The 2023 Phillip Island Classic – Festival of Motorsport will host several historic Formula 1 cars from Europe along with nine international drivers at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in March.
The line-up includes a 1974 Surtees TS16/02, designed and built by John Surtees, that raced in the Argentinian, British, South African, Spanish, Belgian, Swedish, Monaco and French Grands Prix over the 1974 and 1975 seasons. Now owned by Marc Devis, a prolific-historic racer and regular participant in the Master Racing Legends series for 1966 to 1985 Formula 1 cars, the Surtees is raced in historic events in Britain and Europe. Other drivers of TS16/02 include Derek Bell, Jose Dolhem, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Leo Kinnunen, Helmut Koinigg, Jochen Mass, Carlos Pace, Dieter Quester and John Watson. Pace placed the Surtees in the points once in 1974 but left the team mid-season, while Watson finished well in three non-championship F1 races.
Of particular Australian significance is the 1977 Shadow DN8 of James Constable, originally run during the 1976, 1977 and 1978 Formula 1 seasons. Driven by 1980 World Drivers’ Champion Alan Jones, the car finished in the points in Monaco and Belgium and won the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix. Jones finished third in Italy, and fourth in Canada and Japan, gaining 22 points and seventh place in the drivers’ championship and constructors championship that year. Other drivers of the DN8 over this period include Jean-Pierre Jarier, Arturo Merzario, Jackie Oliver, Riccardo Patrese, Tom Pryce, Clay Regazzoni and Renzo Zorzi.
There will also be a Tyrrell 012 (above) in its original Benetton sponsored livery as driven by Michele Alboreto in 1983. Designed by Maurice Phillippe and Brian Lisles, the chassis was used by the factory team between the 1983 Dutch Grand Prix and 1985 Australian Grand Prix. Now owned by Ian Simmonds of the UK, chassis 012-1 contested nine Formula 1 World Championship events over this period. It has also raced in the historic Master Racing Legends series in the UK and Europe over the last 10 years. Drivers during the Formula 1 period include Michele Alboreto, Stefan Bellof, Martin Brundle, Stefan Johansson, and Danny Sullivan.
The Ensign N179 of Paul Tattersall participated in 11 Formula 1 World Championship events during the 1979 season, starting its career at the South African Grand Prix. This was Dave Baldwin’s last Ensign design, partly funded by Teddy Yip. who is well known for bringing Alan Jones into prominence. The car’s monocoque and rocker arm suspension were of conventional design, however the radiators built into the scuttle and extending down to the cone proved ineffective and the car was rebuilt with conventional radiators in the side pods. The Ensign Team only had limited sponsorship from Yip’s Theodore Racing of Hong Kong for most of the season and raced under the team’s own Ensign logos until the last two races when sponsorship came from Rainbow Jeans of USA. The N179 had three drivers, over the 1979 season, Derek Daly, Patrick Gaillard and Marc Surer, with Gaillard achieving its best result at the British Grand Prix with 13th overall.
After the US Grand Prix, the car remained in the country until 1993 when it returned to the United Kingdom. Rebuilt in 2016/17 to the specifications and colour scheme in which it appeared in the Monaco Grand Prix, the car has raced regularly around the world in the Masters championship.
The Lotus 81 of Steve Boultbee-Brooks was built around a basic sheet aluminium structure derived from the Lotus 80, and a mid-season replacement monocoque led to the Lotus 81B designation. Driver Elio de Angelis scored a second and third place early in the season along with other encouraging performances. Other drivers during the season included subsequent world champions, Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell. Former test driver Mansell was given a first grand prix drive in the first 81B in Austria and performed well despite considerable problems. The car continued racing over a number of years in different colours, often running without nose fins, which made it look even more stubbie.
The sixth international F1 car racing at Phillip Island is the Hesketh 308-1 of regular visitor James Hagan. This was the car that gave world champion, James Hunt his first race victory in a Formula 1 car, the 1974 Silverstone International Trophy. The car made 12 race starts, between 1974 and 1975, nine of which were grand prix events, driven by James Hunt, Alan Jones and Harald Ertl. Other drivers include Guy Edwards, Brett Lunger, Torsten Palm, Alex Ribeiro and Rolf Stommelen.
In 1975 the car ran in ’B’ form, appearing with rubber cone suspension and normal coil springs. That year James Hunt won the Dutch Grand Prix, was second in three other grands prix and scored 28 of his 33 championship points.
The six international cars will compete against Australian drivers, including Guido Belgiorno-Nettis in a 1985 Ferrari 156/85, Ian Buddery in a 1986 March 86C, Ian Ross in a 1985 Lola THL1-F1 plus two other F1 cars previously unraced here, Formula 5000s and Formula Holdens in a field of 40 cars.
With some of the largest crowds expected the Phillip Island Classic – Festival of Motorsport will be held over the long weekend of 10 to 12 March, 2023. One-, two- and three-day tickets will be available at the gate.