BRABHAM BT33 When the Formula 1 changed to three litre engines in 1966 many believed it would favour Ferrari with their vast experience with V12 engines of that displacement. Surprisingly they struggled and so did the other top runners of the previous seasons BRM and Lotus. This gave the edge to Brabham, who fielded a relatively simple spaceframe car powered by the 'underpowered' Repco V8 engine. Nevertheless Jack Brabham took the title in 1966 and Dennis Hulme repeated that feat in 1967. By then the other teams and particularly the engine manufacturers had caught up and in 1968 the Repco engine proved to be the weak link. A switch to Cosworth power for 1969 brought the team right back to the front of the grid, despite fielding what was basically an evolution of a four year old car. There was no room for further evolution as rule changes left the existing Brabham designs obsolete at the end of the year. The now mandatory enclosed fuel cells required a sheet aluminium chassis, although Brabham, like Ferrari, did not develop a full monocoque car. Designer Ron Tauranac did not move away from the familiar spaceframe just yet by using a tubular structure as basis for the 'semi-monocoque' of the new BT33. Brabham again opted for Cosworth power and the chassis was designed for the V8 engine to be used fully stressed. The body followed familiar Brabham lines with an easily recognisable nose, which housed the radiator and was flanked by two small wings. Triple World Champion Jack Brabham was not surprisingly the chief driver, while Rolf Stommelen piloted the second Brabham. The first GP of the decade at Kyalami South Africa must have felt like a fresh start with many brand new cars. Brabham clearly had done their homework best over the winter as Jack Brabham converted a front row starting position into victory. It looked like 1966 all over again, but the glory was short lived as driver errors and mechanical failure struck the team throughout the season. What should have been a great farewell for 'Old Jack' ended in bitter disappointment. Probably most telling of the situation was Sir Jack's desperate attempt to win the Monaco Grand Prix, which saw him miss his braking point, handing the win to Jochen Rindt. The win in South Africa remained the team's only victory. Jack finished fifth in the driver's table and Brabham fourth in the constructor's. Today the 1970 season is considered a missed opportunity for Jack Brabham and the BT33. A case of the famous could have or possibly should have been. The car shown here was raced by Brabham to second in the 1970 British GP.
MCLAREN M7A The McLaren M7A and its B, C and D variants are F1 racing cars, designed by Robin Herd and Gordon Coppuck, and built by McLaren. After limited success with the Formula Two-based M4A, and unreliability of the BRM-powered M5A, the McLaren team introduced the all-new M7A at the beginning of the European rounds of the 1968 Formula One season. With this car Bruce McLaren's Grand Prix team was finally a consistent front-runner, recording the team's first victory, and making Bruce McLaren only the second-ever Grand Prix driver to win a race in a car of his own construction, at the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix.
The M7's chassis was a full aluminium-sheet monocoque, with a Ford-Cosworth DFV engine and Hewland DG300 gearbox. The M7D version also used Alfa Romeo's naturally-aspirated 3 litre V8 engine in 1970. The DFV was a stressed chassis member, with suspension components mounted directly to the engine block. The front suspension consisted of lower wishbones, upper rocking arms, and outboard-mounted coil spring and damper units. The rear suspension was handled by double wishbones and coil springs. Wheelbase measured 7 feet 11 inches (2,410 mm), with front track 4 feet 9 inches (1,450 mm), and rear track at 4 feet 5.4 inches (1,356 mm).
The works cars were painted a distinctive papaya-hue; it was not a national racing colour, however, the colour would continue to be used on works McLaren cars until Yardley sponsorship was obtained in 1972. In the late 1990s, McLaren International adopted the papaya colour for McLaren racing cars seen during pre-season testing, before official sponsor layouts and designs are publicly announced. Aside from many privateer teams to equip themselves with M7 McLarens, the cars were also run by Dan Gurney's Anglo American Racers, as a reserve chassis to their own Eagle-Weslake cars. The car here was drive by Bruce McLaren to 5th place in the 1969 South African GP.
MCLAREN MP4/12 The McLaren MP4/12 was the car with which the McLaren F1 team used to compete in the1997 F1 season. It was driven by Mika Hakkinen (his car shown here) and David Coulthard. The car was a totally new machine with engines supplied by Mercedes Benz for the third year of the Anglo-German alliance. Testing was carried out with the cars painted in the traditional McLaren orange, before a striking new silver livery was launched to celebrate the team's new sponsorship deal with West. This replaced the team's 23-year association with M@r1b0r0.
The car proved extremely promising and could have won at least seven races during the course of the season, but reliability proved troublesome, in particular that of the engine. This proved frustrating, especially after Coulthard won the first race of the season in Australia, McLaren's first win since losing Ayrton Senna. The situation was exacerbated by Häkkinen retiring from three further races whilst in the lead - all from engine failures - including at the Nurburgring, where the team lost a comfortable one-two finish when both cars retired with identical failures within a lap of each other. Coulthard also lost a certain victory - at Montreal , with a clutch problem after a precautionary pitstop just a few laps before the race prematurely ended. However, Coulthard did manage to win at Monza.
During the season, a photographer noticed that the rear brakes of the McLarens were glowing red in an acceleration zone of the track. The magazine discovered through photos of the inside of the cockpit, that McLaren had installed a second brake pedal, selectable by the driver to act on one of the rear wheels. This allowed the driver to eliminate understeer and reduce wheel spin when exiting slow corners, dubbed "brake steer". Ferrari's protestations to the FIA led to the system being banned the following season at the 1998 Brazilian GP.
The team finally claimed the reward of a one-two finish at the season finale after the collision between Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve although it was a contentious finish with many nodding to the fact that Patrick Head of Williams and Ron Dennis of McLaren had negotiations where Villeneuve would give up the lead if the McLarens made sure to steer clear from the troubled Williams. Regardless, this was Häkkinen's first win in F1 and was much celebrated by the F1 world that had been tipping him to win since he first out-qualified Senna at Portugal in 1993. The win set him up with a good base to start his 1998 campaign, which he was able to win after a season-long battle with Michael Schumacher. The team eventually finished fourth in the Constructors' Championship, with 63 points.
BENETTON B194 The Benetton B194 was designed by Rory Byrne for the 1994 F1 season. The car was closely based on the previous Benetton B192/3 and powered by a Ford Zetec-RV8 engine (produced by Cosworth but badged as a Ford). The electronic driver aids that had had such an effect on F1 over the previous seasons were banned, so the car had to be redesigned with the new rules in mind. The B194 was a light and nimble car that handled well and was most competitive on twisty tracks unlike the early Williams FW16 which proved difficult to drive thanks to Williams' dependence on electronic driving aids in the previous season. Michael Schumacher's B194 remained the most competitive car until Williams introduced a B-spec car at the German Grand Prix.
The car was very competitive in the hands of Michael Schumacher, for which the B194 was specifically designed to suit his driving style. Schumacher won six of the first seven races of the season after his main rival; Ayrton Senna was tragically killed at the San Marino Grand Prix. Other teams suspected the B194 was not legal, due to the high competitiveness of such a comparatively underpowered car. The FIA launched an investigation and indeed banned software was discovered in the cars' onboard computer systems, but the governing body could not prove the systems had been used so the complaints were dropped. Schumacher himself was subject to controversy, after being disqualified from the British Grand Prix and then the Belgian Grand Prix which allowed Damon Hill to cut into the German's points lead and as they came to the final race in Australia, Hill and Schumacher were separated by one point. Schumacher commented years later that the B194 was actually quite a handful to drive, being twitchy at the rear end.
Schumacher had three teammates— JJ Lehto, Jos Verstappen and Johnny Herbert during the course of the season. All found the B194 difficult to drive; Verstappen said in 1996 "I must have a little the same driving style as Johnny because he said basically the same things about that car that I did and seems to have had the same feelings. It was a very difficult car. You could not feel the limit and so you were pushing and pushing and then suddenly it would have oversteer. Normally when you get oversteer you can control it but the Benetton would go very suddenly and so you ended up having a spin. I had big problems with that car."
A contentious collision between Schumacher and Damon Hill (Williams) ended the 1994 drivers' title in Schumacher's favour, and the B194 was retired at the end of the season with eight wins and second place in the constructors' championship. One of Schumacher’s cars is on display here.
JORDAN 197 The Jordan 197 was the car with which the Jordan Formula One team used to compete in the 1997 Formula One season. It was driven by Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella, who were both in their first season with the team. Ralf was a complete rookie to F1, and Fisichella had only a part-season with Minardi behind him. It was seen as a gamble on the part of Eddie Jordan to recruit two young, inexperienced drivers to replace Rubens Barrichello and Martin Brundle.
After a disappointing season in 1996, the team seemed revitalised for 1997. The car gave Jordan the chance to seriously challenge the "Big Four" teams of that time – Williams, Ferrari, Benetton and McLaren. After a couple of races to get going, Schumacher and Fisichella scored points at almost every race (apart from a barren spell at the end of the year) and took three podium finishes. Fisichella was particularly impressive, and there was a behind-the-scenes battle for his services in 1998 between Jordan and Benetton. The only downside to the season was the failure to score the team's elusive first win in F1.
The car was also notable for its distinctive bright yellow livery, as title sponsor Benson & Hedges chose to change the colour from gold. The cars also had a snake painted on either side of the nosecone, a forked tongue that extended back around the sides of the driver's cockpit and numerous scale effects on other parts to the car. When Grands Prix were held in tobacco advertising, the cars were labelled "Bitten & Hisses" or "Ssssschuey"/"Fisssssssi" instead of "Benson & Hedges". The team eventually finished fifth in the Constructors' Championship, with 33 points - the highest number of points in the team's history thus far. Fisichella’s car is displayed here.
LARROUSSE LC90 Larrousse Formula One was a motorsports racing team founded in 1987 by Didier Calmels and former racer Gérard Larrousse, originally under the name Larrousse & Calmels. It was renamed Larrousse after the departure of Calmels for legal reasons. The team competed in Formula One from 1987 to 1994 before succumbing to financial problems, scoring a best finish of third at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix with the LC90 displayed here.
Larrousse & Calmels commissioned a car from Lola, and the result was the LC87, a car designed by Eric Broadley and Ralph Bellamy. The chassis was powered by a Cosworth DFZ V8 engine, and was entered in the undersubscribed normally-aspirated class. The team started out with just one car for Philippe Alliot, with Yannick Dalmas joining the team in a second car the end of the year. By that time they had agreed to a three-year deal with Lola and Chris Murphy was recruited from Zakspeed to help Bellamy. The team then did a deal to run Lamborghini V12 engines in 1989. At the end of the year, Larrousse sold 50% of his shares to the Japanese Espo Corporation, and Aguri Suzuki was hired to partner Bernard for the 1990 season.
1990 was Larrousse's best season, with Suzuki scoring the team's first podium at the Japanese GP (using the car on display here) and the team finishing sixth in the Constructors' Championship. Then things began to unravel when Lamborghini announced it was switching to Ligier. Of greater concern was the FIA considering taking away Larrousse's points because of an alleged "false declaration" about the design of the chassis. It transpired the team had made an honest mistake by registering the car as manufactured by them, when in fact it was designed and built by Lola in England. Although the team officially lost their points from 1990, the team kept the travel benefits and prize money associated with their championship finish and did not have to take part in pre-qualifying.
KURTIS KRAFT INDY CAR Kurtis Kraft was a designer and builder of race cars, and the company was founded by Frank Kurtis. Kurtis Kraft designed and builds midget cars, quarter midgets, sports cars, sprint cars and USAC Championship Cars. Kurtis Kraft was started when Kurtis built his own midget car chassis in the late 1930s, and the company built some very low glass-fibre bodied two-seaters sports cars under Kurtis’s own name in Glendale, California between 1949 and 1955. Ford (US) running gear was used. Kurtis-Kraft created 120 Indianapolis 500 cars, including five winners. The FIA World Drivers' Championship included the Indianapolis 500 between 1950 and 1960; so many Kurtis-Kraft cars are credited with competing in that championship. One Kurtis midget car was also entered in the 1959 Formula One United States Grand Prix driven by Rodger Ward.
OLSENITE EAGLE Dan Gurney was the last American to drive an American built car to a Grand Prix win and that was back in 1967. The next year, he expanded his open wheeled car line, the Eagle, to include both Formula 5000 and Indianapolis cars. Both of these designs were very successful, unlike the complex and unreliable Formula One car. These led to a long series of very competitive cars that were driven by scores of drivers and were able to win a very large number of victories in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Even some of his later Eagle designs were winning cars. Naturally, these old racers are highly sought by the dilettante car enthusiasts of today who think nothing of paying tens of thousands of dollars and more into bringing these cars back to the track. As the Lotus 56 Turbo cars faltered at the 1968 Indy 500, Bobby Unser in an Eagle swept past to inherit the lead from Eagle manufacturer and lead driver Gurney. This was to be the first of Unser’s 3 wins. Coming home in 4th was Gurney’s team mate Denny Hulme in the Number 42 car on display here.
LOTUS 56 Lotus founder Colin Chapman is best remembered for having a lot of success with unconventional and revolutionary racing cars. One of the most outrageous Lotus designs was the Type 56, prepared for the 1968 Indy 500. Although the novelties found on the 56 were not new, but the combination proved to be a package very well worth the Lotus badge. Designed by Maurice Philippe, the 56 was not equipped with a regular internal combustion engine, but with a Pratt and Whitney industrial turbine engine. Such an engine was used previously and proved very reliable. Due to the nature of a turbine engine, no gearbox was needed. Using the proven Ferguson four wheel drive system, the turbine engine's power was transferred to all wheels. Although the turbine was not quite as powerful as the Turbo charged internal combustion engines used by the competition, Chapman was confident that the four wheel drive system would give Lotus the edge over the rest. The operation was partly funded by Andy Granatelli's STP Company and the wedge shaped cars were livered in STP's striking orange colour scheme. Lotus intended to enter their two Formula 1 drivers, Jim Clark and Graham Hill and Granatelli himself would enter another two cars for American drivers, including Parnelli Jones. Unfortunately Clark lost his life in a Formula 2 accident earlier that year. His replacement, Mike Spence, was struck by tragedy as well, losing his life after a high speed accident with Lotus 56 in one of the Indy 500 test sessions. Eventually Graham Hill, Joe Leonard and Art Pollard entered the race with the turbine Lotus. Again Lotus' bold move proved successful with Leonard on pole, closely followed by Hill. Hill crashed out early in the race, and Leonard and Pollard both retired with fuel pump problems. Leonard was in the lead with just a few laps to go, when his turbine engine died. On display here is the car driven by Graham Hill.
McLaren M16E Using the lessons learned and drawing inspiration from Lotus' revolutionary wedge-shaped 72, Cuppock created the all new M16. He was not yet convinced of the use of the wedge shape for the team's Formula 1 cars but felt this low-drag design would perfectly suit high-speed oval racing. As a consequence of the sharp nose, the radiators had to be moved from the front of the car to 'side-pods' on either side of the cockpit. Even before the year was out, many of the existing teams had caught up. This had not gone by unnoticed in the McLaren factory and a revised M16B was readied. It featured a shorter nose-cone, which allowed for the rear wing to be mounted further back while still complying with the maximum length. Still very much committed to the M16, Penske bought two new examples for a full USAC season. No new cars were built for 1974 but instead the existing M16s were updated to M16C/D spec with an even smoother cockpit surround, shorter nose and larger rear wing. Despite qualifying in a lowly 25th due to problems, Rutherford clinched his first victory at the 'Brickyard'. David Hobbs was fifth in the other works car. Rutherford would go on to take three more USAC victories in the M16C/D that year. McLaren deemed that there was life left in the M16 and had a young John Barnard prepare yet another evolution. 'His' M16E featured a longer wheelbase and revised rear suspension. Seasoned USAC racer Lloyd Ruby joined Rutherford as a works entry. The race was called early due to heavy rain. At that time Bobby Unser was leading in his Eagle and Rutherford was second. Ruby was already out of the race on lap seven with a burnt piston. The M16E was brought again in 1976 for Rutherford and he managed to clinch pole ahead of an earlier Penske entered M16 driven by Tom Sneva. Mario Andretti had actually set the fastest time in another Penske M16 but at the wrong time and he had to settle for 18th on the grid. Rutherford in the mean time continued the M16's even streak by scoring the type's third Indy 500 victory (in the car on display), six years after its spectacular debut.
LOLA T88 An example of later Indianapolis type racing cars (used in the American CART Series) is the STP Granatelli Lola T88 car raced during the 1988 CART Season. As with many of its contemporaries, the car features a turbocharged engine, in this case a Chevrolet. The aerodynamic aids on the car include interchangeable front and rear wings of different sizes that catered for racing on either an oval track or a road circuit.