Ferrari Has a Clean Sweep
Reims, July 13/14th.
With the Grand Prix de l’A.C.F. being run at Rouen this year the organisers of the Reims circuit were left without a World Championship meeting for their high-speed circuit. As the B.P. fuel and oil company were sponsoring the meeting once again, with enormous prize money as last year, a veritable fiesta of speed and sport was laid on. So great is the Automobile Club de Champagne, who run the Reims races, that the whole meeting was well able to stand on its own; in fact, it is to be hoped that the French Grand Prix will continue to be held at Rouen, and the Reims Weekend become important in its own right, just as Le Mans stands on its own.
The plans for Reims envisaged a 12-hour race for Gran Turismo cars at midnight Saturday until midday Sunday, then lunch, and at 2 p.m. a full-scale Formula II race, followed by a full-scale Formula 1 Grand Prix. With all this racing activity in view practice began on the preceding Wednesday and it was the Formula II cars that first used the high-speed triangular circuit, but with three days available there were not many cars out, though it was clear that Cooper-Climax cars were going to dominate the entry. The Formula 1 session, in the early evening, saw the teams direct from Rouen the previous Sunday, Ferrari using a single hack-car for his drivers, Maserati two of the-six-cylinders left over from Rouen and Vanwall with three entirely fresh cars. The B.R.M. team had entered, but withdrew after the Rouen event and returned to England to prepare for Aintree, so the rest of the field was made up of a few private owners, the Gordini team wisely keeping away from such a fast circuit. For this first practice Fangio, Behra and Schell were using the lightweight chassis car that Fangio drove to victory at Rouen, arid the old ducted-radiator “Spa” model that Menditeguy had blown up the previous week, it now having another engine fitted. The Vanwall team were still without Moss and Brooks, and were using the same pair of newcomers to the team as at Rouen, namely Salvadori and Lewis-Evans and they enjoyed themselves choosing between three cars, two of them normal Vanwalls and the third a special one with a streamlined body. This car had a body that covered the whole of the front of the car, of almost identical shape to a Mk. XI Lotus, and this body panelling was “waisted” inwards to meet the normal cockpit width; over the rear wheels were fairings that blended into the tail, but left the major part of the tyres exposed to the air. With a normal wrap-round screen and high Vanwall tail the whole car was a rather delightful looking machine, very reminiscent of some of the Ferrari sports cars perpetrated by the Marzotto family during the early 1950s. Unfortunately the estimate of its top speed had been rather optimistic and the car was hopelessly overgeared, and Lewis-Evans in particular felt much happier with the normal type of car. Musso, Collins and Hawthorn were sharing one of last year’s wide-bodied Lancia/Ferrari cars, but were merely familiarising themselves with the circuit, whereas Fangio set about going quickly. It was not long before he beat last year’s lap record, with the six-cylinder Maserati, and he did it so easily that it was difficult to credit. With the Lancia/Ferrari last year he recorded 2 min. 25.8 sec. in the race, though he had done 2 min. 23.3 sec. in practice, and it will be recalled that last year the Maserati team were hopelessly outclassed. Now, with the circuit unchanged in any way, and using the car that had done the Rouen race, he went round in 2 min. 25.5 sec. making it rather obvious once more that he can go fast in any Grand Prix car.
With the Ferrari team not making any great efforts, and the Vanwall team lacking their two star drivers, Fangio and Maserati settled back confident of their supremacy. However, they had not reckoned with young Lewis-Evans, for after trying the streamlined Vanwall and not going very fast with it, he went out in one of the normal models and without any signs of trying very hard he suddenly put in a lap at 2 min. 25.4 sec., and followed this up with 2 min. 24.7 sec. and 2 min. 23.7 sec., whereupon he pulled into the pits, very happy with the car, having not used the full r.p.m. or cornered anywhere near the limit. This being his first race on the Reims circuit he was literally feeling his way round! These times made everyone sit up and take notice, especially Fangio, and he went out again almost immediately and really threw the poor old tired Maserati round the circuit, starting with 2 min. 24.4 sec. and very quickly finishing with 2 min. 22.9 sec., returning to his pit as if to say, “now let us see you sort that one out.” As it was the first of three practice sessions Vanwall preferred to keep out of any cut-and-thrust dicing and left the honours to the World Champion and the Scuderia Maserati. The fastest lap by Fangio was equal to a speed of 209.141 k.p.h. (approximately 130 m.p.h.) thus making Reims the fastest of the Grand Prix circuits in use today.
After the Formula 1 cars had been packed away the circuit was given over to the Gran Turismo cars and this entry produced not only a motley collection of cars, but also evoked some pretty rude comment on people’s ideas of Gran Turismo cars. Although the C.S.I. have drawn up a complicated list of rules to define a Gran Turismo car, and manufacturers have to comply with a set of requirements as regards the number of cars built and so on, everyone interested in motor racing has a pretty fair idea of what is meant by Gran Turismo type cars. If you line up a collection of cars consisting of Ferrari Europa, 300SL, Aston Martin DB2/4, Porsche Carrera, Alfa Giulietta, Fiat 8V, A.C. Aceca, XK140, Super Sprint 1,900 Alfas, Renault Alpine, or even coupe D.B.s, they all have the same hallmark, which we know as Gran Turismo. In point of fact, any such vehicles could be used for the Mille Miglia, the Liege-Rome-Liege, or the Tour de France. If you added to this list some Triumph TR3 hardtops, no one could really complain, but when there appeared on the Reims circuit three Lotus Mk. XI models as raced at Le Mans, a pair of M.G.A.s with just the tiniest of aero-screens and Austin-Healey 100S models similarly equipped as well as an A.C. Ace, there were justifiable screams of confusion. The C.S.I. regulations covering Gran Turismo cars are far from perfect but intend to cover production cars of the type envisaged above, and until now manufacturers and entrants have interpreted the regulations in a sporting spirit, but to take advantage of loop-holes in the regulations of this comparatively small-time group of competition cars and turn up with out-and-out sports cars that do not even comply with sports-car regulations was not only in poor taste but showed a rather mean-minded approach to a simple matter. The British were not the only ones to cause ill-feeling, for Panhard-Monopole entered their team of “one-off” special Le Mans coupes, fitted with 850-c.c. engines. While the manafacturers and entrants of this bad-taste were to blame, the organisers were equally at fault for accepting the entries, for the race had been planned and much publicised as an event for production Gran Turismo cars.
This assorted collection practised until dark, there being classes for engine sizes of 501-1,000-c.c., 1,001-1,300-c.c., 1,301-1,600-c.c., 1,601-2,000-c.c. and over 2,000-c.c., in effect there were five races taking place at the same time, though naturally much interest surrounded the overall classification. There was a row of Ferrari Europa models entered, and favourites were Gendebien and Frere with a works-prepared car, while Hill and Seidel, Luglio and Picard, were also in the running. The first night of the Reims speed week finished with a certain amount of discussion and ill-feeling over the vexed question of “what is a Gran Turismo car?”
The next afternoon saw the Formula II boys out in force, for a long time rear-engined Coopers with either twin-cam or single-cam Climax engines being the only cars circulating. Salvadori was going extremely fast in a central-seat sports Cooper with twin-cam engine, now being referred to as the streamlined Formula II Cooper. With Lotus running sports cars with the electrics removed and calling them Formula II cars it would appear that the boys from “both-sides-of-the-London-river” are determined to foul-up accepted racing-car nomenclature. Be that as it may, Salvadori was lapping in under 2 min. 40 sec., which was as good as some private-owner Grand Prix cars were doing. Eventually Ferrari arrived with their miniature Grand Prix machine, with 1,500-c.c. vee-six engine, but Trintignant could not approach the Cooper times and became involved in a neck-and-neck scrap with Marsh (Cooper II), the two of them passing and re-passing for lap after lap, so that Ferrari were not too happy about the situation. It was now very clear that the Formula II race was going to be a battle between a lone Ferrari and a horde of Cooper-Climax cars, with the odd Lotus joining in. The order at the end of practice was Salvadori, Wicken, Brabham, Marsh and Trintignant.
Everyone was out for the Formula 1 practice, the evening was warm, the track dry, but quite a strong wind blowing, so that it seemed unlikely that Fangio’s best of the day before would be beaten. The streamlined Vanwall had been fitted with a lower axle ratio, and Lewis-Evans was soon going round in it, but it was still overgeared and it was not until he changed to the normal car that he made any fast laps. The Ferrari team arrived with four assorted Lancia/Ferraris but only three drivers, Musso, Collins and Hawthorn, while Maserati still had the same pair of six-cylinder cars. Private 250F Maseratis were being driven by Gould, Halford, Volonterio, Godia, Piotti, Bonnier (using Simon’s old car), while the Centro-Sud team produced one of their cars for Bueb to drive. Fangio was obviously enjoying life and threw the Maseratis into long slides through the bend beyond the pits, just for the fun of the thing. He was really showing the world what a “four-wheeled drift ” should be like, on full power at 150.m.p.h, and just as at Rouen, it was worth travelling a long way to see “the maestro” in action. The Lancia/Ferraris were not handling too well, having to take the corner in little bites, or a long understeer, and none of the drivers looked as if they were Grand Prix racing, while only Musso showed any likelihood of approaching the Maserati or Vanwall times, his best being 2 min. 25.7 sec. Once more Lewis-Evans put in some quick laps and a time of 2 min. 23.5 sec. gave him the top position for a time, still without taking any risks or dicing hard. Fangio was soon out again, for he seems to take enjoyment from practice sessions that develop into speed-trials of one lap at a time, deeming it a point of personal honour to achieve the ultimate fastest lap. On his first try he failed to beat the Vanwall by a whole second, so he stopped for a while and waited for the track to clear, there being quite a lot of “traffic” about, including Salvadori in the streamlined Vanwall that just would not go fast, so that Musso quite easily caught it and went by. Collins was trying two different cars in an endeavour to become top Ferrari driver, but he could not approach Musso, who seemed to be on the top of his form, while Hawthorn’s car would not go beyond 8,000 r.p.m.
Just before practice finished the wind dropped and Fangio took this opportunity to go out once more with the six-cylinder Maserati with the old 1956 chassis, and after a lap at 2 min. 24.0 sec. he went round in 2 min. 23.3 sec., his driving on the long fast pits bend being almost beyond imagination. Having saved his honour he came in, and practice finished, but the moral victors were the Vanwall team, for Lewis-Evans had the situation comfortably in hand at the speeds he had been turning, whereas Fangio had the hack Maserati way over the limit the whole time.
The Thursday evening ended with the mixture known as Gran Turismo practising once more, the fun and games being marred by an accident to the American Lotus driver Chamberlain, in which he received rather serious injuries.
On Friday morning a new set of Maseratis arrived from Modena, Vanwall decided not to use the streamlined car, Ferrari were looking at their Formula 1 and Formula II cars with puzzled expressions, especially as Mr. Ferrari had been dropping dark hints about it being time the Scuderia won something, while Cooper were busy working away on their little cars and chuckling at the way they had rocked the Maranello pedestal. The Formula II practice on Friday again saw Salvadori getting below 2 min. 40 sec. and this time Brabham joined him, they both recording 2 min. 39.6 sec. Salvadori also had a pukka Formula II Cooper, but found it was not as fast as the all-enveloping sports car. Team Lotus had a single-seater for Allison, and Denis Taylor had the first of the production single-seaters, but both were giving trouble with the gearbox and final-drive unit, while they looked rather grubby and hastily prepared, especially after seeing the beautiful Earls Court model. Mackay-Fraser had the twin-cam Le Mans sports car, fitted with elektron wheels and this was proving to be the fastest Lotus. Trintignant tried and tried to get down to the Cooper times, but could not and the only ray of hope for Ferrari was when Whitehouse had a valve head break off in the twin-cam Climax engine in his Cooper, for the race was for 300 kilometres and the engine reliability of the Surbiton-built cars was not a strong point.
By comparison with the previous days the Formula 1 practice was fairly tame, Fangio being out on a 1956 “Monza” six-cylinder, with offset engine and transmission, Schell on the old experimental vee 12-cylinder car, and Behra on a new 12-cylinder car, being the other offset “Monza” model modified to take the new Grand Prix engine. The six-cylinder hack-car was also being used by them, so that Maserati had five different models out for practice, rather indicating that the design department were getting ahead of the actual team. The Scuderia Ferrari team of Lancia/Ferraris were nearly as assorted, and having to save their best cars for Aintree on July 20th, no two of their four cars were identical. In contrast the Vanwall has now been finalised in general principle and the whole team of eight cars are virtually identical and all parts are interchangeable. On the fast Thillois hairpin the six-cylinder Maseratis looked the most controllable, the 12-cylinder cars had too much power and not enough torque, the Lancia/Ferraris all suffered from understeer and the Vanwalls looked smooth. Brahham was out with the 1.9-litre rear-engined Cooper which was displaying vast understeer for such a layout, application of power just pushing the front sideways in the corner. Fangio began to try hard with the offset six-cylinder Maserati and Schell spun helplessly in the 12-cylinder car, while Phil Hill had a few laps in one of the works Lancia/Ferraris, and Gendebien was being tried out to fill fourth place in the team. Hawthorn was very unhappy with his special Lancia/Ferrari with the enlarged cockpit and Super Squalo front end, and borrowed the fourth car of the team, whereupon he improved his lap times enormously and began to drive in the old Hawthorn spirit once again. Gregory and Bueb were driving the pair of Centro-Sud Maseratis, the former quite fast and smoothly, the latter rather slowly, while Mackay-Fraser was trying Volonterio’s Maserati. Then an uncontrolled “dice” began between Schell, Fangio, Mosso and Behra, this quartet fighting each other for a number of laps, the final result being Fangio in front and Schell pushed right to the back, and during that time Musso got second fastest lap of the day, top position going to Fangio for the third day running, with the comparatively slow time of 2 min. 24.6 sec. The Vanwall team had no inclination to get involved in any of these skirmishes and were content to let Salvadori and Lewis-Evans do just a few laps and make sure everything was all right for the race.
Once more the evening finished with the Gran Turismo cars practising, starting just before it got dark, and this time the pseudo-Gran Turismo cars suffered badly for it poured with rain. The drivers of the open cars got soaked, and those in coupes could not see, suffering from ineffective wipers and misty windows, so that taken all round the final practice for them was a miserable affair.
Saturday evening was wet and cold as the Gran Turismo cars assembled for the start, and just before dark when the final scrutineering was taking place it was found that the two Team Lotus cars had not arrived, due to an oversight on Chapman’s part, and when they finally turned up four hours after they were due and 30 minutes after the closing of the paddock they found themselves disqualified, according to the regulations. Poetic justice it would seem! This eased a great deal of tension and made a lot of people happier, while even the rain ceased and the track dried up. The start was at midnight, drivers running to the cars Le Mans fashion, and the opening laps were most spectacular, the glare of headlights seen flashing down the fast leg of the course giving a fine impression of speed. From the outset the Ferraris dominated the race, led by Hill, with Gendebien not far behind, while the Porsche Carreras of von Frankenberg/Barth, and Storez/Bonnier, both factory cars, were far faster than all but the Europas and 300SLs. The row of Giuliettas engaged in a race-long battle, lapping far faster than the Bristol Acecas and the Austin-Healeys were proving very fast on the straights. Once Hill had handed over to Seidel and Gendebien to Frere the Belgian car took the lead and drew away unchallenged, and the General Classification became a Ferrari benefit, especially when the two Mercedes-Benz went out with mechanical trouble.
This was essentially a race for the enjoyment of those taking part, unlike many races which seem to be for the spectators’ benefit, and though the whole 12 hours did not produce much of public interest, it was an excellent thing for the competitors; in fact, a super Club event. Of the six Europa Ferraris that started only one dropped out, so that Ferrari filled the first five positions followed by the two works Porsches who crossed the fine side by side, giving a typical regularity exhibition.
After a lanch break the serious racing business began with the Formula II event over 37 laps of the circuit, a distance of 307 kilometres, and this was the first really big race for this new class of car and a deciding factor in the future of such racing. Altogether 20 cars started, 12 Coopers, five Lotus, and one each of Ferrari, Osca and Porsche. the last two being sports-cars. Salvadori had decided to drive the Formula II Cooper in place of the sports one, so this was lent to Whitehouse who had broken his engine in practice. From the word go the two works Coopers of Salvadori and Brabham fought a battle with Trintignant on the lone V6 Ferrari, and the three of them passed and re-passed for lap after lap. They all took turns at leading, and it was impossible to see either make of car showing any advantage; when the Ferrari got the lead on braking, the Coopers re-passed on acceleration; when the Ferrari passed on the straights, the Coopers went by on braking, and vice-versa. It was the closest-fought race seen for many a day, and all at an average speed of nearly 185 k.p.h. while the lap record was shared by Brabham and Trintignant with a time of 2 min. 38.2 sec. — 188.914 k.p.h. This fantastic three-cornered race left the rest of the field way behind and all except Lucas (Cooper), Marsh (Cooper) and Mackay-Fraser (Sports Lotus) were lapped. The two single-seater Lotus were quite hopeless and ruined their transmission gears. The Ferrari team were looking very worried as the race progressed for there seemed no chance of their beautiful little Grand Prix machine being able to cope with the two Coopers, but on lap 24 hopes rose, for Brabham came to rest with a broken valve and waited before the finishing line in order to qualify. On lap 26 the other two, still running-side-by-side most of the time, lapped Mackay-Fraser and drew the Lotus along with them so that when they lapped the third and fourth men, the leaders drew the Lotus past into third position. This was short-lived, however, for the very next lap the Lotus crashed on the long bend after the pits and killed its unfortunate driver. On lap 31 the Ferrari pit cheered loudly, for Trintignant came round on his own, and Salvadori appeared much later with a woolly-sounding engine. The Ferrari was buzzing round merrily at 9,200 r.p.m. and Trintignant eased up and won the race in a canter, after a wonderful battle of endurance. Salvadori eventually suffered the same trouble as Brabham and joined his team-mate by the line and as the victorious Formula II Ferrari was flagged home the winner the two unhappy Cooper drivers pushed their broken cars in to finish. Although Ferrari had won, Cooper could rest happy that they had shaken the Rampant Horse very severely, and almost managed to tweak its tail. Lucas and Marsh had battled throughout the whole race, but their efforts were rather overshadowed by the leaders, and they finally crossed the line a few lengths apart, with the advantage going to the Frenchman. Altogether 14 cars finished. and as a foretaste of 1960 Formula 1 racing the event was a huge success. It was a great pity that it was marred by the death of the Lotus driver and also that of “Bill” Whitehouse, who crashed the sports Cooper just before the Thillois hairpin, it was thought due to a burst tyre.
Within minutes of the finish of the Formula II race the Grand Prix cars lined up for what was to prove to be one of the funniest starts for many a year. As at Rouen the rules forbade push-starting while on the grid, portable starters being required. The grid order was Fangio (Maserati), Lewis-Evans (Vanwall), Behra (Maserati) on row 1; Musso (Lancia/Ferrari) and Salvadori (Vanwall), row 2; Collins and Gendebien (Lenart/Ferraris), row 3; Hawthorn (Lancia/ Ferrari) and Schell (Maserati), row 4; Gregory, Gould and Godia (Maseratis), row 5; Piotti and Halford (Maseratis), row 6; Menditeguy (Maserati 12-cylinder), Bonnier and Bueb (Maseratis), row 7. While the flag was up some of the back row were being push-started and Brabham arrived in the Cooper, minus his crash-hat but with the engine running, and he joined on the back of the grid. The starter was reaching the last few seconds when the rotund Monsieur Roche, the chief organiser, realised the cars at the back were being push-started and having a yellow flag in his hand he waved to them to desist. Unfortunately he was standing in the middle of the track about ten yards ahead of row 1, and seeing a flag twitch everyone let in the clutch and roared away. Monsieur Roche ran for his life, being missed narrowly by Behra’s Maserati and the bewildered starter dropped the flag long after the front row had passed him. To cap it all John Cooper was running down from the pits with Brabham’s crash-hat, and the nut-brown Jack set off with the pack for the first 100 yards and then stopped to collect his hat. In the chaos Lewis-Evans made a brilliant start and screamed off into the lead, appearing on the horizon on the back straight a good 100 yards ahead of the field. The order on the opening lap was Lewis-Evans, Musso, Fangio, Collins, Hawthorn, Salvadori, Behra, Schell and the rest following on. This was a full-length Grand Prix, over 61 laps and the pace being set by the Vanwall was very fast, averaging nearly 200 k.p.h. At the rate of one second a lap Lewis-Evans drew away from Musso, who was in turn leaving the others behind, while Collins stopped at the end of the third lap with engine trouble, and though he started again he eventually retired after only seven laps. This stop had left Hawthorn in fourth place and he began a really terrific scrap with Fangio, all the old Hawthorn skill and determination coming out as they fought wheel to wheel, just as in that classic race of 1953. Some way behind, Gregory and Gendebien were involved in a similar scrap, the American driver keeping the long nose of the Maserati only inches away from the tail of the Lancia/Ferrari. The progress of the leading Vanwall was wonderful to see, the green car drawing farther and farther away from the whole field, its driver looking calm and relaxed and in complete command of the situation, taking a casual look into his mirror as he passed the pits to see just how far away Musso was. Hawthorn was really getting Fangio bothered and on lap eight the Maserati spun at Muizon hairpin. but without being caught by Behra who was lying fifth ahead of Schell. It took Fangio only seven laps to make up for his mistake and once more he was alongside Hawthorn, but catching a car is one thing and getting rid of it quite another thing. By now Lewis-Evans had a lead of 18 seconds, equal to half the length of the pits straight and he settled down at that, looking remarkably comfortable. Barring trouble there was absolutely nothing that anyone could do about the speed of the Vanwall and it looked as though Lewis-Evans was going to achieve what others had been trying to do for a long time. By this time Godia and Bonnier had dropped by the wayside, Menditeguy was galloping through the tail-enders after muffing the start, and Gould was leading the private-owners. On lap 20 the gap between Lewis-Evans and Musso began to decrease and next time round it was obvious that the Vanwall was in trouble as the driver was wiping oil from his goggles. An oil leak had started and it was seeping into the floor of the cockpit and being blown onto the driver and with smeary goggles and slippery gloves he could do nothing except ease the pace slightly. Considering that this was the first time that Lewis-Evans had gone as fast and so far in a Grand Prix nobody could blame him for not taking chances with the oily conditions. Gradually Musso gained and by half-diatance he was only six seconds behind and on lap 34 he went by the Vanwall going down the back straight. The Fangio, Hawthorn duel had come to an end on lap 27 when the Lancia/Ferrari cooked its engine and retired at the pits, and in the same way Gendebien had given up after getting the better of Gregory. At half-distance, the 12-cylinder Maserati ruined a piston and retired and Halford began calling in for more oil. With Hawthorn out Behra now closed on Fangio and the two Maseratis ran in close company, passing and re-passing repeatedly. In catching his team-mate Behra set up the fastest lap, but due to the oil and rubber of the previous races it was nowhere near the lap record or practice times. Salvadori in the other Vanwall was running well, but quite unable to keep up with the leaders and was lapped by Lewis-Evans before half-distance.
Slowly but surely Lewis-Evans lost ground to the Lancia/Ferrari and the Fangio-Behra duel began to approach him, until they went by on lap 48, the poor Vanwall now being fourth, with Schell fifth a lap behind. Apart from the two Maseratis running in close company the whole field was spread out in high-speed procession and Musso was sitting confidently in the lead with the length of the pits straight between himself and the next man. On the 57th lap Fangio had trouble with locking brakes at Thillois hairpin and took to the grass verge aiming for what he thought were harmless straw bales. Unfortunately they turned out to have a solid wall behind them and the Maserati came to a sudden stop with a bent front end. This let Lewis-Evans into third place, but he too had had brake trouble and had gone straight up the escape road at Thillois, but his third place was safe and he reversed out and rejoined the course.
It was a jubilant Musso who was flagged home the winner, not because he took the first prize of £10,000, but because he had proved to be the fastest Ferrari team man for the second week running, having really found his top form since recovering from his illness at the beginning of the season. The wily Behra netted a tidy second place, followed by Lewis-Evans who had done a brilliant job in his first really serious Grand Prix drive. The rest were all lapped and came home in various states of repair, Gregory having to wheel his Maserati over the line after losing all his oil pressure on lap 57, stopping before the finish line rather than risk another lap. Once again the little Cooper-Climax finished a full-length Grand Prix, but why it did not drop a valve like the Formula II cars is inexplicable.
When the racing finally finished on Sunday evening there were many people who gave a great sigh, for it had been a long and exhausting day, with almost continuous racing from 00.00 hours to nearly 19.00 hours. — D.S.J.
In view of the lap times made by Lewis-Evans, many people wondered what Fangio would have done in the Vanwall; under 4 (2) min. 20 sec. was the general guess.
The definition of “sports car” has plagued us for years, now it seems “Gran Turismo” is going to cause stupid arguments. It all makes one long for Formule Libre racing cars, or at least capacity-class racing without any frills.
It would seem that Ferrari and Cooper have arrived at the same answer for Formula II, having started from different ends, but Coventry-Climax must get that engine reliable.
Could the streamlined Vanwall be a prototype for a two-seater for next year’s Mille Miglia for Moss and Jenkinson?
The winning Ferrari was to the original Lancia/Ferrari specification of January 1956. Could it be that the Ferrari engineers have wasted their time developing the latest model, or was Musso merely out-driving his team-mates?
The 12-cylinder Maserati still lacks a reasonable torque curve, and is far from right, even on the Reims high-speed circuit.
Reims Grand Prix — Formula 1 — 61 Laps — 506.406 Kilometres — Hot
1st: L. Musso (Lancia/Ferrari D50) 2 hr. 33 min. 02.5 sec. 198.537 k.p.h.
2nd: J. Behra (Maserati 250F) 2 hr. 33 min. 30.1 sec.
3rd: S. Lewis-Evans (Vanwall) 2 hr. 34 min. 18.6 sec.
4th: H. Schell (Maserati 250F) 1 lap behind
5th: R. Salvadori (Vanwall) 2 laps behind
6th: H. Gould (Maserati 250F) 3 laps behind
Fastest lap: J. Behra (Maserati) lap 29 in 2 min. 27.8 sec. — 202.207 k.p.h.
Started, 18, Finished, 12.
Reims Formula II — 37 Laps — 307.164 Kilometres — Hot
1st: M. Trintignant (Ferrari V6) 1 hr. 40 min. 068 sec. 184.090 k.p.h.
2nd: J. Lucas (Cooper-Climax) 1 lap behind
3rd: A. Marsh (Cooper-Climax) 1 lap behind
4th: R. Salvadori (Cooper-Climax) 2 laps behind — pushed in
5th: C. Geothals (Porsche 1,500RS sports) 2 laps behind
6th: H. Gould (Maserati 250F) 3 laps behind
Fastest lap: M. Trintignant (Ferrari) and J. Brabham (Cooper) on lap 24 in 2 min. 38.2 sec. — 188.914 k.p.h.
IV International 12-Hour Race, Reims — For Gran Turismo cars
* 1st: Frere/Gendebien (Ferrari 250GT) 2,008.908 kms. 167.409 k.p.h.
2nd: Hill/Seidel (Ferarri 250GT) 1,983.747 kms.
3rd: Munaron/Madere (Ferarri 250GT) 1,937.122 kms.
4th: Papais/Crivellari (Ferrari 250GT) 1,920.426 kms.
5th: Luglio/Picard (Ferarri 250GT) 1,912.117 kms.
*6th: von Frankenberg/Barth (Porsche Carrera) / Storez/Bonnier (Posrche Carrera) 1,883.633 kms.
Fastest lap: P. Frere (Ferarri), in 2 min. 41.4 sec. — 185.169 k.p.h.
Notes on the Cars at Reims
The Vanwall team had three cars with them, two with the normal long-nosed road-racing body and one with a fully enveloping cowling over the front of the car, extending back to the cockpit. This bore obvious signs of Lotus design having protruding nacelles in front of the wheels. At the rear were fairings over the tops of the wheels and these blended into the normal rounded tail. In the race the streamlined car was not used.
Maserati first appeared with two six-cylinder models as had been used at Rouen and then produced one of last year’s six-cylinder cars with the engine set at an angle in the frame and the propeller-shaft running alongside the driving seat, giving a much lower centre of gravity. The other car of this type that was built last year had been modified at the front of the chassis, to take the steering-box in the centre and forward of the axle line, in order to get the V12 engine in. The original 12-cylinder car that appeared at Syracuse was also used, there now being three 12-cylinder cars in existence, the two just described and the lightweight-chassis car that appeared at Rouen, but this was not brought to Reims. For the race Fangio drove the offset “Monza” six-cylinder, Behra the old heavy-chassis “Spa” model, with ducted radiator for its six-cylinder engine, Schell the lightweight-chassis six-cylinder with which Fangio had won at Rouen, and Menditeguy the old original 12-cylinder car.
The Scuderia Ferrari had four cars, Musso drove a full-width body model of 1956, with bracing struts across the top of the engine, equal-length wishbones and leaf spring front suspension. Collins had a similar type of car but with the 1957 front suspension using unequal length wishbones and coil springs, and a Ferrari-built chassis frame. Hawthorn practised on the special car built for him, with the engine mounted farther forward, the Super Squalo Ferrari front suspension and the 1957 body with exposed exhaust pipes. This was the car that Collins crashed in practice at Monaco, now having a complete new front end built on to it. It was discovered that the front suspension was not properly lined up, so Hawthorn took the fourth car which was a 1957 car, with unequal length wishbones and coil springs at the front and the narrow bodywork with exposed exhaust pipes. His original car was driven by Gendebien.
The rest of the entry was made up of the two Centro-Sud Maseratis, Gregory on the one with the long nose cowling and high cockpit sides, and Bueb on the standard 1956 bodied car, and all the regular private-owners of Maseratis, with the works Cooper-Climax driven by Brabham.
“Motor Sport” Trophies
The final round of the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest takes place at Goodwood on August 31st and that for the Motor Sport Clubs Trophy at the Peterborough M.C. Silverstone Meeting of September 28th.
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