WITH the New Year the thoughts of all motor-racing followers are turned tO the coming season. Right up to the Christmas holidays our talk has been of the races of 1934, living them over again and holding the usual “post-mortems.” But now, from being a recent memory they have become a matter of history.
It is going to be a magnificent year. With official teams of Auto-Union, Mercedes-Benz, Bugatti, AlfaRomeo (Ferrari) and Maserati (Subalpina), there will be no lack of entries. In addition, there is a possibility of another French make, while a few hardy independents will no doubt face the mighty storm of “works ” opposition. There are still persistent rumours of English representation in the big races by a famous factory, but at any rate the M.G. and E.R.A. will defend our colours most worthily in those events which include a 1,500 c.c. Or 1,100 c.c. class.
With their More frequent opportunities for indulging in the sport, the Continental drivers will still fill all the places in a list of the ” best dozen.” On the other hand, at least four of our men will be getting their hand in with modern cars, to wit, Earl Howe, the Hon. Brian Lewis, A.14. L. Eccles and C. E. C. Martin and their 185 m.p.h. Bugattis. _ Looking ahead, seasons ahead, two significant factors emerge from the foregoing. The present formula under which Grand Prix races are held will be in operation until the end of 1936. There is very little dount that the new formula will demand engines Of greatly reduced capacity, probably not more than 2 litres, and possibly 11 litres. Until that time, then, the British manufacturers, M.G. and ERA., will have intensive training and experience with which to perfect their present cars. Our drivers, too, will have become thoroughly acquainted with their mounts, the four
1935 Bugatti drivers having become accustomed to road racing at really high speed.
Reverting to the cars, it will be interesting to see whether the practice of using independent springing will spread to small racing cars. In theory, at any rate, the inherent advantages of the system could be just as beneficial on a small as on a large car, and in actual touring practise it has been applied most successfully to such cars as the 1,200 c.c. Lancia ” Augusta” and the 1,500 c.c. B.M.W.
It is not in only in exceptional cornering qualities that independent springing is so infinitely superior to the orthodox systems of suspension—although this alone can make a tremendous difference to lap-times on a :give-and-take circuit. It is also in acceleration, and by acceleration we imply absence of wheel-spin. The phenomenal records over a standing-start kilometre made by the German cars are proof of that.
Given the same advantages in the way of wheel grip, then, the competition between our cars and those of the Continent would be an extremely open one. Reduced to terms of obtaining the maximum amount of power from an engine of a limited size, the odds would be slightly in our favour. In the M.G. Midget and the M.G.
Magnette we have the most highly developed engines of their size in the world. The E.R.A.’s have yet to be fully tested in the racing field, but in acceleration they are definitely superior to anything yet seen for their respective sizes.
Summing up, while regretting the lack of British participation In Grand Prix races run under the present formula, we look forward to the day when British genius, as exemplified by its manifestations in the small .car classes to-day, will reap its merited reward.