Continental Notes and News, August 1935
Confinentall Notes and News
By HAROLD NOCKOLDS
Who Decides? ONE of the most difficult things in the world is to run a team of three racing cars with a trace of friction between the drivers. The classic example of what can occur, of course, was provided several years ago by Nuvolari and Varzi, who have never raced in the same team since. A similar sort of thing seems to be happening in the Mercedes-Benz camp, as manifested by the Fagioli incident at Spa. Obviously, the concern of the team manager is confined to getting his cars across the finishing line in the leading positions. The Mercs are just about as superior to anything else racing to-day (Auto-Unions apart) as racing cars can
possibly be, and yet it is by no means certain that they will finish one, two, three if the present dispute continues. Even when they have outdistanced the field there is always the possibility of two of the drivers starting a scrap between themselves, with the attendant risk of straining the engines to breaking-point.
A lot can be done by giving each driver a turn at winning, but the present trouble is probably caused by the fact that Fagioli is an Italian. The Germans can hardly be blamed for wanting an all-German victory. At the moment Fagioli is apparently making his own plans, because I was told quite confidentially at Spa that he would eventually win. At that moment he was some way behind Caracciola, but he soon began to creep nearer and finally tried to pass him.
Flow It’s His Turn!
The only man who appears to have any respect for team orders is Manfred von Brauchitsch, judging by his dog-like obedience in trailing Caracciola home in the French Grand Prix. Von Brauchitsch never strikes me as having the same genius and finesse as his team-mates, but he keeps up with them by sheer determination. He always has to wrestle with his car when approaching a corner, and never looks as calm and confident as Caracciola and Fagioli. His lap record at Spa showed that he is a truly courageous driver, however, and I should like to see him given the chance to win a big race. As it is, he has only taken first place once in the present team, and that was at Nurburg Ring last year, when Fagioli refused to go on driving because he was told not to pass him.
One Side of the Picture. There has been an attempt in the French Press to blame the special fuel used by the Mercedes-Benz team for the exhaustion of Chiron and Dreyfus at Spa. It is a pity that its originators did not think a little more before jumping to this conclusion. Judging by its smell, the German cars used exactly the same fuel at Spa as they did at Montlhery, where Von Brauchitsch followed in the wake of Caracciola for 250 kilometres ! At Spa Dreyfus only had the Mercs in front of him for a few minutes. The aforesaid French statement also says that Dreyfus handed over to Marinoni, not because he was exhausted, but because his eyes were sore and he was afraid of going off the road. In actual fact Dreyfus flopped on to the floor of the pit and stayed there for a quarter of an hour, being fanned by a mechanic. As for Chiron, he was suffering from incipient influenza, and did miracles to finish such a gruelling race at all.
If the smell of the fuel is so potent, why are not the Mercedes-Benz drivers themselves affected by it? Those Chicanes
Several people have asked me to explain the reason for the extensive use of artificial kinks, or chicanes, on French road-circuits. Their use seems particularly uncalled-for on circuits which are already slow through containing so many corners. Chicanes are universally condemned by the drivers, and yet they continue to be used. Why is it?
Well, the French Sporting Commission are the cause of the bother, because they have officially recommended the use of chicanes to slow the cars. Added to this, the organisers of road races are in holy terror of an accident involving spectators, as happened at ChAteau-Thierry. They argue that if they give way to the drivers and cut out the chicanes, and an accident should occur, the C.S.N. will immediately blame them for not taking proper precautions. Hence the ridiculous business of the Lorraine people making an artificial S-bend on a curve! BRITISH SUCCESSES AT KESSELBERG THE Kesselberg hill-climb, held at the end of June, was a great success in spite of a smaller entry than usual. Fastest time of the day went automatically to Hans Stuck on an Auto-Union. His time of 3m. 44.3S. (so m.p.h.) was nevertheless .35. slower than his record established last year. Second fastest was Juan Zanelli on a Nacional Pescara, with a time of 3m. 48.2 secs.
The 3-litre class was a close duel between the two Italians, Balestrero and Pintacuda, both on Alfa-Romeos. The former was judged first by the narrow margin of one tenth of a second. Christen, the Swiss ex-Aston-Martin driver, was five seconds slower on his Maserati. In the z,soo c.c. class Ruesch was the winner with his single-seater Maserati, which ran second to the E.R.A. at Nurburg Ring. Seaman made a run on his E.R.A. but the car was misfiring the whole way up.
The ‘,too c.c. class was a battle of British cars driven by Germans. The result was a fine win for Baumer’s singleseater Austin over Kohlrausch’s M.G. Midget by 7 seconds. It is worth noting that Baumer’s time was exactly the same as Ruesch’s 1,500 Maserati, and only 2 seconds slower than Balestrero’s 3-litre Alfa-Romeo ! He shattered the 1,loo c.c.. record by ti seconds.
The only British competitor in the sports. class was H. J. Aldington, who drove a 2-litre B.M.W. and finished fourth in his class. Here are the results of the racing classes :—
1,100 c.c.-1, Balmer (Austin), 3m. 58.282. Kohlrausch (M.G.), 4m. 5.1s.
1,500 c.c.-1, Ruesch Maserati), 3m. 58.2e.
2. Steinweg (Bugatti), 3m. 59.2s.
3. Berrone (Maserati), 4m. 9.3s.
4. Comte de Castelbarco (Maserati), 4m. us.
3-litres.-1, Balestrero (Alfa-Romeo), 3m. 56.1s.
2. Pintacuda JAlfa-Romeol, 3m. 56.2e.
3. Christen (Maserati), 4m. 1.1s. 440.3vser 3-litres.-1, Stuck (Auto-Union), 3m.
2. Zanelli (Nacional Pescara), 3m. 48.2e. More Formula Cars?
There is a rumour in Italy than one of the most famous Italian manufacturers is planning a team of racing cars to compete in International Formula events. It does not need much imagination to guess the identity of the firm in question, but the rumour itself can only be regarded with extreme reserve. I remember there was a similar story in circulation some time ago, with the addition that Nuvolari had been offered fabulous sums to handle the car.
It would certainly be good to see another firm competing in the big G.P. races. Nuvolari Decorated.
In recognition of his services to Italy in breaking records at over 200 m.p.h. with the bimotore Alfa-Romeo, Tazio Nuvolari has received from II Duce the “gold medal for valour in sport.” Signor Mussolini followed this up with a personal message of congratulation.
This incident must afford considerable satisfaction to Dunlops, whose tyres played a vital role in Nuvolari’s exploit.
Evvida il Mantovano Volatile! or words to that effect.
France in the Doldrums. The position of France in the racing world is giving rise to the most despondent utterances by French journalists. Bugatti CONTINENTAL NOTES—continued
is obviously more concerned with his railcars than with Grand Prix racing. The team cars do not appear to be au point, and generally arrive at circuits at the last sninute. The Sefac appears to have died .at birth. What really depresses the French, however, is the fact that they are now completely ousted from the i,soo c.c. class as well. Even that first-class combination of Veyron and an 8-cyl. Bugatti has to ‘bow before the E.R.A.s and the Maseratis, albeit the former score in the matter of -reliability.
The National Fund is slowly growing, but has not made the strides anticipated by its originators. Questions have been asked in the Conseil des Minsitres about a government subsidy for motor-racing, but nothing has been done.
I always thought our British motorracing dignitaries had a monopoly in the utterance of pious sentiments and in a terror of being asked to translate their words into action. Apparently they share both attributes with their French counterparts.
This year has been a fairly quiet one as regards records, at least for that inveterate record-breaker, George Eyston. He got going again last month, however, and he and Denly put a half-dozen Class E records into their bag at Montlhery.
Their car was the 2-litre unblown 4-cyl. Hotchkiss, with which they have already put up some fine performances in the past. George took the first trick, starting at 9 o’clock on the beautiful summer evening of Tuesday, July 16th. In three hours he broke two records, the three hours and soo kilometres, averaging 113 m.p.h. After re-fuelling he handed over to Albert Denly, who took the soo miles, i,000 kilometres and six hour records before he came to a ‘standstill at the depot once more. Then Eyston finished off the run at 6.30 the next morning with the i,000 miles record. Dunlop tyres were used, and gave their customary complete satisfaction. Here are the records in full, with the previous figures in parentheses:— 500 kma. 112.9 m.p.h. (Sunbeam, 109.67). 3 hours. 113 m.p.h. (Sunbeam, 100.54). 500 miles. 112.9 m.p.h. (Hotchkiss, 101.1$). 1000 kms. 112.9 m.p.h. (Hotchkiss, 101.55). 6 hours. 111.5 m.p.h. (Hotchkiss, 101.50). 1000 miles. 110.1 m.p.h. (Hotchkiss, 101.55). A week later another famous record breaker set off on a new attempt, Cesar Marchand. His car was a Citroen, called Rosalie VIII, and his intention was to ‘break the world’s record for 35,000 kilometres. He was assisted by a team of drivers, each of whom took two-hour tricks at the wheel. Their names were Raphael Fortini, Leroy de Presale and Alphonse Vaillant. The whole thing was sponsored by the race° oil concern.
In the first hour a distance of 92 miles was covered. The existing 35,000 kilometre record stands to the same drivers with a Citroen at 83 m.p.h. At the time of writing 3,502 km. have ‘been covered in 24 hours.
Bugatti Driver Killed.
The G.P. de Tourisme at Reims had a tragic sequel. Jean Desvignes, who had finished third in the 3-litre class, was killed on the journey back to Paris. Near a place called Jonchery-sur-Vesle he was baulked by another car on a fast corner. In avoiding a collision with the other car he skidded into a tree, from which he rebounded against a wall. Desvignes was instantly killed, and his mechanic, Botazo, was taken to Reims Hospital in a critical condition.
The dead man was 32 years of age, and was tremendously keen on motor-racing. He competed at Le Mans in June.
Hill-Climbing in Italy. The results of the fourth Ascoli hill-climb could not be included in the previous issue, so I give them here for the benefit of those who like to know everything that is going on :—
1,100 c.c..-1, Bergamini (Maserati), 12m. 34.2s.
2,000 c.c.-1, Barbieri (Maserati), 12m. 46s.
Over 2,000 c.o.-1, Taruffi (Maserati), 11m. 13s.
Round the Circuits.
The Comminges G.P. (August 4th) will take the form of two heats and a final, instead of one long race as heretofore. At the time of writing firm entries have been received from the Scuderia Ferrari, who have nominated Chiron and Comotti, last year’s winner, and from Lehoux and de Villapadierna. Lehoux’s car is not yet decided, but it may possibly be the Sefac. Wimille will also be there with his 3.3-litre Bugatti, and British entries are expected.
The proposed Grand Prix at Geneva, which was to have been held on October 6th, has been abandoned. The necessary organisation could not be arranged in time, and the race has been deferred until the spring of 1036, for which a date on the International Calendar will be applied for by the Swiss A.C. The cancellation of the Vichy G.P. has been officially confirmed. For some time
after the first news of its being abandoned there existed a hope that the race might be held after all. Its date on the International Calendar, September ist, will now be taken in all probability by a G.P. de Biarritz.
Elaborate measures are being taken by the Swiss A.C. to ensure the accuracy of the time-keeping at the Swiss G.P. on the Bremgarton Circuit (August 25th). Two separate timing apparati have been ordered from Paris and Berlin. A special device has been constructed which will register the passing of all the cars, to the fifth part of a second, thus serving as an additional check on the timekeepers. This apparatus can deal with all the cars, even when they complete their first lap in a solid bunch.
The Swiss G.P. will be preceded, on the 24th, by a race reserved for Swiss subjects, on the lines of the event held at Klausen before the hill-climb proper. Both sports and racing cars will be eligible, but they will be divided into different categories and classes of over and under 1,5oo c.c. The idea is to encourage the young idea in Switzerland, and with this end in view there will be no entry fee. Every effort is being made to avoid accidents through inexperience, and all competitors will have to cover 15 practice laps, five of which must be covered non-stop under observation. The race itself will be over 14 laps of the 7 km. 28o circuit, a total distance of tot km. 920.
The Montenero Circuit, round which the Coppa Ciano will be run on August 4th, has been greatly modified this year. A new road has been cut from Ardenza which brings the cars across at a distance in front of the tribunes where they negotiate a hairpin bend to the right which leads them past the stands once more. The pits will be situated on the narrow strip of ground between the two roads.
The Swedish Summer G.P., due to be held on August 18th, has been cancelled. *
Arrangements are now completed for the Genoa round-the-houses race, which is to replace the Pontedecimo-Giovi hill-climb on October 20th. The course chosen is called the ” Circuit de la Superba,” and includes the best streets of Genoa in its length of 4 km. 384. It is hoped to give the race an international status.