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Thread: Grand Prix - The Killer Years

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    Insider JacquesNGilles's Avatar
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    Grand Prix - The Killer Years

    I don't know if anyone saw this last night on Velocity, but it was a good hour and fifteen documentary on the GP Years of the early 60's to early 70's and the safety improvements made during that time after several of the high profile deaths.

    I almost want to post an OT on the Indycar board hoping that some who have been quite loud about drivers needing to shutup and race would see exactly what Stewart and some of his fellow drivers had to do to get organizers to open their ears and listen, but I honestly don't want to get into that whole mess.

    The release date says 2012, but I swear I've seen at least a part of this on Youtube - perhaps it was an early bit to try and get investors involved - all I know is there are some great interviews in this documentary.

    It just started again, it's on several times this morning in the next few hours, and is on later tonight at 7pm est. I believe.

    Anyone who watched it, or does in the next day or two, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

    Less than two weeks, folks!!!
    "They all preach safe racing but when you try to pass them they're douchebags." - JPM

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    One of the best documentaries I have seen. When you looked at some of the footage, it was unbelievable. Lack of seat belts, lack of guardrails no trained staff. Jackie Stewart talking about sitting in his car for over 1/2 hours before someone came to get him was unreal. The story about the ambulance driver going to a hospital that was closed with a driver was also scary.

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    Cool cats! Sweaty Teddy's Avatar
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    This was a BBC program that came out last year. I saw it on YouTube last summer and I'm glad Velocity got the rights to opit. Velocity is slowly becoming the alternative to SPEED and it's NASCAR-centric programming.
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    I saw this last year on the BBC and it was a real eye opener into the grass roots of this sport. The most shocking part (for me) was when that car was over turned, on fire and another driver (apologies for not remembering his name, as he was a hero) stopped and attempted to rescue the trapped driver. Sadly, all the other drivers past by and the hero was visibly shocked by the lack of assistance. Unfortunately, his efforts were in vain and the trapped driver died.

  5. #5
    The "hero" driver you mentioned was David Purley trying to save Roger Williamson in his over turned and burning car at Zandvoort in Dutch GP 1973' I have seen a 12 minute version of Purleys actions and he is talking to Roger as he tries to lift the burning car by himself, alone as no one was helping, it was just heartbreaking. Google David Purley and read about some of the things he did in his life, a genuinely BRAVE guy. I was fortunate enough to sit at the same dinner table with Purley as he made his Gran Prix debut at Monaco in 1973. David Purley was charm personified, ordered wine for the table,in perfect French, I told my dad that AJ Foyt couldnt do that!

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    Thank you Paddy for reminding me of the names. What a pleasure it must have been to have met David Purley, a true gent in his time and as you say, brave for attempting to rescue a fellow driver from a burning car. I was absolutely shocked by the lack of compassion from the other fellow drivers.

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    Insider JacquesNGilles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy View Post
    I was fortunate enough to sit at the same dinner table with Purley as he made his Gran Prix debut at Monaco in 1973. David Purley was charm personified, ordered wine for the table,in perfect French, I told my dad that AJ Foyt couldnt do that!
    Thank you, Paddy. This is an awesome story. This is what track forum is about. Stories like this.

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    I thought the show was fairly well done, with a couple of exceptions. The 1966 500 first lap accident has nothing to do with the topic, so that should have probably been left out.

    Also I could have lived without seeing the charred Bandini.
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    Registered User DavidM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post
    I thought the show was fairly well done, with a couple of exceptions. The 1966 500 first lap accident has nothing to do with the topic, so that should have probably been left out.

    Also I could have lived without seeing the charred Bandini.
    Didn't the Indy 500 count toward the world drivers championship for a time?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
    Didn't the Indy 500 count toward the world drivers championship for a time?
    Yes, but not in 1966.

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    doitagain's adopted son aaron5572's Avatar
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    this show was sick. The most amazing part was then that German dude "fell" out of his car while it was upside down, got up, dusted himself off, and walked away. I think it was in 1959 or something like that. Most amazing footage I've seen
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  12. #12
    Think that was Hans Hermann at the '59 German GP. Incredible footage.

    Watched it when it was shown on the BBC over there. It was very good.

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    Registered User PatAz's Avatar
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    I worried when I saw the title but the program was well done, very graphic though.

  14. #14
    About David Purley, the story behind the crash at Zandvoort is quite terrible, so Purley's teammate Roger Williamson crashed heavily, Purley immediately stopped to help Roger, but what happened was that in the control tower, they could only see a guy outside a car, so they thought that the driver involved in the crash was ok and dusted himself off, that's why the medics took so long to arrive. And also, quite a terrible thing is that Purley could hear his friend just screaming as he was burning to death, those screams stayed in Purley's mind for quite a long time. Then he crashed very heavily at Silverstone one year, pulling 177G's, the record before Kenny Bräck's crash for the biggest number of G's without being killed. Really a great guy, a real hero from that Grand Prix era, and like you said, the other drivers didn't stop because they saw Purley standing by the side of the car, and most importantely no one told them to stop. At that time, you took the start and then got out of your car once you take the chequered flag, you are involved in a crash or your car breaks down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aaron5572 View Post
    this show was sick. The most amazing part was then that German dude "fell" out of his car while it was upside down, got up, dusted himself off, and walked away. I think it was in 1959 or something like that. Most amazing footage I've seen
    It was a great program for sure.

    As regards exiting a crashing car before it stops, Esquire magazine once had an article about Masten Gregory, whose specialty according to the article was doing just that. He probably drove sports cars more than he did F1, but he is the first American to get podium in an F1 race. It was still a fun article.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masten_Gregory

  16. #16
    michael66, I had never thought about Purley and Williamson being teammates but I quess they were because both were in March renta-rides. Due to my early contact with David Purley I saved lots of articles about him and I hope someone writes a book about him, it would be entertaining to say the least. Purley was the definition of heroic his entire life and he started early as the youngest licenced airplane pilot in England, Then at 16 was the youngest solo trans-continental flight crossing Africa. Then he joined the military and in a top British paratroop squad was decorated multiple times for combat in Aden. Had a great story about how his chute failed and he saved himself by diving on his mates canopy, Purley didn't have a scratch his mate broke a leg! . Then he decided to try car racing so he started with a Shelby Cobra! Purley raced Formula 3 and Atlantic and F2 and was usually competitive but rarely won except for a track called Chamany which was very dangerous as it was lined by stone walls and very fast, Purley won it three years in a row, Purley was brave. Mike Earl, was Purleys long time crewchief/manager/mechanic, tells a funny story about how right after Purley has the biggest survivable racing crash ever at Silverstone, as he is in the ambulance going in and out of conciousness with multiple fractures, Purley is hitting on the attractive nurse tending to his wounds!!, Earl said that was classic Purley. Probably the bravest thing Purley ever did was to go through a long series of reconstructive surgeries on his legs to lengthen them to thier previous size, this involves smashing bone and resetting in traction, over and over again, but it worked! After racing Purley took up stunt flying and on what he said was his last flight. he crashed fatally while reportedly showing off for his good friend Derek Bell. What a guy.
    Last edited by Paddy; 03-06-2012 at 02:44 PM.

  17. #17
    Also, probably the greatest person/thing to come out of Bognor Regis!
    Last edited by Dispenser89; 03-07-2012 at 12:15 AM.

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    Was this part of a larger series or just a one off show?

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    Registered User Tippo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash View Post
    Was this part of a larger series or just a one off show?
    One off.

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    Insider Frank Capua's Avatar
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    I thought it was a little heavy handed in the beginning with Colin Chapman.
    "Ride the Barrel and get pitted... So Pitted."



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    Safe to say Nina Rindt is not a Colin Chapman fan.

  22. #22
    Insider MoparsRule's Avatar
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    Finally watched it last night, amazing footage. Scary times.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post
    I thought the show was fairly well done, with a couple of exceptions. The 1966 500 first lap accident has nothing to do with the topic, so that should have probably been left out.
    Didn't the Indy 500 count toward the world drivers championship for a time?
    Yes, but not in 1966.
    I thought that clip was odd too, especially since no one was injured in that crash (sans AJ's "hand injury"). I think it was just a "wow" image since there were tires flying everywhere.

    Emmo said he talked to the car and the car talked to him...

  24. #24
    Cool cats! Sweaty Teddy's Avatar
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    The biggest error I saw in the entire program was at the very beginning, when discussing the '61 Italian Grand Prix. The driver they described as Wolfgang Von Tripps was clearly Phil Hill and the footage of Jim Clark was Clark, but from probably 1967 judging by the tires.

    None of that really detracts from what was a very good program on a very dark time.



    A picture of Roger Williamson's helmet I took a few years back at the Donington Grand Prix Collection. Tom Wheatcroft was Williamson's long-time supporter and/or car owner.

  25. #25
    Sounds a lot like a film called "Champions Forever" Narrated by Stacy Keach. A very dark time in F1 indeed.

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    Senior Member Kurt Cobain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post
    Also I could have lived without seeing the charred Bandini.
    Even sicker, he was still alive when pulled out.

  27. #27
    I thought the movie was ok. But, since I've been following the sport since the early 60s it didn't effect me like some who may not have been around back then. It was a sad fact that driver deaths and injuries were commonplace and this in spite of Jackie Stewart's efforts. Many people were against his stand on trying to improve safety conditions.

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    I like the footage of the cars flying over the hills at the Nurburgring. That just looks like proper racing.

  29. #29
    For those of you who don't have Velocity, you can see it here. Thanks to Martyrothrules for the link.


    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xml...ler-years_auto
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  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by JAG View Post
    It was a sad fact that driver deaths and injuries were commonplace and this in spite of Jackie Stewart's efforts.
    Go on the Indycar forum and look at the resistance to replacing the fences with something better. No safety improvements are ever made until it is absolutely forced. There are a few exceptions like SAFER and HANS, but for the most part you have to kill a few people before everyone else wakes up. Incredibly, they were killing drivers 2 or 3 a month back then and still no one would listen. Jackie Stewart was pretty much out there by himself trying to get things done.

    We look back now and think it was stupid to race under those conditions, but what are we going to say in 10 years about how stupid catch fencing and open wheels, open cockpits are today?

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