Continental Notes and News, March 1936



ContinentaL Notes and New. z

More Formula Pros and Cons

Apart from Bugatti, who is really the most interested party, the rest of Franee appears to be anti-formula. Here is a summary of opinions given to L’Auto:

Delage “

Cubic capacity ” bonus:” given to upblown cars is not enough. Ought to be 80 per cent. instead of 30. This would result in the matching of unblown itre cars with 2.3-1 i tre ” blowns.” Does not agree With choice of fuel being allowed. 4,560 c.c. maximum engine size too high, because cars will .do 155 m.p.h., which he considers is too fast for most drivers. Suggests ” chicanes ” should be used. Would like to see races for cars as near possible same-as-you-can-buy, even to

• paving entries like concours exhibits.


M. Lago suggests that difference between blown and unblown is nearer 100 per cent. Alternative would be 50 per cent. difference, both to use standard fuel. Better for carburetion research. Says he believes that rules will allow blown cars to go up to 4,500 c.c. with corresponding increase in weight.


M. Weiffenbach says that blown cars ought to be handicapped far more heavily, and that everyone ought to use the, same fuel, not necessarily standard. My esteemed colleague, M. Faroux, has attacked the formula with all his considerable powers of expression. To begin with, he says that the. meeting was not representative of world opinion, owing to the absence of the British and American manufacturers, who between them produce 85 per cent. of the world output. Then he says that the new formula creates too great a divergence between the racer and the tourer. Whereas the Auto-Journal formula to be used for the French G.P. encourages standard cars, the G.P. rules only result in cars like the tremendously

costly Mercedes-Benz, which unnecessarily limits the number of firms who can afford to compete. He adds that to make a G.P. race purely a spectacle, apart from the technical aspect, is to under-rate the mentality of the spectators, whom he regards as potential purchasers of the cars they see racing. Dealing with the handicap-ratio between blown and unblown cars, it is suggested that this was kept purposely prohibitive.

Dealing with these criticisms, I cannot help feeling that if the supercharger is so valuable, even to the extent of being equal to a 100 per cent. increase in cubic capacity, it is folly to bother about unblown racing cars. I do not refer here to production cars, as used in the T.T. M. Delage seems determined not to keep up with modern knowledge. To say that a speed of 155 m.p.h. demands skill so high as to be extremely rare is to forget the transformation in roadholding brought about by the German

designers. And as for ” chiCanes,” words—or the censor—fail me.


To limit fuels to -dandard petrol is to put an end to ,research. Finally, to my mind, these critics place far too much importance on spectators being able to recognise same-as-you-can-buy qualities in Grand Prix racing cars. Of the tens of thousands of spectators who line the Grand Prix courses or France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Spain, how many care a rap about the technical specifica tions Of the cars? All they are Concerned about is the race, speed, and good driving. In any case, how many of them can afford to buy even the sort of ” production ” cars one sees at Le Mans and Ards, and will seein the French ” Grand Prix.” These critics of the formula apparently do not realise that expensive sports models form only an infinitesimal percentage of car production. The ‘Grand Prix spectator does not complain because the sleek, 260 M.p.h. racing car is totally unlike his

family saloon. Personally, my only criticism of the

formula is that unblown cars are included at all. Let the two forms of racing be kept apart. UnblOwn ears have their fling in sports car races. By all means change the rules so that more manufacturers can take part, but riot by including unblown cars.

I do not think I need worry, though.

Before leaving the subject of this meeting, it is worth mentioning that the Sporting Commission was asked whether they would make the formula compulsory in all big races. This was considered impossible, but the formula will definitely be used in at least six races, and probably ton.

Diesel History

The first Diesel-engined 24-hour record attempt by George Eyston nearly ended in .disaster. Eyston, Denly and Wisdom had to wait son-le time for favourable weather, but at last the meteorological station at Montlhery autodrome gave them the ” all clear.'” Eyston took the first Spell at the wheel and averaged over 100 m.p.h. for the first three hours. Then he handed over to Denly. A few minutes later, the right-hand front hub disintegrated, and the wheel came off. It says much for Denly’s skill and wiry strength that he brought the heavy car safely to rest from .0 speed of 106 m.p.h. Up to the time of the accident. the following records had been secured :

PO A few weeks later, Eyston and Denly were ready once more. They started at mid-day on a Saturday, taking two-hour spells at the wheel. This time everything went off smoothly, in spite of some rough weather, wind and rain, towards

the end. The re-fuelling stops were carried out very quickly in about a minute, but even so, the average fell somewhat during the night hours. Both drivers were remarkably fresh, however, and Denly put in some fast work the next morning to pull the average back to schedule. And so the A.E.C. Special finished its 24-hour run, the first record of its kind ever made by a Diesel-engined car. Here is the full list of records :

The Pendine Attempt

Shortly after his return to England, Eyston made another attack on a Diesel record, this one the unofficial speed of 137 m.p.h. put up by Cummins on Daytona Beach. The car was the frontdrive ” Speed of the Wind,” fitted with a special 12-cylinder Diesel aercleengine and a saloon body, and re-christened ” Flying ‘Spray.”

The sands at Pendine were in bad condition and the car would not pull the high gear found suitable in Utah, the maximum being in the neighbourhood of 120 m.p.h. Eyston will make a further attempt in the autumn.

Auto-Union Tragedy

In spite of the frequent complaints that the modern G.P. car is too fast for all but a select handful of drivers, fatalities have been mercifully infrequent. Last month, however, at the ill-fated Monza autodrome, the first fatal Auto-Union accident happened. The team had just arrived for a final tune-up before the season starts, and young Heyder, a new recruit, was sent out for some practice. For two laps he took things quietly, but then the temptation to make a good impression at his very first appearance overcame his discretion. He entered one of the chicanes, still standing after last year’s Italian G.P., much too quickly, and the

car left the track. It crashed into a tree, and Heyder was thrown out against a wall. He died before reaching hospital.

Both Dr. Porsche and Hans Stuck blamed inexperience for the accident. It seems a pity that Heyder, who had obviously shown promise, had not been trained on slower machines first. The funeral was impressive. A big crowd assembled in the Place de PHospital, at Monza. Hans Stuck, Dr. Porsche, representatives of sporting societies, the political secretary of Monza, the deceased driver’s mother and father, Nuvolari, Marinoni, Castagneto, Ricordi, and delegates from various car factories. Varzi was still convalescing, but was represented. Seventeen wreaths were massed on the coffin. The cortege

walked slowly to the station, where the coffin was entrained and carried to Milan for cremation. To return to the trials, Stuck put in two periods of intensive training, covering about fifteen laps on each occasion. He then succumbed to the call Of the Winter Olympic Games, and departed

kurriedly for Garmisch. Varzi arrived at Monz.a, haying recovered from his throat operation, and spent a day at the wheel of a car which had been specially sent down to replace the wrecked machine.

An unusual visitor was Pietro Taruffi, who eagerly accepted Dr. Porsche’s invitation to try one Of the cars, which he did, to his great delight. You are perfectly free to draw a conclusion from this incident.

A Record Specialist

Every winter it seems to be the habit of Guiseppe Furmanik, an Italian engineer, to attack records with ultrastreamlined and extremely ” urgeful ” Maseratis.

In January, he appeared with a very fruity 1,100 c.c. Maserati, complete with monoposto body. Without more ado, he proceeded to deprive the Humphro’v Cook-E.R.A. combination of their standing start records for the mile and kilometre in Class G, recording speed, of 90.98 m.p.h. and 81.70 m.p.h. Six of these new Maseratis are to he built for sale to the public. Last month he tried some more, and this time took the flying mile Class C record from George Eyston’s M.G. at 131.964 m.p.h. Then he turned his attention to Class D (up to 3,000 c.c.), and quickly captured the mile and kilometre records, both standing and fying start. Here are the new -figures : 1 km. (f.s.) 155.12 miles per hour 1 ndle (f.s.) 154.43

Furmanik, by the way, has just been elected president of the Sporting Commission of the R.A.C.I. He is a parachute manufacturer by profession. He himself has made many descents by the ” emergency exit,” once with nearly tragic results. He leaped from an aeroplane above Le Bourget aerodrome, but the thing got entangled with the tail of the machine. When he finally struggled free, he hit the ground with great force and was seriously injured. Six months in hospital put him right again.

He is making great efforts to dispel the Sanctions atmosphere between Italy and France. Italian permission for Ferrari to race at Pau is a good start.

Forthcoming Attempts

Talking of recorsIs reminds me that Nuvolari is probably going out for an attempt on the world’s kilometre and mile standing start records, at present held by Auto-Union and Mercedes-Benz. His car will be .a 6-litre bitnotore AlfaRomeo, and the venue the straight road between Modena and San Giovanni Persiceto. Stuck’s record was made at Ayus, and Caracciola’s at Gyon.

Pierre Veyron is also to go o.ut for 1,500 c.c. records with a Bugatti, using Mont lhery.


1 he usual clop of race cancellations is centing through, Circuit of Biella on J olie 21st, Czechoslovakian 1,000-Mile race, Titisee race, owing to bad icesurface, Circuit Of Orleans on May 24th, while the Norwegian Grand Prix has been put back from February 9th to March.

Ice Racing

Two minor races in Sweden served as curtain raisers for the Swedish G.P. The first was at Lake Laonforsen, near Sala, and resulted in a victory for P. W. Widengren (Alfa-Romeo) in 9 mins. 44.8

secs. K. G. Sundstedt (Bugatti) was second in 10 mins. 15.8 secs., and K. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz) third in 10 mins. 16.9 secs. The second was at Hederoma, in North Sweden, and was won by E. Bjornstad (Alfa-Romeo) in 10 mins. 17.6 secs., second was P. W. Widen

Eugene bjurnstad (ii1J0-10inee) winner of

gren (Alfa-Romeo), 10 mins. 43.8 secs., third K. C. Sundstedt (Bugatti) 10 mins. 44.3 secs.,, and fourth K. Ebb (MercedesBenz) 10 mins. 44.4 sees.

The great race, of course, was the Gt and Prix at Ramen, which was attended by a crowd of 70,000 people. There were 44 entries, and some spectacular crashes Nvere seen, one of which involved five ears. The favourite, P. W. Widengren, did not start, and another Alfa driver, Eugene Bjornstad, finally won the day from the Finlander,Karl Ebb (Mercedes-Benz).

A Racing Broadcast

From the Beromunster radio-station the other night, I listened to an amusing sketch acted by Hans Stuck and an unnamed actor, and written by Frau Stuck. It was called ” Excuse me, are you Hans Stuck? ” and dealt with a typical cross-examination of a famous racing driver by an enthusiastic spectator.

Stuck said plenty -about the past, but very little about the future. .On these three questions he was non-committal :— ” Will speeds go higher, what are your plans, and who do you think is. the best driver? “

Seeking Pastures New

Those meteoric Rumanians, Zamfirescou and Cristea, whose driving in the Monte Carlo Rally tests will long be r,-membered, have decided to take up. racing proper. I understand they are buying a 2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo and intend to enter for the Mille Miglia and the French G.P. Cristea has already raced, for he was co-driver with Count Berlescu in the Tour of Italy.

When they returned to Rumania, after winning the Rally, incidentally, were roct.ived by King Carol.

Subalpina becomes Torino

Thc Simderia Subalpina has been. altered in name to the Scuderia Torino. Count Della Chiesa is the president, Giorgio Ambrosini, the racing manager. The cars will be Maseratis. The Maserati team seems likely to consist of Count Trossi (except when he is driving his own machine), Tenni, who has already tried out Furmanik’s 3-litre,