Monday, April 28, 2014

Brian Redman RRDC Interview

Brian Redman drove most of the race cars that made a deep impression on me in my youth, notably the Porsche 917 and the Lola T-330/332.  His talent showed best in long races on the most difficult courses: Nurburgring, Spa, the Targa Florio.  But I watched Formula 5000 races at Mid-Ohio in which he out-drove Mario Andretti, David Hobbs, Al Unser Sr., and several former Can-Am luminaries.

Race car drivers, generally, seem to me to be unimaginative and self-absorbed.  They have an empathy deficit.  And the more successful they are, the truer that is.  Brian Redman is an exception to the rule.  I love his skill as a story-teller: he humanizes the racing scene.  When you think about one of his stories, you sometimes see that there's a point that applies outside of racing.

Brian Redman in the prime of his racing career, with Jo Siffert at the Nurburgring, around the time he declined to test
an early version of the Porsche 917 and maybe "die for the Fatherland" (see interview).

Redman in his Hall/Haas Lola T-332-Chevy Formula 5000 car at Road America.  As a spectator, I recall these cars as
even more difficult to control than 7 liter Can Am cars--on the tight Mid-Ohio course anyway.  The difference being
that, in a Can-Am car the technique was to get the car slowed, roll through the corner, straighten it out, and nail the
gas.  With superior downforce, Formula 5000 cars could be driven hard through the corner.  But, with their short
wheelbase and big power, car-control was a knife-edge proposition.

BMW 3.0 CSL: not the most famous of the makes and models driven by Brian Redman, but his interview gives me an
excuse to post a picture of one of my favorite race car graphic schemes of the 1970's.  These are the factory BMW's
entering Turn 7 at Riverside Raceway in California.

1 comment:

Wannabe Hotshoe said...

Brian Redman - One Quality Guy. Who said nice guys finish last??

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