Casner Motor Racing Division

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A Camoradi Birdcage

Casner Motor Racing Division – also known as America Camoradi (casner motor racing division), Camoradi USA or Camoradi International – was a racing team of the 1960s known for racing Maserati Birdcage sports cars, and a Porsche and Cooper in Formula One. It was founded by Lloyd "Lucky" Casner in 1960, after he gained interest in the Maserati Tipo 61 in August 1959, and was created to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.[1] The Camoradi team won the 1000km Nürburgring in 1960 despite a broken fuel line halfway through the race. The team achieved victory again in 1961, however, due to the unreliability of their cars they never won Le Mans.[2] Camoradi also purchased a single Tipo 63 (a more powerful and faster car) but it also suffered the reliability problems of the Tipo 61s.

Camoradi USA was incorporated in the summer of 1959 and ended due to mismanagement and loss of sponsorship 18 months later. Casner stayed on in Europe and re-incorporated his efforts as Camoradi International (1961). Camoradi International continued with sponsorship from Dow Chemical, Maserati and Porsche, and with drivers Stirling Moss, Graham Hill and Masten Gregory. Casner was killed at a LeMans practice in 1965 while trying to qualify a Maserati Tipo 151 for the French distributor, due to a mechanical failure.

Camoradi USA was America's first industry-backed international racing team, pioneering the industry backing of racing as we know it.

At a mid summer 1959 SCCA race in Miami, while racing a Ferrari 250TR, Casner met fellow driver Fred Gamble. During the victory presentation at the end of the race Casner announced his intention of racing in Europe and was looking for people to help him fund this venture. Gamble introduced himself to Casner and offered help him with publicity, working as a motor journalist and the two formed a partnership to create a racing team.

Gamble, inspired by Ecurie Ecosse, the Scottish National Racing Team that spawned Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart, suggested an American “Olympic Team” of motor racing to challenge the Europeans for World Championships.

Casner’s amateur racing team of friends had called themselves Camoradi Racing Team. So the professional team was incorporated as Camoradi USA, America’s first industry sponsored racing team with the best drivers from all race series in the best cars that could be acquired.

Gamble, who had a public relations background, surveyed the New York adverting agency market, to determine their involvement with the auto industry. He set up appointments for Casner with various advertising agencies looking for sponsorship for the new racing team. They met with success with the agency of Young & Rubicam, whose major client was the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Gamble, who knew Tony Webner, Goodyear’s first Manager of Racing, convinced him to support their proposal. Casner and executives from Young and Rubicam made a presentation to the management of Goodyear and won big financial support, tires and engineering support. With the world’s largest tire company supporting them, Camoradi quickly received sponsorship Shell/BP, Excide, Champion, DA Lubricants, Koni, Dow Chemical and Guest Airways.

The only American sports car of that era was of course the Corvette, which was needed as the GT challenger in their campaign for the World Sports Car Championship. Casner met with Chevrolet President Ed Cole and Corvette "god-father" Zora Duntov. They enthusiastically offered their support with two competition option Corvettes plus parts and technical support and a generous financial contribution. However, with an agreed industry ban on racing involvement, this support was disguised as a "testing contract" and the cars were supplied thru Don Allen Chevrolet of Miami. Sadly, due to production delays, the Corvettes were not delivered until after the first 1960 World Championship 1000 km race, Buenos Aires.

Casner went to Europe in September 1959 and approached a bankrupt Maserati who had their new Birdcage T61, but no finances to race a factory team. Camoradi was their answer for 1960. Casner also formed an alliance with Porsche’s Huschke Von Hanstein and brought two cars from the late Jean Behra’s estate – lightweight Carrera and the special Behra-Porsche F2, which served as a test bed and prototype for the Porsche’s 1960 F2 cars and 1962 F1 1,500cc Formula.

Camoradi “works” Maseratis, led every World Sports Car Championship race of 1960, and won only the 1,000 km Nurburging with Gurney/Moss. Led Nassau 1959 (Shelby DNF, Mechanical), Porsche RSK 2 Liter winner (Bonnier), GT winner Porsche Carrera (Cuevas); 1960 1,000 km Buenos Aires (Gurney/Gregory DNF Mechanical and accident); Argentine GP (Gregory Behra-Porsche); Havana GP for Sports Cars – 8 car entry, winning overall Moss Maserati, 2 Liter Gregory Porsche RSK, GT Corvette Jeffords, under 2 liter GT Cuevas Porsche Carrera; Sebring 12 hour, larges team entry ever of 8 cars, 3 Maseratis (Gurney/Moss led 8 hours DNF Mechanical), 2 Porsche Carreras (under 2 liter GT winner and 2nd OA GT Sheppard/Dungan), 2 Corvettes Jeffords/Weustoff/Gamble (Gamble drove 12 hours solo – only one of two known to have done this – earned press notice as “iron man” Gamble). OSCA 750 (McCluggage/Windridge DNF).

At the Nurburgring, Gamble qualified the “Yank Tank” Corvette 3rd among the big GT’s (several 250 GT Ferraris), but didn’t get to drive in the race as co-driver Lee Lilley started the race and DNF with a wheel bearing failure. Gurney/Moss won overall, Gregory/Munaron 4th in the team’s two T61 Maseratis entered.

At the Le Mans 24 hours, Gregory/Daigh led with the famed Streamliner Birdcage Maserati, set a 3-liter lap record and top speed record of 170 mph, DNF with engine failure, other two long tail Maseratis DNF with electrical faults. Gamble/Lilley drove their Corvette conservatively to finish 10th overall.

All Camoradi Maseratis were prepared and maintained by the factory and in European races managed by Maserati. Camoradi’s role was primarily financial. Gamble was the only full-time principal in Europe, living in Modena, Italy.

Complete Camoradi racing record[edit]

(key) (Results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap; † indicates shared drive.)

Date Race Car Results Drivers
1959 - May San Salvador GP Porsche RSK 547/3 1.5 F4 1st
United States David Lane
1959 - June USAC Formula Libre, Lime Rock Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 United States Chuck Daigh
2nd
1959 - July USAC Formula Libre, Meadowdale Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 DNF (Accident)
United States Zora Duntov, United States Paul O'Shea
1959 - December Nassau Speed Weeks Maserati T61 United States Carol Shelby
DNF (Mechanical)
1959 - December Nassau Speed Weeks Porsche RSK 547/3 1.5 F4 1st (2 litre)
Sweden Jo Bonnier
1959 - December Nassau Speed Weeks Porsche RSK 547/3 1.5 F4 United States Jack McAfee
2nd (2 litre)
1959 - December Nassau Speed Weeks Porsche Carrera 1st (GT Race)
Cuba Johnny Cuevas
1959 - December United States GP, Sebring Maserati TecMec United States Jim Rathmann
DNF (Mechanical)
1960 - January 1,000 km of Argentina, Buenos Aires Maserati T61 DNF(Accident)
United States Dan Gurney, United States Masten Gregory
1960 - January GP of Argentina Porsche F2 United States Masten Gregory
12th
1960 - January Cordova Formula Libre Behra-Porsche F2 DNF(Accident)
United States Masten Gregory
1960 - February Havana GT Race Corvette United States Jim Jeffords
1st
1960 - February Havana GT Race Corvette 5th
United States George Constantine
1960 - February Havana GT Race Porsche Carrera Cuba Johnny Cuevas
1st(2 litre)
1960 - February Havana Grand Prix Maserati T61 1st
United Kingdom Stirling Moss
1960 - February Havana Grand Prix Porsche RSK 547/3 1.5 F4 United States Masten Gregory
3rd
1960 - February Havana Grand Prix Corvette 1st GT (8th Overall)
United States Jim Jeffords
1960 - February Havana Grand Prix Porsche Carrera Cuba Johnny Cuevas
1st (2 litre)
1960 - February Havana Grand Prix Ferrari 250TR 13th
United States Roger Ward, United States Dan Gurney
1960 - February Havana Grand Prix Maserati United States Dan Gurney
DNF
1960 - February Havana Grand Prix Porsche DNF
United States Carroll Shelby
1960 - March 12 Hours of Sebring Maserati T61 United States Dan Gurney, United Kingdom Stirling Moss
DNF
1960 - March 12 Hours of Sebring Maserati T61 DNF
United States Carroll Shelby, United States Masten Gregory
1960 - March 12 Hours of Sebring Maserati T61 United States Jim Rathmann, United States George Koehne
DNS
1960 - March 12 Hours of Sebring Porsche Carrera 1st (2 litre), 9th Overall
United States Joe Sheppard, United States Dick Dungan
1960 - March 12 Hours of Sebring Corvette United States Jim Jeffords, United States Bill Weustoff, United States Fred Gamble
2nd+ 3rd Class 14GT
1960 - March 12 Hours of Sebring Porsche Carrera DNF
Cuba Johnny Cuevas, United StatesUlf Norinder
1960 - March 12 Hours of Sebring OSCA 750 United States Denise McCluggage, United States Pinkie Windridge
DNF
1960 - April LA Times GP, Riverside Maserati T61 1st
United States Carroll Shelby
1960 - May Targa Florio, Sicily Maserati T61 Italy Umberto Maglioli, Italy Nino Vaccarella
DNF (Accident)
1960 - May Targa Florio, Sicily Porsche Carrera 22nd
United States Lloyd Casner, Italy Nino Todaro
1960 - May 1,000 km Nurburgring, Germany Maserati T61 United States Dan Gurney, United Kingdom Stirling Moss
1st
1960 - May 1,000 km Nurburgring, Germany Maserati T61 5th
United States Masten Gregory, Italy Gino Munaron
1960 - May 1,000 km Nurburgring, Germany Corvette United States Fred Gamble, United States Lee Lilley
DNF (Mechanical)
1960 - June Le Mans 24 Hours, France Corvette 10th
United States Fred Gamble, United States Lee Lilley
1960 - June Le Mans 24 Hours, France Maserati T61 United States Masten Gregory, United States Chuck Daigh
DNF (Mechanical)
1960 - June Le Mans 24 Hours, France Maserati T61 DNF (Mechanical)
United States Lloyd Casner, United States Jim Jeffords
1960 - June Le Mans 24 Hours, France Maserati T61 United States Georgio Scarlatti, Italy Gino Munaron
DNF (Mechanical)
1960 - June Road America 500, U.S.A. Maserati T61 1st
United States Jim Jeffords
1960 - June Solitude GP F2, Germany Behra-Porsche F2 United States Lloyd Casner
DNF (Mechanical)
1960 - July German GP Nurburgring, Germany Porsche F2 5th
Germany Hans Hermann
1960 - July German GP Nurburgring, Germany Behra-Porsche F2 United States Fred Gamble
DNS
1960 - August Swedish GP, Sweden Maserati T61 2nd
Sweden Jo Bonnier
1960 - August Swedish GP, Sweden Corvette United States Lloyd Casner
1st
1960 - August Goodwood TT, England Corvette DNS (Road Accident)
United States Fred Gamble
1960 - September Grand Prix of Europe, Monza, Italy Behra-Porsche F2 United States Fred Gamble
10th

Complete World Championship Formula One results[edit]

(key) (Results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap; † indicates shared drive.)

Year Chassis Engine(s) Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1959 Tec-Mec F415 Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 D MON 500 NED FRA GBR GER POR ITA USA
Brazil Fritz d'Orey Ret
1960 Behra-Porsche Porsche Porsche 547/3 1.5 F4 G ARG MON 500 NED BEL FRA GBR POR ITA USA
United States Masten Gregory 12
United States Fred Gamble 10
1961 Cooper T53
Lotus 18
Climax FPF 1.5 L4 D MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER ITA USA
United States Masten Gregory DNQ DNS 10 12 11
United Kingdom Ian Burgess DNS DNS 14 14 12

Racers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Maserati Tipo 61: The Streamliner". Classic Driver. Retrieved 2006-11-05. 
  2. ^ "CMC Birdcage". Motor Sport Collector. Retrieved 2006-11-05. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The Birdcage Maserati". Maserati Alfieri. Retrieved 2006-11-05. 
  4. ^ "Automotive Racing Digest". PRWeb. Retrieved 2006-11-05. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Ultimate Price for Speed". IMCA Slotracing. Retrieved 2006-11-05.