MATTERS OF MOMENT
• GRAND PRIX FINALE
By the time this issue of MOTOR SPORT sees the bookstalls, the Fl Drivers’ World Championship will have been decided, the excitement having been sustained right up to the last Grand Prix race of the season, at Las Vegas, which will receive our full reporting-treatment in the November issue. Interest has been built up as to the outcome of this Championship by the BBC in its much-appreciated coverage of all the Fl races and in many sections of the printed media.
The fact that there is a fresh Champion racing-driver every year detracts, in our view, from the impact this Championship would possess if a previous top-driver target had to be beaten before mother was declared, as in boxing. For us, each Grand Prix should be looked upon as a race to win, not as a Championship-points’ gamble, so we were gratified that the Italian Grand Prix was one by a Renault, followed home by two Ferraris, both being makes which can be seen in the showrooms and bought, in road-going forms, by ordinary mortals, Renault even offering some turbo-charged models, starting at £5,752. The least-costly road-burning Ferrari is priced at £21,810 but at least if the lolly is available you can buy one.
If Fl racing is to be simply a contest of driving-drill, ability, and bravery all that is necessary would be for Bernie Ecclestone to provide a similar car for every driver, set each one up in the same way, and just let the Fl contenders loose in *em. However, that is absolutely against the concept of Grand Prix motor-racirtg and it would be as well to remind some people that so far this season (writing before the Las Vegas race) McLaren has won four Fl races, Brabham, Ferrari three each, Lotus and Williams one each, but with Ferrari leading the Constructors’ World Championship. Lotus too, is “in the catalogue”, for those with at least 03,979 to spend.
The drivers count as much as the cars, of course, as they always have, as S. C. H. Davis once wrote, “. . .1 feel that the future will be every bit as good as the past . . . that new drivers will make their names as familiar and as honoured in the game as have the great veterans of the past — Chevalier De Knyff, Charron, Giradot, Count Zborowski, Jarrott, Jenatry, Fournier, Farman, De Caters, Gabriel, Levegh, Edge, inseparably connected with the long races over the dusty, ungraded, Continental roads, just as the names of Nazzaro, Thery, Szisz, Lautenschlager, Bruce-Brown, Georges Boillot, Bab., Gnus, Bordino, Re. Thomas, Chassagne, Kenelm Lee Guinness, Resta, Sir Algernon Guinness, Bt., Minoia, Dice, Benoist, Ascari, Hancock, Campari, and Sir Henry Segrave hones inseparably, connected with the great battles on the closed circuits of another form of racing. Just as, in fact, Barnato, Caracciok, Kidston, Vain, Nuvolari, Benjafield, Ivanowksi, Dunfee, Eyston, Chiron, Cobb, Cushman, Clement, Earl Howe, Sir Malcolm Campbell, Sir Henry Birkin, Bt., the Hon. Brian Lewis and Ramponi, to quote a few, will always be remembered with the type of race most popular today” (Sammy was writing on 19321.
Just as, of course, Fangio, Moss, the younger Ascari, Farina, Hawthorn, Collins, Brabham, Graham Hill, Phil Hill, Brooks, Clark, McLaren, Stewart, Rind, Petersen, Fittipaldi, Jones, Scheckter, Reutemann and others were after the war, and as Piquet, L,auda, Watson, Pironi, Patrese, Tambay, Front, Arnoux, Rosberg, etc. have been doing this year.
But Grand Prix motor-racing is about motor-cars also. Isis as well to remember this, in the face of Media hysteria over the annual World Drivers’ Championship. . . .
111 Show Time as the of the Fl season fell
Just as the finak of the Fl racing season fell on a bad date for MOTOR SPORT, so that you will have to wait until the November issue for a report, so the 1982 Birmingham International Motor Show, which runs from October 22nd to 31st, will strain the November printing deadlines. Indeed, we are in much the same position as the proverbial inebriated Scot at the top of the long flight of steep steps that leads down from Princes Street to Waverley Station who, clinging to the handrail, was heard to observe “What a terrible predicament. If I let go I’ll fall down and if I hold on I’ll miss ma’ train. . . .”
Our predicament is that the Show opens too late for a full account of it to be published next month and that by December it will be stale news. However, as is customary, new high-performance cars of which details are available will be mentioned in MOTOR SPORT next month without, it is hoped, having to include up-dated versions of all those little Euroboxes and Japoboxes that now clutter up our roads. And we shall hope, unless the TUC has by then called a permanent General Strike to get a “Stop-Press” Show story into the November MOTOR SPORT. The Editor takes some comfort from the situation we anew, because brie of the opinion that static exhibits on motor-show stands look pathetic, compared to cars in their natural habitat, which is on the open road or in the hills and mountains. However, this SMMT Motor Show is a very important occasion, a great International shop-window for the Motor Industry and its Component and Accessory Manufacturers, and at the Great Exhibition hall outside the industrial City of Birmingham these. along with the fine commercial vehicles and the garage-equipment, can be set out far better than was formerly the case, in the cramped quarters of Earls Court and Olympia — where, as a keenly critical but excited schoolboy, W.B. used to make straight for the Trojan stand, not to inspect these queer but loveable two-cylinder, two-stroke, solid-tyred utility cars, but to collect a “Trojan carrier-bag,” in which to collect the more-freely-distributed and more beautiful catalogues of those times — presumably a Trojan brochure had already been deposited therein. Another big advantage of having this International Motor Exhbition in the Midlands lies in the easy approaches to it, and the excellent car-parking facilities provided, in sharp contrast to London, where Earls C,oun was a time of nightmare for Show visitors, whether they went there to contemplate the purchase of a new caner as part of the “Show-b.”, because of the lack of anywhere to leave a car, which caused this to be dubbed the Motor Show for non-motorists. It is different at Birmingham, which deserves to attract a record number of visitors and to see good business done. In the latter respect, it would be nice if the new pride in Great Britain. fostered by our successful conclusion of the Falklands War, were to be reflectrd in better sales of British cars. a strong “Buy British” campaign, with which to
stem the flow of Japanese and other imports. One can be sure that, from Rolls-Royce and Jaguar downwards, this will be the aim of British Industry. Certainly the allure of the former make continues, to judge by a report in The Times that a Bentley Mulsanne Turbo was sold recently in Hong Kong for the equivalent of t120,000.
So by all means visit the 1982 Motor Show, even if this involves those who live in the heart of London in a terrible crawl out of the Metropolis before reaching the MI, for surely London now has the slowest-moving traffic of any major city in the World, as those who make their daily homeward way out towards the M40 must surely endorse? Among the new cars which should be on view in Birmingham will be Ford’s replacement.. for its best-selling Cortina, a car retaining rear-wheel chine in the face of a wave of f.w.d. rivals. In view of the coming seat-belt compulsion we imagine that the model-girls and topless beauties in the cars on show will all be wearing seat-belts, as a reminder of just how dangerous motor cars are, seen from the Government’s viewpoint, suggesting, perhaps, that it would he prudent to spend your money on something less lethal. like a sauna-bath or a fall-out shelter.
• BROOKLANDS’ FUTURE There is little to since rho announcement
There is little to report since rho announcement by the Brooklands Society and Brooklands Track Ltd. last August, about their hopes for gaining permanent access to the “Forty Acres”, since
somewhat attenuated, of the old Brooldands Motor Course. Except that we ransom reveal that the new owners of this part of the Track will be Gallaher, whose B & H Special Filter is the best-selling UK cigarette, against which Imperial Tobacco is said to be launching a £22-millio advertising campaign. Gallaher has electronic as well as tot.uc interests and apparently intends to erect executiv and business buildings on the Members’ Hill. S much desecration of the old Brooklands estate ha taken place since 1939 that the view could b taken that a few more buildings will not matte, One supposes that they might be less distressin than the destruction of historic heirlooms as whe Bass Charrrington destroyed the whole of the lin of old workshops on the Byfleet side of the estate including Parry Thomas’ famous racing-car depa and his bungalow home “The Hermitage”. Ye now, only 4 years after this unfortunat. mutilation, Bass Charrington are closing thom modern premises and leaving Brooklands. Sod are the mysterious ways of Big Business. • • • Even more disturbing for those to whom Brcioklands will always be hallowed land, is.th suggestion that Gallahcr’s will need to put in new entrance road, spanning what is left of the olo Member’s banking. Presumably use of the “foci entrance” from the Brooklands Road is debate, btorictkhedem-upbytuBnrnietils.h . Awehro:hpapceu..Bicutngifittoki wet: leading to the housing estate which has its road named after famous Brooklands drivers an’ personalities is already linked. could b. re-opened, there might be no need for costly zni
unsightly new access road over the banking, although whether the old Members’ bridge itself could be reinstated and linked to the public road, is less certain. Some attempt should be made to try and ensure that what remains historic within the confines of the “Forty Acres” is not further obliterated.
Veteran Edwardian vintage, May 1967
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