Friday, April 06, 2012

John Surtees Launches Mercedes W165 at Goodwood

At the 2000 Goodwood Festival of Speed, John Surtees blasts the Mercedes W165 off the line to wow the crowds lining the now-famous hill climb with plenty of noise and speed.

Despite the car's V8 engine displacing just 1.5 liters, supercharging and (we expect) running on dope means it puts out plenty of power and, thanks to that alcohol-based dope mix, a sharp, ripping exhaust note.

This car contested just one race, the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix. Herman Lang brought the car home in first place in what was to be the penultimate staging of this now largely-forgotten event.

Can you imagine seeing Formula 1 in Libya today? With sections like 'CS Gasworks Chicane' and 'Sniper Alley', 'Defensive Driving Cup' support race, and safety cars equipped to defuse IEDs, it might be a little too exciting.

Anyway, before our over-imaginative brain takes us too far off-course, lets get back to this video. This particular car is a regular to the Festival of Speed.

Here in 2000, we captured Surtees himself lining up at the start line before launching this fabulous piece of Grand Prix history towards the first corner.

We might have preferred to see it accelerating hard out of the first corner but access to that next section tends to be difficult, with too many heads and not enough vehicles appearing in the viewfinder.

Surtees was winning championships at the top of two- and four-wheeled motorsports before most of us were born and here, he's 66 years old. It doesn't seem to have slowed him down much, nor has it dulled his interest in giving it plenty of right foot.

Though the great man was only five years old when this car raced, he doesn't seem to have any problem hustling it along. Enjoy!


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