Friday, 12 August 2022

Henley car in Grand Prix de Monaco

A CLASSIC car collector has been invited to compete in the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique this weekend

A CLASSIC car collector has been invited to compete in the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique this weekend.

John Carpenter, a former Formula 1 team member from Lower Assendon, bought the Assegai in August and has been busy restoring it.

The car was built in 1961 by engineer and racing driver Tony Kotzé and was due to compete in the 1962 Rand Grand Prix in Kyalami but did not qualify.

Named after a Zulu spear, it follows the lines of a British Lotus 18 Formula 1 car of the day but with a distinctive Italian styling cue.

It is powered by a 1.5 litre, four-cylinder Alfa Romeo engine and five-speed gearbox.

Kotzé, who sadly died three weeks ago, is said to have been obsessed with the shark nose of 1961 Ferrari F1 cars, hence its look.

After occasional track appearances and changes of ownership, the car was purchased by John at an Historics of Brooklands car auction.

With his long-time friend and racing driver Iain Rowley and his Nuffield company Delta Motorsport, John embarked on a painstaking journey to return the car to exactly the same mechanical specification as it appeared at Kyalami in order to fulfil the very stringent regulations of the Monaco GP organisers.

Iain will be at the wheel of the car as it takes on the 3.34km Monaco road circuit, made famous by the principality’s glamorous grand prix.

John says: “It’s such an honour to be accepted by the Automobile Club de Monaco to compete the car at the 10th running of the biennial Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.

“Since buying the car at Historics at Brooklands last year, Iain and I have embarked on a hugely time-consuming voyage of discovery to ensure the Assegai is presented in entirely original mechanical specification in all respects, as demanded by the organisers. It has been a great challenge but also a real labour of love.”

Iain adds: “Let’s hope we are more successful at Monaco than the car’s creator at Kyalami but whatever the outcome, it will be a hugely memorable experience and a fitting tribute to Tony Kotzé and this unique racing car.”

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