Walter Wolf Racing

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Wolf
WalterWolfRacing.png
Full nameWalter Wolf Racing
BaseReading, United Kingdom
Founder(s)Walter Wolf
Noted driversFinland Keke Rosberg
South Africa Jody Scheckter
United Kingdom James Hunt
United States Bobby Rahal
Previous nameWolf–Williams Racing
Formula One World Championship career
First entry1977 Argentine Grand Prix
Races entered48
ConstructorsWolf-Ford
Drivers'
Championships
0
Race victories3
Pole positions1
Fastest laps2
Final entry1979 United States Grand Prix

Walter Wolf Racing was a Formula One constructor active from 1977 to 1979, which won the very first race the team entered. It was owned and run by Canadian Walter Wolf. The team was based at Reading, UK[1] but raced with the Canadian licence.[2][3]

History[edit]

1975–77[edit]

In 1975, the Austrian naturalized Canadian businessman Walter Wolf had started to appear at many of the F1 races during the season. A year later, he bought 60% of Frank Williams Racing Cars while agreeing to keep Frank Williams as manager of the team. Simultaneously Wolf bought the assets of Hesketh Racing and bought some equipment from Embassy Hill, both teams having recently withdrawn from F1. The team was based in the Williams facility at Reading but used most of the cars and equipment once owned by Hesketh Racing. The Hesketh 308C became known as the Wolf–Williams FW05 and soon afterwards Harvey Postlethwaite arrived as chief engineer. Jacky Ickx and Frenchman Michel Leclère were hired to drive. The team, however, was not very competitive and failed to qualify at a number of races during the year. Leclère left after the French Grand Prix and was replaced by Arturo Merzario while Ickx failed to perform and was dropped after the British Grand Prix, to be followed by a string of pay-drivers.

Jody Scheckter's 1978 Wolf WR6 being driven at a Historic Grand Prix at the Lime Rock Park circuit in 2009.
Keke Rosberg with his Wolf WR8 and team members at the non-championship Dino Ferrari Grand Prix in 1979.

At the end of 1976, Wolf decided that the team needed restructuring. He removed Frank Williams from the manager's job and replaced him with Peter Warr from Team Lotus. Disillusioned, Williams soon left the team, taking Patrick Head and several others to set up Williams Grand Prix Engineering. Postlethwaite's WR1 was a conventional Cosworth package but with Jody Scheckter hired from Tyrrell, the team won its first race in Argentina. Scheckter started tenth, and took advantage of six of the cars ahead of him retiring. During the 1977 season, Scheckter went on to win the Monaco Grand Prix and the Canadian Grand Prix and also six other podium finishes, which enabled him to finish second to Niki Lauda in the World Championship and gave Wolf fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.

Around this time the team developed the WD1 sports car for Can-Am racing. The car was developed with Italian firm Dallara.[4]

1978–79[edit]

The team remained the same for the 1978 season. Postlethwaite produced the WR5, a new car for the ground-effects era. This did not appear until the Belgian GP. Scheckter finished fourth in Spain and second in Germany but the WR5 soon made way for the WR6 with which he ended the year with a third in the US Grand Prix and second in Canada. He finished seventh in the World Championship.

In 1979, Scheckter was signed up by Ferrari and Wolf signed James Hunt to replace him. Postlethwaite designed the WR7 which ran with Olympus sponsorship. The car was not very successful and retired more than 7 times during the first half of the season. The WR8 soon followed. In mid-season Hunt decided to retire and Wolf quickly hired Keke Rosberg to replace him. The appearance of the WR9 did little to change the team's fortunes and at the end of the year Wolf grew tired of his F1 adventure and sold the team to Emerson Fittipaldi, who merged its assets into Fittipaldi Automotive.

A Wolf Racing WR1 is on display at the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.

As of 2015, a Wolf Racing WR4 is being shown and raced at vintage F1 car events in the United States, campaigned by MotoGP world champion Eddie Lawson.[5]

James Hunt's WR7 is on display at Brooklands Museum, Surrey, UK.

Other motorsport ventures[edit]

Walter Wolf was also involved in production cars, providing assistance to Lamborghini to develop the Countach as the Italian constructor teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.[6]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Chassis Engine(s) Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Points WCC
1977 WR1
WR2
WR3
Ford V8 G ARG BRA RSA USW ESP MON BEL SWE FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA USA CAN JPN 55 4th
South Africa Jody Scheckter 1 Ret 2 3 3 1 Ret Ret Ret Ret 2 Ret 3 Ret 3 1 10
1978 WR4
WR5
WR1
WR6
Ford V8 G ARG BRA RSA USW MON BEL ESP SWE FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA USA CAN 24 5th
South Africa Jody Scheckter 10 Ret Ret Ret 3 Ret 4 Ret 6 Ret 2 Ret 12 12 3 2
United States Bobby Rahal 12 Ret
1979 WR7
WR8
WR9
Ford V8 G ARG BRA RSA USW ESP BEL MON FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA CAN USA 0 14th
United Kingdom James Hunt Ret Ret 8 Ret Ret Ret Ret
Finland Keke Rosberg 9 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Case History". Corktree.tripod.com. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  2. ^ "Canada's first Formula 1 team has wealthy backer, Scheckter". The Montreal Gazette. 10 November 1976. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  3. ^ "The story of Formula 1's first winning Wolf". 12 December 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  4. ^ Wolf Dallara WD1 – Photo Gallery – Racing Sports Cars
  5. ^ "Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion" (PDF). Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  6. ^ Lamborghini Classic & Collector Cars for Sale – viathema.com

Sources[edit]

  • "Wolf WR/1-4 1977–1978". Automobile Historique (in French) (48). May 2005.
  • Llorens, Frederick (2008). Wolf Racing, un loup en Formule 1 (in French). TheBookEdition. ISBN 978-2-9519955-3-6.