MATTERS OF THE MOMENT
The importance of publicity in almost all present-day commercial undertakings needs no emphasis. Consequently, the R.A.C. and the J.C.C. can congratulate themselves that their races at Silverstone and Goodwood received an unusually good Press. The ,society papers covered Goodwood and amongst
unexpected publicity for Silverstone was a useful illustrated write-up in Picture Post, while even Mr. Punch reported that race, in conjunction with some excellent Brockbank cartoons. The B.B.0 did not do so well in broadcasting a commentary on the Grand Prix, and how any commentator could see a Ferrari in the lead when none of these cars has yet been landed on English soil, is a state of mind beyond our comprehension. However, we are glad to be able to record that Mr. T. W. Chalmers’ Controller of the Light Programme, has admitted publicly that the commentary was not satisfactory and has expressed the hope that the next Silverstone broadcast will be really successful. This is excellent, for motorists as well as cricket, football, horse-racing, boxing and athletic ” fans ” help to maintain the National Broadcasting Service and a great number of listeners tune-in to accounts of this twentiethcentury sport. Such broadcasts are valuable publicity for motor-racing, always providing that they are intelligible and well-informed, even if they miss the opportunity of being exciting or dramatic.
Where motor-cycling racing is concerned, the B.B.C. is fortunate in having the services of Graham Walker, Editor of Motor Cycling, as its commentator. Not only does he provide rare entertainment for knowledgeable enthusiasts, but so enthralling and realistic does Graham make his broadcasts that we have known housewives normally not in the least interested in motor-cycling express their intention of listening-in to the T.T. We only hope the B.B.C. pays him adequately—and that means on the same scale as Stewart MacPherson and Richard Dimbleby .
There is no doubt at all that publicity achieved by actual exploits on the track or in competition pays just as good dividends to enterprising manufacturers to-day as it did before the war. At Earls Court the Jaguar stand was besieged morning, noon and night on account of the appearance of the new twin XK100 and XK120 engines and the XK120 sports twoseater. These new exhibits would have aroused curiosity in any case. But the prestige with which it was evident that they were already endowed in the minds of the buying public, undoubtedly arose from the use of a Jaguar XK100 engine by Lt.-Col. “Goldie” Gardner when he established his wonderful 2-litre 174 to 176-m.p.h. records at Ostend.
In the same way, interest in the Healey was vastly enhanced because a saloon version, driven by motoring journalist Tommy Wisdom, had averaged 101.7 m.p.h. for, an hour at Montlhery shortly before the Exhibition opened—it was a pity that the S.M.M.T. banned the showing of the actual Healey which did this creditable run. The figure quoted is for the standing start hour, but the less usual f.s. hour was also observed by the A.C.
de France and came out at 103.76 m.p.h. This is a truly creditable performance by a standard saloon car of under 2f-litres capacity and non-supercharged. Incidentally, it rather confounds the “safe piston-speed limit of 2,500 ft. per min.” pundits, for the Healey reaches that limit at 71 m.p.h. It is, however, unfortunate that the run has been widely publicised as the first time such a performance has been attempted by a production saloon car. In sober fact, way back in 1938 Lord Howe averaged 101.5 m.p.h. for an hour at Brooldands in a V12 Lagonda saloon, in spite of changing a wheel with the car’s standard jacking system during the attempt—up to the time of that mishap he averaged 105.52 m.p.h., and his best lap was at 108.27 m.p.h. The car was described as a standard demonstrator with 40,000 miles to its credit ; it used pump fuel and standard-brand oil but had cut-down wings and no bumpers. In 1939 A. W. Sleator averaged 107.42 m.p.h. for the hour at Monti iery, driving a Paulin-bodied 4f-litre Bentley aerodynamic ” Continental ” saloon. A lap was later done at 110.04 m.p.h. It may be argued that this was not a production car, but at the time Bentley Motors, Ltd. intended to make it a catalogue model—incidentally, it was run at Brighton and Weston-super-Mare this year by H. S. Hay. Later in 1939 Benoist averaged 112 m.p.h. for the hour at Montlhery driving a 3.8-litre Type 57C Bugatti with unstreamlined Galibier four-door saloon body. This Bugatti was described at the time as a “stock car.” Finally, Capt. Eyston set the unofficial sports-car hour record to 114.64 m.p.h., with a lap at 115.02 m.p.h., at Brooklands, driving the aforementioned Bentley ” Continental ” saloon, then owned by Embiricos. These pre-war performances and the recent run by the 2.4-litre Healey saloon are excellent publicity for the British and French Motor Industries.
It is because of the importance of publicity that we asked Raymond Mays in the September issue of MOTOR SPORT for a progress-report on the B.R.M., and why we are sorry that he has not seen fit to submit it.
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile. has already issued its 1949 Calendrier Sportif International. It is gratifying to find therein the following Biitish fixtures :— Goodwood Meeting
R.A.C. Grand Prix.
Isle of Man Empire Trophy Race.
Shelsley Walsh 11W-Climb. Bo’ness
Leinster Trophy Race.
Bouley Bay Hill-Climb.
Ulster Trophy Race.
Silverstone Formula I Race.
Tourist Trophy Race.
Brighton Speed Trials.
Prescott Speed Hill-Climb and Irish Wakefield Trophy Race.
Sheisley Walsh Rill-Climb.
Donington Grand Prix.
April 18th. April 28th. May 14th. May 26th. June 11th. June 25th. July 9th. July 21st. Aug. 1st. Aug. 13th. Aug. 20th. Aug. 27th. Sept. 3rd. Sept. 10th. Sept. 27th. Oct. 1st.
In spite of the lack of official news about the B.R.M. project we believe that behind the scenes things are really moving. No one hopes so more devoutly than ourselves, which is why we crave news, if not of the car’s technicalities, at all events of who will build it, where it will be assembled and how those fortunate enough to be picked to drive it will be selected. Onlookers who saw Johnson’s ill-fated E-type E.R.A. about to take the lead at Silverstone will particularly appreciate what a grand thing it will be when a British car heads the field in an International Grand Prix. When such a car receives the chequered flag the pride of hundreds of thousands of British people will know no bounds and British engineering prestige will receive a valuable uplift the world over. The task is not an easy one. Already the Italian Formula I cars are reaching speeds of around 180 m.p.h., with other performance factors, and reliability, in keeping with to-day’s racing requirements. Moreover, even faster cars are known to be held in readiness by Alfa-Romeo and Maserati. To defeat these the B.R.M. will require a maximum speed in the region of 200 m.p.h. This suggests two or three-stage supercharging of an engine with many small cylinders to ensure high speeds of rotation, while retaining an uniteakish layout in pursuit of reliability. Independent suspension all round is likely to be essential for adequate controllability of a car the total weight of which must be kept below a strict maximum in order to achieve the essential acceleration away from corners. This sug ests inboard rear brakes to reduce unsprung weight to a minimum, yet this layout at once courts serious braking problems, for the drums will be isolated from the air-flow and the brakes are going to require every means of cooling them that can be devised. This problem can be an ugly one, for to place the brake drums on the wheels may give rise to suspension difficulties, yet to pull the car up adequately from the very high speeds it must attain is likely to present the biggest problem of all. During a recent lecture Peter Clark emphasised the braking troubles experienced in running his successful H.R.G. team of sports cars. Yet they weigh not much more than a Formula car and do only 103 m.p.h. The wishes of every British patriot will go out to Raymond Mays and his design
team in solving the many difficulties inseparable from their gallant venture and we shall hope to see the team of B.R.M. cars running from the commencement of the 1949 season.
RACING CARS ON SHOW
The Victoria League’s Exhibition of Racing Cars, which closes on December 4th, provided further evidence of the public’s interest inmotor-racing. Highlights were the rather crudely-finished but “built for the job Ecurie Beige Veritas; Gerard’s B/C-type road-racing E.R.A., displaying a lowered, more forward-set radiator grille and sloping bonnet line, which it did not have at Silverstone ; Mays’ D-type “Hill-Climb Champion” E.R.A.; Johnson’s ill-fated but Montlhery short road-circuit lap record E-type E.R.A.; the ex-Salvadori eightvalve four-cylinder Maserati, apparently now owned by A. A. Baring ; the rebuilt Freikaiserwagen, with transverse hydraulic front shock-absorbers and a clever ratio-indicator incorporated in the rev.-counter and coupled by Bowden wire to the gear-selector lever amongst its many technically brilliant features ; the lengthened 500-c.c. and 1,000-c.c. Coopers ; the new f.w.d. Bond ” 500 ” with wire and bobbin steering, cast light-alloy suspension members and strip-steel steering arms and, from Earls Court, Cobb’s great Railton Mobil-Special.
Other attractions were the 0.B.M., Folland’s 2-litre sports Aston-Martin, Horsfall’s highly-polished Formula II AstonMartin (sans engine), a Healey, two H.R.G.s, Robertson Rodger’s ex-Birkin “blower 4k” Bentley chassis, with mock-up of its new two-seater body ; Heath’s beautifully-turned out (but again engineless) 2-litre aerodynamic sports Alta ; Prince Chula’s surprisingly somewhat-rusty E.R.A. “Romulus,” and other Maserati, Bugatti and Alfa-Romeo cars. Naturally, “Bloody Mary” was present, also the Appleton Special, catalogued, curiously, as a sports car (a pity that the programme misled the public in quite a number of ways, stating, for example, that Britain holds all the fastest records from Classes A to I, whereas, of course, Germany holds those in Classes B, C and D). Further notable exhibits were the Gardner Jaguar Special and the Lightweight, while Heal’s F.I.A.T. and Pomeroy’s Vauxhall represented the Edwardians, and Heal’s 1922 T.T. Sunbeam the vintage racing cars.