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Teddy Pilette in the VDS Lola T400 at Oulton Park in March 1975.  Copyright Alan Cox.  Used with permission.

British Formula 5000 1975

ShellSport took over the sponsorship of the series after Rothmans' withdrawal, and the prize money was increased. The administration of the series was taken over the Motor Racing Consultants, and the hope here had been that MRC's experience of F3 across Europe would encourage more race organisers to look again at F5000. Unfortunately for F5000, the race they looked at was the Zolder race in April, where only six cars finished each of the two heats, and really only four of those were remotely competitive. It was not a great advert for the formula. In England, too many of the F5000 races were held on short tracks, and F1 was no longer interested in having F1/F5000 races. Spectators were staying away, and the racing was generally poor, so there was little option but to pull the plug. It would be replaced by a "Group 8" series for 1976 - effectively Formule Libre.

Ian Ashley was leading the championship at the beginning of August when his sponsor Richard Oaten paid for him to race for the Williams team in the German Grand Prix. Unfortunately, he crashed heavily in practice, badly injuring his ankles, and although he returned to F5000, his lead melted away and he finished fourth in the championship. The two VDS Lola T400s of Teddy Pilette and Peter Gethin overtook Ashley and finished 1-2 in the championship, the Belgian taking advantage of Gethin's apparently lack of enthusiasm for British club circuits.

Two other successful cars in 1975 with two race victories each were David Purley's F2-based Chevron B30 and Alan Jones' RAM Racing March 75A, both of which used the 3.4-litre Cosworth-Ford V6 engine from the Group 2 Capris.

The races

15 Mar 1975 > Brands Hatch

28 Mar 1975 > Oulton Park

31 Mar 1975 > Brands Hatch

12 Apr 1975 > Silverstone

27 Apr 1975 > Zolder

19 May 1975 > Zandvoort

26 May 1975 > Thruxton

27 Jul 1975 > Snetterton

10 Aug 1975 > Mallory Park

17 Aug 1975 > Thruxton

25 Aug 1975 > Brands Hatch

06 Sep 1975 > Oulton Park

28 Sep 1975 > Silverstone

05 Oct 1975 > Snetterton

12 Oct 1975 > Mallory Park

19 Oct 1975 > Brands Hatch

1975 Shellsport 5000 European Championship table

1Teddy PiletteLola T400 - Chevrolet V8174 pts4 wins
2Peter GethinLola T400 - Chevrolet V8143 pts3 wins
3Guy EdwardsLola T332 - Chevrolet V8122 pts 
4Ian AshleyLola T330 - Chevrolet V8
Lola T400 - Chevrolet V8
101 pts2 wins
5David Purley3.4-litre Chevron B30 - Ford GAA V698 pts2 wins
6Richard ScottLola T400 - Chevrolet V8
Lola T330 - Chevrolet V8
85 pts1 win
7=Alan JonesChevron B28 - Chevrolet V8
3.4-litre March 75A - Ford GAA V6
64 pts2 wins
7=Bob EvansLola T332 - Chevrolet V8
Lola T400 - Chevrolet V8
64 pts1 win
9Brian RobinsonMcLaren M19C - Chevrolet V849 pts 
10=Gordon SpiceLola T332 - Chevrolet V830 pts1 win
10=Vern SchuppanLola T332 - Chevrolet V830 pts 
12Tony DeanChevron B24 - Chevrolet V8
Chevron B24/B28 - Chevrolet V8
Chevron B28 - Chevrolet V8
28 pts 

Points table from Autocourse 1975/76 p199.

All cars used 5-litre Chevrolet engines unless noted. For further details, see Wolfgang Klopfer's excellent Formula 5000 in Europe: Race by Race p180.