The 1964 British Grand Prix, officially known as the XVII R.A.C. British Grand Prix, was the fifth round of the 1964 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at Brands Hatch on the 11th of July. Also recognised as the 1964 European Grand Prix, the first visit of the World Championship to the Kent based circuit would be remembered for a close battle between two British drivers for victory.
Having failed to score for the first time since the start of the 1963 season, Jim Clark arrived at Brands Hatch looking to bounce back straight away. The Scot was in dominant form during practice, claiming pole by two tenths of a second from Graham Hill, while French Grand Prix winner Dan Gurney completed the front row. There was also a successful demonstration of a four-wheel-drive BRM in the hands of Richard Attwood, although this was withdrawn before the start of the Grand Prix.
Off the line, Clark managed to snatch the lead of the race from Gurney, who slithered inside of Hill before Paddock Hill Bend. After a brief battle, the Englishman managed to elbow his way into second to chase down a disappearing Clark, although they were together before the end of the second lap. As they began to exchange fastest lap times, Gurney dropped out of the race with ignition failure to leave a fairly big gap back to John Surtees in third.
As Clark and Hill began to lap the back markers, Jack Brabham dragged his car into the pits to have his suspension examined, promoting Lorenzo Bandini into the top four. Yet, try as he might, Hill could not force his BRM far enough up the inside of the Team Lotus machine at the front of the field, with Clark also collecting fastest lap during his impressive defence. Come the end of the race, Clark was registered as the winner, and by leading every lap had ensured he collected a fifth Grand Chelem to go level at the top of the all time list with Alberto Ascari.
The British Grand Prix may have established itself as one of the core races of the Formula One World Championship, but a permanent home had not been found. In previous seasons, both Silverstone and Aintree had hosted the race, while other British circuits such as Oulton Park and Snetterton had hosted non-Championship races for Formula One cars. In 1964, the B.R.D.C., on behalf of the R.A.C., arranged for Brands Hatch to try it's hand at hosting the World Championship round, with the Grand Prix cars set to use the extended loop through the forest.
Interest ahead of the British Grand Prix at Brands mainly lied with BRM, who brought an experimental car with Richard Attwood entered as the driver. Complimenting their usual duo of Graham Hill and Richie Ginther, Attwood would use a car designated as a BRM P67 which was a four-wheel-drive car. Co-developed with Ferguson Research Ltd. who debuted the first 4WD machine to enter F1 at the 1961 British Grand Prix, the P67 had been tested extensively throughout the spring, and would make its public debut in practice at Brands.
Elsewhere, Team Lotus were fielding their reserve driver Mike Spence, after Peter Arundell suffered a horrible crash at Reims in a Formula Two race. Their usual second driver Arundell was still in hospital as the field gathered in Kent, although their team was otherwise unaffected. They would also support Reg Parnell Racing with their compliment of ex-factory 25s, and aid the BRP team with their 24 after Trevor Taylor was forced into their spare.
Brabham-Climax were also on track for success in Kent, both Dan Gurney and Jack Brabham ready for action after their maiden victory in France. They also had interest in the three privateers Jo Bonnier, Jo Siffert and Bob Anderson as they fielded customer Brabham chassis with different engines once again. Also attracting the attention of the growing Brabham contingent was Ian Raby, who had purchased an older BT3 to do battle at his home race.
For Ferrari, the break between the French and British Grand Prix had been far from productive, the Italian outfit only arriving with one 1964 spec car. John Surtees would also have to wait until the 158 was prepared before practice, meaning Lorenzo Bandini missed out on some running as he used the "spare" 156 Aero. This was in contrast to Cooper-Climax, who arrived with an expanded compliment of 1964 machinery, with privateer John Taylor getting hold of a new T73 and bolting a Ford 109E engine in the back.
Into a rather healthy privateer field, and there were several drivers making their Grand Prix debuts at Brands. Alongside Attwood and John Taylor, Australian Frank Gardner was one to look out for, although he was using an F2-spec Brabham chassis for his F1 debut. Other privateer entries came from Scuderia Centro Sud, and the evergreen Maurice Trintignant, all field ex-factory BRMs.
There had been somewhat of a shock to the standings in France, as defending World Champion and current Championship leader Clark saw his lead cut to just a single point after retiring while leading at Rouen. Graham Hill had been the man to cut the gap, with two looking set to do battle for the title amongst themselves with a nine point gap back to third. Ginther and Arundell found themselves down in that position, the American ahead by virtue of his second place in Monaco, while victory for Gurney put him into the top five.
Like their lead driver, Team Lotus had seen their lead in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers severely reduced in France, although not to the same extent. BRM had carved their way to within four points of the Norfolk based manufacturer, while also enjoying a seven point margin over Brabham in third. Cooper sat in fourth ahead of the simply poor Ferrari team, while Reg Parnell Racing were the de facto sixth placed manufacturer through their Lotus-BRM entries.
The full entry list for the 1964 British Grand Prix is outlined below:
- * Peter Arundell was originally entered in the #2 Team Lotus entry, although his accident saw Spence drafted in just before the start of the weekend.
Qualifying/practice were scheduled for Thursday and Friday at Brands Hatch, with both days run in warm, dry conditions around the natural amphitheatre. Without any previous races with 1.5 litre era F1 equipment at Brands, no one knew what times the 1964 cars would be capable of. 1:40.0 was expected to be a decent time, the best of what had been achieved at a pre-season shakedown, but the potential for the now race hardened cars was unknown.
The morning session on Thursday morning was marked by a series of incidents and accidents, kicked off by Peter Revson after only a few minutes of running. The American was driving the third Reg Parnell Racing entry, and as he came through Paddock Hill Bend saw his car thrown off the circuit as the left rear hub carrier failed, although he was able to get back to the pits. Trevor Taylor, meanwhile, suffered a large impact through Hawthorn Bend, crashing heavily after slipping off the brake pedal, leaving the Englishman to clamber out of the written off BRP uninjured.
As others crashed, many of the top runners got below the 1:40.0 mark before lunch, with the afternoon session provoking an intense battle between Jim Clark and the two Brabham-Climaxes for pole. Dan Gurney and Clark had gone to battle for pole in each of the previous three races, but the involvement of Jack Brabham added to the intensity, with fastest lap passing between them throughout the rest of the day. Come the end, however, it was advantage Gurney, who claimed provisional pole by almost half a second, with Clark and Brabham tied on a 1:38.8.
Friday dawned dry and warm, and as practice opened at ten in the morning, conditions were perfect for the drivers to improve their times. Taylor was back on circuit, now in a Lotus 24, while Richard Attwood finally recorded some practice in the 4WD BRM, although it had already been agreed that the car would not start the race. John Surtees, meanwhile, got his hands on the 1964 Ferrari for the first time all weekend, freeing up the older 156 for Lorenzo Bandini.
Yet, all of the attention would be on the battle for pole, and try as he might, Gurney simply could not better his previous time. What became quickly clear was that the times were getting closer, with Surtees and Graham Hill joining the hunt for pole, just as Clark flashed through with a 1:38.1 having danced the Lotus across every curb. By the end of the day, Hill had managed to snatch second from Gurney, while Surtees just fell short of pole by a little over half a second, meaning the top five were covered by just six tenths of a second.
The full qualifying results for the 1964 British Grand Prix are outlined below:
- * Attwood was withdrawn before the race, meaning Maggs could start.
A wet Saturday morning greeted the Grand Prix paddock for race day, although the track dried quickly throughout the morning as 135,000 people flooded to the natural amphitheatre. A support programme featuring GT cars, and a non-Championship round of the British Saloon Car Championship, got the day underway before the Grand Prix cars were pushed onto the grid. After a single warm up lap, the drivers were instructed to form up on the "dummy" grid, before crawling forward onto the grid proper for the start.
A dramatic start at the front of the field saw Jim Clark and Dan Gurney surge into Paddock Hill Bend side-by-side, the two dropping Graham Hill after the Englishman failed to match their launches. It was Scotland against America into the sweeping first corner, with Clark on the inside and Gurney forced out to the edge of the circuit as they both ran out of the corner. They were still wheel to wheel into Druids at the top of the hill and it was Clark who had the inside, and braked the latest to pull into the lead with Gurney slotting neatly into second.
Adding to the dramas of the start would be the actions of the drivers at the lower end of the field, where Chris Amon failed to get any bite on his clutch leaving the New Zealander stranded in the middle of the pack. Jo Siffert was immediately behind and had to swerve, although the sudden change of direction carried the Swiss driver into the debuting Frank Gardner, who was the innocent victim as the F1 spec Brabham-BRM smacked into his F2 machine. The Australian racer was out on the spot with heavy front end damage, while Siffert and Amon got away a few moments later with a minor amount of damage.
By the end of the first lap the order had settled, although the cars did have to pick their way through the aftermath of the starting incident. At the front, Clark, Gurney, Hill, John Surtees and Jack Brabham had got away from the rest of the field together, although Bruce McLaren was leading the counter charge. The order was still unchanged at the front when the leaders came thundering past the pits to complete lap two, although the marshals were to be congratulated for removing all of the debris from the circuit in such a small amount of time.
Siffert was now really motoring at the back, catching and passing Ian Raby on the run to Paddock Hill Bend, although the cause of the first lap accident, Amon, was really struggling with a clutch problem. His demise on lap three would be caused by the defective clutch, although his disappearance would almost go unnoticed due to an absence at the front of the field. It was Gurney who failed to appear on the pit straight on lap three, the New Yorker later arriving with smoke from his ignition system.
A swarm of Brabham mechanics managed to replace the major electrical components by lap eight and so the New Yorker was back in motion. No one expected Gurney to be back in fight as he was "a racer, not a genius", but at least he was able to get back into the swing of things, unlike a couple of others. Mike Hailwood, for example, punctured an oil pipe after spinning at Druids, and after several laps of dropping oil on the circuit was out with a ruined engine, while McLaren ground to a halt with a gearbox failure at the end of the pit straight.
Although the American was out, the battle at the front of the field had not disappeared, as Clark and Hill pulled clear of the rest with a flurry of quick laps. The rest of the point scoring cars were spaced out, Surtees pulling ever so slightly further ahead of Brabham, while Bandini ran in a lonely fifth after McLaren disappeared. Then came Phil Hill, who was leading a stream of cars including Jo Bonnier, Bob Anderson, Richie Ginther, Mike Spence, Trevor Taylor, Innes Ireland and John Taylor, all of whom were jostling around to find an advantage over the car ahead.
Siffert was also entertaining, catching and passing the two Scuderia Centro Sud machines despite the minor damage to his Brabham-BRM. Giancarlo Baghetti, however, had other ideas and managed to elbow his way back past, leaving Siffert stuck in an ex-factory BRM sandwich. The were all to be promoted a spot when Trevor Taylor began to struggle with after effects from his heavy practice accident and so had to retire, while Gurney blasted past to unlap himself in what had become a glorified test session for the second Brabham.
There was suddenly a break up of the Phil Hill group after Taylor's retirement, with the Californian dragging Bonnier and Anderson clear of the rest for a three way tussle for sixth. An exciting tussle saw the Swedish Bonnier get by Anderson and Hill through Paddock Hill Bend and Druids, only to pull in for diagnosis suspected brake issue. Yet, before Anderson and Hill could resolve the issue amongst themselves, Ireland broke free of the rest and joined them, meaning there was still a truel for sixth.
Clark and Graham Hill, meanwhile, were pulling ever further ahead at the front of the field, and series of quick stops for checks had dropped Brabham off of Surtees' tail and back behind the second Ferrari of Bandini. That left the former Ferrari with a fairly lonely third place, while the Australian double Champion charged after the second scarlet car still with concerns about the rear end of his car. Phil Hill and Anderson were still locked together for sixth after Ireland fell back into the clutches of Spence and John Taylor, the last of the runners still on the lead lap, and about to buzzed by Gurney as he recovered from his early race dramas.
The pace of the race was winding up by this stage, the little damp patches that had remained after the GT support race now disappearing. As they continued to orbit at unmatched pace, Clark and Graham Hill came up to the back of the Phil Hill/Anderson fight through the fast sweep of Paddock Hill Bend. Clark put valour ahead of caution and dived expertly down the inside the two while Hill got caught between them, allowing the Scot to build a valuable barrier as the Englishman got caught. By the time Hill got by at the corner that would later carry his name, Clark was on his way to the GP loop almost two seconds ahead.
In France, it had been Hill who had Clark sweating through the effort to keep with a quicker car, and not it was the former who was having to throw his car around the circuit to keep up. At the halfway point the gap still stood at two seconds as the pair flashed past Brabham, with Hill constantly pitching the car into every corner as he manhandled the BRM around the twisty Brands Hatch circuit. The green-gold Lotus, however, remained tantalisingly out of reach as the race entered its second half.
Interesting battles still affected the top ten, however, with Brabham inching up to Bandini, while Phil Hill tried in vain to pull clear of Anderson. The Englishman, making a rare outing in the World Championship had been impressive to keep up with the former Champion, and every time he got half a chance, the bright green Brabham would nose up the inside of the Cooper to try and force his way past. Behind came the Ireland/Spence/Ginther fight which was still intense, while Siffert had been replaced by Peter Revson in the Scuderia Centro Sud battle.
A few laps later and the leading pair came across the Ireland group for a second time, and perfect timing allowed Clark to repeat his previous move and dart past the trio without issue. Graham Hill just failed to take Ireland into Druids, and by the time he got by, Clark had stretched out a five second gap, meaning the Englishman would have to work even harder. The Scot, however, decided to press on, setting new lap records as he began to push on and build a bigger lead over Hill, while Surtees in third had to be content with running the whole length of the "Indy" circuit behind.
Numerous battles were beginning to be resolved as the race ticked into its closing stages, Ginther the first to make progress by finally dealing with Spence and Ireland with two expertly timed dives into Druids. Brabham was next, the Australian disappearing into the Grand Prix loop right on the tail of Bandini, only to appear in front of the Italian as they blasted back into view at Clearways. Then it was Phil Hill's turn, having slipped behind Anderson unseen, the Cooper snatched sixth back through Pilgrim's Drop at the start of the GP loop, although the Englishman still refused to be dropped.
With a few laps to go the race finally settled, and after setting a stunning time of 1:38.8 on lap 73, Clark eased the pace to cross the line with a three second gap back to Graham Hill. Surtees was a very lonely third for Ferrari, only scoring for the second time all season, while Brabham charged across the line for a furious fourth. Bandini was two laps back in fifth, while Phil Hill claimed points for the first time since he was sacked by Ferrari by fending off Anderson for sixth before saying to the ex-motorcyclist: "You gave me a helluva time, I could have had an easy ride."
The full results for the 1964 British Grand Prix are outlined below:
|4||5||Jack Brabham||Brabham||79||+1 lap||4||3|
|5||8||Lorenzo Bandini||Ferrari||78||+2 laps||8||2|
|6||10||Phil Hill||Cooper-Climax||78||+2 laps||15||1|
|7||19||Bob Anderson||Brabham-Climax||78||+2 laps||7|
|8||4||Richie Ginther||BRM||77||+3 laps||14|
|9||2||Mike Spence||Lotus-Climax||77||+3 laps||13|
|10||11||Innes Ireland||BRP-BRM||77||+3 laps||10|
|11||20||Jo Siffert||Brabham-BRM||76||+4 laps||16|
|12||18||Giancarlo Baghetti||BRM||76||+4 laps||21|
|13||6||Dan Gurney||Brabham-Climax||75||+5 laps||3|
|14||22||John Taylor||Cooper-Ford||56||+34 laps||20|
|Ret||23||Ian Raby||Brabham-BRM||37||Rear axle||17|
|Ret||14||Mike Hailwood||Lotus-BRM||16||Oil line||12|
- A sixteenth pole position for Jim Clark meant he was level with Stirling Moss for second in the all time pole list.
- Clark's thirteenth win put the Scot joint second on the all time winners list level with Alberto Ascari.
- Also Clark's fifth Grand Chelem to join Ascari on the top of that list too.
- Thirtieth podium for Team Lotus.
A third victory of the season for Jim Clark meant he hit the halfway point in the season in the lead of Championship, although Graham Hill was just four points behind. There was then a significant gap back to third, where three drivers, Jack Brabham, Richie Ginther and Peter Arundell all sat level on eleven points. Dan Gurney dropped to sixth, level on points with John Surtees who had only collected points for the second time all season.
Lotus-Climax left Brands Hatch with a seven point lead over BRM in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, in what looked to be a two horse race for the title. Brabham-Climax now pulled into third, seven points clear of their nearest challengers, but were more significantly ten points off of the second placed BRM entry. Ferrari drew level with Cooper-Climax for fourth in double figures, and were ahead after Surtees' home podium.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: BRITISH GP, 1964', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr126.html, (Accessed 27/06/2016)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 2.56 2.57 2.58 2.59 2.60 2.61 2.62 2.63 2.64 2.65 2.66 2.67 2.68 2.69 2.70 2.71 2.72 2.73 2.74 2.75 2.76 2.77 2.78 2.79 2.80 2.81 D.S.J., 'XVII BRITISH GRAND PRIX: A Hard Time for Clark', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/08/1964), , (Accessed 27/06/2016)
- ↑ 'Britain 1964: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1964/grande-bretagne/engages.aspx, (Accessed 27/06/2016)
- ↑ 'Britain 1964: Qualification', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1964/grande-bretagne/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2016)
- ↑ 'Britain 1964: Results', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1964/grande-bretagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2016)
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