THE SPORT ABROAD
WITH the coming of April the motor racing season may be said to open in earnest, and the first really big event of the Continental Feason, the Italian 1,000 Miles Race, is due to take place on the 11th and 12th of the month. The Alfa-Romeo firm, which has won the race for the last three years, is, of course, again going to make a big effort, and rumour has it that more than fifty cars of the marque will start. The first real appearance of the new 24-litre straight-eight Alfa will undoubtedly be watched with enormous interest, and it seems highly probable that the Milanese firm will pull off its fourth successive victory. Nuvolari, last year’s winner, will again handle one of the cars, and the other chief drivers of the team will be Arcangeli, Borzacchini and Ghersi. Rudolf Caraceiola now definitely seems to have got out of his contract (if it ever existed) with the firm, and there seems to be quite a good chance that he and von Stuck will drive together in a big Mercedes, which should have an excellent chance with two such drivers.
Maserati in Force.
Among the other Italian cars a big Maserati entry is also expected, and as these cars from Bologna are oz almost exactly the same type as the new AlfaRomeos, the competition between the two marques should be exceptionally interesting. Ramponi will drive one of these cars, possibly with Campari as his team-mate, and it may be noted that this combination proved victorious in 1928 and 1929. It is just possible, however, that his old contract with Alfa-Romeo will oblige Campari to drive one of these cars in the 1,000 Miles, although he is captain of the Maserati team for the coming season, but even if this proves to be the case, Maserati will still have Ernesto Maserati, the brother of the constructor, Fagioli and perhaps Rene Dreyfus and Count Maggi.
At any rate, in numbers, however, it is expected that Alfa-Romeo will be rivalled by Fiat. The premier Italian firm has, in fact, decided to return to racing with a vengeance, and for the 1,000 Miles Race has prepared special sports editions of its 4-litre 6-cylinder and 1,500 c.c. 4-cylinder models. The firm is apparently prepared to sell cars of the latter model at 2,200 lire (about £240) specially tuned for the race, to any enthusiast, and will provide all his pit organization and supplies free. In view of this special offer a huge Fiat entry is expected, but besides the amateurs, the firm’s official team will consist of the great Felice Nazarro, Carlo Salamano and Pastore, and rumour has it that they will drive special supercharged editions of the 1,500 c.c. model. One interesting effect of the concentration of Fiat on the two models is that the firm has refused to tune any privately owned Model 509 1,000 c.c. cars owned
The Italian 1,000 Miles Race—The Italian G. P. and the Targa Florio— Le Mans and other Events1
by amateurs for the race. In the meantime a team of Austin Sevens have been entered for the race by the Italian agent, and thus some British cars will run in this event for the first time. As the baby Fiats will probably be only capable of about 45 m.p.h. without the special attentions of the factory behind them, the Austins should have a good run for their money in the 1,100 c.c. class, although it is just possible that the new miniature Maseratis will be ready in time for the race. This new model is a 4cylinder machine with front-wheel drive, and its performance will be watched with great interest.
Strazza’s Special Lancia.
Returning to the bigger cars, Strazza tire well known Lancia driver, has apparently succeeded in fitting a Dilambda engine into his old racing Lambda chassis, and the power-weight ratio of the resulting machine should make it a formidable competitor. He will probably drive with his old team-mate, Varallo, with whom he finished third in 1928, and a good many more Lancias are also expected. At the same time, Varzi is going to drive a Bugatti, probably one of the new 5-litre moLels with two overhead camshafts, and a full O.M. entry is expected, Bassi and Gazzabini, who fini6hed fifth last year, having already sent in their names. In fact, it seems that the fifth 1,000 Miles Race will be an epic event well worthy of its predecessors. While Italy is thus buzzing with excitement, anyhow, the Italian Club has suddenly thrown the continental racing world into consternation by the announcement that it has received permission from the International Sporting Committee to hold its Grand Prix at Monza on 24th May instead of the 6th September, the date which had been previously fixed and which was in accordance with the precedent of previous years. As will be remembered, the Grands Prix of France, Belgium, Spain and Italy are this year all to be 10-hour races for any type of car, and valuable cash prizes have been pooled by the four clubs and will go to the most successful driver in the four events. Now, however, intending competitors who thought that the French Grand Prix on 21st June was to be the first event of the series, and had planned the preparation of their cars accordingly, are suddenly
faced with the necessity of getting ready for Monza by the 24th May. Moreover, the change of date has brought the Italian Grand Prix to within a fortnight of the Targa Florio, which is to be run on 10th May, and it is feared that entries for the latter event will be jeopardised. In fact, one is tempted to wonder what Cav. Vincenzo Florio is about, as it is hard to find any motive for the move, unless it is a desire to avoid running a rival show to the Schneider Cup at the beginning of September. Entries for the Targa Florio are, in fact, not numerous as yet, although Campari is down to drive a Maserati and Ghersi an Alfa Romeo.
In the meantime only a week after the 1,000 Miles Race, on the 19th April, comes that most exciting event, the Monaco Grand Prix, which is run through the streets of the town. The English entry for this race will include Lord Howe, who is going to drive one of the new 2,300 c.c. Bugattis with two overhead camshafts, and Penn-Hughes on another Bugatti, while Scott is hoping to run his 11-litre Grand Prix Delage. Among the Continental drivers, Dreyfus (last year’s winner) is going to drive a Bugatti again, more or less for the last time, as he is one of the official Maserati team for the later events, while cars of the same make have been entered by Williams, Etancelin, Lehoux and Michel Dore . As a matter of fact, the Club has decided that the course cannot do with more than about twenty cars racing round it, whereas it is understood that there are some fifty would-be entrants. However, even if a choice has to be made, the runners will probably include the official Alfa-Romeo team, which will most likely consist of Nuvolari, Borzacchini and Arcangeli ; the Maserati team of Ernesto Maserati, Campari and Fagioli ; and the official Bugattis, which will probably be driven by Chiron, Varzi and Divo. At the same time, the dashing Ivanowski is hoping to drive a big Mercedes, which will certainly be rather a formidable object in the narrow streets, and there is a possibility that a Peugeot will run.
The Casablanca Circuit.
About a month after the Monaco race there will take place another event through the streets of a town. This consists of the Grand Prix of Casablanca, which is scheduled for 17th May. Hitherto it will be remembered the Moroccan Club has run its Grand Prix over a single lap of a circuit covering the whole of Southern Morocco and measuring about 450 miles round. It is intended to repeat this race in 1932, but in the meantime this year it has been decided to go to the other extreme and run the Grand Prix over a tiny circuit measuring 6 kms. 716 ins. in the streets of Casablanca itself, consisting of the Avenue de l’Hippodrome, the Boulevard Joffre and the Route de la Corniche The cars will be sent off in two groups, up to 1,500 c.c. and over that limit, and, will have to cover the course 55 times, making a total distance of just over 230 miles. It is expected that this event will prove extremely popular, and it seems fairly certain that Lehoux, Etancelin, Tiercourt, Michel Dore, Madame Rose Itier, Meyer, Benitah, Max Fourn.ey and Liocourt will be among the starters. At one time it was hoped that a team of Maseratis would also be secured, but in view of the trouble already existing over the proximity of the Targa Florio and the Italian Grand Prix, this now seems improbable. However, Etancelin should have his new Alfa-Romeo by then, and its performance against the Bugattis will add, interest to the race.
Turning to the later races, the list of entries for le Mans has now been increased by the addition of two Cabans, this entry bringing the total number up to twenty. The Cabans will presumably be of the new 1,500 c.c. type with which Giraud.Cabantons, their manufacturer, recently made fastest time in the Chanteloup hill climb. This young firm has some experience of 24-hour races, for it will be remembered, that it was successful in winning the Bol d’Or race with the 1,100 c.c. model last year. At le Mans the cars will probably be driven. by Giraud-Cabantons himself, Balard, Trebor and Labric.
A Schneider Snag.
It is extraordinary, however, how there always seems to be some snag about everything and our elation at the prospects of a successful Schneider Cup race cannot but be somewhat damped by the possibility that this event may not only interfere with the Targa Florio as mentioned above, but also may jeopardise the appearance of the eagerly-awaited Lorraine-Dietrichs at le Mans. It appears, in fact, that M. Barberon, the head of the firm, is finding his hands so full with preparing possible engines for the French Schneider Cup team, that it may be impossible for the new cars to run at le Mans.
This is particularly unfortunate, as the new model is of exceptional interest, having a 12-cylinder engine of 72 x 102 um. bore and stroke (4,984 c.c.) with overhead, camshaft driven from the front of the engine. The crankshaft, big ends and even the gudgeon pins run on roller bearings, there is dual ignition with two plugs per cylinder, and part of the radiator is used for cooling the oil. The chassis is very little altered from the successful model which proved victorious at le Mans in 1925 and 1926, and the power weight ratio is thus very high.
On the other hand, although no official entries have yet been received, AlfaRomeo has definitely announced its intention of taking part in the le Mans race, as well as the Belgian 24-hour race and the Tourist Trophy. The new 2/-litre model will also run in the Italian Grand Prix, unless the change of date has caused too much necessity for changing plans, and in the other real Grands Prix in France, Spain and Belgium. The Belgian Club is, in fact, making a great effort to ensure the success of the Grand Prix for racing cars on the Spa circuit, and as well as the Alfa-Romeos, it has been promised teams by Bugatti, Maserati and Imperia. A 10 hour event for unrestricted cars over the difficult Spa circuit should at least be a most interesting race.
New Big German Trial.
Competitors in the Monte Carlo Rally and, others who have acquired a taste for long-distance Continental trials will find plenty of scope for their activities in the coming season. In the first place, the German Automobile Club intends to bring to fruition this year an ambitious scheme for a 10,000 kilometre trial which was originally planned for 1930. The route runs from Berlin to Lisbon and back and the Trial, which will last from 22nd May to 7th June, will be run in eleven stages, as follows :-1, Berlin to Geneva (702 miles) ; 2, Geneva to San Sebastian (587 miles) ; 3, San Sebastian to Lisbon (675 miles) ; 4, Lisbon to Madrid (437 miles) ; 5, Madrid to Barcelona (400 miles) ; 6, Barcelona to Milan (663 miles) ; 7, Milan to Rome (435 miles) ; 8, Rome to Munich (606 miles) ; 9, Munich by Trieste to Ragusa (751 miles) ; 10, Ragusa by Zagreb to Buda-Pest (660 miles) ; and, 11, Buda-Pest to Berlin (582 miles).
The route thus passes through Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Yugo-Slavia, Hungary and Czecho-Slovakia, or ten countries in all. Competitors will be divided into two classes, up to 2-litres and, over that limit, the smaller cars having to average 30 k.p.h. (18 m.p.h.), and the larger ones 40 k.p.h. (25 m.p.h.), Secret checks will be used, and, competitors will be penalised for being late in controls, while the most important components of the chassis will be sealed. In view of the long stages which will have to be covered, two drivers per car will be allowed. The entry fee for this most interesting event is 100 Marks (R5) per car.
Later on in the season, during the first week in August, the Automobile Clubs of Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland are combining to organise the great international Alpine Trial. This trial will, take competitors over all the best knoivn and most difficult passes in the Alps, the daily stages being as follows : 1st day, Munich to Innsbruck ; 2nd day, Innsbruck to St. Moritz ; 3rd day, St. Moritz to Turin ; 4th day, Turin to Nice ; 5th day, Nice to Geneva ; 6th day, Geneva to Berne.
The trophies in connection with this contest are the Alpine Cup, which is to be competed for by teams of cars entered by their manufacturers or others ; and the Glacier Cup, which is open to private entrants. The event is confined to standard touring cars, and in order to remove any suggestion that the affair is a race, the organiser will operate three checks on each daily stage, and will penalise competitors for being too early, as well as late. The important components of the chassis will also be sealed, and competitors will lose marks if any of these components have to be changed.