GP Live event at Donington Park

Discussion in 'Events' started by ajzahn, May 22, 2007.

  1. #1 ajzahn, May 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    Evocative and successful Italian racing machines from through the ages took centre stage at the inaugural GP Live event at Donington Park over the weekend, an extravaganza which was topped off by Grand Prix legend Mario Andretti who was reunited with several of the cars he raced with success during a long and glittering racing career.

    The idea behind GP Live is to bring Grand Prix cars from throughout the history of Formula 1 together in one event, and so the multiple decades of racing cars were in attendance allowing the visitor to clearly see the 'evolution' of the Grand Prix machine. All the historic cars took to the track in anger over the weekend giving their respective owners a perfect chance to let them fly round the flowing Donington Park circuit.

    Italian racing machines were very much in evidence all weekend. Highlights included a string of gleaming pre-WWII examples which took to the track several times in the 'Alfa Romeo and Bugatti Parade'. An Alfa Romeo 182, driven by Andrea De Cesaris in 1982, represented the brand's first generation of carbon-fibre chassis and was the most promising car built during its brief F1 comeback (1979-85). Also in the midst of the action was the very rare and recently-restored 'experimental' Ferrari 312 B3 F1 car - which was dubbed the "Spazzaneve" due to its wedge shaped looks - from 1972, a Cooper-Maserati, an OSCA-Maserati, two much more recent Ferrari F1 cars (the F93A and F310B), the early 1950s Grand Prix-winning Alfa Romeo 159 and a pair of 1970s F1 Techno chassis.

    Despite rain showers sweeping the track on Friday and Saturday, the inaugural GPlive weekend was completed in fine style with bright sunshine on Sunday adding to the spectacular series of races and demonstrations by some of motor sports’ most exciting cars and drivers, enjoyed by a little over 10,000 race fans. Highlights of the Saturday demonstration programme included reuniting Mario Andretti with the Lotus 49B in which he claimed pole position for his first-ever Grand Prix start at the 1968 US Grand Prix. Mario celebrated with a 360-degree spin on his opening lap, continuing undaunted to comment “Well I did want to give you guys something to write about!”

    Another spectacular display was a spirited demonstration by the Red Bull Racing RB01, driven by Michael Ammermuller, while the demonstration of pre-war Brooklands racing cars was given added drama when one car burst into flames. Amazingly the 1938 Frazer-Nash driven by Dubliner Tony Colley was repaired and back on track by the end of the day.

    On the Sunday, Sir Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their historic victory at Aintree, when Brooks handed over his Vanwall to allow Moss to become the first British driver to win a British Grand Prix in a British car. Both drivers sharing one of the British Racing Green cars once again. Among the many celebrities at the track, Moss and Brooks were joined by contemporaries including Tim Parnell, John Campbell-Jones and David Piper. Clemar Bucci from Argentina, who first travelled from South America in the late 1940s, was perhaps the last person alive to be able to personally recount experiences of racing with the legendary drivers such as Nuvolari and Varzi, as well as his compatriot Fangio.

    In addition to GPlive featured designer Adrian Newey, engineering figures from the sport included McLaren and Williams designer Neil Oatley, Tony Southgate and the legendary race engineer, Jo Ramirez. Anniversary of the Ford Cosworth DFV engine on Sunday morning.

    Freddie Hunt, the 19-year-old son of 1976 World Champion James Hunt took the wheel of his late father’s Hesketh 308C. Freddie gave a flawless performance on his first experience of driving a Formula One car, despite having made his Formula One debut just a month ago! Another “young gun” making his mark was 16 year-old Alex Brundle, who accompanied his father Martin Brundle and confessed to gaining a new respect after meeting some of his dad’s heros.

    Photo Gallery: GP Live, Donington Park - Alfa Romeo 182

    Ferrari 312 B3S "Spazzaneve":
  2. In amongst the plethora of famous Grand Prix cars in action at GP Live was a car that, despite never having actually raced, still attracted an interested crowd all weekend long, the dramatic-looking 1972 prototype Ferrari 312B3S "Spazzaneve' - or "snowplough". Owned today by an Italian collector it was a very welcome addition to the ranks of gleaming machines at Donington Park.

    GP Live brought together Formula 1 cars from throughout the years of the sport, cars that had reached the pinnacle graced the best race tracks around the world in their day. The 1970s were particularly well represented at Donington Park over the weekend with machines such as the Brabham BT34, Matra MS120, Tyrell 001/002/006 and P34, Wolf WR1, Hesketh 308 E 77, Lotus 77, Surtees TS16/19 and 20, McLaren M23 and Fittipaldi F5A all hitting the track. Italian prestige was represented not only by two Techno cars (the 1972 PA123/3 and the 1973 E371), but also by the appearance of the very unusual Ferrari 312B3 'Spazzaneuve' prototype from 1972.

    By 1972 Ferrari was on its back foot in F1 due to the chassis advances made by the British 'Garagistes'. Colin Chapman had broken the mould with the remarkable wedge-shaped Lotus 72 while Derek Gardner at Tyrell had taken a different route with the similar wedge-shaped but much shorter 005. Ferrari meanwhile had persevered with the gorgeous B2 - the car that former driver Mario Andretti was reunited with at GP Live over the weekend - but a bold step forward was now called for. And this was ushered in by design genius Mauro Forghieri, who at the time managed the chassis, engine and gearbox design as well as running the technical side of the Maranello team, and is one of F1 history's great names.

    Amongst the many great cars that bear his signature, he produced one of his most important, even if it was quite unsuccessful, models when he created the 312B3S (S for 'Sperimentale') or the 'Spazzaneve' as it was quickly dubbed. Incorporating all the latest design elements with a wide flat floor monocoque with a short wheelbase for low polar moment, and sporting set back radiators behind a full width nose, it was powered by his magnificent 2998cc flat 12 engine.

    The short wheelbase defied even the great Jackie Ickx during a brief Monza test session, held as Ferrari were aiming to have the new car, which produced around 480bhp, ready in time for a debut in the 1972 Italian Grand Prix. Ickx simply wasn't impressed by the car which proved to be quite a handful, and neither was team's official tester of the time, Arturo Merzario. Although changes were made in an attempt to improve its deficiencies the 'Spazzaneve' never raced. However this was an very important car, taking the Scuderia's thinking rapidly forward from the establish method of cigar-shaped mechanical grip racing cars and thrusting it straight into the aerodynamically-efficient downforce producing era; and the lessons learnt from the 'Spazzaneve' project gave birth to the 312T-series cars of the Niki Lauda era which brought back to Maranello a series of World Championships. (
  3. #3 ajzahn, May 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    The Italian Tecno team only briefly graced the F1 scene during 1972 and 1973; however two of their chassis, the PA123 and E371, beautifully prepared and resplendent in original Martini colours, roared together again at GP Live over the weekend.

    The story of the Tecno team stretches back to 1960 when two engineer brothers Luciano and Gianfranco Perderzani set up a company in Bologna to manufacture hydraulic and gearbox parts. Drawn to the new trend for go-karting they expanded into building single seater race cars, quickly progressing up into F3 (they won the famous Monaco round in 1969) and then into F2 where they claimed the European title a year later after Clay Regazzoni won 7 of the 11 races in their car. Proving that they were a force to be reckoned with, they also built their own engines.

    Just like all other Italian racing car manufacturers who wanted to emulate the success of Ferrari the Pederzani brothers, buoyed by their successes in F3 and F2, were no exception. For the 1972 Grand Prix season they produced not only a chassis - the PA123 - but a dramatic Flat 12 engine, and with Martini title sponsorship and Nanni Galli and Derek Bell as drivers they set off to conquer the world.

    However the project got off to a bad start, initial plans to compete at the end of the 1971 season were shelved and it wasn't until the fifth race of the 1972 season that a single PA123 appeared. In the meantime the car had been re-engineered and the along with the expense of developing their own engine, much of the Martini budget was swallowed up. Despite their brave technical effort there was not to be any success. Galli and Bell rotated races in a single car until the Italian Grand Prix.

    TECNO E371

    The Tecno E371 (PA123/6) is currently owned and regularly driven by Giuseppe Bianchini whose newly published book Tecno La Storia is the definitive work on the marque.

    However to take the route of building their own engine rather than simply bolt on a Ford DFV unit used by most of the grid was a noble, if doomed, effort and worthy of these Italian racers.

    Tecno started the 1973 season with a modified version of the PA123, the PA123 B, and again missing the opening four races of the F1 season. However they commissioned a new chassis designed by Gordon Fowell and built in the UK by Thompson (who also manufactured 1973 Ferrari 312 B chassis). The PA123 B was driven by Chris Amon at Silverstone, Zeltweg and Zandvoort that year but even the rapid New Zealander could not qualify this nicely made car. The new E371 chassis though was never actually raced, and was just used as a spare car at several Grands Prix.

    The E371 (PA123/6) is currently owned and regularly driven by Giuseppe Bianchini whose newly published book Tecno La Storia is the definitive work on the marque. Lorenzo Prandina meanwhile owns the 1972 PA123/1 chassis, and in their eye-catching original red Martini & Rosso colours both chassis made an attractive sight at Donington Park.

    Tecno E371:

    Tecno PA123:

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