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The current time is: 10/17/2017 1:50:41 AM
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Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1069

Tantalising but tough topic: Group A Sports Cars.
Posted on: 11/25/2016 3:37:22 PM
I've loved Can Am sports-racing cars for ages and recently reading found that in 1967 Australian Frank Matich raced his Australian designed/built Matich SR3 with a 4.4 litre version of the Australian design/built Repco V8 in the Can Am, without success as it turns out. :-(

Through this link with the awesome Can Am cars I started down the rabbit hole of Australia's Group A Sports Cars of the 60s, tantalised by the thought that our cars with our engines were able to play on the world stage. That's when it got tough because while a couple of the cars, in particular Frank Matich's SR4, are famous race winners, record holders and national champions but others are extremely obscure despite being interesting in their own right and potentially world class. I'm reading through old forum posts of people who worked on the cars, owned/drove them or watched them race back in the day to piece together a story of at most 12 cars over a 5 year period from 1966 to 1970. Maybe I'm a masochist and the obscurity is keeping me interested.

Anyway here's Bob Jane's McLaren M6A-Repco in 1969 or 1970. This car is unique in that it wasn't a customer McLaren car built by Trojan, but instead built by Bruce McLaren and his team in their own facility. It has a 5 litre Repco 740, an enlarged version of the 3 litre engine that Denny Hulme used to win the F1 world championship in 1967; notice how the exhaust come out the centre to make the engine more streamlined for an F1 car.


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Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5271

Re: Tantalising but tough topic: Group A Sports Cars.
Posted on: 11/25/2016 5:45:54 PM
Riain, I'm not a big racing fan but I do remember the Can-Am series of races;

As I recall, these cars weren't subject to the same specifications of F1's and developed to be faster.

But that's about all I remember.

That and I was dating a girl at the time whose brother was an editor of a racing magazine. He got us pit passes at Mosport Race Track.


George

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1069

Re: Tantalising but tough topic: Group A Sports Cars.
Posted on: 11/25/2016 7:41:11 PM
A girl who's dad gets you pit passes to can am races isn't as good as one who's sad owns pub pub, but it's up there.

Can Am were "group 7" rules with no limit on engine size so big American V8s could compete with medium size European engines with fancy overhead cams and the like. But not long after the series started Chevy started casting their 427 big block in aluminum which made it light enough for a sports racing car. All of a sudden the race wasn't 4 litre Europeans against against 5 and 6 litre Americans, the Americas were 7 litres and the power was massive! This made these cars faster than F1s, apparently the fastest F1 car would only get 6th or 7th on a Can Am grid.
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Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1069

Re: Tantalising but tough topic: Group A Sports Cars.
Posted on: 11/26/2016 3:39:59 PM
This is the car that started it all, the first Elfin T400 that was built for Frank Matich in 1965 to race in 1966, Australia's first big bore sports racing car.



It was powered by a 4.4 litre Oldsmobile F85 alloy V8 built by Traco in the US and started with about 365hp. At the time Traco would build a 6 litre Chevy V8 with 500hp, but it was about 600lbs compared to the 370lbs of the Olds and I don't think many cars of this era were designed to take such a heavy and powerful engine.

Here's the car on the grid in Longford Tasmania (an horrifically dodgy street circuit) in 1966 alongside a Ferrari 250LM, Porsche 904/6 with a Lotus 23B on the row behind. The T400 cleaned up in 1966.


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Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

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