F5000 UK anniversary to be celebrated at Autosport International

The 50th anniversary of the Formula 5000 category in the UK will be celebrated in a feature display at Autosport International in Birmingham in January

F5000 UK anniversary to be celebrated at Autosport International

The Historic Sports Car Club will honour one of the most spectacular period racing categories with a six-car display of the 5.0-litre single-seaters, which arrived in the UK for the 1969 season.

Cars from Lola, McLaren, Surtees, Gurney and McRae will be on show from the club's Derek Bell Trophy race series.

Based on the United States' Formula A class, Formula 5000 was introduced to the UK by John Webb from Brands Hatch and the inaugural race was won by Peter Gethin in a McLaren M10 at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend in 1969.

Gethin went on to win the European championship in 1969 and '70, and he also won the Tasman Championship in '74 driving a Chevron B24.

In the category's heyday Formula 5000 machines rivalled Formula 1 cars for speed and famous F5000 racers included Gethin, Mike Hailwood, Mario Andretti, Rene Arnoux, Patrick Tambay, Alan Jones and Derek Bell.

In the early 1970s, Formula 5000 was active in America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Europe.

The HSCC will display six cars at Autosport International including an ex-Mike Hailwood 1971 Surtees TS8 and the '70 McLaren M10B raced by Gethin for Sid Taylor's team.

The 1969 ex-Horst Kroll Lola T142 will represent the early cars, while the 1975 Lola T400, now raced successfully by Michael Lyons in the Derek Bell Trophy, is also on display.

A number of drivers from the period will be at the show in January. Grahame White, CEO of the HSCC, said: "Formula 5000 played host to so many iconic names that we recognise to this day.

"It was a category which came to the UK in 1969 and thrilled fans with some extraordinary works of engineering and raw power.

"We cannot wait to celebrate 50 years of this wonderful series at Autosport International in January."

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Series Historics
Author Paul Lawrence
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