The R.A.C.'s revised Tourist Trophy Race to be held over the new Dundrod circuit in Ireland on September 16th will obviously be one of 1950's classic sports-car races. The regulations were issued just before Christmas and are as follows:—
(1) Duration of Race. The Race will be run for a duration of three hours.
(a) The-Tourist Trophy will be awarded to the entrant of the car which makes the best speed performance relative to its engine size.
(b) Classes. Separate class awards will be offered in the race for the five classes as follows:—
Up to 1,100 c.c.
Over 1,100 c.c. and up to 1,500 cc.
Over 1,500 c.c. and up to 2,000 c.c.
Over 2,000 c.c. and up to 3,000 c.c.
Over 3.000 c.c.
Class winners will be determined by the greatest distance covered in three hours In each of the five classes quoted above.
(c) Special Award. A special award will be given to the competitor covering the greatest distance in the three hours.
(d) Manufacturers' Team Prize. The winner of this award will be the entrant of the team of three cars, which completes the full course of three hours running, with the best relative speed performance according to their engine sizes.
(3) Vehicles Eligible.
(a) Chassis. All chassis eligible for the Race must be examples of normal four-wheel vehicles with unsupercharged engines.
(b) Bodies. The bodies and equipment must comply with the new international Sporting Code.
The R.A.C. may require a duly certified and audited statement from the manufacturer giving proof that at least twenty of the type of chassis, together with the body fitted, and including any optional extras, have in fact been catalogued and sold through normal trade channels at home or abroad between January 1st, 1947 and June 30th, 1950. Foreign entries will only be accepted through the A.C.N. of the country concerned and the same audited statement may be required, and will be subject to the scrutiny of appointed auditors of the R.A.C.
(4) Fuel. Only fuel supplied by the R.A.C., of which a specification will be published, may be used during the race or practice. This fuel will be of a type and standard normally available to the public in Northern Ireland at the time when the race is run. Refuelling may only be effected from the competitor's pit by a gravity feed system, provided by the R.A.C., which will Incorporate a standard hose and feed.
(5) Spares and Tools. All spares and tools required during the course of the race must be carried upon the car. Only fuel, oil, brake fluid, water and additional spare wheels with fitted tyres may be held at the pit.
(6) Spare Wheels. Each car may have at least four spare wheels fitted with tyres, at least one of which must be carried on the car throughout the race. The first wheel change must be effected with a spare wheel which is carried on the car, and for all wheel changes only the normal jacking system supplied with the car may be used.
(7) Repairs. Only one person (who may be the driver) is allowed upon the track at any time.
(8) Reserve Driver. One reserve driver may be nominated for each car. In case of emergency, and if approved by the Stewards or the Meeting, this driver may replace the nominated driver.
(9) Alterations to, or Variation from, the Specifications. The following items only may be altered from, or added to, the current catalogue specification.
(1) The type and make of tyre (the tyre size must, remain as specified).
(2) The type and make of sparking plug.
(3) The carburetter settings. (The make, type or number of carburetters may not be changed.)
(4) The ignition setting.
(5) Driving mirrors to comply with the International Sporting Code.
(6) Windscreens must be of laminated glass or perspex or similar plastic material. On open cars they may be lowered if suitable provision for this is made in the production vehicle.
(7) A provision of the sealing of petrol tank filler caps.
(8) Provision of an approved fire extinguisher in bracket.
Other than the above, no items in the production specification may be omitted, and no additions may be made in any detail.
It will be seen that the R.A.C. intends the race to be a production-car event in every sense of the term. The Regulations, indeed, are very similar to those which governed the B.R.D.C. One-Hour Production Car Race at Silverstone last year. After due consideration, we are in entire agreement. After all, if a race is called a sports-car race, let it be for production-type cars, as far as is possible. Before the war the T.T. regulations were more lenient, with a view to enabling manufacturers to benefit from development modifications, but there was the uncomfortable thought that the car which won was only a distant relation of the cars of the same make which you and I hoped to own. We recall that Aston-Martin, in particular, used to be quite honest about this, making the sensible observation that, if the cars they ran in the T.T. embodied certain non-catalogue features, at least they were practical road cars which wouldn't oil plugs or overheat or make a disgusting din when driven through built-up areas—which was proved by driving the team cars to and from Ulster.
So the earlier series of sports-car T.T. races, which originated in 1928, encouraged perfectly useable, roadworthy sports-cars. But with export sales to win, as well as races, the present Regulations seem to us even more sensible, for the makers of the victorious car, which we all hope will be British, can genuinely proclaim to the world's buyers that there are identical models available in the showrooms in exchange for dollars.
The formula-awarding of the Tourist Trophy will encourage all drivers to go as hard as they can, the class prizes and Team Prize should encourage entries, and, the barring of superchargers will not affect anyone, because the blown sports-car seems to have died a natural death, so far as catalogue models are concerned. Moreover, production-type cars cost less to prepare than the more specialised cars once deemed necessary to win the T.T. We can expect an excellent entry list and hope it will include some Continental opposition.
The ruling that one person, and one person only can work on the car and that the car's own spare wheel must be used for the first wheel change, and its normal jacking system be used for all wheel-changes, will put a premium on accessibility and sensible design that every potential owner will appreciate. The one-man rule will also hamper fake repairs to cars, parts of which break up during the race and would otherwise be lashed together by hordes of eager helpers.
So altogether we think the 1950 Tourist Trophy will be a fine and important race. Three hours is quite a long run, long enough at all events to determine which production cars have real stamina and which have not. It will be interesting to see how far the winner goes—obviously something approaching 250 miles—especially when it is remembered that in the B.R.D.C. Silverstone Race the victorious Jaguar averaged 82.8 m.p.h. for the hour, and that the Ferrari at Le Mans averaged 82.27 m.p.h. for 24 hours. Meanwhile, we constrain ourselves with difficulty, eager to be off to Dundrod on September 16th.
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—And Le Mans
Writing of the T.T. reminds us that the entry list for that other great sports-car race, Les 24 Heures du Mans, closes on February 28th and will be limited to 60. The race takes place on June 24th-25th and this year those who qualify to run in the Final of the Biennial Cup are: Lord Selsdon, Let-Aviation, Mrs. Trevelyan Monopole-Poissy, E. Baboin, H. Louveau, Peter Clark, A. W. Jones, N. Mahé, P. Meyrat, R. Lawrie, J. Poch, H. S. F. Hay, A. Lachaize and R. Bouchard.
In addition, of course, the normal Grand Prix d'Endurance on distance covered, and the Cup Race on formula, will be held.
The Regulations are in contrast to those for the T.T., for certain prototypes are permissible and the cars generally are less "catalogue," although this year 80-octane fuel is stipulated.
This time cars up to 1,100 c.c. have a more lenient deal under the formula or "performance index" but larger cars are expected to go faster. Many British enthusiasts are expected to make the pilgrimage to Le Mans this year—and they should find it well worth while.
So there you have the makings of two fine races—the T.T. and Le Mans. The B.R.D.C. proposes to run its One-Hour Production Car Race (possibly two one-hour races if entries justify) during the Daily Express Silverstone meeting this year; which will be very welcome and an excellent curtain-raiser (additional to the Blandford race referred to below) to the T.T. the following month.
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We are glad to learn of another most ambitious race meeting, which the West Hants and Dorset Car Club propose to hold at the Blandford road circuit on Whit Monday, May 29th. Arrangements are somewhat provisional at present, but it is hoped to hold an International Formula III 500-c.c. race in two or three 16-mile heats and a 20-lap, 64-mile final, an invitation Formula II race of 80 miles for the Blandford Trophy and an invitation Production Car Race over about 65 miles for cars complying with the 1950 T.T. regulations, and similarly handicapped, together with a prize for the absolute winner. The idea behind this race is that manufacturers running cars at Dundrod in September can use Blandford as a "try-out," and the W. Hants & Dorset C.C. have approached all the likely manufacturers from this viewpoint.
These races alone should ensure a first-class meeting, and it is probable that a 10-lap race for unblown cars up to 1,100 c.. (watch that, V-twin Cooper exponents!) will also be held.
The Blandford circuit round the Army camp is a real "road-course" and it only proved dangerous last year due to inexperience and lack of practice on the part of some competitors. S. C. H. Davis, who saw it for the first time last month expressed himself, we understand, as favourably impressed; he did not think the road unduly narrow. It is hoped to close the circuit for practising from about 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Whit Saturday, although building operations and the fact that the Camp is served by public 'bus-services, presents a difficulty. However, the Army authorities are particularly helpful . . .
This sounds as if it will add up to a first-class meeting. Those who decide to run at Blandford will presumably have to give Goodwood on Whit Saturday a miss, unless they can be accommodated at Blandford for practice on the Friday or Sunday. However, probably drivers who have competed at Goodwood at Easter will welcome a change of circuit for Whitsun. Facilities for spectators should be of a high standard. Blandford circuit is just over 8 miles to the lap, has a good tarmac surface, and is about 21 feet wide. The racing-car record is just over 88 m.p.h. and the course is approximately 106 miles from London. Details of the meeting are Available from J. B. Jesty, "Treebound," Upton, Poole, Dorset (Tel.: Lytchett Minster 848).
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It may not be generally known that Motor Sport can now be obtained through the post on the 1st of each Month by subscribing direct to 15, City Road, London, E.C.1. With the easing of paper restrictions next month we are able to reopen the subscription list to those wishing to avail themselves of this service, as from March 1st. The annual subscription is one pound; shorter periods (minimum. 6 months) pro rata.
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Extract Your Promise!
The approach of a General Election behoves every motorist, of whatever party, to extract a promise from his or her M.P. that:—
(a) Petrol rationing will be reduced or abandoned; (b) The unfair h.p. tax on old cars will be dropped in favour of a universal £10 per annum tax, halved if petrol is still rationed and only "basic" is used; and (c) The injustice of the Red Petrol law, whereby your licence and your car can be confiscated for a year if red petrol is found in the tank, without legal defence being permitted, be instantly abolished.
Will you write to your M.P. tonight?
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It seems that the B.R.D.C./Daily Express meeting at Silverstone on August 26th is likely to comprise very similar racing to that run so successfully last year, i.e., two short racing car heats culminating in a Final, and one or possibly two one-hour production car races.