BRIAN RED­MAN PE­RIOD ACE

Motor Sport News - - Monsters: Formula 5000 -

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!

Red­man starred with a string of drives in F5000

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