This Month on the International Racing Scene

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August starts off well with the German G.P. at Nurburgring on the first Sunday, and in spite of numerous rumours about moving it from the magnificent Eifel mountain circuit it remains at its traditional home. Weather permitting, all the top drivers should be close to an eight-minute lap, and some will be well below that figure. None of the drivers will be particularly worried about racing against each other for on a fast lap they have more than enough to do to combat the 22.8-kilometre circuit (about 14 miles). This is a test of sheer driving ability and wheel-to-wheel racing is a side issue that need not develop for the meeting to be a success. On the same day the European Mountain Championship contestants will be racing up the Cesana-Sestrieres course in Italy, near the French Alpine border. So far the Ferrari works driver Schetty has been dominating the hills’ with the one-off flat-12-cylinder 2-litre Ferrari, his main opposition corning from Ortner and Merzario with wedge-shaped Abarth 2-litres from the Turin factory. These still have the four-cylinder twin-cam engine mounted out behind the rear axle and swing their tails very easily, which is good for mountain hairpins, but the more scientific Ferrari with its very low centre of gravity seems a better answer.

On August 10th the enthusiastic Austrians have a great day, for they are holding a sports-car race on their newly-constructed circuit in the foothills near Zeltweg. They have had to make do with races on the local military aerodrome for years, with dreams of a proper road course one day. Now those dreams are coming true, thanks to Government and local support and the new Osterrichring with its fast sweeping bends and dips and climbs that follow the lie of the land should be very exciting and fast. A lap speed of around 120 m.p.h. is expected. Two years ago this circuit was just an idea, last year the bull-dozers were hard at work, this year it is reality. The Austrian enthusiasts deserve every credit and success.

On Saturday, August 16th, the Mid-Cheshire people run their annual Gold Cup Meeting for Formula One cars at Oulton Park, and the entry looks encouraging. With no Championship points at stake we can expect to see the new 4-wheel-drive cars being given a serious run by the likes of Stewart, Hill and McLaren. Remember that the Gold Cup Race in 1961 gave Ferguson Research the opportunity of proving 4-wheel-drive when Moss won with the P99. A lot of people said it was purely the driving of Moss that gave the Ferguson that victory, but they were wrong in my opinion, and Moss would be the first to agree.

Due to financial limitations many organisers are restricted to holding Formula Three events, so these drivers get some interesting trips, some rare circuits and a lot of choice on the International scene, as well as on all the National scenes. In mid-August they have races in France, Sweden and Finland, all to International status. On August 24th the Formula Two races have their flat-out blind round the lake at Enna, in the middle of Sicily, and this looks like being the last event in the non-graded drivers’ European Championship, won previously by Ickx and Beltoise, and this year it looks as if the German driver, Hahne, will win on points. The final race should have been at Vallelunga, near Rome, in October, but this looks like being cancelled.

On the last week-end in August the hill-climbers tackle the Ollon-Villars climb in Switzerland, not far from the eastern end of Lac Leman (Geneva). While the Swiss do not permit racing on the roads, they do encourage hill-climbs and what is more they allow single-seater racing cars to compete, though they do not count for the Championship. On the same day, August 31st, the European Touring Car Championship contenders have a round at Zandvoort and the supporting race will be for Formula Three. The Formula Two racers have priced themselves out of Zandvoort, for the Dutch did not make the profit they expected on their Grand Prix, and cannot afford Formula Two, which is why the race due last month was cancelled. It would seem better to race a Formula Three for low money than not race a Formula Two car at all!—D. S. J.

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