The Nurburgring Sports Car Race

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In addition to the Grand Prix a race was held for sports cars up to 1,500 c.c., and being under the rather apt German title of a race for racing-sports car it meant that it was rather a nice 1 1/2-litre free-for-all. Four open Porsches were running, all with the twin-cam engines and driven by Hermann, Polensky, Frankenberg and Hanstein. In direct, opposition were the Borgwards of Hartmann and Bechem, while the very sleek E.M.W. cars that were at the Eifelrennen earlier in the year were also present. After their victory at Silverstone the streamlined Lotus cars were most welcome at the Nurburgring and a team of three were running, comprising Chapman, Allen and Margulies, though in the event the second car was driven by Bauer, who had gone so well at the first Nurburgring event for the Lotus. There were numerous home-built Porsche Specials, and two Oscas, one driven by Seidel and the other a brand new 1,500-c.c. model, with the eight-plug cylinder head, just delivered to de Portago, the new Spanish driver.

Practice for the sports cars was intermingled with that of the Grand Prix cars, so that they suffered from the same weather conditions. However, Saturday allowed Barth, with one of the E.M.W.s, to shake everyone rigid by recording a lap of 10 min. 44.6 sec., and even the Porsche drivers had no hope of improving on this. Hermann did 10 mm. 53.5 and Frankenberg 10 min. 53.8 sec., while sixth fastest was de Portago, showing great form for his first visit to the Nurburgring. At the Eifelrennen the E.M.W. cars had shown good possibilities, as recorded in Motor Sport at the time, and since then they had obviously found more power, the only major change being the fitting of three double-choke Weber carburetters in place of the six motor-cycle type. Running on an 8.3 : 1 compression the E.M.W. people were claiming 120 b.h.p. for this 1 1/2-litre twin-cam six-cylinder engine and, as Porsches were claiming 110 b.h.p. for their 1 1/2-litre engine last year, it is likely that the E.M.W. figure is not far off. Unlike most of its contemporaries it does not have an oversquare bore/stroke ratio, being 66 mm. by 73, mm., and yet it happily runs up to 8,000 r.p.m. without distress.

The race was run over seven laps, giving a distance of 159.670 kilotuctres and right from the start Hermann shot off into the lead, for it would seem that on Porsches there is no one to touch him. Surprise of the race, however, was de Portago who kept in third place only a few yards behind Hanstein, and well ahead of the other works Porsches, the Borgwards and the E.M.Ws. Barth’s car never got into its practice stride and it rather looked as though the very fast lap had taken the edge off the engine. The three Lotus were never in the picture, for Chapman’s car broke its de Dion tube on the first lap, Bauer pulled his gear-lever out by the roots and Margulies suffered from a troublesome carburetter which produced a weak mixture and caused the engine to overheat and boil so that he only managed to struggle round for three laps. On the fourth tap Frankenberg and Polensky caught up with de Portago and, in trying to deal with these two and Hanstein, the Spaniard overdid things and turned the Osca over, but without hurting himself. The race now became a Porsche benefit, with Hermann way ahead of the rest, and in the order Hermann, Frankenberg, Polensky and Hanstein they completed a triumphant revenge for the defeat they suffered at Silverstone. Bechem arrived fifth with one of the Borgwards and Barth sixth with the E.M.W., but neither of them was within sight of the Porsches.

Nurburg Notes

While everyone was crowded into the paddock, suffering from hundreds of lookers-on getting in the way, during practice, Mercédès-Benz were nicely organised in a private place just outside Nurburg village.

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One wonders just how much misfortune Moss can stand with his racing, though this year Hawthorn has been running him a close second for mean strokes of fate.

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It would seem that there is a great difference between the Maserati engine that will run up to 8,200 r.p.m. and the ones, sold to the customers, that fall apart above 7,400 r.p.m., and looking at the valve-lift on the “good” ones it’s easy to see why one bungled gearchange can wreck the engine.

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Of the twenty drivers in the German Grand Prix this year only one was competing in pre-war German Grand Prix events, that being Hermann Lang; while Bira was the only other driver to have been really active in motor-racing in pre-war days.

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The MerécèS-Benz engines would now appear to be running regularly to over 9,000 r.p.m. without showing signs of suffering; in fact, all the four cars in the race showed a remarkable reliability of engine.

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