Martini Lancia Delta's new 24-hour record

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It would be a pity if the once flourishing pursuit of records became moribund, suit is good to learn that a Pirelli-shed Martini Lancia Delta HF Turbo saloon has set a new National British 24-hour of 103.15 mph. It betters the old record by 620 miles, the Martini Racing hand-out says, and nine other records fell as well. It was done at the 2.7-mile MIRA banked track, the closest there is today to Brooklands where so much record-chasing took place before the war. The Lancia was driven by a team of four women, who thus add their names to those of Mesdames Stewart, Descolles, Bruce, etc. The hand-out caddishly quotes their individual ages but let us just say that these total 148 years!

It should be explained that this ranks as a National British record because it was made on British soil; the nationality of the car, or the drivers for that matter, is immaterial. The first such record (which was then also the World’s record) was set at Brooklands at 65.91 mph by Edge and his Napier in 1907 and this stood as a British record until quite recent times. The Lancia’s new record recalls another feminine feat, when at Montlhéry in 1929 the Hon Mrs Victor Bruce drove a “Double Twelve” 4½-litre Bentley for 24 hours at an average speed of 89.57 mph without a co-driver. Other comparisons with the Lancia’s record are that, up to 1940, the International Class-E 24-hour record stood at 99.79 mph to the credit of an Adler-Trumpf, the World’s 24-hour record was at over 161 mph, and a 9-litre diesel-engined car had done 97.05 mph for two rounds of the clock. Now a production-type saloon driven by les girls, has more than caught up… — W.B.

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