GRAND PRIX DE L'AUTOMOBILE CLUB DE FRANCE
Circuit de Miramas - Marseille (F), 27 June 1926.
100 laps x 5.0956 km (3.166 mi) = 509.6 km (316.6 mi)
|2||Henry Segrave||Automobiles Talbot||Talbot||GPLB||1.5||S-4||DNA - car not ready|
|4||Marcel Violet||Automobiles Sima-Violet||Sima Violet||1.5||S-4||DNA - withdrawn|
|6||Robert Benoist||Automobiles Delage||Delage ||15 S 8 1926||1.5||S-8||DNA - withdrawn|
|8||Meo Costantini||Automobiles Ettore Bugatti||Bugatti||T39A||1.5||S-8|
|10||Albert Divo||Automobiles Talbot||Talbot||GPLB||1.5||S-4||DNA - car not ready|
|12||X||Automobiles Sima-Violet||Sima Violet||1.5||S-4||DNA - withdrawn|
|14||Edmond Bourlier||Automobiles Delage||Delage ||15 S 8 1926||1.5||S-8||DNA - withdrawn|
|16||Piere de Vizcaya||Automobiles Ettore Bugatti||Bugatti||T39A||1.5||S-8|
|18||Jules Moriceau||Automobiles Talbot||Talbot||GPLB||1.5||S-4||DNA - car not ready|
|20||X||Automobiles Sima-Violet||Sima Violet||1.5||S-4||DNA - car not ready|
|22||X||Automobiles Delage||Delage ||15 S 8 1926||1.5||S-8||DNA - withdrawn|
|24||Jules Goux||Automobiles Ettore Bugatti||Bugatti||T39A||1.5||S-8|
Goux wins the French Grand Prix for Bugatti
by Hans Etzrodt
The 11th Grand Prix of the AC de France promised to become a giant battle between Talbot, Bugatti, Delage and the two-stroke Sima-Violets, 12 entries in all. But by the day before the race nine of the entries
had withdrawn which left only the three supercharged 1500 Bugattis to race over 100 laps around the Miramas speed oval. In the morning's race Goux ran trouble free for the 100 laps, Costantini was flagged
off after 85 laps and did not classify while Vizczya retired after 46 laps. The 1926 Grand Prix is seen as the worst fiasco in racing history. The afternoon's Grand Prix des Voiturettes was won by
Casse (1100 Salmson), while Zubiaga (Austin) won the 750 class and Enders Jack (Sima-Violet) was first of the 500 cc cars.
The Miramas circuit had been made more difficult for this event by installing a second hairpin bend located at the north turn. There was now one hairpin bend at the end of each straight of the 5 km oval, in order
to reduce the speeds. With these two bends the circuit now measured 5095.6 meters. The 60 cm added were publicized in all seriousness but showed a totally brainless decision to add 60 cm to a 5 km long
circuit. Such behavior simultaneously displayed how far removed the ACF was from reality.
Several weeks before the race the ACF knew that of the four manufacturers which had made entries, two of them would not be there, because they were the first cars being built for the new 1500 formula and
were not yet ready. Weeks before the race informed circles in Paris knew that Delage and Sima-Violet would not be ready. So at best the ACF could have had only six cars for their race and they were aware
of that. Why the ACF insisted on staging the event under these conditions became known one week before the event. The race had to be held even if only one car appeared because the ACF forgot to include
in their regulations a clause that the race would be cancelled unless a certain number of cars started. The prize money provided the winner with 100,000 francs, second 30,000 and third 20,000 fr.
The opening entries included three flat-4-cylinder 2-stroke Sima-Violets for Marcel Violet, Michel Doré and Max Fourny. The Talbot team with Henry Segrave, Albert Divo and Jules Moriceau was added before
entries closed at the end of February at the normal fee of 5,000 francs per car. With only six entries for this year's Grand Prix, the prestige of the greatest French race had to be saved. Accordingly
the ACF's Sporting Commission invited the press to a banquet where they talked about the destiny of the Grand Prix. The President of the Commission, Baron René de Knyff, berated the press as the main
culprit, blaming them for the paucity of entries. He maintained that the ACF did not have run after the constructors and that the ACF was actually too noble to start negotiations with American constructors
as had been done the year before by the director of the Monza Circuit. The next speaker was Count de Voguë, President of the ACF, who tried to mitigate the deteriorating situation. He was followed by
Franz Reichel who declared that the press had done everything that could have been asked of it.
By mid-March Delage decided to take part in the Grand Prix. Then by the middle of May, shortly before the time of the final closing of entries, Bugatti also entered. The ACF decided at that time to use
only even racing numbers, thereby eliminating uneven numbers like the ominous 13, which some drivers viewed with superstitious fears. Before June 14, the rumor that Talbot would not start was officially
confirmed. Delage's start was by no means assured, leaving just three Bugattis and three Sima-Violets confirmed. Under these conditions the question surfaced in the press, if it would not be appropriate
to cancel the race completely this year. It would be better than ending up with an inevitable fiasco. Then, a few days before the race, a rumor surfaced that Delage and Sima-Violet would not start; the
small Violet Company had run out of money. A list of the 12 entries is at the beginning of this report.
In the end there were just the three s/c 8-cylinder 1500 Type 39A Bugattis, looking very much the same as their larger 2-liter cars. Since the engines were now supercharged the cars had a vent hole on
the upper right side of the hood for the manifold relief valve. The radiators were enlarged and moved slightly forward and the cars now had glass windscreens replacing the earlier gauze ones.
The 1926 Grand Prix of the AC de France on the Miramas Circuit was a fiasco before it even started. The latest rumor days before the start proved to be true, Delage and Sima-Violet withdrew, leaving the
entire race as a Bugatti walk-over. With only Bugatti at the start, the three cars lined up as follows:
At the 10:00 AM start, Viscaya took an immediate lead followed by Costantini while Goux was delayed for a few seconds. But Goux caught up rather quickly and drove a new track record on lap two at 127.139 km/h,
passing his team mates on lap four to take the lead.|
The times after 5 laps were as follows:
|2.||de Vizcaya (Bugatti)||13m55s|
Until now Bugatti had always used the British BP methanol fuel mixture and just lately had tried a fuel-benzol mixture, which however did not stand up to the test. Due to a mistake, a great part of fuel-benzol
was transported to Miramas instead of BP. Consequently only Goux drove with BP while the tanks of Vizcaya and Costantini had been filled with fuel which had a high content of benzol. On lap nine Goux made the
fastest lap of the race at 127.390 km/h average speed.
The times after 10 laps or 50.95 km were:
|2.||de Vizcaya (Bugatti)||27m42s|
The times after 20 laps or 101.90 km were:
|2.||de Vizcaya (Bugatti)||55m45s|
After one hour Vizcaya and Costantini stopped one after another at the pits but both lost much time since their cars took a long time to restart. It was impossible to make up the lost time and after 25 laps
Costantini in second place was already 10m20s behind Goux and de Vizcaya now in third place was more than an hour behind.
The times after 30 laps or 152.85 km were:
|3.||de Vizcaya (Bugatti)||2h55m29s|
The times after 40 laps or 203.80 km were:
|3.||de Vizcaya (Bugatti)||3h30m46s|
While Goux was completing his fiftieth lap, Costantini was on lap 38 and Vizcaya was stranded in his pit with supercharger problems and retired on lap 46 with a broken piston.
The times after 50 laps or 254.75 km were:
It appeared as if Costantini suffered from the burning Mediterranean sunshine since he stopped every other lap at his pit to cool his head and soak his cap in cold water. The public did not realize
that Costantini, a prudent and calculating driver, feared the same fate that had afflicted Vizcaya. Costantini knew that at a higher pace -like Vizcaya- he would not bring the Bugatti to the finish.
Therefore he drove considerably slower and more carefully with the same problematic fuel mix used by Vizcaya.
The times after 60 laps or 305.70 km were:
Goux turned his laps regularly without any problems from his engine.
The times after 70 laps or 356.65 km were:
Goux maintained a modest pace but still drove his race as if he had rivals and gave the crowd something to watch while Costantini proceeded at a much lesser pace by of about 12 seconds per lap.
The times after 80 laps or 407.60 km were:
The times after 85 laps or 433.07 km were:
The time after 90 laps or 458.55 km was:
When Goux completed the last lap, Costantini was still driving, but was now 16 laps behind and was flagged off.
The time after 100 laps or 509.56 km was:
When Goux appeared from the south turn and crossed the finish line at full speed, M. Longuemare waved his flag. Goux made a lap of honor and stopped at the stand where the crowd rewarded the winner with a large
ovation. There were flowers, photos, filming, accolades and congratulations. Goux came to the officials at the stand to receive the art object of the city of Marseille but the ceremony was postponed.
A prize of 5,000 francs was awarded to the car, with the best time over 250 kilometers. A Bugatti, that of Goux won this bonus. With his usual generosity, Ettore Bugatti offered this 5,000-franc bonus to the
Miramas war widows. This was a very charming gesture by Bugatti, who probably also received the 150,000 francs in prize money.
It should be pointed out that all three drivers drove without a helmet; which was against the rules. Charles Faroux asked: "Who is responsible for this negligence?"
|1.||24||Jules Goux||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T39A||1.5||S-8||100||4h38m43.8s|
|DNC||8||Meo Costantini||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T39A||1.5||S-8||85||4h43m13.0s|
|DNF||16||Piere de Vizcaya||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T39A||1.5||S-8||45||3h48m29.0s|
Fastest lap: J. Goux (Bugatti) on lap 9 in 2m24s = 127.4 km/h (79.2 mph).|
Winner's average speed: 109.7 km/h (68.2 mph).
Weather: sunny, hot and dry.
In the afternoon Le Grand Prix des Voiturettes was held for 1100 cycle cars. Morel (Amilcar) took the lead but retired after three laps, enabling Casse (Salmson) to take over and finish first after
50 laps in 2h25m56s at 104.752 km/h. Zubiaga (Austin) won the 750cc category after 40 laps in 2h31m20s at 80.81 km/h while the 500 cc category was won by Enders Jack (Sima Violet) after 32 laps in 2h17m36s.
Miramas was a small town just north of Marseille and Cyril Posthumus wrote about the nearby circuit "it was an uninteresting oval, masterminded by former racing driver Paul Bablot and the AC
de Marseille. It lay in a desert area called Sulauze, covered by myriads of small stones seemingly ideal to make concrete for the track. Unfortunately as the cement set it settled, leaving the stones somewhat proud,
and giving a rough surface very hard on tires."
Erwin Tragatsch wrote, that the Miramas Circuit was in no way popular with many of the manufacturers and drivers while the Marseille AC who organized this event had secured this race long beforehand to get
out of their precarious financial situation in which the circuit was soon since their opening. For the Club this Grand Prix was about life or death.
Petit and Bugatti: This race led to the only meeting between Emile Petit, head and engineer of Salmson, and Ettore Bugatti as explained by Chris Draper in his book The Salmson Story. "It was a meeting
which resulted in another fine demonstration of Bugatti's character, for he found Petit and carefully told him that on no account was he to allow one of the Salmsons to win the 1100 cc event at a higher speed
than the Grand Prix."
Some time later, "Petit asked that the prizemoney be transferred to the 1100 event [with about 30 starters], but this was refused and Bugatti left with all the cash [150,000 fr.] and the fastest average of the
day." [Salmson won at 104.75 km/h while Bugatti averaged 109.76 km/h.]
Rumor had it that Bugatti only entered when an additional second hairpin bend was introduced to the flat uninteresting 5 km Miramas Circuit.
The French Grand Prix was the second round of the 1926 World Championship. Jules Goux won, Meo Costantini was not classified and Pierre de Viscaya retired. After this second race, Miller and Bugatti were leading
the World Championship with 7 points each, ahead of Duesenberg, Eldridge, Locomobile Jr. 8, Guyot and Fronty-Ford with 11 points each.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
La Vie Automobile, Paris
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
COPPA DEL MARCHESE GINORI
Circuito delle Cascine - Firenze (I), 27 June 1926.
35 laps x 6.9 km (4.29 mi) = 241.5 km (150.1 mi).
Materassi wins the Coppa del Marchese Ginori at the Cascine Circuit
by Hans Etzrodt
The Coppa del Marchese Ginori was contested in 1926 on the Cascine Circuit following the preceding 1925 event on the Mugello Circuit. From 17 entries only 9 cars are known to have raced. Materassi in his 5.8-liter
Itala Special dominated the 241,5 km race and finished first. Borzacchini (1100 Salmson) came second ahead of Fagioli (1100 Salmson). Next were Pieranzi and Spineto, both in 1500 Ceiranos ahead of Nicoli
(2000 OM) in sixth place, the last finisher. The number of retirements is unknown.
The Florence AC staged the race for the Coppa del Marchese Ginori on the Circuito delle Cascine. The Coppa had its name linked to the traditional Mugello Circuit, but in 1926 it was held on the flat 6.9 km road circuit
located in the Cascine Park of Florence. Parco delle Cascine was a very large green park in the west of Florence along the Arno River. The course inside the park included only two turns which connected the
two long, slightly curved road sections. The event was the seventh in the series of the traditional Mugello Circuit races, dating back to 1914 when it was called Primo Circuito Toscano and victory was taken
by Silvani with a Diatto. The 1920 and 1921 races on the Mugello Circuit were won by Campari (Alfa Romeo). The third race in 1922 was won by Alfieri Maserati (Isotta Fraschini). At the fourth event in 1923
Brilli Peri (Steyr VI) was the winner. The fifth race in 1924 was won by Giuseppe Morandi (OM 665). In 1925, the sixth edition took place on a shortened circuit of 18.17 km and was won by Materassi in his
The 1926 event was split into two categories, race cars and touring cars. The race cars had to do 35 laps or 241.5 km but the touring cars only 15 laps or 103.5 km. The racecar category comprised three classes,
up to 1100 cc, up to 1500 cc and over 1500cc. The maximum time allowance for each class was 40 minutes after the arrival of the first car. The start was to be given at 3:00 PM in order of classes.
The prizes in the racecar category were the Ginori Cup and 25,000 Lire for the overall winner; 4,000 Lire for first in the 1100 class and 2,000 Lire for second. In the 1500 class the winner received 4,500
Lire and second 2,000. In the class over 1500 the winner received 5,000 Lire and second 2,000.
The Florence AC received early entries from Materassi, Brilli Peri, de Sterlich, Borzacchini and Zaniratti. A list of the racecar entries is at the beginning of this report. There were also 26 entries for the
touring car race, from which three cars also competed in the racing car category and they kept their original race number.
The practice sessions were on Friday and Saturday from 2 to 3 PM for touring cars and from 3 to 4 PM for racecars. At 11:00 AM on Saturday at the AC of Florence with ACI Sports Commissioners present, the race
numbers were drawn for the registered drivers to determine the starting order. 14 race numbers were issued for racecar drivers and 26 for touring car drivers. Scrutineering was on Saturday from 2:30 to 7:00 PM
and Sunday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the courtyard of the Palazzo Ginori at Via Tadden. Brilli Peri was a noteworthy absentee in the Ballot which had raced at Indianapolis.
In the early hours of Sunday enthusiasts were filling the grandstands. The start was planned for 3:00 PM at Piazzale del Re near the pits and next to a restaurant. The starting order was by race numbers separated
by categories. The event began with a 103.5 km touring car race where the number of starters was unknown from the 26 entries. However, 12 cars finished with Carlo Pintacuda (3000 Alfa Romeo) the winner in 1h02m0.4s
at 100.2 km/h average speed ahead of Emilio Bonamico (3000 Diatto) and Gusmano Pieranzi (1500 Ceirano) in third place.
The race for the Coppa del Marchese Ginori was the main event but the number of starters is unknown. Emilio Materassi in his Itala Special was clearly superior right from the beginning. He dominated the race, especially after
Ferruccio Zaniratti retired his 2000 Bugatti on the third lap. The race was conducted without any accidents and showed that impressive speeds could be reached on the marvelous avenues of Cascine Park. Materassi
drove his fastest lap at the average speed of 134.3 km/h and finished first with a drive of great regularity in 2h03m15.6s at 117.6 km/h average speed. Borzacchini with the small Salmson finished second to the
admiration of those present for his regularity and speed, but he had fallen three laps behind. Third placed Fagioli (1100 Salmson) had been lapped eight times. The next finisher was Pieranzi ahead of Spineto,
both in 1500 Ceirano touring cars, followed by Nicoli (2000 OM) in sixth place, over nine laps behind. The Bugattis of Zaniratti and Martini Bernardi and the Ceirano touring car of Bellettini were amongst the
unknown number of retirements.
|1.||1||Emilio Materassi||E. Materassi||Itala Spl.||5.8||S-4||35||2h03m15.6s|
|2.||12||Baconin Borzacchini||B. Borzacchini||Salmson||GSS||1.1||S-4||35||2h14m45.2s||+ 11m29.6s|
|3.||11||Luigi Fagioli||L. Fagioli||Salmson||GSS||1.1||S-4||35||2h29m25.8s||+ 26m10.2s|
|4.||29||Gusmano Pieranzi||G. Pieranzi||Ceirano||150S||1.5||S-4||35||2h33m50.4s||+ 30m45.8s|
|5.||32||Pasquale Spineto||P. Spineto||Ceirano||150S||1.5||S-4||35||2h34m05.6s||+ 30m50.0s|
|6.||3||Andrea Nicoli||A. Nicoli||OM||665||2.0||S-6||35||2h37m29.4s||+ 34m13.8s|
|DNF||9||Giuseppe Martini Bernardi||Marquies Martini Bernardi||Bugatti||1500||1.5||S-4||34||2h46m17.8s|| |
|DNF||33||Pietro Bellettini||P. Bellettini||Ceirano||150S||1.5||S-4||?|| || |
|DNF||4||Ferruccio Zaniratti||F. Zaniratti||Bugatti||T30 Indy||2.0||S-8||3|
Fastest lap: Emilio Materassi (Itala Spl.) on lap 25 & 28 in 3m05s = 134.3 km/h (83.4 mph)|
Winner's average speed over 1500 cc, Materassi: 117.6 km/h (73.0 mph).
Winner's speed up to 1500 cc, Pieranzi: 94.2 km/h (58.5 mph).
Winner's speed up to 1100 cc, Borzacchini: 107.5 km/h (66.8 mph)
The 1926 Coppa del Marchese Ginori was a minor event which was not well covered by the Italian press, limited to brief articles. About the actual race little more than the results was published.
The number of starters and retirements was not mentioned and a description of the happenings during the two hour race was omitted.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
ACI revista, Torino
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
La Nazione, Firenze
La Stampa, Torino
Special thanks to