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Formula 1 | Le Mans 24 Hours | historic racing | motorcycles | road cars

World Exclusive!

Herbert in Audi return! But can British favourite hack it in today’s ‘stealth’ Le Mans winner? by Damien Smith PLUS We test the screaming Mazda that crowned Johnny’s longest day by sam hancock

Lunch with… RED BULL’S CHRISTIAN HORNER How to manage four titles – by 38

Nigel Roebuck on…

•THE DEATH OF DAN WHELDON •WHEN F1 GAMBLED ON VEGAS

GREATEST STARS OF US RACING

Jeff Gordon & Jimmie Johnson speak out

GT40: BUY IT, BUILD IT, RACE IT Classic tales of a ’60s gentleman driver

‘MY RIVALS DESERVE MORE CREDIT!’ Patrick Head on Murray, Barnard & Byrne january 2012

£4.99

MARSHAL McNISH Sports car ace joins the Scottish ‘orange army’!

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since 1924 – The original motor racing magazine

Volume 88 Number 1

Contents

In the spirit of WB

Features 48 Johnny Herbert Tests Audi R18 Former R8 racer proves he’s still on the pace in Audi’s 2011 Le Mans winner

88 Peter Sutcliffe Respected privateer is reunited with the Ford GT40 he built and raced himself

58 Mazda 787B track test Racer Sam Hancock squeezes into the only Japanese car to win at Le Mans

92 Jeff Gordon & Jimmie Johnson These friends and rivals have dominated and redefined top-level NASCAR racing

66 Lunch with… Christian Horner The driver turned team boss on how he guided Red Bull to the front of the grid

100 Martin Hines’s racing legacy ‘Mr Karting’ turned the spotlight on the sport and helped many a young driver

74 1981 Las Vegas GP The F1 finale in a car park in Sin City? It was a gamble that didn’t pay off…

04 A guide to rallying 1 Tony Jardine on how to get stage-side

114 Road cars Peugeot news; Mercedes SLS Roadster

Audi; illustrations cour tesy of ‘Steady’ Barker

80 India’s first grand prix How private enterprise led to India’s F1 debut – and a race that’s here to stay

08 Triumph Daytona 675R road test 1 British make proves it’s still a contender

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see p86 for great Motor Sport offers

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since 1924 – The original motor racing magazine

Volume 88 Number 1

Contents

In the spirit of Jenks

Favourites 22 Sidetracked 1 Allan McNish goes back to his roots

22 Events of the month Gold Coast 600, Wales Rally GB

26 Historic Scene 1 Hawthorn fans meet to swap stories

26 Roebuck’s reflections The magic of Vettel; IndyCar’s decline

29 Auctions 1 Italian classics at RM’s Battersea sale

37 Patrick Head Designers who deserve to draw praise

131 Book reviews Gentlemen racers share their stories

39 Dispatches Cold beer and jewellery with Alan Jones

133 desirables Planes, trains and model automobiles

41 On two wheels Could anything have saved Simoncelli?

134 You were there Behind McLaren’s factory doors in ’78

43 The US scene IndyCar criticised after Wheldon crash

36 Doug Nye 1 French road racing’s early casualties

44 Letters More memories of Porsche’s ‘Pink Pig’

40 Parting Shot 1 Bonnier blasts into the lead at Monaco

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16 The motor sport month Ecclestone takes stand in bribery trial

february 2012 issue on sale december 30 10

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Nigel Roebuck

Reflections – Champion Vettel is also a winner off the track – IndyCar was an accident waiting to happen

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s each Formula 1 season evolves, press conferences inevitably take on a familiar hue, because some cars are much quicker than others and you tend to get the same drivers, time after time. There are conferences after qualifying and after the race, and they feature the top three, as we know. Thus after 18 Grands Prix in 2011 there have been 36 press conferences and Sebastian Vettel, remarkably, has taken part in 34 of them. We should be grateful, I think, that Seb is not a monosyllabic drone, like some from the past. If he finds the conferences a bore, he disguises it well, and invariably arrives with a smile on his face. There is unquestionably a steely, ruthless side to Vettel’s personality – as with all the really great drivers since the beginning of time – but it comes out only when necessary, and he rarely gives a hint of it in public.

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Indeed he seems to me now as fundamentally affable as when I first met him. “Come and have breakfast with our new test driver,” said BMW’s PR Ann Bradshaw one morning in 2006, and so Alan Henry and I duly did. Out of the motorhome came this schoolboy, a big grin on his face, and before long he was telling us of his enthusiasm for Fawlty Towers and The Beatles. Not your standard F1 newcomer, we concluded. Vettel, just past his 19th birthday, succeeded Robert Kubica in the test role at BMW when Mario Theissen promoted Kubica to the race team, replacing Jacques Villeneuve, at the Hungarian Grand Prix. At that time it was the norm to run test drivers in the Friday sessions, and in Turkey, first time out, Vettel was fastest in the afternoon. At Monza, a fortnight later, he was quickest in both sessions. We took due note.

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Alonso looks bored, Button looks elsewhere – but Vettel is all smiles as usual in the postrace press conference at India

changed him little, if at all. There is a confidence there now, of course, but it manifests itself agreeably and he doesn’t strut around a paddock as if he owns it – even though, for the moment at least, he does. Even at a press conference, as I say, he behaves as if he is enjoying himself, indeed worries sometimes that he has gone on too long, rather than said too little. Having won five of the six previous races Vettel did not, though, make the post-race press conference in Abu Dhabi, and – I don’t know about you – I felt something close to shock when he spun abruptly off the road at the second corner of the opening lap. If there is any weakness in Seb’s game it is that he is not normally the greatest starter, but on this occasion he got away perfectly, putting himself under no threat at the first turn – and then away she went. Vettel, unbelievably, was not going to finish a race.

As I write the cause of the sudden deflation is not established. But, as Seb admitted, his drive back to the pits on three wheels, while not of the vigour we saw from Gilles Villeneuve at Zandvoort in 1979, was perhaps a little over-enthusiastic: “On the way back I damaged the suspension so badly that we couldn’t carry on…” Out of the reckoning in the first minute of the race, most drivers would swiftly have been out of the circuit, too, but it was no great surprise that Vettel chose to stay, to spend the race on the pitwall with Christian Horner and the engineers. No surprise to Christian, either: “Of course he was disappointed, but he hung around to help the team – and to try to help his teammate with the benefit of his experience. He also saw an opportunity to experience what the pitwall was like, and hear how the strategies unfold.”

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The following year Sebastian made his race debut at Indianapolis, standing in for Kubica, who had crashed massively in Montréal the previous weekend. In finishing eighth, he became the youngest point scorer in World Championship history – and then, when Toro Rosso tired finally of the curious Scott Speed, he became a full-time Grand Prix driver as team-mate to Tonio Liuzzi. At the time I wondered at the wisdom of Vettel’s move – BMW, after all, was a far bigger outfit than Toro Rosso, and his test drive there would surely have matured into something more – but more surprising by far was Theissen’s unfathomable decision to release him from his contract, to let him go. A year later, at Monza, Sebastian won his first Grand Prix, and for 2009 replaced the retiring David Coulthard in the first team, Red Bull. The rest we know. Success – overwhelming success – has

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Au d i t r ac k t e s t

the

seven–year

itch

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That’s how much time has passed since Johnny Herbert last raced an Audi R8 sports prototype – so how would its 2011 Le Manswinning R18 stablemate compare? By Damien Smith

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M a z da t r a c k t e s t

species Endangered

The risk of dusting off this irreplaceable Le Mans winner for a 20th anniversary test run By Sam Hancock

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f I tell you not to think of an elephant, what do you do? If I then repeat myself and suggest – this time more sternly – that you really ought not to think of a giant grey elephant with its long trunk, floppy ears and twinkling tusks, what do you do? Of course you immediately picture said mammoth in all its gargantuan glory, unable to prevent even the finest details from manifesting themselves in your mind in full HD. So after being handed the metaphorical keys

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to arguably one of Japan’s finest exports since sake, I try desperately to close my ears as longtime Mazda works driver and brand ambassador Pierre Dieudonné suggests that I “really ought not to crash this car”. And just to be absolutely sure that he has done everything he can to eradicate such tragedy from my mind, he quickly reinforces his point – this time more sternly – with, “This is the very car that won Le Mans in 1991. Every component on the car today was there at that moment 20 years ago when it crossed the line in first place. If you

destroy it, there are no spare parts – and even if there were it would mean the car was no longer the same car that won the race. So this is truly a piece of history that has been in Mazda’s Hiroshima museum for 20 years, and a month or so from now will be back in that museum where it belongs, almost certainly for ever. So Sam, you really ought not to crash it.” Thanks Pierre, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. Pondering the sensibilities of celebrating the 20th anniversary of Mazda’s extraordinary

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terrified the men at Mazda. But their fear couldn’t quench the fun for our lucky driver

Le Mans victory – to this day it’s still the only Japanese manufacturer ever to have won the great enduro – by allowing a select clutch of salivating journalists behind the wheel of its unique rotary-engined 787B prototype, on a dusty Mallorcan circuit that can only be described as the absolute antithesis of the Circuit de La Sarthe, is a discussion I was only too keen to gloss over. After all, if you score a date with a supermodel, you don’t ask yourself why on earth she would ever want to go out with you – you just get the hell on with it!

Adorned in the glorious fluorescent green and orange colours of the Japanese Renown clothing company that helped earn it an almost cult-like following among hardened race fans, Nigel Stroud’s 787B design encapsulated an era. It was one in which arguably the most iconic sports racing cars ever produced looked like fighter jets, spat flames from their snarling exhausts and so effortlessly topped 240mph on the Mulsanne Straight that race organisers were forced to mutilate it with fun-sponging chicanes. The cornering forces became so extreme

during this period (before power-steering) that stories abound of drivers having to wedge elbows into doors or even ‘hug’ their steering wheel in a vice-like embrace, just to maintain their trajectory through the quick stuff! Throw in the fact that their necks would also make a routinely early retreat from their battle against the forces of g, leaving their heads lolling on their shoulders through corners, and you start to understand how the uninspiringly titled ‘Group C’ era would, in years to come, render grown men misty-eyed at its very mention. w w w. m oto r s p o r t m ag a z i n e . c o m

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James Mitchell

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Lunch with...

Lunch with…

Christian horner In seven seasons, Horner has led Red Bull Racing from struggling F1 outfit to the dominant force in the pitlane. And all because he could admit to himself that he wasn’t going to be the next Vettel By S i m o n Taylo r

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n the business world, management is all. The best managers earn the biggest salaries; companies with good profit growth are said to be well-managed. Management is studied at universities and business schools, and on countless courses. Bookshops’ shelves are stuffed with textbooks claiming to help the reader become an effective manager. Management, they say, is what lies between success and mediocrity. Christian Horner heads up today’s most successful Formula 1 team, managing 550 staff and budgets running into hundreds of millions. Yet he has benefited from neither university nor business school, and I very much doubt if he’s ever read a management textbook. When I ask him what a manager actually does to make his racing team win, he finds the question difficult to answer. But if anyone knows, he should. He has run Red Bull Racing for seven seasons. He came in at 31 years of age, with no previous F1 experience, just after energy drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz had bought the ailing Jaguar team. Despite having the might of Ford behind it, Jaguar’s F1 record was feeble. In five seasons the team had a succession of highprofile managers, including Bobby Rahal and Niki Lauda, but never won a race. In 102 F1 starts it achieved a couple of third-place

podiums – and 74 retirements. Its best placing in the constructors’ championship was seventh. Christian’s first four years at Red Bull were tough, but his single-minded vision never wavered, nor did the belief and backing he received from Mateschitz. In year five his team won six Grands Prix and 10 podiums, and finished second in the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. Year six brought real glory: World Champion driver, World Champion constructor, 10 victories and 11 podiums, defeating the might of Ferrari and McLaren in a closelyfought season. And in 2011, year seven of Christian’s reign, it has been near-domination. As these pages went to press the last two rounds were still to be fought, but Red Bull already had both championship titles done and dusted. In 17 Grands Prix Sebastian Vettel had started from pole 13 times, taken 11 victories, and only been off the podium once. Mark Webber had added nine further podiums to that tally. Key to this extraordinary success was the arrival at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes base at the end of 2005 of Adrian Newey as chief technical

officer. Christian’s management skills were crucial in achieving this coup, for he had to persuade Adrian that he’d be happier at Red Bull than he’d been at McLaren; and he had to persuade Mateschitz to foot the bill for the world’s highest-paid racing car designer. Like most people who are very busy but very wellorganised, Christian proves surprisingly easy to pin down. He agrees to fit in lunch between flying in from Korea – another win, another constructors’ championship – and jetting east again to India and the next win. As I arrive in Red Bull’s gleaming, trophylined reception area, hidden speakers are quietly playing Queen’s We Are the Champions. Christian and I start our chat in his airy office, lit by standard lamps fashioned from stainless steel exhaust manifolds. Then a company driver whisks us to a pleasant gastropub, The Birch at Woburn. Christian was born in Leamington Spa in 1973, one of three brothers. Motor racing wasn’t in the family, but car manufacture was: his grandfather was purchasing manager w w w. m oto r s p o r t m ag a z i n e . c o m

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10/11/2011 11:29


F1 in Vegas

A gamble

that didn’t pay off

The 1981 World Championship decider played out amid the glamour of Las Vegas. It sounded like a good idea; the reality was quite different By Nigel Roebuck

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t was at Monza in 1981 that I asked Chris Pook how ticket sales were going for the inaugural Formula 1 race in Las Vegas. “Terrible,” he muttered, and I was amazed. Ever since its announcement, after all, the Caesars Palace Grand Prix had been hyped to a degree unknown in F1: it was going to be a sell-out, the biggest and best Gran Pree in the history of mankind… Or maybe not. After a week in New York, I flew to Vegas a few days early – for reasons I cannot remember, much less comprehend – and thus was there before the F1 fraternity arrived. Staying at the very plush, very reasonable MGM Grand, on the first morning I wandered across the road to Caesars Palace – or, to be more precise, to the hotel’s car park, in which this newest Grande Epreuve was to be run.

Jones’s flying Williams leads Villeneuve, Prost and Las Vegas title rivals Reutemann and Piquet at the start. Left: Watson’s McLaren was last timed finisher; Jarier’s Osella was among long list of DNFs

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“And here’s one In 1965 privateer Peter Sutcliffe reckoned the new Ford GT40 could be a paying proposition. So he bought one – or at least the components… By Gordon Cruickshank

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nyone who owns a real Cobra or a GT40 dreads that question “did you build it yourself?” The illicit thought flashes through my mind as I pass the dark green Ford squatting outside the BRDC clubhouse in the Silverstone paddock – but only because its number plates say ‘GT40’ and I’m sure I’ve seen those on a kit-car. And then I meet its first owner and he tells me he did build it himself. The difference is that he bought his kit from Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) in 1965. This is one of the first customer GT40s, chassis P/1009, and Peter Sutcliffe, the man who bought and built it, is here to check out its recent restoration. Pleasingly, its latest

owner, Roger Wills, has had it painstakingly returned to the way it was when Sutcliffe first climbed into it to see if he’d bolted everything on the right way. In its deep metallic green it poses on the BRDC grass, and Sutcliffe looks over it carefully. “Virtually the same,” he concludes, shaking his head. “Even to my little flyscreen.” We settle in the clubhouse ignoring the zing of engines practising for the Classic meeting, and Peter spreads out photos, documents, his racing overalls and plonks his original green helmet on the table. It’s surprising he still has this stuff after emigrating to South Africa in 1967. “I might have kept more but my parents said ‘you can’t leave all this junk’, so most of it went in the bin. You never thought people in the future would want to know your gearbox

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Ford GT40 reunion

Peter Sutcliffe and long-time mechanic John Pearson recall the good days. Left, Sutcliffe leads first race at Kyalami – while wheel lasts…

I made earlier” temperatures – which I have been asked. And I gave my second GT40 away!” To us that’s barely conceivable, but when Sutcliffe bought this car he wasn’t investing, just being pragmatic. “As a privateer I needed a competitive car. I didn’t have unlimited funds; racing had to pay its way, and an expensive to run car could have curtailed my activities. This didn’t cost a bomb.” Naturally Ford wasn’t selling its new wonder car to anyone who rang up, but by 1965 Sutcliffe already had a respectable record. Expecting to become the third generation to run the family’s Yorkshire textile mills – where he briefly went before National Service deflected him – he had raced an MG and a Frazer Nash before buying an ex-works Ecurie Ecosse D-type and then a Lightweight E which won him the 1964 GP de

Paris at Montlhéry, while in the same year Lord Doune ran him at Le Mans in the works-assisted Aston DP214. Then there was the GTO he raced through ’65, building GT points for Ferrari. “Couldn’t get rid of that,” he laughs. “Nobody wanted an out of date racing car.” Ford needed to get its promising but thus far mostly unsuccessful new car into the hands of people who might achieve something, says Sutcliffe. “I had a reputation as a decent long-distance driver who didn’t smash his cars – chiefly because it would have been too expensive to keep blowing them up! So they thought they were on a reasonably

sound footing, and John Wyer asked if I’d like one. I said yes, if I can build it. There’s nothing like knowing a car you’re going to trust yourself to – and I saved £700 in purchase tax!” Hiring a lock-up near FAV in Slough, Sutcliffe collected the bits and set to work. It took him a week to build, and after FAV had checked it out he gave it a shakedown at Silverstone. Though it was a private entry chief engineer John Horsman came over, indicating the company’s concern that the car should show well. So much so that when Sutcliffe set off for the Kyalami Nine Hours, first of the South African sports car races he planned over w w w. m oto r s p o r t m ag a z i n e . c o m

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Friends, team-mates, rivals‌ And add employer and employee to that list. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have a unique relationship in NASCAR, as well as being two drivers who have redefined the sport By Gordon Kirby

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t r i u m p h r oa d t e s t

A

Triumph over adversity

Triumph’s 675R proves that what’s left of the British motorcycle industry can still produce world-beating machinery

Mitch Pashavair

By Mat Oxley

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wenty years ago it was inconceivable to expect that one day a Triumph like the Daytona 675R might exist. Triumph had been dead for almost a decade when a British businessman brought it back to life in 1990. The first Triumphs built by John Bloor were solid, dependable and much better than most people ever dared dream they would be. But they would never compete with Japan in the ultra-competitive supersport category – high-performance 600cc motorcycles engineered as much for the race track as for the

road. That was never going to happen. Except it has. The Daytona 675R is a better road bike than all four of its Japanese rivals. It is a revelation to ride; indeed it may be the world’s finest-handling production bike. Triumph’s most sporty motorcycle is astonishingly well balanced, instilling the kind of confidence usually found only on race bikes. Of course, the 675R very nearly is a race bike. It’s an upgraded version of the company’s standard 675 which is aimed at road riders who’d rather be racing, as well as actual racers and track-day addicts. The already brilliant base model has been turned into something

sublime by the addition of Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes and other race-spec parts. In motorcycling, the best track machine is a two-stroke 250 Grand Prix bike: 100bhp and 100 kilos, a perfect balance. A 250 is wondrous to ride, with beautifully light, accurate steering that allows you to attack corners harder and with more confidence than on other motorcycles. Sadly, the 250 class was recently legislated out of existence as part of the Japanese industry’s drive to rid the world of two-strokes. An act of grievous philistinism, in my humble opinion. The 675R isn’t a 250 GP bike, but it’s as close as you’ll get on the road. Its three-cylinder w w w. m oto r s p o r t m ag a z i n e . c o m

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Motor Sport Magazine January 2012