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From the Motor Sport Archive
BRANDS HATCH'S Race of Champions has, for several years, started the European Formula One season but anyone looking for a pointer for the year from the results of the 1973 race can forget it—unless the lesson learned is that Formula One cars are going to be more unreliable than ever before. It turned out to be a quite extraordinary race during which the lead changed five times in the space of the 40 laps, the last and final time coming within two miles of the finish. The surprise victor who snatched this last lap lead was Peter Gethin, the former BRM and McLaren Formula One driver, who was at the wheel of a brand new Chevron B24-Chevrolet Formula 5000 car, for this race also included the stock block powered cars to make up the numbers on the grid. No one expected a Formula 5000 to win but Gethin practised strongly, finished the first lap in sixth position, and then had the five Formula One cars in front of him wilt under the strain. This was the first time in Britain that the Formula 5000 brigade had triumphed over Formula One and the whole affair must have made John Webb of Motor Circuit Developments happy, for it is he who has campaigned so vehemently for the continuance of this class in Britain. Furthermore, a huge crowd turned up at Brands Hatch, probably the largest ever at the circuit apart from a British Grand Prix.