Hulme, who seems to take most things in his stride in a rather disarming matter-of-fact way, says that Indy was different but the main thing he found he had to concentrate on was the fact that the Eagle’s clutch pedal was mounted up above the steering column out of the way, and the brake pedal was on the left. The Eagle, being a two-speed machine with ‘low’ to get started and ‘high’ for everything else, didn’t require more than a couple of stabs at the clutch, so for the economy of cockpit room the clutch pedal was tucked upstairs.
This also meant a change in driving style to go-kart fashion with the right foot for ‘go’ and the left foot for ‘stop’. I remember reading that Alf Francis switched Stirling Moss’s 250F Maserati accelerator pedal from the traditional Italian central position between the clutch and the brake, to the ‘normal’ position on the right of the brake pedal, so that Stirling wouldn’t outfumble himself in an emergency.
You wouldn’t credit how much your reflexes take over on no-hope occasions. I drove the ex-Rubery Owen 250F Maserati on my first – and briefest – track test in New Zealand a few years ago, and by an injudicious prod on the central accelerator in a rather low gear (I think it was first!) while feeling my way down the straight on the first lap, managed to involve a tail-slide in a straight line. Being wholly unaccustomed to such violent displays of out-of-control horsepower while proceeding backwards off the road, I stabbed at the brake (which of course was the central accelerator) and simply aided my hurricane progress into the undergrowth!
Fortunately we all managed to regain the track unharmed save for a few trailing lupins from the sand dunes that surround Teretonga – the southernmost circuit in the world – and drove gingerly back to the pits to explain the sudden disappearance of the car and the minor sandstorm.
THERE HAS BEEN a change-around of fuel and tyre companies since season’s end in Europe, and it looks as though we’ll be seeing different people on different fuel and tyres next season. John Wyer has signed up his Ford GTs with Gulf for fuel in 1967, and I gather that such worthies as Dan Gurney and Bruce McLaren have also been asking about prices from the same company. After doing a lot of sorting-out for Firestone when the American company first came over to try their hand on European tracks, Bruce McLaren’s team is now running on Goodyear.
THE TASMAN SERIES started last weekend with the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe, near Auckland; this year, of eight races, only six (four in Australia and two in New Zealand) count for the Tasman title held at the moment by Jackie Stewart.
BRM has a pair of the 1.5-litre ex-Formula 1 cars fitted with extra-stretched 2.2-litre versions of the 1.5-litre V8, for Jackie Stewart and Richard Attwood. Jack Brabham drove a modified version of his Formula 1 car fitted with the latest thing in Repco 2.5-litre V8s at the New Zealand Grand Prix, but he will leave Denny Hulme to hold the fort for the remainder of the New Zealand races. Jack has shipped a special Tasman Brabham built up from a Formula 2 car fitted with Formula 1 wheels, brakes and suspension, and the Repco V8, to Australia to complete the two-car team for his home tracks.
Jim Clark will have the hard-worked two-litre Lotus Climax ‘down under’, while Graham Hill, originally contracted for the series with BRM, will probably drive in Australia with a two-litre Lotus-BRM. BRM ‘new boys’ Piers Courage and Chris Irwin will also get their bedding-in lessons to more power than they’ve been used to from the Formula 3 cars when they share a BRM drive in New Zealand and Australia.