|1968 BSCC Season|
Frank Gardner on his way to the title in his Ford Escort TC.
|No. Rounds||11 (13 races)|
|First Round||Race of Champions|
|Last Round||Motor Show 200|
|Manufacturers||Alfa Romeo, Austin, BMC, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Hillman, Lotus, Morris, Porsche|
|Overall Drivers' Championship|
|First||Frank Gardner||84 pt(s)|
|Overall Teams' Championship|
|Jack Sears Trophy|
|Class A||Gordon Spice||40 pt(s)|
|Class B||John Rhodes||50 pt(s)|
|Class C||Frank Gardner||84 pt(s)|
|Class D||Brian Muir||58 pt(s)|
The 1968 edition of the British Saloon Car Championship saw the field gather for thirteen races at eleven rounds, with seven different circuits used throughout the season. Brands Hatch would have the honour of hosting four rounds, including the season opener and finale, while Silverstone played host to two meetings. Thruxton, Crystal Palace, Mallory Park, Croft and Oulton Park also got the chance to hold BSCC races, with the season running from mid-March to mid-October.
|1968 British Saloon Car Championship Calendar|
|I||1968 Race of Champions||Fawkham, Kent||Brands Hatch||17th March||Report|
|II||1968 Q Trophy Meeting||Thruxton, Hampshire||Thruxton||15th April||Report|
|III||1968 Duckhams Trophy Meeting||Silverstone, Northamptonshire||Silverstone||27th April||Report|
|IV||BSCC Crystal Palace||Crystal Palace, London||Crystal Palace||3rd June||Report|
|V||1968 Guards 4,000 Guineas Race||Mallory Park, Leicestershire||Mallory Park||23rd June||Report|
|VI||XXI R.A.C. British Grand Prix||Fawkham, Kent||Brands Hatch||20th July||Report|
|VII||Martini Trophy Meeting||Silverstone, Northamptonshire||Silverstone||27th July||Report|
|VIII||BSCC Croft||Croft, North Yorkshire||Croft||10th August||Report|
|IX||XV International Gold Cup Meeting||Little Budworth, Cheshire||Oulton Park||17th August||Report|
|X||Evening News Trophy Meeting||Fawkham, Kent||Brands Hatch||2nd September||Report|
|XI||1968 Motor Show 200||Fawkham, Kent||Brands Hatch||20th October||Report|
1968 saw the BSCC continue to use FIA Group 5 regulations, although the leniency shown by scrutineers in the British championship saw cars from the European Touring Car Championship being modified for use in the championship (their stricter engine rules meant the cars would not have been competitive). The most prominant of these changes was to swap the engine, as BSCC cars could have any number of valves per cylinder, which meant that the BSCC cars could be more powerful as the engine could run to higher RPM.
The BSCC continued to use the four class system that it had the season before, with cars put into each class based on their engine size. These divisions are shown below:
|1968 BSCC Season Classes|
Supercharged cars (such as the Ford Escort TC Supercharged) had their engine capacities multiplied by 1.4 to place them into a class.
The BSCC continued with the points system established in 1961, with points awarded from first to fourth in each class. The driver who set the fastest lap in each race (in their class) would receive a bonus point as well (although the application of this was varied between races).
|1968 British Saloon Car Championship Point System|
Round by RoundEdit
This section is for a round by round report for each race of the season.
First Round: 1968 Brands Hatch I (Race of Champions)Edit
As had been done the previous year, the BSCC started the year at Brands Hatch, supporting the non-championship Formula One meeting named the Race of Champions. Running in two heats, with an aggregate finish worked out, Brian Muir claimed the first honours of the year, fending off the impressive Porsche 911 of Vic Elford in Class C. Frank Gardner was classified as finishing third overall (second in class) despite using a damaged ex-Team Lotus car, while Brian Robinson (using a rebuilt ex-Team Lotus car) claimed third on aggregate behind him. Alan Stubbs finished second in Class D, with Malcolm Wayne finishing third (using a Chevrolet Camaro), although they both finished behind the leading car in Class B.
John Rhodes showed that the Mini Cooper was here to stay once more, claiming victory and at a pace in both races that was on a par with the leading Class C and D cars, well ahead of his nearest rival, Tony Youlten (making his debut). Ray Calcutt was able to finish ahead of Youlten in his Hillman Imp, with John Bischoff (Ford Anglia) and Gordon Spice (Mini Cooper S 970) ensuring that three different cars finished on the podium in Class A. Rhodes' team mate Steve Neal was classified as finishing third in Class B.
Second Round: 1968 Thruxton (Q Trophy)Edit
The field headed to Thruxton for the Q Trophy race, with cars coming across from the continent to compete. It was, however, BSCC stalwart Muir who took victory, able to fend off the challenges from David Hobbs and Gardner (his car now restored to its full potential). Robinson claimed second in Class C to Gardner, with team mate Barry Pearson finishing on the Class C podium as well, after John Ewer claimed the final spot on the Class D podium.
The big story came from Class A, however, as Chris Craft (running a Team Broadspeed supported Ford Anglia) headed home the two freshly imported Fiat Abarth 1000 TCs from SRT Holland (with Dutchmen Ab Goedemans and Toine Hezemans driving them) ahead of the Class B cars (as well as Robinson and Ewer). Spice was also able to finish ahead of the Class B winner Graham Janzen, who himself defeated the Cooper Car Co. car of Rhodes and Youlten's Mini Cooper S to claim an unlikely result.
Third Round: 1968 Silverstone I (Duckhams Trophy)Edit
The Duckhams Trophy race at Silverstone saw Muir's best start to a season continue, as he claimed his third straight victory after problems for his closest challengers. David Hobbs had tried to find a way past Muir in the opening laps, but was forced into the pits with ignition problems. This allowed Gardner to challenge the swinging Falcon, although his troublesome time with the Cortina continued, a fuel pump failure causing him to fall back, handing victory in Class C to Elford (with Gardner driving one handed while turning the pump on an off manually to get it working). Roy Pierpoint also got past the Cortina to take second in Class D, with Ewer and Tony Dean completing the Class D and C podiums respectively.
Rhodes claimed an unexpected victory in Class B, overtaking the Escort 1300 of John Fitzpatrick on the final straight as the latter (who had led the race with a huge lead to that point) limped across the line with a locking differential. They were followed across the line by Willy Kay (in Class C), and Class A winner Craft, whose Broadspeed Anglia was able to fend off the second Escort of Mike Walker. Spice and a returning Ken Costello completed the Class A podium, although neither could match the pace of Craft at the front.
Fourth Round: 1968 Crystal PalaceEdit
The big news before the BSCC got to the tight confines of Crystal Palace in London was that the Ford Escort TC had finally been homologated for the championship, with Alan Mann preparing a red and gold clad machine for Gardner to use. He put his new toy to good use, spending the race in tyre tracks of Muir's Falcon, and setting a qualifying time less than half a second off the 4.8 litre Ford. After Muir and Gardner came Pierpoint (his second second place in Class D) and Robinson (who took the lead in the championship). Syd Fox (Falcon) and Pearson (Cortina) completed the podiums in the first race of the day.
As was tradition for the London race, Classes A and B raced seperately from Classes C and D, in a race that started in the wet. A one-two-three resulted for the Mini Cooper S, after the Fitzpatrick Escort struggled without wet tyres, withdrawing before the start. Steve Neal beat the British Vita Racing car of John Handley, whom himself defeated the other Cooper Car Co. car of Rhodes to take second. Mike Walker made the best of a bad day for Broadspeed by claiming victory in Class A (after an accident claimed the other Anglia of Craft alongwith Les Nash), well ahead of his nearest competitors. Ian Bax and Ray Calcutt completed the second multi-car podium in Class A of the year.
Fifth Round: 1968 Mallory Park (Guards 4000 Guineas Race)Edit
Alan Mann, having prepared an Escort for Gardner at the previous meeting, brought a supercharged version (essentially an Escort engine with an electric heater blower placed in the induction system) to the BSCC, with Peter Arundell debuting the car in Class D. The new car finished third in class, almost thirty seconds behind the non-supercharged car of Gardner in the 1300-2000 class. As it was Gardner himself missed out on beating compatriot Muir by less than half a second in the race, with both the victors in their respective classes. Pierpoint finished second in Class D, while Robinson finished second in Class D. Behind Robinson came a battle between his team mates, with Dean beating Pearson to the final podium place.
In the earlier race of the day, John Fitzpatrick was able to win from pole in his Escort 1300, having been awarded pole by virtue of having set his time (which was the same as Rhodes, Craft and Ian Bax) before anyone else. Rhodes claimed second behind him, with Neal taking third in Class B (and overall), after two Anglias suffered track rod failures (those of Craft and Terry McNally). It was not, however, a lost day for the Anglia, as Nash claimed victory in Class A, ahead of Terry Watts and Gerry Edmonds.
Sixth Round: 1968 Brands Hatch II (British Grand Prix)Edit
Yet again, the BSCC supported the British Grand Prix, held at Brands Hatch in 1968. The international event attracted drivers from Europe, with Hubert Hahne of Germany taking over Hobbs' Falcon to take victory in Class D, although he had to settle second behind Gardner's Escort (which also won Class C) after Muir went off from the lead. Pearson had a lonely race to second in Class C, as did Roger Taylor to take third. Hahne was the only finisher in Class D, after accidents for Muir and Roger Clark (using the supercharged Escort), a cracked exhaust for Pierpoint and a fuel pump failure for John Ewer claimed all of the German's fellow competitors.
Fitzpatrick caused a stir by finishing third overall, with his Escort benefitting from the retirements ahead (as well as running on the pace of the larger leading cars) to take Class B. Alan Peer put in an impressive debut to take second in Class B, beating the Cooper Car Co. car of Rhodes in a race long battle. Tony Lanfranchi was able to drag his Hillman Imp to victory in Class A, and finish ahead of the other Cooper Car of Neal. Bax and Peter Harper (standing in at the Alan Fraser Racing Team) completed the podium, largely unchallenged while racing more powerful cars.
Seventh Round: 1968 Silverstone II (Martini Trophy)Edit
Silverstone suited the lightweight Falcons, as was shown at the Martini Trophy meeting at Silverstone a week after the British Grand Prix. Muir, Hobbs and Pierpoint broke away at the front, battling amongst themselves until Pierpoint pulled out a slight lead. However, Pierpoint suffered a slipping clutch, allowing Muir and Hobbs to pass him, with Muir then pulling ahead. The race ended in Hobbs' favour, however, when Muir developed a slow puncture, allowing Hobbs to pass, with Muir and Pierpoint limping home to second and third. Gardner tried his best to keep with them in his Escort, but was four seconds slower in his fastest lap, largely unchallenged by Robinson and Pearson in their ex-Team Lotus cars.
Fitzpatrick and Craft managed to get their lesser Escorts among the larger cars once more, with the 1300 Escort emerging as a contender in Class B, finishing well ahead of Rhodes' Mini Cooper S. Nash was able to take his second victory in a row in Class A, with Trevor Taylor (using the Broadspeed Anglia) finishing with sight of the leader. Spice returned to the podium for the first time since Thruxton, after Alan Fraser opted not to enter any of their Imps.
Eighth Round: 1968 CroftEdit
The BSCC celebrated its ten year anniversary by heading to a new circuit, the home of motor racing in North Yorkshire: Croft. As the main attraction of the day, the BSCC did not fail to impress, with the deceptively ungainly Falcons claiming first and second on the tight circuit. Hobbs won the first race of the day, but a spin on the last lap of the second race while following Pierpoint (who won the second race of the day) meant he finished second behind Pierpoint on aggregate. Muir suffered a hub failure during the meeting, meaning that the wheel was only held on by the brake disc and forcing him to withdraw from the second race. Gardner was given a tougher time in Class C, with the A.G. Dean Racing Ltd. cars of Robinson and Dean keeping him in sight for the majority of both races.
In Class B, Fitzpatrick claimed another victory for the lesser Escort, after battling in both races with Neal's Cooper. Peer claimed another podium in only his third race, although he almost slipped behind the Class A winner in Gordon Spice. Handley gave the BMC built Mini a rare appearence on the podium for British Vita Racing, while the Ian McDougall car claimed third. Lanfranchi's Imp retired after the drive shaft tore through the rubber doughnut that it was attached to.
Ninth Round: 1968 Oulton Park (Gold Cup)Edit
Supporting the Gold Cup Formula Two race once again, the BSCC saw an exiting race after Muir, Hobbs and Pierpoint were forced to fight through the field after a poor qualifying result. Muir got to first from the third row of the gird on the opening lap, swinging past soon to be double World Champion Graham Hill in the supercharged Escort to take the lead. Pierpoint eventually got through to second, having started tenth, while Hobbs dragged his Falcon to third, having led Pierpoint and trailed Hill, before Hill put the Escort into the wall. Gardner led home a group in Class C, with the A.G. Dean car of Robinson, and the Porsche 911 of Charles Lucas finishing second and third behind him, as all three fell victim to the charge of the Falcons early on.
Four different cars led in Class B, although it would be Chris Craft who claimed victory, overtaking Steve Neal on the last lap. Fitzpatrick had established a lead over the Coopers, before a throttle slide caused him to retire, promoting Rhodes to the lead. Rhodes then had an accident all on his own, allowing Neal to lead until the end. Peer made it three podiums in four races for his lesser Escort, fending off two other Coopers in Tony Youlten and Chris Montague. Spice was able to claim his second victory on the trot in Class A, finishing behind the Class B battles, having established a clear lead early on from Lawrie Hickman, Gerry Edmonds (who completed the podium) and Nash.
Tenth Round: 1968 Brands Hatch III (Evening News Trophy)Edit
The Evening News Trophy race at Brands Hatch saw Gardner take the title a race early, with a calm drive to fourth overall a first in class, staying out of the battles ahead and behind. Ahead, Pierpoint claimed a largely unchallenged overall and Class D victory, although it would be the battle behind him that the attention was focused on. Jackie Oliver, using the Alan Mann Supercharged Escort, fought hard against Brian Muir to hold on to second, running nose to tail for much of the race. Robinson and and Mike Crabtree had a private scrap for second in Class C behind Gardner, with the former holding on in his Lotus.
Rhodes claimed another victory in Class B, beating the lesser Escort of Peer and the Coopers of Peter Lague and Youlten. Fitzpatrick looked to be the man to beat in qualifying, but was caught up in a first corner pile-up which claimed six other cars. In Class A, another Anglia-Mini-Imp battle emerged, although the Imps would fall away, leaving Nash to battle with Terry Harmer for victory. Nash won with Harmer coming a fighting second, after Ray Calcutt (the only other car in the class to finish) finishing a distant third in his Hillman.
Eleventh Round: 1968 Brands Hatch IV (Motor Show 200)Edit
With his title in the bag, Gardner was let loose by Alan Mann at the 200 kilometre race at Brands Hatch. After Muir's car blew-up on the first lap (although he had already won the Class D championship), and Hobbs had led the first fifteen laps, Gardner dived ahead of the Falcon, as the pair pulled away from the ailing Falcon of Pierpoint (who hit Ken Costello's car while lapping him early on). Hobbs lost all gears bar the highest in his gearbox in the closing stages, but their lead over New Zealander Toine Hezemans was enough that he could limp to victory in Class D. Hezemans finished second in class, using a SRT Holland Porsche 911 from the ETCC, with Robinson completing the podium in Class C. Terry Sanger claimed second in Class D as the only other finisher in that class.
Class B's final race of the year saw the lesser Escorts claim a one-two-three, with Craft beating Peer and team mate Fitzpatrick to the class' final honours. They finished almost a lap ahead of the nearest Mini of Rhodes, who also fell behind the Class A winner. That victory went to Lanfranchi, who ensured that Alan Fraser finished the year on a high, almost a full lap ahead of Spice's Equipe Arden entry, and the Danish Fiat Abarth 1000 TC of Son Borch-Christensen. Fourteen cars retired from the race, which saw accidents, car failures and driving skills that defined the 1968 season.
Shown below is the full entry list for the 1968 British Saloon Car Championship, split by Class and ordered alphabetically by entrant:
- * Toine Hezemans used a Porsche 911 during round eleven.
- † Gardner started the season using a Ford Cortina Mk II Lotus until round four due to the Ford Escort TC not being homologated.
|1968 British Saloon Car Championship Standings|
- * Indicates that a driver completed a race in a different class from their first entry.
So, the work that Alan Mann Racing put into developing the Ford Escort TC paid off, with Gardner taking his red and gold machine to the title, his second in a row. The work of his team mates, most notably Jackie Oliver, was enough to prevent anyone challenging him in Class C, while the large number of Ford Falcon Sprints in Class D (all of which were competitive) hampered Brian Muir's challenge for the title (only able to win his class). Rhodes claimed his fourth and final class championship in the Mini, as the Cooper Car Co. changed to the British Layland Motor Corporation for 1969.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 http://touringcarracing.net/Pages/1968%20BSCC.html
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Race%20of%20Champions.html
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Thruxton.html
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Silverstone%20BSCC.html
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Crystal%20Palace.html
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Mallory%20Park.html
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Brands%20Hatch%20GP.html
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Silverstone%20Martini.html
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Croft.html
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Oulton%20Park.html
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Brands%20Hatch%20BH.html
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 12.9 http://touringcarracing.net/Races/1968%20Brands%20Hatch%20MS200.html