CONTINENTAL NOTES AND NEWS - Tripoli, May 1939
ConUrnent& Notes and Newz
Tripoli The most important event in the offing
at the moment is the Tripoli Grand Prix, to be held on that immensely fast desert circuit on May 7th. There is something rather amusing in the thought of the Italians carefully limiting the race to 1,500 c.c. cars so as to break the run of German victories in their great race, only to receive an entry of two MercedesBenz, after all. It would be even more amusing if the Mercedes won. . . .
If they start (and With new cars it is never safe to assume that they will until you actually see them on the starting line), it is more likely that they will use the race as a try-out, instead of hoping to win. At present it is about as difficult to get any information as to their specification as it would be, I imagine, to delve into the secrets of the Krupp works. Somehow I think they will be ” sixes,” my only reason for this belief being that the Mercedes people have an admitted respect for the successes of the E.R.A. and M.G., which have shown that you can get a tremendous amount of power out of small units of this type. And it is just this knowledge of ultra power development in small engines of which they have had practically no experience.
Another thing is that they might be able to use one of the cylinder blocks of the twelve-cylinder 3-litre Grand Prix engine, which would save them a bit of money.
However, all this is guess work, and time may prove me to be entirely wrong. In the meantime it is splendid to think that 1,500 c.c. racing is looking up,and, as the Editor points out on another page, is actually more interesting at the moment than the G.P. kind.
Tripoli should provide an excellent pointer as to the relative form of the Italian cars, at any rate, particularly as to maximum speed. Last year, I should say that the Alfas were able to get up to about 140 m.p.h., while the Maseratis round about the same figure. Intensive tuning and research work during the winter, as well as the lessons learnt in South Africa by Maserati, should have added another 10 m.p.h. at least to this. From what I have heard, this should not worry the British E.R.A. people, who have found a lot more speed which can probably be attributed to the benefits of proper streamlining. The problem that will face all the 1,500 c.c. factories: this year, I feel, is to combine maximum speed with reliabil
ity. This is going to be the case at Tripoli, certainly, where the curves can be taken so fast that they give no real rest to the extremely busy power-units. In such circumstances it would appear wise to play the part of the tortoise, but the trouble is there is always the chance of a hare finding its second wind. Caracciola and Lang have been men tioned as the drivers of the Mercedes-Benz at Tripoli. At first sight one would have said that it would be child’s play to handle a small car after the big G.P. formula machines, but this doesn’t follow, of course. Although it must be admitted that Nuvnlari drnve an MG By AUSLANDER
Magnette at Belfast some years ago as it has never been driven before or since, in between a run of Grand Prix races on big cars.
Elaintarhanajo-Djurgardsloppet In other the Grand Prix of
In other words, the Grand Prix of Finland. This affair has attracted the Germans this year, and entries have been promised from both Mercedes-Benz and
Auto-Union. Scandinavia, of course, is quite a good market for ordinary motorcars . . . It happens on the same day as Tripoli, hence the significance of Caracciola and Lang being nominated for the North African race, leaving Von Brauchitsch and Seaman to take on the Auto-Unions in Vinland. The latter will therefore probably have a numerical superiority, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them Both teams have improved their cars
during the close season. Auto-Unions, taking the advice of their first-string driver, Nuvolari, have played about with the front end of their bolide with good effect, so that it responds more accurately to the intentions of the man at the wheel. The alterations, I gather, are confined to the suspension. The Mercedes-Benz looks more like a
whale than ever. A whale, moreover, with its mouth open and obviously intent on devouring its prey. At Monza the cars proved to be mighty quick, and Herr Neubauer is said to be purring quite contentedly at the prospects for the season. It is true that Caracciola had trouble at Pau, and that Lang’s winning speed was only fractionally higher than Dreyfus’s on the unblown Delahaye last year, but then Lang wasn’t pushed at all. Modifications to the supercharger, brakes and front-end cowling are their chief alterations from last season.
International Latest move on the international
Latest move on the international (motor-racing) chess-board is the exclusion of the Swiss, Armand Hug, from the official Maserati team, wherein his presence offended the feelings of lots of Italian amateurs who considered that their claims should not be overridden by a “furriner.” Hug doesn’t care much, and will continue to drive as an independent, in which capacity he will no doubt beat up some of the people who objected to him in Italy. For this Hug is no mean driver, and a pleasant personality withal.
As for the Italo-French crisis, it continues at fever pitch. No Italian drivers in French races, them’s me orders. M. Perouse, of the Automobile Club de France, for his part, has made it plain that the French Grand Prix will take place with or without Italian entries.
Good for him. Now it’s your turn, Musso. It is a pity, however, that the Mercedes-Benz will not be able to race in the Sporting Commission Cup for 1,500 V ears If the Italians all serateh the race will be a walk-over for E.R.A. As you know, the A.C.F. are frightfully strict about closing dates for entries, and I don’t see how they are going to get round it, however much they would like to have the miniature Metes. there. It is particularly ironic that the list now includes such vehicles as the Talbot-Plate and Gordini’s Fiat, which are admirable in their way but are no match for the best 1,500 c.c. cars of to-day. If the Mercedes were allowed in now, there would be a terrific outcry from those drivers whose entries were refused because they were too late
were too This is Flourishing, too c.c.
With all the talk about 1,500 c.c. Mercedes-Benz and new E.R.A.s, we are apt to. overlook the fact that sports-car racing continues to flourish exceedingly.
On May 5th there is the Independent Drivers’ Club Meeting at Montffiery, which generally attracts a mixed lot of sports and racing machines, and the next big date is the 21st, when the Antwerp Grand Prix takes place. This will be held in three races of about 60 miles each on that very fast circuit on the outskirts of Antwerp which was used for the first time last year. Only sports-cars are eligible, and blowers are permitted at an increase of 65 per cent. in capacity, providing that this increase does not bring the engine size over the
maximum of 4A-litres. There will be separate prizes for each ” heat,” and. the cars will be placed in a general classification at the end on their times.
The Antwerp circuit is particularly good to watch, and is quite easy to reach from England. Why not make a weekend of it ?
At the time of writing the entries, which are by invitation only, consist of Mazaud, Paul, Chaboud and Conte (Delahaye), Connell and Levegh (Darracq), Gerard and 1VIonneret (Delage) and Andre (Bugatti). There will be a lot more to come. In the meantime it is worth noting that Council is the only British entrant, and that Paul, Chaboud and Contet are racing under the colours of the Ecurie Francia, and that the Delages are the Walter Watney stable making their first appearance. On May 6th and 7th’ the week-end of Tripoli and Finland, there will be an international sports-car meeting at Hamburg, in the City Park, over a lap of
4 miles. The Classes will be 1,100 c.c., 1,500 c.c., and 2-litres, so it will probably be a B.M.W. field-day. On the same clay as Antwerp there will be the Eifelrentien at Nurburg Ring, which includes a race for sports-cars of the same categories. In this case the 1,100 c.c. cars will have to do 4 laps (56.5 miles), the 1,500 c.c. cars 5 laps (70.6 Miles), and the 2-litres machines
laps (85.4 miles). The organisers would very much like to have A good British entry at the Ring, where drivers like Pane have done so well in the past. All these events are of international status, by the way. Farther afield there looms Le Mans, which with forty-six entries is as.sured of success and for which much work is being done in factories and garages all over Europe. And on June 3rd the Dutch people are going to hold a Grand Prix for sports-cars at Zandvoort, which ought to be good fun. Even more distant is the Grand Prix de La Baule, held on the sands at that seaside resort. This race is going to be by invitation only, the invitees being people who have raced at Le Mans this
this year. Desert Chariots
As a result of several accidents involving the deaths of spectators, you will remember, it was decided by the R.A.C.I. to drop the famous Mille Miglia, that thousand miles dash round Italy. However, they didn’t like the idea of giving up the race altogether, so this year it was decided to hold it in the colony of Libya, where the distance between the towns of Tobruck and Tripoli measures 1,500 kilometres, which is not so far short of 1,000 miles. As the road rims for the greater part of the course along the coast, through deserts which I am sure must be arid, there was little danger of cars which ran amuck doing any harm to spectators. And so it proved. In addition to the usual intense competition between hordes of Italian drivers, there was a duel of international (albeit interAxis) importance between
teams of Alfa-Romeos and B.M.W.s entered by Alfa-Corse and the official N.S.K.K. of Germany.
The B.M.W.s were the familiar white 2-litre cars, type 328, which have been seen in England and which have some amazing team performances to their credit. The Alfas were the new 21-litre unsupercharged cars known as type SS, six-cylinder jobs with engines of 72 x 100 mm. capacity, and which are reputed to develop 120 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m.
Well, it was all very interesting. The B.M.W.s were driven by the usual trio, Prince Schaurnberg-Lippe, Briem and Heinemann, and the Alfas by Dr. Giuseppe Farina himself, Biondetti and Borato, who is something of a newcomer. The Italian spectators-of yes, there were some-made no secret of their burning desire for an Italian win, and luckily for them they got it. It was by no means a certainty, however, for Farina’s car blew up, and the Alfas could never gain a really comfortable lead. In the end Borato got home with a time six minutes better than the best M.B.W., the one driven by Briem, with Biondetti on the second Alfa only 21 seconds slower than Borato. The B.M.W.s had the consolation of cleaning up the 2-litre class, although not in the line-ahead formation that they are so fond of. The 1,500 c.c. class was a Lancia benefit, the winner averaging 71 m.p.h. as against the Alfa’s 87 m.p.h. and the B.M.W.’s 84 m.p.h. Both the 1,100 c.c. and 750 c.c. classes went to Fiats, Rossi’s 1,100 c.c. car actually averaging 74 m.p.h. and thus handsomely
beating the bigger Lancia. As for Baravelli’s 63 m.p.h. on a Fiat “mouse,” one stands amazed at such stamina over a distance of 980 miles.
RESULTS Fleetest Time : 1. E. Borato (21-litre Alfa-Romeo), 1,500
1. E. Borato (21-litre Alfa-Romeo), kms. in 10h. 37m. 19s. Speed 87.86 m.p.h.
Over 2,000 0.0.
1. Borato (Alfa-Romeo), 10h. 37m. 19s. Speed 87.86 m.p.h.
2. Biondetti (Alfa-Romeo), 10h. 37m. 408.
1. Briem (B.M.W.), 1011. 43m. 10s. Speed 84.04 m.p.h.
2. Prince Schaumberg-Lippe (B.M.W.) 11h. lm. lie.
3. Heinemann (B.M.W.), 11h. 2m. 458.
1. Leoncini (Lancia), 13h. 2m. 52s., speed 71.5 m.p.h.
2. Bellneci (Lancia), 13h. 9m. 22s.
3. Spoletini (Lancia).
1. Rossi (Fiat), 1211. 32m. Os., speed 74.49 m.p.h.
760 c.c. 1. Bamvelli (Fiat), 14h. 36m. 408., speed 63.85 in