Continental Notes and News, May 1935
Continental Notes and News
The ” Hush-Hush ” Bugatti.
WHAT is Bugatti doing ? That is the burning question of the present moment. We all know that a very special car is being built at Molsheim, but that is about the limit of our knowledge. Someone is supposed to have been allowed to look at the chassis, but the look does not seem to have been very informative. As for the engine, well, that is really hush-hush.
I am now able to give you the first real news about the new car, all hot from Molsheim. The great Ettore himself has gone so far as to say that the new machine will be ready in three or four months ; that it is costing him eight times as much as a 3,3-litre job to construct ; that he is going to attack the Auto-Union and Mercedes-Benz records ; and finally, that this record attempt will be made, not on a track or an autostrada, but on a perfectly normal French route nationals, in order to demonstrate the extreme stability of the car at 200 m.p.h.
Now you know as much as I do.
Rumour has it that all is not as it should be at Molsheim. One hears tales of differences of opinion between Bugatti and Taruffi and Wimille. It certainly is a little mysterious that there should be no Bugatti’s at Monaco, and only one entered for the French G.P. (perhaps that will be the new one !) At the moment the only official activity is in small French hillclimbs with the old four-wheel drive.
Maybe the rail-cars are to blame.
Meanwhile the German manufacturers, thanks to a national motor sport policy, are able to carry on perfecting their cars, The Monza trials of the Mercedes-Benz were thoroughly satisfactory, the most noticeable alteration being a deeper exhaust-note, possibly due to increased cubic capacity. Caracciola was like an oyster about the subject.
I am writing this before the Monaco G.P., in the report of which you will find the latest news about the cars.
Dr. Porsche has announced his intention of going to Montlhery for trials with the Auto-Unions. So far they have not arrived, but meanwhile Varzi has made several runs at Avus with the enclosed cockpit record car, and also with a racing machine. Prince von Leiningen was also on the scene, and the trials were made for road-holding and braking experiments. The rumour that Auto-Union was building a car to attack ” Blue Bird’s” records is said to be all boioney. Stuck has been taking a holiday at Cannes. The annual Concours d’elegance gave him the opportunity to show his magnificent Horch cabriolet, with coachwork by Seegers, and he won his class. Great interest was aroused by his entry being described as an Auto-Union, which in fact it was—but not a G.P. car ! Frau Stuck was a regular spectator of the Tennis Championships which were being decided at that time. She herself used to
have a great lawn tennis reputation as Fraulein de Reznicek, and also has several books to her credit.
I have dealt with the bitnotore Alfa. Romeo in a separate article in this issue. It certainly has great potentialities, but the tyre problem is going to cause not a little anxiety. They didn’t look too good after the runs on the Brescia-Bergamo road. A second car is being built for Chiron, and the two bolides will be formidable rivals at Tripoli and Avus.
The Scuderia is using the Monaco G.P. as a testing ground for three types of suspension. Read the account of the race in this issue for details of their behaviour.
I should have thought that a better testing ground could have been found, including a straight for maximum speed. Monaco is much too slow, but the corners will no doubt bring out some weak spots.
Incidentally the new cars made their first trials on April 4th, and apparently satisfied Ferrari and Bazzi. They will probably appear for the first time at Tunis.
An Ambitious Effort.
In Italy a driver named Biondetti, who used to handle Maseratis, is hard at work building a special car, in appearance not unlike an Auto-Union. Plans show it to have a 5,900 c.c. 12-cylinder engine placed towards the rear of a tubular chassis. The engine is said to develop 400 h.p., and weigh only 265 kilos. The engine will be air-cooled, by means of a centrifugal fan. Other details are a four speed gearbox, made in unit with the differential, a fuel tank just behind the driver ; a track of I m. 39 and a wheelbase of 2m.55.
Biondetti hopes to get the car ready in time for Tripoli.
Breaking Records on ” Open ” Roads.
Believe it or not, this is actually true.
think the feat of Herren Schweder, Hasse, and von Guillaume in breaking records up to 10,000 kilometers while normal traffic was using the road must be unique in motoring history.
Avus was the scene of the achievement, and the authorities quite naturally could not see their way to closing the two “legs” of the road to normal traffic while the Adler ran round for five days ! But this did not daunt the two enthusiasts, Schweder and Hasse. They had spent a lot of time fitting their Trumpf-Junior with a sleek single-seater body with encloEed cockpit. An unusual point of the body was its extremely thin doors of some composition. The car itself was the same 1,000 c.c. car with which they gained a premier award in the Alpine Trial last summer. For eight hours at a stretch Schweder and Hasse took it in turns to endure the
stuffiness of the closed cockpit. The weather was often appalling, rain and even snow making flat-out driving a real test of road-holding and weight-distribution, through which the Adler came with flying colours. The other traffic on the road did not greatly hinder their 70 m.p.h. gait during the day, but at night they both complained that drivers of oncoming cars refused to dim their headlights.
It was not until the very last stages of the record-run that the two hardy drivers called in relief, and Von Guillaume took a spell at the wheel. The Adler did not give the slightest signs of trouble throughout the test, and finished up its last laps of the 10,000 miles at a level 70 m.p.h.
Here is the full list of records :4,000 km., 68.39 m.p.h. (Riley, 64.85 m.p.h.). 3,000 miles, 68.35 m.p.h. (Riley, 64.44 m.p.h.).
5,000 km., 68.37 m.p.h. (Riley, 64.37 m.p.h.).
2 days, 68.40 m.p.h. (Renault, 50,80 m.p.h.). 4,000 miles, 68.23 m.p.h. (Renault, 50.80 m.p.h.).
3 days, 67.56 m.p.h. (new record).
5,000 miles, 67.57 m.p.h. (Renault, 50.78 m.p.h.). 10,000 km., 66.63 m.p.h. (Renault, 51.20 m.p.h.).
4 days, 66.64 m.p.h. (new record). 5 days, 65.95 m.p.h. (new record). •
15,000 km., 65.99 m.p.h. (Renault, 48.97 m.p.h.). 10,000 miles, 66.09 m.p.h. (Renault, 49.18 m.p.h.).
6 days, 66.02 m.p.h. (new record).
Nuvolari—by Dreyfus. All of us admire Nuvolari for his out
All of us admire Nuvolari for his outstanding skill as a driver. Listen, ye fans, to the eulogistic terms in which Rene Dreyfus writes of the Italian ace :— ” This dry little man, of energetic mien, .with a profile like a Roman coin, and piercing eyes, cannot fail to attract attention wherever he goes. During a race, no matter what his position may be, he is distinguished from all other drivers by his continual agitation. He seems to want to infuse the car with his energy. It would not be too much to say that Tazio emanates so much vigour that one can hardly imagine him being defeated. His perfect driving is, of course, legendary, and as my team-chief I can personally appreciate another quality in him, that of comradeship. Above all he is modest, and does not draw any vanity from his triumphs—because they are really triumphs and not just victories—and he much prefers to share his pleasure in winning with his fellow-drivers, mechanics and the rest. “Journalists often write that Nuvolari is a phenomenon. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Tazio himself smiles at this appreciation. He is an artist to the very finger-tips, because he constantly maintaines his physical and mental strength to the highest degree For example, you have only to see him at practice, in which no one takes greater pains than he does. Nuvolari will tell you that there are no secrets in the conquest of fame, but that it is essential, above all else, to find your proper calling and to stick to it conscientiously—if you want to get the greatest satisfaction from it, both morally and financially. In private life—he is reserved and modest,
“Tazio is not the phenomenon one imagines, but the greatest racing driver of our day.”
Chicanes at Montlhery. For some time there has
For some time there has been a strong feeling in certain French quarters that one of the best methods of reducing the speed of racing cars is to make the circuits more difficult. This view has now become a reality, for it has been decided to place three artificial ” chicanes,” or kinks in the Montlhery circuit for the G.P. de l’A. C.F.
This decision was taken as a result of a visit to the track of a delegation from the French Sporting Commission, composed of MM. Perouse, Moreau, de Peyerimhoff, and de Rothschild. M. Bugatti placed a 2.3-litre Bugatti, driven by Robert Benoist, at the disposal of the delegation, and after a good deal of experiments the following chicanes were settled : (1) A simple S bend composed of two barriers set at a distance of 12 metres, to be placed about 600 metres from the starting line, and 80 metres before the junction called Deux Ponts. (2) A second bend, the same as the first, to be placed 9 kilometres from the start at the entrance to the curve at that point (Quatre Bornes). (3) A third bend, but a double one this time, with three barriers 15 metres apart, to be placed on the track itself, opposite the stands, 11 km. 500 from the start, and 800 metres after the Fay hairpin. Scale drawings of the position of the barriers are to be prepared and will be sent to all the drivers.
It all seems rather a pity. I think.
A European Championship. on note last month
Following on my note anent the suggestion of the R.A.C.I. that the European Championship for drivers should be revived, I now hear that the German Sporting Commission has put up the idea of holding the championship for cars once more, based on the results of the national G.P. races. Before submitting it to the A.I.A.C.R., the German people asked the opinion of the R.A.C.I., and the latter having approved, it may presumably be taken for granted that the idea will be accepted, at the Meeting of the International Sporting Commission in Paris on May 8th.
And Now for the Formula.
At that meeting of the C.S.I. on May 8th will come up that hotly debated question of the new formula for G.P. cars. There has been some little difficulty about the meeting already, for it was scheduled to take place in Berlin. The President, Baron de Knyff, a Duchman residing in Paris, did not care to make the long journey, however, and the mountain is therefore coming to Mahommet.
I am afraid it is going to be almost impossible to devise a formula to please everyone. There are two directly opposite schools of thought, which boil down to the position one often finds nowadays of Germany v. the Rest. The former want a continuance of the present formula, a maximum weight limit and no limit on engine size save the ingenuity of the designer. The French, German, Italian, British and American views are in favour of a small engine size or alternatively fuel limitation. I understand that there is a possibility
of the discussion being confined to representatives of those nations which actually build G.P. formula cars to-day. In which case our heated protestations on the matter are reduced to so much hot air. What a position for the great British Empire ! No Grand Prix cars and no British Grand Prix 1
Thou shalt not exceed 30 m.p.h. !
That Race in Paris.
Although the idea of running a race through the streets of. Paris has been definitely abandoned for this summer, it still remains as a tantalising possibility in the minds of many Parisiens. The latest move has been made by a candidate in the municipal elections, who has included a proposed race called the G.P. de Paris in his programme.
Honouring a Famous Driver.
On Sunday, March 31st, a most impressive ceremony took place at Terni, in Italy. The occasion was the unveiling of a memorial to the late Baconi Borzacchini, the great Italian driver who met his end during the tragic Monza race in 1933.
The memorial took the form of a magnificent torso of the lamented champion, set in a stone background at the end of an avenue of trees. Many famous drivers and motoring personalities were present.
Racing in Norway.
An interesting race meeting took place last month near Konigsmiger, on the Norway-Sweden frontier. The circuit, on ice, measured 4 kilometres in length, and the following results were obtained :—
Touring Cars (3 laps).
1. Trygve Kolberg (Terraplane), 8m. 5.2s.
2. Reidar Hoff (Terraplane), 8m. 6.3s.
3. Birgar Mathison (Chevrolet), 8m. 42.2s. Sports Cars (6 laps). I. Arvid Johansen (Winfield Special), 13m.
2. Conrad Bryde (Singer), 14in. 3.2s.
3. C. F. Lichr (Bugatti), 14m. 7.6s.
Touring Cars (1 kilo.).
I. E. Ingelrichsten (Dotage), 32.8s.
2. Knut Solberg (Plymouth), 33.2s.
3. Max LindkjoIon (Plymouth), 33.8s.
4. Paul H. Poulsson (ford), 34s.
All About Dieppe.
I have just received a copy of the regulations for the Circuit of Dieppe, and very interesting reading they make, too. From the English point of view, the greatest importance probably attaches to the voiturette race on Saturday, July 20th, for cars in International Classes F and G, i.e., from 751 c.c. to 1,500 c.c. This will be a duration event of two hours, starting in the afternoon. The prize money for this race is good, being roughly £200 for the winner, £140 for second, and £90 for third. Entries can be made at 1,000 francs per car, including insurance,
until July 13th. Owners of E.R.A., M.G. Magnettes, Riley’s, Bugattis and Alta’s all stand a chance, and will in any case gain valuable experience. On the next day the Grand Prix for cars in Classes A, 13, C, D, and E, will take place. The system of heats and a final used last year has been abandoned in favour of the previous 3 hours race. The race is down on the fixture list of the
Scuderia Ferrari, and I expect every effort will be made to induce at least one team of German cars to patitcipate.
As you probably know, the Dieppe Circuit is a sporting course, with adequate access for spectators. The races present a wonderful opportunity to see a real Continental road race, at the minimum cost. Don’t miss Dieppe
The German Championships.
The rules for the German Championships remain more or less the same. There are two categories, one for speed and the other for hill-climbing. The former will be decided upon the following events : Avus Race, Eifel Race, and G.P. of Germany. In order to qualify drivers must take part in all three events, and in the event of a tie the placings in the G.P. will be the deciding factor. The Bergmeisterschaft will include the Kesselberg, Feldburg, Fribourg and Brisgau hill-climbs. Entrants must compete in at least two events, and if a driver takes part in three, then the two best performances count. Ties will be fought out at the Fribourg hill-climb.
There is to be a general tightening of the rules with regard to German drivers competing in foreign events. Permission must be applied for and received from the O.N.S. before an entry is filed, presumably to ensure German representatives in foreign races being of a high standard.
No Swiss Championships.
It has been decided, in view of the few events on the national calendar, to abandon the Swiss Championships. It is thought that the popularity of G.P. racing has been the death-knell of hillclimbing, and grave doubts are entertained as to the Kla,usen hill-climb ever being held again. Here is the calendar for the coming season :
,tune ifith.—Rheineck-Walzenhausen Hill-Climb. June 16th.—Jungfraustafette.
August Ist-9th.—Coupe Internationale des Alps. August 24th.—Circuit du Bremgarten.
August 250.-2nd G.P. de Suisse.
September 22nd.–Ceneri Hill-Climb.
It will be noticed that the first two events clash, so Rheinick-Walzenhausen will probably be held on another date. The Monte Ceneri hill-climb is a welcome revival.
Why the Montreux G.P. was Cancelled.
An absentee from the above list is the Montreux G.P., held for the first time last year. There were several reasons for its cancellation. First of all, times are hard in the Montreux district, and people are sceptical of the benefit to be derived from a G.P. in the present circumstances. The result has been that the fund failed to reach its specified limit of 25,000 francs, the figure being actually 20,000 after months of urgent collection. Lastly, the public elections are due to take place on the same day as the race, which would have complicated matters considerably.
Fine Bugatti Records.
A very fine performance was put up last month by a 1,500 c.c. 8-cylinder Bugatti at Montlhdry. This car, driven
in turns by Louis Villeneuve, Pierre Veyron and Roger Labric, beat the Class C record for 24 hours, as well as the records for 3,000 kilometres and 2,000 miles, all at a speed of 92/3 m.p.h. A pair of headlamps was mounted on the front cross-bar for the night-hours, and the whole run was absolutely trouble-free. Here are the new records, with the previous figures in parenthesis :—
3,000 kilts., 93.227 m.p.h. (Riley, 82.54 m.p.h.). 2,000 miles, 92.12 m.p.h. (Delage, 69.00 m.p.h.). 24 hours, 92.735 m.p.h. (Riley, 82.41 m.p.h.).
Louis Villeneuve, by the way, is an ardent gymnast, and has just been awarded la medallic de l’Education physique.
Another French driver of considerable physical prowess is Raymond Sommer, who is very keen on running and cycleracing. He took part in a great sporting fete at the Palais des Sports in Paris recently, and can sometimes be seen at the Velodrome d’Hiver cycle-track, pedalling round the saucer at great speed.
He is not going to give up motor-racing, however, and has just purchased a 3-litre motoposto Alfa-Romeo from the Scuderia Ferrari.
Bugattis at Bouzerea.
Fastest time of the day at the Bouzerea hill-climb, just outside Algiers, was made by Sagnier, on a Bugatti. Here are the class winners :—
Sports -3,000 c.c.–Sagnier (Bugatti), 21n. 23s. Unlimited.—Soulier (Ford), 2m. 30s.
Racing-1,500 c.c.—Vanoni (Amilcru-), 2m. 31.8s. Unlimited. — I, Sagnier (Bugatti), 2m. 21s.; 2.
Rencurel (Bugatti), 2m. 28.4s. ; 3, Dardenne (Bugatti), 21n. 31.8s.
New Record at Chavigny.
The kilometre hill-climb at Chavigny, near Nancy, organised by the A.C. Lorrain, resulted in a victory for Robert Benoist on a 4-wheel drive Bugatti, who won a special cup presented by the Commission Sportive for breaking the record. The previous figure, incidentally, was 45 secs., and stood to the joint credit of Leoz and Bayard, both on
Bugattis. RESULTS. Racing.
750 c.c.-1, Jahan (Sahnson), 51.4s.; 2, Le Paige (Ratter), liii. 23s.
1,100 c.c.–I, Anon (de Rovin), 52.2s. ; 2, Escalle (Amilcar), 52.8s. ; 3, Georges (A.C.L.), lm. Is.
2,000 I, Arnould (Bugatti), 53.8s.
3,000 c.c.-1, Cazaux (Bugatti), 41.88.• ; 2, Delorme (Bugatti), 455.
5,000 c.c.-1, R. Benoist (Bugatti), 40.4s.* ; 2, Girod (Maserati), 43s.
(Maserati), 43s. Sports.
750 c.c.-1, Bogacki (Seneehal), 1 tn. 5.25.* ; 2, Delor (Peugeot), lin. 10.4s.
1,100 c.C.-1, Lagroliere (Salmson), 49.4s.
1,500 c.c.-1, Rirls (Salmson), 49s.* ; 2, Tocca (Citrovii), lin. 8.2s.
2,000 c.c.-1, Weisweiller (Alfa-Romeo), 58.4s.• 5,000 c.c.— 1, Benoist (Bugatti), 50s. ; 2, Pegullu (X,) 59.45.
The Château-Thierry Tragedy.
The 1935 Château-Thierry hill-climb will go down in motor racing history as a major tragedy. Before the event everything pointed to a great success ; careful
organisation and a fine entry. But disaster fell with appalling suddenness.
It is a curious custom at ChâteauThierry that cars have to pull up at the finishing line, and therein lay the cause of the accident. A big crowd lined the historic Soissons road, which has seen the passage of so many famous drivers, but they were separated from the road by barriers and fences.
The whole programme had been got through once, and the second runs were being made when the catastrophe happened. It was about 4 o’clock when Cattan6o, driving a 1,500 c.c. Bugatti with which he has raced at Dieppe and elsewhere, braked hard about 100 yards before the finishing line. The car promptly turned right round in a terrific skid, dashed into the crowd on the left-hand side of the road, shot across to the other side, and finished its work of massacre among the tightly packed spectators on the right. Six people were killed outright, two died later, and many had to submit to amputation of their limbs in hospital. Cattaneo himself was unhurt, but was completely grief-stricken at the appalling result of his unfortunate skid.
Earlier in the afternoon Lagrolliere had wrapped his Salmson round a tree, and a fierce fire ensued. He left the car in time to escape injury. As for the racing itself, fastest time of the day was made by Robert Benoist on the 4.9-litre 4-wheel drive Bugatti, beating the previous record by a motor cycle by two seconds. Cazaux also beat this figure.
1,100 c.c.-1, Mine Roux (Fiat), 57.2s.* 5,000 c.c.–Cattan& (Stutz), 50.6s.
1,100 c.c.-1, Hup (Peugeot), 57.4s. 1,500 c.c.-1, Res (Salmson), 41s. 2,000 c.c.-1, Testu (Bugatti), 44.8s. 3,000 c.c.–1, Routnatti (Bugatti), 48.8s. 5,000 c.c.-1, Battu (Hudson), 455.
5,000 c.c.-1, Battu (Hudson), 455. Racing. 600 c.c. Marie Paul lm. 16.4s.
600 c.c. —1, Marie Paul (Sima-Violet), lm. 16.4s. 750 c.c.-1, Jahan (Salmson), 42.8s.’
1,100 c.c.-1, Druck (Sahnson), 36.8s.’ ; 2, Mestivier (Minicar), 39s. ; 3, Brillet (Rally-Salmson), 55.85.
1,500 c.c.–1, Cattaao (Bugatti), 36.8s. ; 2, Cesure (Bugatti), 38.8s. ; 3, Girod (Salmson). 39s. 3,000 c.c.-1, Cazaux (Bugatti), 32.2s.*
5,000 c.c.-1, Benoist (Bugatti), 30.4s.* ; 2, Girod (Maserati), 35.2s.
At a meeting of the Commission Sportive a few days later it was decided in view of the fact that all the competitors had not made their second runs, to cancel the results in classes, and issue individual certificates of performance on the above times.
This accident has made a profound impression in France. A vast inquiry is being held into the whole business of organising motor-racing events, and it is likely that some fairly drastic regulations will be introduced by M. Regnier, Minister of the Interior.
The Young Idea.
The Georges Boillot Club in Paris has quickly got into its stride. A reception was held at MontlhOry last month on the occasion of the first training period of the young members. After much champagne had been drunk at the luncheon, the company moved to the circuit routier, where the members of the Club had their first motor-racing lessons under the able tuition of those famous veterans, Albert Guyot, Louis Wagner, Arthur Duray and An
A Maserati Changes Hands.
Philippe Etancelin has sold his 3-litre Maserati to the Ecurie Girod. The car will be driven by Armand Girod, and in fact has already appeared at several hill climbs.
Maillard-Brune, who has made several fine performances on the Continent with his M.G. Midget, again did well last month, this time at the Boulevard Michelet Speed Trials, Marseilles. He won the 750 c.c. racing class, equalling the record. An M.G. Magna came in third in the 1,100 c.c. sports class, driven by Roch.
A statement has appeared in the Continental Press that an English group is endeavouring to form a company in Vienna for the purpose of constructing an autodrome near the Austrian capital. The sum called for is a quarter of a million pounds.
In Holland a scheme for a permanent road-circuit has long been mooted. The town of Assen and Arnheim have both considered the proposition, but rejected it after due consideration. Finally, the city of Haarlem agreed to construct the track, and a date was booked on the International Calendar for the G.P. of Holland to be held thereon on September 15th. Unfortunately the R.A.C.H. has decided that 8 metres is not sufficiently wide for modern racing-cars, 12 metres being their figure for an adequate road width. The result has been a great increase in the capital required, and this has proved too much for the sponsors of the track.
A G.P. at Geneva ?
The fact that the Montreux G.P. has been abandoned and the cancellation of the Dutch G.P. has left September 15th an open date on the International Calendar has prompted the Swiss A.C. to toy with the idea of holding a Grand Prix at Geneva.
An Insurance Fund for Italian Drivers.
The association of Italian racing drivers has come to an agreement with the R.A.C.I. whereby an insurance fund has been started for the benefit of Italian drivers injured in racing accidents. The fund will be contributed in the following way : one third by the drivers, one third by the organisers of races, and one third by the R.A.C.I.
I hear from the A.I.A.C.R. that the G.P. d’Algerie will not take place on its scheduled date, May 18th and 19th.