Lord Thow gives his impressions about the coming Racing Season
ZorO bow gime Ots jmpresisiono of tbe Coming Racing e5eaoon (In an interviece)
T0 the keen follower of motor sport, the prospects for motor racing on the Continent during the coming season seem decidedly exciting. We therefore decided to approach Lord Howe, who of course possesses a wide knowledge of the activities of the various racing-car factories, combined with a practical experience of the majority of European racing circuits, and to obtain his views on the matter.
The activities of the Alfa Romeo factory are at present very much in the news. Lord Howe himself had ordered aMonoposto for next season, but only a few days before our interview his deposit money had been returned, together with a letter from the directors saying that the singleseater cars were only to be supplied to Italian drivers residing in their own country. We asked him how the singleseaters handled, but he replied that he had never had an opportunity of driving one. His most abiding impression was obtained when he was watching Nuvolari during the practise for the 1932 French Grand Prix. The Italian driver was passing the pits at high speed, when suddenly the front of the car slewed across the road, and Lord Howe hastily dived for cover behind the pit counter. The skid was corrected
almost instantly, but when such an incident occurs on a well-surfaced and straight road, it shows the amount of concentration required to hold a straight course. Discussing the question of driving the single-seater racing cars developed by the new rules with the head of a famous foreign marque, whose products at one time ruled the race tracks of Europe, they both agreed that there were not more than half a dozen drivers of the Nuvolari calibre, capable of holding these ultra light cars at speeds approach ing 160 m.p.h. 41
After the French Grand Prix, acting on the suggestion of Caracciola, blocks of lead ballast were fitted over the rear axles of the IVIonopostos, which made them a little easier to handle, and as will be seen on another page of this journal, the 1934 Type B cars have been lengthened and their weight has gone up.
“My own idea is that Grand Prix racing in 1934 will be nearly as dangerous for the spectators as for the drivers ; and marshals, photographers, and other folk who have to stand on the edge of the course would be wise to station themselves near a “funk-hole,” where they can take refuge in the event of an uncorrected skid.”
He did not think that any steps to modify regulations would be taken until at least some of the races had been held, which would show whether the single-seaters were as dangerous as might be imagined. The A.C.F., of course, were allowing two-seaters for the French Grand Prix. Therefore suggestions such as that of Chiron, that Grand Prix racing cars should be limited to tinsupercharged engines of two-litre capacity and carrying two-seater bodies was rather premature. Two seater bodies could not of course be fitted to the Monopostos. We ventured to ask Lord Howe whether mechanics would be carried if a return were made to two-seater bodies, but he assured us that the Continental organisers had found
that carrying passengers merely entailed unnecessary loss of life, and that there was no prospect of this out-of-date regulation being revived.
The next point we raised was the selection of racing cars now available. Maserati, it appears, is overwhelmed with orders, but is the only firm with a tested production, and one would imagine that Lord Howe will probably secure one of these now that the Alfas cannot be obtained.
The 2.8 litre Bugatti, appeared at the Spanish Grand Prix, and though it did not make an impressive showing, Lord Howe considered that the race was in the nature of an preliminary test. The cars have rather the appearance of a squat edition of the 4.9 car, slung as low as Lord Howe’s famous 1,500 c.c. Delage. The rear wheels have radial spokes, which serve merely to counteract the effect of centrifugal force. The drive is taken from the brake-drums, which have serrated rims, and the wheel rims, which have corresponding internal serrations, fit over them. Another unusual feature is that the cars are started from the side, which allows the front dumb-irons to be faired in in accordance with aero-dynamic principles.
Lord Howe is of course interested in the 2.8 litre Mercedes, but few details have yet been divulged, except that it costs 100,000 Marks (E7,400) in Germany, which is a high price for an untried car. The Union Special is also being kept very secret, but Lord Howe does not fancy that it will hold the road any better than the other light singleseaters which will be seen next season.
His own plans are as yet indefinite, except that he has decided to take a team of M.G. Magnettes to Italy for the Italian 1,000 Miles Race. The Del age and the Bugatti are still going strong, and if he decides to get the Maserati he will have a busy season in front of him. In any case, all our readers will join us in wishing him the best of luck in the racing season of 1934.