Motor Racing Variety
Silverstone, September 14th
Under normal circumstances the Daily Express sponsored meeting at Silverstone is held in May, but this year the petrol rationing frightened the organisers into postponing their race meeting until a suitable date could be found. This turned out to be the day scheduled for the R.A.C. Tourist Trophy, which seems fated not to happen regularly, and in consequence the International Trophy meeting took place just six days after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. At the best of times this Silverstone meeting never has a very terrific Formula 1 entry, invariably clashing with the Naples Grand Prix, so that the Italian teams usually divide their forces, but this year, being sandwiched between the races at Monza and Modena, neither of the Italian Formula 1 teams was interested in attending. In addition Vandervell felt that his team had worked hard enough winning Pescara and Monza and decided to give the Silverstone meeting a miss, especially as it did not count for anything very much Internationally. Added to this was the fact that Formula II cars were to run concurrently with the Formula 1 cars, and while this is all right on a long circuit like Nurburgring, round the Silverstone airfield it was cramping things a bit. All that was left was B.R.M. as they gave Monza a miss, so had plenty of time to prepare for Silverstone, and they did an excellent job, entering three cars driven by Behra, Schell and Flockhart.
As always happens at this meeting there are numerous short sprint-type races, with the Formula 1 event for the International Trophy as the main event of the day. This year the entry was divided into two separate heats, everyone finishing in his heat going into the Final, with the starting grid for the Final being decided on heat speeds. The starting grids for the heats were established on practice times, so that what it boiled down to was two lots of extra practice in the form of the heats and the race proper over 35 laps or 105 miles, each heat being only 15 laps.
The first heat showed promise of an interesting scrap for Brooks was driving R. R. C. Walker’s Cooper with 2-litre Climax engine, in practice he had beaten Behra (B.R.M.), Flockhart (B.R.M.) and Gregory (Maserati Centro-Sud). Also in this heat were Halford and Gould with Maseratis, the former now driving his own car again, not the borrowed one he had at Monza, Gerard with his rear-engined Cooper-Bristol, Salvadori, Marsh, Ireland, Leston, Naylor, Cunningham-Reid, Burgess and Moore with Formula II Coopers and Allison with a Formula II Lotus, all these cars having Climax engines. Scott-Brown with the new Lister was a non-starter, as it had suffered from oiling troubles in practice. At the very fall of the flag this heat turned into a dull procession, for Brooks stripped the crown-wheel and pinion as he shot off the line and Behra had no trouble in taking the lead and setting his own pace. The B.R.M. was running extremely well, and just as at Caen, Behra drove it hard enough to keep a comfortable lead and finish the race, without breaking the car or overstressing it. With Behra leading and Flockhart a comfortable second, the only interest lay in the way some of the Formula II cars were comparing with the private owners on Maseratis. Gregory was in a steady third place and showed no likelihood of doing anything except staying there, but Salvadori was leading both Gould and Halford on the Maseratis, while Ireland had his Cooper between them for a while. The lonely Lotus single-seater driven by Allison had stalled on the line as the fuel pump is driven from the rear axle and does not work when the car is stationary. There is an overriding hand operation for the pump but it did not keep the carburetters full and the engine stalled just before the flag fell. As a result Allison was a long way back to start with, but the Lotus soon showed its paces and he romped through the field almost catching up with the Maseratis, but he must have stretched things a bit for on lap 10 there was an almighty bang as he approached Copse Corner and he came to rest with steam coming out of the exhaust pipe and oil and water pouring out of the carburetters. At this point he had been leading the Formula II cars for Salvadori had stopped at the pits with a loss of power and though he continued to finish, albeit slowly, it was not until afterwards that the trouble was traced to a blocked main-jet. All this trouble among the Formula II cars left the first five places occupied by Formula 1 cars, followed home by Ireland, Marsh and Leston, all on Coopers. Marsh had been having a stirring scrap with Naylor until the latter retired with a broken half-shaft. In spite of having things all his own way Behra set up a new lap record in 1 min. 42 sec. before settling down to tour home the winner of heat one. Due to their troubles Brooks and Allison were eliminated from the Final, or would have been but for a crafty move during heat two, of which more anon.
Heat 1 — 15 Laps — 72.5 Kilometres
1st: J. Behra (B.R.M.) 25 min. 58.8 sec. — 163.19 k.p.h.
2nd: R. Flockhart (B.R.M.) 26 min. 46.2 sec.
3rd: M. Gregory (Maserati) 26 min. 50.2 sec.
4th: H. Gould (Maserati) 27 min. 31.6 sec.
5th: B. Halford (Maserati) 27 min. 35.6 sec.
6th: I. Ireland (Cooper F II) 1 lap behind
In heat two the third B.R.M. was making its appearance, driven by Schell, and the only opposition he had, apart from Formula II cars, was from the Maseratis of Bonnier and Bueb, the Swedish driver on the second Centro-Sud car and the British driver on Syd Greene’s elderly car. At the last minute, however, fresh hope arose for Brabham took over the works Cooper with 2-litre Climax engine, not 2¼-litre as stated in the programme. Brabham was the outstanding driver of heat two, for while Schell drove a careful and just-fast-enough-to-win race, without stressing the car, Brabham really diced with Bonnier for second place, the cheeky little Cooper getting ahead on the third lap and fighting every inch of the way for the rest of the race, to arrive in second place. Bonnier was getting more and more indignant, for the Maserati was so much better on acceleration, but there was nowhere to attain high speed and the Cooper sailed into the corners at impossible speeds and only because Brabham worked like mad did it get round, but he did it on every corner. While Brabham was embarrassing Bonnier, a similar thing was happening further back, for Wicken was keeping up with Bueb on the Gilby Maserati, the little rear-engined car being so much faster round the corners. Behind all this there were some alarms and excursions, for on the second lap de Tomaso was crowded into the retaining wall on the inside of Copse Corner and his desmodromic-valve Formula II Osca looped-the-loop and deposited him unhurt on his backside, the car being very badly bent. Fairman was driving R. R. C. Walker’s Formula II Cooper, and going quite well, when he was flagged in and Brooks took over, working his way up to sixth place and thus getting into the Final. What Cooper could do Lotus could do just as easily so one of the team Lotus single-seaters, driven by Henry Taylor, was called in and Allison took over, he finishing seventh and also qualifying for the Final. Other single-seater Lotus cars were driven by Hall, who retired after only two laps, and Dennis Taylor, no relation to Henry, who finished behind Graham Hill who was driving the works Formula II Cooper vacated by Brabham in favour of the 2-litre car.
Among the retirements were the old four-cylinder Ferrari of Marc Rosier with low oil pressure and Richardson’s new R.R.A. Special with 2.4 Jaguar engine in the single-seater Aston Martin DB3S chassis that Parnell took to Australia.
It was quite obvious that the B.R.M.s were going to have a field day, for there was no one to oppose them, and being driven conservatively they all three ran without a faulter and gave an excellent demonstration.
Heat 2 — 15 Laps — 72.5 Kilometres
1st: H. Schell (B.R.M.) 26 min. 58.0 sec. — 157.20 k.p.h.
2nd: J. Brabham (Cooper 2-litre) 27 min. 0.5 sec.
3rd: J. Bonnier (Maserati) 27 min. 08.0 sec.
4th: I. Bueb (Maserati) 27 min. 58.0 sec.
5th: B. Halford (Maserati) 27 min. 35.6 sec.
6th: J. Fairman/C. A. S. Brooks (Cooper F II) 28 min. 07.0 sec.
The front row of the Final saw Behra, Flockhart, Gregory and Schell in that order, followed by Brabham, Bonnier and Gould, the rest of the heat finishers following on. As Flockhart could not catch Behra in the heat, and Schell had not approached the Frenchman’s times the result was foregone, the only possible snag being any mechanical troubles that might arise. So leisurely were the cars being driven that trouble seemed unlikely, and so it proved, as the three B.R.M.s gave a demonstration run over 35 laps, in the order Behra, Schell and Flockhart, their race numbers being the tidy sequence of 6, 7 and 8. For a few laps Behra equalled the old lap record of 1 min. 43 sec. set up at the beginning of 1956 by the Vanwall, so it could be seen that he was not trying very hard, for his best heat of 1 min. 42 sec. was only 1 sec. improvement over two seasons of racing which is not the normal rate of progress one expects. However, he was wise in not going unnecessarily fast, and he gave a smooth display of driving to lead the Bourne cars home in a victorious 1-2-3. Once again Brabham was the high-light, keeping his little Cooper between the two Centro-Sud Maseratis, and actually leading both of them for a few laps. Eventually this spirited dicing came to an end for oil began to appear from ominous places and he withdrew before there was a big bang. The Formula II cars saw Salvadori, Allison and Brooks in that order have a close battle, but then the leading Cooper began to lose its brakes and Allison went ahead, while Brooks retired with suspected valve trouble. This bout of Formula II trouble let Gould and Halford up into seventh and eighth places, behind Allison in the Lotus that was comfortably in sixth place overall, and miles ahead of the next Formula II car which was the slowing Salvadori, while Wicken was the next 1½-litre runner. On lap 31 Allison was trying to take things easy and in consequence he relaxed his concentration and hit a marker drum, bending a wheel and coming to rest out of the race and loser of a certain sixth place overall. Behra’s steady progress gradually saw him lap most of the other runners, so that at the end of this triumphal tour only his team-mates and Bonnier were on the same lap. All three B.R.M.s ran perfectly throughout the heats and the Final, and though they did not lap fantastically fast they showed good reliability and chalked up a second win for Bourne this year, as well as yet another win for British G.P. cars, thus putting more nails in the coffin of Italian supremacy in Grand Prix racing.
International Trophy — Final — 35 Laps — 169 Kilometres — Dull and Overcast
1st: J. Behra (B.R.M.) 1 hr. 1 min. 30 sec. — 160.85 k.p.h.
2nd: H. Scell (B.R.M.) 1 hr. 3 min. 00 sec.
3rd: R. Flockhart (B.R.M.) 1 hr. 3 min. 06 sec.
4th: J. Bonnier (Maserati) 1 hr. 3 min. 07 sec.
5th: M. Gregory (Maserati) 1 lap behind
6th: H. Gould (Maserati) 1 lap behind
Besides the International Trophy Race there were various supporting races, rendering this an All Formule meeting.
The first race was the up-to-1,500-c.c. Sports-Car Race, over 15 laps. Allison in a team Lotus with twin-cam Climax engine led from the start, pursued by Scott-Brown in the Elva-Butterworth and Innes Ireland using much road and sometimes the grass in his 1,100 Cooper-Climax. On the opening lap Raby spun the 1,100 Elva at Copse, involving Tomaso’s desmodromic Osca, while McMillan’s Lotus, a Climax engine substituted for its Stunguellini power unit, took evading action on the grass outside them. The two who had spun continued, the Osca showing signs of the impact, but after Raby had spun again the observers took action and he was flagged in, the driver or the car being considered dangerous. McMillan was likewise called in.
The Elva-Butterworth retired with a broken valve — Butterworth will have difficulty living this down but, in fact, it was an exhaust valve and not a Butterworth flap valve which dropped. Allison seemed to have the race buttoned up, but dirt in the fuel caused him to stop, putting Hall’s Lotus in the lead, followed by Bueb’s Lotus — two “1,100s” at the head of the field, with Flockhart in Coombs’ twin-cam Lotus in third place, closing up. After five laps Flockhart was second and after eight laps he was in the lead. Three laps from the finish Stacey’s 1,100 Lotus displaced Bueb in third place, passing on the inside at Copse, but on the last lap Bueb repassed the team-Lotus car. Dickson’s Lotus broke an oil pipe, H. Taylor in Chapman’s Lotus lost time fastening his car’s bonnet when in fourth place and Ashdown, who lost time at the start, spun his Lotus at Copse, continuing unperturbed, where, a few laps later, Dalton’s Lotus stopped in mid-track. The 1,100s had virtually trounced the 1½-litre sports cars.
Bob Gerard tagged along at the back of the field in a Turner, and, stopping to inspect the rear suspension, covered only 12 laps.
1st: R. Flockhart (Loyus-Climax) 29 min. 04.0 sec. 90.63 m.p.h.
2nd: K. Hall (Lotus-Climax) 29 min. 16.2 sec. 89.99 m.p.h.
3rd: I. Bueb (Lotus-Climax) 29 min. 33.6 sec. 89.11 m.p.h.
1st: K. Hall (Lotus-Climax) 29 min. 16.2 sec. 89.99 m.p.h.
2nd: I. Bueb (Lotus-Climax) 29 min. 33.6 sec. 89.11 sec.
3rd: A. Stacey (Lotus-Climax) 29 min. 34.4 sec. 89.07 m.p.h.
1st: R. Flockhart (Lotus-Climax) 29 min. 04.0 sec. 90.63 m.p.h.
2nd: H. Taylor (Lotus-Climax) 29 min. 58.0 sec. 87.91 sec.
3rd: J. Fast (Osca) 31 min. 01.0 sec. 84.93 m.p.h.
The big-sports-car race over 15 laps, divided into up to and over 2,700-c.c. categories, promised excitement. Scott-Brown in the previously undefeated 3.8-litre Lister-Jaguar was opposed by four works Aston Martins, Lewis-Evans and Tony Brooks having DBR/1/300 cars, Brooks’ with wide-angle valves, and Salvadori and Cunningham-Reid the backbone-chassis 3.7-litre Spa DBR/2/370 models. Flockhart drove an Ecurie Ecosse 3.8-litre Jaguar, Duncan Hamilton a 3.8 Jaguar, Bueb a 3.4 Jaguar, Blond an H.W.M.-Jaguar, amongst an exciting line-up for the Le Mans-style start — which we consider inadvisable in any race of less than an hour’s duration. Salvadori led away when the flag fell but Scott-Brown was right up on him, snatching the lead by Stowe, but only momentarily. Archie was throwing the Lister about with his usual happy abandon and on the fourth lap he led Salvadori, with the Aston Martins of Brooks and Reid running close-spaced in third and fourth positions. This order held to the finish, because Archie could do nothing about Salvadori and the 3.7 Aston Martin. On lap 10 Reid got the other 3.7 past Brooks’ DBR, but only momentarily until, on the last lap, he passed Brooks to lead him over the line by one second. The gap between Salvadori and Scott-Brown was also given as a second and Aston Martin took the team prize. Lewis-Evans was not so versed in handling a David Brown car, and was placed sixth, beaten by Naylor’s remarkable 2-litre Lotus-Maserati. Hill spent much of the race spinning the Tojeiro-Jaguar before retiring with suspension trouble, Gammon’s Tojeiro-Jaguar lost oil pressure and Duncan Hamilton retired with front-end damage. Back in the field Moore’s Lister-Maserati just held off Campbell-Blair’s Lotus-Bristol and Brabham, in Whitehead’s Aston Martin, went round as if touring Masten Gregory’sV12 Ferrari. The gap was very small, but the official timekeepers only timed to the nearest second !
The closing stages of the race were rendered exciting because Mairesse in the yellow Equipe Nationale Belge Ferrari had shaken out of a sandwich between Lewis-Evans and Naylor and at the end beat the Aston Martin by 4 sec.
1st: R. Salvadori (Aston Martin) 27 min. 25 sec. 96.08 m.p.h.
2nd: A Scott-Brown (Lister-Jaguar) 27 min. 27 sec. 95.96 m.p.h.
3rd: N. Cunningham-Reid (Aston Martin) 27 min. 44 sec. 95.00 m.p.h.
Up to 2,700c.c.:
1st: B. Naylor (Lotus-Maserati) 28 min. 57 sec. 91.00 m.p.h.
2nd: A. Moore (Lister-Maserati) 14 laps 85.02 m.ph.
3rd: N. Campbell-Blair (Lotus-Bristol) 14 laps 84.98 m.p.h.
As light entertainment, and a race the results of which are instructive to the car-buying public, the Daily Express put on the usual Production Touring Car Race, in four classes, over 15 laps, the amount of modification permissible being somewhat controlled this year. Hawthorn’s 3.4 Jaguar led Scott-Brown’s sister car until Archie retired after five laps with brake trouble — but not before both drivers had set a new touring-car Class C lap record of 84.3 m.p.h. Hamilton now took second place, leading Bueb, the Jaguars taking the Team Prize. Behind the leading Jaguar trio Grace was putting up a splendid show in his Riley Pathfinder, which had a big pipe protruding from under the engine to feed in cool air. He led Flockhart’s 2.4 Jaguar and Jack Sears’ Austin 105, thereby confirming our regret that the old twin-high-camshaft Riley engine has been forsaken by B.M.C. There were the usual cars paired off to fight duels, Scott’s Ford Zephyr finally getting the better of Harrison’s Zephyr, these Fords having short exhaust pipes. Dalton’s M.G. Magnette, more fortunate than Derrington’s, which had lost all its big-ends in practice, couldn’t shake off Sprinzel’s cheeky little Austin A35, while Wallwork’s Borgward TS75 was tailed by Reid’s D.K.W. and Wright’s Morris Minor 1000, Baldam’s Standard Ten and Bob Gerard’s A35 lapped in a bunch in that order. Two Wolseley 1,500s were running in their first big event, but one retired and the other, in company with various A35s, a Standard Ten, a Borgward, a Magnette and a very slow Renault-Dauphine were vanquished by the amazing little Michelin-shod A.F.N. 896-c.c. D.K.W. handled by Cuningham-Reid, who having driven a rear-engined rear-drive Cooper and front-engined rear-drive Aston Martin in earlier races, was now having a go in a front-engined front-drive car! Adler had an enormous accident at Club Corner, his Austin A105 hitting the wall after a slide and being reduced virtually to scrap.
Up to 1,100-c.c.:
1st: N. Cunningham-Reid (D.K.W.) 13 laps 70.00 m.p.h.
2nd: J. Sprinzel (Austin A35) 13 laps 89.35 m.p.h.
3rd: W. Wright (Morris Minor 1000) 13 laps 66.59 m.p.h.
1st: A. Foster (M.G. Magnette) 14 laps 72.24 m.p.h.
2nd: J. Waller (M.G. Magnette) 14 laps 72.17 m.p.h.
3rd: T. Bridger (Borgward TS75) 14 laps 72.10 m.p.h.
1st: G. H. Grace (Riley Pathfinder) 14 laps 76.23 m.p.h.
2nd: R. Flockhart (2.4 Jaguar) 14 laps 76.19 m.p.h.
3rd: J. Sears (Austin 105) 14 laps 75.80 m.p.h.
1st: J. M. Hawthorn (Jaguar) 32 min. 03 sec. 82.19 m.p.h.
2nd: D. Hamilton (Jaguar) 32 min. 14 sec. 81.73 m.p.h.
3rd: I. Bueb (Jaguar) 32 min. 53 sec. 80.11 m.p.h.
The long day’s racing concluded with a 500-c.c. race, again over 15 laps. Jim Russell’s works Cooper led the two opening laps but was passed by both Lewis-Evans in the Beart-tuned Cooper and Don Parker (Cooper). Six laps elapsed and Russell was in second place, but he couldn’t catch the versatile Lewis-Evans, who only a week earlier was the sensation of Monza with his fastest Vanwall practice lap. The race became a procession, except that on lap seven Boshier-Jones got the R. R. Jackson Cooper momentarily ahead of Russell’s and that two laps from the finish Leston won his duel for sixth place with Robinson. M. C. Brackenbury overturned his Cooper and was severely injured.
1st: S. Lewis-Evans (Beart-Cooper) 29 min. 47 sec. 88.45 m.p.h.
2nd: J. Russell (Cooper) 30 min. 04 sec. 87.61 m.p.h.
3rd: D. Parker (Cooper) 30 min. 06 sec. 87.52 m.p.h.