On March 13th, (last Sunday) the SSR team took the first car, modified with all the new suspension updates to Thompson Raceway. At this time, Thompson was being expanded and therefore it was in rough shape. The car handled excellently. Only 20 laps were completed due to a gas line failure, but all present were impressed.
By the middle of March, Saidel had sold his new #2 car to Russ Columbosian at a greatly discounted price, to get another team car going. He was an Andover Mass native whose business was yogurt. Last year was his first year and he looked good on the track. The years opening races were as follows:
April 28 Opening of Lime Rock, Conn.
May 19 Cumberland Maryland
May 26 Opening of Thompson Conn.
Saidel had enlisted Mr. Gus Ehrman to drive a second car at Cumberland and hoped to convince Russ to bring his Jomar for a total of three. Repeat testing of the Jomar made the team eager for the end of April to come. Columbosians car was finished in red with a white stripe bordered in red. The end of March saw TVR finishing the Blown Ford soupe. Bernard said it looked like a cross between a Porsche and a 300 SL, and the factory designated it The Gran Tourismo Coupe. Four days before their first race Ray ordered a 5th chassis to be as #4, the Sebring Car that wasn’t, and wanted to get a price on Climax’s new `1500 cc engine.
Finally the day came for Lime Rock, a 1.5 mile circuit full of twisting bends, fast and tricky. Some of the fastest Loti in the country were there. The course was the hardest he’d ever seen on suspension and handling, and the cars were superb on both points.
With a defective right rear brake, Saidel managed to finish in 4th place. First was Len Bastrup (MK IX Lotus), 2nd was Charles Cunningham (MK XI Lotus) and 3rd was a Rutan Special. 5th was another MK XI Lotus, 6th was Columbosian in a Jomar, and a Mk XII Lotus, a Siata and another MK XI Lotus finished 7th, 8thand 9th respectively. In a letter to TVR the next day, Saidel said:
"Could have finished third, but due to a cracked and bent right rear backing plate,
I had to ease off about half way through the race. I enjoyed the excellent thrill of
overtaking all kinds of big machinery and holding off (in the corners) spider Porsche’s to
say nothing about flying by Alfa Velocies like they were tied to a tree."
Note: Walt Hansgen, top driver for Briggs
Cunningham (D Type Jag) came over after
6the race and mentioned how well he thought
the cars handled and that they were going
to be "real trouble" with a little more power."