Monday, June 8, 2015

Sydney Retro SpeedFest - An F1 Perspective

For F1 fans living in Sydney Australia, access to Formula One can be very slim-pickings.

Hence it was with great glee that I read about the Sydney Retro SpeedFest being held at Sydney Motorsport Park ... just 30 minutes drive from where I live.

The lure was a selection of Formula One cars from the 1960's, 70's and 80's ... on display and close-up.  With pit access.  SOLD! 

Upon arriving at the circuit, I had my checklist of F1 cars that I needed to meet.  I was ready to go.

1979 Williams FW07 Ford - Alan Jones

First stop, I found the 1979 Williams in-front of me.  The car was sitting under a large pits-style marquee ... all alone, no one there.  What a beautiful piece of art!  I love it's simple, clean lines and efficient design.  I started photographing the car immediately and noted several things about it;
  • Designed by Patrick Head, it was one of the first ground-effects F1 cars
  • Powered by a Ford Cosworth DFV V8 engine
  • This chassis was driven by Alan Jones winning 4 Grand Prix
Photo's here:

1973 BRM P160E - Niki Lauda

Next to the Williams was Lauda's BRM.  Again the car was under the marquee, no security, full access.  This car is not only the real deal but it was also used in the filming for the movie "Rush".

Huge tyres, huge wings, huge wheels - this beast would have been fantastic to drive!
  • A whopping three litre V12 engine
  • One of only 4 surviving P160E cars
  • Recently purchased by an Australian collector after years at the Donington Museum
Photo's here:

1967 Brabham Repco BT23A - Jack Brabham

Like small and nimble?  Check out this baby!  Next to the Lauda BRM car was the absolutely stunning 1967 Brabham.  This was actually a Tasman car which was used as a prototype for the 1967 Grand Prix car. 
  • Powered by a 2.5 litre Repco V8 engine
  • This car won the 1967 Tasman Series race at Longford, Tasmania
  • Fantastic exposed engine and exhaust
Photo's here:

So walking then to the main pit complex at Sydney Motorsport Park, there were 4 more F1 cars awaiting me ...

1985 Beatrice Lola Hart - Alan Jones

This was the car that Alan Jones famously drove on his return to F1 in 1985.  It was not to be a successful campaign but the promise was there:
  • Designed by Neil Oatley, aerodynamics by Ross Brawn
  • The car was engineered by Haas with the backing of Lola and Hart
  • The engine could achieve 1,000hp with boost
This car is well known to many F1 fans especially in Australia.  It was great to see it back in Australia so that people can see it.

Photo's here:

1986 Benetton 186 BMW- Gerhard Berger

The mid 1980's Benetton was an extremely quick F1 car.  And great to look at!   This particular chassis was driven by Gerhard Berger and the car overall has a elegant flow to it.  I love the rear and sidepods.
  • Designed by Rory Byrne
  • BMW engine, 1.5 litre, 4 cylinder turbo
  • Generated an amazing 1,300hp at full boost
Photo's here:

1985 Ferrari 156/85 - Stefan Johansson

Next up along the garage was this amazing looking car.  A Ferrari F1 car is always special and this is no exception.
  • The V6 turbo engine produced an estimated 900hp
  • While problematic during the 1985 season, it did achieve 2 second places
  • This car is owned by Sydney businessman Guido Belgiorno-Nettis.  And guess what?  He has TWO of them!
This car was fantastic to see.  And according to its owner; "It's reliable, it's fun it's quick, it's a car that you can really enjoy. It's a thrill every time you drive it".

Photo's here:

1974 March 741-1 - Hans-Joachim Stuck

Finally, there was this striking orange 1974 March 741.  It looks great and similar to the Lauda 1973 BRM car ... it has big wings, wheels and airbox.  
  • Powered by Cosworth - a 3 litre engine producing 450hp
  • Best result was 4th
  • The car is now owned and kept in Australia
Later on the track, this car sounded glorious and as seen on the video below, clearly had a vibration issue (watch the driver closely).

Photo's here:
Video here:  (06 June 2015 tweet)

And Finally ...

The Sydney Retro SpeedFest is highly recommended and a great day out for race fans.  During the day I saw 3 of these F1 cars lapping on track; Brabham, Williams and March.  All sounded fantastic with the Williams easily being pushed the quickest.

I left the circuit with an even bigger appreciation of these older F1 cars.  While museums are obviously extremely important, I believe these kinds of events are essential too.  They allow people to really appreciate F1's heritage, see the cars up close as well as lapping the circuit.

Thanks for reading.

Please leave your comments.

Pep, F1 Podcast.

Daily updates here:

No comments: