THIS AND THAT
TII=ll AND TIftAT
AFTER a few seasons of racing in which tyres.have
been taken more or less for granted, we are now faced with the old problem once more. Instead of a single stop during a long race for fuel and tyres, we now find cars in fast races like Tripoli making a half-a-dozen calls at the pits for a change of wheels. The trouble is caused by the fact that at 200 m.p.h. a normal road-racing tyre-tread will not stay on. Making the treads thin eliminates this difficulty, but results in a short life for the tyre. The tyre people have risen to such heights of progress in the past that it must only be a matter of time before a solution is found. Frequent tyre-changes demand perfect pit-work, and in this important aspect of the sport German thoroughness is given plenty of scope. While not going so far as the mechanics in Werner’s pit in the Targo Florio one year, who lifted the car bodily while all four wheels were changed, the Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union pit-work is certainly as quick as anything we have seen. It is worth remarking that there were no accidents in the Tripoli race caused by tyre-bursts,
although they occurred in several Cases at high speed. Independent springing is the answer. This excellent behaviour under considerable stress leads one to believe that the German cars must handle perfectly both at speed and on the corners. In expert hands there is no doubt that they can give better results than cars of normal type suspension and similar speed. The results obtained by drivers who, without being in the top flight, are nevertheless thoroughly competent at their job, have not been so satisfactory. The costly Auto-Union ex
periment of training drivers was a set-back to the opinion that these cars require no more than ordinary skill to obtain the best performance from them.
It will be extremely interesting, and a fair answer to the question, to see the progress of the independents who acquire the twenty Auto-Unions reported to be under construction for private sale. This will bring to the test the oft-repeated dictum that the number of men capable of handling the fastest modern G.P. cars can be counted on the fingers of one’s hands, and that when the present drivers retire there will be none left to take their places. Personally, we do not hold this view. The material for first-class drivers can be found in many young drivers to-day who are gradually accumulating valuable experience. Guiseppe Farina is probably the outstanding example, and the way in which he stood up to N uvolari at Bergamo last month is sufficient proof, if any were needed, that here is a young man with the makings of a driver as good as many who pilot the 200 m.p.h. bolides to-day. And that is putting it mildly.
What is the position among our English drivers ?
With no fast road-circuits available and with few G.P. cars, it is impossible to prophesy whether any particular driver would ultimately be capable of getting the best from an AutoUnion or “Mere.” But real driving skill and a hint of latent promise, should the opportunity occur, can be detected in many of our young drivers. Passing over Luis Fontes, on account of his Spanish extraction, we find C. E. C. Martin, W. G. Everitt, K. D. Evans, E. K. Rayson, the Hon. Jock Leith, R. J. B. Seaman — all young men of genuine promise.