RUMBLINGS, February 1939
Politics THIS country has never really done very much about a National team of road-racing cars. In the very early days Napier carried our prestige
in G.P. races. Then Sunbeam did rather well in voiturette racing and won the only International G.P. a British car has ever won, when Segrave’s 2-litre unblown six-cylinder Sunbeam was victorious at Tours in 1928. Before the War the “Silver Ghost ” Rolls-Royce used to look after British laurels in all manner of trials, and long-distance runs, notably in the Alpine Trial—McKenzie, who now does such excellent work for Rolls-Royce and Bentley clients at his big premises behind the Continental departure side of Victoria Station, used to be responsible for the preWar Rolls-Royce works team. Then from 1924 until about 1930 Bentley did us a world of good by decisive victories at Le Mans, in the sports-car racing field. From 1985 onwards E.R.A. has put us right at the top of the voiturette map. Two years ago Fred Craner managed to get the Auto-Union and Mercedes-Benz teams to Donington and British enthusiasts realised at once how seriously modern Germany takes her motor-racing—she was just as serious in 1914 when Mercedes came home first, second and third in the French G.P.—and ever since they have wanted their own country to do likewise. Two schemes are obvious, one to help E.R.A. to go on with their good work in the 1k-litre category, the other to raise a fund to make possible a team of British cars suitable for whatever International Formula 1941 brings. In the latter case, something like a quarter of a million is needed, because presumably the Government will not help, nor will any of our motor magnates. The leader in the February issue of “The Sports Car,” official organ of the M.G. Car Co. Ltd., suggests that neither Cecil Kimber nor Lord Nuffield is interested in the project. But the S.M.M.T. might get subscriptions from its members if help started to come in from enthusiasts and the public at large. Daily paper support is problematical, although things are believed to be more rosy in this quarter than has been the case in the past. But actual help, financial or otherwise, apparently cannot be guaranteed either from the B. R.D.C. or the B.M.R.O.A., because the former body cannot encourage a venture in which certain drivers alone will draw all the plums when it claims to exist as a general racing-drivers’ trade union, while the latter association seems to fear offending its patrons until it is really certain their purse-string-pulling instincts rest in the direction of a British G.P. team to race abroad, as well as in the direction of unlocking turnstiles which admit them to British events. The E.R.A. Club is anxious to do everything possible to help the E.R.A. team, but we understand, from what should be a sound source, that both this Club and Humphrey Cook himself would be only too glad to see a successful scheme for raising the greater sum required to build a team of true Formula cars—to whatever Formula is Internationally agreed for 1941-1943. We believe that there is already in being a British motor racing fund which aims to raise enough money to sustain the I fare E. R. A. team should Humphrey Cook withdraw his support, and quite apart from anything that the E.R.A. Club may do. This fund claims to have the promise of a sound financial and Press backing and it has some very influential names on its provisional committee, but we have been asked to say nothing further about it at present. In any case, it seems to us that it is going to be difficult to persuade the public to subscribe to a fund which only
aims to assist 1i-litre racing, useful as such racing is, if we are still to be soundly beaten in International Formula contests. Nor does this venture profess a desire that this country should press for a 11-litre Formula in 1941. How, then, can it explain to nonmotoring parties the essential difference between IHitre and full G.P. racing ? How can it insist that victory in a light car race means excellent prestige to our Motor Industry when bigger prize money, bigger crowds and greater National efforts from other countries, come up for full G.P. contests ?
The R.A.C. is to be congratulated on having introduced a new signal to warn drivers of an oilpatch on the road surface of a race circuit. This new, and much needed, signal takes the form of a flag of red and yellow stripes, the stripes running vertically when the flag is held horizontally. We hope this signal will be adopted by the A.I.A.C.R. for International use.
The B.IVI.R.O.A. will again operate its Bonus scheme this year, and hopes to offer a minimum of f.,200. Last year this scheme helped greatly in maintaining good entries for British races. Racing at home must not be neglected while we fight for support for British teams to carry our colours abroad. This scheme is one of value to national racing and other ways of assisting ” gates” and entries were described in a leading article in this paper last month. Fewer big races is one solution and the B.R.D.C. will probably drop its September Brooklands Meeting this year,
only organising the Empire Trophy Race. A sign of the times.
Major Gardner’s M.G. will attack records again next spring as a 1,100 c.c. class car, but may go out for 11-litre records in November.
“Thunderbolt,” very effectively displayed at Jarvis’s Morden showrooms last month, may not run again this year if its 357 m.p.h. remains unchallenged.
The 41-litre straight-eight Jensen has a Nash engine.
Derek Loader is now director of Hansa sales in this country. He and Walter Norton, of ” Jabberwock ” Ford fame, plan to drive 2-litre, blown, twin 0.h.C. 123 m.p.h. sports model Hansas in competitions this year.
The M.G. C.C. Tramps’ Party is an event not to be missed. The date is February 18th.
The new 11-litre four-cylinder Maserati has a 78 x78 mm. engine said to give over 210 b.h.p. and it weighs about 11 cwt. The 1 Hitre Maserati Six has won the first two races of 1939.
The 3-litre Formula Talbot-Darracq seems likely to appear this season and it looks a very fine piece of machinery.