Monday, September 10, 2012

Sweet to be a Winner... Rodger Penske

The race was a 200 mile affair at Laguna Seca in October 1964, called the Monterey Grand Prix. Roger Penske pulled off a first place driving a Jim Hall and Hap Sharp built Chaparral 2A.

The start of the 1964 Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. Image © Steven Chandler

Rodger Penske at the finish of the 1964 Monterey Grand Prix. Image © Steven Chandler

The Chaparral boasted a new approach to frame design. The semi-monocoque chassis structure was inspired by modern aircraft design at the time, and was modeled from fiberglass reinforced plastic. Since the engine was mounted just behind the driver, Jim and Hap were free to shape a low, sleek front end fitted with a V-shaped lip spoiler. This design kept the car from lifting at high speeds. For the race at Laguna, the Chaparral 2A introduced an “automatic” transmission, which eliminated the clutch pedal and freed the divers left foot to operate the brake while keeping the other foot on the throttle. 

“I’ve heard (Jim Hall) say that the big advantage of the automatic transmission is that it lets the Chaparral driver use his free hand to wave at the other drivers as he passes them!” - Roger Penske

Rodger Penke in the Chaparral. Image © Steven Chandler

Thank you to Blog follower Steven Chandler for sending these "never published" images.

Rodger Penske, today...still winning races.

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