TARLING SHINES ON GP CAR DEBUT
Richard Tarling made an impressive historic Grand Prix debut at Silverstone with a class win and 10th overall in the one-off South African-built Assegai.
Tarling, once a rising singleseater ace, is now a regular FF1600 racer and was offered the chance to race the restored 1962 car by its current owner John Carpenter.
The Silverstone Classic weekend was only the car’s second event since being restored by Iain Rowley. The 1500cc Alfa Romeo-engined car was designed and built by Tony Kotze in 1962 for the Rand Grand Prix in Kyalami but failed to qualify.
“Essentially the car is very similar to a classic or historic Formula Ford,” said Tarling. “It’s got half the grip and twice the power; that’s how I explain it. These tyres don’t really have a lot of grip at all. The engine has around 160bhp but it’s very cammy so the power is all between 5000-7500rpm. So you’ve got to keep it singing.
“The car handles really well, considering it’s an unproven one-off and I was surprised it’s as good as it is. John, who owns it, is a family friend and needed a quick and experienced driver. He trusted me with the car and it is special to drive a car worth that much money after an extensive rebuild and with a new engine and gearbox.”
Fuel pump failure stopped the car on the final lap of the second race, but Tarling coasted to within yards of the flag and then pushed the car over the line.