OldRacingCars.com

Penang Grand Prix

Penang, 1 May 1977

ResultsLapsTime/Speed
1 Graeme Lawrence March 76B [17]
(see note 1)
50
2 Albert Poon Chevron B34 [34-76-37] - Ford BDA Swindon
(see note 2)

3 José "Pocholo" Ramirez (F/Atl) 1.6-litre Chevron B34 [34-76-21] - Ford BDA
(see note 3)

4 Ian Grey Chevron B20 [72-9] - Ford BDM
(see note 4)

5 Eddie Marcelo (F/Atl) 1.6-litre Chevron B39 [39-77-04] - Ford BDA
(see note 5)

6 John MacDonald Ralt RT1/75 [5]
(see note 6)
gearbox problems
7 Rolly Abadilla (F/Atl) 1.6-litre Modus M3 - Ford BDA

8 Brian Tyler (1.6 2v) 1.6-litre March 73B - Ford twin cam
(see note 7)
1st in 2-valve class
9 Diana Poon (1.6 2v) 1.6-litre Brabham BT40 - Ford twin cam Hart
(see note 8)
2nd in 2-valve class
10 Steve Millen Chevron B35 [35-76-06] - Ford BDA Hart
(see note 9)
46 drieshaft
R Patrick Tambay March 722/752 [722-40] - Ford BDM
[Teddy Yip] (see note 10)
39 oil leak
R Beng Soeswanto (F/Pac) 1.6-litre Lola T460 [HU15] - Ford BDA Swindon
(see note 11)
36 accident at Chartered Bank Corner
R Sonny Rajah March 732 - Ford BDM Swindon
(see note 12)
8 driveshaft

All cars are 1.6-litre 1.6 4v unless noted.

Qualifying
1 Patrick Tambay (1.6 4v) 1.6-litre March 722/752 [722-40] - Ford BDM 58.1s
2 John MacDonald (1.6 4v) 1.6-litre Ralt RT1/75 [5] 58.2s
3 Steve Millen (1.6 4v) 1.6-litre Chevron B35 [35-76-06] - Ford BDA Hart 59.2s
4 Graeme Lawrence (1.6 4v) 1.6-litre March 76B [17] 59.4s
5 Albert Poon (1.6 4v) 1.6-litre Chevron B34 [34-76-37] - Ford BDA Swindon 60.0s
6 Beng Soeswanto (F/Pac) 1.6-litre Lola T460 [HU15] - Ford BDA Swindon
7 José "Pocholo" Ramirez (F/Atl) 1.6-litre Chevron B34 [34-76-21] - Ford BDA
9 Sonny Rajah (1.6 4v) 1.6-litre March 732 - Ford BDM Swindon

Notes on the cars:

  1. March 76B [17] (Graeme Lawrence): New to Sonny Rajah with a fuel-injected Hart engine, and run for Graeme Lawrence in South East Asia.
  2. Chevron B34 [34-76-37] (Albert Poon): New to Albert Poon (Hong Kong), who referred to it as a 1977-series B35. It started out with a Cosworth BDM engine for Southeast Asian racing, and was then fitted with a Cosworth BDA for the Macau GP, which was held to Formula Atlantic rules, and the New Zealand Formula Pacific series in January 1977, before returning to the fuel-injected BDM for racing in Malaysia later in 1977. To Chong Kim Fah and Team Rothmans for 1978, but it is unclear whether Chong actually raced it that season. It is then presumably the "B39" that Chong raced in Formula Pacific in 1979. According to later owners, it then moved to Western Australia and was owned by Peter Nicol in 1979, Peter Morris in 1980, Jim Runciman in 1983. Then to Richard Fearon (Victoria) in 1994, Noel Robson (Victoria) at the end of 1998, and Peter Mohr (Queensland) in 2005. Sold by Mohr to Tony Simmons in November 2008, and raced by him through 2009 and in 2010. Next seen with Martin Bullock (WA) and raced by him at Sydney Motor Sport Park in November 2014, and at Barbagallo in 2016. Then taken to the UK by Bullock and raced at Brands Hatch in May 2019.
  3. Chevron B34 [34-76-21] (José "Pocholo" Ramirez): New to Fred Opert Racing for Jim Crawley in the IMSA Formula Atlantic series, appearing at Road Atlanta in April and Laguna Seca in May. He then missed the Ontario Motor Speedway as the car was reported to have been "destroyed" in a testing crash at Willow Springs. It was evidently rebuilt in time to be rented by Ric Forest at Edmonton in May. Crawley raced it again at Westwood, when it was pale blue and entered by Opert as #52. This is presumably the car then entered for Lloyd Callaway (Chicago, IL) to drive at Mont-Tremblant, Halifax and Mosport Park in July and August 1976, as his car was also pale blue and entered by Opert as #52. Like RJ Nelkin's similarly semi-private car, it evidently returned to Fred Opert Racing after these three races. It may then have been one of the cars hired from Opert for the SCCA Runoffs by Bill Anspach and Bill Kneeland. It is then thought to be the car used by Eddie Marcello at the Philippines GP in December. In January 1977, Opert took a team out to the New Zealand Formula Pacific series, and chassis 76-21 was identified as the car raced there by Keke Rosberg, winning three of the five races and taking four pole positions. It was then sold to Pocolo Ramirez (Philippines) and raced by him in southeast Asian races from 1977 to 1982. It is believed to have been imported into New Zealand from Asia by Graham Simms. It was then sold to Ken Smith and then Andy Higgins in New Zealand, then acquired by David Gathercole in 2009. He fully rebuilt it to Formula Atlantic specification by June 2011 for Rod Stead, who raced it at HSCC Donington Park in May 2012. Bought from Stead in November 2012 by Andy Huxtable. Raced by Huxtable in HSCC Derek Bell Trophy races in 2013.
  4. Chevron B20 [72-9] (Ian Grey): New to John S Green in Formula B specification but there is no evidence of this car being delivered before the end of 1972. Green ran it in the Gap Hill Climb in January 1973, but only circuit raced it once, in the Singapore Grand Prix in April 1973. Green died in early 1974, and the Chevron was sold to David Schollum for Steve Millen in South-East Asian races that year. Then shipped to New Zealand and fitted with a 1980cc Cosworth FVC engine for the 1975 Tasman series. Used by Millen in 1600cc form at Batu Tiga and Macau later in 1975. Sold to Ian Grey in 1976 and raced with a Cosworth BDM at Macau in 1976 and 1977. Later sold to Dick Ward (Perth, Australia) and George Stacey about the end of 1979, and then to Harry Hickling (ACT, Australia). Sold to David Innes late 2014.
  5. Chevron B39 [39-77-04] (Eddie Marcelo): New to Eddie Marcelo (Philippines) and presumably the car raced by him in the Malaysian Grand Prix and Penang Grand Prix in April and May 1977. He was also entered for the 1978 Malaysia Grand Prix. This may be the car driven by Chong Kim Fah as part of the Rothmans team in Malaysia in 1979, but Chong had previously driven a B34 and may have upgraded that car with B39 bits. Subsequent history unknown.
  6. Ralt RT1/75 [5] (John MacDonald): New to John MacDonald (Hong Kong) and raced in Sotheast Asian 1600cc 2-valve category racing in 1975, then in the Formula Atlantic and 1600cc 4-valve category in 1976 and 1977. It was also raced by Vern Schuppan at Macau in 1977. Then to Peter Marshall and raced by him in 1978 and 1979, and still in Marshall's ownership when raced by Sonny Rajah in 1980 and 1981.
  7. March 73B (Brian Tyler): Brian Tyler, described as a Singapore-based Englishman, raced a March "732" in the Selangor Grand Prix at Batu Tiga in August 1976, and then in two races in 1977, the Malaysian Grand Prix in April and the Penang GP in May. It ran in the 1600cc 2-valve class at Penang, so presumably had a Ford twin cam engine at all three races. It was advertised by Tyler from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in September 1977 as a March 732 fitted with a "brand new Holbay 1600cc twin cam" and FG400 gearbox. The engine makes it much more likely that it was a 73B, not a 732. One possibility is that it was the March 722/73B that Dieter Quester had taken out to the Macau Grand Prix in November 1973. Nothing more known.
  8. Brabham BT40 (Diana Poon): New to Albert Poon (Hong Kong) and fitted with a Hart twin cam engine for the Southeast Asian 2-valve 1600cc formula. Raced by Poon in 1973 and 1974 and then, after Poon acquired a newer Chevron B29, the Brabham was raced by Graeme Lawrence in the Malaysian GP in March 1975 and by Kevin Bartlett in the Macau Grand Prix in November 1975. Then raced by Poon's wife, Diana Poon, from 1976 to 1979. At some point, the Brabham was badly damaged, and its tub has been rebuilt by new owner Neville McKay. Reported to be still owned by McKay but in pieces in 2004.
  9. Chevron B35 [35-76-06] (Steve Millen): New to Fred Opert Racing for Formula 2 in 1976, and used by José Dolhem for the opening seven races of season. Then raced by Riccardo Patrese, Howdy Holmes, Keke Rosberg and Rupert Keegan later in the season. Taken to Macau for Keegan to race in the Grand Prix in October, then sold to Steve Millen who raced it in the New Zealand Formula Pacific series, and then in Southeast Asian races later in 1977. Subsequent history unknown but some reports say that it was badly damaged in a testing accident by its next owner and remains in Southeast Asia.
  10. March 722/752 [722-40] (Patrick Tambay): New to Australian Vern Schuppan to drive in the British Formula Atlantic championship. Fitted with a BRM Ford twin cam engine, and first seen in practice at Mallory Park in late March, but Schuppan left before the race to catch a flight to the Singapore GP. Schuppan finished second in Singapore, and third in the Malaysian GP a week later. Then returned to the British series, now with a BDA, and won four rounds. The car was then fitted with Falconer bodywork and an Amon-Woods engine rebuilt by Geoff Richardson, and raced in the Rothmans 50,000 and in two late-season F2 races. After a single F2 race in 1973 fitted with a Richardon BDG, the car went to Southeast Asia, winning the Singapore GP with a Ford twin cam fitted, then competed in the JAF Grand Prix at Fuji with the BDG, and back to the 'twink' for Macau. He raced the car in British Formula Atlantic briefly in early 1974, then sent it back to Asia where he won the Macau GP in November, by which time it had been fitted with 732 bodywork and a Lola T360 rear wing. It then became a fixture at Macau up to 1977, being driven by Alan Jones and Derek Daly. Patrick Tambay also raced for Theodore Racing in the Malaysian and Penang Grands Prix in 1977, where it was still in 732 form but was billed as a 752. It reappeared at Macau for Schuppan in 1979, now in 76B bodywork. After one more race in the hands of Roberto Moreno, the car was retained by Yip and placed in the Macau Grand Prix Museum.
  11. Lola T460 [HU15] (Beng Soeswanto): New to American Ted Wentz and raced in the 1976 Indylantic series, entered by Swan Lager Racing. The car remained in Lola's ownership, and was sold at the end of the season via Albert Poon to Indonesian racer Beng Soeswanto, who raced it in the New Zealand Formula Pacific Internationals in January 1977, then in Southeast Asian races later that year. He crashed the car at Penang in May 1977, but was back out for the Macau GP in November. Believed to have been retained for 1978.
  12. March 732 (Sonny Rajah): Sonny Rajah (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) raced a March in Southeast Asian 4-valve formula racing in 1976, then in Formula Pacific from 1977 to 1981, but it is not yet clear whether this was his updated March 712M or his March 73B.

Sources

The identification of individual cars in these results is based on the material presented elsewhere in this site and may in some cases contradict the organisers' original results.

All comments, clarifications, corrections and additions are most welcome. Please email Allen (allen@oldracingcars.com) if you can help in any way with our research.

Individual sources for this event

Asian Auto May 1977, pp48-56, kindly provided by Choong H Fu, Autosport, "The News" 4 May 1977 p22, and Racing Car News July 1977 p44.