"Superb, rare footage" Autosport
"Compelling viewing" Octane
Motorsport comes in many different guises, but what all the forms have in common is drivers who are ‘on the limit’. This magnificent collection of three archive films from the BP Video Library brings us racetrack action from the 1950s as stars of Grand Prix, touring car and sports car racing show us what it truly means to be On the Limit!
The first film, On the Limit, is not only packed with thrilling action, it’s also an important piece of motorsport history. The classic colour footage captures the Production Touring Car race held as part of the 1958 British Grand Prix – this was one of the first races from the inaugural season what we know today as the British Touring Car Championship. There are 21 starters for the 17-lap dice, with a field made up of Jaguars, Austins, Rileys, MGs and more. The fact these are almost standard showroom models makes the wheel-to-wheel racing and breathtaking power slides all the more remarkable. The race is all about the Jags of Tommy Sopwith and American sportscar star Walter Hansgen, but a supporting cast including Jack Sears, John Sprinzel, Jeff Uren and Bob Gerrard ensures it is a thrill-packed contest. There’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some early slow-motion footage as we watch these road-going cars sliding through the corners at Silverstone, leaving thick clouds of smoke - and thick lines of rubber - as they power on.
Next we travel to Northern Ireland’s Dundrod circuit for The RAC International Tourist Trophy 1955. The black-and-white film shows a classic encounter between Britain’s small but hardy Jaguar squad and the mighty machine of Germany’s Mercedes team. Mike Hawthorn is the undoubted hero of Jag’s two-car entry, driving his D-Type fully on the limit in a desperate bid to stay close to the leading Mercedes 300SLR. It is a staggering demonstration, but ultimately futile as the Jaguar ground to a halt with the chequered flag in sight. Jaguar hopes had always been slim against a Mercedes team which featured Juan Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling, Wolfgang von Trips and the simply astounding Stirling Moss, who, on his 26th birthday, delivered a driving masterclass to secure his third TT win. While we witness the rewards on offer for driving on the limit, we are also reminded of the tragic results of going beyond that limit as drivers pay the ultimate price on the 7.5-mile course.
Finally, we have a short but charming black-and-white film transporting us back to 1950 for the International Race Meeting at Goodwood. In teeming rain there are three races, culminating in the non-championship Grand Prix for the coveted Goodwood Trophy. Among the stars featured are Stirling Moss, Prince Bira, Duncan Hamilton and Reg Parnell, whose on the limit style doesn’t let a little wet weather stop him giving BRM its first win and claiming the trophy for third time!
"This short but spectacular three-film combo features an eclectic mix of 1950s action: the British Saloon Car Championship race at the Silverstone British GP meeting in '58, the final RAC Tourist Trophy at Dundrod in '55 and the Goodwood Trophy meeting at the Sussex venue in '50. Superb, rare footage" Autosport
"More cracking BP films of yore, kicking off with footage of the Production Touring Car race that supported the '58 British GP. This 'good clean fun' proves that in period, at least, an Austin A35 wasn't capable of breaching the sound barrier; American Walt Hansgen won aborad a Jag Mk1 on his first run at Silverstone. The deadly '55 Tourist Trophy at dundrod provides plenty of drama for the second reel. Stirling Moss's inspired recovery drive to win his third TT - on his 26th birthday - makes for compelling viewing. A black-and-white short from Goodwood in 1950 rounds it off nicely" Octane