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Cheating or bending the rules?


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#201 Henri Greuter

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:49

In respect of the Tyrrell business we need to make a distinction between what they were officially accused of having done and what has been alleged by various writers and other people.
In terms of the official charges, let's just say it was very convenient for a lot of parties if Tyrrell's vote on the fuel capacity question could be nullified.


I do agree with that part of the entire discussion.

Henri

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#202 ensign14

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:16

The FIArrari thing was a joke, i.e. FISA couldn't be bothered if Tyrrell were beating Williams and McLaren, but if they started beating Ferrari...

Second: Weighting Bellofs car was indeed possible in theory. But I wonder if the then current rules permitted FISA to confiscate a retired car and have it weighted? Doing something like that may have been justified because of suspicions but I think that it was against their own rules.

May have been, but I'd be surprised if there wasn't an overriding catch-all in case of serious misconduct. But of course FISA didn't pursue the weight point - one may ponder why...

As for your defence for 1984, backing that up with data from 1985: Surprising (or more correct, not surprising) to see that you don't mention the fact that the speeds of the turbocharged opposition wasn't that much faster compared with 1984 as well !!
Which is not that surprising at all given the nature of the Detroit track. Street-track, many corners, stop&go nature is not the kind of track where the turbocharged cars could show off the progress they had made over the past year in the best possible manner. Drivabitity on a street track may have improved with a year ago but any gains in lap times were not so large as on outight speed track.

Agreed - but if the Tyrrells were 50kg heavier in 1985 than 1984 for most of the race, which they would be if they couldn't add huge amounts of ballast (as opposed to small amounts), then they'd be half-a-second per lap slower in comparison with the opposition. Yet they weren't. Indeed Brundle was not only ahead of Bellof when Alliot did his usual, he was right up Alboreto's behind and looking to pass. 2nd would not have been out of the question.

(Incidentally, looking back at Detroit '85, Keke was on FIRE. Once Senna cooked his rubber there was nobody ever near him.)

#203 Henri Greuter

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 13:34

Agreed - but if the Tyrrells were 50kg heavier in 1985 than 1984 for most of the race, which they would be if they couldn't add huge amounts of ballast (as opposed to small amounts), then they'd be half-a-second per lap slower in comparison with the opposition. Yet they weren't. Indeed Brundle was not only ahead of Bellof when Alliot did his usual, he was right up Alboreto's behind and looking to pass. 2nd would not have been out of the question.



Ensign14.

I am no engineeer and I must concede that I can't come up with an explanation why the speed difference between 1984 and 1985 for the Tyrrell wasn't larger. I have only one theory about it but I am not sure if I'm thinking right and if someone else with more experience or knowledge can add to it or explain me why I'm wrong, please do so: I'm eager to learn more.


Aerodynamic grip increases with speed, slower speeds means less grip.
I don't know what kind of dowforce levels could be gained on street tracks like Detroit and how much of help is actually was at that time.
But I wonder, can running with more weight situated at the right places within the car help enhancing grip during acceleration and the very slow corners?
Is it possible that the corner speeds at Detroit (and Monaco?) were so low that aerodynamic grip was neglectable and instead: running a more heavy car to enhance grip was beneficial? And thus in the case of Tyrrell, indeed run the car with the prescribed minimum weight since there was nothing to gain this time with running below the weight limit?
And thus this being the reason why the performance of the car in '84 and '85 being near similar since the cars were in near similar specifications?

It means of course, and I am man enough to admit such too: if this theory is indeed possible, perhaps even being correct, then it does mean that the Tyrells were most likely indeed legal in at least Detroit '84. And that would make it explainable why the accusations against Tyrrell were not based on running underweight at Detroit. I remain convinced they did it earlier on in the season, But underweight at Detroit becomes a little bit doubtful for me by now if I use the theoriy above


Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 06 January 2013 - 13:37.


#204 yulzari

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 16:14

Sorry but I'm foreign (English not my first language) so sometimes I might miss the gest of a message. My apologies if I offended you, was not intentional.

Henri

No I was not offended at all. I have the same trouble in France where I live. I apologise that my explanation was poorly worded.


#205 yulzari

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 16:19

I believe this distinction is held by Major Arthur Mallock himself, in the Grote Prijs van Zandvoort on 30th July 1967, the race in which poor Ian Raby died. Mosley had raced his U2 in the earlier Crystal Palace event.

Excellent. Well done Mr 'Simplicity' himself. It's good to see he is still in the record books if, sadly, no longer with us in person.

#206 D-Type

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 17:00

Excellent. Well done Mr 'Simplicity' himself. It's good to see he is still in the record books if, sadly, no longer with us in person.

Surely "Simplicity", the famous Austin 7 special, was made by Jack French not Arthur Mallock?

#207 David McKinney

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 18:24

...as will be confirmed by Jack French's son, a member of this forum :)

#208 RogerFrench

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:00

...as will be confirmed by Jack French's son, a member of this forum :)


If I must! Though Arthur holds the distinction of driving Simplicity to her first and last 750 Formula race wins - the first in 1953 where he beat the Lotus MkIII into second place, and the last in 1962.
Also, Simplicity's chassis frame was the first frame of Arthur's special Bombsk (WJ1515), which was also originally built by my father, then re-built, also by him, with a long chassis so Arthur could more easily fit a Ford 10 engine for 1172 racing.

Arthur built a very, very basic Austin Seven Trials car in the early 60s that he named Simplastil.

#209 yulzari

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:42

If I must! Though Arthur holds the distinction of driving Simplicity to her first and last 750 Formula race wins - the first in 1953 where he beat the Lotus MkIII into second place, and the last in 1962.
Also, Simplicity's chassis frame was the first frame of Arthur's special Bombsk (WJ1515), which was also originally built by my father, then re-built, also by him, with a long chassis so Arthur could more easily fit a Ford 10 engine for 1172 racing.

Arthur built a very, very basic Austin Seven Trials car in the early 60s that he named Simplastil.

I stand soundly corrected. My respect for Jack French is no less than that for Arthur Mallock and I should have consulted my copy of 'Design for Competition'.

#210 D-Type

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 14:01

However, neither Jack French or Arthur Mallock would have ever dreamt of cheating. Go to the limit of the rules - yes, but exceed those limits - no!

#211 nicanary

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 14:52

However, neither Jack French or Arthur Mallock would have ever dreamt of cheating. Go to the limit of the rules - yes, but exceed those limits - no!


gentlemen v players


#212 RogerFrench

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 16:12

However, neither Jack French or Arthur Mallock would have ever dreamt of cheating. Go to the limit of the rules - yes, but exceed those limits - no!


"The race starts when you get the regs"

Sports car regulations demanded a working dynamo, so that from an old bicycle - the type that was spring-loaded against a tyre - running on the outside of a water-pump drive belt and illuminating a single 6v bulb was Arthur's choice at one time.

#213 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 00:37

"The race starts when you get the regs"

Sports car regulations demanded a working dynamo, so that from an old bicycle - the type that was spring-loaded against a tyre - running on the outside of a water-pump drive belt and illuminating a single 6v bulb was Arthur's choice at one time.

Or the Smokey Yunick propellor driven one. Tried that once and it worked fine when the vehicle was moving. in the standard location mounted behind the radiator on the engine.
A bloke I know tried that for the waterpump too, it worked but not very well.

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 08 January 2013 - 00:42.


#214 VWV

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:41

I don't believe he ever said that, and if he did he would surely have been referring to someone else. As far as I know there's just one instance where ACBC was guilty of some fairly mild cheating, and that only concerned marginal windscreen dimensions at LeMans. As the persons fooled were French scrutineers, most English people would have said that didn't count. Colin Chapman may have been guilty of sharp business practices at times, even blatant dishonesty on some occasions, but he was only ever interested in beating the rest by being cleverer than them, building faster cars, or as he so often was, being better at interpreting the rules, that was what drove him. If a Lotus had won by cheating in some way, he'd have derived no satisfaction from that, it's just the way he was. So quite a few faults certainly, as has been well recorded, but not deliberate cheating on the track.



Yesterday I received my Christmas books that I ordered and I was scanning through them when this caught my eye in Ian Wagstaff's Lotus 72 Owners Manual, page 55. Martin Wade and Eddie Dennis talk about the "bungee wing" used on the 72 during the 1972 season.

"In 1972 Team Lotus ran what has been described as the 'bungee wing' on the Type 72. The regulations stated that the rear wing had to be firmly fixed. Colin Chapman pointed out to Martin Waide that a scrutineer testing the wing would probably be able to exert no more then 1/8th of the downforce that would be applied down the straights at, for ex Monza. He then ordered Waide to fit a rubber bush into the wing. 'He didn't tell me how to do it, he just said "Do it" and walked away with a twinkle in his eye.'

Waide selected a large 2.5 in rubber and steel cylindrical bush that just fitted in the wing section on top of the wing. As a result the wing de-pitched at speed, although as Eddie Dennis recalled, "if you sat on it you couldn't move it.'''

Down the high-speed straights the wing would reduce its angle of incidence. In the corners it would revert to its normal position, providing needed downforce.

For the British GP the wing grew additional supports in the form of struts (which were, in fact telescopic) from the trailing edge to the gearbox, to allay other teams suspicions. For months nobody twigged what was happening. Then at the Austrian GP Denny Hulme pointed out that as he followed Emerson Fittipaldi down the straights, so his helmet would suddenly come into view. The rubber bush was quietly shelved. "It was a bit tongue in cheek" said Dennis."



I have not head this story before. By my definition, Chapman cheated, this gave the 72 a performance advantage. Chapman could be given credit for the "cheat" Red Bull and others have been accused of with the wing deflection games being played with since. In my opinion this episode shows that in 1972 Chapman was well on his way to the "Delorean school of ethics" and not just the pure racer that he was previously.

Emerson Fiitipaldi won the drivers championship that year and the type 72 won 4 grand prix by Austria. The book does not state which races were run with the bungee wing.

Edited by VWV, 10 January 2013 - 05:14.


#215 kayemod

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:51

I have not head this story before. By my definition, Chapman cheated, this gave the 72 a performance advantage. Chapman could be given credit for the "cheat" Red Bull and others have been accused of with the wing deflection games being played with since. In my opinion this episode shows that in 1972 Chapman was well on his way to the "Delorean school of ethics" and not just the pure racer that he was previously.

Emerson Fiitipaldi won the drivers championship that year and the type 72 won 4 grand prix by Austria. The book does not state which races were run with the bungee wing.


Interesting, I'd not heard that one before either, but does Michael Oliver's Lotus 72 book corroborate this? As the Great Man isn't here to explain, I'll attempt to do it for him, although I think he'd have been in some trouble if another team had protested, though it obviously passed the scrutineers. I'm sure Chapman would have seen it as clever exploitation of the regs, not actual 'cheating'. Others might have disagreed of course, especially those trying to keep up with Lotus, and I'd be surprised if he was the only team doing this kind of thing with rear wings at the time. As he would have explained, every material distorts or compresses under load, though not always to a measurable degree, he would have had a logical and probably fairly convincing explanation for the presence of rubber in the rear wing structure, as those who knew him will testify, he could be very hard to argue against. He was also fascinated, though only in a strictly engineering sense as far as I know, by the properties of rubber in all its forms. In the early 70s, my department was struggling a little with the rubber seals we were using to develop the Company's VARI process, Vacuum Assisted Resin Injection, by which all Lotus car bodies and JCL Marine boat hulls were eventually to be moulded, and Chapman would come along to inspect progress almost every day he was in residence, he was wont to point out "Rubber doesn't compress, it only distorts", and we were to work around this fact, as Team clearly were with the 72. He came to work in Hazel's 450SL a couple of times to show us the rubber door seals which had impressed him, Mercedes used quite large solid rubber, fairly soft but with a hard surface, we were using hollow seals on our moulds, a larger version of what Lotus were using on all the road cars. He also sent me and colleague Albert Adams who'd been with Lotus since their Hornsey days, to inspect the seals around his front & rear doors at his home East Carleton Manor, palatial by the standards of the day, which he'd been similarly impressed by. As were we, on what he paid us, we couldn't even afford decent double glazing on our own modest residences back then.


#216 Michael Oliver

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 13:47

Yesterday I received my Christmas books that I ordered and I was scanning through them when this caught my eye in Ian Wagstaff's Lotus 72 Owners Manual, page 55. Martin Wade and Eddie Dennis talk about the "bungee wing" used on the 72 during the 1972 season.

"In 1972 Team Lotus ran what has been described as the 'bungee wing' on the Type 72. The regulations stated that the rear wing had to be firmly fixed. Colin Chapman pointed out to Martin Waide that a scrutineer testing the wing would probably be able to exert no more then 1/8th of the downforce that would be applied down the straights at, for ex Monza. He then ordered Waide to fit a rubber bush into the wing. 'He didn't tell me how to do it, he just said "Do it" and walked away with a twinkle in his eye.'

Waide selected a large 2.5 in rubber and steel cylindrical bush that just fitted in the wing section on top of the wing. As a result the wing de-pitched at speed, although as Eddie Dennis recalled, "if you sat on it you couldn't move it.'''

Down the high-speed straights the wing would reduce its angle of incidence. In the corners it would revert to its normal position, providing needed downforce.

For the British GP the wing grew additional supports in the form of struts (which were, in fact telescopic) from the trailing edge to the gearbox, to allay other teams suspicions. For months nobody twigged what was happening. Then at the Austrian GP Denny Hulme pointed out that as he followed Emerson Fittipaldi down the straights, so his helmet would suddenly come into view. The rubber bush was quietly shelved. "It was a bit tongue in cheek" said Dennis."



I have not head this story before. By my definition, Chapman cheated, this gave the 72 a performance advantage. Chapman could be given credit for the "cheat" Red Bull and others have been accused of with the wing deflection games being played with since. In my opinion this episode shows that in 1972 Chapman was well on his way to the "Delorean school of ethics" and not just the pure racer that he was previously.

Emerson Fiitipaldi won the drivers championship that year and the type 72 won 4 grand prix by Austria. The book does not state which races were run with the bungee wing.


VWV, you are clearly not buying the right books, as this story first appeared in my book on the Lotus 72 in 2003! It was not the first time that the team had played fast and loose with the rules either: in 1970 they had deliberately set up the rear wing to run above the maximum height stipulated by the rules and then leaned on it after the race to lower it.

#217 VWV

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 13:58

VWV, you are clearly not buying the right books, as this story first appeared in my book on the Lotus 72 in 2003! It was not the first time that the team had played fast and loose with the rules either: in 1970 they had deliberately set up the rear wing to run above the maximum height stipulated by the rules and then leaned on it after the race to lower it.



:rolleyes: I actually do own your excellent book on the 72, along with your 2 others books. I am embarrassed to admitt that I have not gotten around to reading it yet in detail...
My problem is I am acquiring books & magazines faster then I can read and digest them. Slinking back to my room.....

#218 kayemod

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 14:06

It was not the first time that the team had played fast and loose with the rules either: in 1970 they had deliberately set up the rear wing to run above the maximum height stipulated by the rules and then leaned on it after the race to lower it.


And they weren't alone in that of course, I'm fairly sure I can remember McLaren being accused of doing exactly the same, 'accidentally' leaning on a wing post-race to lower it.


#219 GrzegorzChyla

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 19:45

I have not head this story before. By my definition, Chapman cheated, this gave the 72 a performance advantage.


As far as I understand the physics, in our world there is nothing that is 100% stiff. Everything is flexible, the only difference is how much flexible it is.
No mater what material would Chapman use, it would eventually bend. Some materials just require more force (eg. steel) and some less (eg. rubber).
Note that for instance for anti-roll bars rule say explicitly how stiff they should be. There were no such requirement for wings.

Edited by GrzegorzChyla, 10 January 2013 - 19:46.


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#220 ensign14

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 20:37

So on the one hand the wind can flex a wing when people can't, and on the other people can bend a wing post-race when the wind had no effect. :drunk:

#221 Michael Oliver

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 13:26

:rolleyes: I actually do own your excellent book on the 72, along with your 2 others books. I am embarrassed to admitt that I have not gotten around to reading it yet in detail...
My problem is I am acquiring books & magazines faster then I can read and digest them. Slinking back to my room.....


That's OK, I have plenty of books on my shelves that I've bought for reference and not read. In fairness, I've always felt that the book's large coffee table format doesn't lend itself to being read, as it is quite heavy to hold up for any length of time. My publisher's response was not to worry and that people don't read the words, they only buy the books to look at the pictures. Perhaps you've just proved him correct on that one :lol: You have looked at the pictures, haven't you? :eek:

#222 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 15:10

I found a very reasonably-priced copy of "Gang Warily", the jubilee history of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club the other day. It's mostly concerned with pioneer motoring in Scotland, but on page 74 there's an anecdote from the 1938 celebratory dinner for RJ Smith, one of the club's founders:

Mr Smith reminded his audience how important it was for manufacturers to make a good show in motor trials and hinted that ingenuity sometimes came before honesty in an attempt to further the interests of a particular entrant.

On one occasion he had accompanied Lord Weir to a European capital for an important international race. At the weigh-in a team of three cars arrived, all looking remarkably alike. The first car passed the scales as properly under weight, the two others following at intervals.

When walking away from the scales Mr Smith was asked: "Did you notice anything in there?"

"Yes," he smiled, "a clever development of the three-card trick!"

The same car had been pushed on to the scales three times, the others presumably being overweight!

The "European capital" must surely be Paris, but I wonder which race? And which team?


#223 Henri Greuter

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 15:52

I found a very reasonably-priced copy of "Gang Warily", the jubilee history of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club the other day. It's mostly concerned with pioneer motoring in Scotland, but on page 74 there's an anecdote from the 1938 celebratory dinner for RJ Smith, one of the club's founders:


The "European capital" must surely be Paris, but I wonder which race? And which team?



The rumor goes that one year at Indy one of the two Blue Crown Specials couldn't qualify. But since the cars were so identical that the body panels of the immobile car were put on the sister car and that this car then qualified a second time.
Makes you wonder, if true, how thorough scritineering at Indy was at that time.



Henri

#224 john winfield

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 17:10

I found a very reasonably-priced copy of "Gang Warily", the jubilee history of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club the other day. It's mostly concerned with pioneer motoring in Scotland, but on page 74 there's an anecdote from the 1938 celebratory dinner for RJ Smith, one of the club's founders:


The "European capital" must surely be Paris, but I wonder which race? And which team?


Richard,
I'm not very hot on pre-war racing, but why 'must surely be Paris'? Aren't Berlin or Berne also possibilities?


#225 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 17:33

Richard,
I'm not very hot on pre-war racing, but why 'must surely be Paris'? Aren't Berlin or Berne also possibilities?

In the context of the piece and with the reference to trials, the impression given is that it's one of the very early city-to-city races. Lord Weir is as in Weir-Darracq, who constructed cars for the 1904 and 1905 Gordon Bennett races. This is him. So, something like the Paris-Vienna or Paris-Madrid would seem favourite. :) Montlhéry in the 20s might be a possibility, but I doubt he's referring to Avus or Bremgarten.

#226 RogerFrench

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 17:47

Thank you to those who wrote respectfully of my father, but I do have to own up that he was directly involved in a small, well-documented bit of finagling on the RAC Rally, in, I think, 1961.
At that time he was Service Manager for SAAB GB, and he and a cousin drove the support car for Erik Carlsson. There were penalties for damage, and the passenger door of the rally car had suffered, so during a stop the support car's door was swapped for that of the rally car, which therefore arrived in a pristine condition, and Erik duly won.

#227 Roger Clark

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 18:48

In the context of the piece and with the reference to trials, the impression given is that it's one of the very early city-to-city races. Lord Weir is as in Weir-Darracq, who constructed cars for the 1904 and 1905 Gordon Bennett races. This is him. So, something like the Paris-Vienna or Paris-Madrid would seem favourite. :) Montlhéry in the 20s might be a possibility, but I doubt he's referring to Avus or Bremgarten.

As the race appears to have been under a maximum weight formula, I think your early 1900s theory is likely.

#228 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 00:06

The rumor goes that one year at Indy one of the two Blue Crown Specials couldn't qualify. But since the cars were so identical that the body panels of the immobile car were put on the sister car and that this car then qualified a second time.
Makes you wonder, if true, how thorough scritineering at Indy was at that time.



Henri

Swapping cars, panels and drivers for that type of qualifying has happened often at all levels. I guess the advantages of a team and I suggestion a blind eye has been turned too at times.

#229 AAGR

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:26

Thank you to those who wrote respectfully of my father, but I do have to own up that he was directly involved in a small, well-documented bit of finagling on the RAC Rally, in, I think, 1961.
At that time he was Service Manager for SAAB GB, and he and a cousin drove the support car for Erik Carlsson. There were penalties for damage, and the passenger door of the rally car had suffered, so during a stop the support car's door was swapped for that of the rally car, which therefore arrived in a pristine condition, and Erik duly won.


The same thing happened to Peter Procter and I in the same RAC rally, when we were in a 'works' Sunbeam Rapier. At one point Peter side-swiped a door on a special stage, so hours later, when we had time at the Mallory Park control (which was very near the Sunbeam factory), the mechanics arranged a complete door swop - correct colours, competition number, and all.

Not really bending any rules, for the damage scrutineering was done at the end of the event (Brighton in that case), not in mid-event. By the way, to ensure that he could not be penalised for on-event damage, European champion Hans Walter arranged for his co-driver (John Sprinzel) to go round each corner of the Porsche Carrera, inflicting damage to each wing with a hammer, and making sure that the scrutineers' attention was drawn to this before the 'off'.

AAGR



#230 flatlander48

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:31

Talking of Smokey Yunick, few realise that he put an inverted wing on top of an Indy roadster - in 1962!! That's years before even Jim Hall thought of it. Also Harry Eisele tried this idea, in early 1966, strutted on top of the engine of his 'funny car'. And they say USAC was old-fashioned and luddite...


The late Jerry Eisert, I believe...

#231 flatlander48

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:35

Speaking of fuel, there was the practice in F1 during the
mid 80's of teams chilling their fuel to shrink its volume
,
packing greater value into their strictly proscribed single tanks. After completing the warm up, the cars would take their grid positions.
At a hot venue like Rio, ambient temperature would warm the fuel in that single central tank, causing it to expand.
It was common practice for filler funnels to be locked on to the tank necks during that long wait on the grid, ostensibly to catch and contain expansion leakage.
At least one major team (not named!) used double-skinned funnels, containing a small volume of fuel between the skins and, as the car stood there on the grid, far from boiling off expanding fuel, it was actually being topped up illegally to compensate for the litres used in the warm-up lap.


The Penske folks did this in Trans-Am back in the 70's...

#232 flatlander48

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:39

Apparently the AHRA and/or the NHRA only ever checked the bore and stroke of the front cylinders...
Someone did a trade making cranks with three stroked throws.


That's also what caused the falling out between Richard Petty and his brother Maurice. NASCAR inspectors checked didn't check #1 cylinder as they usually did. They checked one of the others and found the engine to be oversized.

#233 flatlander48

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:47

The cars were strictly allowed only certain sized fuel tanks, but Penske's cars seemed to be able to go a little further than everybody else. I watched them at Meadowdale and they had this big tank on stilts for refueling. They had a bigger TANK than anyone else, but the tank in the car was the correct size.

ZOOOM


They also had oversized plumbing for the gas filler in the car. On the car side of the dry break was a chamber (maybe the size of a US football) and then the piping from the chamber to the tank was larger than usual. The difference was maybe an extra gallon or 2 than what the tank held. However, this may not have been done in connection with chilling the gas.

#234 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:49

As the race appears to have been under a maximum weight formula, I think your early 1900s theory is likely.

As Roger has correctly surmised, the only three possibilities seem to be the Circuit du Nord, Paris-Vienna and Paris-Madrid.

#235 flatlander48

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:50

Cheating? As Chapman said, the unfair advantage!


I don't know if Colin Chapman said that, but it is the name of Mark Donohue's autobiography.

#236 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 13:06

Not an autobiography, as I understand it...

Rather a technical approach to his racing experience.

On the other hand, I seem to recollect that there were some kinds of advertisements about the 'Unfair Advantage' in relation to products used by Donohue (and Penske) prior to the release of that book.

In other words, it seemed to me that the advertising line led to the book title. Was it Sears?

#237 flatlander48

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 15:21

Not an autobiography, as I understand it...

Rather a technical approach to his racing experience.

On the other hand, I seem to recollect that there were some kinds of advertisements about the 'Unfair Advantage' in relation to products used by Donohue (and Penske) prior to the release of that book.

In other words, it seemed to me that the advertising line led to the book title. Was it Sears?


I think it is both. He's discussing is approach to motorsports in the context of his career. The quote from the Amazon listing is:

"In 1974 Mark Donohue took a year off from driving at the height of his racing career and wrote a candid and revealing book about his journey through the world of auto racing - from amateur races in his own '57 Corvette to winning the Indy 500 in Roger Penske's McLaren M16."

Also, I did a very quick search and didn't find the phrase "The Unfair Advantage" in the conext of Sears or Sunoco. Don't know...

Edited by flatlander48, 13 January 2013 - 15:21.


#238 flatlander48

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 15:28

While searching around for The Unfair Advantage, I found this information:

Prism Cars
When they began to prepare the first ’67 Camaro Mark had no experience in developing a race car from a production sedan. Roger Penske secured the 13th Z-28 built and trusted Mark to turn it into a race car. Mark had successfully raced a Shelby GT-350 but the development work on that car had already been done for him. Mark’s first Camaro efforts yielded a highly unstable car and no wins. Finally with lots of back-door help from Chevrolet, that first car won a TransAm at Bryar, half way through the 1967 series. The secret was a special set of body panels that Chevrolet had produced by stopping the Camaro production stamping presses and making one set with very thin steel.

This was a very expensive process but very effective. Unfortunately in practice for the next race, he crashed heavily and destroyed all the light bodywork. Mark immediately set out to make the second Sunoco Camaro with an acid dipped body using Craig Fisher’s Camaro. After the Marlborough race, which Mark co-drove with Canadian Craig Fisher, both Craig and his 1967 Camaro joined the team. That particular Camaro (the 14th Z-28 built) had been purchased by Terry Godsall for Craig and was raced at the 1967 Daytona TransAm, finishing second and becoming the first Camaro to score points. It also ran the 24 hour race and the 12 hours of Sebring. Godsall contracted with Lockheed to acid dip all the removable panels and the resulting car made its debut on the west coast with just 4 races left in the 1967 season. This car, forever known as “The Lightweight”, now with sponsorship from Sunoco and engines by Traco Engineering, won two of those last four TransAms (Las Vegas and Seattle) with Mark Donohue at the wheel. It lapped the field in the final race of the year. Tipped off to the unfair advantage, organizers weighed the car post-race only to find it 250 lbs. shy of the minimum weight. Only Roger’s not-so-veiled threat that Chevy might leave the series convinced the organizers to let the win stand. SCCA stewards told Roger that the car would never be allowed to race again and in 1968 all cars would be weighed during pre-race technical inspection.

For 1968 Roger and Mark had a “body-in-white” acid dipped and prepared an all new 1968 car, adding the weight back in choice areas to balance the car and make the minimum weight. In its debut at Daytona it suffered cracked cylinder heads and lost to a Mustang. Vince Piggins, Mr. Camaro at Chevrolet, strongly suggested that Penske enter two cars at Sebring, the second TransAm of the year, which would be a 12-hour event within an event. Not having time to prepare a second car, Mark retrieved “The Lightweight” which had gone back to Godsall, for a one-race partnership. Roger and Mark fooled the tech inspectors by putting 1968 grille and taillights on the 1967 car and painting both cars identically. Then they sent the legal 1968 car to tech twice, once with Number 15 and once with Number 16, this worked so well that they repeated the process in qualifying and “The Lightweight” actually qualified them both. We know this because Mark put it into his book, “The Unfair Advantage”.

Edited by flatlander48, 13 January 2013 - 15:30.


#239 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 22:05

That's very interesting, but you'll just have to trust my memory more...

I put the word 'Sears' into my 'Unfair Advantage' search... and on eBay at the moment:

Posted Image

That's from 1971, I reckon I saw ads prior to that time too.

Advertisement

#240 bradbury west

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 00:27

Thank you to those who wrote respectfully of my father, but I do have to own up that he was directly involved in a small, well-documented bit of finagling on the RAC Rally, in, I think, 1961.
At that time he was Service Manager for SAAB GB, and he and a cousin drove the support car for Erik Carlsson. There were penalties for damage, and the passenger door of the rally car had suffered, so during a stop the support car's door was swapped for that of the rally car, which therefore arrived in a pristine condition, and Erik duly won.

Is that the RAC when the SAAB arrived at the finish in a spotless, freshly washed condition, allegedly for publicity purposes, rather than to highlight panel swaps?
Roger Lund

#241 flatlander48

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:35

That's very interesting, but you'll just have to trust my memory more...

I put the word 'Sears' into my 'Unfair Advantage' search... and on eBay at the moment:

That's from 1971, I reckon I saw ads prior to that time too.


My search phrase was:

"the unfair advantage" (sears OR sunoco)

I've always seen it as The Unfair Advantage, so I included "the". If I had invested more time, it would have turned up...

#242 dbltop

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 02:06

I also seem to remember that they went a little overboard on one of the chassis while acid dipping. They had to install a vinyl roof to cover up the holes.

#243 flatlander48

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 02:56

I also seem to remember that they went a little overboard on one of the chassis while acid dipping. They had to install a vinyl roof to cover up the holes.


Yes, they let it cook just a little too long...

#244 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:00

...and told everyone the vinyl was there to get the benefit of the dimpling (golf ball style...) in the aerodynamics...

Anyway, my point about the 'Unfair Advantage' line was that the book was not the beginning of it. It would seem it began as an advertising line that caught on and that was always identified with Roger Penske's race team.

#245 flatlander48

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:19

...and told everyone the vinyl was there to get the benefit of the dimpling (golf ball style...) in the aerodynamics...

Anyway, my point about the 'Unfair Advantage' line was that the book was not the beginning of it. It would seem it began as an advertising line that caught on and that was always identified with Roger Penske's race team.


I think the reason it caught on was that it typified how Penske and Donohue worked. They were always looking to go the extra mile and figure out something that no one else had before.

#246 RogerFrench

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 19:56

Is that the RAC when the SAAB arrived at the finish in a spotless, freshly washed condition, allegedly for publicity purposes, rather than to highlight panel swaps?
Roger Lund


I think they washed it with petrol to get it to look uniform - don't know about publicity per se.

#247 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 21:50

I also seem to remember that they went a little overboard on one of the chassis while acid dipping. They had to install a vinyl roof to cover up the holes.

Something I have never quite understood. The vinyl would be heavier than any weight loss incurred. And if the roof was that thin just weld another roof skin on. Though those acid dipped shells must have been very flexible anyway. Getting rid of paint, sealer etc is good, structural strength is bad. Though from what I am told most of the [better] cars were produced from new bare shells without all the unecesary brackets, sealers, soundproofing etc. The Karkraft Mustangs had convertible sill panels etc to stiffen the car, so why then weaken them?

#248 flatlander48

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 00:46

Something I have never quite understood. The vinyl would be heavier than any weight loss incurred. And if the roof was that thin just weld another roof skin on. Though those acid dipped shells must have been very flexible anyway. Getting rid of paint, sealer etc is good, structural strength is bad. Though from what I am told most of the [better] cars were produced from new bare shells without all the unecesary brackets, sealers, soundproofing etc. The Karkraft Mustangs had convertible sill panels etc to stiffen the car, so why then weaken them?


The real strength of the car was in the roll cage and how it extended to attach to structures in the front and rear. The body shell contributed very little, if anything, to the rigidity of the entire structure. If word got out that the body had holes that had been covered up, the SCCA folks would either be checking everything or demand that the cars be built from an unmodified body-in-white of the standard production thicknesses. If you cut the roof off and welded in a new one, you would need to do some fixturing to get the new section in the proper place. NASCAR was to the point, or almost to the point, of using body templates to verify that bodies remained in the stock configuration. I don't know if the SCCA had started that practice, but they certainly could have. When you start getting caught doing wrong, it opens the door for folks to check even closer. Where there's smoke, there's fire...

#249 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 21:47

The real strength of the car was in the roll cage and how it extended to attach to structures in the front and rear. The body shell contributed very little, if anything, to the rigidity of the entire structure. If word got out that the body had holes that had been covered up, the SCCA folks would either be checking everything or demand that the cars be built from an unmodified body-in-white of the standard production thicknesses. If you cut the roof off and welded in a new one, you would need to do some fixturing to get the new section in the proper place. NASCAR was to the point, or almost to the point, of using body templates to verify that bodies remained in the stock configuration. I don't know if the SCCA had started that practice, but they certainly could have. When you start getting caught doing wrong, it opens the door for folks to check even closer. Where there's smoke, there's fire...

If the roll cage is attached to thin flexible metal it really is not doing much. And the roll cages stayed inside the cars in those days, notthrough the firewalls everywhere. As for putting a new roof skin on that is a simple crash shop job done regularly [especially then]
Light weight hang on panels, guards, bonnet, boot, doors etc are not structural strength whereas the complete body shell is.
GMs detachable front rails on Camaros and Firebirds will never be as stiff as the all welded construction Mopar and Ford products. Though a lot easier to repair.

#250 flatlander48

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 22:44

If you go here:

'69 Penske/Donohue Camaro - Bruce Canepa web site

Evidently at one point Canepa's company handled the car. If you go through the photos, you'll see the roll cage structure inside the car. On shots with the door open, you'll see roll cage tubes disappear into the side sides of the dashboard. Looking at engine compartment photos, you'll see the tubes come through the firewall and go down to the original light perimeter chassis. In the trunk photos, there are tubes beside the fuel cell. Those come from the back side of the cage and extend to the rear of the car and connect to the original perimeter chassis.

Basically the floor pan is attached to the perimeter chassis. The roll cage extends from one end of the car to the other and is welded to it. The big difference between then and now is that the '69 didn't seem to have much cross bracing in the front and rear like the NASCAR cars do these days.

By the way, roll cages in stock cars began to appear in maybe '65 or '66 (going from memory) by the Holman-Moody organization.