S3951 Ensign N175 No.31 French GP 1975 – Gijs Van Lennep
The raising of Mo Nunn’s team into the Formula 1 was meteoric. And in nowadays unimaginable. In 1971 Morris Nunn made his debut in the formula 3 with his racing team Ensign. Only 2 years later, he created his own racing car. The fast raising was not accompanied by success. Ensign could just survive in the first year due to the rich Rikky von Opel from Liechtenstein. And in 1974 Teddy Yip who merged with Ensign later was paying. In both cases the money flow stopped after one year only. Nunn had to look for new investors. For the year 1975 he could find them in the Netherlands. The company Hoogenbooms Bewakingsdienst BV which is specialized in alarm systems invested in the team and with them the compatriot Roelof Wunderwink. But his performance was not brilliant. After he was injured during one Formula 500 race, he was replaced by Gijs van Lennep.
Van Lennep was another caliber of racing driver. Van Lennep won the 24h Le Mans with Helmut Marko in 1971. But also Lennep was getting into gear slowly. With the new N175 constructed by Dave Baldwin it was getting better and the man with the “Oranje-helmet” obtained the first championship point for Ensign finishing sixth at the French GP. But it should have been the only highlight.
Also the personnel reinforcement through the experienced Chris Amon was not pushing the team enough. “The first time taking a seat in the car in Austria, Mo told me: Just drive. We do not need any feedback from your side. We are taking care of the engineering.” Amon still astonished: “I could stop myself from saying after two rounds that the bumpers are rubbish.” Also the last race of the year, Wunderwink was the driver again, finished with a breakdown. This time the gearbox, a permanent weak point at Ensign, broke. And the sponsor HB was fed up as well.
The Dutch guys took over the last chassis and used it under the name Boro 001 in the years 1976 and 1977 for Larry Perkins and Brian Henton. In 1978 the race car got his comeback: At the British GP with Mario Deliotti Racing. However the driver Geoff Lees couldn’t qualify at the end.