Maserati Try-Out at Monza

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At the end of the practising period for the Italian Grand Prix a number of drivers were allowed to try the spare Maserati for a few laps, and immediately other drivers began to take notice. On the Monday after the race the queue for accepting the invitation was quite long. While all the rest of the equipe had returned to Modena, the car that Mantovani and Musso had driven into seventh place in the Grand Prix was left behind, with a lone mechanic to look after it. Lugo, the team chief, got various “foreign” drivers to sign a blood-chit and then let them take the car round for five laps. With braking-point marker boards removed and various hazards around the track, such as straw bales and workmen, times did not mean anything, but the line of drivers who just wanted to “see what it was like” included Wharton, Salvadori, Rosier, Schell, Trintignant, Claes, Fitch and an unknown gentleman who seemed the only likely one to be in a position to purchase the car. As the car had completed 80 laps the day before, drivers were asked to respect a rev.-limit of 8,000 r.p.m.; in the race it had been taken to well over 9,000 r.p.m.

Changing into top along the finishing-straight, at 8,000 in third gear brought everyone to the beginning of the line of pits as they changed, whereas in the race Mantovani had gone well past the pits before changing into top. Altogether the car covered 104 laps in the hands of the various drivers and during that time it never missed a single beat, nor had it done during its 80 laps the day before. By the end of the day it had become rather dirty, a certain amount of play had developed in the steering-box, the rear suspension had begun to wear, causing some instability, and one front brake was showing a tendency to snatch on. The shock-absorbers and springing were still functioning perfectly, the plugs were looking extremely comfortable, and the brakes were only adjusted once. Before Trintignant put in 10 serious laps to complete the day the mechanic had a quick look round all the possible weak points in the car and could find nothing wrong. It was certainly an impressive demonstration of the reliability of the A6G Maserati, and if the impression was gained that Lugo was viewing Trintignant as a possible member of the 1951 Maserati team, then I hope it was a correct one. — D.S.J.

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