Book Reviews “GRAND PRIX”
By BARRE’ LYNDON
Mr. Lyndon is fast becoming one of the most prolific writers on motoring subjects and this latest book of his should meet with an enthusiastic reception. He has taken as his subject the racing season of 1934, a particularly interesting period because it saw the rise of the German racing cars, which have so completely dominated racing in Europe during the past season.
Obviously, it is not possible to deal with every one of the forty or fifty races which appear on the Calendar each year, and the events included in the book are chosen to show the many-sided nature of racing, and the bearing of each of them on the development of the better motorcar.
The Monaco Grand Prix, that precursor of all ” Round the Houses ” races, forms as excellent a starting point for the book as it does for the season, and the reader is taken, corner by corner, round the famous circuit and then regaled with an account of that famous race in which Etancelin and Nuvolari, then driving as ” independents,” were the chief opponents of the Ferrari stable, and where, later, Moll snatched a surprise victory from Chiron, after the latter went off the road on his last lap.
The scene shifts to the Mille Miglia, only survivor of the old town-to-town races which motor-racing began, and an extraordinary searching test of man and machine driving under circumstances which duplicate an ultra-fast crosscountry run on unguarded roads. The International Trophy affords an opportunity of discussing motor sport in England, and a description of the Grand Prix of Tripoli reminds us of the magnificent fight put up by Hamilton on the Maserati, and Varzi’s win from Moll by one-fifth of a second after 300 miles at 116 m.p.h. Nor must one forget the achievements of the Americans, Paolo and Moore, who averaged 105 m.p.h. on cars quite unsuited to road racing. •
Following our Americans, we read of Indianapolis with its brass band of a thousand performers, its £20,000 of prize money, and its dangerous brick-surf.aced track. By an odd coincidence, the Mannin Beg race took place on the Douglas circuit on the same ‘day and hour, and we recall Dixon’s bad luck in running out of petrol when in the lead, and Brian Lewis’s win in the Moar race driving the Monoposto Alfa. The French Grand Prix on the unique road-cum-track circuit of Mantlhery, was the scene of the first encounter between the conventional Alfa-Romeos and the new-fangled, independently-sprung German cars, and though the Alfas finished in the first three places, the Mercs. and Auto-Unions gave _a foretaste of their luality in the future. The Grands-Prix of Marne and Comminges are given as the last of the old-time races on road cir
cuits. and then came Pescara, and victory for Fagioli on a Mercedes-Benz, and the sad death of young Guy Moll. A description of the 1934 Tourist Trophy completes the race accounts while its French ” opposite-number,” the Grand Prix d’Endurence at Le Mans, is fully dealt with in an earlier chapter.
Apart from its value as .a record of an interesting period, ” Grand Prix ” is to be recommended for its discussion for the why and wherefore of races and the way that drivers and factories are shown prepaling themselves for future success. A final chapter called ” Review ” sums up the harvest of 1934 as seen in the events of the past season, and the author is forced to the Widely-held conclusion that cars built under the present formula have become so frightening that a return to smaller engines is the only sane move.
Second only to the text, is the splendid collection of over seventy photographs, beautifully reproduced, which illustrate the book, and the general make-up and printing make the book as pleasing to own as to read. The only criticism we can make is that full lists of entries and results of the races described might with advantage have been given, at any rate in an appendix, while chapter headings would have helped in searching for information. Maps of the circuits are conveniently grouped cm the end-papers, while the index is adequate.
” Grand Prix ” is published by Messrs. John Miles, of Amen Corner, E.C.4, at the reasonable sum of 7s. 6d.