HERE'S NO QUESTION about the Europeans being tougher. American drivers could be just as good but the overseas guys get a 5-year jump on us. Take McLaren. He's been racing since he was 16." The speaker is Robert L. "Skip" Scott, youngest of the nine Americans on the 1967 international graded
A tall, casual 25-year-old Philadelphian, Skip has not let his considerable worldly goods stop him from becoming a formidable hunter in racing's car-sponsor, accessory-money jungle. Skip's great-grandfather Scott was a president of the Pennsylvania Railroad and you can't get much more Main Line than that. "Taking that first in class and third overall at the 1000 k's at Spa last year gave me the biggest charge I've had Qut of racing. I was a driver and team manager so when Peter Revson and I cinched the Sports Car Manufacturers Championship for Ford and my sponsor Essex Wire, who is a major Ford supplier, I felt I had done what I was responsible for.
Skip's plans for 1967 are all Ford-Cougars, Ford GTs and McLaren-Ford. In the Trans-American sedan series, he joins his 1966 partner Peter Revson in a factory Cougar. Le Mans will see him in a Ford Mark II. The young Scottish sportsman George Drummond, who sponsored Skip's 1966 Group 7 efforts, is supplying two new McLarens for the USRRC and Can-Am. "I like driving for Ford but I sometimes feel like a tube in one of their computers..With George, a lot of what we do is based on our close friendship."
Skip is married to the former Katherine Gates, daughter of Morgan Trust board chairman and one-time Secretary of the Navy and Defense, Thomas S. Gates. Kathy, Skip, and their two small children live in Devon, Pa., on Philadelphia's Main Line. Of his pretty wife, Skip says, "With two little kids, I'm sure my being away so much is rough on per but she wants me to do what I want. Kathy helps by never putting any pressure on to keep me home."
Skip first raced a Lotus Elite a little less than five years ago while attending the University of Denver. Tn 1964, his Elva was first in Northeastern Division points and with Hal Keck he drove a 289 Cobra to eighth overall and first among the private entries in the 1964 Sebring 12-hr. Skip worked for Ford briefly, then went to the West Coast as an instructor in Carroll Shelby's driving schoo1."I had the best possible break; Ken Miles devoted a hell of a lot of time to me. We were testing new cars and tires and I learned more from Miles in those three months than in the last 1 0 years. Ken was instrumental in getting me a ride with him in the 1964 Road America 500."
Frank Blunk named Skip as the New York Times' Driver of the Year for 1966 but Skip left his winning ways overseas and in the Can-Am series succeeded in looking good with Ford power while losing to Chevy-powered cars.
For 1967, Skip turned down a top works Formula 2 ride. "It's largely a question of economics," he said. "I think I'll do better staying over here and I'll get just as much experience in the USRRC and Can-Am. Sure, I'd like a chance at Formula 1 and I've been offered a couple of rides for Indy but I don't think I'm ready. I'm 25 and when I do it, I want to do it right.