THE GRAND PRIX REVIVAL
Thirty-Seven Entries for the Race at Pau
HE first men who ran motor races back in the Nineteenth Century did so with only one object in view-to show the world that automobiles really could go.
Prance at the time was so pre-erament in the motor world that all the races were run in France, or at any rate by Frenchmen, and it was not until 1899 when Mr. Winton, with a certain optimism characteristic of the West, told M. Charron that American cars were better than French, that nationalism entered into the question. The result of the ensuing argument, is everyone knows, was that the Gordon Bennett Cup was presented to be competed for by nations. France won, as was to be expected, in 1900 and 1901, and then, to the horror of the French, S. F. Edge won the cup for England in 1902, and Jeriatzy took it from Ireland to Germany in 1903. France thereupon made a great effort, and the famous Thery not only captured the cup in Germany in 1904, but confirmed his victory by winning again in France in 1905. The French, however, were determined thereafter that the disasters of 1902 and 1903 were not to be repeated, and finally the Grand Prix was started and took the place of the Gordon Bennett race. Thus, in spite of the efforts of organisers of other events to persuade us to the contrary, we have always known that the Grand Prix was the great race of the year, and that all other events were of secondary importance.
Of late years, however, the great event has fallen into a sorry plight. Since the race at Lyon in 1924, there has been no contest worthy to rank with those that provided the occasion of the great victories of Szitz, Nazzaro, Lautenschlager, Georges Boillot, Murphy, Segrave and Campari ; but this year it looks as if some of the glamour of the past is to be recaptured. On 21st of the month the 1930 Grand Prix is to be run at Pau, over a triangular road circuit of traditional type, and when entries closed on 7th. August no fewer than 37 cars were put down to run, the list being : 1, Michel Dore (Bugatti) ; 2, Etancelin (Bugatti) ; 3, ‘Lehoux (Bugatti) ; 4, Gaupillat (Bugatti) ; 5, De l’Espee (Bugatti) ; 6, Charavel (Bugatti) ; 7, Max Fourny (Bugatti) ; 8, Zanelli (Bugatti) ; 9, Czaikonski (Bugatti) ; 10, Wimille (Bugatti) ; 11, Arthez (Bugatti) ; 12, Sainto (Bugatti) ; 13, Pontet (Bugatti) ; 14, Gaston (Bugatti) ; 15, De Maleplane (Bugatti) ; 16, Bouriano (Bugatti) ; 17, Eddoura (Bugatti) ; 18, Rodansk3r (Bugatti) ; 19, Grimaldi (Bugatti) ; 20, Dreyfus (Bugatti) ; 21, Lurnachi (Bugatti) ; 22, Lenart (Bugatti); 23, Delaroche (Bugatti) ; 24, ” X ” (Bugatti) ; 25, Elbert Stapp (Duesenberg) ; 26, Jean Poniato (Alphi) ; 27, Laly (Aries) ; 28, Casali (la Perle) ; 29, Duray (-) 30, Scarron (Amilcar) ; 31, Henry (Peugeot) ; 32, (-H (Peugeot) ; 33, Robert Senechal (Delage) ; 34, Lepicard
( ) ; 35, H. R. S. Birkin (Bentley) ; 36, Montier Senior (-) ; 37, Montier Junior (-). Thus, of the 37 entries no fewer than 24 are Bugattis, perhaps the most curious feature which the Grand Prix has ever experienced. The rules of the race make it a
free-for-all event, although there are prizes in the various capacity classes, and the Bugattis are likely therefore to be of various types. The entrant who styles himself “X,” and who is going to drive a Bugatti, is popularly believed to be Chiron, who may drive the big 16-cylinder Bugatti with which he recently lowered the record for the Klausen Hill Climb. If this proves to be the case, he will probably have a very good chance of victory ; but if his car should fail, there are a host of the other famous ” Bugattisti,” including Dreyfus, Etancelin, Lehoux; Charavel, Zanelli, Dore and Fourny.
The sole English representative is H. R. S. Birkin, who will drive a 44-litre supercharged Bentley. It will be particularly interesting to see the performance of one of these cars in racing trim on the road, and on the combined data of its capabilities at Brooklands and with touring equipment at le Mans and elsewhere, this car should have a very good chance if it can stand the pace without any team-mates to back it up. Another solo runner of particular interest is the American machineElbert Stapp’s Duesenberg track-racer. Among the French cars one cannot but be impressed by the presence of two Peugeots, entered by M. Henry, who is the technical head of the Peugeot concern, and
these cars may therefore be regarded as a factory entry. In view of the many years during which this marque was the great champion of France, its participation in the race will be of real interest. The type of car which
will be used is something of a mystery. In many of the post-war Florio races the firm has used 44-litre standard type cuff-valve engines in pre-war 3-litre racing chassis, and it is possible that these machines, brought up to date, will be used in the Grand Prix. The 24-litre machines which have been run in recent fuel-consumption events are probably not fast enough for a free-for-all race, but it is just possible that the cars are entirely new, perhaps built to the requirements of the rules for the 1931 Grand Prix.
Robert Senechal has acquired one of the 1927 1,500 c.c. straight-eight Delages, which he may be expected to drive in the race with his usual verve, while Montier father and son will probably drive their converted Fords, which are quite remarkably speedy. Arthur Duray represents the veteran among the drivers, but he has not yet announced what car he will drive, while his usual team-mate Laly will run an Aries, either a 3-litre car or perhaps Duray’s famous little 1,100 c.c. racer of 1926 vintage. Among the smaller cars, Scarron’s Amilcar and Casali’s la Perle have performed with great regularity in recent events, but Jean Poniato’s Alphi is something of a dark horse. The entry list is completed by Lepicard.
At any rate, the race, which is to be run over a triangular circuit, with two very fast legs and the third of sinuous character, is assured of considerable success, and we are confirmed in our belief that the days of the real ‘racing car are by no means numbered.