Our new database page will launch shortly.

1978 International Trophy

Daily Express International Trophy

Sunday, March 19, 1978
Fastest Lap:
Fittipaldi, 1m38.63


This year saw the running of the thirtieth International Trophy race at Silverstone, the first one in the present series being held in 1949, which Alberto Ascari won with the then new and exciting short-wheelbase Ferrari with supercharged V12 engine of 1 1/2-litres. However, the International Trophy as a major British race started long before that, in 1933 to be exact, when the junior Car Club organised a new race on a special circuit laid out on the Brooklands Track. This was long before aerodromes had Concrete runways and perimeter roads, and before anyone thought of using disused airfields as racing circuits. The imaginative JCC thought up a new idea for equalising the performances of the various ears that were racing at that time, for unlike today where each category or group has sufficient supporters to field a full grid of cars, in 1933 the entry was made up of a variety of cars from 750-c.c. MGs and Austins to 3-litre Alfa Romeos and Maseratis. The normal method of equalising was to impose a time handicap on the larger cars, setting them off after the small ones, but invariably this needed a skilled time-keeper and a slide-rule to find out who was winning. and was not calculated to enthrall the spectators. The JCC devised a layout on the wide-open spaces of the Brooklands Track whereby at the end of the lap, run in the reverse direction to normal Brooklands racing, all the cars were funnelled through an ess-bend laid out with markers, ranging in the manner in which the competitors at Silverstone today are funnelled into the Woodcote chicane, After this ess-bend, and before high speeds could again be reached the various categories had to negotiate further artificial bends according to the size of their engines. Group I cars were 750 c.c. and they had a virtual straight run from the chicane. Group 2 cars were 1,100 c.c, and they had to negotiate a sharp left-hand bend before rejoining the main circuit, and Group 3 cars were of unlimited eapacity and they had to take a slow left-hand hairpin and then a slow right-hand bend before rejoining the main-stream. Each group had a distinctive colour coding on the tail and observers at the artificial bends kept a strict eye on competitors, anyone seen in the wrong "lane" being severely penalised.