Dan Gurney and the Eagle at Spa

Dan Gurney drives his Eagle Formula 1 car to win the Belgian Grand Prix.

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Dan Gurney Breaks Records and Wins at 1967 Belgian Grand Prix
Jim Clark led off the grid from pole position and maintained that position for the first 11 laps and was 20 seconds ahead of Jackie Stewart and Dan Gurney when he had to come into the pits for a plug change, which cost him two minutes. Stewart built up a comfortable lead, helped even further when Gurney had to come into the pits with fuel pressure problems, losing another 20 seconds. However, it was now Stewart's time for mechanical problems as his gearshift was faltering. Gurney set a new lap record to catch and pass him 8 laps from the end and gain a maiden victory for the beautiful magnesium and titanium Eagle car. The light weight and advanced aerodynamics of the car made it very fast, and Gurney shattered Tony Brooks' record Grand Prix average of 143 mph (set some 8 years earlier) on his way to victory. The Eagle was timed at 196 mph on the start/finish straight, an extraordinary speed for a car with an engine producing (at that time) something less than 400 h.p. Mike Parkes had a horrendous crash on the first lap at the exit of Blanchimont after losing control (on oil spilled from Stewart's BRM) and broke both legs. He never raced in Formula One again.





Dan Gurney: All American Racer - The Eagle Soars (episode 2) presented by Bell Helmets.
Gurney was one of the greatest drivers, innovators, thinkers, that America has produced. He remains the only American team owner to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix in his own car, and RACER's Robin Miller took the opportunity to accompany Gurney down the hallway of the All American Racing workshop in Santa Ana, California, and ask him for the stories behind some of the many hundreds of photos on the walls. The result is a six-episode series giving some insight into the genial gentleman -- and gentle man -- who turned All American Racing into a winner on both sides of the Atlantic. In this second episode, Dan tells Robin about taking the Eagle into Formula 1 and talks of Nurburgring and Spa-Franchorchamps, the two most daunting tracks on the grand prix schedule at that time. This video is presented by Bell Helmets. The famously simple logo that became simply famous did so almost subconsciously. Just as, when you purchase a car, the number of similar examples you see on the road seemingly multiplies, once you start looking for Bell logos, you spot them everywhere, be they in frayed and sepia-tinted monochrome, in early glorious and classic Technicolor or embedded in the wild colorschemes on helmets of today. But Bell's link up with Gurney is closer than that. The man who famously used to wrap a hotel handtowel around the lower part of his face to protect himself from the elements and debris was perhaps the natural choice to embrace the concept of a full-face helmet. Bell produced its first full-face motorcycle helmet in 1966, and Dan leapt at the chance to use one, debuting an all-black example in the 1968 Indy 500. Three years later, everyone who started the "500" was wearing Bell. Enjoy this second episode of Dan Gurney: All American Racer, produced by Adam Friedman's Vertical Ascent for RACER. More will follow on consecutive Tuesdays through May and early June.





1968 Lotus 56 at the 2011 Goodwood Festival Of Speed
The 1968 Lotus 56 Turbine Indy car, driven here by Parnelli Jones, as seen at the 2011 Goodwood Festival Of Speed. Lotus founder Colin Chapman is best remembered for having a lot of success with unconventional and revolutionary racing cars. One of the most outrageous Lotus designs was the Type 56, prepared for the 1968 Indy 500. Although the novelties found on the 56 were not new, but the combination proved to be a package very well worth the Lotus badge. Designed by Maurice Philippe, the 56 was not equipped with a regular internal combustion engine, but with a Pratt and Whitney industrial turbine engine. Such an engine was used previously and proved very reliable. Due to the nature of a turbine engine, no gearbox was needed. Using the proven Ferguson four wheel drive system, the turbine engine's power was transferred to all wheels. Although the turbine was not quite as powerful as the turbo charged internal combustion engines used by the competition, Chapman was confident that the four wheel drive system would give Lotus the edge over the rest. The operation was partly funded by Andy Granatelli's STP company and the wedge shaped cars were livered in STP's striking orange colour scheme. Lotus intended to enter their two Formula 1 drivers, Jim Clark and Graham Hill and Granatelli himself would enter another two cars for American drivers, including Parnelli Jones. Unfortunately Clark lost his life in a Formula 2 accident earlier that year. His replacement, Mike Spence, was struck by tragedy as well, losing his life after a high speed accident with Lotus 56 in one of the Indy 500 test sessions. Eventually Graham Hill, Joe Leonard and Art Polland entered the race with the turbine Lotus. Again Lotus' bold move proved successful with Leonard on pole, closely followed by Hill. Hill crashed out early in the race, and Leonard and Pollard both retired with fuel pump problems. Leonard was in the lead with just a few laps to go, when his turbine engine died. A grief strucken Chapman had returned to Europe with Spence's body and left the turbine Indy cars in Granatelli's hands. He campaigned the cars with little success. At the end of the season the innovative cars were left obsolete when the sport's governing body (USAC) banned both turbine engines and four wheel drive. Featured is Parnelli Jones' Type 56, which has benefited from a ground up restoration in recent years. It is in full running order, but it is no longer fitted with the original turbine engine. This unique racer is pictured here at the 2004 Eyes on Design exhibition held at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House.





Damon Hill drives the 1962 Lotus 25 at the old Aintree circuit
Damon Hill gets to drive the Lotus 25 at Aintree's old grand prix track, which was last used in 1964. The Lotus 25 is the car that Jim Clark drove in 1962's British Grand Prix which he went on to win. A wonderfully nostalgic short film from Sky Sports F1.




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