CHANGING THE FORMULA THE BUREAU DES CONSTRUCTEURS MEET AT ZURICH. RAYMOND MAYS REPRKENTS E.R.A.
When the E.R.A. concern started out eto build racing cars, none of them larger than 2 litres, with l litres the basic size, there were not wanting people who doubted whether the venture could be a success. The fine performance put up by this newest of makes in the 1935 season, running in many cases against cars of double the capacity, has now earned them an assured place in the motor-racing world, and also brought into prominence once more the possibilities of the smaller cars for serious racing. Last month a special meeting of the Bureau Permanent International des Constructeurs D’Automobiles was held at the Hotel Baur au Lac, Zurich, to consider the future of the International Racing Formula and for the first time in many years, an English delegate found a place in the gathering in the person of Raymond Mays, who was, of course, representing the E.R.A.
The object of the meeting was to consider whether the Formula might not be changed before its allotted time, alarm being felt at the increase of power and speed taking place under the present rules. No doubt there was also the feeling that Italy might not be participating in next year’s racing, which would mean one or two less factories to be considered when making a change.
The chairman of the committee was Herr Schippert of Mercedes-Benz, and the other delegates included Monsieur Ettore Bugatti, Signors J ano of AlfaRomeo and Dacco of Ferrari, and Stuck and Dr. Feuerstein, who has replaced Walb as team manager, representing Auto-Union.
Monsieur Bugatti, who opened proceedings, considered that no good purpose was being served by the 750-kg. formula, and though he was at a loss to suggest a better one, thought that a further reduction to 700 kg. might help. The German representatives were naturally in favour of keeping to the present regulations and it fell to Signor Dacco of the Scuderia Ferrari to make the first concrete suggestions for a change of policy. Before doing so he stated that from a personal point of view Alfa and Ferrari were quite satisfied with the present formula, the real complaint being the enormous expense involved in running the present type of car.
His proposals were intended to encourage unsupercharged cars to compete against the blown type now all-powerful in the racing world, and he suggested three alternative limits. These were :1. Maximum weight 600 kg. Capacity two litres unblown or 1,350 c.c. blown.
2. Maximum weight 700 kg. Capacity three litres unblown or two litres blown.
3. Maximum weight 800 kg. Capacity four litres unblown or 2.7 litres blown.
Two seater bodies of a minimum width of 85 cm. compulsory, fuel optional, weight to include tyres and wheels but not fuel or oil. Dacco claimed that any of these formul would enable use to be made of ” voitures de serie ” by which was
meant not ” sports ” cars but cars which were already in production.
These suggestions were not favourably received by the other manufacturers, though the eloquence with which Signor Dacco spoke assured him, at any rate, an enthusiastic hearing. Another point was that everyone at the meeting was flat against sports car races, owing to the almost insuperable difficulties of evolving rules which would keep out the disguised racing car. The possibilities of the 1i-litre class then came into discussion, and Raymond Mays was asked to give his views. His feelings were that the 1,500 c.c. cars were quite fast enough to make races of this capacity worth having, but that manufacturers who had already developed at great expense cars under the present formula could not be expected to scrap them and turn to building the smaller
cars. He therefore suggested .carrying on with the present cars for two or three years longer and, at the same time, to hold 1-litre races in as many cases as possible at the same meeting and over the same course as the big cars. At the end of this period the manufacturers would be in a position to know which type of car they had found most useful in improving the quality of their standard productions.
No definite decisions were come to at the meeting, but the general agreement was that the present formula should continue until 1938, since it takes at least two years to evolve a new racing car. It appeared that the German firms looked quite favourably on the 1i-litre limit, since they are now finding an increased market in Germany for the smaller type of sports car. Bugatti and Maserati are engaged in building 14-litre cars and it may well be that the next formula which conies into force will be the one which ruled in 1927, when the 1i-litre Delage swept the board. Another meeting is to be convened in Paris in January when members of the Commission will be invited to give their considered opinion on the Italian suggestions.
THE BRISTOL MOTOR CYCLE AND LIGHT CAR CLUB
The Club’s Annual Dinner was held at the Royal Hotel, College Green, on Saturday, 14th December, and was attended by a large gathering of members and their friends. In the course of his reply to the toast of ” The Club ” proposed by Mr. A. Roy Boucher, Mr. C. H. King, the Chairman, referred to the developments which had taken place. In response to the growing claims of car members, the Club had devoted a large proportion of its activities to the organisation of car events, and, in view of the success of the Backwell Hill Climb and the Roy Fedden Trophy Trial in particular, it was confidently expected that this state of affairs would continue with even greater support. In addition,
a move had recently been made to more suitable headquarters at the Clifton Down Hotel.
The many awards for the year were kindly presented by Mrs. Roy Boucher immediately after the Dinner.
Dancing followed until midnight and this, in conjunction with the facilities provided for refreshment, proved a great success.