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Alan Rollinson in the Lola T300 at Brands Hatch in 1972. Copyright Derek Lawson 2005. Used with permission.

British Formula 5000 1972

The SCCA's lucrative L&M Championship proved a very tempting lure in 1972 and two of the British series' leading runners, Graham McRae and Brian Redman, spent much of the summer in the US. McRae had enough funding to keep a second McRae GM1 in the UK so was able to fly back and forth enough to win the US championship and also remain in contention for the European title. Sid Taylor's team had no such luxuries and driver Brian Redman missed four of the 13 European races. Redman returned his Chevron B24 to England with two races to go to find Gijs van Lennep with a 13 point lead in his Surtees TS11. Alan Rollinsons' Lola T300 was in third place, just ahead of new US champion McRae, who tended to either win or break. The penultimate race was won by McRae with Rollinson in second after Redman, who had dominated practice, retired. That left van Lennep with a very healthy lead but the final race at Brands Hatch carried double points so any of the four could still win the title. Redman again dominated practice, followed by Frank Gardner in the brand new Lola T330 and then McRae, van Lennep and Rollinson. The race was a battle between season-long rivals Redman and McRae, the two both lapping in 44.0s, a new record, but the Chevron driver held out to win by just 0.2s. A lap adrift, van Lennep repeatedly blocked off Rollinson's overtaking attempts, for which he later apologised, but his fourth place was what he needed to be sure of the championship, regardless of the battle for the lead.

So Surtees won the F5000 championship to go with Mike Hailwood's F2 title, McRae's run of championship titles finally ended, and Redman finished the year empty handed. Van Lennep would defend his title in Europe but McRae and Redman would renew their rivaly in 1973 in the US series. Curiously, champions Surtees never sold another F5000 car and although both McRaes and Chevrons sold well in 1973, it was the Lola T330 that had quietly finished third at Brands Hatch that would outsell them all.

The races

18 Mar 1972 > Brands Hatch

26 Mar 1972 > Mallory Park

31 Mar 1972 > Snetterton

03 Apr 1972 > Brands Hatch

09 Apr 1972 > Nivelles-Baulers

22 Apr 1972 > Silverstone

30 Apr 1972 > Mondello Park

29 May 1972 > Oulton Park

18 Jun 1972 > Mallory Park

13 Jul 1972 > Brands Hatch

06 Aug 1972 > Silverstone

24 Sep 1972 > Brands Hatch

14 Oct 1972 > Oulton Park

21 Oct 1972 > Brands Hatch

1972 Rothmans Formula 5000 Championship table

1Gijs van LennepSurtees TS11 - Chevrolet V8
McLaren M18 - Chevrolet V8
65 pts2 wins
2Brian RedmanMcLaren M10B - Chevrolet V8
Chevron B24 - Chevrolet V8
61 pts4 wins
3Graham McRaeLeda GM1 - Chevrolet V8
McRae GM1 - Chevrolet V8
57 pts5 wins
4Alan RollinsonLola T300 - Chevrolet V851 pts2 wins
5Teddy PiletteMcLaren M18/M22 - Chevrolet V8
McLaren M22 - Chevrolet V8
25 pts 
6Ray AllenMcLaren M18 - Chevrolet V8
Surtees TS11 - Chevrolet V8
23 pts 
7Steve ThompsonSurtees TS8 - Chevrolet V819 pts 
8Keith HollandMcLaren "M10H" - Chevrolet V816 pts 
9John CannonMarch 725 - Oldsmobile RES V815 pts 
10Frank GardnerLola T330 - Chevrolet V88 pts 

Points table from Autosport 26 October 1972 p6. All cars used 5-litre Chevrolet engines unless noted. For further details, see Wolfgang Klopfer's excellent Formula 5000 in Europe: Race by Race p91.