1968 Deutschland Trophäe

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Germany  1968 II Deutschland Trophäe
Race details
1st race in the 1968 European Formula Two season
Date 7 April 1968
Official name II Deutschland Trophäe
Martini Gold Cup
Location Hockenheimring
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 6.786 km (4.217 mi)
Distance 2 x 20 laps, 270.71 km (168.21 mi)
Weather Wet
Pole position
Driver Matra
Time 1:59.3
Fastest lap
Driver France Henri Pescarolo Matra
Time 2:00.1
Podium
First Matra
Second Matra
Third Williams

The 1968 Deutschland Trophäe, also known as the Martini Gold Cup, was a motor race, run to Formula Two rules, held on 7 April 1968 at the Hockenheimring, Germany. The race was run over two heats of 20 laps of the circuit, and was the first round of the 1968 European Formula Two season. During the first heat, British driver and double Formula One World Champion Jim Clark suffered a fatal accident.

Clark had also been asked to race at Brands Hatch by Ford, who wanted him to drive their new sports car, but Clark had already agreed to race for his Team Lotus boss, Colin Chapman at Hockenheim.[1][2]

Heat one[edit]

It had rained before the first heat, rendering visibility very poor. Max Mosley, later President of the FIA, was driving his Brabham in the race. He described the difficult racing conditions: "The first corner was thick spray. I was thinking, 'this isn’t a good idea'. All you could do was steer by looking at the tops of the trees, because you couldn’t see where the track went."[1]

The first incident was when Walter Habegger crashed his Lotus 41 into an earth bank on lap four.[3] On lap five, on a gentle curve just after the first corner, Clark was running eighth when he spun off the track into the dense trees lining the circuit, and he died almost instantly. A flag marshal's eye-witness report stated that the car had lost grip at the rear and Clark had tried to correct the slides a number of times before hitting the trees.[3] Amid the many conflicting rumours concerning why the car left the track, Clark's mechanic, Dave Sims, blamed a right rear tyre deflation for the accident,[1] and the official accident investigation report concurred, concluding that the most likely explanation was that the right rear tyre had explosively deflated after picking up a slow puncture.[1] Colin Chapman, who was not present at Hockenheim that day, suggested that Clark may have picked up debris from an accident during the previous day's practice session, in which Habegger had also crashed.[3]

However, Lotus had been experiencing problems with the Lotus 48 cars due to the cold, wet weather at Hockenheim. Sims said afterwards, "The problem was, it was freezing. It was so cold it was affecting the fuel metering units. The drive belts were breaking."[1]

Williams driver Derek Bell suspected the engine misfiring problems that had plagued Clark's car all weekend. Sims had confirmed to Bell that the engine issues had not been resolved before the race, and Bell later said, "I could see it: he goes through that curve, the engine cuts out, the thing gets itself sideways as a result, the engine suddenly cuts back in when he’s out of shape... who knows?"[1]

Lola driver Chris Irwin was following around 250 yards behind Clark when the accident happened. "Suddenly Jim's car broke out," he said. "It looked like something mechanical."[2]

Jean-Pierre Beltoise narrowly won the heat from team-mate Henri Pescarolo with Chris Lambert in third.

Heat two[edit]

Clark's team-mate Graham Hill was withdrawn from the second heat, as was Robert Lamplough. Beltoise won again, this time with Piers Courage in second with Pescarolo third.

Aggregate results[edit]

Pos No. Driver Entrant Constructor
1 11 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise Matra Sports Matra-Cosworth
2 12 France Henri Pescarolo Matra Sports Matra-Cosworth
3 8 United Kingdom Piers Courage Frank Williams Racing Cars Brabham-Cosworth
4 20 United Kingdom Chris Lambert London Racing Team Brabham-Cosworth
5 3 New Zealand Chris Amon Ferrari Automobili Ferrari
6 18 France Jo Schlesser Ecurie Intersport SA McLaren-Cosworth
7 16 United Kingdom Robin Widdows McLaren Racing Team McLaren-Cosworth
8 7 United Kingdom Chris Irwin Lola Racing Ltd. Lola-Cosworth
9 21 United Kingdom Max Mosley London Racing Team Brabham-Cosworth
10 19 Switzerland Xavier Perrot Squadra Tartaruga Brabham-Cosworth

not classified

11 10 United Kingdom Derek Bell Frank Williams Racing Cars Brabham-Cosworth
12 24 United Kingdom Peter Gethin Frank Lythgoe Racing Chevron-Cosworth
13 15 New Zealand Graeme Lawrence McLaren Racing Team McLaren-Cosworth
14 17 France Guy Ligier Ecurie Intersport SA McLaren-Cosworth
15 25 Switzerland Walter Habegger Walter Habegger Lotus-Cosworth
16 2 United Kingdom Graham Hill Gold Leaf Team Lotus Lotus-Cosworth
17 29 United Kingdom Robert Lamplough Robert Lamplough McLaren-Cosworth
18 6 Germany Kurt Ahrens, Jr. Kurt Ahrens, Jr. Brabham-Cosworth
19 26 Italy Carlo Facetti Tecno Racing Team Tecno-Cosworth
20 1 United Kingdom Jim Clark Gold Leaf Team Lotus Lotus-Cosworth
DNS 9 Sweden Picko Troberg Frank Williams Racing Cars Brabham-Cosworth
DNS 28 Switzerland Bruno Frey Midland Racing Team Lotus-Cosworth
DNA 4 United Kingdom John Surtees Lola Racing Ltd. Lola-Cosworth
DNA 22 Spain Jorge de Bagration Escuderia Nacional CS Lola-Cosworth
DNA 23 Spain Alex Soler-Roig Escuderia Nacional CS Lola-Cosworth
DNA 27 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Tecno Racing Team Tecno-Cosworth
  • Frey's car was used in both heats by Walter Habegger
  • A third Matra was on the entry list, given #14, but no driver was assigned to it and it did not run.
Heat one Heat two
Pos Driver Constructor Time/retired Pos Driver Constructor Time/retired
1 Beltoise Matra 44:54.6 1 Beltoise Matra 40:55.1
2 Pescarolo Matra + 1.3 s 2 Courage Brabham + 0.3 s
3 Lambert Brabham + 42.7 s 3 Pescarolo Matra + 0.8 s
4 Bell Brabham + 54.2 s 4 Widdows McLaren + 40.4 s
5 Courage Brabham + 1:01.9 s 5 Lambert Brabham + 40.6 s
6 Amon Ferrari + 1:59.4 s 6 Schlesser McLaren + 40.8 s
7 Schlesser McLaren + 2:00.1 7 Amon Ferrari + 41.2 s
8 Irwin Lola + 2:06.4 8 Irwin Lola + 41.6 s
9 Ligier McLaren + 2:15.9 9 Mosley Brabham 19 laps
10 Widdows McLaren 19 laps 10 Perrot Brabham 19 laps
11 Mosley Brabham 19 laps 11 Habegger Lotus 18 laps
12 Hill Lotus 19 laps Ret Bell Brabham 9 laps (Clutch)
13 Lamplough McLaren 19 laps Ret Gethin Chevron 8 laps (Exhaust)
14 Lawrence McLaren 18 laps Ret Lawrence McLaren 4 laps (Overheating)
15 Gethin Chevron 18 laps Ret Ligier McLaren 1 lap (Gearbox)
Ret Perrot Brabham 17 laps DNS Ahrens Brabham
Ret Ahrens Brabham 12 laps (Camshaft) DNS Clark Lotus
Ret Facetti Tecno 5 laps (Engine) DNS Facetti Tecno
Ret Clark Lotus 4 laps (Fatal accident) DNS Hill Lotus Withdrawn
Ret Habegger Lotus 3 laps (Accident) DNS Lamplough McLaren Withdrawn

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Jim Clark, the gentleman driver whose death stunned the world", The Times, 24 February 2008. [1]
  2. ^ a b "Jim Clark dies in 170mph crash", The Guardian, 8 April 1968
  3. ^ a b c "Clark and Gurney: The Best of Both Worlds", Atlas F1 Vol.7, Issue 9
  • Results at the F2 Register [2]