MIKE WILDS 1974 FRON­TRUN­NER

Motor Sport News - - Monsters: Formula 5000 -

I was des­per­ate to try and go to For­mula 1 and we did the 1974 For­mula 5000 sea­son. We started with the sup­port race to the Race of Cham­pi­ons at Brands. If you fin­ished well on the Satur­day you were in­vited on to the back of the grid for the non-cham­pi­onship F1 race on Sun­day.

It was a mas­sive eye-opener for me be­cause I’d been rac­ing 1600cc For­mula 3 with 120bhp and sud­denly I was sit­ting in a con­verted F1 March that had a five-litre Chevro­let in the back with in ex­cess of 500bhp.

It was a stun­ning en­gine. Putting your foot down in an F5000 and driv­ing it in anger was sen­sa­tional. They were a man’s mo­tor car. The cars were heavy with the iron block en­gine and there was quite a lot of weight man­age­ment.

I seemed to click with han­dling the power and it taught me a lot. Peter Gethin was in the lead and I man­aged to get up to third be­hind Brian Red­man’s Lola. I learnt a lot from bat­tling with Brian and I fin­ished sec­ond. At that time, that was the high­light of my ca­reer.

Af­ter a cou­ple of rounds I was lead­ing the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship. I was chuffed to bits to get a pole at Brands and I don’t think I’ve ever had so much adren­a­line pump­ing through my veins as when I was sit­ting on the grid with an­other 20 cars be­hind me.

Then I had an ac­ci­dent at Thrux­ton that was the end of my F5000 sea­son as I broke my wrist. I was com­ing up to lap Tony Dean and was flat up to the chi­cane at about 180mph. As I went past he moved to the right and clipped my wheel.

The pre­vi­ous week Hans Stuck had bro­ken his thumb at Monaco in the works F1 March and I’d had a call from Max Mosley at March ask­ing if I’d do the Swedish GP the week­end af­ter Thrux­ton. I was very up­set about that.

Wilds was robbed of a GP chance by wrist break

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