HILL FORD GH2

Being a works or semi-works driver from 1959 to 1972 Graham Hill had decided to establish a team of his own beginning at the 1973 Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona-Montjuich. Always being considered the Ambassador of Moto Racing he had been able to sign up with British cigarette brand Embassy being the title sponsor of his team in the first year bringing an American Shadow Ford DN1 to the grid with Hill as driver and team principal in personal union. After an inaugural year as a pure private team Graham Hill switched to Lola Ford T370s driven by himself, Briton Guy Edwards and later by Rolf Stommelen from Germany for 1974. Lola traditionally used to enter their Formula One cars in semi-works teams. Graham Hill scored the first point of the team coming home sixth position in the Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp. For the 1975 season Graham Hill decided to stay with the Lola Ford T370s for him and Stommelen. He also had signed up with young British designer Andrew Smallman for the development of the T370 type. For the 1975 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami a modified version of it appeared called T371 making Stommelen score a fine seventh place at it´s debut. With Smallman having done so much design work on the Lola cars and with the facilities at their Feltham workshop increased, Graham Hill and his team had decided to establish theirselves as constructors in their own rights. The car had been re-named into Embassy Hill Ford GH1. As it it had been done at Tyrrell before, at the beginning the model designation was identical with the chassis number, so the GH1 was driven by Francois Migault from France and the GH2 by Stommelen in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix again at Montjuich, where the Embassy Hill team had given their debut with the Shadow Ford two years before. Bringing a lot of iuridical problems in the case of one car destroyed during qualifying, that system had given up later. So GH1 became the model designation of the 1975 Embassy Hill Ford, while GH2 was the name of the car being under construction for the 1976 season. Stommelen had been able to take the lead in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix at the official debut of the Embassy Hill Ford, but he crashed very heaviliy caused by a broken rear wing making the Cologne driver stay in hospital for several weeks. Graham Hill, playing the role of the team principal in Spain, had returned into the cockpit for that year`s next round of the worldchampionship, the Monaco Grand Prix, but he failed to qualify for the race with no failure of the car being detected. At the British Grand Prix held at Silverstone, Graham Hill announced his definite retirement from active competition driving a lap of honour with the car built by his own waving to the crowds watching him. Meanwhile he had signed up with rising British star Tony Brise and with Alan Jones from Australia until the time of the recovery of Stommelen in the autumn of 1975. For the reason of the necessity of saving money, the Embassy cigarette producers had to cut their sponsorship money for the 1976 season. So the Embassy Hill team had to return to a single car entry for the year to come. In contrast to the season gone by, Andy Smallman, who had considered being a brilliant designer by his boss Graham Hill, when he modified the Lola built chassis, was able to create new, exciting ideas of his own by using basic elements seen at cars coming from rival teams. Smallman´s 1976 car had got the flat nose of the Lotus Ford 72 in 1969 designed by Maurice Phillippe. Later also invented by Phillippe (at Parnelli Jones´s Indy Car team back in 1972) was the trapeziform monocoque chassis for reducing air resistance, in Grand Prix Racing later adopted by Gurdon Murray for the Brabham Ford BT42 to 46 types. The radiators transferred shortly behind the front wheels had been an "invention" of Mauro Forghieri for his Ferrari 312B and T models. The high and slim cockpit cover was seen for the first time at Dr Harvey Postlethwaite`s Hesketh Ford 308C presented in the middle of 1975. At least the rear wing is looking pretty similar to that one of the original version of the Lotus Ford 72 with using only two elements at Embassy Hill instead of three ones at Lotus. But Smallman had not copied other designers´ideas as many engineers of his time often had done, he had interpreted accepted temporary elements to create a logical and closed concept of his own for a unique and beautiful looking car being very promising for the 1976. After a roll-out in Britain, the Embassy Hill team had gone to the Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France for testing under better weather conditions with new British star driver Tony Brise behind the wheel at the end of November 1975. When returning to England from that testing session, all the leading members of the Embassy Hill team were killed in an air crash of Graham Hill´s private Piper Aztec. For this reason, the Embassy Hill Ford GH2 never was seen at the start of a Grand Prix.

Klaus Ewald

 






 

Model Designation: Hill Ford GH2 Year: 1975/76 Chassis: Hill aluminum monocoque Engine: Ford Cosworth 3.0 litre DFV V8 Gearbox: Hewland FG400 5 speed manual Tyres: Goodyear Fuels and Oils: Esso Sponsor: Embassy (cigarettes) Designer: Andy Smallman Team Principal: Graham Hill Team Manager: Ray Brimble Driver: Tony Brise (GB)

 

Photos taken at the 2005 Jim Clark Revival at Hockenheim

 

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