Continental Notes and News, August 1936
Continenta. Notes and Newz
By OUR CONTINENTAL CORRESPONDENT
Box Office Appeal
In spite of the violent assertions of the French sporting press and racing authorities that sports-car racing has caught the public’s fancy, the fact remains that the car parks at Rheims for the Manic G.P. were lamentably empty. Gone, too, was the eve-of-the-race excitement in the town on the Saturday night. The mistake has been of course, in trying to pretend that sports-car racing is a substitute for the real thing. Whereas no one can deny that as a different kind of motor-racing it has Much to recom
mend it. It is interesting to observe, too, that even French victories do not guarantee good attendances in France.
Many people are asking what is the true definition of a sports car for such races as the French G.P., and in Germany some pointed remarks have been made about the super-streamlined lingat After drawing attention to the fact that the cars have a maximum speed of 140 m.p.h., and that they lapped Montlhery quicker than did Chiron’s Ferrari AlfaRomeo in 1934, the Teutons sum up the ears as being ” Eve’s with fig-leaves,” in fact G.P. cars sans compressors, disguised with new bodies.
The French authorities have always been notoriously slack in interpreting the rules of a race—where their own people are concerned–and it was therefore not surprising to see the Tiugattis getting away with it with single-seater bodies when the regulations stipulated two seats.
A Disgraceful Incident the worst feature of the Rheims
Possibly the worst feature of the Rheims race was the slipshod organisation. Take the accident to Michel Paris, for example. The crash occurred on that fast clown-hill curve to the right, beyond the tribunes. The Del :Ali aye swung sideways, Paris over-corrected, and the next moment it had turned three Somersaults into a field. Paris was thrown clear after two of the three inversions, and was badly
injured. On the spot were three spectators, two gendarmes; a young poiht, and two so-called flag-marshals, of whom more anon.
Two people went off to telephone for the ambulance, while Paris lay where he had fallen. The ambulance did not appear, so more telephoning was done. Then it began to rain, so it was decided to shift the injured man to a barn, where he was made as comfortable as possible on some hay. There he was watched Over by the soldier and a woman spectator. Finally, .filly-ase minutes after the accident the ,ambulance turned up from its base, only three kilometres away. A conversation with the aforesaid flag-marshals was enlightening. To begin with, they did not know the meaning of any of the flag-signals, and then they were very worried because some driver who was following another car kept on waving to them on every lap. They were most grateful when the proper signal was shown to them. It was not their fault, they were simply two farm labourers
who had been roped in to do the job, being given no instructions whatsoever.
A Real Sports Car
Before we leave the subject of Rheims, however, it is pleasant to be -able to recall the remarkably fine performance of the S.S. Jaguar, which won the 2 to 3-litre class. This car was entered and driven by Frank McEvoy, the bob-sleigh expert, without any previous preparation. The factory knew nothing about his intentions, and the car was supplied for ordinary motoring on the Continent.
In the race it proved to be fast, steady, and absolutely reliable. It ran With normal equipment, and had a completely no-trouble drive. When it began to rain McEvoy was the most comfortable driver in the race, and was the envy of some of the so-called ” sports-car ” drivers.
I am glad to report that the S.S. was greatly admired by the crowd, who gave it quite an ovation at the finish.
Congratulations to all concerned.
The organisation of the Spa race was just as good as that of the Rheims race was bad. Everybody was kind and helpful, and the race was enjoyed by spectators and drivers alike.
Apart from the winning Alfa, which went magnificently, there were some extraordinarily fine performances put up by several cars. The big Buick saloon, less wings, which made fifth fastest speed, was a standard job, and iveraged 69.5 m.p.h. for 24 hours. A Plymouth coupe and a two-seater Citroen were two more stock cars which did really well. while the eight-year-old Chrysler which finished at 58 m.p.h. (including a long pit-stop after catching fire): was probably the most meritorious show of the race. The 2-litre Triumph driven excellently by Rolt and Elliott was a stock-car effort of which we all felt proud. They had the honour of doing the fastest 2-litre lap. The team of super-streamlined Adler Triumphs thoroughly deserved their teamprize success, for which they were awarded
the King of the Belgian’s Cup. Their fastest lap, however, was not as fast as that of the winning I,”.-litre AstonMartin, driven steadily and fast by Headlam and Wood. Great interest was shown in the new 2-litre Aston-Martin, which was making its first appearance. The Car was easily the fastest car in its class, and after ten hours was 45 miles ahead of the next car, an Adler. Then a hole in the petrol tank put an end to the effort. It was lying fifth in the whole race at the time, and had been merely touring round. Jim Elwes had some consolation for his threemile walk back to the pits when he heard that the car had been awarded the
Liedekerke Challenge Cup for the most meritorious performance put up by any car that does not finish.
The German Grand Prix was a magnificent race in its early stages, but tailed oft somewhat towards the end. The AutoUnions were in perfect condition, and every car in the team had a no-trouble run—surely an unusual feat in these
days of super-tuning. Their pit-work, too, could not have been better. As for Rosemeyer, he has proved himself to be the Nurburg champion without a doubt, and is a future world champion. This latter statement is not my own, I would hasten to add, but it is the considered Opinion of TOAD Nuvolari, existing world champion.
A cloud hangs over the Mercedes-Benz camp. Apart from the fact that the cars are not completely reliable, all is not well with the personnel. Perhaps a too-rigid discipline has resulted in smouldering resentment, but whatever it is, the team does not seem to pull as a team.
Sonic people say that Caracciola is favoured above the rest of the drivers, and we all know that Fagioli has been a ” rebel ” in the past. Chiron does not like the behaviour of the new cars—he practised on one of the old type when he signed his contract. Von Brauchitsch seems to lose all interest as soon as his car gives the slightest trouble, Herman Lang, the youngster of the team, is the only member to appear at all happy. Things are quite different chez Auto
Union. Stuck’s schoolboyish wrestle with Rosemeyer when he congratulated his young rival on winning the race was typical of the friendly spirit which prevails in the team. The scene outside the Eifelerhof Hotel in Admau during the evening after the race was over reminded me of the fall of the Bastille. A vast horde of people thronged the narrow street, pressing so close to the hotel that the doors were perforce bolted and barred. ” We Want Caracciola ” was their oft-repeated cry. Later, an entry into the hOtel was made, and Von Brauchitsch was :almost buried under a struggling mass of autograph hunters. Caracciola was Sitting quietly in a corner, and told everyone who approached him that ” his brother ” had gone • to bed
Probably the most disappointed man at the German Grand Prix was ” Freddie ” Zehender. After covering several practice laps in reasonable time on a..I.N.lercedesBenz, he was told to hold himself in readiness as spare driver to the team during the race.
He thought his chance had come when Von Brauchitseh stopped at the pits, complaining of a sprained wrist. Neubauer gave the magic command ” get into the car,” and Zehender had got one foot in the cockpit when Lang appeared, having had his broken finger put into a splint.
A second command was barked, and this time it was ” Get out I ” After that, whenever a spare driver was wanted, Caracciola always seemed to be at hand, and Zehender finally pulled off a perfectly clean suit of overalls and returned to Adenau.
But his chance will come.
An E.R.A. in Switzerland
An excellent performance was made by R. E. Tongue, the E.R.A. driver, in win
ning the 1,500 c.c. class of the Develiers-Les Rangers hill-climb in Switzerland.
The 73-kilometre course, near Geneva, is a real test of skill, and Tongue made the second fastest time of the day. Opposition came, as usual, from a Maserati, which was soundly beaten by 16 seconds.
The unlimited class was won by the Italian, Biondetti, with an Alfa-Romeo, 22 seconds faster than the E.R.A.
Over 2-litres : Biondetti (Alfa-Romeo) 3m 29.9s. 1,500 c.c. to 2,000 c.c. : Christen (Maserati) 4m. :1.2s.
1,100 c.c. to 1,500 c.c. : Tongue (E.R.A.) 3m. 51.8s.
Sports 3m, 52.8s.
Over 2-litres : Stuber (Alfa-Romeo) 3m, 52.8s. 1,500 e.e. to 2,000 c.c. : Bertani (Alfa-Romeo) 4m. 33.8s.
1,100 0.0. to 1,500 c.c.: De Grafenriend (AlfaRomeo) 4m. 48s.
Up to 1,100 c.c.: Basadonna (Fiat) 5m. 29.2e.