Jim Clark set a new lap record at Warwick Farm near Sydney
Tasman Formula 1 series keeps drivers on their toes in the winter off-season
Today’s Formula 1 drivers spend the winter off-season keeping fit, practicing in the simulator and preparing at the factory.
You could never imagine them flying off to the other side of the world, chasing a never-ending summer to keep racing in another series. Yet that’s exactly what was standard practice in the 1960s, as the European stars took on the local Australians and Kiwis in the Tasman Series.
We caught up with 1966’s proceedings after the four-race New Zealand leg. First there had been a dramatic Australian Grand Prix at Lakeside, near Brisbane.
Jackie Stewart made a perfect start from pole to lead team-mate Graham Hill by mere feet while various scuffles played out behind – but then his gearbox failed on lap 28 and, just behind, Antopidean trio Jim Palmer, Greg Cusack and Leo Geoghegan punted one another out of contention.
This left Hill 16sec ahead of Jim Clark in the slower Lotus, and he cruised to victory unruffled. Clark had a much better time at Warwick Farm, near Sydney. He slayed the lap record for pole and then roared away from the pack, with Stewart spinning badly on lap two and Hill unable to keep up.
At least there was some entertainment as Stewart diced past the locals’ lesser cars to recover to fourth. He’d take home the cup, too, having won the final two races.