This 6.5 minute clip from Robert Merritt focuses on "USAC Mini-Indy" cars of the day or Formula Super Vee's which equate to the Indy Lites of now. We had (4) beautifully prepared cars at the recent Phoenix Indy race and this is some in-car video from (3) of them and a BIG thank you to our crew and families.
Also Thanks to Gary Mondschein & Classic Racing Times for organizing and sponsoring the event.
First Black motorsport owner's team among special guests at recent event
by, Darcy Kohn NNPA, Mar 29, 2017, The Miami Times
Pictured from left are Leonard T. Miller, son of Leonard W. Miller; Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., the president and CEO of the National News Publishers Association; Machelle Williams Sr. Director, Diversity and CSR, VWGoA; Leonard W. Miller, founder of the Black American Racers; and Ernest Green, civil rights icon and one of the "Little Rock Nine" pose for a photo with the Super Vee.
In celebration of the contributions of Blacks in auto racing, the Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) welcomed the Black American Racers (BAR) to Volkswagen’s headquarters in Herndon, Va., for an inspiring “Lunch and Learn” and the reveal of the team’s newly-refurbished Formula Super Vee race car.
Leonard W. Miller, the first Black motorsport owner to have a team compete in the Indianapolis 500, was among the special guests at the event. Miller’s BAR team was founded in 1972, the same year he began the Black American Racers Association (BARA) to give recognition to Black racing drivers, mechanics, car owners and sponsors of Blacks in motorsports.
Miller’s racing team fielded cars for Black driver Benny Scott in the Volkswagen Gold Cup Super Vee Series throughout the mid-1970s. During its heyday, BAR was ranked within the top 60 racing teams in the world.
Machelle Williams, the senior director of Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility for the Volkswagen Group of America, kicked off the program, welcoming colleagues and BAR guests to the “Lunch and Learn.” Sean Maynard, the consumer events coordinator for Volkswagen Marketing, followed with a brief history of Black racing in the U.S. and discussed Volkswagen’s involvement.
“It was so inspiring to hear the story of these automotive pioneers, and to know that Volkswagen was a part of their groundbreaking achievement was especially rewarding,” Williams said.
Leonard W. Miller headlined the “Lunch and Learn” and told incredible stories from his racing days, discussed the inspiration behind his work, and relived the day when Benny Scott became the first Black driver to set the fastest qualifying time in a professional auto race—putting his Formula Super Vee, Lola T324, on pole at Laguna Seca in 1975.
“The experience today was a historic one because this is the first time in my life that a major automotive corporation has acknowledged our achievements as a race team,” Miller said. “The story behind the team, in our VW-powered car, has never been told before and I was honored to join Volkswagen employees, along with my BAR colleagues, friends and family, to unveil the beautifully restored Black American Racers Super Vee, thanks to Volkswagen.”
Ernest Green, civil rights icon and one of the “Little Rock Nine,” also attended the event and spoke to Volkswagen employees about the Civil Rights Movement and the role Black racing played during the time. The Little Rock Nine refers to a group of nine Black students who were barred from entering an all-White high school in Little Rock, Ark., following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation unconstitutional in public schools. After Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called in the state National Guard to prevent the nine students from entering the building on the first day of school, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort the “Little Rock Nine” into school.
“You don’t know when you’re doing something that you’re making a mark on history,” Green said. “You’re simply there trying to win races and do the very best you can. And then you look back on it, like the folks here at Volkswagen did and Leonard did, and you’re a part of history.”
During the program, attendees also heard from Mark Gessler, the president of the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA), who discussed the exhaustive search Volkswagen and HVA conducted to find the original Super Vee race car driven by Benny Scott and the car’s importance in automotive history. Leonard T. Miller, son of BARA founder Leonard W. Miller, also previewed the new documentary, out later this year, that will tell the story of the Black American Racers and include original racing footage of the famous Super Vee. The film is based on Leonard W. Miller’s book, “Silent Thunder: Breaking Through Cultural, Racial, and Class Barriers in Motorsports.”
After the speakers, the Volkswagen Experiential Marketing team revealed the newly-refurbished Super Vee, parked in the VW Showroom.
The car’s restoration was completed in two months, with every detail matching the car raced during the 1975 season. The restoration team used old race footage and rare photographs to carefully complete the project.
At the conclusion of the “Lunch and Learn,” attendees also had the opportunity to win copies of Miller’s book, “Silent Thunder: Breaking Through Cultural, Racial, and Class Barriers in Motorsports.”
This is 2nd race from Sunday morning about 10:00 am. The video is only 12 min's total and the racing only about 8 min's. I had a great race with Michael from driver perspective but it won't look that good from the GoPro, so only 1st lap and last 2 (fastest) laps of the weekend. My 1985 RALT RT5 Super Vee vs. Michael's 1971 GRD Formula Atlantic (2.0 liter).
According to Robert Merritt. "2 decent & my best laps from 1st time at Sebring International (2:14:8's) or average of 99 MPH for the 3.7 mile track.
The car is RALT R5/5, 1.8035 ltr, water cooled Super Vee built in 1985 and re-tub in 1987. This was SVRA's Sunday March 6th, 2016 - Race # 2 for Groups, 5,9 and 10"
announced on Historic Monoposto Racing
FIA registered historic 1971 Supervee Race Ready. Fully restored in 2013 by current owners to very high standard. Chassis: full aluminium monocoque (ex. Ray Heppenstall). Bodywork: RP18, Hence RP9/18, as raced in the late 1970's with wings and slicks.
Complete spare set (unpainted) included. Engine: Heidegger Type 4 VW 1600cc with rolling road results chart. Recently refreshed. Gearbox: Metso (Hewland style) quick change with several sets of spare ratios.
The Autoresearch Super Vees were designed by David Bruns, designer of the SCCA pro and national Championship winning ADF and Swift Formula Fords, and the Swift Formula Atlantic cars. The cars were constructed by Indy Car builder, and 1957 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, Don Edmunds. Seven cars were constructed. Included in this sale are chassis number 4, and a second chassis, possibly number 7.
Chassis number 4 was raced by future Indy Car racer, Stan Fox. Fox ran the factory backed car supported by builder Don Edmunds and Steve Lewis. The car ran in the Bosch Pro Series in the early 1980’s. It’s sister car, driven by Dave McMillan, finished 5th in the Series Championship racing against the likes of Michael Andretti, Al Unser, Jr. and Ari Luyendyk, driving Ralt RT5’s. The Fox car was sponsored by Pabst Brewing Co., as seen in period photos.
After the pro series, the Fox car became part of a five car Autoresearch team in the early 1990’s, run by Mike Alfred. Alfred ran his cars in the Northern California SCCA Formula Atlantic Series with several other drivers. One of the cars won the SCCA Northern Pacific Formula Atlantic Championship. It is unknown at this time, which car it was, but it was most likely the Fox car, or the McMillan car, as they were the two factory built ground effects cars. Incidentally, the ground effect side pods and skins on the Fox car are made of lightweight aluminum, unlike those on the competitor Super Vees. It was also during this time that Mike bought out all the remaining spares for the cars at the former Autoresearch factory in Southern California, then run by David Bruns and Swift cars.
After the being part of the Alfred team, the car was sold to Chuck Blair, also of Northern California. Chuck raced the car into the late 1990’s. At some point the nose and front wings were damaged, the right front side pod and the rear wing took some damage as well. Thereafter the car was disassembled for repair. The car remained disassembled in Chuck’s basement for a period of years. In 2013 the cars and all the parts were purchased by its current owner who intended to restore it, but did not get around to it.
by, Rodrigo Mattar, Direto do túnel do tempo (205)
RIO DE JANEIRO - Last Monday, the driver of the yellow car and sponsored by Gledson made another birthday. Alfredo Guaraná Menezes, one of the main names of our motorsport in the 70s and 80s, turned 62 years old.
In this snapshot of the Formula VW 1600 or Super Vee, Guarana comes aboard his Polar, bringing in the glue three other beasts of the category:
Maurício Chulan in the Brahma car,
Marcos Troncon in the colors of Philips and
Antônio Castro Prado , tragically deceased in 1981, with the sponsorship of Balbo.
I'm pretty sure that this photo is from 1977, the year of the first Guaraná title in the category. A native of Division 3, in which he ran with the Beetles of the legendary Autozoom team and also of Amador Pedro's team, Guaraná became known to the public when he accelerated the Kaimann da Marca Famous. He was also sponsored by Vodka Orloff before accelerating the Polar de Gledson with which he was twice champion in 77 and 78.
In Formula 2 Brazil, he won a controversial title with Denim colors in 1981. He also ran Stock Car in the Brazilian Brands and even in Formula Chevrolet, before finally ending his career.
Ah ... and can not forget: Guaraná was 7th in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, racing in a Porsche 935/77 in partnership with Paulão Gomes and Marinho Amaral. At the Guarana club, all our affection and appreciation. For 37 years, straight from the time tunnel.
"In '76 I was covering the Atlantic series for Autoweek, not getting expenses for travel, so I grabbed transportation wherever I could.
Part of my travel that year was provided by McCall, as I helped his mechanic Peter Marshall chauffeur the Tui van around North America.
On one occasion we had stopped to get gas somewhere in the middle of nowhere USA. In those days one wasn't allowed to pump one's own gas, the attendant had to do it.
The attendant, who looked like he might have been an extra in the movie "Deliverance" noticed the only signage on the van. A tasteful sticker that said simply "Tui".
Attached to the van was the trailer, which had to have once been a horse trailer, Wooden sides and some plasticized canvas covering the top.
MOTORSPORT MAGAZINE, Page 88, November 1997
They were to be two of the world’s best race car designers, he was a London cabbie. So how did Ronnie Grant persuade Patrick Head and John Barnard to build him a race car? Adam Cooper finds out. The story of Taurus
How would you like to have born Patrick Head and and John Barnard in your pit, fussing over your car?
Forget Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher; only one man can has had the two greatest Formula One technical gurus of the era working with him at one and the same time.
The bloke who brought Messrs Head and Barnard together was Ronnie Grant, a larger-than-life south London cabbie and garage owner who didn't even sit in a racing car until he was over 40. Ronnie's enthusiasm pulled both men into a project which, to this day, they look back on with great affection. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the remarkable story of the Taurus Super Vee chassis designed by J Barnard Esq, engines prepared by P Head...
His name may not be familiar to many readers, but Ronnie was something of a hero when I was a lad. My best mate at school told me that his Uncle Ron did a bit of racing, and to a 10-year-old this was mighty impressive, even more so when I saw his even more so transporter parked down the road. The vehicle in question was a humble VW pickup, its faded paint peppered with stickers. But it was the nose of a real racing car that poked out under a tarpaulin, and that's what mattered.
In those days Lola was a hive of activity, and among the staff working under Eric Broadley's guiding hand were buckling designers Patrick Head and John Barnard, who were stationed on adjacent drawing boards. Despite their proximity, they only rarely worked on the same project.
"We worked quite closely together on the 1290 sportscar," says Head today, "and the T280, which was the 3-litre version unfortunately it was the car in which Jo Bonnier got killed. Generally John was quite good at having his own projects, and not working with other people on them! I joined a year or so after John, and was drawn into whatever project was going on. It was never decided whether he was my boss or I was his boss...
"We were told that a chap called Ronnie Grant was sending an engine up to be installed in a car, and they were going to go out and do some testing. Somebody said that this guy was quite good, but that he was 48 years old or something.
"I remember John and I almost falling about. It shows how dreadful the youth can be – I suppose we were in our late 20s at the time. The idea that somebody could be a quick driver when he was 48 was a bit of a joke to us. And he was a taxi driver as well. I think John went to the first test at Snetterton, and took to Ronnie straight away. He thought he was a real character, an amusing fellow. I think he was quite impressed with him as a driver as well."
"It was John's job to get it all up and running," explains Ronnie, "so he'd come testing with me. I wasn't a very good test driver at the time, just coming off Vees, I didn't really study all that hard. Gerry Birrell used to garage with me he also used to live with me on and off and he set the old Vee up, and I used to just get in and go."
Barnard was happy to use some of his own time on the project, even after he left Lola to join McLaren for his first unheralded stint in 1972. Patrick also left Lola at around the same time, with a vague plan to go into business preparing SuperVee engines in Huntingdon, but, "about a week after I started the place burned to the ground.
"So, I was working in a railway arch in Battersea, which was only about a mile from where Ronnie was in Clapham. I started working part time for him at Trojan. At that time I also started building a boat. I was a little bit itinerant..."
Through Grant, Head then had a second crack at the engine business. Suddenly Ronnie had both John and Patrick helping in his pit at races.
"I based myself partly at Ronnie's place," says Head, "and I was doing SuperVee engines though not really in any commercial sense. I'm not sure if ever asked Ronnie if it was OK I just plonked myself at his facility. He was very good at keeping me out of trouble. There were lots of characters around the place, taxi drivers called Coldhands and Lefty."
"The only reason he stayed with me was that I had an engine brake where we could try the engines out," says Grant. "We'd be in there at 11 o'clock at night revving these things like there's no tomorrow, and we used to get the neighbours from the next road phoning up and complaining about the noise!"
Barnard recalls the engine testing well: "Ronnie came up with this and I put it in quotation marks – 'dynamometer'. The back of the arch was like the black hole of Calcutta, and Ronnie decided that this was the place for his dyno, so he cleared it all out. Patrick would spend days and nights just fiddling and farting around. He was driving a van of some sort it may even have been a Minivan and there were a good few nights when he'd finish off sleeping in the back of this thing..."
At the same time, there was progress on the chassis front. The Lola worked well, but Barnard reckoned he could make it better.
"He wanted to change it from a spaceframe into a monocoque but keep the suspension and soon," says Ronnie. "It would be much better, because the original Lola was a cobbled up Formula Ford thing."
"The blokes that built the chassis were three of the fabricators who worked for Lola," says Barnard. "They were moonlighting, and we found this little barn or garage around Huntingdon way somewhere. I did the drawings and they knocked a couple of chassis out. Actually it was quite a nice little aluminium monocoque. I think he had a big shunt in it at one time, and it stood up very well."
"It looked bloody good," says Ronnie. "I'd never seen a proper monocoque up close. It was a difficult job, it wasn't like he could just draw a new car. He had all the suspension and everything else, and he had to make that fit his monocoque. He used to come over every night, and if something didn't fit he'd alter it. It was bloody marvellous really. John was so far advanced even then. They worked all over the winter, and then we had to find a name for it. We called it a Taurus because John was born in May and my girlfriend Sheila was the end of April."
Could the designer have named it a Barnard? "I could have," says John, "but it didn't sound right to me. Yes, I suppose there was this thought that we could start selling them and that kind of thing. The problem was we didn't have time."
John's father was also always in tow, making bits. Head recalls Barnard ordering his old man around.
"I tended to be the one who directed operations," says Barnard. "My dad and I used to have the odd dust up that was quite amusing for the rest of them, the way we used to go at it."
But was the Taurus any good Patrick Head is not so sure. "If the truth be told, I don't think that it actually made the car any quicker, though it probably made it a little bit safer from Ronnie's point of view."
It worked alright," says Grant. "I won a few races with it. It was a bloody good car, and got better and better. It progressed a lot. John altered it, and Patrick got more speed out of the engines. Patrick was very cautious he'd run something for two days on the brake to make sure it really worked. But we did have a valve bending thing when he accused me of overrevving the engine. I said, 'No. you're taking too much metal off!'"
"I don't think the engines produced were particularly good," smiles Patrick. "They were good in many areas, but the camshafts were poor."
"John never got a penny for all his work," says Ronnie. "I paid for the bits, but he never ever said to me 'I've worked 40 hours this week, I want so and so.' And nor did Patrick. The only thing Patrick ever said to me was 'Can you change a cheque?', and he'd write out a cheque for cash or whatever. Patrick didn't need to be paid because he had his own money, but John was struggling, really.
"I don't think they used to argue. John was 'We'll do it that way,' and Patrick said, 'Oh well'. But Patrick was going to go places. He was very well educated, miles above my head. I knew that some clay he would make it."
Grant would race the Taurus all over Europe, often in GP support races, until he sold it in 1978. It went to Sweden. Inevitably, Head and Barnard had long drifted away from the Clapham arches, although they remained in touch as their careers progressed. In 1979, Patrick's Williams won the British GP. A year later John's Chaparral took victory in the Indy 500.
"We were all nobodies," says Barnard, "coming up, scratching away. We went racing because that's what we liked. Patrick came from a very different background to me, but basically we lived and breathed racing cars, and that's what it was all about. You never considered Ronnie's age. He's got such a vitality about him, and even today you don't consider Ronnie's age. He was a quick driver – we weren't quite so sure how quick he was! – but you just did the best you could. It was educational, looking back on it. You were learning all the time."
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