1959. Although its design was rather simple and well-balanced, it failed to achieve major victories. Remarkably the only Grand Prix these BRM's won was the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on the old track, driven by Jo Bonnier. After numerous reworks and revisions the BRM team reached the third place in the 1959 constructors championship with the P25.

HGP_4.jpg (41231 bytes)To improve engine cooling, the side panels have been removed on this car. Not so good for the aerodynamics, but it gave the spectators a good look at the engine. The square silver object behind the engine and in front of the driver is the petrol tank, rather dangerous in a head-on or sideways collision I reckon.
The car is powered by a 2491 cc four cylinder engine, which is known for its valve problems. That's probably why John Harper tries to get as much cooling air to the engine as possible.

Go to the second page about this race by clicking the arrows pointing right...

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