Iconic Formula One Cars Head for Hampton Court Palace

17 April, 2020 | Categorised in:
Iconic Formula One Cars Head for Hampton Court Palace

The fastest breed of racing cars is set to join many of the world’s rarest and most beautiful classic cars when the Concours of Elegance brings Formula 1® to Hampton Court Palace this September in a tribute to 70 years of motorsport’s top echelon.

Acclaimed in 2019 as the Motoring Spectacle of the Year, the 2020 Concours of Elegance on 4-6 September will celebrate F1’s 70th birthday in spectacular style, with iconic Grand Prix cars taking part in the concours for the first time. Although there were Grands Prix prior to 1950, including the first to be run to the new Formula 1 regulations in 1946, the first F1 World Championship race was the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1950.

Honouring that sporting milestone will be a special Formula 1® display in the historic surroundings of Hampton Court Palace gardens. The centrepiece will be five exceptional F1 cars, each representing a pinnacle of achievement in F1’s constant quest for speed. The group comprises cars every enthusiast will recognise: Ferrari, Williams and Lotus machines inextricably linked with racing heroes such as Sir Stirling Moss, Niki Lauda and Damon Hill.

Andrew Evans, Concours of Elegance Managing Director, said: “Ever since that first Formula 1 race for the inaugural World Drivers’ Championship 70 years ago the sport has had millions of us around the world on the edge of our seats. It is a great thrill for the Concours of Elegance to mark such an important milestone with some of the most successful and significant F1 cars. Historic machines presented in such historic surroundings are sure to make unforgettable memories for every fan of the sport.”

Presented by A. Lange & Söhne, the Concours of Elegance is one of the global top three concours events and attracts many of the world’s most eminent car collectors together with their astonishingly rare, beautiful and valuable machines. The cars are displayed in the open air amid the ancient trees and manicured lawns of the Royal palace’s 60-acre Fountain Gardens, guaranteeing visitors plenty of space to view the exhibits in the safest and most enjoyable way possible.

Acclaimed by the Royal Automobile Club’s Historic Awards as the Motoring Spectacle of the Year in 2019, this year’s event has the added distinction of being among the first major international car concours events to take place since March. As well as the F1 display, the 2020 Concours of Elegance will include unique coachbuilt Alfa Romeos, priceless pre-war Rolls-Royces, the McLaren F1 GTRs that finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th at Le Mans 24 Hours 25 years ago, a display of future classics and a new Junior Concours celebrating the best of half-scale cars.

70 YEARS OF FORMULA 1 AT THE CONCOURS OF ELEGANCE: THE CARS

1975 Ferrari 312 T, chassis 023

Few F1 Ferraris are as significant as this car, the very machine that the late Niki Lauda drove to win the 1975 title and bring the F1 World Championship back to Maranello after an 11-year drought. Lauda’s 1975 tally of five Grand Prix victories, including the Monaco Grand Prix, set the stage for the 1976 season which the 312 T was allowed to start despite being a “high airbox” car, the design of which had been outlawed for ’76. Lauda won the first two races in this car before switching the “low airbox” 312 T2…and embarking on the rest of a season which would see high drama, famous duels with James Hunt – and also Lauda’s near-fatal crash. Enzo Ferrari referred to this 312 T with its so-distinctive high airbox as his “winningest car” with a success rate never before seen at Ferrari at that time. Befitting such a Ferrari F1 icon, chassis 023 has graced some of the greatest Ferrari collections.

1960 Lotus 18, chassis 912

The late, great Sir Stirling Moss had what he said was the greatest race of his career in this car, Lotus chief Colin Chapman’s first true F1 design. Moss’s race was the first championship race of the 1961 season, the Monaco Grand Prix, and the British ace had to squeeze every last drop from the light and lithe Lotus to come from behind and beat the new V6 Ferraris. The 18 was the car to do it in: the first rear-engined Lotus, powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Coventry Climax engine and with its slender body wrapped tight around a tubular spaceframe chassis. It made its debut with Moss in 1960 but following the Monaco win went on to more success in the 1961 season, ensuring that for many fans the Lotus 18 known as the “white tape” Lotus, on account of its tape around the windscreen, is the F1 car with which Stirling Moss is most associated. For almost 40 years this icon of British motor racing was one of the most admired cars in the Tom Wheatcroft Collection at Donington Park.

1967 Ferrari 312/67, chassis 0007

Low, lithe and spear-like with a 3.0-litre V12 dominating the space just behind the driver’s head, the 312/67 was from a time before big wings and aerofoils. The 312 was designed by Enzo Ferrari and Mauro Forghieri and first arrived in Grand Prix racing in 1966. The 1967 version, of which four were made, boasted 412bhp and in the hands of Chris Amon scored three third places, despite it being a particularly tragic start to Ferrari’s 1967 season. The last 312/67 to be made, chassis number 0007, had its first race at the Italian Grand Prix 53 years ago this September. Updated to 1968 spec, it would go on to have another six Grand Prix starts before joining the famous Pierre Bardinon collection of racing Ferraris. It now regularly competes in historic racing in Monaco and at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

1993 Williams FW15C, chassis 02

Nineteen ninety-three was the year F1 went hi-tech and the car that did it better than anything else was this Adrian Newey-designed masterpiece. The V10-powered FW15C featured semi-automatic transmission, traction control, power steering, anti-lock brakes, telemetry and, most controversially, hydraulically-controlled active suspension, this latter innovation banned for 1994. In 1993, though, not much could catch the FW15C and Alain Prost cruised to his fourth World Drivers’ title ahead of Ayrton Senna. Third place in the championship that year in FW15C chassis 02 was a young British driver, Damon Hill. Incredibly, the world champion-to-be took the revolutionary Williams to three wins, four seconds and a third – in what was his very first year in F1. Chassis 02 remained a star of the Williams Heritage Collection until being purchased in 2018 by its current owner.

1961 Lotus 18-21, chassis 916

Lotus’ racing success with the 18 would soon flourish in F1 with new models bearing Colin Chapman’s signature engineering simplicity and light weight. But before the 21 could take over from the 18 an interim model was needed – and that car was the 18-21. It took the 18’s rear-engined layout and triangulated tube-frame chassis, clothed it with the 21’s lower and more aerodynamic body, and fitted it with upgraded rear suspension and a new type of Hewland gearbox. The result was more than effective in 1961, with Innes Ireland giving Lotus its first works F1 win (previously the cars had been run by the privateer Walker Racing team), while chassis 916 with Stirling Moss driving took victory in the Danish and South African GPs that year.