BRIAN REDMAN PERIOD ACE
In their day, F5000s were as quick as, or sometimes faster than, an F1 car. In the mid-1970s, when I drove for Carl Haas and Jim Hall, Franz Weis built our engines and they produced a reliable 500bhp.
F5000 was a real lifesaver when, after my stupid retirement to South Africa, I came back to the UK in 1971 with no drive. Sid Taylor, for whom I’d driven a Lola T70 MK3B in 1969, stepped into the breach and offered his Mclaren M18.
The cars were good to drive. They didn’t have a lot of downforce but did have wide tyres, so grip in the corners was good. When you have a powerful car without too much downforce it will slide, and can be controlled. However, although I have photos showing the F5000 with opposite lock, this was not the quick way to drive them. You must have good balance, not too much understeer or too much oversteer, the rear break-away must be smooth and gradual. Achieving this is easier said than done.
So, for an example of the driving technique you would use when everything was well-balanced, let’s look at Knickerbrook at Oulton Park. Brake in a straight line. Then, just as you release the brakes, with the nose down, turn the steering wheel to the right. If properly balanced, and if you’re at the right speed and with the power on (not full throttle but pulling), the back end should start to come round in slight oversteer. This would not be visible to a spectator, as the angle of slip would be so slight. Progressively increase the throttle to wide-open as the car straightens. You should never have to lift off as you do this, otherwise it’s time wasted!