Patrick Neve in the RJ03 in 1975.


Safir was the name of an engineering company owned by John Thorpe and the first car to be called a Safir was the renamed F1 Token RJ02 which was acquired and run in a couple of British F1 races in 1975, the original intention being to gain experience before launching a new design in 1976. The Token F! was designed by Ray Jessop who had left Brabham’s to work on the Ron Dennis’ Rondel F1 car which never ran due to budgetary problems, it was taken over by another team and renamed the Token and then became the Safir. In 1975 Safir built and raced a F3 car, after extensive winter testing by Tony Trimmer it showed promise but as most of the available budget went on building the car there was very little left over to develop it into a consistent front runner. An initial batch of five cars was planned in an effort to take on March but despite the car showing its competitiveness it would seem that the extra cars never materialised. Safir continued into 1976 but the death of Ray Jessop saw the project wound up.


Designed by Ray Jessop, with Alan England responsible for the aerodynamics the RJ03 was not dissimilar to a Ralt with its full-width nose and slab sided monocoque, suspension was a conventional wide track design and power came from either a Holbay-Ford Pinto or later a Holbay-Ford twin-cam. Best results were a win at Knockhill for Belgian Patrick Neve backed up by 2nds at Monaco, Silverstone and twice at Thruxton. The design would appear to be a developed version of the Delta RJO3 (q.v.) that was announced in early 1975.


Some minor revisions were introduced for 1976 when a second chassis was built the most important of which was probably the installation of a Toyota Novamotor. Sadly Ray Jessop died early in the year of a stroke aged only 40 which prevented any further development. Best results for Tiff Needell were a 2nd at Thruxton and a 4th at Oulton Park with a handful of other top 6 finishes.

1975 Claude Crespin, Geoff Lees, Patrick Neve

1976 Tiff Needell

Geoff Lees at Thruxton in his Safir.
Tiff Needell finishing 4th at Oulton Park.