GRAND PRIX DE LA MARNE
Reims-Gueux (F), 25 July 1926.
40 laps x 8 km (4.97 mi) = 320 km (198.8 mi)
Lecot wins the Marne Grand Prix
by Hans Etzrodt
Twenty drivers started at the Marne Grand Prix, a minor French national event with a mix of seven classes. Lecot (2000 Bugatti) led the 400 km race from start to finish ahead of Brosselin (1500 Bugatti)
and Gauthier (2000 Bignan). They finished in that order, followed by the 1500 Bugattis of Aubert and Louis. In sixth place was the 750 cc Sima Violet, Deloron (2000 Bugatti sport) was seventh and
Lemaitre (1100 EHP) was eighth. Four other cars were still running but eight cars retired.
For the second time l'Automobile-Club Ardennes-Champagne-Argonne (Section Marne) and l'Union motocycliste de la Marne together with the journal l'Eclaireur del'Est organized the
Grand Prix de la Marne. The entries were divided into two categories, race (course) and sports cars, together with seven classes: race cars of 750 cc, 1100 cc, 1500cc and 2000 cc, with three classes for
sports cars of 1100 cc, 1500cc and 2000 cc. They all started simultaneously and had to complete 40 laps of the 8 km circuit a total of 320 km, except for the 750 cc 2-stroke Sima Violet which only had to do 20 laps
but actually completed all 40 laps. The race was run over the triangular Circuit de Reims-Gueux, which featured two long straights, one curved back leg and three sharp right hand turns at the village of
Gueux, La Garenne on Route 31 and
Thillois before the finish straight.
When seven cars did not appear, the field was reduced to 20 cars which are shown in the list of entries at the beginning of this report. The EHP of Lemaître was CIME-powered, as was the DEP of Duquenne. The driver
van Hoof (often misspelled as Vanhoff) drove a GAR powered by a 4-cylinder Chapuis-Dornier engine.
After the morning's race for motorcycles, sidecars and small cars, the start for the Marne Grand prix had been planned for 1:00 PM but started at 2:00. Twenty drivers took the start, which was given by Messrs. Augé
and Bazin. The 2000 cars were in front and Lecot in the fastest car took the immediate lead.
At the end of the first lap as they passed the grandstand, Lecot was leading Gauthier with a gap of two hundred meters to Lasnier, Louis, Alexis, Perrot, van Hoof, Aubert and Lavocat. Accidents by Giraud, Duquenne
and Bouchez caused their retirements. The order after the fifth lap was:
|1.||Lecot (Bugatti)||2000 cc|
|2.||Brosselin (Bugatti)||1500 cc|
|3.||Gauthier (Bignan)||2000 cc|
|4.||Lasnier (Bugatti)||1500 cc|
|5.||van Hoof (GAR)||1100 cc|
Lecot maintained the lead and continuously increased his advantage ahead of Gauthier and Brosselin. He drove the 13th lap in 4m08s. Shortly afterwards Lecot closed up on Gauthier to lap him in front of the
grandstand. After the first hour, Lecot had covered 114 km, a little more than 14 laps. Brosselin was the only one who had not yet been lapped by the leader. After 120 km or 15 laps, Lecot's time was 1h07m11s
with a lap in 4m03s before it started to rain, after which Brosselin, in second place, was lapped by Lecot.
After 160 km Violet with the 750 cc Sima Violet covered the required distance of 20 laps in 1h47m34s, winning the 1100 cc category which earned him a warm ovation. But instead of stopping at his pit, he carried
on, to cover all 40 laps. In the rain Lecot kept his lead, completing 25 laps in 1h43m17s.
Lecot completed the ¾ distance, 30 laps, in 2h07m02s. He maintained an advantage of about 10 km to Brosselin and Gauthier. Despite the rain the leader had not slowed down; his average speed was 113.385 km/h.
He continued in the rain at the same speed as before.
When Gauthier stopped at the pits he fell well behind Brosselin. Lecot lapped his competitors several times and he received a resounding ovation when he finished the race and was declared the brilliant winner
of the day.
During the race Crault overturned his car after a skid at the Gueux bend and crashed into a telegraph pole. His Salmson was in a sorry state and the injured driver and passenger were quickly transported to the
|1.||45||François Lecot||F. Lecot||Bugatti||T35 Course||2.0||S-8||40||2h50m15.6s|
|2.||43||Brosselin||Brosselin||Bugatti||T37 Course||1.5||S-4||40||3h03m34.6s||+ 13m19s|
|3.||38||Roger Gauthier||R. Gauthier||Bignan||Course||2.0||S-4||40||3h08m23.0s||+ 18m07.4s|
|4.||39||Henry Aubert||H. Aubert||Bugatti||T37 Course||1.5||S-4||40||3h12m29.6s||+ 22m14.0s|
|5.||37||Alexis Louis||A. Louis||Bugatti||T37 Course||1.5||S-4||40||3h15m40.6s||+ 25m25.0s|
|6.||1||Marcel Violet||Automobiles Sima Violet||Sima Violet||750 cc 2-stroke||.75||F-2||40||3h33m57.0s||+ 43m41.4s|
|7.||34||Deloron||Deloron||Bugatti||T35A Sport||2.0||S-8||40||3h38m19.0s||+ 48m.03.4s|
|8.||21||Lemaitre||Lemaitre||EHP||CIME Course||1.1||S-4||40||3h39m06.0s||+ 48m50.4s|
|9.||9||Lavocat||Lavocat||Sénéchal||Course||1.1||S-4||?||laps behind|| |
|10.||7||Lesbroussard||Lesbroussard||Sénéchal||Course||1.1||S-4||?||laps behind|| |
|11.||20||Louis Dolfus||L. Dolfus||EHP||1500 Sport||1.5||S-4||?||laps behind|| |
|12.||6||Chrêtien||Chrêtien||GAR||Chapuis-Dornier||1.1||S-4||?||laps behind|| |
|DNF||19||Antonio Valette||A. Valette||Salmson||Course||1.1||S-4||?|| || |
|DNF||8||Albert Perrot||A. Perrot||Sima Violet||Sport||1.1||S-4||?|| || |
|DNF||35||Lasnier||Lasnier||Bugatti||T37 Sport||1.5||S-4||?|| || |
|DNF||15||van Hoof||van Hoof||GAR||Chapuis-Dornier||1.1||S-4||?|| || |
|DNF||18||Crault||Crault||Salmson||1500 Sport||1.5||S-4||?|| || |
|DNF||41||Yves Giraud-Cabantous||Y. Giraud-Cabantous||Salmson||1500 Course||1.5||S-4||?||crash|| |
|DNF||23||Duquenne||Duquenne||DFP||CIME Course||1.1||S-4||?||crash|| |
|DNF||30||Pierre Bouchez||P. Bouchez||Georges Irat||Sport||2.0||S-4||?||crash|
Fastest lap: François Lecot (Bugatti) in 4m03s at 118.5 km/h (73.6 mph).|
Winner's average speed, 2000 cc, Lecot: 112.7 km/h (70.1 mph).
Winner's average speed, 1500 cc, Brosselin: 104.6 km/h (65.0 mph).
Winner's average speed, 1100 cc, Lemaitre: 87.6 km/h (54.5 mph).
Winner's average speed, 750 cc, Violet: 89.7 km/h (55.8 mph).
Weather: dry start, but rain after 1/4 of the race.
The race was inadequately reported in L'Eclaireur de l'Est, so our text is minimal.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
L'Eclaireur de l'Est, Reims
Le Matin, Paris
Le Figaro, Paris
Special thanks to:
Pescara (I), 7 August 1926 (Saturday).
20 laps x 25.5 km (15.85 mi) = 510 km (316.9 mi)
Spinozzi wins the Coppa Acerbo with Bugatti
by Hans Etzrodt
The 20 starters at the Coppa Acerbo included 11 Bugattis, two Fiats, two Salmsons, one each Itala Special, Alfa Romeo, Diatto, OM and Gar. Materassi (Itala Special) dominated the first three quarters of the
Coppa Acerbo unchallenged. When he retired, Spinozzi (Bugatti) led the last quarter of the race winning ahead of Rosti and Maggi, all three in 2000 Bugattis. Stefanelli (1500 Bugatti) finished fourth followed
by Borzacchini and Fagioli, both in 1100 Salmsons. The remaining 14 cars retired.
The Automobile Club di Pescara held the 1926 Coppa Acerbo for the third time. In 1924 Minister Giacomo Acerbo had named the race in honor of his brother Capitano Tito Acerbo, a decorated war hero, who was killed
during the last year of WW I. The same triangular 25.5 km Pescara circuit was used, over 20 laps or 510 km for all cars. The start was at Castellammare, north of the seaside resort of Pescara, where the road went
straight for about one kilometer along the shore of the Adriatic Sea. Before Pescara the course made a wide right turn heading inland for about 11 km along a winding road up into the Abruzzi Mountains through the
villages of Villa Raspa, Spoltore and Capelle. From here, the road led into the approximately 11 km long Montesilvano downhill straight to the coast where cars could reach their maximum speed. A fast right turn at
Montesilvano railroad station led into the Lungo Mare straight along the coast and finally back to the start and finish at Castellammare.
The entries were divided into four categories, over 2000 cc, over 1500 cc, over 1100 cc and up to 1100 cc. The maximum time allowance for each category was 30 minutes after the arrival of the first car in its
class. The Pescara Automobile Club had a total prize fund of 92,000 lire. The overall winner, who completed the race in the shortest time, received the Coppa Acerbo and 50,000 lire. In each of the four categories
the winner received 6,000 lire, second 4,000 and third 2,000.
The Coppa Acerbo promoters expected a total of 28 cars according to their entry list but only 20 drivers, all independents, started in this national event. The favorites besides Materassi in the 5.8-L Itala Special
were the 2-Liter Bugattis of Maggi, Rosti, Spinozzi, Antonelli and Montanari, all candidates for one of the leading positions.
Materassi's Itala Special had only a few Itala parts (clutch, gearbox and transmission) so to call it an Itala 55 Special, as it is often done, is misleading. The car had a custom-built chassis and suspension, but it
was called an Itala for publicity reasons as Materassi owned the Itala agency in Florence. The engine was half of a V8 Hispano-Suiza aircraft engine so the capacity was about 5.8 liters. The source of the figure of
precisely 4722cc which is to be found in contemporary motor sport literature is a mystery. This is explained in Alessandro Silva's article about Italian aero-engined specials, which was published in The Automobile
magazine. A complete list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report.
On Sunday at 8:00 AM the stands were already crammed with spectators and crowds were all along the circuit. The starting area was cleared for the long awaited event as the 20 cars appeared to take their positions
on the grid. The 9:00 AM start was in order of race numbers with an interval of three minutes between each category, except for the first two categories which started simultaneously. The large cars occupied the
front rows followed by the smaller categories at the rear. Minister Baron Giacomo Acerbo was present. Only the racing numbers of the cars in the first two rows of the grid are known.
Minister Ciano, who represented the Government, gave the starting signal at 9:00 AM for the large cars. At the drop of the flag Materassi who was on the left of the front row took the lead, followed by the pack
of the cars that followed so closely that they seemed to be clashing with each other.
At the end of the first lap, after 14m24.4s, Materassi passed a few seconds ahead of Rosti and Maggi, followed by Spinozzi, Stefanelli all in Bugattis and Nicoli in his OM. Alloatti changed a wheel on his 1500
Bugatti before restarting but Pegoraro stopped his 1500 Bugatti at the pits and retired. Montanari retired his 2000 Bugatti before the end of the lap.
On the second lap Materassi still held the lead at an average of 110 km/h, followed by Maggi, who had overtaken Rosti. They were followed by Spinozzi, Stefanelli, Rosti, Nicoli and Borzacchini. Aymini retired
his Diatto. Alloati stopped again to repair the 1500 Bugatti at the pits before rejoining the race. He was followed by Ciriaci's 1500 Fiat. The loudspeaker announced that Nicoli had overturned his OM at
Spoltore at the bend by the Technical Institute with slight injuries to the driver. Soon afterwards he appeared at the grandstand. Alicandri with the Gar stopped at the pits and soon restarted.
Materassi finished the third lap in 13m45.4s at 111.250 km/h average, the fastest lap of the race. Maggi followed ahead of Spinozzi, Rosti, Nicoli, Stefanelli and Borzacchini. After the fourth lap, Materassi
stopped at the pits for 59 seconds to refuel and rejoined the race to applause from the grandstand crowd. For unknown reasons Maggi had dropped several minutes behind Rosti and Spinozzi. After the first quarter
of the race, 127.5 km, Materassi led at 128.332 km/h race average with an average lap time during the five laps of 14m05s. The field was down to 16 cars with the following times after 5 laps:
|1.||Materassi (Itala Spl.)||1h12m08.4s|
|7.||Borzacchini (Salmson)||1h26m20.8s||1 lap behind|
|8.||Alloatti (Bugatti)||1h27m39.0s||1 lap behind|
|9.||Fagioli (Salmson)||1h30m59.6s||1 lap behind|
|10.||Zaccagnini (Bugatti)||1h33m21.0s||1 lap behind|
|11.||Ciriaci (Fiat)||1h35m25.0s||1 lap behind|
On the sixth lap, Materassi's lap time slowed to 14m7.6s, followed by Rosti with 14m52s, Spinozzi with 14m50s and Maggi fourth with14m47.4s. The duel between Spinozzi and Rosti was decided when a puncture forced
Rosti to change a tire in the pits. On the seventh lap the fight for first place was still between Materassi with a 5-minute advantage followed by Spinozzi, Rosti and Maggi. On the eighth lap, Materassi's average
speed rose to 110 km/h when the field was down to 15 cars. The OM of Nicoli, which had overturned on lap two, held fifth place up to lap eight. However, on the following lap he retired due to a damaged engine head
gasket. After mid race, 255 km, Materassi led at 107.557 km/h race average while his average lap time during the last five laps was 14m01s and he was a full eight minutes ahead of Spinozzi. The times were as
follows after 10 laps:
|1.||Materassi (Itala Spl.)||2h22m15.0s|
|5.||Stefanelli (Bugatti)||2h46m26.0s||1 lap behind|
|6.||Alloatti (Bugatti)||2h50m14.0s||1 lap behind|
|7.||Borzacchini (Salmson)||2h51m40.0s||2 laps behind|
|8.||Fagioli (Salmson)||3h02m11.8s||2 laps behind|
|9.||Ciriaci (Fiat)||3h08m39.8s||3 laps behind|
|10.||Zaccagnini (Bugatti)||3h16m46.0s||3 laps behind|
No changes in the race order occurred during lap 11 when Materassi was still firmly in the lead. The race was boring for the liveless with Spinozzi and Maggi fighting for second place and Rosti following in pursuit.
Only ten cars were left racing on the 25 kilometers circuit, which were too few to ensure entertainment. At the end of the 12th lap Materassi stopped at the pits to replace the rear tires and top up with fuel and oil.
After he returned to the track, Spinozzi also stopped to refuel and replace tires. He rejoined after two minutes with his Bugatti in perfect condition. On the 14th lap Materassi repeated his record lap of 13m45.4s
at the average of 111,250 km/h. After three quarters of the race, 382.5 km, Materassi led at 120.926 km/h race average. The Bugattis of Spinozzi and Maggi followed him and were the only cars on the same lap.
Materassi's average lap time during the last five laps was 14m05s with the times of the ten car field as follows after 15 laps:
|1.||Materassi (Itala Spl.)||3h34m35.6s|
|4.||Rosti (Bugatti)||3h51m21.6s||1 lap behind|
|5.||Stefanelli (Bugatti)||4h13m00.0s||2 lap behind|
|6.||Alloatti (Bugatti)||4h18m49.0s||3 lap behind|
|7.||Borzacchini (Salmson)||4h26m48.0s||3 lap behind|
|8.||Fagioli (Salmson)||4h34m27.0s||4 lap behind|
|9.||Ciriaci (Fiat)||4h47m29.0s||5 lap behind|
|10.||Zaccagnini (Bugatti)||5h03m51.0s||6 lap behind|
During lap 16, Materassi stopped at Villa Raspa to change the left rear tire, which he completed without haste, knowing that he had a lead of over eight minutes over Spinozzi. After restarting, his car had to
stop again at Spoltore when it ran out of fuel and Materassi had to find a petrol station. He attempted to restart the engine which resisted starting. While he was stationary for many minutes, his advantage vanished
and Spinozzi dashed past the immobile Itala and passed into the lead. Eventually, the engine of the Itala sprang to life and to the applause and shouts of spectators, Frilli, his longstanding mechanic, replaced
Materassi at the wheel. At a slow pace he reached the pits, but retired to everyone's disappointment when Materassi said that he did not want to continue. In the meantime, Spinozzi passed by first at the end of lap
16 about 300 meters ahead of Maggi with Rosti in third place overall.
Spinozzi finished lap 17 in the lead after 4h15m9.2s. Maggi arrived three minutes later in 4h18m23.4s, slowed for the pits with a flat rear tire and left after 3m14s. Rosti's time was 4h26m29.6s. On lap 18, the
hood of Maggi's Bugatti came loose while the car was in motion. His riding mechanic climbed out of his seat and held the hood down with his entire body sprawled on top of it, his left hand holding the radiator cap
with his feet dangling into the cockpit. This forced Maggi to return to the pits to have the hood secured. When Maggi rejoined the race he was in third place behind Rosti.
After 20 laps Spinozzi crossed the finish line as victor and was carried in triumph to be congratulated by Turati and Acerbo. He won the Coppa Acerbo and 50,000 lire. At the end of lap 16, after ending his race,
Materassi himself changed the rear wheels on his car and drove a fast 17th lap, effectively a lap of honor. Materassi won the gold medal of Mussolini for the fastest lap. Rosti finished in second place ahead of
the unlucky Maggi. Stefanelli in fourth place came first in the 1500 category, followed by Borzacchini who won the 1100 category in the absence of Clerici. Neither Fagioli, daring but perhaps still inexperienced,
nor Alicandri in the slow Gar could disturb Borzacchini. Ciriaci and Zaccagnini completed only 18 laps and were plagued by tire punctures in the oppressive heat. Ceratto with the Alfa Romeo completed just 16 laps
and Alloatti only 15.
|1.||22||Luigi Spinozzi||L. Spinozzi||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||20||5h02m42.4s|| |
|2.||12||Carletto "Carlo" Rosti||C. Rosti||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||20||5h12m09.4s||+ 9m27.0s|
|3.||10||Aymo Maggi||Count A. Maggi||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||20||5h26m50.4s||+ 24m08-0s|
|4.||Ugo Sisto Stefanelli||U.S. Stefanelli||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||20||5h37m12.6s||+ 34m30.2s|
|5.||Baconin Borzacchini||B. Borzacchini||Salmson||GSS||1.1||S-4||20||5h45m49.4s||+ 43m07.0s|
|6.||Luigi Fagioli||L. Fagioli||Salmson||GSS||1.1||S-4||20||6h14m58.6s||+ 1h12m16.2s|
|DNF||Romolo Zaccagnini||R. Zaccagnini||Bugatti||T22 "Brescia"||1.5||S-4||18||flagged|| |
|DNF||Guido Ciriaci||G. Ciriaci||Fiat||501S||1.5||S-4||18||flagged|| |
|DNF||4||Emilio Materassi||E. Materassi||Itala Special||5.8||S-4||17||fuel supply|
|DNF||6||Giorgio Ceratto||G Ceratto||Alfa Romeo||RLS ||3.0||S-6||16|| || |
|DNF||Giovanni Alloatti||G. Alloatti||Bugatti||T22 "Brescia"||1.5||S-4||15|| || |
|DNF||20||Domenico Antonelli||Count D. Antonelli||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8|| || || |
|DNF||Cesare Rocchi||C. Rocchi||Bugatti||T22 "Brescia"||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||Carlo Alicandri||C. Alicandri||Gar||1.1||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||Raffaele Breda||R. Breda||Fiat||501S||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||Giovanni Tartaglia||G. Tartaglia||Amilcar||1.1||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||14||Andrea Nicoli||A. Nicoli||OM||665 S||2.0||S-6||8||head gasket|| |
|DNF||8||Giulio Aymini||G. Aymini||Diatto||35||3.0||S-4||2|
|DNF||Giuseppe Pecoraro||G. Pecoraro||Bugatti||T22 "Brescia"||1.5||S-4||1|| || |
|DNF||Supremo Montanari||S. Montanari||Bugatti||T35A||2.0||S-8||0|| || |
Fastest lap over 1500 cc: Emilio Materassi (Itala Special) on lap 3 lap and 14 in 13m45.4s = 111.2 km/h (69.1 mph).|
Fastest lap 1500 cc class: Ugo Stefanelli (Bugatti) on lap 3 in 15m49.8s = 95.7 km/h (60.1 mph).
Fastest lap 1100 cc class: Baconin Borzacchini (Salmson) on lap 20 in 16m13.8s = 94.3 km/h (58.6 mph).
Winner's average speed, over 1500 cc, Spinozzi: 101.1 km/h (62.8 mph).
Winner's average speed, 1500 cc, Stefanelli: 90.7 km/h (56.4 mph).
Winner's average speed, 1100 cc, Borzacchini: 88.5 km/h (55.0 mph).
Weather: sunny and very hot.
The final classification times published in newspapers and magazines deviated often by fractions of a second and even minutes. We hope that we have selected the correct times.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
ACI revista, Torino
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Automobil Motorsport, Budapest
IL MESSAGERO, Roma
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
Special thanks to:
Ms. Paola Masetta
BRITISH GRAND PRIX
Brooklands special circuit (GB), 7 August 1926 (Saturday).
110 laps x 2.616 mi (4.21 km) = 287.1 mi (462.0 km) (Note 1)
Delage wins the British Grand Prix with Sénéchal and Wagner
by Hans Etzrodt
The first British Grand Prix -officially the RAC Grand Prix- took place at Brooklands. 14 cars were entered, but only nine made it to the start, three Delages, three Talbots, one Bugatti, one Aston-Martin,
and the Halford Special. For the first ten laps the race was between the Delage and Talbot teams, the other cars were visibly slower. The lead changed from Divo to Segrave both in Talbots, next on lap 15
to Benoist in a Delage. The Frenchman held first place until lap 88 when Wagner in Sénéchal's Delage took the lead. He won the race ahead of Campbell's Bugatti followed by Dubonnet in Benoist's Delage in
third place. The three Talbots retired as did Wagner's Delage, the Halford Special and Eyston's Aston-Martin.
The R.A.C. (Royal Automobile Club) staged the 1926 British Grand Prix on Saturday the 7th of August at Brooklands, southwest of London near Weybridge, Surrey. Great Britain had been invited to hold such an
event in 1925 but had been unable to accept. For 1926 the offer was renewed and the race was officially designated the R.A.C. Grand Prix. It was the fourth event of the 1926 World Championship, and was known
as the British Grand Prix. The Brooklands outer circuit had been specially prepared for this race, 110 laps around the 2.616 mile circuit, totaling 287.1 miles. Strangely, and in common with the European
Grand Prix, the distance was less than the 600 km minimum distance demanded by AIACR regulations. No explanation could be found.
The start was at the end of the railway straight where the track was wide enough for the nine cars to line up in one row. The cars travelled anti-clockwise around the inner circuit, turning left onto the
Byfleet Banking and into the finishing straight. To reproduce to some extent conditions inherent to road racing, two artificial S-bends were installed on the finishing straight, the first close to the
paddock, the second at the end. Both consisted of three parallel sandbanks, one after the other, both comprised of three corners. From the straight the cars had to make a sharp left turn between the first
and second sandbank followed by a sharp right between the second and third bank and finally left around the third bank onto the straight. The bends provided an excellent test of the brakes, gearbox and the
skill of drivers who could take them at speeds of around 25 to 30 mph. To provide spectator passage to the paddock area, a great new bridge stretched over the wide track. It was specially built for the occasion.
Originally there were 14 entries of which only 9 cars faced the starter. They included three Delage works entries for Benoist, Wagner and Sénéchal, who replaced Bourlier, and André Dubonnet as the reserve. The cars
had now been provided with vents in the hood and scuttle to direct the heat and fumes away from the drivers.
The blue Talbot race cars which were built in France were called Darracqs in Great Britain. As products of the S.T.D. concern they were entered by its president, Louis Coatelen, a famous designer. S.T.D. Motors Ltd.
was a newly formed company resulting from the merger of the Talbot-Darracq and Sunbeam motor-car companies. Before the start the Talbots were introduced as British-entered Darracqs and were therefore painted
grass-green, despite the fact that they were of French origin. Until then they had been regarded as French and painted dark blue. However the media referred to the cars only as Talbots. However, the company
was supported by British capital and the team by the British sister company, part of the Sunbeam Concern, so the Talbot team was actually representative of the British colors. The drivers were Segrave, Divo
and Moriceau. The latest type 8-cylinder supercharged cars were relatively untried due to teething troubles and the British Grand Prix was their first race. During practice the Talbot team encountered brake
problems with strong vibration and front end bouncing. They were certainly the most attractive-looking racing cars that had yet been seen. Their oil supply was carried under the mechanics seat with two
ribbed oil radiators mounted on the left side of the cockpit.
Inexplicably, Ettore Bugatti did not send a works team to England, but there was one independent entry from Captain Malcolm Campbell. He entered a s/c 4-cyl. Talbot the type in which Segrave had won the
Provence GP in March. However, he withdrew the car on Saturday morning before the race. Campbell had just bought a s/c 1500 8-cylinder Bugatti, which he entered at the last minute for this race. He fitted
ordinary wire wheels to his car because cast aluminum wheels would have forced him to use a tire unsuitable for the track. The change rendered his brakes less effective which handicapped him.
Aston Martin Motors Ltd. arrived with a 4-cyl. 1500 cc Grand Prix car, based on a standard 4-seater chassis but fitted with a supercharged Anzani engine, designed by Mr. Hagens. The Aston Martin was only
prepared a short time before the race and George Eyston, one of their drivers, was to handle the British car.
The Halford Special designed, built and driven by Major Frank Halford, had a 1500 6-cylinder s/c twin-cam engine mounted on an early Aston Martin chassis.
The Thomas Specials had a straight-eight engine with aluminum block, but could not be made ready in time. On Friday morning Parry Thomas withdrew both of his cars after repairs to the gearbox did
not cure the problems and a redesign was required.
The front-wheel-drive Alvis of Major Maurice Harvey had a supercharged straight-eight engine. The Alvis could not be made ready in time and the entry was also withdrawn on Friday before the race,
owing to the fact that the cooling system was inadequate and the lubrication system, especially with regard to the supercharger, was slightly defective.
The Eldridge Specials, two of which existed, had raced at Indianapolis but were still in the USA and therefore could not be present to compete. A complete list of entries is at the beginning of this report.
In his book The Roaring Twenties, Cyril Posthumus mentioned the unique rule in Grand Prix racing at Brooklands regarding the compulsory use of exhaust silencers. The exhaust pipes were fitted with a
'Brooklands can', a square muffler, just ahead of the cockpit. To the end of the pipe was attached a large flat Brooklands fishtail. The Brooklands can, definitely increased the heat in the Delage cockpits,
once again causing a great heat problem and agony for their drivers.
There was very little activity before the race on Wednesday and Thursday. Bourlier was still suffering from blisters on his feet and legs resulting from burns at San Sebastian, two weeks earlier.
Sénéchal who had handled the Delage as a reserve driver in the European Grand Prix, was selected as the driver of the third car. The Delages were regarded as having excellent brakes. After some practice
experience it was decided to alter the final drive ratio of all three cars.
The Talbots on the other hand had little running time except for Moriceau's car which had been tested thoroughly at Montlhéry. A certain amount of trouble was experienced with the front brakes of
Segrave's car. Last-minute work necessitated additional mechanics being sent for and Louis Coatalen arrived in person to supervise operations. On his first practice lap Segrave lapped at exactly 80 mph.
Wagner was timed in one of the Delages over several laps at an average speed of 83 mph.
For many years England had looked passively toward the great international sport of motor racing and the 1926 British Grand Prix was the first major race ever to be held in England, so it was of major importance.
The international 1922 Tourist Trophy race and the 1903 Gordon Bennet race were not held in England. The announcement that these European teams would compete at Brooklands was regarded with great excitement.
The crowd was larger than at any meeting at Brooklands since pre-war days. Closely packed spectators thronged both sides of the finishing straight only separated from the track by an iron fence. The start
was scheduled for 2:00 PM, but the Talbot team was not yet ready as their tanks were still being filled with fuel, a pale green liquid with the sickening odor of ether. On a dull but warm Saturday the nine
cars left the paddock for the start on the railway straight which was wide enough for nine cars to line up abreast. The start was hard to see from the paddock area on the opposite side of the race track.
At 2:10 PM the famous Brooklands starter A.V. "Ebby" Ebblewhite raised and lowered his little red starting flag and amongst the loud exhaust roar and the shrill supercharger whine the three Talbots shot to the front
headed by Divo. As the cars left the Byfleet banking into the finishing straight the three green Talbots were ahead but when Moriceau braked before the first sandbank the front wheels of the Talbot wobbled very
wildly and the front axle collapsed. Both front wheels leaned inwards at an acute angle, but after a few wild swerves he came to a stop at the very edge of the track near the pits. He retired with the front axle
broken in half at the center. The other cars passed the pits in the following order on the first lap:
|6.||Eyston (Aston Martin)|
The Talbots of Divo and Segrave pulled away from Benoist's Delage as they left the last sandbank but due to their unreliable brakes the Talbots slowed much earlier than Benoist when approaching the bends. As a
result his Delage lost no ground since he closed up when braking for the sandbanks. Segrave wrote in his memoirs, "As soon as the brakes were applied the front axle started to chatter laterally, with the result
that the car was difficult to steer and the braking effect was poor. It was a frightening thing to look at, because one saw the front wheels bouncing up and down about a foot from the ground and the car swaying
about in an alarming manner." As Segrave took the bends long tongues of yellow flames streamed from his fish-tailed exhaust pipe of his Talbot. On the second lap Sénéchal's Delage passed Eyston's Aston Martin,
while Segrave was driving very fast and caused a sensation by averaging 84.99 mph for his second lap, which ultimately stood as the fastest lap in the race. Campbell stopped his supercharged Bugatti on the third
lap replacing all spark plugs. Wagner was in trouble with his misfiring Delage and stopped on the third lap to replace plugs.
On the fifth lap the leading group of Divo, Segrave and Benoist had caught up with the tail of the field on their fourth lap. Wagner was still in trouble, after four stops in six laps, in one of which he stopped
to wrap asbestos round his exhaust pipe. With his Delage still misfiring Wagner stopped for good on his seventh lap, leapt out of his car in pain with his foot badly burned by the hot exhaust and put his right
boot in a pail of water. The risk of fire from the exhaust pipe to the body of the car was too great and the car was retired. After seven laps Divo's leading Talbot started misfiring and when he stopped for
spark plugs he lost first place to Segrave's Talbot with Benoist's Delage a close second. Both took the sandbank turns with a lack of effort worthy of their high skill in driving. Neither made any use of
skidding, and the gear shifting of both was excellent. Sénéchal, on the other hand, though his driving was also of a very high standard, soon became spectacular, and took the turns with fierce, well-controlled
skids, which gave pleasure to the crowd, but almost certainly reduced his lap speed. At the end of the first ten laps the order was:
|6.||Eyston (Aston Martin)|
On the 15th lap Segrave's Talbot was passed by Benoist's Delage near the sandbanks. On the railway straight the Talbot led again from Benoist, but on the Byfleet banking a rear tire of the Talbot shed a thread.
Segrave lost the lead when he stopped on lap 15 to change rear wheels in 35 seconds. Benoist who had followed in second place was now leading and was lapping at 82-83 mph. Sénéchal and Segrave, who had restarted,
ran about two laps behind Benoist, followed by Halford, Campbell, Divo and Eyston who was completely out of contention in seventh place after 25 laps.
|7.||Eyston (Aston Martin)|
Benoist held on to the lead and increased his advantage lap by lap. He was two laps ahead of Segrave and Sénéchal followed further behind by Halford, Campbell, Eyston and Divo. Segrave's passage around the track
provided many thrills, as at intervals his engine misfired in a close imitation of machine-gun bursts while yellow flames shot from his exhaust pipe. Segrave wrote in his book The Lure of Speed, "In regards of
speed, pure and simple, we had plenty of it, in fact we were considerably faster than any other car in the race, but in a race of this nature speed is not the only thing that counts. Acceleration and brakes are
just as important."
On lap 35 Benoist stopped to change rear tires without losing the lead and Divo stopped for some adjustments. Segrave's front wheel brakes showed signs of binding and he slowed down his speed when still 300 yards
before the sandbanks. The Delages, all of which held the track as if they were running on rails, continued with undiminished speed until they were 40 yards from the sandbanks to take the turns at no more than 25 mph.
The order after 40 laps was:
|1.||Benoist (Delage)||40 laps|
|2.||Segrave (Talbot)||39 laps|
|3.||Sénéchal (Delage)||38 laps|
|4.||Halford (Halford)||36 laps|
|5.||Campbell (Bugatti)||34 laps|
|6.||Eyston (Aston Martin)||32 laps|
|7.||Divo (Talbot)||32 laps|
On his 45th lap Eyston stopped his overheating Aston Martin at the pits, retiring with a blown cylinder head gasket caused by water pump trouble. At the same time, Segrave began to experience the engine of his Talbot
misfiring and stopped at the pits to change plugs, refuel and top up with oil. After five minutes he restarted but Segrave stopped four more times with the Talbot's brakes entirely shot, whereupon Sénéchal took
second place. The order after 50 laps was:
|1.||Benoist (Delage)||50 laps|
|2.||Sénéchal (Delage)||48 laps|
|3.||Segrave (Talbot)||46 laps|
|4.||Halford (Halford)||44 laps|
|5.||Campbell (Bugatti)||42 laps|
|6.||Divo (Talbot)||42 laps|
On lap 54 Sénéchal stopped to change plugs and the rear wheels on his Delage while Segrave also made stops to cure the elusive misfire, which had slowed him down considerably. Halford ran non-stop until he had
completed 54 laps. After only 2 ½ minutes at the pits to change wheels, refuel and top up with oil he returned to the fray. Campbell's Bugatti, which had run trouble free, stopped after 60 laps. He changed rear
wheels, refueled, topped up with oil and restarted without problems. After 62 laps Benoist had a lead of seven laps at an average of 80.41 mph and nobody had any doubt about a Delage victory with the order as follows:
|1.||Benoist (Delage)||62 laps|
|2.||Sénéchal (Delage)||55 laps|
|3.||Halford (Halford)||54 laps|
|4.||Campbell (Bugatti)||52 laps|
|5.||Divo (Talbot)||51 laps|
|6.||Segrave (Talbot)||50 laps|
Benoist led by a good margin at the end of lap 63 when he stopped at the pits to change all four wheels and examine his brakes and steering gear in a methodical manner. Due to some engine trouble and the old exhaust
heat problem the engine would not restart, even after priming the cylinders and changing all the plugs. But eventually, after losing six laps of his lead, and now only one lap ahead of Sénéchal, Benoist eventually got
away with the mechanic pushing the car amid loud applause. The stop had taken 9m15s. When Segrave made several pit stops with his ailing Talbot, Halford advanced into third place. After 70 laps the order was:
|1.||Benoist (Delage)||70 laps|
|2.||Sénéchal (Delage)||68 laps|
|3.||Halford (Halford)||64 laps|
|4.||Divo (Talbot)||64 laps|
|5.||Campbell (Bugatti)||62 laps|
|6.||Segrave (Talbot)||56 laps|
When Segrave stopped and worked on his misfiring car, the Talbot caught fire in the pits. After the flames were put out, he had difficulty restarting the engine but eventually the car was push-started. Segrave drove
only one more lap before he retired the Talbot on his 63rd lap with a split supercharger casing. The field was now down to five cars. Despite his problems Benoist maintained the lead after 75 laps followed by
Sénéchal more than two laps in arrears, Divo a further three laps behind, then Halford and Campbell.
Next Sénéchal's Delage blew its exhaust box, the Brooklands can. It was becoming unbearably hot inside the cockpit, the pedals and floorboard scorching the driver's feet and holes had burned in Sénéchal's shoes.
Segrave wrote in his memoirs, "The Delage team, who eventually won, had by no means an easy task, because their cars were so designed that the exhaust pipe passed within a few inches of the accelerator pedal and
successfully fried the feet of the drivers. Their pits were kept busily engaged passing out buckets of cold water on to the track into which the drivers jumped every time they stopped. One could actually hear
their boots hissing as they went into the water." While the three leaders were afflicted by problems, Halford and Campbell at the rear had no worries.
Benoist still held the lead on lap 80 with Sénéchal second and Divo's Talbot third, which was actually the fastest car still running, despite its misfiring engine. On Benoist's 81st lap he was badly affected by
the intense heat and stopped. The exhaust manifold on his Delage was glowing white hot and had burnt through in one place, so Benoist bound asbestos sheeting round the exhaust pipe. Again the engine failed to
restart, so the car was once more push-started. On lap 83 Sénéchal stopped at the pits to cool his burned right foot in a tray of water. Wagner, who had rested since his retirement on lap 6, took his place in
the Delage and left the pits simultaneously with Divo who had also made a pit stop to take on oil and fuel, the latter from a tank coupled to bottles of compressed air.
|1.||Benoist (Delage)||86 laps|
|2.||Sénéchal / Wagner (Delage)||82 laps|
|3.||Divo (Talbot)||80 laps|
|4.||Halford (Halford)||79 laps|
|5.||Campbell (Bugatti)||76 laps|
The Halford Special stopped on its 83rd lap between the sandbanks with a broken front prop shaft joint. Halford pushed the car all the way back to the pits, loudly applauded by the crowd. At this time only four
cars were left in the race. On lap 88 Wagner in Sénéchal's Delage inherited the lead when Benoist's leading Delage once again stopped at the pits, trailing smoke from an engine fire. The flames were doused, and
the car spent some time before restarting but now with Dubonnet at the wheel. He had had no practice at all and was wearing a blue lounge suit as he left the pits bareheaded.
Wagner who was leading in the hot Delage stopped every other lap at the pits to bathe his feet, but held on to an ever decreasing lead of four laps. In the meantime Divo, stopped at the pits and made many fruitless
attempts to restart his Talbot. Driver and mechanic achieved unheard of revolutions with the crank handle and pushed until exhausted. Then Segrave relieved Divo attempting to restart but to no avail. Eventually
he gave up on lap 88 and the car was retired with a broken supercharger casing and engine damage.
During the last 15 laps there were just three cars left in the race with Wagner in Sénéchal's Delage leading, destined to win as long as his car didn't catch fire. Campbell's Bugatti was gradually closing up on
Benoist's Delage which was now driven by Dubonnet who had not only to learn the circuit but was also suffering greatly with flames belching from the hood. Both these cars were trying to catch up with Wagner,
who kept on stopping every other lap to bathe his burning feet. On lap 102 Campbell's Bugatti passed Dubonnet for second place which he held to the end.
One of the regulations for this race required that once the first four contestants had finished the full distance, then the remaining cars were to be flagged off but this rule never came into play. Wagner in
Sénéchal's Delage was too far ahead to be caught and won after 110 laps at 71.61 mph average speed after 4h00m06s and received £1,000. He was four and a half laps ahead of Campbell's Bugatti in second place
finishing at 68.82 mph after 4h10m44s and received £300. He made only two stops during the race and changed only two tires. Dubonnet in Benoist's Delage followed one lap behind in third place and finished
at 68.12 mph after 4h13m08.4s. He received £200. Wagner and Dubonnet had to be lifted out of their Delages and have their feet treated for burns. Benoist announced he will refuse to drive the Delage at Monza
unless the design of the car is altered so as to protect the driver's feet and legs from excessive heat. On his 2nd lap Major Segrave drove the fastest lap of the race at 85.99 mph and won the Stanley Cup.
|1.||14||R. Sénéchal/L. Wagner||Automobiles Delage||Delage ||15 S 8 1926||1.5||S-8||110||4h00m56.6s|
|2.||7||Malcolm Campbell||Captain M. Campbell||Bugatti||T39A||1.5||S-8||110 ||4h10m44.2s||+ 9m47.6s|
|3.||2||R. Benoist/A. Dubonnet||Automobiles Delage||Delage||15 S 8 1926||1.5||S-8||110||4h13m08.4s||+ 12m11.8s|
|DNF||1||Albert Divo||Louis Coatelen||Talbot||GPLB||1.5||S-8||87||supercharger|
|DNF||5||Frank Halford||F. B. Halford||Halford||Special||1.5||S-6||82||prop shaft joint|
|DNF||9||Henry Segrave||Louis Coatelen||Talbot||GPLB||1.5||S-8||62||supercharger|
|DNF||3||George Eyston||G.E.T. Eyston||Aston Martin||GP Anzani||1.5||S-4||44||head gasket|
|DNF||10||Louis Wagner||Automobiles Delage||Delage ||15 S 8 1926||1.5||S-8||6||constant misfire|
|DNF||6||Jules Moriceau||Louis Coatelen||Talbot||GPLB||1.5||S-8||0||front axle|
Fastest lap: Henry Segrave (Talbot) on lap 2 in 1m50.8s = 85.0 mph (136.8 km/h).|
Winner's average speed: 71.61 mph (115.2 km/h). (Note 2)
Weather: warm but dull
The time keeping went awry when the R.A.C. released only individual speeds in mph to cover up the deficiencies of their time keeping system. Because of the R.A.C.'s inefficient time keeping, the various
reports by the press differed in this regard and had variations of up to 20 seconds for first, two tenths for second and 10.4 seconds for third in the final results. We hope that we have published the correct ones.
Bugatti led the World Championship with 10 points after this fourth race ahead of Delage with 16 points. No others were classified for the World Championship, since none of them had participated in at
least two of the four races (Indianapolis, French Grand Prix, European Grand Prix and British Grand Prix). Bugatti had a six point advantage over Delage, which was enough for them regardless of the outcome in
the Italian Grand Prix. Even if Delage were to win the last race it would raise their total to 17 points and if all the Bugatti entries had retired in Italy, Bugatti would still win with 15 points. Therefore
the Championship was effectively decided after the British Grand Prix unless Bugatti failed to start in the obligatory Italian Grand Prix.
1. Both, The Autocar, The Motor and The Light Car and Cyclecar give a circuit length of 2.616 mi (2 miles 1084 yards). That would give a race length of 287.76 mi (463.11 km).
But the official length of the race was 287.1 mi. Either it was because the circuit length was rounded off to 2.61 mi or then it was because the start and the finish lines were at different points
of the circuit so that the first lap was shorter than the other ones.
2. The winner's average speed was given as 71.61 mph corresponding to a race length of about 287.5 mi. With a race length of 287.1 miles (see footnote 1) the correct average speed would be 71.49 mph (115.06 km/h).
With a length of 287.76 mi the average speed would be 71.66 mph (115.32 km/h).
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobil Motorsport, Budapest
La Vie Automobile, Paris
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
The Autocar, London
The Light Car & Cycle Car, London
The Motor, London
The Times, London
Special thanks to: