Hoy/ we doing, hey, hey ?
The racing season seems somehow like The Times when one’s wife has finished with it, a little bit out of joint. First the grand opening meet of the season, the Empire Trophy at Donington, a most excellent and entertaining affair but what devastating cold ! Handley was at first thought to have escaped unhurt from his spectacular crash, but unfortunately he has since been found to have injuries to his back which will keep him abed for three months. Then Easter Monday, when the rains, descended just long enough to cause the meeting to be cancelled. The only fun which remained was to watch one’s acquaintances trying to extricate their cars from the mire of the Paddock, stepping smartly back however when asked to render assistance by heaving on the spinning and muddy wheels.
When we did get our Brooklands meeting on the following Saturday it was disappointing, one hour’s racing to six hours of wait, as somebody said. Mr. and Mrs. Brookes certainly got hold of a very rapid and Ebby-cheating Riley, on which congratulations. It was stated in the daily press that the cost of special tuning amounted to only ten pounds— including, we presume, a new coat of paint?. Scribbans, who as far as I recollect has only previously appeared in trials, had evidently learned somehow most of what was necessary to know about handling a racing car, while several well-known drivers showed a horrible liking for the top edge of the concrete.
As though in compensation, foreign races have been exciting enough. Brivio’s win at 76 m.p.h. in the Mille Mig-lia must have taken some doing, while the success of the E.R.A.s in the Prince Rainier rat,. at Monte Carlo shows that there is, at any rate, one type of sracing car that we can make better than anyone else.
The big incident of the senior event, of course, was the debacle which occurred at the ” chicane ” or Sbend alongside the harbour. The sequence of events was a little hard to follow, but as far as I could learn it was something like this.
The Skating Rink
\Then the cars were drawn up at the start, oil was seen to be leaking from Brivio’s car. There was not time to find out why, but it was assumed that the tank had been overfilled. Tadini was, therefore, hustled out of his car (Brivio is now Ferrari’s No. 2 driver and so takes preference) and Tadini was handed the doubtful machine. Instead of an -overfull tank the trouble proved to be a broken oil pipe, and Tadini drove slowly round the course leaving a trail of oil, with a specially liberal dose at the chicane.
Caracciola and Nuvolari had lapped him before he had done his sprinkling of the fatal S-bend and so they escaped trouble, but Chiron, who was following, was completely blinded by the oil, rammed the sand-bags and swung across the road, and was quickly joined by Brivio, Farina, Brauchitsch and Trossi, and then Siena. Brivio was the only one who managed to extricate his car from the wreckage. Fagioli, a few laps later, saw that the oil had apparently been cleared away and tried to speed up things, but after a swift slide into a wall he discovered he was wrong.
New Types at Monaco
As the first serious Grand Prix race of the season, the Monte Carlo classic is often used at a testing ground for new cars, and this year proved no exception. Mercedes-Benz had two of the new ones which externally are lower and more slender than ever. Herr Neubauer informed us that actually the chassis is unaltered, but the top of the bonnet has now been lowered until it is a bare inch clear of the camshaft casings. Apart from better streamlining, the drivers now enjoy better visibility. In the Grand Prix the low cars were entrusted to Caracciola and Chiron, a pair running in double harness for the first time since ” Caratch’s ” smash four years ago on the same circuit. In spite of its slender build, however, the fuel tank of the winning car was sufficiently large to allow it to complete the 200-mile course without re-fuelling.
Auto-Union and Alfa
As was anticipated, Auto-Union sent to the line a couple of comparatively short-wheelbase cars, which were driven by Varzi and Rosemeyer, while Stuck was piloting one of the original type. There did not seem to be much to choose between them on corners, the attention of the drivers being much more occupied in preventing the wheel-spin provoked by the oversized engines rather than to cornering technique. With full tanks these unorthodox machines were far from stable, while the brakes were decidedly uncertain in action. The Type C Alfa-Romeos had a fair testing at the end of last season when Nuvolari came second in the Grand Prix of Masaryk. Externally, except for some slight modification of the front suspension, they are
nchanged. There were rumours that the engine had becn increased in size but officially, at any rate, it rtmained at 3.8 litre with a bore and stroke of 78 and 100 mm. The 12-cylinder engine is being reserved for Tripoli.
The ” Mere.” is still more than a match for the Alfa, which looks high and rather clumsy, but the Italian cars more than held their own with the AutoUnions. At Monte Carlo, of course, Varzi and Stuck both finished ahead of the little Mantovano but that was because Nuvolari was physically below par. He rose from a sick-bed on the morning of the race, against all medical advice, and as it was, his iron determination kept him in second place till quarter distance, when he began to tire.
“Big Bugs” One Stage Nearer
Last year at the French Grand Prix, M. le Patron ‘demonstrated that he ha.l not entirely given up his time to the production of rail-cars by fitting a 4.9-litre engine in a 3.3 chassis and sending it along to Montlhery, and during th winter there have been strong rumours that a coin’ lete car has been built round the larger engine. .’11 Afters were far enough ‘advanced by the Grand Prix tt Monaco to allow the first of the new cars to appear. It was externally the same car, though the engine was called a “fourseven.” It appeared only in practice, the older 3.3
litre type being driven in the actual race by Wimille and Williams, the latter the winner of the first Monaco race in 1928, and for the last few years in retirement.
Of the Maseratis, those driven by Etancelin and Trossi were the ordinary 4-litre V8s, while the mysterious ” S.T.s ” had 6-cylinder ” Maser ” engines in special new chassis with a new type of independent suspension. The ” S.T.s ” part merely denotes Scuderia Torino.
The radial-engined Trossi did not run, which was a pity. With its nine cylinders, it should have made a worthy rival for those inveterate noise-producers, the wailing Mercedes-Benz and the thunderous AutoUnion.
Racing without Tears
On account of the numerous twists and turns of the course, the Monaco Grand Prix was known not so long ago amongst drivers as one of the most exhausting races in the world, the manual effort of constant gear-changes and working at the steering wheel calling for the highest degree of fitness. With the passage of years the corners remain as sharp as ever, but the power-weight ratio of the modern racing car is so high that gear-changing on the big cars is hardly ever called for. Caracciola, for instance, used third gear all the way, Nuvolari top (his car was evidently fitted with a ” low cog “) while Varzi and
Stuck, with five ratios to play with, found a very high second fitted in with the lie of the course. Perhaps if they had tried third there would not have been so much wheel-spin !
Racing at Cork
For real enthusiasm give me the secretary of the Cork Motor Club whom I met at Donington after he had travelled for 26 hours non-stop and without sleep in his anxiety to be in time for the race. He managed to rake in several entries including Manby-Coleg-rave, who as an Irishman with an E.R.A. was particularly fair game. At the end of the race, after a few drinks, he was facing another 26 hours of travelling back home. As will be seen from the aerial photograph reproduced on page ‘243, one side of the course consists of a concrete road with a straight over two miles long, giving every chance for the faster cars to overtake, and also, if a close watch be not kept on the rev.-counter, to blow themselves up. Unfortunately for English drivers, starting money has been declared off, the finances of the Irish club being only sufficient to meet ordinary expenses. As a measure of compensation special rates have been secured for cars carried on the Fishguard to Cork steamers, the freight charge being £7 10s., while the return
passenger fare has been brought down to 18s. 9d.
Austin Dobson has acquired the 3.2-litre AlfaRomeo on which Nuvolari won the German Grand
Prix last year, and which was exhibited to admiring eyes at Brooklands at the first meeting.
Miss Ellison and Cholmondeley Tapper, continental hill-climb and Grand Prix fans, are disposing of their supercharged 1 i-litre Bugatti which has only run in one race since having a works overhaul, complete with the Type 40 which serves as a tender and portable supply of spares, and the trailer on which the racer rides. Any offers? They are buying either an E.R.A. or a ii-litre Maserati.
Stuck’s new records on the Auto-Union have badly damaged George Eyston’s collection put up with the ” Speed of the Wind on the Bonneville Salt Flats. He is now back in Utah with the same car, with a 12-cylinder Diesel engine as well, but is at present held up because the surface of the salt has not completely dried off after the winter rains.
The B.R.D.C. film show has become so popular that the Bush House accommodation was no longer great enough to house everyone who wanted to come. A move was therefore made last month to the Florence Restaurant, but the surplus of members over floor-space seemed as great as ever.
Lord Howe presented the prizes for the Britislr Empire Trophy, and then followed the films. These were mostly old favourites, including the magnificent one of the French Grand Prix at Dieppe, while an American one on the construction of the ” Fronty Ford was received with much jubilation.