South African GP 1967

South African GP, 1967

The 1966 South African GP had been a non-championship race at East London, but the opening round of the 1967 series took place on January 2 at the new Kyalami circuit near Johannesburg. Coming only a few weeks after the final round of the 1966 World Championship the machinery was much the same as it had been the previous season. There had, however, been some major changes in the driver lineup with John Surtees having been hired to drive for Honda. He was replaced as Jochen Rindt's team mate in the Cooper-Maserati team by Pedro Rodriguez. The Brabham driver lineup stayed the same with Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme but Team Lotus had recruited Graham Hill to be equal number one to Jim Clark, Peter Arundell having been dropped. To replace Hill BRM picked Mike Spence and his place at Reg Parnell Racing went to rising star Piers Courage. Gurney hired Honda reject Ritchie Ginther while Bruce McLaren let Chris Amon go and the young New Zealander was signed to drive alongside Lorenzo Bandini at Ferrari. Ferrari and McLaren did not bother to go to South Africa, however, and so Brabham and Hulme lined up 1-2 on the grid with Clark and Rodriguez on the second row. Local driver John Love did an impressive job in a Cooper-Climax to set the fifth fastest time ahead of Surtees. The BRMs were a long way down the grid and poor Graham Hill found himself 15th after a series of mechanical problems.

In the race Hulme took the lead at the start with Brabham and Surtees giving chase. On the third lap Brabham made a mistake and spun and dropped to fourth place behind Surtees and Rindt although the Austrian soon spun on oil dropped by Stewart's BRM. Hill's similar car went out not long afterwards. While all this was happening Hulme stayed ahead with Surtees gradually being caught by Brabham. The Australian took the place on lap 21 with Rindt following him past the Honda on lap 24. Rindt's race ended 15 laps later with an engine failure but by then Surtees had dropped behind Love and Gurney.

Brabham then disappeared from second place with a misfiring engine which promoted Love to second and Gurney to third, but the American went out a few laps later with a rear suspension failure. Hulme was a minute ahead but on lap 61 it all went wrong. The Brabham's brakes were shot. This put Love into the lead - a remarkable effort for a privateer - but Rodriguez saw a chance to win and began to close on the Rhodesian driver. Love responded and the race seemed to be over but with seven laps to go Love went into the pits for some more fuel. Rodriguez took the lead and won his first Grand Prix victory by just over 20secs. Surtees finished third behind the remarkable Love with a recovering Hulme fourth.

Pedro Rodriguez Cooper-Maserati T81 80 2h05m45.900s  
17 John Love Cooper-Climax T79 80 2h06m12.300s  
11 John Surtees Honda RA273 79  
Denny Hulme Brabham-Repco BT20 78  
14 Bob Anderson Brabham-Climax BT11 78  10 
Jack Brabham Brabham-Repco BT20 76  
nc 19 Dave Charlton Brabham-Climax BT11 63  
nc 20 Luki Botha Brabham-Climax BT11 60  17 
18 Sam Tingle LDS-Climax MK 3B 56 Accident 14 
16 Piers Courage Lotus-BRM 25 51 Fuel System 18 
Dan Gurney Eagle-Climax T1G 44 Suspension 11 
12 Jo Siffert Cooper-Maserati T81 41 Engine 16 
Jochen Rindt Cooper-Maserati T81 38 Engine 
Mike Spence BRM P83 31 Mechanical 13 
15 Jo Bonnier Cooper-Maserati T81 30 Engine 12 
Jim Clark Lotus-BRM 43 22 Engine 
Graham Hill Lotus-BRM 43 Accident 15 
Jackie Stewart BRM P83 Engine