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Chaparral and F1


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#1 HistoryFan

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 21:15

Why had Chaparral never build a F1 car?
Were there ever plans about that?

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#2 RA Historian

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 18:15

The first thing that comes to mind is the lack of money and/or interest by Hall and/or Chevrolet.

They did build a F-5000 car that ran once or twice in 1971 driven by Franz Weis, but that was very half-hearted and was more of a Weis project that a Hall effort.

#3 Allen Brown

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 18:22

That was an abandoned Indy project wasn't it Tom?

#4 HistoryFan

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 19:55

When Chaparral was founded, Hall was driving in F1, so I think there was perhaps a little bit interest in it. Although the IndyCar Chaparral from the end of the 70s had a lot of F1 elements for example the ground effect. So I think it would have been possible...

And why does the interest of Chevrolet matters in this case?

#5 David McKinney

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 20:48

When Chaparral was founded, Hall was driving in F1...

Not so - Chaparral had been campaigning for two successful seasons before Hall took a year out to try F1


#6 Roger Clark

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 21:27

Not so - Chaparral had been campaigning for two successful seasons before Hall took a year out to try F1

True, but the company that raced the Chaparrel 1 was very different from that of the later 1960s.

#7 D-Type

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 21:33

Remember that when Jim Hall drove in F1 it was the 11/2 litre era. As he had already raced a Lister-Chevrolet and built his first Chevrolet-powered Chaparral perhaps he found F1 a trifle 'Mickey Mouse' and uninspiring.

Although Chevrolet were prepared to discretely give him technical assistance with his Chevrolet-powered cars and in developing his semi-automatic gearbox, they were probably not interested in the high profile that Formula 1 involvement would entail.

Edited by D-Type, 11 November 2012 - 21:34.


#8 Stephen W

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 10:39

Why had Chaparral never build a F1 car?
Were there ever plans about that?


Why Chaparral?

Why not ask the same question of other companies?

I am sure that many other succesful companies considered it but dropped the idea as being too costly, unlikely to achieve any worthwhile results, likely to mean their bread and butter clients went elsewhere, etc.

:rolleyes:

#9 kayemod

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 10:47

Why Chaparral?

Why not ask the same question of other companies?


Pointless question, and why F1? Jim Hall was possibly one of only a handful of people in Texas who'd even heard of F1, it was very much a European thing in those days, still is in some respects.

#10 HistoryFan

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 14:06

Why Chaparral?

Why not ask the same question of other companies?

I am sure that many other succesful companies considered it but dropped the idea as being too costly, unlikely to achieve any worthwhile results, likely to mean their bread and butter clients went elsewhere, etc.

:rolleyes:


How much did a season cost in that years and how much a season in IndyCar (USAC). Was there such a big difference?


#11 uechtel

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 15:23

Perhaps more the other way round, what was to earn in Formula 1? In my German contemporary F1 yearbooks it was always noted for the US GP what a lot of money there was to earn compared to the "poor" European events. I think it was because of the high value of the dollar compared to the European currencies in those days.




#12 RA Historian

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 16:37

True, but the company that raced the Chaparrel 1 was very different from that of the later 1960s.

Yes and no. Yes, because the Chaparral 1 was not built by Chaparral, but was built by Troutman-Barnes. The Chaparral 2 series of cars were built by Chaparral.

No because the entrant always was Jim Hall and Hap Sharp as Chaparral Cars. Hall and Sharp raced as a team before the first Chaparral, but informally, and Road & Track and Competition Press both informally named their effort the "Texas Raiders". When Hall reached agreement with Troutman-Barnes to finance the construction (by agreeing to buy two cars) of what became the Chaparral, he was allowed to select the name of the cars which had been known as the 'Riverside Racer' while it was a work in progress. Once Hall took delivery of his two of the five Chaparral 1s built, he formalized his operation as Chaparral Cars. But whatever the name, the Jim Hall operation from its beginning in the mid to late 1950s was essentially the same company.

#13 RA Historian

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 16:40

And why does the interest of Chevrolet matters in this case?

Because Chevrolet was clandestinely backing Hall's Chaparral effort to a large degree, both financially and with engineering help.

#14 RA Historian

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 16:41

Perhaps more the other way round, what was to earn in Formula 1? In my German contemporary F1 yearbooks it was always noted for the US GP what a lot of money there was to earn compared to the "poor" European events. I think it was because of the high value of the dollar compared to the European currencies in those days.

The purse at Watkins Glen dwarfed that of all the other GPs, true, but one of the main reasons was not the exchange rate, but that the Glen did not pay appearance money, but rather rolled that all into the purse, as I understand it.

#15 Duc-Man

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 17:24

"If I come up with a better mousetrap that is within the guidelines of the regulations, than I ought to be able to use it." - Jim Hall in 1970 commenting on the 2J's ban.

Maybe also the rules in F1 where already to tight for a technically liberal thinking mind like Jim Hall.


#16 Allan Lupton

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 18:00

Maybe also the rules in F1 where already to tight for a technically liberal thinking mind like Jim Hall.

That's a modern view of things.
At the time in question there were mercifully few rules about car design - little more than engine displacement, fuel specification and just do what you thought would succeed over the race distance at the circuits in use at the time.

Edited by Allan Lupton, 12 November 2012 - 18:01.


#17 HistoryFan

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 18:32

Very interesting points.

#18 Duc-Man

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 18:55

That's a modern view of things.
At the time in question there were mercifully few rules about car design - little more than engine displacement, fuel specification and just do what you thought would succeed over the race distance at the circuits in use at the time.


I thought more about post '71 and not pre '66. Coming from a pretty much 'everything goes' formula to F1 where we had basically only three revolutions since the beginning (mid-engine, ground effect and turbo). I can't see the challange for somebody who, pretty much, invented racecar aerodynamics. Why bother?
I also think that money and the fact that most GPs happened overseas had something to do with it as well.
No offence to anybody but I know some great people from Texas and they don't really care much about the world out there.

#19 TIPO61

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 20:03

While my 'ole man' was with Chaparral Cars he says that there were a few F-1 machines in both Jim and Hap's garages. They weren't built very well (cheap parts...minor league welding plus, plus) and they didn't seem to be very important to the time. A bunch of Formula Jrs a Cooper T-53, another Cooper [so called Intercontinental Class], a Lotus 18 and 21 and various fire pump engines about in various stages of whatever. He said that they all followed F-1 but the 'task at hand' was trying to keep the damn nose of the Troutman and Barnes car from flying. Frank Lance in concert with Foy Barrett got that job done and the results are in the books. Sometimes spectacular...sometimes sadness...but they got the job done with Hall's intellect and direction.

Edited by TIPO61, 12 November 2012 - 20:05.


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#20 uechtel

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 22:08

The purse at Watkins Glen dwarfed that of all the other GPs, true, but one of the main reasons was not the exchange rate, but that the Glen did not pay appearance money, but rather rolled that all into the purse, as I understand it.


Yes, the payment system was different, but nevertheless Ulrich Schwab, the author of my yearbooks, insists, that nevertheless the amount of money in total was somewhat exorbitant. Here some extracts (please forgive me if my translations are not perfect):

1966: "The speciality of this race in the States was, that the drivers did not receive staring money in the usual manner, which was fixed by the GPDA, but instead awards. By the way the usual financial habit of the Grand Prix Sport is a system which has demonstrated a certain kind of problematic. Obviously well into the season it favoured drivers, which had good results in the early races, but then fell behind. For example on the occasion of a certain race some numbers were known which did not correspondend to the championship standings: Bandini in sixth place would receive 17,000 DM, but the man who was on best way to win the championship would receive only 12,500 DM. The Americans were handling this completely different. Instead of starting money an amount of 102,400 $ altogether was divided into awards which were distriubuted not by pürominence of the drivers, but according to their results in the race. The system was so fair that the winner got 20,000 Dollars and the 19th placed still 2,900 $. Certainly this system may also have its disdvantages but its educational value must not be underestimated. Special achievements are specially rewarded."

1967: "The happenings during practise were not only ruled by strategic thoughts, but also by money. After all in all big American motorsport events this is what finally counts: for fastest practise lap there is 1000 Dollars top earn! [...] Priize money for the race was corresponding: 20,000 Dollars for the winner, 2,800 Dollars for the last."

1969: "The 11th United States GP will go into the annales of Grand Prix sport as the most highly donated Formula 1 race until this day: 200,000 Dollars of price money are offered, of which aolone 50,000 for the winner and 2,700 for the last one (which will be understood here as the first retirmenet). In addition to that 1,000 Dollar for pole position and 2,000 Dollars for the lap record. These are sums which can almost cope with the "richest" race of the world, the Indy 500, and of course they are a very special stimulation after a comparatively meagre season in Europe, where even the highest earner can hardly receive more than a tenth of this sum. Also the system of distribution deserves attention, as neither the prominence of the driver nor of the team are important, but only the achievements. In Europe there is still the old fashioned system of starting and prize money [...] where a victorious outsider may earn much less money than some of the prominent colleagues, who has retired straight from the starting line because of the mistake of his mechanics. This example demonstrates clearly the fairness of the American system as well as its educational value."

1970: Some Grand Prix have aspecial attraction on the drivers. In the hell of turnes of Monaco, the test of courage in the Ardennes or the mixture of all kind of track charecteristics in the EIfel mountains it is the prospect of a glorious victory, in Watkins Glen it is - money. Since ever the flood of Dollars of the US GP does overshadow the prize money of the European Grand Epreuves by far. Indeed this year´´s distribution system was only a weak reflection of that. Of course the SCCA had considered the common economic situation and increased the purse since the last year from 200,000 to 250,000 $. Prize money was distributed only by the final placings and provided steps of 50,000 $, 20,000 $, 12,000 $, 10,000 $, ...6,000 $ for the 24 places, while pole position and fastest lap were rewarded with an additional 2,500 $ each."

1971: "275,000 Dollars or more than a million Swiss Francs with unlimited number of participants were reason enough for the racing stables to bring their last reserves into the American Grand Prix. [...] The AMerican starting and prize money system does not only differ from the European one in the total amount, but also the distribution was much less complcated than that, which had been fixed in the "Geneva Convention", which had no less than 20 positions: travel charges 201,000 SFr, FIA-Bonus for specifically successful teams 4,800 SFr, Team Bonus (starting money): 30,000 SFr, Best practise time 900 Sfr, second best practise time 700 SFr, award for intermediary results 66,000 SFr, awards for final classement 111,800 SFr, FIA prize funding 4,800 SFr, total budget 420,000 SFr. Instead the American budget was divided only into 6,000 dollars starting money for each of the 23 works drivers plus the two quickest "unofficials" in practise (Scheckter and Depailler), 3,000 Dollars each for best practise time and lap record and 31 awards for the final placings. 97,500 Dollars alone fell on the successful Tyrrell team: Stewart 62,000 $, Cevert 26,000 $, Depailler 9,500$."

1973: "With appearance and prize money of 275,000 Dollars altogether, of which 50,000 would alone fall to the winner, the US GP was again the "richest" GP of the year. So as usual the teams did mobilize their last reserves: Tyrrell, McLaren, Shadow and Surtees fielded [reserve drivers] for additional income..."

1974: "The rain of Dollars in the American races - 275,000 Dollars each in Canadian and Amerikan currency - did lure the Grand Prix Forces almost completely over the seas."



#21 uechtel

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:51

So in essence I can extract the following statements:

* The total amount of money of the US GP in total was between twice and three times of what was to earn in a "standard" European GP
* Nevertheless it was still less money than what was awarded at the Indy 500
* The "European" system had a disadvantage for "newcomers" (which could be compensated if you signed some "famous" driver), while the "American" system guaranteed at least some good money for anybody.

#22 RCH

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:19

Why had Chaparral never build a F1 car?
Were there ever plans about that?


Why would they? :confused: They built and raced sports cars and as others have pointed out F1 was of little significance in the USA. They would no doubt have had an interest in F1 and Hall did spend a season racing with the BRP team but in essence you may as well ask your dentist why he doesn't become a vet. :|