The 1967 Race of Champions
It was not a championship event. It did not pay points. That doesn’t mean that the race was not important.
Dan Gurney won the race, but it was a hard-earned victory. “We are a small outfit. with meager backing , and spread pretty thin at this point. Any kind of setback will be felt keenly. For instance, if we lose an engine, one car probably won’t race” Dan Gurney had said earlier that year.
The 1967 Race of Champions, raced at Brands Hatch, was the European introduction of the 1967 season. Following a day of practice that saw rain, sleet, and even some snow, the Race of Champions took place on March 12, 1967, with a novel format.
Specifically. there were two heats, each of 10 laps, that reshuffled the grid, as effective repeat qualifying sessions. The main race, was set for 40 laps.
Scuderia Ferrari, as I noted in my previous post, were absent for the 1967 South African GP. Thus, this was the debut of the new creation of Maranello. In fact, Ferrari were rolling three deep with screaming V-12 engines. However, their new star driver, Chris Amon, injured himself on the way to the track. He declared himself unfit to drive.
Thus, Bandini and Scarfotti, were to chase the other V-12 engines all weekend. It was a weekend of V-12 power in each session and every heat. But, the best part of this race is the nostalgic video that I unearthed on YouTube. So, I will let the video, below, do the heavy-lifting of communicating the feel of the race.
After the race, Dan Gurney reported, “It was very exciting to see that both Richie and I were able to out-accelerate anything on the starting grid, including the Honda, which has been regarded as the ‘dragster’ of the Grand Prix cars.” This was important victory for Dan Gurney Weslake V12, albeit on a track that favored V-12 characteristics. The achilles heal of Dan’s Eagle, in its earlier configuration, was its weight. This is where, later in the season, the Lotus 49 would excel.