Moments In Motorsport (28): BOAC 500 1969

The sports car endurance races of the 1960s and most of the 1970s saw some memorable battles waged between iconic cars and skillful drivers, many of whom were also part of the Formula 1 circus. Large crowds gathered to witness the spectacle and admire the skill on display; due to the lack of ‘trick’ aerodynamics and computer-aided technology, it was down the driver to keep the car on the track, pointing in the right direction while working out his race strategy. The sight and sound of a 5-litre sports car capable of speeds in excess of 200mph was something that afficionados of motorsport would never forget.

Moments In Motorsport (28): BOAC 500 1969

Today, these cars and the races have passed into history. Many cars of that era are now coveted by enthusiasts with the resources to own and race them in historic events around the world. Some are owned and raced by owners as well as professional race drivers and although the displays of driving are usually of a high standard, levels of skill can vary.

BOAC 500 1969: Porsche 908/02 + LOLA T70 MkIII

In the 1960s, one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the year – rivalling the grand prix – took place at Brands Hatch when the BOAC 500 world sports car championship 6-hour endurance race was held. The entry list saw the very finest cars and drivers in the world compete, with entries from seven road car manufacturers such as Porsche, Ferrari, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Ford as well as race-car specalists Lola, Ginetta and Chevron. The drivers list was a ‘who’s who’ of motorsport; Jacky Ickx, Denny Hulme, Jack Brabham, Chris Amon, Jo Siffert, Pedro Rodriguez to name but a few. It was a genuine privilege to be able to watch such competitors demonstrate the highest level of skill, especially since Brands Hatch was arguably the best spectator circuit in the country. It allowed the public to get close to the action as well as enjoying views of much of the track due to the nature of the circuit which was laid out in a natural ampitheatre as it wound up and down a small valley. The photograph shows four of the cars entering the tight, 180-degree Druids Bend with a brace of Lola T70 MkIIIs sandwiched between a pair of factory-entered Porsche 908/02s. From the left is the race-winning Porsche of Jo Siffert/Brian Redman, next is the Lola T70 of Ulf Norinder/Rob Widdows that came home 21st,  then the Porsche (number 54) of Gerhard Mitter/Udo Schutz followed by the eighth-placed Lola T70 of Chris Craft/Eric Liddell. In the background, the lines of spectators enjoy a clear view of the action, free from high chain-link fences that blight most circuits today.

From ‘Moments in Motorsport’ by Trevor Legate.


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