The F3 version of the Wheatcroft R18.


Tom Wheatcroft will forever be associated with Donington Park, it was his money, determination and enthusiasm that saw the rebuilding of Donington into a Grand Prix standard circuit, the same enthusiasm and determination that saw a Grand Prix held there, the same enthusiasm and determination that saw the creation of the wonderful Donington Collection of racing cars. It is therefore surprising that when Tom turned to racing car construction it seemed slightly halfhearted, many people feel that Tom never felt quite the same about being personally involved with racing after the death of Roger Williamson. The Mike Pilbeam designed R18 appeared in 1975 in F Atlantic specification and was raced that season to some race wins by Peter Morgan. In August of that year an F2 version was built with a Hart-BDA and Henton finished 3rd at Silverstone the car then going to South Africa for F Atlantic racing.


John Bright, working on a shoestring budget, converted the ex-Peter Morgan F Atlantic car to F3 specification in Wheatcroft’s workshop. The car retained the full-width nose with a slim monocoque and hip-mounted radiators. The suspension was by double wishbone with inboard coils and dampers at the front. The fuel was contained in a single cell behind the driver which helped keep the tub slim. A Toyota Novamotor was the chosen power source. The only result was an early season 6th at Thruxton although Bright did win a non-championship race, at Donington coincidentally.


Bright continued to use the R18 in unmodified form for the beginning of the 1978 season, a couple of good results were the reward with a 4th at Silverstone and a 6th at Thruxton. Bright then switched to a March 773 to finish the year.


1977 John Bright.
1978 John Bright.

John Bright takes the Wheatcroft through the Donington chicane.
John Bright in the R18.