A Maserati Victory
Kristianstad, August, 11th.
Although the race in Sweden was entitled Grand Prix, it was for sports-cars and had the importance of counting towards the Manufacturers’ Championship. Held on the same narrow bumpy circuit as in previous years, the race differed only in that this year it was for a period of six hours, instead of 1,000 kilometres, it being felt that a time race would be more acceptable to the public. Of the big manufacturers only Maserati and Ferrari entered official teams, Jaguar fortunes being left in the hands of the Ecurie Ecosse and the Equipe National Belge, while not a single Aston Martin was to be seen. In the under 2-litre category Team Lotus entered two cars and for the rest the entries were from private owners.
There were two practice periods, on the Friday and Saturday before the race, and these were spent watching all the drivers of each equipe trying all the cars, and team managers trying to decide who should drive what, while drivers expressed likes and dislikes for various models. The Scuderia Maserati had two 4.5-litre cars, both with open bodywork, one having normal transmission and the other having the two-speed gearbox behind the clutch in addition to the normal five-speed rear-mounted gearbox. As well as these two cars they also had a 3-litre 300S, with modified large diameter exhaust system, and using the 4.5-litre-type front brakes. As drivers for these cars Ugolini had the choice of Moss, Behra, Schell, Scarlatti, Godia and Bonnier, while in direct opposition the Scuderia Ferrari had the choice of Hawthorn, Collins, Musso, Hill, Trintignant, Gregory and Seidel. The Ferrari entry comprised two 4.1-litre cars, as run at Le Mans, the de Dion rear end special car with 3-litre Europa-type engine and gearbox, and the Testa Rosa beam rear-axle car with similar engine and gearbox, with the slotted front to the body, as appeared for Le Mans. These two cars are both experimental, the de Dion one first appearing for the 1,000-kilometre race at Nurburgring and the beam axle coil sprung car first appearing at Le Mans. Both engines are the production type of V12, with single camshaft to each bank of cylinders and rocker-operated valves, while due to having six double-choke Weber carburetters mounted in the vee of the engine the sparking plugs are relocated on the outside of the heads, above the exhaust pipes. On both cars the four-speed gearbox is integral with the engine, as on the production Europa. For the Swedish race the “Nurburgring Special” used a 3.1-litre engine, and the “Le Mans Special” had a 2.9-litre engine. The Ecurie Ecosse had two Jaguars entered, one the 3.8-litre fuel-injection car and the other a normal 3.5-litre D-type, with drivers Fairman, Lawrence, Sanderson and Scott-Brown. The Equipe National Belge had their D-type running, driven by de Changy and Dubois, and their 3.5-litre V12 Ferrari driven by Mairesse and Ringoir, while there was a similar car owned by the American driver de Vroom with Swaters as co-driver. To complete the list of big cars were three old Monza Ferraris owned by Swedish drivers and running as a combined team. Unfortunately the one owned by Kvarnstrom, one of Sweden’s best drivers, was written off in practice by his inexperienced co-driver, so Kvarnstrom teamed up with Carlson on the latter’s car.
Amongst the small cars were five 1957 Testa Rosa Ferraris, two old Porsche Spyders, a new 200S Maserati and an old one, two 1,500-c.c. Oscas and three Lotus-Climax. Some of the drivers of these small cars were well known and some not so well known, the two Team Lotus cars being driven by Allison/Ireland and Ashdown/Stacy, the third single-cam Lotus being that of Frost with Anthony as co-driver.
The 4.5-litre Maseratis were going well in practice, though one of the cars had some trouble with the gear selectors and did not seem to handle as well as the second car; this first car being the Le Mans Coupe chassis fitted with a new open two-seater body. The 4.1-litre Ferraris were going very fast but in spite of large front brakes were not stopping well enough, while the “Le Mans Special” broke its gearbox when Gregory was out in it. The 3.8-litre Jaguar was thundering along well and it was decided that Scott-Brown would drive it as it fitted him better than the smaller-engined car.
With the circuit being on normal public roads the amenities were of a fairly sketchy nature, the pits being temporary wooden structures and most people were prepared to refuel with churns and funnels, as happened last year, and in view of the conflagrations that took place during the race last year, the fire brigade were very much on the job once more. The Scuderia Ferrari organised their own pressure-refuelling plant, pressurising the storage tank by means of an air bottle, but even so the arrangement looked decidedly dicey. Right up to the last minute the Ferrari and Maserati teams were undecided and those pairs that were quoted sounded most unlikely, so the only thing to do was to watch who got into what car. It was a Le Mans-type start, with the cars lined up in order of practice times, but this was rather futile for the times were quoted for the individual car and not the driver. However, the line of cars read 4.5 Maserati (with two-speed gear), 4.5 Maserati, 4.1 Ferrari, 4.1 Ferrari, 3.8 Jaguar, 3.5 Ferrari, 3.5 Ferrari, 3.5 Jaguar, 3.5 Jaguar, 3.1 Ferrari, 3.0 Maserati, and then the mixture of assorted cars in the middle of the field with the three Lotus bringing up the rear. Opposite the line of big sports cars, all of them far more powerful and lethal than a line of Formula 1 cars, stood Behra, Moss, Hawthorn, Hill, Lawrence, Mairesse, de Vroom, Sanderson, de Changy, Gendebien and Bonnier; Gregory, on the other small Ferrari being down beyond the Monza Ferraris.
As the flag fell at 12 noon it was Phil Hill who got away first, but Hawthorn soon tore past him and began to set the pace, followed by Moss, Sanderson and Gregory, who had made a terrific getaway from down the line. Behra made a very leisurely start but soon worked his way up into fourth place, while Moss got the other 4.5 Maserati into its stride and went past Hawthorn, who had already been standing on the brakes too hard and using them up. Hill was content to take it easy and conserve his brakes, knowing them to be the weak point on the 4.1 Ferrari and he did not worry too much when Behra went by him. After half an hour of racing Moss was leading Hawthorn by 3 sec., followed by Behra, Hill, Gregory, Sanderson, Gendebien, Bonnier and Lawrence, the big Jaguar having made a poor start, and these were the only ones on the same lap as the leader on this 6.537 kilometres circuit. Among the small cars Allison was trying hard to keep up with de Tomaso in the Osca but the single-cam Lotus was no match for the Italian car, though both were ahead of a lot of the 2-litre Ferraris. Moss was lapping around 2 min. 25 sec., a speed of 162 k.p.h. which was exceptionally fast for the opening stages of a six-hour race, and shortly after the first half-hour Behra moved up into second place with the other 4.5 Maserati. By three-quarters of an hour he was right behind Moss and then went into the lead, the two V8 cars taking turns to lead and giving a demonstration run, Hawthorn being 17 seconds behind at the end of the first hour.
By 1.15 p.m. the leader’s lap speed had gone up to 165 k.p.h., with times of 2 min. 22 sec., and the two Ferraris were following along some way back. Gregory went out with gearbox trouble on the “Le Mans Special” so his co-driver Seidel did not get a drive, and then de Tomaso and de Changy mixed their Osca and Jaguar together, the little Italian car being bent beyond further use, while the British car was able to go on racing. They had both stopped at the pits for inspection, during which time the Argentinian told the Belgian what he thought of his driving. This meant that wife Isabel Haskell did not get a drive in the Osca, along with a lot of other unhappy co-drivers, whose cars were bent or broken in the opening stages. About this time Sanderson handed over to Fairman, while Lawrence was still forging on with the 3.8 Jaguar.
At 1.45 p.m. Hawthorn came into the pits, the car was refuelled and Musso went off, and it was seen that the car had been off the road at one point, due to running out of brakes. Five minutes later Gendebien came in with a dead engine on the 3.1-litre Ferrari and it was withdrawn as being out-of-breath, lacking pistons, rings, valves or a combination of the lot, so co-driver Trintignant joined the ranks of unwanted drivers. By now Moss and Behra had shown each other who was the better driver and had given up playing games, settling down to an impressive one-two victory, with Moss leading, while Musso, in Hawthorn’s car, Hill and Bonnier followed. Just after 2 p.m. Moss brought the leading “four-five” into the pits, it was refuelled and Schell took over and almost immediately afterwards Bonnier came in with the 3-litre and Scarlatti took over, even though Maserati had said he would be driving with Behra. It was now clear that the Maserati plan was to get the two 4.5 cars in first and second places, using their three fast drivers, Moss, Behra and Schell, for the regulations allowed any changes of individual driver to be made during the race.
At 2.27 p.m. Hill came in and gave over to Collins, with the car in second place, and then at 2.30 p.m. Behra came in with the leading 4.5 Maserati and Moss took it over, spending 50 seconds changing rear wheels and refuelling but without losing the lead. At the same time Lawrence arrived sideways at the pits with a locking brake, but managed not to hit anything and after a refuel Scott-Brown took over. So now the position was first Moss with the Behra 4.5 Maserati, second Collins with the Hill 4.1 Ferrari, third Schell with the Moss 4.5 Maserati, fourth Musso with the Hawthorn 4.1 Ferrari and fifth Scott-Brown with the Lawrence 3.8-litre Jaguar, and the first two cars were lapping in 2 min. 25 sec. Of the other big cars de Vroom had gone off the road with his 3.5 Ferrari, the Sanderson/Fairman Jaguar was still plugging along well, as was the Belgian Jaguar and the Belgian Ferrari, while in the 2-litre category, the Finnish drivers Lincoln and Hietarinta were leading with their Ferrari TR. The two Team Lotus cars were having trouble, Allison breaking the clutch-operating mechanism but carrying on with it repaired temporarily, while Stacy stopped to have a split brake pipe replaced. Behra’s brother, Jose, was minding his own business in his 200S Maserati when an old Mondial Ferrari, driven by the brothers Martenson, spun and pushed him off the road into the ditch. Apart from this and a few minor examples of taking to the field when running out of brakes down the hill to Rabelov corner, the race was proving nicely devoid of unwanted incidents.
At 2.50 p.m., just before half-distance, Schell went by with the Maserati making unusual noises and next time round he crept slowly into the pits and retired. Yet another drive shaft grease-retaining seal had split and the pot-joint had seized. Maserati seem to take as long to learn as some British firms! Scarlatti was then called in and Schell took over the 3-litre car, the Spaniard Godia joining the ranks of unwanted co-drivers. Moss now had 65 seconds lead over Collins, which amounted to nearly half-a-lap and Musso was one lap behind. By 3.15 p.m. the windy dull day had turned to one of pouring rain, and a number of drivers stopped and changed goggles for visors, while Collins lost ground rapidly, the Ferrari brakes being too erratic in the wet to take any chances. At 3.30 p.m. further Ferrari chances dwindled when Musso came slowly towards the pits with a punctured rear tyre, and this dropped the car down to fifth place behind Scott-Brown and Schell. The consistent running of the 3.8 Jaguar was beginning to pay off and it was now in third place. The rain lasted for half-an-hour, during which time Moss gained more than half-a-lap on Collins, so that he was now a full lap and a few hundred yards ahead on the road. At 3.55 p.m. Moss stopped and handed the big Maserati back to Behra, and after refuelling it continued without losing the lead, though Collins did go by to be on the same lap as the leader. Moss had only been in the pits for five minutes, when Schell was called in and the 3-litre was handed over to the British driver, but a few minutes later he was back again with trouble in the gearbox selectors. This was rectified, but the stop allowed Hawthorn, who had taken over when Musso got the puncture, to move up into fourth place, behind the big Jaguar which Scott-Brown was still driving. By 4.30 p.m. there were 20 cars out of the 24 starters still running, the Kristianstad circuit obviously being pretty easy on the mechanical parts.
With the rain over, the sun came out and the road dried quickly, so that Collins began to put on speed, but it was not enough to gain very much on Behra in the leading Maserati. At 4.50 p.m. Hill was ready at the pits to take over from Collins, and Musso was also ready to take over from Hawthorn, the two 4.1-litre Ferraris needing one more fuel stop each. Collins was signalled to come in next lap but before he arrived Hawthorn drew into the pit pointing at the bonnet. In a flash all was pandemonium, fuel was put in the tank, the oil tank was topped up, the windscreen cleaned, the rear wheels changed, Hawthorn was swept out, Mosso leapt in and was off. When the noise and shouting had died down Hawthorn explained that he had come in because the water temperature was high and he thought the radiator needed water, he had not realised that his routine fuel stop was nigh, but it was too late to worry and he wandered off wondering why Ferrari ever achieved success in racing. Collins came in as arranged and Hill took over, and set off just as Behra went by thus being a whole lap in front of the Ferrari. By this time Fairman was in dire trouble with the Jaguar, having only second gear available in the gearbox, and touring round, hoping to finish. At 5.15 p.m. Musso suddenly arrived at the pits with smoke coming from the rear end of the Ferrari and it was found that a brake pipe had split, letting fluid onto the exhaust system. The broken pipe was hammered flat and the car continued with only three brakes, Musso still being at the wheel This untoward stop allowed Moss to take the 3-litre Maserati up a place, into fourth position. At this point Scott-Brown handed the big Jaguar over to Lawrence, the fuel filling, oil check and tyre check being a typical Ecurie Ecosse effort. In the small class the Stacy/Ashdown Lotus broke an oil pipe and retired with ruined big ends, and the Frost/Anthony car was circulating slowly, also suffering from bearing trouble.
With only 15 minutes to go the big Jaguar was being caught by Moss in the 3-litre Maserati, while Behra was safely in the lead, letting Hill go by to be on the same lap, but knowing that as long as the 4.1 Ferrari was in sight the Maserati would win the race. Suddenly Lawrence disappeared, for an oil pipe broke, spraying the driver with oil and in the subsequent confusion he hit the bank and split the fuel tank, so that Ecurie Ecosse lost all hopes of any success, for Fairman was still reduced to touring speeds with his gearbox trouble.
At 6 p.m. the chequered flag fell and Behra was still comfortably in the lead, with Hill second in the Ferrari, Moss third in the 3-litre Maserati and Musso fourth in the other 4.1 Ferrari. Although Maserati had at last achieved another win with the “four-five,” Ferrari was still ahead on Championship points, thanks to Phil Hill and Collins, and Jaguar got a few points thanks to the Belgian team who finished fifth with their standard D-type. It had not been an exciting race, but it had certainly been complex, especially as Maserati had viewed the placings of their cars as being more important than the drivers’ fame, which after all was only enlarging on the idea of the Manufacturers’ Charnpionship. — D. S. J.
Swedish Grabd Prix — Sports-Cars — Six hours — Wet and Dry
1st: J. Behra/S. Moss (Maserati 450S), 946.1 kilometres — 157.7 k.p.h.
2nd:P. Hill/P. Collins (Ferrari 4.1-litre), 942.8 kilometres.
3rd: J.Bonnier/G. Scarlatti/H.Schell/S. Moss (Maserati 3.0-litre), 7 laps behind.
4th: J. M. Hawthorn/L. Musso (Ferrari 4.1-litre), 11 laps behind.
5th: A. de Changy/C. Dubois (Jaguar D-type), 13 laps behind.
6th: C. Bremer/E. Pinoaro (Ferrari Monza).
7th: G. Carlson/J. Kvarnstrom (Ferrari Monza).
8th: N. Sanderson/J. Fairman (Jaguar D-type).
Fastest lap: J. Behra (Maserati 450S), in 2 min. 20.9 sec. — 166.8 k.p.h. (new record).
1st: C. Lincoln/H. Hietarinta (Ferrari TRC).
2nd: G. Munaron/J. Batista (Ferrari TRC).
3rd: G. Harris/A. Liekens (Ferrari TRC).