A drivers meeting is rarely a deeply solemn affair, but here just look at the faces… These young men are standing in front of the pits at Spa-Francorchamps before the start of the Belgian Grand Prix on June 14, 1964. Spa was a course that made everyone nervous, especially if it might rain. You did not go off here with much chance of walking back in one piece.
On the far left with just his face visible is, we believe, Lorenzo Bandini who will have a Ferrari 158/63. Then just behind him is Trevor Taylor (putting on his helmet), who will have a British Racing Partnership privately entered BRM 56. In front drinking from a water bottle is Joakim Bonnier who will have Rob Walker’s Brabham BT11 with a BRM motor, although he also had had an older Cooper to try, but he had spun and backed it into a wall on Saturday. To Bonnier’s left is Innes Ireland with the second BRP BRM 56 and behind Ireland is New Zealander Chris Amon who will drive a Lotus 25-BRM for Tim Parnell under the team named for Tim’s father Reg. To Ireland’s left is Jim Clark who will have the choice of a Lotus 33, repaired after his April crash at the B.A.R.C. 200 at Aintree, or a very similar updated 25. In front of Clark is Richie Ginther who along with Graham Hill standing behind him will have the new BRM 61/2. To Ginther’s left is Jack Brabham who will drive one of his BT7s, along with teammate Dan Gurney who stands behind him. On the right side of the photo is Bruce McLaren who will drive one of the works Cooper 73s.
The race distance would be 32 laps which works out to about 280 miles. That much high speed flat out running for two hours had everyone thinking about fuel consumption, and a number of cars were feared to be on the absolute limit, as would be proven to be the case. Gurney was on pole, sharing the front row with Graham Hill and Brabham. Quickly, Gurney moved out to a significant lead of about 12 seconds, with a dueling Clark and Hill disputing second and third and McLaren right behind them.
Toward the end Gurney’s lead over Clark and Hill had grown to some 40 seconds and he looked a shoo-in winner. With four laps to go, Gurney was slowing – he was running out of fuel and did so on the final lap at Stavelot. As if on cue Graham Hill had an identical problem, made more frustrating when the reserve tank did not seem to work and he stopped at Stavelot as well. Clark had had a quick pit stop to add water and was now catching the new leader McLaren who was having his own fuel problems. As McLaren essentially coasted down the hill toward the finish line, Clark swept by him to win. But on his cool down lap Clark then joined the fuel-starved pair at Stavelot, he, too, out of fuel.
Photo by Robert Daley ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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