Montlhery Musings

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68

Maserati have now won three 1,000 kilometre races, Buenos Aires, Nurburgring and Montlhery.

*   *   *

The distance of 1,000 kilometres for a sports-car event seems to be gaining in popularity. It is certainly a type of event in which good planning pays off, and not so tedious as a 24-hour race. A sports car worthy of its salt should be able to race for 1,000 kilometres without being rebuilt.

*   *   *

The pairing of the drivers of the first three cars could not have been more equal had they all been in the same team.

*   *   *

The rules prevented a top driver like Behra doing most of the race. With a maximum of 50 laps per driver-session Rosier did his fair share of winning the race. They split the 129 laps, Behra 45, Rosier 39, Behra 45.

*   *   *

The Equipe National Belge goes from strength to strength, with three Ferraris and a Porsche, while they seem to have found some good up-and-coming drivers. Pilette and Milhoux are well established and formed a very balanced team.

*   *   *

It was good to see the A.W.E. team in action outside of Germany once more; they visited Montlhery at the opening meeting earlier in the year. While they were running they created an impressive sight and sound.

Notes On The Cars At Montlhery

Although most of the entries were standard racing/sports cars there were one or two of interest, notably the Gordinis. The 3-litre was of the type that practised at Le Mans last year, with compact chassis using double wishbones and torsion bars at the front and a one-piece axle on torsion bars at the rear, fitted with an eight-cylinder in-line engine using the Grand Prix type valve layout with direct-acting twin overhead camshafts. Four Weber double-choke carburetters were used and the eight exhaust pipes blended into four just in front of the nearside rear wheel. A five-speed gearbox was used, first being a “starting gear.” This-car had left-hand drive and a very compact body, with a front similar to the eight-cylinder G.P. car. The 2-litre was a normal sports six-cylinder, but the 1 1/2-litre was interesting for the engine was a four-cylinder, identical to the eight-cylinder 3-litre, and obviously half that engine. It was coupled to a four-speed gearbox and was running its first race, there being no doubt that it was destined for the coming Formula II.

The three 2-litre Ferraris were all the latest four-cylinder Mondials, known as “red heads” due to the colour of the paint used on the camboxes. The Belgian ones, painted yellow, had normal right-hand drive, and the one driven by the ladies was fitted with left-hand drive, otherwise they were identical, with very pretty bodies by Scaglietti of Modena. These cars use a rigid one-piece rear axle suspended on coil springs, and located by radius rods and an A-bracket under the differential. A similar type of layout was used on the experimental 200S Maserati of the Scuderia Guastalla. This car having quarter elliptic rear springs instead of coil springs, which also positioned the axle, together with an A-bracket. In addition, this new 4-cylinder 2-litre had a frame built up from small-diameter tubing, instead of the normal large-diameter main tubes of the standard 150S and 200S. Kyffin’s Aston Martin was an ex-works DB3S with normal drum brakes, being the one used privately by Collins last year.

The Monopole Panhards were centrally seated aero-dynamic “sports cars” with ducted cylinders and fan cooling, one having two double-choke downdraught racing Solex carburetters behind the engine, and the other two such carburetters mounted one over each cylinder. Similar carburetters were used on the V.P.-Renault and the Ferry-Renault, though the latter had each choke coupled to each inlet tract, there being siamesed ports in the head, and the former had one choke split between the two inlet pipes, and the other feeding into a balance pipe between the two ports. The V.P. was a neat rear-engined tank-like two-seater, whereas the Ferry was a front-engined very streamlined two-seater. For excellence of line it was near-perfect, but its size was such that had it been an English special, a 2-litre Bristol engine would have been fitted instead of the tiny Renault power unit.

For the rest, the Ferraris, Maseratis and Porsches were production models, while the two A.W.E. cars were as used at Nurburgring.