Continental Notes and News, June 1936




Germany Still Leads

What with one thing and another, the new Alfa-Romeos have not been able to show their true paces yet, with the result that the German cars continue to win All the races. The Ferrari people had the worst possible luck at Tripoli, with Farina crashing badly at Monza during a final tune-up for the race, and Nuvolari doing the same thing while practising oil the course itself. The only redeeming feature was that neither of the men was more seriously hurt. Farina is apparently going along nicely, while, as you know, the lion-hearted Nuvolari turned out for the race with his torso encased in plaster and proceeded to finish seventh in spite of much tyre trouble. For sheer ” guts ” Tazio wins every time. • With nearly two litres more cubic capacity than the Mercs. it was only natural that the Auto-Unions were at an advantage at Tripoli, where the circuit

allows very high speeds. However, I still consider the Mercedes-Benz to be the finest all-round racing car in the world, sinee men first decided it would be fun to race with horselesa carriages.

Chiron’s chance has yet to come, but I am sure we Shall see him leading the field home in the near future. No driver is more universally popular in Germany and Italy as well as in his .native land, a fact which is entirely clue to his charming personality. At the wheel he is an artist, and the Continental race-crowds so much more knowledgeable of the finer points Of driving than the blood-lusting Britishers, are quick to -appreciate him at his true worth.

One and a Half Litres


The 1,500 c.c. race has now passed from the stage of being a vogue to that of an established institution. The lion’s share of praise for this welcome fact goes to the E.R.A. people, seconded by Maserati’s. Probably the best aspect of the 1,500 c.c. racing is that it gives the independent driver a chance to compete on dead level terms with works teams. Indeed so far the private owners have cleaned up all the spoils. At the moment the competition by marques is rather limited, but Seaman’s Pelage looks as though it will be a thorn in the sides of the more numerous E.R.A.s. and Maseratis. There is no news of the rumoured 1k-litre Bugattis, which is a great pity, because in olden times–a decade ago—‘Molsheim could turn out

as pretty a as anyone. Merceas

Benz, too, were ,Supposed to be toying with the idea of tackling the 1,500 c.c. market, and if they do the job as thoroughly as they did the Grand Prix business the others will have to look out.

All of this, incidentally, is by way of introduction to the fact that the Picardy Grand Prix has been ” linered down ” to 1,500 c.c.. Last year, you may remember, the Bngattis Were the only ” works ” entries; and the field was rather small. The new move on the part of the organisers is all to the good, and a big entry of British drivers is anticipated by the secretary, who can be found at 104, Rue Saint Fursy, Peronne, Somme. From the spectator’s point of view the race should be well worth a visit, because it is to be run in two heats of sixty-two miles each and .a final of ninety miles. The course is an open one, set in fiat country, and the cars can be seen for long distances. Nothing has yet been decided .about the chicanes which disfigured the circuit last year. Let us hope that the organisers will dispense with these useless, dangerous and altogether unnecessary

obstructions. I forgot to say that the number of starters will be strictly limited.

June Events •

Reverting for a moment to formula racing, the big events in June are the Eifel race on the Nurburg Ring and the

Penya Rhin race at Barcelona. The latter city has been far from placid lately, what with revolutions, counter revolutions, strikes, riots and other old Spanish customs,. but. I understand that these little obstacles will not interfere with the course of motor racing. The circuit lies in the Park of Montjnich, famed for its prison, in which many a. bloodthirstyanarchist, revolutionary

and assassin has been incarcerated. A few months ago it was the scene of a general amnesty, from which one would gather that the place is now empty. I dare Say the people who came out have now had their revenge on those who put them in—after all, what’s the use of a prison if you don’t use it. To return to the more pleasant subject of motor racing, the Penva Rhin race will

consist of 80 laps of a 2.3-mile circuit. Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Unions are in touch with organisers, while there is just a chance that the 4.7-litre Bugatti will be entered, and what is more, actually start.

The French Sports Car Boom

Ha ving exhausted the topic. of Grand Prix racing, quite apart from my right wrist, let us turn to the more staid subject of sports-car racing.

Le Mans is to be as popular as ever, judging by the entries, which number the maximum permissible of sixty. For those to whom the fastest cars are the chief attraction, the promised duel between Bentley and Mercedes-Benz is a thing to be savoured and discussed at mighty length. The last time the two met was the historic occasion when Birkin set out to break up Caracciola’s car by streaking ahead—regardless of lasting the distance. The resulting duel was one Of the finest ever seen at Le Mans. This year E. R. Hall has entered a 41-litre Bentley, and the German opposition will come from a privately owned

type 500 Mercedes-Benz. Rumour whispers that Hall is to drive singlehanded for the whole 24 hours, which is by no means so terrific as it sounds. The competitors in the 24-hour B.ol d’Or all have to do it by the rules, and on the much more winding road and tricky St. Germain Circuit.

In weighing up the pros and cons of this particular struggle one is apt to forget that the 4-litre Lagondas will have quite a say in the matter. Ivermee, of Bentley fame, has been responsible for their preparation, and the cars ought to give a good account of themselves. The drivers will be anxious to repeat the victory scored for the marque last year by Hindmarsh and Fontes.

The French “Grand Prix”

Everything is getting nicely keyed up for the French Grand Prix at MOntlhery in July. Probably the most interesting cars in this race will be the new Talbot-Darracqs, with which the manufacturers are making a determined effort to win fresh laurels in motor racing and on which France itself pins great faith. A preliminary examination of the cars as they were undergoing trials at Montthery gave one a very favourable impression. They are extremely easy on the eyes, being low, but not too low, with trim coachwork and a general air of breeding. The headlamps are flush-fitting with the front mudguards, which are themselves strongly braced, and outside exhaust pipes give the cars a workmanlike appear

ance. The engines are uusupercharged, of course, but they have three downdraught carburetters. The power output is expected to be 50 h.p. per litre. They have independent springing. While I write these lines the cars are on their way to Miramas for their first

race. If they give satisfaction in the French Grand Prix, they will probably be entered for our Tourist Trophy. Rene Dreyfus is the chief driver, seconded by Morel and possibly by Stoeffel.

Quite apart from the opposition of English cars, the Talbots will have to fight hard in every race against the Delahayes and Hotchkiss, which have the advantage of previous experience. Altogether, the French people are making a pretty good effort to regain some of their lost prestige as sports-car manufacturers.

Home Grown Fuel

Talking of sports cars reminds me that the Alfa-Romeo “sports cars” entered by Ferrari in the Mille 1Vliglia ran on a queer blend of 85 per cent. metan.ol, 13 per cent. free residues and 3 per cent. water. The resulting performance seems to have been satisfactory.

One thing leading to another, I am reminded that Thomas Clarke, who, with his co-driver Maurice Palkner, was the only British competitor in the Mille Miglia, has entered his Aston-Martin for the French Grand Prix, the Belgian 10-hour race and the sports-car race at the Nurburg Ring.

The High-Speed Adler

The 24-hour record at 99.79 m.p.h. established by the 1.7-litre Adler last month augurs well for the prospects of the marque in forthcoming races. It was all the more unfortunate that the car should have been completely burned out at the end of the run. Actually several attempts were begun before everything could be induced to work smoothly. The road used was the magnificent autobahn between Frankfurt and Heidelberg, and the drivers were Heckel, San erwein, Lohr, von Guilleaume, and Count Orsich. In addition to the 24-hour record aforementioned, the following distances were taken: 2,000 kms. at 99.33 m.p.h. ; 3,000 lam. at 99.65 m.p.h. ; and 12 hours at 99.20 m.p.h.

The car must have been extremely fast on the straights, because, like Stuck’s Auto-Union, it had to slow right down in order to sweep round into the reverse road.

Substitute for Dieppe

While we are still bemoaning the demise of the Circuit de Dieppe, there comes the news that there will probably be a race at Deauville—for formula cars. The date chosen is July 19th, which is only booked by the Grossglockner Hill Climb and a small Swiss Hill Climb. The organisers are to be the A.C. de l’Ouest, who ought to make a thoroughly good job of it, and already there is a strong rumour that Mercedes-Benz will send Louis Chiron to uphold their colours.

The proposed course is in the neighbourhoods of the Normandie Plage.

Not to be Held

For divers reasons, economic, domestic and otherwise, the following events which appear on the International Calendar, have been scratched :—the Susa-Moncerisio Hill Climb ( July 5th), the 24-hour Targa Abruzzo (August 9th) and the Stelvio Hill Climb (August 30th).

It will be noted by everyone that all these events were to have been held in Italy, where the sport of motor racing has naturally become of slightly less importance than certain other matters.

Mercedes-Benz Have Their Revenge

The defeat of the Mercedes-Benz team by the Auto-Unions at Tripoli gave rise to reports that the latter had at last found their true form and would be unbeatable for the rest of the season.

This belief was quickly confounded, however, for the very next week-end Caracciola piloted his Mercedes-Benz into first place in the Tunis Grand Prix. The race was held on the Carthage Circuit, which measures 22.1 kilometres per lap, and the full distance was 331.5 kilometres, or 30 laps.

The race was full of incident, for Brivio’s 12-cylinder Alfa-Romeo burst into flames and slightly burned its driver, and Rosemeyer’s Auto-Union was completely destroyed by fire. The most sensational event of the day, however, was a most terrific crash by Varzi on his Auto-Union. For some at present unexplained cause, the car got out of control when travelling at 180 m.p.h., and executed a series of prodigious somersaults before coming to rest, a tangled mass of wreckage. Varzi was thrown out, and by a sheer miracle escaped serious injury.

The fast pace at which the race was won had a devastating effect on several cars, and out of eleven starters only four finished.

Caracciola drove his usual steady

race and was a deserving winner. Pintacuda scored his first success in a big race by bringing his Ferrari Alfa-Romeo into second place, while Wimille and Sommer deserve full marks for keeping going until the end. RESULT

1. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) 100.2 m.p.h.

2. Pintacuda (Alfa-Romeo).

3. WimiUc (Bugattl).

4. Sommer (Alfa-Romeo).

Delahayes Wins a Miramas Race

The most interesting aspect of the Sports Car Race Meeting held at Miramas Track on May 24th, was the first appearance of the new Talbot

Darracqs. Two cars were entered for the three-hour race, and they faced stiff opposition in the form of a horde of ten Delahayes.

Dreyfus and Morel drove the Talbots, and Divo and Perrot handled the “works” Delahayes. Dreyfus was out early with trouble, but Morel held off the Delahaye challenge for 2i hours and was lapping steadily at 82 m.p.h. Then he, too, was forced to retire, and the group of Delahayes promptly swept past to take the first five places in the race. This main event was preceded by a curtain raiser for 1,100 c.c. cars, in which there were 17 starters. Gordmi, driving a French-built Balilla Flat, took the lead at the very start and was never once

headed. The casualities were heavy, and only five cars were still running at the finish. Miramas is an unlucky track, and the trouble this time was a strong mistral, which hampered the drivers and greatly inconvenienced the spectators. In spite of this, the meeting was a successful one, i

and encourages one n the belief that other races will be held there in the future. RESULT

1,100 c.c.

1. GordinI at) 03.30 m.p.h.

2. Pupil t).

3. Jourdan (Salmon). Sports Car Grand Prix

1. Paris (Delabaye) 77.79 m.p.h.

2. Schell (Delahaye).

3. Bnmet (Delahaye).

4. Diva (Delahaye).

5. Lebegue (Delahaye).