Picture the scene: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are standing at the pit wall at Silverstone. Next to them are Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, then Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso and so on …
Meanwhile out on the track Toto Wolf, Mauricio Arrivabene, Eric Boullier and the rest of the F1 team managers line up in identical Renault Clio 200 RSs, ready for a 10 lap sprint race, during which the drivers have control of the pit boards! Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Well this is what happened at Brands Hatch in 1971 with Ford Escort Mexicos. So on the pit wall there was Jackie Stewart and Francois Cevert looking out for their boss Ken Tyrrell and Emerson Fittipaldi managing Colin Chapman, etc.
The Jack Brabham Trophy was a race for Formula 1 team managers and former drivers, who competed in said Ford Escort Mexicos which were stripped-down examples of standard road cars but with open exhausts. Even standard Dunlop radial road tyres were used.
In this race – which once featured in the BBC’s 100 Great Sporting Moments – the likes of Chapman and Tyrrell lined up against former world champions in the form of Jack Brabham and John Surtees. The action is nothing short of superb. Being a 10 lap race meant that there was no time for strategy; just a full-on sprint to the finish.
After the start it’s three-time World Champion Brabham who unsurprisingly builds up a healthy lead, with Chapman and Surtees doing their best to keep him within reach. But just as it seems as though Black Jack is going to disappear up the road, Chapman begins to reel him in and an epic paint-swapping duel ensues between the pair as Surtees threatens to join in the fun.
We guarantee that this will be one of the best videos you see today, because not only is the racing top notch but the last few laps serve up plenty of drama. It’s pertinent to point out that Brabham wins, although he gives the winners trophy away to someone else. The reason he does this we’ll leave for you to find out; suffice to say that after the race he reckoned that another driver was more deserving of the shiny pot.
Such a shame that today this sort of event would be practically impossible to stage…