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1973 Venezuela Formula 2/B/C SCCA event


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#1 FlyingSaucer

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Posted 20 April 2024 - 15:33

As part of my broad project of telling stories about international single-seater events in Latin America in the 60s-70s, I came across an event called Coppa Presidente de la Republica (C.P.R.), held in Autodromo San Carlos (VNZ) in 1973. Apparently, the event was sanctioned by the SCCA and was won by De Adamich.

 

So far, no problems, right? The thing is, other than that, I don't know anything else about the race! I got in touch with some Venezuelan motorsport historians and they don't know much either. Regarding SCCA/IMRRC, they made a offer that I considered 'rubish': they would only search in their files smt about this specific race only if I paid a fee - but they couldn't guarantee me if they had smt about this race or not!!! To make matters worse, I know that neither MotorSport or Autosport made a report of this race at the time.
 
I've been looking for more precise information about this event for almost 6 months and the only thing I managed to get was some photos, the event poster and some scattered clippings about the preparations for the C.P.R.. In this case, does anyone know more - or have any files (like paper clippings, reports, photos, etc...) - that talk about this event? Any help would be extremely welcomed!
 
 
(P.S.: This is the event I'm talking about https://www.oldracin.../1973/caracas/)


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#2 Allen Brown

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Posted 20 April 2024 - 16:06

That IRL should be:

https://www.oldracin...a/1973/caracas/

#3 Sterzo

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Posted 20 April 2024 - 16:28

 

As part of my broad project of telling stories about international single-seater events in Latin America in the 60s-70s...

 

 

While having nothing useful to offer, (as usual), I'd like to say how welcome such a project is. There are whole continents whose racing is either little documented or (more likely) not recorded in places accessible to those of us on the other side of the World. My London bookshelf contains frustratingly little on South American or Asian racing. If I see a flying saucer I shall risk abduction by aliens in the hope it contains a history of South American motor sport.
 



#4 Rupertlt1

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Posted 20 April 2024 - 16:30

Here: https://forums.autos...ix/#entry925519

 

RGDS RLT



#5 E1pix

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Posted 20 April 2024 - 17:42

Know that in Rupert’s link, there’s a typo…

Third place — Carl Liebich, Plymouth, WI, USA

Carl is likely still accessible, I can find him if interested.

(EDIT: I just left him a voicemail)

Edited by E1pix, 20 April 2024 - 17:49.


#6 Rupertlt1

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Posted 20 April 2024 - 18:12

CARL LIEBICH Notes from 1976

AGE: 28 BORN: Two Rivers, Wisc. RESIDENCE: Plymouth, Wisc. STATUS: Single OCCUPATION: teacher

NAME OF CAR: Valley Food Special ENTRANT: Liebrau Racing & Valley Import Ltd.

MAKE OF CAR: Chevron B29 CREW MEMBERS: Chris Liebich, John Pondel

PAST EXPERIENCE: Raced 1972 Player's Series. New Zealand Pro Ford Series, Venezuela F2, FB. U.S. Nationals last 7 years.

HOBBIES: Writing

 

RGDS RLT



#7 68targa

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Posted 20 April 2024 - 18:21

According to The Fred Opert Story by Peter Hill it mentions that 7 of the 16 entries were Opert's and he promised the organisers an International mix of drivers.  Carl Liebich was therefore entered as a German and Bill O'Connor as Irish (of course).

   When Liebich got home he received a call from a women who explained that she was from the German Consulate and noted that he had gone to Venezuela but they had no record of his initial entry into the USA.  Liebich tired to explain the circumstances but the women then explained he would have to speak with her superior.  After a pause Fred Opert's laughter came down the phone.



#8 E1pix

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Posted 20 April 2024 - 19:38

Carl Liebich may be one of the most underrated drivers of his time, and was a friend for years in my youth.

His family ran Liebrau, a small beer manufacturer in Wisconsin. Beyond, he was just a regular guy and teacher.

He has since gone on to maintain several vintage F1 cars for Brian French, including two 1993 Ferraris (one converted to Judd power) and at least one Jordan.

#9 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 21 April 2024 - 10:56

Might be way, way off in my recollections but I seem to remember a certain Carl Liebich driving a Lola T460 Formula Atlantic car at Mosport in the mid/late 1970's.  He was dynamite fast through the esses and onto the pit straight in a car that noting previous performances by others in that particular model seemed to a real stone.  After the session, I dropped into the paddock and came across his car in the garages.  There was an attractive young lass...presumably his wife/GF...tending the Lola whom I briefly spoke with.  I commended the driver's verve and wished him well.



#10 FlyingSaucer

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Posted 21 April 2024 - 10:57

Ye, one of the few infos that I could gather during my searches was that Opert was a pivotal figure in the 1973 Venezuelan GP. Without him, most of the top drivers that competed in the race (like Lazier, Adamich and O'Connor) wouldn't have even shown up in San Carlos. In addition to loaning the cars, he was involved in some way in the organizational process of the race (but I can't specify exactly in what function).

 

Another important information about the race is that it had strong financial backing from Marlboro. Almost all the money injected to organize the event came from the cigarette manufacturer, in addition to car sponsorships. I can say with conviction (from some photos and paper clippings I've seen) that at least some of the Fred Opert Racing team cars raced as Team Marlboro International (like the entries of De Adamich and Ernesto Soto).

 

The last piece of information I can share: besides the Brabhams, Lotuses and Chevrons, a car named Le Grand Caribe Mk3/6 was registered on the entry list. This specific car was an indigenous copy of a Lotus 43, made in Venezuela around 1970/71. It was equipped with a Twin-Cam engine and a Hewland gearbox. 

 

I would love to get my hands on more detailed files about the race, but most of them are lost somewhere in Venezuela. As I said, any information about this race is welcome.


Edited by FlyingSaucer, 21 April 2024 - 10:59.


#11 E1pix

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Posted 21 April 2024 - 14:20

Might be way, way off in my recollections but I seem to remember a certain Carl Liebich driving a Lola T460 Formula Atlantic car at Mosport in the mid/late 1970's. He was dynamite fast through the esses and onto the pit straight in a car that noting previous performances by others in that particular model seemed to a real stone. After the session, I dropped into the paddock and came across his car in the garages. There was an attractive young lass...presumably his wife/GF...tending the Lola whom I briefly spoke with. I commended the driver's verve and wished him well.

You are correct, Manfred, the T460 was yellow, wore #54, and was sold on to SCCA’s longest license holder — Chuck Dietrich. TNF member Amerikalei knew Dietrich well in the day. Carl’s next car was a March 79B.

Carl was routinely in the top 10 at pro Atlantic races, in the toughest era of the class. He never had a new car in FA, but was probably consistently the quickest guy in any year-old, or older, entry.

He qualified second in FF at the 1975 Runoffs in a new Lola T342, driving an ex-Opert Titan Mk6C for a few years before that.

Sadly, the Lola was badly damaged in the final qualifying session, when Carl broke a collarbone after another car crammed in on the fastest turn on the track where passing isn’t wise. He suffered other, even-worse injuries that hospitalized him for over a week — taking one of his two best chances at a National Championship with it as he’d also qualified second in an ex-Huffaker Jensen-Healey in D Production.

Edited by E1pix, 26 April 2024 - 15:15.


#12 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 April 2024 - 09:31

CARL LIEBICH Notes from 1976

AGE: 28 BORN: Two Rivers, Wisc. RESIDENCE: Plymouth, Wisc. STATUS: Single OCCUPATION: teacher

NAME OF CAR: Valley Food Special ENTRANT: Liebrau Racing & Valley Import Ltd.

MAKE OF CAR: Chevron B29 CREW MEMBERS: Chris Liebich, John Pondel

PAST EXPERIENCE: Raced 1972 Player's Series. New Zealand Pro Ford Series, Venezuela F2, FB. U.S. Nationals last 7 years.

HOBBIES: Writing

 

RGDS RLT

 

Dang! I was just about to post a  :confused: about the "STATUS: Single" part of the mini biog, asking "Hey, what about Suzy???" when Eric comes to the rescue...  :blush: Yes, I was confusing C. Liebich with C. Dietrich - AGAIN!  :lol:  :blush:  :blush:



#13 E1pix

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Posted 26 April 2024 - 15:04

I spoke with Carl Liebich about this thread on Tuesday, he verified much of what’s posted above, and may elaborate further when possible.

To my surprise, I also discovered that I myself had written about this race in a driver profile I did on Carl a mere 48 years ago, and will transcript it when I can.

#14 opplock

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Posted 26 April 2024 - 18:29

CARL LIEBICH Notes from 1976

AGE: 28 BORN: Two Rivers, Wisc. RESIDENCE: Plymouth, Wisc. STATUS: Single OCCUPATION: teacher

NAME OF CAR: Valley Food Special ENTRANT: Liebrau Racing & Valley Import Ltd.

MAKE OF CAR: Chevron B29 CREW MEMBERS: Chris Liebich, John Pondel

PAST EXPERIENCE: Raced 1972 Player's Series. New Zealand Pro Ford Series, Venezuela F2, FB. U.S. Nationals last 7 years.

HOBBIES: Writing

 

RGDS RLT

 

He raced a Titan Mk6 in the NZ 1973/74 Formula Ford series. I'm sure it was never called "Pro Ford". 



#15 FlyingSaucer

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Posted 26 April 2024 - 19:08

I spoke with Carl Liebich about this thread on Tuesday, he verified much of what’s posted above, and may elaborate further when possible.

To my surprise, I also discovered that I myself had written about this race in a driver profile I did on Carl a mere 48 years ago, and will transcript it when I can.

 

I would love to hear it all E1. Eye-witness reports are always spectacular, even more so about events for which there is almost no information around. And if you have any additional information - well, as I said, it's always smt that I eagerly wait for. Any info and any data (that has at least one feasible source) is welcomed!



#16 E1pix

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Posted 26 April 2024 - 22:41

My article on Carl Liebich in early 1976, written when 15.5 years old.

[Editor clarifications added for clarity of local or US terms]

>>>

Liebich Has Guts, Talent

Carl Liebich went to the Road Atlanta Runoffs confident for a win in either his D Production Jensen-Healey or his Formula Ford Lola T342. His outlook was strengthened when he turned times strong enough for the front row — in both classes! That was after the first of the two qualifying days provided.

When Thursday came around, Carl was just getting up to speed when his luck turned sour. Coming down the hill after turn nine, Chuck Pittenger thought he’d draft by on the inside of turn ten — a high-speed bend where passing is rare. But Carl already had the inside line and Pittenger ran into Liebich’s left-rear wheel with his right-front, forcing Carl into a quick joust with the right-side clay bank. He came to rest almost immediately, as did Pittenger, but it was Carl who got it the worst. He had a broken collarbone and a bruised lung, both on his left side.

The car? Carl said “only the engine, a wheel, and a few suspension parts were saved.”

The gutsy, 28 year-old shook off the accident and purchased a Chevron B29 F-Atlantic car, which Hector Rebaque used in the F2 series. He’s getting it through Fred Opert, Rebaques’s entrant, planning to run the full Player’s Series and “A few Nationals, probably the [Road America June] Sprints.”

He also may run the Jensen-Healey in Cen. Div. [SCCA’s Central Division] next year, but that’s up to his entrant and car owner, the boss of Neenah’s Valley Imports.

Carl has a pretty interesting background, and has done things that few people have heard of.

He started in ‘69 in a BP [B Production] Shelby GT350, got his license, and purchased a FB Brabham BT29 for the 1970 season. He used that for a year, then bought a Chevron B18 “B” which he used for assorted races, both amateur and pro.

For 1972 he used the same B18 and participated in “about” 13 races, equally divided between the U.S. and Canada (How do you do half a race?), his best placings being a pair of 3rds in Canada.

Later that year, he went to a race in Venezuela, in order to perhaps take on a few “big” names, which he did, gracefully.

The race was run in a two-heat format, Carl qualified second and led the first for 15 lap, ahead of such notables like Andrea de Adamich, F-Atlantic “Rookie of the Year” Bobby Dennett, and thrice F-Atlantic champion Billy Brack. He ended up second, behind de Adamich and a good ways in front of Brack.

In the second heat, de Adamich won again just ahead of Dennett who was ditto to Carl. Based on points, Carl finished second overall — quite impressive!

For 1973 he bought a Titan Mk6C Formula Ford, but that year was only an introduction to ‘74 as he then made it to Road Atlanta [the SCCA Runoffs], finishing 8th behind some fine drivers and better cars.

This past season was his best. Two wins, three 2nds, and a third brought his total to a well-deserved 40, with the Jensen taking three wins, two 3rds, and a DNF 6th — a total of 36 points. The combined total: 70 points, more than any other Cen Div driver!

He may surprise a good many people in ‘76.

Copyright by this postmaker, 1976

#17 E1pix

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Posted 26 April 2024 - 22:44

Note that I quoted the Venezuela event as being in 1972, likely my error in being a young race punk.

#18 FlyingSaucer

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 10:34

My article on Carl Liebich in early 1976, written when 15.5 years old.

[Editor clarifications added for clarity of local or US terms]


Later that year, he went to a race in Venezuela, in order to perhaps take on a few “big” names, which he did, gracefully.

The race was run in a two-heat format, Carl qualified second and led the first for 15 lap, ahead of such notables like Andrea de Adamich, F-Atlantic “Rookie of the Year” Bobby Dennett, and thrice F-Atlantic champion Billy Brack. He ended up second, behind de Adamich and a good ways in front of Brack.

In the second heat, de Adamich won again just ahead of Dennett who was ditto to Carl. Based on points, Carl finished second overall — quite impressive!

For 1973 he bought a Titan Mk6C Formula Ford, but that year was only an introduction to ‘74 as he then made it to Road Atlanta [the SCCA Runoffs], finishing 8th behind some fine drivers and better cars.

This past season was his best. Two wins, three 2nds, and a third brought his total to a well-deserved 40, with the Jensen taking three wins, two 3rds, and a DNF 6th — a total of 36 points. The combined total: 70 points, more than any other Cen Div driver!

He may surprise a good many people in ‘76.

Copyright by this postmaker, 1976

 

That's something. In the next couple months, I will try to build at least a small contemporary report about this race, with the bits of information I have here and there. This is the only Formula 2/3/b race in the S. America that I can't find anything about - and these little details help to enrich the narrative I'm trying to build (and I'll give due credit later when I do the work).
 
I wonder if the SCCA and/or Car & Driver magazines at the time reported anything about the race...


#19 E1pix

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Posted 13 May 2024 - 02:00

Email sent to you, FlyingSaucer. :-)

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#20 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 15 May 2024 - 15:37

Not much, but two newspaper clippings:

 

https://ibb.co/z4ZCQ2D


Edited by Rob Semmeling, 15 May 2024 - 15:37.


#21 E1pix

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Posted 16 May 2024 - 00:38

That’s just Cool! I forwarded it on to the featured driver.

It’s almost funny how the article names “Two Rivers” as if it’s Carl’s country of origin.

Thanks Rob!

#22 FlyingSaucer

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Posted 16 May 2024 - 15:59

 

Not much, but two newspaper clippings:

 

https://ibb.co/z4ZCQ2D

 

 

Thank you men. Any scrap of history is welcomed here  :clap: