Ronnie’s ‘Flying Brick’ among wings-and-slicks wonders at the Phillip Island Classic
Plenty of event action down under, including the Phillip Island Classic emergence of a Group 5 BMW 320 once owned by Tom Walkinshaw and raced by Ronnie Petersen
With 60 races over a three-day weekend and cars from the Twenties to the Nineties, the Phillip Island Classic was packed – but newcomers from the slicks-and-wings era made the most dramatic entrance.
BMW 320 Group 5
A wild Group 5 BMW, once raced by Ronnie Peterson and owned by Tom Walkinshaw, made its classic competition debut.
‘I got the car from a friend ten years ago as a shell,’ explained owner Adrian Brady. ‘I spent five years finding all the bits and then it took us five years to restore it. The Phillip Island Classic is our first meeting out since the restoration.
‘The car was raced in the German DRM series in 1977 and 1978 by Team HAT, whose star driver was Ronnie Peterson.’ Sadly, results were unforthcoming against handy works drivers such as Marc Surer and Manfred Winkelhock.
‘In 1979 Tom Walkinshaw helped arrange the sale of the car to Gerry Tyack in the UK, who competed in hill climbs. In the Eighties it was bought by Brian Chatfield and run in a number of Supersaloon events.
‘Then Tom Walkinshaw bought it to put in his private collection, I suspect because of his friendship with Ronnie Peterson. My friend bought it directly from Walkinshaw.’
‘I knew the car had Seventies and Eighties racing history in Australia,’ said Shane O’brien of his big Healey.
‘But I’ve been talking to a guy today who suggested it might have a race history at Albert Park in the Fifties. I do know that famous Australian motor sport engineer Ian Tate – who built engines for Peter Brock, among many others – got his first racing licence driving this car.
‘After it finished racing it was converted back to a road car by a gentleman by the name of Gordon Cope-williams, who happens to live across the road from a friend of mine. We spent a year working on him to convince him to sell it to me.
‘Since getting it we have only done some basics – seals and bearings and so on – and this is its first time on the track since 1982.’
‘I was in France on the Tour Auto, navigating for a friend in 2015 and spotted the UK Group C cars racing. At that point it became a dream of mine to one day race in that category myself,’ said Brett Lindsay. ‘I thought I would have a really hard time finding a car and then this Argo came up for sale five miles from my home in Melbourne! It was left just how it raced to 11th place at the 1988 Brands Hatch 1000km with Richard Piper and Olindo Iacobelli, in this Texas Home Care livery, but had been sitting unused for some time.
‘This is my first race meeting. I’m not intimidated though – it’s a really lovely car to drive.’
One novice historic racer used this Group C Argo to make his competition debut
Big Healey back on track after six decades
‘Flying Brick’ was once owned by Tom Walkinshaw