THE fact that records have been broken at 200 m.p.h. on two roads in Europe gives an indication of the ultimate solution to the problem of finding suitable conditions for really high speed. The twin-engined Sunbeam was taken all the way to Daytona to travel at 203 m.p.h., while the Mercedes-Benz and the Auto Union have gone to Budapest and Lucca, respectively. But the road at Gyon and the Italian Autostrada were not designed far records, and are merely fine examples of motor roads built by Governments alive to the necessity for assisting the motor industries of their countries.
Germany, too, has a motor-minded Government, and her planned road system includes the provision of a long straight stretch suitable for the highest speeds.
At present Sir Malcolm Campbell is forced to incur the colossal expense of shipping “Blue Bird” and its attendants to Daytona Beach, which, by all accounts, is gradually deteriorating and may easily become unsuitable for speeds in excess of 200 m.p.h. * * * * * The unavoidable delay in the ” Blue Bird” record attempt has not been received kindly by sections of the public in this country and in the States. The truth is that the public, as a whole, are only interested in two things, outstanding success
or dismal failure, and once their appetite has been whetted they cannot bear to wait even for such uncontrollable influences as the weather and tides. They can only cheer or jeer, and are deaf to the most logical reasons and scientific explanations.
The alternative, of course, would be to avoid all preliminary publicity, and to hurl the new record at them like a bolt from the blue. Unfortunately, the very nature of such a record attempt makes this course impossible.
Meanwhile, intelligent observers await better news from Daytona, with kindly sympathy for Sir Malcolm in his difficult task of overcoming the forces of Nature. His only consolation is the certainty that “Blue Bird” is equal to the work before her.
We should like to draw the attention of our readers to the article, “The Racing Car of the Future,” which appears in this issue of MOTOR SPORT. The major difficulty in deciding a new formula seems to be that regulations very often have both a good and a bad effect. Take the question of standard versus special fuels, for example. If we allow special fuels, the racing teams immediately search for the most potent ” dope ” their research departments can produce, totally different from anything ever used by normal stock cars. Such” dope” is usually very expensive, and would give only the poorest results in a present day touring engine. Now see what happens if “dope ” is forbidden. Research work is then unnecessary, and no fresh developments in fuel production are recorded. But here comes the snag : without the lessons of racing the stock cars of to-day would not have anything like so good a performance as they have, Their speed and acceleration comes from a high compression ratio, which has
been made possible by the commercialisation of fuels with a benzol or tetra-ethyl content—at one time only used by racing cars.
A similar contradiction is found when the supercharger is discussed. The only way out is to balance up carefully the two aspects of each subject, and to decide which of them is the more important. It must be remembered, above all, that the most expensive and advanced racing theories of to-day may easily become commercialised itt a few years.