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Grand Prix of South Africa
Team Lotus dominate
The first race of the 1968 season was run at the 4.1-km. Kyalami circuit just outside Johannesburg. This year the Grand Prix of South Africa had drawn all the Formula One teams and all the top drivers except McLaren, who was working on the two new McLaren-Cosworth V8s which he and Hulme will use later in the season.
The organisers had spent a lot of money since last year widening the track and re-surfacing the whole 2½ miles. In addition, many of the internal service roads had been re-surfaced; the whole set-up taking on an atmosphere of growing permanency and prosperity.
B.R.M. had brought three cars, the slim, lighter H16 for Spence; this was unaltered since Mexico except for the removal of Stewart's tartan seat. For Rodriguez, who is joining B.R.M. for 1968, there was the new Len Terry-designed V12 car. This follows usual F.1 design, having a monocoque that extends back under the V12 engine, which is the same as had been fitted to the McLaren for the end of last season's races. However, whereas the engine in the McLaren was only developing about 365 b.h.p. the developed version the works car was using develops nearly 400 b.h.p. The weight of this new car is only just over the 500 kg. limit, which should make it competitive. The third B.R.M. was the supercharged 1½-litre V16 which was to give a demonstration in the hands of Graham Hill.