Continental Notes and News
Continental Notes and News
DURINC; the winter months one can only write about the plans of drivers with extreme caution. After a spate of reports and counterreport's it is finally announced that So-and-So has signed a contract with Such-and-Such a Stable. Splendid ! we say, and a paragraph to that effect is immediately dispatched to the printer. The day after the paper has gone to press, however, one learns that So-and,-So has changed his mind, and will be an independent in 1935!
Last year Nuvolari was the star performer at this game. He was reported to be joining every manufacturer and stable imaginable, and journalists all over Europe were fully occupied in contradicting previous statement's. But this winter he has been joined by others, and the man who is exciting equal speculation at the moment is .Achille Varzi. At first it was somehow taken for granted that he would renew his contract with Ferrari, and this came to be regarded as an 'accomplished fact, partly because he. had not been seen driving other cars while practising for races, like Chiron, Stuck and Nuvolari.
A statement from Ferrari, however, revealed that Varzi has not so far signed on the dotted line. His value as a team No. 1 driver is unquestioned, but the passibility of Nuvolari returning to the Modena stable may have jeopardised the negotiations. The two men are known to 'find it difficult to co-operate with each other, and neither Would care to play second fiddle.
At the time of writing (an essential phrase, that 1) it looks as though neither of them will race for Ferrari next year Nuvolari, after getting to the last point of negotiation, has resorted to his independent status once more, while Varzi is carrying on an. interesting discussion with Auto-Union. He would be a tremendous acquisition for the German team, in which Stuck has so far been the only really first-class driver. His nationality should not be an obstacle, for Fagioli has" renewed " with IMercedesBenz.
The latest news is that he has been given an official reception by the AutoUnion people at Chemnitz, afterwards driving an Auto-Union for several laps of the A-vus Circuit. Ricordi accompanied Varzi to Chemnitz, and they were received by all the big noises of the factory, Herren Porsche, Walb, Woelter and Oertzer.
Apart from the at present undetermined " No1,the following drivers will definitely race under Ferrari colours next season : Louis Chiron, Rene Dreyfus, Antonio Brivio, Felice Trossi, and Gianfranco Comotti. Their careers are rather interesting. Chiron is the veteran of the team, having raced regularly since 1925. His first success was actually in 1924, When he made fastest time of the day at the Barbonnet hill-climb, and his first victory in a big race was in 1926,, at
Comminges. Dreyfus has been racing since 1928, his record in that year consisting of 1st place in the 1,500 classes of the Circuit of Cannes and in the Circuit of Garoupe, 5th in the Targa Florio, and fastest 1,500 c.c. time at the Val de Cuech and Platrieres hill-climb. His first big victory was at Dieppe in 1929.
Count Trossi entered for a couple of hill-climbs in 1931, but did not get down to it seriously until 1933, when he was.5tb at Monaco; 2nd at Alessandria, 1st at Pescara in the Targa Abruzzo, 2nd at the Stelvio, 1st at Monteceneri, PontedecimoGiovi, and GaiSberg, and won the Circuit of Florence. Brivio started in 1932, making a brilliant start by finishing 2nd in the .Mille Miglia, while ComOtti began his racing career a year earlier with three hill climbs and 1st place in the 1,100 c.c. class at Alessan.dria.
By the way, how many people know that Signor Enzo Ferrari himself used to race ? He won the 1,50() c.c. class in the Circuit of Modena in both 1927 and 1928.
Rally Cars at Montlhery.
On the track in front of the pits at Montlhery 'several Cars could be Seen lately performing the most extraordinary evolutions. Closer examination revealed them to be entrants for the Monte Carlo Rally, practising for the final tests which play such an important part in deciding the final placings.
Following the example of Alfa-Romeo, who are officially represented by the
Scuderia Ferrari, the Maserati factory will this year entrust AS racing activities to the Scuderia Sub-Alpina. This stable was actually formed in 1933 by Count Della-Chiesa, the original drivers being Della Chiesa, Farina, Aymini, Dusio and Bona.
This year the drivers nominated to date are Philippe Etancelin and " Freddie" Zehender, two experienced Maserati men. Farina will probably drive the small cars, as heretofore, and a very good job he will make of it, too. The cars so far available are eight in all : two 8-cylinders, two" sixes," one 1,500 c.c., one 1,100 c.c., and two " sports " models. These will be kept in tune by six mechanics, and a team of three lorries will transport the cars all over Europe.
I understand that two other drivers may join up later.
The Dussenberg at Montlhery.
\Vhitney Straight had to postpone his attempt on the World's Hour Record at Montlhery, departing hurriedly by air to South Africa. He managed to put in a good many practice laps, however, and intends to return to IViontlhery after the East London race is over.
In his absence the Dussenberg has been driven a good deal by his friend, Prince Nicolas of Roumania. The Prince is planning an attack on certain world's and class records, and it is possible that the two drivers will combine in a long distance run early this year.
Racing in Scandinavia.
Two big races are due to take place in Scandinavia during February. On the 10th the R.A.C. of Norway are going to hold a Grand Prix on the Lake. of Bogstad. This race will be a " closed " event, open only 'to Norwegians, Swedes and Finns. It is intended to serve as a practice race for the Grand Prix of Sweden a week later, in which well-known drivers from all parts of Europe will 'compete.
Lake Bogstad is only a short distance from Oslo, so that the race should be well attended.
" Carrattch " takes another Record.
After many trial runs and a great deal of preparation, Rudolf Caracciola succeeded in breaking the Class C record for 5 kilometres, previously held by Harry Hartz, on the Union 76 Special. His 3.9-litre Mercedes-Benz was fitted with the open body, and his Speed was given as 193.85 m.p.h., an increase of 47 m.p.h. on the old figure. The advantages of independent springing were tested to the full when a tyre burst on one run, but Caraeciola retained control.
I understand that he will shortly attack Stuck's World's Hour Record.
A Blow for Bugattl.
It is bad luck that Bugatti should be deprived of so valuable an ally in the veteran driver Constantini, who has for several years directed the racing side of the Molsheim factory. It appears that
Constantini is feeling the need of a rest, and will therefore resign his position, which is in the nature of an honorary one.
The French National Fund.
The committees appointed by the F.N.C.A.F. to deal with the National Fund for the Assistance of Racing Car Constructors have made good headway. By mid-December the Fund had reached the total of £3,800, and subscriptions were still coming in well. During February there is going to be a National Day, when the general public can buy badges for their Cars and buttonholes.
Thirty manufacturers have been asked whether they contemplate racing during 1935, and of these, seven have so far replied in the negative. On the other hand Bugatti, Delage and Sefac have all written their intention of racing, with certain provisos. Delahaye say they are thinking of entering the game in 1936. There is a possibility of the French Talbot concern saying "Yes," I understand. How far this would affect the English sections of the S.T.D. combine it is difficult to say.
A Record-Breaking Auto-Union.
With the object of collecting all the records within their power, the Auto Union factory has recently completed a modified version of the famous Grand Prix cars. It bears a carefully streamlined body, with the enclosed cockpit which is becoming general for recordbreaking purposes. The car is to be taken to Gyon, near Budapest, in the near future, and an attack will be made on the standing start mile record which Caracciola took from the Auto-Union a month or so ago.
It will be most interesting to see the maximum speed recorded by this Auto Union. I should not be surprised if it exceeds 200 m.p.h. by a wide margin. Prince von Leiningen is going with Hans Stuck.
The Linas-Montlhery Auto drome is likely to have its own Meteorological
CHEERS FOR "ANDY."
To have completed 25 years' service with the Wakefield Company was the occasion last month of much congratulation to E. J. Anderson, universally known —and liked—as " Andy."
As manager of the racing side of " Castrol," Anderson is almost a landmark, if he will pardon the term, at motoring functions of a sporting nature. He is the very essence of smiling good humour, and we join in the general good wishes for his continued happy association with Messrs. C. C. Wakefield & Co., Ltd.
It is with deep regret that we have to record the death last month of a figure well known to all habitués of Brooklands Track, Mr. S. G. Cummings. Since the very construction of the track, Mr. Cummings has taken an active part in its organisation, and he was a regular competitor at Weybridge before the War. Recently he won the Veteran's Race at Station shortly. The French Office
National MOteorologique, in collaboration with the Auto drome authorities, is going to erect an observatory there, attracted by the favourable situation of the Plateau de Saint Eutrope, on which the track is built.
Those embarking on a long-distance record attempt will find the station of great value.
High Speed Trial Abandoned.
I am informed that the German 2,000 kilometre trial, scheduled to take 'place on July 6th and 7th, has been cancelled. This event achieved a certain degree of fame as a " blind " of the most lurid nature, hundreds of cars hurtling along unguarded roads in an incredible fashion.
Although the Sefac racing car could not be completed last 'year in time to take part in races, the French National Fund has given fresh hope that this interesting production will actually be seen in Grand Prix races this year. Several engines have been completed, and M. Emile Petit, the designer, anticipates the fruition of his plans this season.
Women in the Tour of Italy.
In the first Tour of Italy, there was no special class for women—although Mme. Marcuse and Mlle. Simone Gonnot finished in a good position in the general classification. But that indefatigable sportswoman, Mlle. Helle-Nice, has persuaded the organisers to include a special Ladies Class in the race next July.
It would be nice to see one of our own brilliant lady-drivers carry off this prize. What about it, Mrs. Wisdom, Miss Taylour, Miss Allen, Mrs. Petre, Miss Evans and Miss Astbury ?
139 m.p.h. with 1,100 c.c.
After an unsuccessful attempt, due to the timing apparatus failing to function correctly, the Italian driver Fourmanik, on a 4-cylinder 1,100 c.c. Maserati, has beaten the International Class G record for a flying kilometre. His speed was the
Brooklands for pre-War drivers, held round the Mountain Circuit.
Never recovering completely from the shock of his wife's death, about a year ago, Mr. Cummings has not been in his usual state of health for some months, and he died after a, happily, short illness.
To his relatives we offer our sincere condolences.
B.R.D.C. AWARDS OF MERIT.
The road " star " of the B.R.D.C. has been awarded for the 1934 season to the Hon. Brian Lewis and C. J. P. Dodson, and the track " star " to F. W. Dixon. The method of scoring, unfortunately has several disadvantages, such as the rule that cars must complete the full distance, even though they may be flagged off in a good finishing position, as frequently occurs on the Continent. Another restriction which causes difficulties is that no marks are counted unless at least six cars start in B.A.R.C.
phenomenal one of 139.143 m.p.h., subject to the usual confirmation. The car was carefully streamlined, with disc wheels and abundant cowling. The attempt was made on an autostrada at Florence.
The car is claimed to develop 152 h.p. at 6,700 r.p.ni.
The racing department of the huge Alfa-Romeo factory is working at full pressure on the Grand Prix cars for next season. The chassis has been decided upon, with its independent springing of all four wheels. Two engines are being constructed, a six and an eight, designed by different engineers, and the most powerful of the two will be used.
In stock-car racing Alfa-Romeos will be extremely powerful. 3-litre engines, as used in the Monoposto cars this year, are being fitted into chassis with independent springing, and a speed of 140 m.p.h. is expected. Teams will be entered for the Mille Miglia and Le Mans, for certain.
The New Maserati.
The latest Maserati on the stocks at Bologna is a V8, of 4,400 c.c., with independent springing and a gear-box on the back-axle. The power-output arrived at is a mere 360 h.p., and Etancelin and Zehender will handle two of these cars at Monaco—all being well.
Miramas to be Demolished ?
There seems every possibility of the Miramas Autodrome, near Marseilles, being demolished before long. Nothing definite has been decided, but a meeting in January will be the critical point.
While one cannot fail to regret the disappearance of any motor-track, it must be admitted that Miramas has served no very useful purpose since its construction some dozen years ago. It is only slightly banked, and is consequently extremely hard on tyres. On the other hand a race there always attracts an enormous crowd.
and Donington races. Finally, the Donington Park Trophy of 100 miles has been given the same marking as an ordinary 5-lap affair. Using the B.R.D.C. formula, here is how the drivers were placed :—