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1965 French Grand Prix

Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France

Sunday, June 27, 1965
Race winner:
Warm, dry and sunny
Pole position:
Fastest Lap:
Clark, 3m18.9
1965 season:

Those Scots again

Clermont Ferrand, France, June 27th.

THE French, like the British, seem unable to decide on a real home for their classic Grand Prix event, and after fluctuating between Reims and Rouen for some years, this year it was taken down into central France to the Circuit of Charade, near Clermont Ferrand. This is a circuit constructed by the Automobile Club d'Auvergne in the hills near the village of Charade above Clermont Ferrand, using some of the existing public roads and sonic stretches of new road. To anyone who has never seen an Italian mountain circuit, the Clermont Ferrand circuit would appear to be mountainous, but in fact it is only in the foothills of real mountains, though it does plunge up and down in an exciting manner, and is almost devoid of straights, putting a premium on driving and road-holding as well as acceleration up to 100 m.p.h.

As is usual by mid-season, the Grand Prix "circus" had settled down, as regards cars and drivers and the picture was very much like that at Spa, except for the Brabham team. Gurney had a 32-valve Coventry-Climax V8 in his car and Denis Hulme took Brabham's own car, with old-type Climax engine. The reason for this was that Hulme was due for another Grand Prix drive, and he knew the Clermont Ferrand circuit well, having raced on it previously with F.2 cars, whereas Brabham would have had to learn from scratch. Clark also had a 32-valve Coventry-Climax V8 in a Lotus 33, and Spence had a 16-valve flat-crank Climax V8 in another Lotus 33. The spare Lotus was Clark's 1963 car, brought up to Type 33 specification as regards suspension and steering and fitted with an early Climax V8 with cross-over exhaust system. All three cars were still fitted with pin-location wheels and knock-off hub caps. The Ferrari team were unchanged, with Surtees haying the choice of two V8 Ferraris and Banditti having the flat 12-cylinder car, while the B.R.M. team were the same as at Spa, Graham Hill having the use of the development car as well as his regular car and Stewart in his usual car, with tartan upholstered seat. McLaren and Rindt had the two works Cooper-Climax V8 cars and Ginther and Bucknum were in the Japanese Honda cars, Ginther having the use of a spare car as well as his own car. All three Hondas were fitted with new drive-shafts to the rear wheels, these being solid steel shafts with forged universal joint yokes on each end, the universals being needle-roller mechanical type.