The New T.T.
The R.A.C. has issued the regulations for the Tourist Trophy Race on September 3rd with commendable promptitude, and an excellent and informative race should result. The 1938 T.T. will differ from its predecessors in three main respects : —
(a) It will be confined to more nearly standard cars than in the past. The new regulations stipulate that engines must be designed to take a starter and dynamo, and must be unblown. Pump fuel must be used, and enough carried to last the course without refuelling. Each class has a minimum weight limit, the ratio of engine size to wheelbase is governed, A 1 bodies are necessary, and cars may not be those built to the existing Grand Prix formula. Not more than one carburetter per pair of cylinders will be allowed. Lamps and silencers are compulsory. This is really a very excellent attempt to turn away real racing-cars and so much more satisfactory than the past ruling, when certain bits had to be as catalogue, yet you could never be really certain that the competing cars were anything like sports-cars that you and I use on our lawful occasions. We know that ” loose” rules governing past sports-car races may, in isolated instances, have led to useful experimentation, as, for instance, when the Riley Co. tried light-alloy construction and single carburetters per port for the Phcenix Park contests. But there are plenty of real racing-car events to foster that sort of research, and race-goers are in the main possessed of enough intelligence to give due meed of praise to essentially sports-type cars when, in cases such as this, they compete against racing jobs.
(h) The race is no longer a handicap race. Instead, there are to be five separate classes, each quite distinct-1,100 c.c., 1,500 c.c., 2,000 c.c., 3,000 c.c., and over 3,000 c.c.—rather as in the case of last year’s Donington 12-Hour Sports-Car Race, which will not be held this year now that the T.T. is definitely ” on.” Most of us will prefer the new arrangement. Handicaps are always tricky things to grapple with, especially when competing cars may be expected to range in capacity from 750 c.c. to .4-litres or over. The T.T. is far too important a race to be marred by handicap flaws or inequalities. In the past certain cars have suffered because handicaps have been altered on the basis of previous years’ results, disregarding the fact that the same marques may no longer be running in any given class or, if they are, that they may be totally different cars. Things like this can seriously distort the true perspective of the motor-racing historian. Moreover, a class system grants greater publicity value to the results, because opinions and interests differ considerably as to what is the most desirable size of engine for road motoring—and the successful marques in the T.T. will be brought in. close touch with prospec
tive buyers of new sports-cars. Actually, the T.T. winner outright will still be decided on handicap, so that the best performer will receive additional laurels. (c) Whereas, in the past, only existing catalogued cars could run, although they could be altered very extensively from standard, under the 1938 ruling any cars may be entered, save those designed for the
G.P. Formula. This is an excellent arrangement, because it will encourage new makers, or makers with new models, to use the T.T. for preliminary experiments and publicity, which they were barred from doing in the past. Certainly, freak cars may come in, provided they comply with all the requirements, but they will still be essentially sporting cars. It is unlikely that anyone will prepare a special car expressly to win the race, with no intention of putting it into production afterwards, or of allowing anyone else to do so. So that the organisers really look like getting entries only from those who market sports models, or who are preparing so to do. We congratulate Donington on getting our most important race, and we fervently hope that excellent and comprehensive entries will be forthcoming and that British sports-cars will hold up under the growing menace of French competition. The race will be over 100 laps, equal to about 312 miles, and the winner of each class will receive £200, with £100 for each
second place. The race starts at 12 noon on September 3rd.
The weeklies have told you all about the new Railton, of the whale-like appearance and twin Napier ” Lion ” engines, designed by Reid Railton, and built by Thompson and Taylor, for John Cobb to take over to Utah next August for a smack at the fastest ever. It only remains for us to add our congratulations to Railton for using very revolutionary ideas and constructional methods and contriving to blend them into such a highly practical and satisfactory-looking motorcar. The Press view of the Railton at Brooklands brought home to one in no uncertain manner that, costly as these super-fast cars are, and hush-hush as is their construction, when completed their successful running depends just as much on little matters of routine and careful attention and care as is the case with less sensational and much slower racing-cars. Full praise therefore to the T & I` men who will tend the car they have assembled ; praise which Ken Taylor never fails to accord every one of them. Cobb is going to have a very new experience and, we devoutly hope, a not unpleasant and a highly successful one. Railton, in spite of the fact that he always photographs so boyishly, is really much more serious and (dare we say ?) much better-looking than the cameras would have you believe. May he weather the worries of the next few months and return triumphant, designer of the quick est of them all. Technically, it is notable that at last four-wheel drive is being used, likewise a totally enclosed cockpit. Indeed, it is rather astonishing that the record has been put as high as 312 m.p.h. without these design features. Railton uses air-brakes but no fin, and resorts to ice-cooling, as on the un
successful ” Silver Bullet.” Railton has specified Ferodo brake and shock-absorber linings, Dunlop tyres, wheels, seat cushions and suspension blocks, National Benzole fuel and Shell oil. As these suppliers make use of the advertising pages of MOTOR SPORT, we feel particularly pleased that the quality of their products is so convincingly confirmed.
That Delahaye won the first Formula race with a 41-litre unblown car against the blown MercedesBenz cars has shaken everyone pretty thoroughly, and lends flavour to coming Grands Prix. Delage and Darracq, too, favour unblown 4i-litre cars and Grand Prix racing this year is going to be truly immense.
Fast Touring Cars
Even the most hard-bitten enthusiasts often have occasion to bless closed cars, perhaps because the lady who sits on their left when they drive uses the car during the week, when mere man labours to meet his income, property, car and petrol taxes. Then there is the driver who sees quite enough of the open cockpit in races every summer week-end and who thankfully enters a closed car for his rapid journeys between times. Such persons will have little use for purely utility vehicles. In the past they would have endured highlytuned sports-cars with closed coachwork—” endured” because engine, gearbox and axle noises are accentuated by saloon bodywork, and ten or fifteen years
ago high performanee invariably meant noise and frequent need of servicing. To-day things are happily very different, as we are continually emphasising. Even £200 saloons have a certain useful nippiness about their matter of going and quite decent brakes, and there is on the market a truly excellent selection of semi-sports cars of real performance, and good road-holding, possessed of remote-control gear-change, multi-carburetter engines, rev, counters and similar features appealing to sports-car enthusiasts. But when you seek that most desirable of properties, the real thoroughbred closed car which has an outstanding performance, which feels absolutely ” right ” as to control and which will cruise fast without effort and go quite refreshingly fast when conditions allow, the choice diminishes. Demand a small engine and real economy and the field becomes decidedly limited. One car in this exclusive category that comes to mind, perhaps because we have had recent experience of it, is the Lancia Aprilia. Taxed at 15s., priced at 030, giving rather better than 30 m.p.g., the Aprilia does 75 to 80 m.p.h. in five-seater saloon form, holds 70 happily all day, and possesses that impeccable road-holding, suspension and steering that one has come to expect of modern Continentals in extreme form, while its acceleration is very effective indeed. A car of this sort, moreover, is accorded real respect by fellow enthusiasts, and the joke is that in no way is it a sports-car ; in the country of its origin it is regarded as a utility automobile. Amongst those who use Lancia Aprilias for rapid travelling in this country and abroad can be numbered Charlie Martin, Noel Rees, Brian Lewis, Lord Waleran, Mrs. Cotton and the Duke of Richmond and Gordon.
Another car of this sort is the Frazer-Nash-B.M.W., the Type 45 2-litre being able to better 80 m.p.h., and 25 m.p.g., while commanding a 02 tax and costing 050 in saloon form, while all the models of the range have outstanding steering and road-clinging characteristics. The ” 1,500 ” and Balilla Fiats haven’t quite this performance, but as cheaper cars they command respect, while in the lowest price classes the baby Fiat.
D.K.W. and Opel Cadet cars have better road-holding and handling qualities, the D.K.W. in particular, than most utility cars, which renders them fast over give and take going for their size. Up at the other end of the scale, Mercedes-Benz offers all these desirable things on a very lavish scale indeed. It is for this reason that we on this paper have so great a respect for Continental cars. Of the Audi, Hansa, Wanderer, Steryr and Hanomag we cannot write, as we have yet to try them. A friend expressed our sentiments concerning Continentals very aptly when he said : “If I am making a journey with someone who does not run a sports-car, I look forward to it just the same if I know he drives a Lancia, a B.IvI.W., or something of that sort.”
Had a very interesting conversation the other day with a man who knows Bentleys very well indeed— he owns a particularly rapid 3-litre at present—and who was interested in our comments on the quick changes of ratio which Forrest Lycett effects on his 8-litre.
He suggests that no Bentley box is tricky, and that with any box very rapid changes are possible, with the exception of the wide-ratio B-type, by correct adjustment of the clutch stop. This applies to changes from second gear upwards, as -the first to second change is very wide, as with modern Lagondas ; in the neighbourhood of 3:5. It is quite
possible to effect decent changes on the old Bentleys without using the clutch. Lycett has an n-type box, which was only used for the 4 and 8-litre cars, and which has a seam running along top and bottom to unite the two halves. Moreover, one of McKenzie’s Borg and Beck clutch installations is used, in conjunction with stop settings to secure rapid changes at high speeds. The modern Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars have extremely good synchro-mesh changes on second, third and top, and their r.p. levers move from slot to slot very smoothly and without a sound.
H.R.G. will shortly introduce a closed bodied job.
The Mille Miglia will not be held any more, following the severe accident in this year’s race.
A most interesting attempt on the Sports-Car Hour Record is likely to be made by a British manufacturer on the Continent later this year.
Messrs. E.R.A. Ltd. still have for disposal some of the beautifully produced books detailing the origin of the E.R.A. They are obtainable from the E.R.A. works, Bourne, Lincolnshire. * *
RH. Prince of Berar recently took delivery of a Windover-bodied drop-head Phantom III Rolls-Royce.