The Brescia Grand Prix
SENSATIONAL SPEEDS IN ITALIAN SPORTS-CAR RACE. SWEEPING SUCCESS FOR B.M.W. ALFA-ROMEO OUTCLASSED
THE Brescia G.P. this year replaced the famous 1,000 Mile Miglia Race, and was nearly as strenuous for the unblown sports-cars up to 3-litres, for which it was organised. It will go down in history from many aspects. It was won by a German B.M.W. at a time when Germany is engaged in fighting a major war. It resulted in some truly astounding average speeds over what is a road circuit, despite its long straight-aways, one of which runs for as much as 18 miles. And it was a triumph of the open and closed sports-car. Incidentally, it proved that sports-racing cars can be very definitely impressive in action. The race was won by Hanstein and Baumer in an all-enclosed B.M.W. of 2-litres capacity. They set up a record lap at 108.18 m.p.h., and averaged 103.59 m.p.h. for the entire race. No tyre-change was needed, and Hanstein managed to drive for nine-tenths of the race. The B.M.W.s were controlled with typical German care of detail, and the standing lap was turned at over 101 m.p.h. The winning car had enclosed wheels and coupe top, and gave 130 b.h.p., or 65 b.h.p. per litre, at about 5,500 r.p.m. Lurani and Cortese had an even faster Elektron B.M.W. coupe, capable of 134 m.p.h., but it ran badly and retired after fuel feed and lubrication troubles on the eighth lap. This car weighed a mere 14.8 cwt. The winning B.M.W. was the last year's Le Mans car. The open B.M.W. weighed 11.8 cwt. It quite outclassed the new 2.5-litre six-cylinder Alfa-Romeos, Farina and Mambelli finishing second at 100.68 m.p.h. These cars developed 124 b.h.p., or 49 b.h.p. per litre, and suffered the additional disadvantage of 19.6 cwt., or some 5 cwt. more than the coupe B.M.W.s. Even so, road-holding was very good, and some schools of thought believe that Alfa would have won on a wet or windy day. Nevertheless, the best Alfa lap, by Trossi and Lucchi's saloon, at 102.43 m.p.h., does not equal the winning B.M.W.'s average for the entire race. The Alfas were put up from 4,600 to 5,000 r.p.m. in an effort to beat the German cars.
The other three 2-litre B.M.W.s were open cars with the modified engines and newly-faired bodies. All were lapping faster than any Alfa at the end of the race, until slowed, and all finished to get the Team Prize, Brudes and Roese being third at 100.0 m.p.h. Of the others in the big car category, the Lancia Astura and 2.8-litre Fiat were nonstarters, and the Delage entries from the English Watney stable were greatly hampered by difficulties arising from the international situation, Taruffi going out in the first lap with engine trouble. The other Delage held second place for a time, until it caught fire and retired. The weight per h.p. of these cars is about 16.6 lbs. per b.h.p. (135 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m.) against 10.7 for the B.M.W. and 19.4 for the Alfa. Biondetti and Stefani (Alfa-Romeo) were fourth; Briem and Richter (B.M.W.) fifth ; Wencher and Scholtz (B.M.W.) sixth ; Pintacuda and Sanesi (Alfa-Romeo) seventh ; and Trossi and Lucchi (Alfa-Romeo) eighth. Nine Alfas started. The race was over 922.7 miles. In the smaller classes some most interesting speeds were shown. Nineteen started in the 750 c.c. class, and Venturelli and Ceroni won on an o.h.v. streamlined Fiat "500" at 70.88 m.p.h. Cortese and Parravicini did the record lap at 74.64 m.p.h. Twenty-four Fiats started in the 1,100 c.c. class, and Fioruzzi and Sola's streamline saloon won at 82.47 m.p.h. from Bertani and Lasagni, lapping at 86.49 m.p.h. The new Ferrari "815s" were the fastest cars in the 1,500 c.c. class, Rangoni and Nardi setting the lap record at 90.77 m.p.h. before a roller bearing failed, while Ascari and Minozzi led from the start until a broken valve early retired them. The new Lancia Aprilias generally suffered tyre and minor engine trouble, but D. Ambrosio and Guerrini won with one of these cars against a lone Fiat, at 78.47 m.p.h. Even if we add only 10 m.p.h. to the lap average as maximum speed, we have =blown sports-cars tuned to last 1,000 miles, achieving 85 m.p.h. in 570 c.c. form on 30 b.h.p. ; 97 m.p.h. in 1,100 c.c. saloon form on 50 b.h.p., and 101 m.p.h. on 1,500 c.c. form on 65 b.h.p.—a real triumph of streamlining. It is easy to visualise marketable sportscars of these capacities with maxima of 75, 87 and 91 m.p.h. respectively in unblown closed form, available to lucky enthusiasts who survive the war.