GRR

5 unmissable sports prototypes at Revival

09th September 2017
Adam Wilkins

There were several opportunities to see sports prototypes in action throughout the Revival weekend. Whether it’s the Whitsun Trophy for unlimited sports-prototypes of a type that raced up to 1966, the World Championship sportscars and production sports-racing cars from 1955 to 1960 in the Sussex Trophy or the Freddie March Memorial Trophy for sportscars in the spirit of the Goodwood Nine Hour races 1952 to ’55, incredible pre-1966 sports racers are battling it out. There’s also the Ecurie Ecosse demonstration, which features its share of sports prototypes. Narrowing down our five ‘unmissables’ from that lot wasn’t easy, but here are the ones you should definitely catch on the last day...

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Alfa Romeo 3000 ‘Disco Volante’

Could the Alfa Romeo ‘Disco Volante’ have been the most beautiful car in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy race? You could make the case. But it’s lucky to exist at all today. In 1954, Consalvo Sanesi crashed the car at Monza and both he and the car were badly burned. The ‘Disco Volante’ was cancelled as a consequence. Its next move was to a museum in Brazil amongst other Alfa Romeos. It wouldn’t be until the 1980s that the car received a sympathetic restoration. Most mechanical parts had survived the fire, and there were even traces of the extinguishant from 1954! The car is now regularly used in competition by Christopher Mann, and he even uses it for the supermarket run from time to time.

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Jaguar D-Type

The Jaguar D-Type’s first outing at the Le Mans 24-hour in 1954 wasn’t as successful as the team had hoped. The cars had the pace, but fuel starvation led to time-wasting pitstops, gifting victory to Ferrari. Even so, the fastest Jaguar was with a lap of victory. The following year, Jaguar was competitive with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs. The German cars were expected to win but withdrew from the race following the fatal accident. A D-type won that year, and again in 1956. It was 1957 that saw the model’s most successful Le Mans, despite the fact that the factory team didn’t enter that year, with D-Types taking first and second places. Rule changes in 1958 brought an end to its dominance. Your last chance to see D-Types in action is today's Ecurie Ecosse demonstration.

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Cooper Monaco-Climax Mark II Type 57

This particular Cooper Monaco has Goodwood form: it won on its first appearance here on June 6th, 1960. By then, it had also won two races at its Charterhall Aerodrome debut in the hands of Tommy Dickson a week earlier. Much later in its career, it was being driven by an up-and-coming Jackie Stewart. Given that the car was ageing by then, Stewart was punching above his weight, so Goodwood's track manager recommended him to Ken Tyrrell and John Cooper. He subsequently tested their Formula 3 car at Goodwood and was signed up. But back to the Cooper Monaco. It was manufactured by Cooper in Surrey but delivered to Ecurie Ecosse’s workshop in kit form for them to assemble, hence its chassis number that doesn’t follow Cooper convention. From its 34 race starts, it amassed 17 victories and 28 top 10 places. It was later converted to an open-wheeler but has long been returned to its 1960 sports racer form. See it in the Ecurie Ecosse demonstration.

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Lola T70 Spyder MkII

The name John Surtees is inextricably linked to the Lola T70. He worked with Eric Broadley to develop the car and was the man to win the inaugural 1966 CanAm championship in the car having taken victory in five out of six races. This Team Surtees car is the very example he achieved those wins with, and it’s the final T70 Spyder Mk2 to have been built. Despite looking and sounding aggressive, the T70 was – and remains – a driver’s delight thanks to its predictability. It’s a car that inspires confidence at ten-tenths (and slightly beyond), meaning a skilled driver can get the very best from it. Like most T70 Spyders, this one has a 5.7-litre Chevrolet V8 and made an unmistakable sound when contesting the Whitsun Trophy in the hands of Mike Whitaker.

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Maserati Tipo 61 ‘Birdcage’

The Maserati ‘Birdcage’ is one of those cars whose beauty is more than skin deep. The intricate spaceframe chassis, made from about 200 individual tubes, gave the car its nickname – and its strength and lightness. There were actually no fewer than five different ‘Birdcage’ models, including the later mid-engined cars, but it’s the Tipo 61 that’s best known. This particular car, which will be in the Sussex Trophy, won its debut race at Riverside in the World Sports Car Trophy with Bill Krause driving. He took victory over the household names of Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss, both of whom were piloting Lotus 19s.

Photos courtesy of LAT and Tom Shaxson

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