Rumblings, January 1959

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New Castrol films

During the winter when you cannot watch motor racing the next best thing to do is to watch films of motor racing; in fact, sometimes it is even better than watching the racing. Castrol gave a premier showing of their latest films in London recently, consisting of “On the Limit”  —   the film of the Production Car Race at the British G.P. meeting and the Grand Prix d’Europe at Spa. Also in the programme were two motor-cycling films.

 “On the Limit”  captures the thrills of the Production Car Rate in which Tommy Sopwith and Walt Hansgen battled for so long until a wheel parted company with Sopwith’s Jaguar. Some excellent shots from ground level in slow motion illustrate the reasons why pieces fall off  these production ears during races.  The film ot the European G.P. at Spa is not quite so thrilling, even though Tony Brooks won in a Vanwall. The race became rather processional and the film consists mainly of single cars flashing by at high speed. The quality of the films is not quite up to previous standards. Club Secretaries who would like to borrow copies of these films, free of charge, should  write to the Castro! Film Library, 46, Grosvenor Street, London, W.1.

***

Noises off

 Another winter pastime for some enthusiasts is the playing of gramophone records of various races of the previous season. Stanley Schofield Productions have recently issued their 1959 records, which consist of the G.P.s of Europe and Britain,  the Isle of Man  T.T. and the memorable day when the Mercedes G.P. cars went to Oulton Park. The Senior T.T. recording, with a commentary by Graham Walker, is outstanding, and even the most rabid motor-car enthusiast cannot help but admire the roar of the B.M.W.s and M.V.s in the hands of Duke and Surtees. Those who were thrilled by the Mercedes in 1937 and 1938 will now be able to have a permanent record of the fantastic noise created by these cars, which has been admirably captured on this record. With the gramophone turned to full volume the record is guaranteed to convince the neighbours that war has been declared again!

The British G.P. and European G.P. records have commentaries by John Bolster, but do not offer the same thrills as the other two records. The T.T. record is priced at £1 10s. and the others at 17s. 6d., and are obtainable from Stanley Schofield Productions Ltd.,  6, 7, 8. Old Bond Street, London, W.1

***

Ferodo expansion

H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh recently opened the new £1-million Research Laboratories of Ferodo Ltd. at Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, which have been made necessary by the  general advance in car design since the war. In this period the development of all-enveloping bodywork has brought many problems for the brake lining manufacturer, together with the problems of smaller wheels and ever increasing speeds. The disc brake has helped to eliminate some of these snags but has itself brought attendant problems owing to the small area of the brake pad; indeed the disc brake owes much of its success to the brake lining manufacturers, who have evolved a material which can withstand the terrific heat generated by a brake disc.

The new Ferodo laboratories are a self-contained unit which carries out everything from basic research to the final road tests. In the main hall, known as the Test House, stand many inertia dynamometers to which can be fitted brakes of any type and size. These machines can test brake lining materials up to speeds of over 150 m.p.h. and can be set to various cycles of speeding up and braking. It is enlightening to see a disc brake stopping a dynamometer from 150 m.p.h.;  the disc glows bright red and a great deal of smoke issues from the pad, but the machine is stopped in a very short space of time.

Only when a new material has passed all the dynamometer tests is it passed to the test garage,  for fitting to a suitable car or bus. It is bedded in for several hundred miles, then taken to the test track for repeated acceleration and braking tests. All vehicles are fitted with instruments which record temperatures, etc., of linings when the car is in motion. The amount of wear is measured at regular intervals and only if it passes the very stringent tests is the material accepted for quantity production.

For many years now the basic ingredient of brake linings has been asbestos, which is mined in Canada and Africa, but in several applications it has been found that asbestos has reached its limit and the pure physics branch of the laboratories is conducting a great deal of research into the possibilities of sintered metals and cerametallics.  In fact, both the Vanwall and B.R.M. F l cars  used sintered metal clutch-plates last season and these proved very reliable in transmitting the enormous power of these cars.

It is heartening to learn that Ferodo place a great deal of faith in the part that motor racing plays in the development of lining materials and that they intend to continue their interest in the Sport.