With an Iron Will
‘From the Bottom Up’ is the the title of our feature story on Henri Pescarolo and his time at Matra. The young Frenchman started as an intern at the team back when he was just 22 years of age, simply because all three Formula 3 seats were taken. It took a year for there to be a free spot in the team, and they chose Pescarolo – except he couldn’t physically fit in the car. So, along came a tailor-made chassis. From there he struggled his way through to the very top, despite all the set-backs. He won the French Formula 3 title in 1967, and stuck with Mantra through Formula 2 and into Formula 1. His career in sportscar racing was even better; Pescarolo drove the maiden voyage of the BRM-powered M620 Matra sports prototype – and later won, having fought back from a serious, fiery crash during practice for Le Mans in 1969, the Sarthe race three times for the brand. Between 1966 and 1999 he started the race a remarkable 33 times, and added another win in 1984 in a Porsche 956.
The same sort of willpower took Gordon Murray to the highest levels of motorsport. Famous for his unusual designs, the South African just wanted “to simply go racing – that was my biggest dream”. Back when he was at Brabham, Murray’s then-boss Bernie Ecclestone gave him the keys to a worn-out BMW to use as a company car. “I thought I’d really made it,” he says now. “That it ran on three cylinders from the word go didn’t worry me. I didn’t have the time or money to fix it, and it took me from A to B – which was the most important thing.”
While studying, Murray started working on his own designs back in his native country, before taking the big step to England. “Music drew me to London, and I just happened to get a job at Brabham straight away,” he recalls. “My job was to design the changes needed to fit big motors into small chassis for hillclimbs, obviously in a short amount of time – it was a good school. Just like earlier in South Africa I often had to improvise; quick solutions were always required.”
It was more than three decades ago that Murray went on to develop a concept in Formula 1 that, on paper, shouldn’t have worked. You can read all about the ‘flat’ Brabham BT55 and how it revolutionised F1 from Page 40 onwards.
And there’s more; we’ve made sure the next 143 pages are loaded with fantastic AUTOMOBILSPORT stories, to get you right in the mood for the new season.
Publishing house: Sportfahrer Verlag
Format: 210 x 297 Millimeter
More information: www.automobilsport-magazine.com.au