When we received a Press blurb which mentioned an anticipated New World Record we thought that perhaps some very brave person was about to try to raise Richard Noble’s existing LSR of over 633 mph. Reading further, however, it was apparent that the World Record contender was a 1957 Ferrari 315S. It had, we discovered, gone to Monaco, via Geneva, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, London and Paris. St. Christopher, we said, this must be something quite new in the World Rally Championship, counting towards a New World Record!
What a let down it was to learn that this Ferrari had done the road sections of its formidable journey in a crate inside a transporter . . . . So where did a possible New World Record enter into it? Before the war record-breaking was a fairly prolific pursuit, whereby cars achieved publicity and their drivers welcome bonus payments. Such records were divided into World, International, National and Local targets, sub-divided into capacity classes. In fact, until the 1960s the FICM/FIM recognised all motorcycle records as World Records. It then laboriously rewrote the record books to conform to the car system, many old names reappearing, including Harry Collier’s, whose 1909 24 hour record of 775 3/4 miles on an 862cc Matchless-JAP had never been beaten.
Up to the war the fastest of these well publicised records was John Cobb’s 369.7 mph with the twin-Napier-engined Railton, at Utah. Britain was proud of her achievements in those days, when British titles were held by Sunbeam, Napier, Talbot, Aston Martin, Lanchester, Leyland-Thomas, Napier-Railton and ERA cars. To establish such records called for skill and courage, careful preparation of well-engineered cars, and finding suitable courses. So naturally we were intrigued to discover which New World Record this Ferrari hoped to achieve.
The answer was that Christie’s were expecting it to set a new auction-high in Monaco, by selling for some 12 million dollars . . . .! So a static record, involving no brave driver, no car speeding round a track. A far cry, in fact, from what the motoring world used to know as recordbreaking! Do not be fooled by those pre-auction sale speed demonstrations, put on presumably to further raise the bidding. When a MOTOR SPORT staff writer was taken round Goodwood by Salvadori in Aston Martin 2 VEV (estimated to make some 3.2 million dollars at Christie’s Monaco sale) Roy sensibly said that he prefered driving such cars when they were worth a lot less money. And, when Michael Barker, Curator of the MMM, attempted to show, before its appearance in Southeby’s July auction sale, that the Sunbeam “Tiger” is still capable of equalling, or getting close to, Segrave’s 1926 two-way kilo. LSR speed of 152.33 mph, he admitted that with the sale pending he would need to be circumspect over maximum revs. Segrave would be excused an ironical smile.
What this pursuit of these avaricious, so-called world records does highlight is how highly commendable it is that real enthusiasts still exist who put motor cars before money and who continue to race equally valuable old cars at VSCC and HGPCA race meetings. We rather think that many MOTOR SPORT readers will agree. WB
A three day historic car festival will take place at Silverstone between July 27th and 29th. The event, sponsored by Christies, and organised by the British Racing Drivers Club, is to rival the international historic festivals at Niirburgring and Pebble Beach and an extensive programme has been organised for the three days. Friday’s activities will be confined to practice while Saturday and Sunday hold a programme of some 12 races beginning with the Mulberry 100 mile race for historic Grand Prix cars. Included in the lineup will be Stirling Moss’ 1958 Vanwall Grand Prix car, eight Maserati 250Fs, including Jean Behra’s works car and Steve Goldwin’s V12 version, three Talbot Lagos, A and B type Connaughts and Cooper-Bristols. Nor has the pre-war era been ignored with P3 and Monza Alfa Romeos, types 35B and 51 Bugattis, 8CM Maseratis, and representing the Voiturette class ERAs and Maseratis. There will also be a Christies race for Fifties sports cars with C- and D- type Jaguars, 250 Testa Rossa Ferraris, 300S Maseratis, DB3S Aston Martins, 550 Spyder Porsches, Lotus X1s and bob-tailed Coopers. A mouth-watering selection indeed, and that is by no means all, the race programme catering for all manner of historic racing cars including Formula Junior, Formula Three and Touring cars.
There will be a number of demonstration runs throughout the weekend, each run catering for two or three specialist marques, for example Mercedes, Porsche and Maserati, or a class of car such as Sports and Touring cars. There will be air displays of vintage aircraft, memorabilia shops, ‘nostalgia’ car parks etc.
The theme for the weekend, which is intended to differ from year to year, will be Jaguar, and there will also be a strong Austin-Healey emphasis with the event hosting the International Austin-Healey weekend.
The two other centrepieces of activity will be the Christies auction, forming a major display all weekend, and the Louis Vuitton Concours d’Elegance which takes place at nearby Stowe school with buses and a helicopter providing transportation.
Admission to the circuit will be £5.00 on Saturday and £7.00 on Sunday, whilst practice on Friday, covered grandstand seating, centre transfer and’accompanied children up to 15 years of age will all be free.
Grand Prix Sportique has announced Alan Fearnley’s third European Exhibition of Motoring Art at the Salon Beaumarchais, Hotel de Paris, Monte Carlo from the 23rd to 28th May. Juan Manuel Fangio will open the exhibition which coincides with the 40th anniversary of his winning the event in an Alfa in 1950. Fearnley’s latest oil paintings will span several decades of motor sport from the Varzi Bugatti and Nuvolari’s Alfa at Monaco in 1933 through to Alain Prost’s first victory for Ferrari in the 1990 Brazilian Grand Prix.
The 1990 Chatillon sur Chalaronne Beaujolais Rally is scheduled for 14/15th November. The entry fee is £250 for two people and a car, with additional passengers at a cost of £125 each.
The entry fee includes a party at the Chatillon sur Chalaronne Village Hall on the evening of the 14th November, a return Sealink ferry crossing and a splendid breakfast at the Broome Park Golf and Country Club.
A condition of entry is that all the entries must try to record as low a mileage as possible from the Chatillon Village Hall to Calais Harbour on the 15th and collect as much as they can for local and national charities before the event.
All entrants must be at the Chatillon Village Hall by 5.30pm on the 14th, sign on for the Shippers Party, have mileages recorded and pay in French francs for any pre-ordered cases of Beaujolais Nouveau before the party at 8.30pm.
The party will continue until 11.30pm, which will give the entrants enough time to check their cars before the gong goes at one minute past midnight, when all the cars set off for Calais trying to record a low mileage and catch the 8.30am ferry from Calais to Dover. All cars will then proceed to the finish reception at Broome Park, for breakfast, mileage results and awards.
The rally is fun, with a touch of adventure and raises a lot of money for charity. The maximum entry will be 150 cars. Send for your entry, regulation and sponsor forms to Beaujolais Rally Events, 18 Leigh Street, London WC1. Tel:071-388-8997.
The RAC Motor Sports Association has announced that the first RAC International Historic Rally of Great Britain will take place in March 1991. The event will be run under dual permit, open to three separate categorties of car: FISA International Historic regulations, the RAC MSA’s own new National Regulations for Historic Rally Cars (built before 31 Dec 1967) and a class for Post Historic cars built between 1968 and 1973. Starting from Bath on the morning of March 7th the 1000 mile route will travel over scenic roads of Wales and the West Country, with overnight halts at Builth Wells, Bath and Torbay. The route will include 17 special tests including regularity sections over Welsh mountain roads. The Clerk of the Course has stated that these tests “have been designed to test the skill of the crew members rather than outright speed.” It promises to be an exciting event. Up to 180 cars will be allowed to start, and entries will cost approximately £450 per car.