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Now that the racing season is well under-way and following the various events around the Continent entails motoring something like 5,000 kilometres per month, it is not surprising that a great deal of motoring interest is to be seen. On the way to the Pau GP a wrong turning taken in Rouen led, quite by accident, on to the Circuit des Escorts, where the GP de l’ACF is due to be run on July 6th, and the first indication, apart from an improvement in road surface, was a very new looking line of double-tier pits with a three-storey timing room and Press room. Constructed from granite blocks and concrete, it was pretty obvious that the Rouen Circuit is to be a permanent one and the resurfacing and widening taking place past the start and down the twisting hill to the first hairpin indicated clearly that big efforts were being made to justify the change of venue for the French GP from Reims.

With Le Mans on the route to the south, a tour of the circuit had to be made and a pause on the magnificent Mulsanne straight was cause for much thought about the powerful opposition to the present British prestige. An opportunity to view some of this opposition was afforded later on when a visit was made to the Pegaso factory during a detour through Spain, after the Pau GP. In the re-organised Hispano-Suiza factory, where the Pegaso firm build commercial vehicles of advanced design, the 21/2-litre V8 cars are under construction. On the commercial vehicle side it was interesting to see the production of long-distance Diesel coaches with an observation compartment raised up at the rear. Pegaso coaches of this type had recently gained honours in a Motor Coach Rally to San Remo, on the Italian Riviera, but more interesting were the first of a batch of long-distance coaches being built on the monocoque chassis-cum-body principle, the whole structure being made from steel sheet. Passing into the car department with Sig Carreras, the technical director, some 25 to 30 of the production Pegaso coupes were seen in various stages of near completion. The present plan is to build 200 coupes and the first is due in July, after which the rest of the number will be completed in a very short space of time. The opportunity to drive one of the prototype cars was unfortunately forestalled by reason of the fact that of the three test cars, one was dismantled and the other two were in Monaco. The suggestion that the visit to Monaco might have something to do with the sports-car race on June 1st brought forth non-commital smiles. Naturally the subject of Le Mans was raised and inspection was made of re-designed gearbox and differential housings with improved mountings. While the remainder of the Le Mans cars would be perfectly standard the engines would obviously be giving more power, and a complete power unit fitted with four doublechoke Type 36 down-draught carburetters was standing on the floor waiting to go into a car for Le Mans. Using this type of Weber carburetter enabled each cylinder to have its own induction pipe, amounting to a system of one choke to each cylinder. Throttle linkage of four carburetters situated in a square appeared complicated, but as one of the cars at Monaco was fitted with four carburetters, the problem had obviously not been a difficult one.

While discussing the new gearbox and rear end a study of the drawings produced the reason for the enormous hubs used on the Pegaso cars, it being that the outer universal joint of each half-shaft was virtually inside the hub, in order to get the greatest possible distance between the centres of the two joints. The brakes being mounted inboard enabled this system of obtaining greater length to be used. Altogether three cars were being prepared for Le Mans, but it was confidently expected that a fourth would be available for practice use. The fact that the Pegaso resembles a racing car mechanically and that the parts are being made in the tool rooms of the commercial vehicle factory prompted the suggestion that 1954 would see Pegaso in GP racing, but the reply was merely that it was lunch time!

 

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