Brands Hatch, April 12th 1970, also known as ‘The day they forgot to tell Pedro Rodriguez it was raining’ will go down in the annals as one of the all-time great sportscar races.
The weather was appalling that day and the grid was bursting with the very finest cars and drivers; Vic Elford, Denny Hulme, Jacky Ickx, Gijs Van Lennep, Chris Amon and Brian Redman were just a selection of the pilots present that day determined to prevail in the six-and-a-half-hour two-driver race. As it was, they’d all chosen a day when a certain diminutive Mexican was well-and-truly ‘using the force’.
And as for the machinery, well this is where it gets interesting on two counts. Firstly, there were no GT cars involved, only Sports Prototypes. Secondly, as well as celebrating this year’s Festival of Speed theme, this video also serves as a taster for next year’s 74th Members’ Meeting where a number of the machines will be here at Goodwood performing a high speed demonstration; ‘Gulf Oil’ John Wyer Porsche 917Ks, Ferrari 512Ss, Lola T70 MkIIIbs …
But back to the 1970 1000Km and in particular Mr Rodriguez’s spectacular exploits. You’ll see Barrie Smith’s Lola T70 suffer a major impact at the end of lap one which cause a flurry of yellow flags. Unfortunately though, the dreadful conditions caused Rodriguez to miss the warnings and he carried on overtaking at will. This brought about a black flag which left him in 12th position by the time he rejoined the fray.
But Rodriguez was a fan of wet conditions and, likely motivated by the black flag incident, put in one of the drives of his life. Never mind regaining the lead, he won the race by five laps… Five!
Porsche had a pretty good day, too. Chris Amon had returned to Ferrari to drive a 512S and duly plonked the thing on pole, however by the time the chequered flag fell Porsches held the top four positions …
Having some of these cars at #74MM is going to be wonderful, however we’d consider our job to have been well done if we can serve up just a fraction of this kind of magic.