Canitiinenita, Noles and News
By A US LA N DE R
When is a G.P. not a G.P. P the
I can never understand why the A.I.A.C.R., who are so strict about the arrangement of the International Calendar, allow the name ” Grand Prix” to be
used indiscriminately. The citizens of Antwerp, for example, have been bitten with the speed-bug and have decided to hold a motor-race for sports-cars on May 22nd. Such enthusiasm is all to the good, but they really ought to be told not to call it the Antwerp Grand Prix. I may be something of a purist in these matters, but to me a race for sports-cars
can never be a Grand Prix, and I shall no doubt be howled down by many when I say that the Grand Prix d’Endurance at Le Mans is misnamed. There is a simple solution. Let the A .I.A.C.R. decree that the description ” Grand Prix” be confined to races run
under the existing formula. After all, there are plenty of other names : Circuit, Cup, Trophy, and what’s wrong with the common-or-garden Race ? The Antwerp ” Grand Prix,” incidentally, is to be for sports-cars of three categories : up to 1,100 c.c., up to 2,000 c.c., and up to 4/-litres. A supercharger will be considered as a 65 per cent. increase in cubic capacity. The distance will be 500 kilometres (which my ready
reckoner tells me is 312 miles). Only twenty-four cars will be allowed to start.
We Beg to Differ . . .
The Belgians are taking more interest In motor-racing these days, for they have decided to revive the 24-Hour SportsCar Race at Spa on July 9th and 10th. There will be four classes : 1,100 c.c., 2-litres, 4-litres and 414itres. The most coveted award will be the King Albert Challenge Trophy, which goes to the winning team of three cars.
Iiere again the supercharger is handicapped to the tune of 65 per cent., and it looks as though the Belgians must have been a dissenting minority when the new formula was discussed by the A.I.A.C.R. Vou will remember that under the new formula the blower ratio is only 50 per cent.
Personally, I think 65 per cent. is the fairer figure.
French Designs on Mille Miglia Laurels
That sounds like one of those incomprehensible headings you See in American newspapers—and English tabloids as
well nowadays. Anyway, you know what I mean, don’t you ? It is just poseible that we shall see a French victory (for the first time) in the Mille Miglia this year. The Ecurie Bleue is going to send a strong team of three cars, to be driven by Schell, Dreyfus and Comotti. Talbot-Darracq have not actually entered at the time of writing, but they are expected to send Pintacuda, Chiron and Tarnffi. There may also be private entries of a Delahaye by Mazoud
and a Talbot by Raph. Italian reply to this redoubtable invasion will be the usual Ferrari Alfas and a Maserati in the hands of Achille Varzi.
Formula Race Prospects
To begin with, at any rate, it looks as though the formula is going to result in much keener competition in Grand Prix races this year. There will be more teams, of a more international character : Auto-Union and Mercedes-Benz from Germany, Buotti (?), Delahaye and TalbotDarra.cq from France, Alfa-Romeo and Maserati from Italy, and E.R.A. from Britain.
I have got a hunch, however, that as time goes on the German cars will once more gain a clear superiority, and that several of the above teams will decide that repeated beatings are neither good advertisement mar wind business.
may be wrong—I hope I am—but I don’t see the unblown cars being a match for the blowns, when it comes to the allimportant matter of acceleration. In performance the new MercedesBenz, for example, will probable be equal to the original Grand Prix cars produced
in 1934. In those days the Mercedes engine was 3.5-litres, and developed 350 h.p., or 100 h.p. per litre. Engine research is supposed to have progressed since then, and with higher revs, the new 3-litre engines will probably develop about 350 h.p. Will the =blown 41litre Delahayes and Talbots have the same performance as the early MercedesBenz ?
Much has been made of the fact that the average Speed of the Delahaye and Bugatti, in their timed runs for the Government prize at Montlhery last year, was equal to the record lap made by the Mercedes-Benz in the 1936 French Grand Prix. People overlook that there were three ” chicanes” in that race which considerably slowed the German bolides.
It seems fairly certain that the 1938 Mercedes-Benz cars will have eightcylinder 3-litre engines, on the general lines of the previous models, so as to take fullest advantage of the experience gleaned since 1934. Auto-Union, on the other hand, are rumoured to be changing over to orthodox engine-in-front practice. I say rumoured, because it is impossible to get official information on this point. They will probably stick to sixteen cylinders.
Both Dr. Porsche and Herr Neubauer have inade public statements praising the new fornmla, but giving nothing away as to their own plans. Probably by the time these lines are in print we shall know a little more, because both German teams are scheduled to pay their annual training visits to Monza some time this month.
Ferrari plans are more public, but are unsettled. The Alfa Corse, as it is now known since the racing side of the Scuderia officially merged with the factory, is experimenting with a sixteencylinder 3-litre engine, and has meanwhile done a great deal of work on the 4i-litre ” twelve ‘ and the 3-litre ” eight.”
It will depend on final tests as to which engine will be favoured. Enzo. Ferrari is hard at work with his henchmen Bazzi (who was responsible for the Bimotore, I believe) and Marinoni, and the Modena stable is in a state of great optimism at the moment.
Maserati has a 3-litre eight-cylinder engine with twin blowers from which it is hoped to extract many horses and a. road speed of 170 m.p.h. The chassia will be similar to that used before, with torsion bar independent springing in. front and normal semi-elliptic at the rear.
It is significant that the Germans fear the 2-litre E.R.A. more than the French cars. The Bourne people certainly ” have something” when it comes to .acceleration., and if only they could combine this with a higher maximum and. a -shade more reliability, they might be able to do something which has not been done by a British car for fifteen years. Here’s wishing them the best of luck.
The Driving Position
The question of team personnel has been considerably affected by the death of Rosemeyer. Auto-Union had accepted Stuck’s resignation, and were going to be content with Rosemeyer, Hasse and. Muller. But the last two are certainly not experienced enough to rank as first and second strings, and the two alternatives apparent at the moment are that Stuck will be invited to cancel his retirement and lead the team, or that Nuvolari will leave Italy and join Auto-Union. Alfa Corse will not let the Italian champion go without a struggle, and there is always the possibility of 11 Duce intervening. However, the latter will not do anything likely to upset his precious Rome-Berlin axis, and anyway he did not stop Varzi when he went to AutoUnion two years ago. Nuvolari tried an Auto-Union in the Swiss Grand Prix last year, but didn’t seem to like the unorthodox layout. But with the engine in front he may be induced to lead the
team. Altogether, it looks as though Auto-Unions are in a bit of a spot as far as drivers are concerned. Mercedes-Benz are in the strongest position of all, with Caracciola, Lang and Von Brauchitsch. Seaman and Kautz will presumably be available for some races, and the two cadets, Walter Balmier and Hans Hartmann, will continue to receive training throughout the season. ‘[he Alfa team, apart from the doubtful Nuvolari will be as before : Farina, Briyio, Tadini and Pintacuda. In addition, Sommer, Villoresi, Biondetti and. Siena may turn out occasionally, and it is just possible that the motor cyclist Aldrighetti may be given a wheel in some races. Maserati will have a strong
leader in Varzi, and a brilliant secondstring in Trossi. The rest of the team will consist of Cortese, Marazza and Rocca, these three being mostly used for 1,500 c.c. races.
In France, the Delahayes will be driven by Schell, Dreyfus, Comotti and Carriere, and the Talboth by Chiron, Etancelin and Le Begue.
Talking of cadet drivers, the R.A.C.I. has a plan for training racing drivers en masse which was put into execution last season by the introduction of touring car classes in several sports-car races. This resulted in the number of budding drivers increasing from 235 to 470. Next year these aspirants will be moved up to the sports class, and the logical development seems to be that in 1939 there will be about 500 racing drivers clamouring to join the Alfa or Maserati teams !
On the 1,500 c.c. Front
The excitement of the new formula has rather overshadowed the 1,500 c.c. movement, which made such great strides
last season. However, there will still be plenty of fun to be had with the “juniors,” and the E.R.A. colours are likely to be severely challenged this year. The Maserati bolt was rather shot last year, but the Bolognese manufacturer has managed to put in some good work on the cars and hopes to do better next season. Both the six and four-cylinder engines will be used, and it is interesting to note that the former car complies with
the new formula specification. In addition, the amalgamation of the Alfa factory with Ferrari seems likely to accelerate the plans for a 1,500 c.c. car which have been rumoured concerning both parties for some time. In fact, I am assured that the Alfa Corse actually has a sixcylinder 1,500 c.c. engine on test, which is good. news.
The rumour is given added point by the statement of milio Villoresi, who said that he had joined the team to race 1,500 c.c. cars.
A Race to be Seen
I strongly advise Grand l’rix enthusiasts to start making plans now to see the French Grand Prix on July 3rd. Arrange to have your summer holidays then, so that you can get to Reims in good time to see the practising.
Here is motor-racing at its best. All the traditional atmosphere is to be found at the magnificent Reims circuit, and the excitement (and the champagne) in the town before and after the race are unforgettable. All the “boys ” will be there this year, most of them at the ” Lion d’Or.” Team entries have been promised by MercedesBenz, Auto-Union, Alfa-Romeo, Delahaye and Talbot-Darracq. There is little fear of their failing to appear, because the first prize is almost up to Littlewood standards,
Z6,000. The second man gets E,3,000. The race will be over sixty-four laps, or 312 miles, and only three cars of each team will be allowed to start.
Crying 4′ Wolf! “
I see the old story of Monza being rebuilt is going the rounds again.
” scooped ” this story way back in 1934, I think it was, and since then the scheme has been postponed, resuscitated, and shelved once more, at the beginning and end. of every season.
The economic situation in Italy is pretty bad just now, so I should rather doubt that anything will be done immediately.
Perhaps next year .
The Curtain Raiser
Once again the Pau Grand Prix will mark the opening of the racing season.
This year it has been delayed until April, in order to give manufacturers a chanee to complete their new formula cars. The event should provide valuable data for future use. It will be a good test, because the distance has been increased to 100 laps, or 276 kilometres.
I cannot do better than end these notes by adding my little paean of praise to Caracciola and the Mercedes-Benz folk on their wonderful Class ” B ” records made at Frankfort
Like the writer of American film advertisements, all I can do is to string together a list of superlatives—superb, breathtaking, epoch-making, staggering, amazing, colossal, stupendous—and even then I cannot do justice to the feat of getting 268 m.p.h. out of a 6-litre engine on a 30 ft. road. There is more than a touch of genius about it all.
Here are the exact figures of what will probably rank as the greatest motoring feat of 1938: Class “B ” (5,000 c.c. to 8,000 c.c.) flying kilometre, outward 8.40 secs., return 8,24 secs., mean 8.32 secs., or 268.8 m.p.h. Flying mile, outward 13.42 secs., return 13.38 secs., mean 13.40 secs., or 268.711 m.p.h. It is difficult to know what to make of the rumour that Rosemeyer was attempting to break Eyston’s World Land Speed Record when he met his death. It seems unlikely, unless the car he was using had the fabled 24-cylinder
engine in it. Personally, I think it is more likely that he went out to regain the Class ” B ” records which he had just lost to Caracciola.