Expatriate Australian Horst Kwech was among the Lola T300 runners in 1972. The sedan specialist (and the man who would be responsible for Allan Moffat’s DeKon Chevy Monza), parked his regular Alfa touring car to take up the F5000 challenge, partly because you could win “half a year’s salary in one afternoon”. But with little openwheeler experience, Kwech was cognisant of the inherent risks driving cars his then-wife Dotty cheerfully described as ‘rolling coffins’.
“In the Alfa,” Kwech observed, “I can keep my thoughts on going faster. In the Lola, I think about those guardrails.”
It was the sponsor of Kwech’s Alfa that led the push to go F5000. They got themselves a Lola T300, which Kwech described as ‘not a very good car’.
“Before our first race we had to buy a front end conversion kit for the car – it was an F2 car with a V8 in the rear. It was not a winning car, but I enjoyed doing it. I was a bit sceptical about the car coming from racing tin-tops, but man I loved driving the F5000 car!”
If nothing else, Kwech was remarkably consistent in qualifying. In the six rounds he contested he was never slower than 17th fastest, and never higher than 13th. The highlight was fifth overall at Road Atlanta, scored from sixth and seventh place results in the heats.
Horst did have the odd moment, like at Watkins Glen, where he tapped Bill Brack into a spin while trying to overtake him. Brack’s Lotus 70-Chev ended up sideways on the track. With nowhere to go, Sam Posey’s SurteesChev went airborne over Kwech’s rear tyre and slammed into the side of Brack’s car. Kwech escaped with only a flat tyre.
They ordered a new Lola T330 for the following season but the sponsorship dried up, and that was the end of Kwech’ s fl irtation with F5000.