In the 1960s one of the races for the World Sportscar Championship was held on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in England, initially in 1966 over a distance of 500 miles, then, as part of the Championship series, for six hours in the later years of the decade. On July 30, 1967 the race was contested mainly by entries from Ferrari and Porsche, with one entry by American Jim Hall’s Chaparral Cars, a winged Chaparral 2F to be driven by 1961 World Champion Phil Hill and the young Lotus driver Mike Spence. Several Ford GT40s and Lola T70s rounded out the possible winners.
The top teams included several British drivers who had longtime familiarity with Brands Hatch. Ferrari entered three of its front line 330P4 spyders, driven by Chris Amon/Jackie Stewart, Ludovico Scarfiotti/Peter Sutcliffe and Paul Hawkins/Jonathan Williams. From the Porsche factory came 910s for Jo Siffert/Bruce McLaren, Udo Schütz/Jochen Rindt and Vic Elford/Lucien Bianchi plus a 907 Longtail for Hans Herrmann/Jochen Neerpasch.
It had been a tough year for the CalTech-educated Jim Hall and his team, used to being very competitive in America and certainly very technically advanced and creative. They had run a 2F and a 2D at both Daytona and Sebring, with neither car reaching the finish. They had then decided to enter the major European races for the World Championship with the 2F and had so far been DNFs at Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, the Targa Florio, the Nürburgring 1000km and Le Mans. Phil Hill and Mike Spence were the usual drivers.
At Brands Hatch the impressive-looking Chaparral was third fastest in practice, just behind two Lola T70-Chevrolets, neither of which would last the distance. The race saw a series of tire problems and retirements, but in the end the Chaparral took the win by almost a full minute ahead of the Amon/Stewart Ferrari. It was Phil Hill’s last major race and a fitting end to his fabulous career.
Photo by Nigel Snowdon ©The Klemantaski Collection