Wednesday 28 March 2012

Team Lotus wins the 1965 Indianapolis 500

In 1962, Dan Gurney invited Colin Chapman as his guest at the Indianapolis 500 to show him the potential of bringing a Lotus race car there to compete.

Chapman was impressed and decided to give it a go with his rear-engine racers.

For 1963, Team Lotus raced a Lotus 29, and came very close to winning with Jim Clark driving. They came back in 1964 with the Lotus 34, but tire problems sidelined the cars.

Jim Clark - Lotus 38 - 1965 Indianapolis 500

Pen&ink, paint markers and markers on green archival paper
© Paul Chenard 2012
Private commission - Available as a limited edition

In 1965, they came back, this time with the lovely Ford-powered Lotus 38.

Clark went on to lead all but 10 of the full 200 laps, averaging a new record speed of over 150 miles-per-hour (241 kph), coming in to win with an amazing margin of victory of just under 2 minutes.

It was a first Indianapolis 500 win for Jim Clark, Lotus Racing and the Ford Motor Company. It also broke the long-standing curse of bad luck racing a green race car at the Indianapolis 500.

Significantly, it was the first win there for a rear-engine car, spelling the end of traditional front-engine roadster.

Monday 19 March 2012

Our good Friend Gord ...

It was with shock and great sadness that we learned of the passing of our dear friend Gordon MacLeod over the weekend.

Born in Halifax, he grew up in Newfoundland, and enlisted in the Canadian Navy to see the world. He then went to university to get his education and became a planner for Parks Canada.

He was a member of our local Maskwa Aquatic Club, and that's where our paths crossed when we joined with our two (then young) boys for the kayak and canoe programs.

Gord had just retired, and was spending lots of his time keeping the club running, constantly repairing and improving things. Our friendship started almost as soon as we met, and he became almost family.

We did excursions together, he came to supper, or invited us to his place. He often took our boys skiing, or to play golf. He would drop off his latest homemade beer or wine, and would always go to the boys' soccer games.

He loved his cars and really enjoyed what was going on with my art.

When it was decided to build a new facility for the aquatic club, Gord became the "unofficial" project manager, and made sure it was done right.

He was the very shining example of what committed volunteerism could do. Our community is better for it, and will be better for years to come because of Gord, and I'm very honoured that I could call him "friend".

We all miss you dearly, Gord.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Stirling Moss – 1959 Nürburgring 1000 km

L’art et l’automobile is one of North America’s oldest and best known gallery and auction house of vintage automobilia and art.

They current have a wonderful auction on the go, and they are featuring one of my artworks.

As my friends and clients know, I do an annual signed and numbered Holiday card, for which I create an original artwork.

My very first Holiday card original artwork is included in the current auction, and it also includes an artist proof of the limited edition card, issued in December 2008 to a very limited run of only 75 cards.

Prismacolor pencils on gray archival stock 18"x 7" 

© Paul Chenard 2008

The original artwork shows Sir Stirling Moss driving at 10/10ths on his way to phenomenal win of the 1959 Nürburgring 1000 km in an Aston Martin DBR1. He is being chased by second-place finisher Phil Hill in a Ferrari TR59.

This is an opportunity to pick the first of what is now an annual tradition.

Monday 12 March 2012

The STP Turbocar

The 1960’s were a period of great change and experimentation in American Champ car racing, sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC).

Nowhere was there more experimentation than the annual Indianapolis 500.

For two decades, all of the Indianapolis winning cars were front-engined roadsters, mostly powered by the famous 4-cylinder Offenhauser (Offy) engine.

After Jack Brabham raced a rear-engined Cooper to 9th place in the 1961 race, Colin Chapman took notice, bringing rear-engined Lotus Indy cars to the race, starting in 1963. They finally succeeded in 1965, with Jim Clark winning in a Ford-Cosworth powered Lotus 38.

STP Turbocar

Pen&ink, paint-markers and markers on red archival stock © Paul Chenard 2012

In 1967, another dramatic new racer was presented at the Indianapolis 500. Envisioned by STP President Andy Granatelli, the race car was designed by Ken Wallis, and used a Ferguson 4-wheel-drive systems. The biggest surprise was that it was powered by gas turbine helicopter engine located beside the driver!

For this Indianapolis 500, the grid was almost completely dominated by rear-engined race cars. Granatelli’s STP Turbocar was raced by Parnelli Jones, who loved driving the car.

Jones took an early lead and led the race for 171 of the 200 laps. He was well on his way to victory when a $6 bearing in the gearbox failed, dropping his car into neutral. A. J. Foyt took the lead from Jones in his own rear-engined Coyote and won the race.

It was a frustration end to a near perfect and memorable race for Jones and the famous STP Turbocar.