Rob Walker Racing Team

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Rob Walker Racing
Full name R.R.C. Walker Racing Team
Base Dorking, Surrey, UK
Founder(s) Rob Walker
Noted drivers United Kingdom Stirling Moss
France Maurice Trintignant
Sweden Jo Bonnier
Switzerland Jo Siffert
United Kingdom Graham Hill
Austria Jochen Rindt
Formula One World Championship career
Debut 1953 British Grand Prix
Races competed 124
Constructors Connaught
Cooper
Lotus
Ferguson
Brabham
Race victories 9
Pole positions 10
Fastest laps 9
Final race 1970 Mexican Grand Prix

Rob Walker Racing Team was a privateer team in Formula One during the 1950s and 1960s. Founded by Johnnie Walker heir Rob Walker in 1953, the team became F1's most successful privateer in history, being the first and last entrant to win a Formula One Grand Prix without ever building their own car.

Beginnings[edit]

Rob Walker Racing A Type Connaught, the first RWR car, being tuned in the pits.

Born in 1918, the 35-year old Rob Walker founded his team in 1953, debuting in the Lavant Cup Formula 2 race, entering a Connaught for driver Tony Rolt, where he achieved a third place. The next race, at Snetterton, Eric Thompson was the first winner with a Rob Walker car. Between Rolt and Thompson, the Rob Walker Racing Team had an auspicious debut season, with eight wins in British club racing series. Their international debut was at the Rouen Grand Prix, a mixed F1/F2 race, with Stirling Moss's Cooper-Alta, who managed to take 4th place among the F2 cars. The 1953 British Grand Prix was Walker's first World Championship outing, but Rolt's Connaught did not last the full distance.

Walker, who entered his cars in Scottish national colours (blue with a white stripe, instead of the more common British Racing Green), continued to race in British club events in the following years. From 1954 to 1956, Walker made a few scattered appearances, only winning a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch in 1956 with Tony Brooks. Walker returned full-time in 1957 with an F2 Cooper-Climax. Tony Brooks, who shared driving duties during the season with Jack Brabham and Noel Cunningham-Reid, won the Lavant Cup, but the team failed to finish most of its races.

Internationalization[edit]

In 1958, Rob Walker abandoned club racing and concentrated only on the large international events. Pre-WWII veteran Maurice Trintignant was signed full-time, with Moss and Brooks racing when they were free from their Vanwall commitments. The season started well enough for the team, with Moss and Trintignant winning at Argentina and Monaco, the first wins for a Cooper chassis. Those would be the only World Championship victories, but Trintignant also triumphed at Pau and Auvergne, while Moss took the victory at the BARC 200, Caen Grand Prix and Kentish 100.

Moss and Trintignant remained with the team for 1959, with the British driver winning at the Glover Trophy in Goodwood, but for the French and British GP races, he left Walker for his father's British Racing Partnership outfit, where he failed to score. Moss returned in the German Grand Prix, where he retired, but returned to winning form in Portugal, Italy and International Gold Cup. Trintignant's best score was second place at the US Grand Prix.

The Lotus 18 with which Stirling Moss took victory in the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix.

Walker decided to concentrate solely on Moss and switched to a Lotus in 1960, starting from Monaco, which Moss won, the first time a Lotus won a Formula 1 race. Moss would triumph only at the non-championship International Gold Cup in Oulton Park and the US GP at Riverside, but still managed to finish the season in third place overall, as had happened the previous year. After the end of the season, in December, Walker took Moss to two South African races, which he won.

In 1961, F1 adopted the new 1.5 L engine regulations, and Walker flirted with the idea of building his own chassis,[1] but retained the Lotus 18 for the season. Moss won the non-championship races at Goodwood (this one in the 2.5 L Intercontinental Formula and Vienna, as well as the Monaco and German Grands Prix. At the 1961 British Grand Prix, Rob Walker Racing became the first team ever to enter a four-wheel drive car for a World Championship Grand Prix, when they entered the Ferguson P99 on behalf of Ferguson Research. Moss later won that season's Oulton Park International Gold Cup race in the same car; to date, this is the only win ever recorded by a four-wheel drive car in a Formula One event.

The post-Moss era[edit]

The 1962 season started well enough, with the returning Trintignant winning at Pau, but Walker's plans were shaken when Moss had an accident at the Goodwood Glover Trophy meeting driving a BRP-entered Lotus, finishing his career.[2] Walker had planned to enter a Ferrari for the British driver in the World Championship, but was forced to retain Trintignant, the elder French driver becoming increasingly uncompetitive, not scoring a single championship point. The year's misfortunes continued in Mexico and South Africa, where Walker saw drivers Ricardo Rodriguez and Gary Hocking die at the wheel of his cars.

Rob Walker changed strategy for 1963, employing Jo Bonnier and returning to the Cooper chassis (the Swede had raced for Walker at Oulton Park the previous year), but once more results were sparse and mechanical failures frequent. Still, the team beefed up its operations for 1964, first with a new Cooper (with which Bonnier was second at Snetterton) and then with a Brabham-BRM, with Bonnier and other guest drivers driving at several World Championship events. From the Italian GP, Walker had decided to run two cars, a BT11 chassis with BRM power, and a BT7 chassis with Climax power. In 1965, Jo Siffert partnered Bonnier, and although the more experienced Swede was fastest, it was the Swiss who managed to score 5 championship points. With constant mechanical failure plaguing him, Bonnier's best result was a third place at the non-championship Race of Champions.

With the new 3.0 L regulations starting in 1966, Bonnier left Walker to restart Ecurie Bonnier, and Siffert remained alone with Walker, with the Maserati-engined Cooper T81. The car was uncompetitive in 1967, and in 1968 Walker, now partnered with entrepreneur Jack Durlacher, purchased a Cosworth-powered Lotus 49. That year, Siffert won the British Grand Prix through attrition, after the works Lotuses retired, and Siffert overpowered Chris Amon to take what would be Rob Walker's final win.

Siffert left the team at the end of 1969, after finishing the year in 9th place, and Rob Walker Racing Team competed for the last time in 1970, entering a Lotus 72 for driver Graham Hill, who was now 40 years old, and refused to retire after a major accident in the previous year with Lotus. Hill's best score was a 4th placement at the Spanish GP, but he left to join Brabham at the end of the year.

Walker after Walker Racing[edit]

Retirement from racing[edit]

The 1974 Rob Walker-liveried Surtees TS9B; the final Rob Walker Formula One car.

Instead of continuing with the team, Rob Walker took his Brooke Bond Oxo sponsorship to Surtees for the 1971 season, and took to managing Mike Hailwood's career. The last vestiges of Rob Walker Racing Team ended in 1974 when he retired from active participation in motorsports at the age of 57.

Journalism[edit]

Rob Walker also gained some measure of recognition as a motorsports journalist, covering Formula 1 events for Road & Track magazine. Beginning with a report on the Italian Grand Prix in 1967, Walker wrote race reports, annual reviews, and historical articles for Road & Track well into the 1990s.

Walker's death and legacy[edit]

Considered one of the elder statesmen of Grand Prix racing, Walker died at the age of 84 in 2002, of pneumonia.[3]

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 11 12 13
1953 Connaught Type A Lea-Francis 2.0 L4 D ARG 500 NED BEL FRA GBR GER SUI ITA
United Kingdom Tony Rolt Ret
1954 Connaught Type A Lea-Francis 2.0 L4 D ARG 500 BEL FRA GBR GER SUI ITA ESP
United Kingdom John Riseley-Prichard Ret
1957 Cooper T43 Climax FPF 2.0 L4 D ARG MON 500 FRA GBR GER PES ITA
Australia Jack Brabham Ret Ret£ 7
1958 Cooper T43
Cooper T45
Climax FPF 2.0 L4
Climax FPF 2.2 L4
Climax FPF 1.5 L4
C
D
ARG MON NED 500 BEL FRA GBR GER POR ITA MOR
United Kingdom Stirling Moss 1
France Maurice Trintignant 1 9 8 3 8 Ret Ret
United Kingdom Ron Flockhart DNQ
France François Picard Ret£
1959 Cooper T51 Climax FPF 2.5 L4 D MON 500 NED FRA GBR GER POR ITA USA
United Kingdom Stirling Moss Ret Ret Ret 1 1 Ret
France Maurice Trintignant 3 8 11 5 4 4 9 2
1960 Cooper T51 Climax FPF 2.5 L4 D ARG MON 500 NED BEL FRA GBR POR ITA USA
United Kingdom Stirling Moss 3†/Ret
Lotus 18 1 4 DNS DSQ 1
France Maurice Trintignant 3†
1961 Lotus 18 Climax FPF 1.5 L4 D MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER ITA USA
United Kingdom Stirling Moss 1 4
Lotus 21 Ret
Lotus 18/21 8 Ret Ret 1 Ret
Ferguson P99   DSQ
United Kingdom Jack Fairman
1962 Lotus 24 Climax FWMV 1.5 V8 D NED MON BEL FRA GBR GER ITA USA RSA
France Maurice Trintignant Ret 8 7 Ret Ret Ret
1963 Cooper T60 Climax FWMV 1.5 V8 D MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER ITA USA MEX RSA
Sweden Joakim Bonnier 7 5 11 NC
Cooper T66 Ret 6 7 8 5 6
1964 Cooper T66 Climax FWMV 1.5 V8 D MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER AUT ITA USA MEX
Germany Edgar Barth Ret
Sweden Joakim Bonnier 5
Brabham BT7 9 Ret Ret Ret
Brabham BT11 BRM 56 1.5 V8 6 12 Ret Ret
Austria Jochen Rindt Ret
Italy "Geki" DNQ
Switzerland Jo Siffert 3 Ret
United States Hap Sharp NC 13
1965 Brabham BT7
Brabham BT11
Climax FWMV 1.5 V8
BRM 56 1.5 V8
D RSA MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX
Sweden Joakim Bonnier Ret 7 Ret Ret 7 Ret 7 7 8 Ret
Switzerland Jo Siffert 7 6 8 6 9 13 Ret Ret 11 4
1966 Brabham BT11 BRM 1.9 V8 D MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX
Switzerland Jo Siffert Ret
Cooper T81 Maserati 3.0 V12 Ret Ret NC Ret Ret 4 Ret
1967 Cooper T81 Maserati 3.0 V12 F RSA MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER CAN ITA USA MEX
Switzerland Jo Siffert Ret Ret 10 7 4 Ret Ret DNS Ret 4 12
1968 Cooper T81 Maserati 3.0 V12 F RSA ESP MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER ITA CAN USA MEX
Switzerland Jo Siffert 7
Lotus 49 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 Ret Ret 7 Ret 11
Lotus 49B 1 Ret Ret Ret 5 6
1969 Lotus 49B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F RSA ESP MON NED FRA GBR GER ITA CAN USA MEX
Switzerland Jo Siffert 4 Ret 3 2 9 8 11 8 Ret Ret Ret
1970 Lotus 49C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F RSA ESP MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA CAN USA MEX
United Kingdom Brian Redman DNS
United Kingdom Graham Hill 6 4 5 Ret NC 10 6 Ret
Lotus 72C DNS NC Ret Ret

£ Formula Two car

Formula Two cars occupied fifth to tenth positions on the road in the 1969 German Grand Prix. However, as the Formula Two cars were technically competing in a separate race drivers of these cars were not eligible for championship points. The points for fifth and sixth were awarded to the drivers of the eleventh and twelfth placed cars.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lawrence, Mike (1989). Grand Prix Cars 1945–65. Aston Publications. p. 264. ISBN 0-946627-46-0. 
  2. ^ Motor Sport, June 1962, Page 413.
  3. ^ "F1 legend Walker dies". BBC SPORT. 29 April 2002. Retrieved 16 December 2014.  News report about Rob Walker's death

References[edit]

External links[edit]