Formula 1 history was made 50 years ago today (June 4th) when the legendary Ford Cosworth DFV engine made a winning debut in the third round of the 1967 World Championship, the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.
JUN 04th 2017
On this day in... 1967
The compact, lightweight and powerful double four-valve V8 engine, brainchild of Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth on the back of a commission from Ford, had only been mated to Colin Chapman’s glorious all-new 49s a few days before the event.
A hastily organised test at Snetterton in Norfolk, with Graham Hill on duty, was the only meaningful running the car/engine combination managed, although expectations were high ahead of the trip across the Channel to the Netherlands.
The Lotus team of Hill and fellow former World Champion Jim Clark had endured a tricky start to 1967, with both BRM H16-engined 43s retiring in the opening round in South Africa and Clark failing to finish in Monaco in the 2-litre Climax-powered 33. Hill had taken second in the principality using the 2-litre BRM engine, but Lotus still only had half the Constructors’ Championship points of leaders Brabham at that point. The team needed the new 49, and its much-hyped aluminium-lalloy engine, to get its season back on track.
Confidence was further buoyed when Hill put the #6 car on pole – a full half second ahead of Dan Gurney’s Weslake V12-engined Eagle. Clark could only manage eighth on the grid having only seen the car for the first time on arrival at Zandvoort, let alone had any time to get to know it. Unsurprisingly, of course, it wouldn’t be long before the Scot became fully acclimatised with the new package…
At the start of the 90-lap race, Hill converted his qualifying advantage into the race lead – a position he maintained for the first 10 laps around the sand-dune-lined circuit. A broken tooth in the timing gear of the DFV put paid to his efforts and he was forced to push the car back to the pits where he offered Duckworth a consolatory arm around the shoulders.
Controlling the race in the wake of Hill’s retirement was World Champion Jack Brabham in the Brabham BT19. But the Australian’s moment of glory only lasted five laps, for Clark was on a mission.
The #5 Lotus relieved Brabham of top spot on lap 16 and pulled away, setting ever-faster laps during his 74-lap masterclass. His best came on lap 67 of 90 and he reeled off the remainder of the race to take an historic victory by 23 seconds from Brabham and the newer BT20 of Denny Hulme. The Ferrari 312s of Chris Amon, Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti filled the final three spots of the points-paying positions.
Over the course of the next eight races of the 1967 season, Clark would win three more – at Silverstone, Watkins Glen (backed up by Hill for the DFV’s first one-two) and Mexico City – to finish third in the final points reckoning.
Tragically, Clark would never get the chance to mount another championship challenge for Lotus. It was left to Graham Hill to take the title in honour of his fallen friend.
The Cosworth DFV powerplant that added its name to the F1 history books on that day at Zandvoort half a century ago would carry on winning until 1983, taking Lotus, McLaren, Matra, Brabham, March, Tyrrell, Hesketh, Penske, Wolf, Shadow, Ligier and Williams chassis to 155 wins.
Dutch Grand Prix, 1967
1. Jim Clark (GB) – Lotus 49-Cosworth, 90 laps
2. Jack Brabham (AUS) – Brabham BT19-Repco, 90 laps
3. Denny Hulme (NZ) – Brabham BT20-Repco, 90 laps
4. Chris Amon (NZ) – Ferrari 312, 90 laps
5. Mike Parkes (GB) – Ferrari 312, 89 laps
6. Ludovico Scarfiotti (ITA) – Ferrari 312, 89 laps
Photography courtesy of LAT Images
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