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8W is forix.autosport.com's motorsport history section and covers the drivers, cars, circuits, eras and technology that shaped the face, sounds and smells of motor racing.

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2021 Spa Six Hours report
Endurance revival

Oliver Bryant/James Cottingham, Ford GT40, 2021 Spa Six Hours

After a year’s absence, the Spa Six Hours made a jubilant return to the historic calendar, as competitors and spectators alike cherished the revival of the blue-riband endurance event. ‘Post-covid’ was too much of moniker, since it was impossible to pass through the gates without showing a clean bill of health, but once inside the atmosphere was just as in the old days – an overcrowded pitlane, hour-long queues for the ‘frites’, a touch of rain (but not much this time – on the day of the main event at least) and a anorak’s dream collection of beautiful and noisy cars from motorsport’s glorious past.

The drivers, team members, staff and those attending that looked more closely, though, could still see the difference – and we are not talking mandatory facemasks in the interior spaces here. The Six Hours entry was bigger than many expected, but a driver would still notice that some 25 of the usual 110 cars were missing on the track. Large parts of the paddock were empty, visible proof to the visitor that the support races had in some cases been able to drum up no more than half of its regular Spa standard.

 

 

The Gurney-Weslake 3-litre V12 Grand Prix engine

In 1966, when the new Grand Prix formula for 3-litre un-supercharged or 1.5-litre supercharged cars came into effect, engine designers turned to many different types of engine configuration and cylinder head layout in their endeavours to produce competitive Formula 1 engines for the new formula. One engine stood out for its advanced concept in cylinder head design, featuring four valves per cylinder at a narrow valve-included angle of 30° in a shallow pent-roof combustion chamber atop oversquare-dimensioned cylinders with flat top pistons. That engine was the 3-litre Gurney-Weslake Type 58 V12 designed and built by Weslake & Company Ltd. in England to power Dan Gurney's All American Racers, Eagle Formula 1 car. Ron Rex tells us all.

Dan Gurney, Eagle-Weslake T1G, 1967 Monaco GP

 

2020 Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix report
Miracle in the dunes

Steve Brooks, Lotus 81, 2020 Historic Grand Prix

In a 2020 historic motorsport calendar blighted by postponements and cancellations, the Historic Grand Prix at Zandvoort proved to be a true miracle. It took place on the original date, and a crowd was present too – which had to adhere to strict social-distancing rules but wasn’t forced to wear face protection. Half of the original programme was slashed due to the UK’s strict quarantine measures but fortunately four Masters grids did arrive from England and the rest of Europe, adding up to three national grids and four grids from Germany that saved the show. Let’s look at what happened.

 

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