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Guy Edwards in the Lola T330 at the 1973 Race of Champions.  Copyright Rob Ryder 2001.  Used with permission.

European Formula 5000 1973

Despite winning the title with Gijs van Lennep in 1972, Surtees dropped out of F5000, and McLaren also ended its production arangement with Trojan. Trojan produced a new McLaren-derived Trojan T101 model for 1973, which proved very competitive on both sides of the Atlantic. McRae, Chevron and March filled the gap with the McRae GM1, Chevron B24 and March 73A being put into full production, while Lola developed the 1972 T300 into the new Lola T330.

After two seasons of F1, Peter Gethin was dropped by the BRM team and quickly returned to F5000 with a works Chevron B24. His plan was to race in the lucrative US L&M series, but had time to win the opening round of the Rothmans European series, and also to beat all the F1 cars in the Race of Champions a day later, including three BRMs! Also on their way to the US were Graham McRae, who won the second European round from pole position in his McRae GM1, Jody Scheckter in Sid Taylor's Trojan, and the two Haggar Slacks Lola T330s run by Carl Hogan for David Hobbs and Brett Lunger, who finished 1-2 at the third round. A much thinner field was left behind: Steve Thompson had a second-hand Chevron B24 and won at Brands Hatch in April, Keith Holland won two races in the Ian Ward Racing Trojan T101, Belgian Teddy Pilette also won a brace in the Racing Team VDS Chevron B24, and so did Guy Edwards, who ended the season very strongly in his Lola T330.

After a poor time in the US, Gethin reappeared to drive a works development B24, and won easily at Oulton Park, but Pilette racked up second and third place finishes, and took the title narrowly from the very consistent Tony Dean, whose 11 top-five finishes were favoured by the new 20-15-12 points system.

The races

17 Mar 1973 > Brands Hatch

01 Apr 1973 > Mallory Park

07 Apr 1973 > Silverstone

20 Apr 1973 > Snetterton

23 Apr 1973 > Brands Hatch

13 May 1973 > Oulton Park

28 May 1973 > Mallory Park

10 Jun 1973 > Misano

01 Jul 1973 > Zandvoort

08 Jul 1973 > Mallory Park

22 Jul 1973 > Mondello Park

05 Aug 1973 > Silverstone

27 Aug 1973 > Brands Hatch

09 Sep 1973 > Gold Cup at Oulton Park

23 Sep 1973 > Jyllands-Ringen

30 Sep 1973 > Zandvoort

07 Oct 1973 > Snetterton

21 Oct 1973 > Brands Hatch

1973 Rothmans Formula 5000 Championship table

1Teddy PiletteMcLaren M18/M22 - Chevrolet V8
Chevron B24 - Chevrolet V8
136 pts2 wins
2Tony DeanChevron B24 - Chevrolet V8133 pts 
3Keith HollandTrojan T101 - Chevrolet V8116 pts2 wins
4Steve ThompsonChevron B24 - Chevrolet V8114 pts1 win
5Guy EdwardsLola T330 - Chevrolet V8102 pts2 wins
6Tom BelsøLola T330 - Chevrolet V897 pts 
7Brett LungerLola T330 - Chevrolet V8
Trojan T101 - Chevrolet V8
95 pts2 wins
8Peter GethinChevron B24 - Chevrolet V865 pts2 wins
9Bob EvansTrojan T101 - Chevrolet V864 pts1 win
10Gijs van LennepLola T330 - Chevrolet V859 pts 
11Clive SantoSurtees TS11 - Chevrolet V8
Lola T330 - Chevrolet V8
50 pts 
12Ian AshleyLola T330 - Chevrolet V837 pts1 win

Points table from the John Player Motorsport Yearbook 1974 p271. For further details, see Wolfgang Klopfer's excellent Formula 5000 in Europe: Race by Race p116.

Despite its billing as the Rothmans European championship, the series' overseas trips did not add much value. The first trip was to the new Autodromo di Santamonica at Misano, only to be told after practice that the circuit had a 2-litre limit. The trip to Zandvoort was postponed from July to September, so the first race outside England was across the Irish Sea to Mondello Park in July. The tiny Danish track at Jyllands-Ringen hosted the series in September, a week before the Zandvoort race finally took place in pouring rain.