An incredible array of cars was assembled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of what was dubbed in period ‘the return to power’ – when, for 1966, F1 regulations permitted 3-litre-capacity engines to supercede the 1.5-litre units that had shaped the sport for five seasons.
Cars from Brabham, BRM, Cooper, Ferrari, Lotus and McLaren, powered by various takes on the 3-litre theme – V8s from Alfa Romeo, Cosworth and Repco, V12s from Maserati and Ferrari, and an H16 (that’s two flat-8s on top of each other!) from BRM – were housed in the Reims tribute pit garages and were exercised enthusiastically on track during a series of demonstrations.
TV personality, experienced racer and Whitsun Trophy podium finisher Tiff Needell was blown away by the chance to drive an iconic Lotus 49 in classic green-and-yellow livery. “Incredible,” he enthused. “I’m in the #6 car, so I feel a little bit like Graham Hill, who took pole position for the Dutch GP at Zandvoort in 1967 on this car’s debut.”
For sheer visual and aural delight, they couldn’t really be topped, with Nigel’s superb image perfectly complementing the celebrations.
Photography by Nigel Harniman