CONTINENTAL NOTES AND NEWS, July 1937
Continental Notes and News
Alfas to Try Again
The failure of the twelve-cylinder Alfa-Romeo to check the steady stream of Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union victories has been a bitter disappointment to the Italians. When the German manufacturers first took up racing seriously a few years ago, I was told that they knew perfectly well that their cars would be able to beat the existing Alfa-Romeos, Maseratis and Bugattis. What is more, my informant said that the Germans had a 10 per cent. margin in hand to counteract any fresh attempt on the part
of the Italians to build faster ears. It certainly is significant that the new twelve-cylinder Alfas are just as far from keeping up with the latest German cars as the 3,2 and 3,8-litre eight-cylinder Alfas were with the earlier Mercs. and Auto-Unions. Realising that nothing less than a drastic plan of campaign will have any effect on the present depressing situation, Signor Jana and his merry men are really getting down to the new V-16-cylinder car, which is to be of equal power to the
Germans’. The already superlative cornering ability of the Alfa chassis. allied to Mercedes-like acceleration and maximum speed, should prove a formidable combination. We shall see.
The depression over Modena has given rise to rumours that the Scuderia Ferrari is to be disSolved—in Russia it would be liquidated—and that Alfas will in future run their own racing department. This is stoutly denied by Enzo himself, and indeed it seems most unlikely. Meanwhile, Varzi and Chiron are being widely fancied as drivers in the team of V16 cars. A swing of the pendulum in favour of the Italians is due.
The 1,500 .c.c, Front
Talking of pendulums reminds me that on. the Continent they say that it is time that they had a closer look at the 1,500 c.c. pendulum, which has been swinging in the neighbourhood of Bourne, Lincs., quite long enough. Even though Trossi seems able to perform incredible feats with the Maserati rain time to time, there is no doubt as
By OUR CONTINENTAL CORRESPONDENT
to which is the better car, when it conies to an analysis of E.R.A. and Maserati
performance. And for the first season the works cars are proving superior to the ” independents.”
The Maserati challenge seems to haye spent itself, but I would like to see another scrap between the two works teams round the Nurburg Ring. I rather think my money would be on Trossi, which is probably more a tribute to the driver than the car. With the E.R.A. supremacy firmly established, interest now centres on the new twelve-cylinder 1,500 c.c. AlfaRomeo which is rapidly nearing com
pletion. This car will undoubtedly be the future winner pi one-and-a-half litre races—unless a a new E.R.A. makes Its appearance.
Modena is not the only place in Italy under a cloud just now, for at Mantua they are mourning the death of one of Nuvolari’s sons. The great little Italian has been worried for several years about the health of this son, and the deepest sympathy will be extended to him by all British racing enthusiasts. At Monza, too, there have been gloomy looks, for the Italian Grand Prix is not
to be held there this year. Plans for rebuilding the track have not matured, and the race is to merge with the Coppa Clam and be held at Leghorn on September 12th.
The Tarp. Florio refuges to die out, but it is only the merest shadow of its one-time greatness. The twenty-eighth race of the series was held on the Favorita circuit of just over three miles in 1 eng th a contrast from the long mountainous circuit of yore. The locale was near
Palermo, Sicily, and the race was confined to 1,500 c.c. cars, which proved to be mostly Maseratis. The result was an easy victory for Seven. The full placings were as follows:
1. Stweri (Maserati) 60 laps (196 Miles) in 21t. 55m. 40s. 66.90 m.p.h.
2. Lttrani (Maserati), laps.
3. Blanco (Maserati), 55 laps.
4. Barbieri (Maserati), 54 laps.
5. Verbani (Maserati), 54 laps.
A new race was held in Algeria this year, called the Grand Prix de Bona, A Circuit in the town was used, a little Over a mile in length. The race was decided on the queer system orightated at Albi. There were two ” heats ” of sixty miles :each, and all
the Cars took part in both. The final placings were arrived at by adding the times of the two ” heats” together.
The race was an easy thing for Wimille’s Bugatti, in spite of some spirited opposition froimi several pelahayes. The Talbots were not there.
Here are the full results.
1. Wimille (Bugatti) 119 miles (100 laps) in lb. 54m. 39s. 62,09 nt.p.h. 2 Paul ( Delahaye), 97 laps.
3. Carriere (Delahaye), 97 laps.
4. .Tannin (llelahaye), 75 laps. Up to 2-litres 1. Raneurel (Bugatti), 61 laps. A much more representative field turned out for the 3-Hour Sports-Car race at Miramas, near Marseilles. Here again there were three “heats,” all the
cars running in each. Wimille set off at a great pace in the first race, but he could not get away very far from Sommer’s -Talbot, which was only 19 secs. astern at the end of one hour.
In the second race the tables were turned, for Wimille was in trouble and Sommer ran out a close winner from his team-mate, Comotti.. The Bugatti was not sounding at all healthy, and soon after the start of the third race Wimille retired with engine trouble. Sommer went on to win at 112,74 m.p.h., lapping quicker than Nu volari’s monoposto Alfa did in 1935.
RESULTS Heat 1 (27 laps)
1. Wimille (Bugatti) lh. Om. 62s. 85.44 m.p.h.
2. Sommer (Talbot) lb. lm. 17s.
3. Comotti (Talbot) lh. lm. 45s. Heat 2 (32 laps)
1. Sommer (Talbot) lb. lm. 39s.
2. Comotti (Talbot) lh. lm. 45s. 8. Whnille (Bugattl) lh. 2m. 58s. Heat 3 (88 laps)
1. Sommer (Talbot) lh. Om. 4s. 112.74 m.p.h.
2. Comotti (Talbot) lh. Om. 24s.
3. Divo (Talbot). 1h. Om. 16s. Then in Bucharest (Rumania-or is it Bulgaria ?) they had a couple of races for sports and racing-cars. The former was a walk-over for Hemae, the German, on a works “Type 328” B.M.W. Heinle beat Nicoulescu, on a similar car, by 5 mins., Cristea, the Monte Carlo Rally expert, was third with his V8 Ford. The racing class was equally one-sided, for Ruesch, the Swiss driver of a 3.8-litre Alfa-Romeo, was nearly a quarter of an hour ahead of the second man at the
finish. RESULTS Sports-Cars
1. Herne (B.M.W.) 58m. 58.2s. 58.29 m.p.h.
2. Nicoulesou. (B.M.W.) lh. 3m. 20s.
3. Cristea (Ford) lb. 5m. 46s. Racing-Cars 1. Ruesch (Alfa-Itorneo) 1h. 15m. 20s. 81.94
21.11.Calcianu (Duesenberg) lb. 29m. 36s. Recent Records Continental roads and tracks have seen some pretty fearsome records established
98.82 m.p.h. recently. Pride of place must auto matically to go Rosemeyer’s astonishing 242.5 m.p.h for the Class B mile record. This speed was attained on the famous Frankfurt-Darmstadt-Heidelberg Autobahn, and was followed by the equally amazing world’s and Class B 10-mile record at 223.87 m.p.h. The dual carriageways of this road are, I suppose, about thirty feet in width, although I
haven’t actually measured them. At 242 m.p.h. the road must look like a tight-rope in front of you!
On the same road Major A. T. G. Gardner made his long-awaited attempt on the Class G mile and kilometre records held by Furmanik at 138 m.p.h. Tuned by Robin Jackson, the ex-Horton M.G. Magnette proved well up to its task, taking the two records at 142.634 m.p.h. and 142.302 m.p.h. respectively. Gardner hoped to be able to improve on this speed after further modifications to the car.
Just to show there was no ill-feeling, however, the equips stopped at Montlhery on the way home and bagged the five and ten miles and kilometre records in the same class. The mile speeds were 129.98 and 129.43 m.p.h., and the kilometre figures were 130.52 m.p.h. and 129.79 m.p.h. respectively.
Congratulations to M.G., Gardner, Robin Jackson and all. Meanwhile Furmanik himself had been busy way down at Florence, on the Autostrada leading to the coast. He had devoted his exceptional recordbreaking talents to the preparation of a four-cylinder 1,500 c.c. Maserati, which was elaborately streamlined. First of all he attacked the standing start records in Class I`, held by Raymond Mays with the KR.A. at 96.08 m.p.h. for the mile and 85.35 m.p.h. for the kilometre. Furmanik shattered both of them with speeds of 104.87 m.p.h. and 89.95 m.p.h. The axle-ratio was altered, and then the car was brought out once more to try
for the flying start records. The kilometre was tried first, and the amazing speed of 148.4 m.p.h. was recorded. Slight trouble then intervened, and the mile attempt was postponed. The previous kilometre record was held by the American driver Duray, who drove a Packard Cable Special-in other words a Miller-at Arpajon. Furmanik has a tough nut to crack in the mile record, for this is the late Frank Lockhart’s almost unbelievable 164.01 m.p.h. made at Murock Dry Lake
so long ago as 1927. With improved streamlining on the Maserati, Furtuanik hopes to achieve 170 m.p.h.
Finally, a team of French lady-drivers have collected a whole heap of longdistance class records with a V8 Ford, and two world’s records into the bargain. Their attempt lasted for ten days, and they averaged over 88 m.p.h. Their names are Mmes. Helle-Nice, Descollas, Desforet, and Licot. A stout effort.