Continental Notes and News, February 1931

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47

THE SPORT ABROAD.

While everyone must regret the absence from this year’s: Grand Prix d’ Endurance of the official Bentley team, the prospects for the race as far as can be seen at present appear excellent. Entries received before the 20th December could be made on the basis of 50% of the normal fees, and advantage was taken of this opportunity to send in forms for ten cars. These consist of the

the two 3-litre English Talbots, entered by Messrs. Fox and Nichol!, Lord Howe’s Alfa-Romeo, and a car, of which the make has not yet been specified, entered by Madame Mareuse, all’of which are eligible for the final of the Seventh Biennial Rudge-Whitworth Cup. All these cars are, of course, also entered for the first round of the Eighth Cup, and in addition, Brisson, Charles Brunet, Subileau and another as yet undisclosed amateur have entered cars for this division of the race, but have not yet ‘specified the make which they will drive ; while among manufacturers the Aries company has entered two cars. These Machines will be of the new type with special low chassis and the new 1,500 c.c. engine, which is apparently possessed of a truly remarkable performance, and of which high hopes are entertained by their entrant, Baron Petiet, the head of the Aries concern. This preliminary official list of entrants however, does not by any means exhaust the number of entries which can already be regarded as probable or even almost certain. In the first place Ettore Bugatti has definitely stated that he will run a team of three cars which will be of the new 5-litre supercharged type with two overhead camshafts, while 111 their class the Aries should have plenty of competition from two Aston Martins, which are to be entered from England. Among the other big cars, it will give all old-time le 111ans enthusiasts intense pleasure to hear that M. Barbarou, the head of the company. has definitely promised a team of Lorraine-Dietrichs. These cars will be of two types, both of which are entirely new and both fitted With engines of 5litres capacity. The first tyPe, of which two cars will be run has a six-cylinder power unit, while the other two cars will have 12-cylinder engines, with the cylinders arranged in a V, and roller bearings throughout.

In the construction of the latter engine the Lorraine company will obviously make full use of their extensive experience in aero-engine construction, and the two types are going to be run one against the other in order that useful comparisons may be made. Further, it now seems certain that Mercedes is working on a team of three cars for le Mans, and Alfa-Romeo will also run a team of the new straight-eight 2i-litre supercharged cars which have been developed directly from the old Grand Prix racers. Finally there is a strong possibility that Maserati will run a team if the fact that the machines are really racing cars can be sufficiently disguised to render them eligible. After studying the entries, actual and projected for the le Mans race, I have come to the conclusion that the plaint soloften raised in these columns that races for ” sports” ears by themselves are not good enough and that we must go back to races for special racers, has been so much beating of the air. For although I am still of the opinion that races for real racing cars are highly desirable, I think that one can now rest assured that their return to favour will take place not by a sudden reversal of policy on the part of entrants and organisers of motor races, but by a simple process of evolution. The le Mans race was originally intended as an event for perfectly ordinary everyday sports cars, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that manufacturers who take the race at all seriously have got to build entirely special machines to take part in this and similar events. The rules which govern the race are growing layer— this year unsilenced exhausts are to be permitted–and will probably continue to develop in this direction until the ears at le 11,lans have shed their touring equipment and 4-seater bodies and become real racing cars. The process has happened before as in the early Tourist Trophy races where the genuine touring cars finally developed into machines whose only limitation was that they should have bores not exceeding four inches. I foresee that in a few years time manufacturers will build special cars for le Mans as they used to for the Grand Prix in the old days, with this difference that instead of constructing ft v e

v racing cars they will have to build fifty ! While these plans are afoot, manufacturers are of course busy making ,41? their teams of drivers. The Bugatti. &wipe will consist of Chiron, Varzi,

Bourriat and Divo, and should thus be extremely strong. Maserati, by way of revenge for Bugatti’s annexation of Varzi, has engaged two former Bugattisti in the shape of Rene Dreyfus and Bouriano, while the rest of the team will consist of Ernesto Maserati, Maggi and Fagioli. In the meantime Caracciola has been causing considerable excitement, as after it had been officially announced that in 1931 he would drive for AlfaRomeo, he then stated that on the contrary he would drive a Mercedes this year as in the past. However it appears that he has actually signed a contract with Ails-Romeo which the Italian firm is not at all anxious to have broken, so the final outcome of the affair remains to be seen. Apart from that it appears that Campari intends to combine grand opera singing with motor racing and will again be one of the Alfa team, the other members of which are Nuvolari, Borzacchini and Arcangeli. While interest in France is concentrated on le Mans, the once all absorbing Grand Prix, which this year is to be run on 21st June, is arousing very little excitement. Unfortunately the A.C.F. has refused the offer of a district in the East of France to provide roads for the Grand Prix to be run over, and has decided to hold the meeting at Montlhery. The race win be a free-for-all event, and will be a long distance affair, its duration being ten hours, while these rules will also hold good for the Italian, Belgian and Spanish events. These regulations have aroused considerable criticism from M. Philipp Etancelin, the winner of the 1930 Grand Prix, who has already announced his intention of taking part in this year’s great races purely as an amateur on a car purchased by himself. With regard to the Grand Prix, he states that ten hours is too long a spell at the wheel for one driver if he is to compete on equal terms with a team of two men, in which he is doubtless quite right. He goes on to say that the amateur is thus placed at a hopeless disadvantage as he has no spare driver to take turns with him at the wheel. This difficulty, however, would not appear insuperable, for if .11.;tance1in can find noone in France, he has certainly only to go to England to find any number of first class drivers who would be only too glad to act as relief driver in the Grand Prix without fee or reward, simply for the fun of the thing. While the majority of tracks all over the world are finding it difficult to make two ends meet, and the A.C.F. has had to destroy the road-race character of the Grand Prix in order to lend a helping hand to Montlhery, the Italians, not content with the possession of Monza, are planning the construction of a new autodrome at Rome. This new track will consist of the boundary road of the great Littorio air port, which is situated in a bend of the Tiber, and which has been planned as one of the most important links in international air travel. The road, although forming a circuit only about 21 miles round, is thought to be destined to possess certain qualities which will make it an ideal testing ground. It includes in fact two straightaways, one very sharp hairpin turn, and a down grade which is estimated to make a speed of over 150 m.p.h. possible. The sponsor of this track, Count Giovanni Bonmartini, who is also responsible for the aerodrome, hopes

to open it in May with a great international motor race.

In the meantime the R.A.C. of Sweden is bent on enlivening the winter with a Grand Prix of truly exciting character. The race is in fact to be run on 22nd Februaryover a road circuit at Ramshyttan, and competitors must be prepared to find a course of entirely frozen roads. The circuit which Measures rather over thirty miles in circumference is to be covered eight times, making a total distance of 250 miles. The rules stipulate that not more than 40 ears will be allowed to start and that the race will not be run unless at least 24 are entered, but there are no restrictions with regard to the details of the cars which may compete. The race is provided with valuable prizes, and it is believed that a good many foreign entries will be received—K.

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