Pink Stamps Lotus 30 History Part 4 – British National Racing and the Pink Stamps Years 1969-1972

by Richard Keyes

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British National Racing

In 1969 the car was purchased by Paul Gresham, owner of a Surbiton, Surry driving school. Paul obtained a £1500 sponsorship from Sperry & Hutchinson Co. to advertise Pink Stamps trading coupons (known as S&H Green Stamps in the USA). He contracted John Markey to be the driver and entered the car in National Racing Series. [1] Markey, John, Personal Interview at his home in Liphook, Hampshire, England, Aug. 7, 1986. Also from his personal notebooks

It is at this time that more modern racing rubber was fitted and fender flares added to accommodate the additional width. They changed the 8″ x 13″ wheels to 15 inch, 3-piece component wheels (JAP Magna wheels from J.A. Pearce Engineering Ltd., Middlesex) 15″ x 10″ front, 15″ x 16″ rear. Fitted with Firestone ZB 17’s in 1970 they were later fitted with Goodyear “Speedway Racing” slicks of 10.55-15 front and 14.70-15 rear. They also removed the central and right side gas tanks at this time as these championships would be sprint races.

It first raced as “Pink Stamps Lotus 30” at Silverstone, May 31, 1970. The livery was bright pink with the Pink Stamp logo at the base of the windscreen. Also raced at Snetterton, in June and again at the Silverstone race for GT and sports racing cars on July 5th. By now it was fully identified with “Pink Stamps Racing” white on black logos on all four fenders. John stalled on the grid but overtook all except two to finish 3rd overall. He also set fastest lap of 59.6 sec. 97.13 MPH. This was the fastest ever for a Lotus 30 at Silverstone. For the August 2, 1970 Silverstone Sports/GT races it appeared with a new JW (John Willment-John Wyer) Ford 365 BHP engine. Still fuel injected with Tecalemit Jackson system and tuned exhaust. John finished 4th overall after having brake failure when passing to 2nd position, 2 laps from end.

On August 10th they took the “Pink Stamps” to Scotland and raced in the Formula Libre race. John finished 6th after spinning and news media billed it as the “Monster Lotus 30.” They continued racing it for the remainder of 1970, appearing at Silverstone for six races, once at Snetterton, twice at Ingliston, Scotland, once at Crystal Palace, twice at Oulton Park, once at Thruxton and four times at Brands Hatch. During 1970 it was entered in 18 National Races and was overall winner in 4. Won twice at Silverstone, once each at Thruxton and Brands Hatch. It placed second overall three times with two class wins and two third place overall. John set fastest lap of race three times, twice at Silverstone and once at Brands Hatch.

The second ‘fastest lap of race’ at Silverstone was set on Aug. 30, again in the Sports/GT race and was timed at 1 min. 1.4 sec., 88.28 MPH. John won this race with a 40 sec. lead. The third ‘fastest lap’ was set at Brands Hatch Dec. 6th in the SKF Special GT race. John equalled class record ‘fastest lap’ of 51.8 sec., 86.16 M.P.H. finishing with a 17.8 sec. lead. The tie holder was Alistair Cowin in a 7.0 litre McLaren M6B12. The newspaper affectionately called the car the “Pink Peril”.

From the Dec. 6, 1970 Brand Hatch race when the roll bar hoop first appeared and through 1971 this Lotus 30/40 was raced as Paul Gresham Racing Team. It still raced in the pink colours but without the Pink Stamps sponsorship. It competed in seven races and had three overall wins. Twice at Brands Hatch and once at Thruxton. John scored second and third once each.

Early in the year, Feb. 28, 1971 at the Brands Hatch race for GT and Modsports, Markey gained pole position, set ‘fastest lap’ of race at 53.2 sec., 83.91 M.P.H. and won with 13.6 sec. lead despite having broken gearshift handle in the 2nd lap. The next month at the Thruxton Motoring News Castrol GT Championship race John again set ‘fastest lap of race’ at 1 min. 23.6 sec., 101.45 M.P.H. along with J. Lord in an Astra RNR 1.6 FVA. He placed 2nd overall in this race.

The Gurney-Weslake GT40 engine appears

At the Brands Hatch Formula Libre Race on Nov. 7, 1971 this car made the first appearance with the currently existing Gurney [2] Hodges, David, Doug Nye, and Nigel Roebuck, Grand Prix, London: Imprint Books Ltd., 1981. Ludvigsen, Karl, Gurney’s Eagles, Minn., Motortext, Inc., 1976. Weslake [3] Blunsden, John, Sports Car Graphic, Oct. 1966. ex-Alan Mann Ford GT 40 [4] Allen, John, Ford GT 40 Super Profiles, Somerset, England, Haynes Publishing Group, 1983 p. 16. LeMans engine fitted to a ZF-5DS-25 transaxle. The engine had been rebuilt by Peter Wallace and Stewart Mathesion, owners of Mathwall Engineering, Thursley, Surrey. Mathwall is a combination of (Math) part of Mathesion and the (Wall) part of Wallace (engine is number ME-135). Both Peter and Stewart had been the engine mechanics for Alan Mann Racing and their Ford GT 40 program.

The engine is from Ford Advanced Vehicles, Slough, Buckinghamshire, England with engine block Casting No. XE-136505 (the ‘X’ stands for experimental and prepared for the racing car program, while the ‘E’ is for Engine Division.) The engine has been stroked to three inches with a forged steel, Tufftrided, cross drilled crank to make it a full five litres. The crank is supported with 4-bolt main caps. The 4-bolt main Ford castings were first available in May 1967 according to Stewart Mathesion. Forgetrue forged pistons are held with Carillo Billet steel connecting rods. A Shelby Race Cobra, camshaft kit, Part No. SICR-6250, duration of 289 degrees, intake and exhaust with 69 degrees overlap and .500 inch lift on both valves is installed. Competition, titanium intake valves of 2.03″ diameter and hollow stem sodium cooled exhaust valves of 1.62 inches are installed in the Gurney-Weslake Mark IV aluminium heads (later known as Gurney-Eagle heads). It was now fitted with four dual throat 48IDA Weber carbs. This engine produces 453 BHP, at 6000 RPM [5] Mathesion, Stuart, Personal Interview, April 11, 1989. Stuart said they had taken the engine to Weslake’s shop for the dyno testing because theirs wasn’t capable of handling this power.

It did win this Brands Hatch Formula Libre Race after starting from third position on the grid. As they said “It shot to the lead.”

For the May 2, Thruxton British Automobile Racing Club meeting, the pink Lotus 30 was featured on the cover of the Race Programme.

In 1972 it raced in six events with two overall wins. Both wins being at Snetterton, Formula Libre and GT/Sports car races. John also had one second place, third place twice and fourth once. Additionally he had two class wins.

The May 29th Motoring News/Castrol Championship for sports and GT cars Silverstone 20 lap race was also a very exciting race. John started at the back of the gird after being docked 10 sec. because he broke the driveshaft within 100 yds. of starting qualifying and couldn’t finish. He worked his way to fourth position on the 13th lap and spun in the drizzle being on dry tires. After having a push start, the stewards penalized him 1 min. but undeterred John still finished third in class, fourth overall.

On Aug. 20 at Brands Hatch Motoring News/Castrol Championship races for Sports/GT’s, the car made it’s first appearance in the orange paint scheme and was being entered by Cronk Garages of Chipstead (still owned by Paul). Also at this Brands meet John set another fastest lap of 50.2 sec., 88.92 MPH while finishing third overall. John held onto 2nd position until the gear change started sticking in 2nd & 3rd gears. The motoring press called his 30/40 “Brutal.” At both this meet and the May 29th race at Silverstone for the same championship, Markey raced again against Ferrari 512 M’s.

At the August Brands Hatch race John had taken the position of Great Britain BMW Competition Head.

In 1973 John continued to drive for Cronk Garages but the car was still owned by Paul Gresham. Entered in six races, winning one outright and achieving four class wins. At Thruxton early in the year he ran against a 8.1 litre BRM Can Am and a 7.0 Litre McLaren M6B. John still managed a second position overall despite running on seven cylinders and achieved 1st in class. He set fastest lap of race min. 26.6 sec., 97.94 MPH.

The Brands Hatch Motoring News/Castrol Sports and GT race was also very exciting. Because of practising out of session, he started with a 10 sec. penalty, set fastest lap record of 52.0 sec., 85.85 M.P.H. to win his class and gained second place overall.

The last race was at Mallory Park in the Sports & GT race where John crashed it into the sleepers coming in the esses on the sixth lap while in fourth position. John suffered a concussion while bending the back of the car quite badly.

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References   [ + ]

1. Markey, John, Personal Interview at his home in Liphook, Hampshire, England, Aug. 7, 1986. Also from his personal notebooks
2. Hodges, David, Doug Nye, and Nigel Roebuck, Grand Prix, London: Imprint Books Ltd., 1981. Ludvigsen, Karl, Gurney’s Eagles, Minn., Motortext, Inc., 1976.
3. Blunsden, John, Sports Car Graphic, Oct. 1966.
4. Allen, John, Ford GT 40 Super Profiles, Somerset, England, Haynes Publishing Group, 1983 p. 16.
5. Mathesion, Stuart, Personal Interview, April 11, 1989.

The Lotus 30/40 – The biggest, hairiest Lotus Colin Chapman ever built!