FANDOM


The 1977 South African Grand Prix (officially the XXIII South African Grand Prix) was the third race of the 1977 Formula One Season. It was held on March 5, 1977 at the Kyalami Circuit in South Africa.

This race is primarily known as the race that took the lives of the race marshal Frederick Jansen van Vuuren and driver Tom Pryce, on lap 22.

This would also be Brazilian Carlos Pace's final race as he would be killed in an aircraft accident just days after the race.

Qualifying ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor
1 1 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford
2 8 Brazil Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo
3 11 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari
4 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford
5 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Wolf-Ford Cosworth
6 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford
7 3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Tyrrell-Ford
8 12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Ferrari
9 28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth
10 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Ford
11 7 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo
12 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra
13 2 Germany Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford
14 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Ford
15 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Shadow-Ford Cosworth
16 22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ensign-Ford Cosworth
17 9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro March-Ford Cosworth
18 10 Germany Hans Joachim Stuck March-Ford Cosworth
19 18 Austria Hans Binder Surtees-Ford
20 17 Italy Renzo Zorzi Shadow-Ford Cosworth
21 33 Netherlands Boy Hayje March-Ford Cosworth
22 14 Australia Larry Perkins BRM
23 30 United States Brett Lunger March-Ford Cosworth


RaceEdit

ReportEdit

1977 South African Grand Prix

The start of the 1977 South African Grand Prix.

James Hunt started the race on pole and managed to led for the beginning of the race. Niki Lauda took the lead on the 11th lap, where he would remain for the rest of the race.

On lap 22, Renzo Zorzi dropped out of the race because of an engine failure. Fire marshal, Fredrik Jansen van Vuuren and racing driver Tom Pryce were killed. Jacques Laffite was also taken out of the race as a result of Pryce's death.

However, the race continued and Lauda managed to win his first race since his accident in the 1976 German Grand Prix. He first said that this was the greatest victory of his career, but was later told on the podium that Pryce had been killed. He then stated "...there was no joy after that..."

ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 11 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari 78 1:42:21.6 3 9
2 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Wolf-Ford Cosworth 78 +5.2 5 6
3 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 78 +5.7 4 4
4 1 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford 78 +9.5 1 3
5 2 Germany Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford 78 +19.9 13 2
6 7 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo 78 +20.2 11 1
7 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Ford 78 +23.6 14
8 12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Ferrari 78 +26.7 8
9 22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ensign-Ford Cosworth 78 +46.2 16
10 28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 78 +1:11.7 9
11 18 Austria Hans Binder Surtees-Ford 77 +1 lap 19
12 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Ford 77 +1 lap 10
13 8 Brazil Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo 76 +2 laps 2
14 30 United States Brett Lunger March-Ford Cosworth 76 +2 laps 23
15 14 Australia Larry Perkins BRM 73 +5 laps 22
Ret 9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro March-Ford Cosworth 66 Engine 17
Ret 10 Germany Hans Joachim Stuck March-Ford Cosworth 55 Engine 18
Ret 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 43 Accident 6
Ret 33 Netherlands Boy Hayje March-Ford Cosworth 33 Gearbox 21
Ret 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 22 Accident 12
Ret 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Shadow-Ford Cosworth 22 Fatal accident 15
Ret 17 Italy Renzo Zorzi Shadow-Ford Cosworth 21 Fuel leak 20
Ret 3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Tyrrell-Ford 5 Fuel system 7

Fatal AccidentEdit

See Also Tom Pryce

On lap 22, the Shadow car driver by Renzo Zorzi suffered engine failure and pulled to the side of the track. Soon after pulling off of the track, the engine caught fire. Although struggling to disconnect oxygen hoses, Zorzi managed to escape from the car.

To extinguish the fire, fire marshals William (25) and Frederik Jansen van Vuuren (19) began to cross the track. As they began to cross, drivers Hans-Joachim Stuck and Tom Pryce rounded the turn. Stuck was able to narrowly avoid the first marshal, but Pryce was tucked in behind Stuck and was unable to see. Having no reaction time, Pryce stuck the second marshal, killing him on impact. The injuries were so severe that the race director was unable to identify the body. He then summoned all marshals and was able to ID the body by seeing which marshal was not among them. The marshal was Van Vuuren.

The 40 pound fire extinguisher that Van Vuuren had been carrying smashed into Pryce's helmet, nearly decapitating him. Pryce was killed on impact. There was so much force that the fire extinguisher was thrown over the grandstands, where it hit a car in the parking lot.

Because of the speed Pryce was going, his car coasted down the straight at speeds of about 270km/h. The car came to a rest after striking Jacques Laffite's car in the first turn, sending both cars into the barrier. Pryce was already dead before he crashing it the first turn.

AftermathEdit

"I can remember quite vividly [Pryce's] teammate's car had already pulled off to the side of the track and it had started a small fire. Then the next thing I can remember is seeing Tom's car coming down the straight. I can almost remember now a momentary lift of the throttle much earlier than you would have expected and I looked and I saw something fly up from the car, which tragically turned out to be the marshal." - Trevor Foster (Tyrrell mechanic)

"The tragedy itself – the sheer randomness of it – is so hard to take and still is. You tend to focus your anger on someone and for a long time it would be focused on a 19-year-old kid, called Jansen van Vuuren, who ran across the track." - David Tremayne (motor sports journalist)

This accident was added into the documentary, The Quick and the Dead when it was re-released in 1978.

Standings After RaceEdit

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts
1 South Africa Jody Scheckter 15
=2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 13
=2 Austria Niki Lauda 13
4 United Kingdom James Hunt 9
5 Brazil Carlos Pace 6

Only the top 5 drivers are displayed.


Constructors' World Championship
Pos. Team Pts
1 Italy Ferrari 22
2 Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 15
3 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford 9
4 United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 7
5 Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 6

Only the top 5 constructors are displayed.

NotesEdit

v·d·e Nominate this page for Featured Article

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.