One & the Same

Successful art forgers, dishonest though they may be, are incredibly skilled. If you can fool people who make a living dealing in multimillion dollar paintings you’re doing something right. To take new materials, create art, and then sell it as the real thing using artificial aging takes talent and audacity. Minus artificial aging and deception, this is what Broadley Automotive does with their T76 and other cars once built by Lola. Just as Guy Hain forged the sculptures of Auguste Rodin by using the original molds, Broadley uses all of the original tooling and body molds that Lola used to build the iconic T70. The 1960s racing cars that roll out of the Cambridgeshire factory today are so indistinguishable from the originals that the FIA grants them Historic Technical Passports, letting them race alongside original Ferraris, Porsches and GT40s.

Lola’s version, the T70, was designed in 1965 and featured a British chassis powered by American V8s (one was disastrously equipped with an Aston Martin V8). Chevy-powered T70s won 5 out of 6 Can-Am races in the 1966 season, but performed less well in European races because the big American engines didn’t like the lower quality of European fuel. Engine reliability was a problem and the T70s did their best work in shorter sprint races while in Europe. The pace of development was fast, and by 1967 the M6 McLaren was untouchable in Can-Am racing. Penske racing did, however, win the coveted Daytona 24 Hours with a T70 in 1969.

With Lola sadly going the way of too many other British car builders, Broadley Automotive stepped in and bought up the tooling, body molds, drawings, and everything else required to build “big banger sports racers”. The production process is identical to the one Eric Broadley (father of Broadley boss Andrew) set out in the ‘60s. The cars are produced from aircraft-grade aluminium with brand-new period correct engines, switchgear and Daytona-conquering noise. In the interest of safety there are a couple of updates, like a stronger transmission casing and modern pistons in the brakes. Imagine caning one of these sports car wonders without worrying about anything breaking and putting you into a tree! Delivery to your door happens within 16 weeks of you picking up the phone to order one. Of course, all this history and craftsmanship comes at an eye-watering price, but that’s not really the point, is it?
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday Dec 7th 2016.

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One & the Same

Audi’s IMSA GT Monster

Audi’s insane IMSA GTO car didn’t begin in IMSA at all. Rather, the lunatic German began its career in Trans-Am racing in 1988. Audi was just coming off a scandal involving unintended acceleration in their road cars and decided to go racing to demonstrate their ability to build a car that was terrifying for all the right reasons. The car they turned up with contained the engine and running gear from that legend of legends, the Group B Quattro. Around this they built a custom space frame and covered it all in carbon fibre. Wide carbon fibre. The only panel it shared with the road-going Audi 90 was its roof. 

In Trans-Am trim, the 90 Quattro produced 510 bhp from its 2.1 litre turbocharged 5 cylinder engine. It won 8 of the 13 races it was entered in and helped Hurley Haywood to claim the driver’s championship that year. Trans-Am reacted by banning all wheel drive cars, and Audi became a factory-backed team racing in the more technologically adventurous IMSA GT Championship. Here, a bigger turbocharger allowed the car to produce a ludicrous 720 horsepower. With an engine sitting mostly ahead of the front axle and an exhaust exiting through the passenger door, Audi claimed victory in 7 of the 13 races they entered. 

The works team would have surely won the constructors’ championship that year, but for missing the first two races of the season and retiring from the third. The 90 Quattro IMSA GTO would prove to be a brilliant flash in the pan, as the bigwigs in Germany decided to concentrate their motorsport efforts on the DTM championship at home and pulled support for the IMSA team. Despite only racing for two years, the car became a cult favourite. Driver Hans-Joachim Stuck recalled the Americans sneering at this German saloon car turning up to race with a tiny engine, and would frequently start to yodel as he crossed the line to take the chequered flag.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday October 19th 2016.

Audi’s IMSA GT Monster

Group B Evolved: 288 GTO Evoluzione

The Ferrari 288 GTO has some fantastically special cars in its family tree. It was the first Ferrari to bear the GTO name since the legendary 250 GTO, and its crazy cousin, the 288 GTO Evoluzione, served as the prototype for the equally legendary F40. AND it was designed to compete in Group B, the holy grail of motorsport lunacy. Crikey. 

Unfortunately for the 288 GTO, Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto’s fatal crash in the 1986 Tour de Corse put an end to the 600 horsepower monsters. Group B was banned just as the GTO was about to step into the fray. Based on the 308 GTB to save money and construction time, the 288 was in reality a very different car. It was wider, lower, and packed with goodies like upgraded suspension, extra lights and a racing transmission mated to a 2.9 litre twin-turbo V8. It produced 400 horsepower, and was the first road-legal production car to hit 300 kph. 

Not content with their amazing creation, Ferrari set to work once more. They wanted something nastier, scarier, more evolved. The 288 was lightened to a featherweight 2072 lbs, and the boost was turned up so that the engine now produced 650 horsepower. Incredible lightness, power, and an aerodynamically revised body put the Evoluzione’s top speed at a terrifying 225 mph. 272 288 GTOs were produced, but just 5 Evoluziones were ever built. Miraculously none of them were crashed as a result of monstrous turbo-lag and all of them survive to this day.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday September 28th 2016.

Group B Evolved: 288 GTO Evoluzione

Dance Around the Rulebook

The Tyrrell P34 is undoubtedly one of the most unique and recognisable Formula 1 cars of all time. Its six-wheeled design, penned by Derek Gardner, aimed to skirt the rules that limited how wide front wings could be. In order to leave room for all the needed components (suspension, steering, the driver’s legs) the front wheels would sit well outside the edges of the front wing. To remedy this problem, Gardner devised his six-wheeled layout. By using 10 inch front wheels and tires he could fit everything neatly inside and under the confines of the front wing, reducing drag for higher straight line speed and providing the rear wing with cleaner air for cornering downforce. The problem with using smaller front wheels was the decreased contact patch which made cornering very difficult. So he just added another set, and connected them to the first.

When the car was unveiled in 1975 it was kept under a sheet with hoops to mimic the silhouette of normally sized front wheels. Imagine the surprise when that sheet came off! It’s clever aerodynamics and 3.0 litre Cosworth V8 made it quite a competitive car during the 1976 season, with its crowning moment coming as a 1-2 finish at the ‘76 Swedish Grand Prix. Jody Scheckter remains the only driver to have won an F1 race in a six-wheeled car, despite the fact that he hated the thing and referred to it as ‘a piece of junk’.

Changes to the car for the 1977 season meant that it was no longer very competitive and the idea was eventually scrapped. However, it’s worth mentioning that Tyrrell wasn’t the only team to toy with the idea of a six-wheeled F1 car. Williams and March Engineering developed prototypes with four rear wheels on two rear axles, while Ferrari built a version of their 312 T with four rear wheels on one axle. That’s right, a Ferrari F1 car with duallies. It was tested by Niki Lauda and Carlos Reutemann, with the latter crashing it at Fiorano and burning it to the ground.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday September 7th 2016.

Dance Around the Rulebook

RTR for America

At 6’2” and weighing 215 lbs, Vaughn Gittin Jr. is not your average snake-hipped racing driver. It stands to reason, then, that his Formula D competition car would be larger than average too. Welcome to the Ford Mustang RTR.

When you think of the insane level of precision needed to go sideways at 100 mph+ without stuffing it into a wall, you think small, light sports cars from Japan. Not this time. Carbon fibre body panels and lightweight components keep the burly American under 2800 lbs with perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

Motivating that mass is a 436 cu.in. Ford Racing/Roush Yates V8 engine, which produces over 900 horsepower. Vaughn claims that this is a 9 second car at a drag strip. Too bad it almost never travels in a straight line!

This isn’t one of those ‘Made in England’ Ken Block Fiestas either. The competition Mustang RTR was built in Charlotte, North Carolina and is Stars and Stripes through and through. It’s one of the most recognisable cars in drifting, and has helped Vaughn to become one of the most successful American drifters ever.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday August 31st 2016.

RTR for America

Berlinette Bébé

“Our French friends had the idea to wrap two lying men with fiberglass and put them on wheels. The skin consisted solely of blue paint, and they were so light, the wind had already dented them.” So starts the @petrolicious video on the Alpine Renault A110 ‘Berlinette’, the very first World Rally Championship winning car. 

Alpine began as a standalone manufacturer and tuner of Renaults, with company founder Jean Rédélé successfully campaigning his Renault-based creations in races around Europe. As with AMG and Mercedes, the larger company took interest in Alpine’s success and bought the smaller out to provide Jean with more money to do his thing. The A110 was produced and updated between 1961 and 1976, and its rear-mounted engine never exceeded 1.8 l. It featured a steel chassis with a fiberglass body on top, and was licensed for production around the world. In Brazil it was sold by Willys (yes that Willys) as the Interlagos, and was built in Bulgaria under the very sexy name ‘Bulgaralpine’. 

Through the early 1970’s the Berlinette was an extremely successful rally car, but by 1974 the Lancia Stratos (the first car designed from the ground up for rally racing) had joined the fray and the Berlinette, along with many of its pre-1974 peers, was in decline. Engine and suspension updates failed to produce any meaningful increases in performance or points, and the A110 was retired from active racing duty. Its elegant styling make it a crowd favourite at historic rallies around the world to this day.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday July 27th 2016.

Berlinette Bébé

Danger and Glamour: Mille Miglia

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The original Mille Miglia is one of motorsport’s legendary races, run at a time when health and safety came second to excitement. The thousand mile race over open public roads was conceived by an Italian Count in protest of the Italian Grand Prix being moved from his hometown of Brescia to Monza. The track was set as a lap of Italy from Brescia to Rome and back, and entry was restricted to unmodified production cars. Out of 77 starters only 51 made it to the finish line of the very first Mille Miglia. The race cemented the legendary status of marques such as Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and Alfa Romeo, regularly attracting 5 million spectators along its route. Who wouldn’t want to see beautiful cars tear by on open beautiful roads?

Unlike modern rallies, the Mille Miglia sent the slowest cars out onto the course before the more powerful factory-backed competitors. Each car was given a number based on the time at which it started the race, so Sterling Moss’s legendary #722 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR set off at 7.22 am. He and navigator Denis ‘Jenks’ Jenkinson set the absolute record for the thousand mile lap with a time of 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds. Their average speed over that time was an eye-watering 97.9 mph/157.6 km/h. The race was held twice in its original format after that record-setting run, but the time was never beaten.

While probably for the best, it’s a shame that there aren’t many races left that match the drama and danger of the Mille Miglia. Holding it on public roads was divine madness. One year, German driver Hans Herrmann at the wheel of a low-slung Porsche 550 Spyder saw the gates of a railway crossing begin to lower as he approached. Tapping the back of his navigator’s helmet to tell him to duck, he floored the nimble little Porsche and flew under the barrier just before the train passed. That was the kind of race that the Mille Miglia was. Unfortunately, you’re only lucky so many times. At the 1957 running Spanish driver Alfonso de Portago, desperate to win, waited too long to change tyres on his 4.2 litre Ferrari. He lost control and crashed, killing himself, his navigator, and nine spectators. Five of those were children. The race was subsequently banned, and is now held as a timed rally at legal speeds open to pre-1957 cars which attended or raced in the original Mille Miglia.

Posted @Whippstagram on Intsagram, Wednesday June 29th 2016

Danger and Glamour: Mille Miglia