It remains to this day one of the most controversial and fiercely debated Formula One Grand Prix races of all time. Coming up on the fortieth anniversary of the legendary 1973 season that saw Jackie Stewart win the World Driver’s Championship, there’s still the controversy of who should have won the Canadian Grand Prix, which took place on September 23, 1973 at Mosport International Raceway. What should have been a routine race ended up being anything but, with the race marking the first time in Formula One history that a Safety Car was deployed and the resulting confusion over who the actual winner of the race was.
It was a busy weekend here in The Garage, as Jay Tomchuck headed to MIS to cover the NASCAR race, while I stayed closer to home and shot bits and pieces of the VARAC Festival at Mosport. Saturday morning I even took in a preview screening of Cars 2! As a result of the busy weekend, I only got to shoot a bit on Friday afternoon and then most of the afternoon on Sunday. This meant that I spent next to no time socializing in the paddock and didn’t get any stories from the racers. I did however get some great shots of the on track action.
Thanks to Ken Graham for sharing this image of Canadian racing legend Craig Hill in a Lotus 30. This was in 1966, as Hill was on his way to a national win at Harewood Acres. The name of the photographer is not known.
Details about the car from Ken:
The car was ordered by Competition Motors in London, Ontario through Autosport in Cooksville, Ontario for the same event that Jim Clark had his Lotus 30 entered at Mosport. Not sure of year, 63 or 64.
The car for Craig was delivered two weeks after that race. The car sat for two years because of money problems!! Then Craig had some rich guy buy it. They took it to Marlboro Race track in Maryland, it got bunted off the track. They repaired it and took it to Harewood and won. Craig can’t remember where the car went after that!!
Hill will be in attendance at the Grand Prix of Mosport this weekend as part of the track’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
When Mosport first opened locating the flag positions was a bit of by guess and by gosh. There was practically no experience in the marshaling ranks of working anything but airport courses.
The actual phone stations and controls for the lights were pretty well fixed and stayed that way but other positions were in a bit of flux.
On occasion there were sometimes heated discussions between control and the people on the corners about positioning. Normally all got settled with no ill feelings. As time went on the corner seniors usually got their way, although some old timers didn’t like it. The one exception to actually moving the control position occured in the second year at turn four (The Chute).
Most people who follow F1 know the USF1 project fell flat on its nose. Despite being first out of the box, so to speak, they did not even come close to having a car ready for the 2010 season. I am not even sure they could have produced a car for 2011! The problem was not their location in Charlotte, NC but the people in charge, if you can call them that. The 3 teams that made the grid have had their problems with Lotus at least able to get cars to the finish, albeit laps behind.
It turns out that the Virgin, designed without the use of a wind tunnel, does not have sufficient fuel capacity to go the distance in many races. That actually has no bearing on the fuel problem but is an aside. A major screw up. There is some question as to exactly whose fault it is but it appears that the designer, Nick Wirth, is taking resposibility through his design company. The actual amount of more fuel needed seems to be about 20 to 24 litres. Depends on reports how just much is needed. Basically we are talking 3 to 4 Imperial gallons and about 26 to maybe 40 lbs of weight. In F1 terms those are big numbers. ( Don’t check my math.) Relocation basically means a total tub redesign.
Forty years ago formula car racing was just beginning to become the major series in Canada that it would shortly grow into. Sports car racing, featuring sports racing cars had been the main racing with the pro events, highlighted latterly by the Can-Am. Outside of a couple of USAC races there had been no major open wheel race in Canada until the Cdn. GP in 1967. CASC decided that as of 69 the Cdn. Championship would be for formula cars. The first year of the series sponsored by Gulf Oil had been less than brilliant with low car counts and even Formula Fords in the top three on occasion. By 1970 there were quite a few FB cars and a few more 5000 cars so the fields were reasonable. Enhancing this was a Molson sponsored series in Quebec for FB cars with some money.
While most of the hype surrounding Lotus the past few months has revolved around the all-new Evora 2+2 sports car, the company has not forgotten the car that saved them from near oblivion, the Elise. For 2011, the iconic, lightweight sports car receives styling tweaks to bring the look a little closer to the new Evora. The changes include a new front clam shell, rear bumper, and engine cover. These changes give the Elise a 4% reduction in aerodynamic drag, and yield an improvement in fuel economy. Other notable changes include new headlamps with LED lighting (for daytime running lights and turn signals) and new wheels-standard cast alloys or optional forged alloys.
Most of us around The Garage have a bit of a thing for cars that bear the Lotus name. The more recent models from the house that Colin built follow the less is more philosophy truly embody the spirit of the marque, having light weight and high performance. The very limited edition Exige S260 has even more (less?) added lightness along with a healthy dose of extra oomph.
Of course when I got behind the wheel, the S260 had substantial removed lightness! Some folks have complained that the cockpit is too tight, but even with my substantial girth I found it comfortably snug. Ok, with Kevin Smith from Lotus and I wedged in there it was a little more than snug but at least we didn’t have to brace ourselves against the Exige’s massive cornering forces.
Even in the rain, on nearly slick tires, the S260 is one of the most capable cars I’ve ever driven. The car reacts to even a hint of movement of the pedals or steering wheel, almost as if you could drive it with telepathy. With gentle, progressive throttle application past a wet apex, the car explodes down the track unlike any other 4 cylinder. At the end of the long straight, one must learn to leave braking well beyond where one would brake in any other car even when traveling at much higher speeds. At just a tick over 2,000 pounds, with gigantic racing brakes, the Exige brakes even more explosively than it accelerates. I imagine this is what the brakes in a formula car must feel like. I’ll never know, as it isn’t likely that anyone is building a XXL Formula Ford any time soon!
When it was my turn to get out of the Lotus, not only did I not want to, but I almost wasn’t able. The exit hole is rather small. Our video guru, Scott Simmons, was nice enough to cut out most of that footage!
After my play time, we sent Scott out on the track with Smith to get some video and he in turn has provided us with some great Frankenheimer inspired on track commentary from the Lotus rep.
Of course the video is after the break!
The old saying is true-Timing is Everything. Mentioned in the press release for Evora pricing was a brief paragraph that two Lotus Evoras had been brought to the US that wold be shown briefly at select dealerships. Glancing at the schedule, my eyes nearly fell out of their sockets-one of those two Evoras was 15 miles away from my house, right now. A quick e-mail, and a prompt response from Lotus that they would be happy to give a personal tour of their newest sports car was all the motivation I needed.
Arriving at Premier Lotus in Branford, Connecticut, Lotus Cars USA’s Jim Carter would be my tour guide of the Evora. As an ambassador of sorts for the Evora, Jim has the enviable task of driving the car, but piloting a nearly impossible to replace Euro-spec Evora from Boston to Connecticut in the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida is best left to someone on Lotus’ payroll.
Ask any car nut to list five of the best handling cars sold today, and odds are the Lotus Elise or Exige will be near, if not at the top. The little two seaters are monsters on the track, and will make short work out of your favorite country roads. But for a person of means who’d rather drive than fly to that meeting in Washington DC from New York, or desiring a sports car to whisk you and your significant other on a weekend getaway, the Elise/Exige would make be a miserable choice. Enter the Evora.
The Lotus Evora will be arriving in US and Canadian dealerships in early 2010 at a starting price of $73,500USD. According to Lotus, the first two months of production are already sold out. Like the Elise/Exige, Lotus has tapped Toyota for engines, this time borrowing the 3.5L V-6 from the Camry (!) rated at 276hp. Coupled two a six-speed manual, the Evora will scoot from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds, with a top speed of 162mph, all while delivering 30mpg on the highway.