VIII REALE PREMIO ROMA
Circuito del Littorio - Roma (I), 24 April 1932.
4 Heats: 25 laps x 4.0 km (2.49 mi) = 100.0 km (62.1 mi)
Final: 60 laps x 4.0 km (2.49 mi) = 240.0 km (149.1 mi)
Fagioli wins with the 16-cylinder Maserati at Rome
by Hans Etzrodt
The Maserati works team and Scuderia Ferrari each started with two cars at Rome's autodrome, the Littorio airfield circuit. The 33 entries were
divided into three categories. Heat 1 for 1100 cc cars was won by Decaroli's Salmson and Heat 2 by Minozzi's 2-liter Bugatti. Heat 3 and 4 were
run together, won by Varzi in the 2.3-liter Bugatti and followed by Fagioli in the 5-liter Maserati. Then the monotonous Repechage was won by
Dreyfus with ease against weaker cars. In the Final Fagioli had no serious opposition with the 16-cylinder Maserati, the only heavy machine.
Without question the 5-liter Maserati was one of the fastest cars in Europe. Taruffi's Alfa Romeo finished second, followed by the Bugattis of
von Morgen and Varzi, both slowed down by tire problems.
For the VIII Reale Premio di Roma 200 000 Lire in cash prizes were made available. Il Duce Benito Mussolini had donated a valuable trophy, which could
be won by the manufacturer whose cars would finish in the three best places. The event carried the sub title Gran Premio del Decennale, celebrating the
10-year anniversary when the fascists seized power. Very similar to last year, the 33 entries were divided into four classes: up to 1100, up to 2000,
up to 3000 and over 3000 cc. Each class had to do a heat race of 100 km and the two fastest of the 1100 Heat and four fastest of each the 2000 and
3000 Heat would qualify for the 240 km Final. The organizers of the entire event made sure that amongst other dignitaries the Italian King was also
present at the race.
Three years previously the huge and modern airport of Littorio was opened just outside Rome. In 1931 a 12 meter wide road was built in only three
months around the airport and inaugurated on May 24 by Benito Mussolini as the fast Littorio circuit, where speeds almost like those of the Avus
could be reached. The flat 4 km long macadam course consisted of two long straights and a few corners, including two high banked corners and one
sharp, slow corner, referred to as hairpin bend. Last year Ernesto Maserati won here with the 4-liter 16-cylinder Maserati in 1h34m32.2s at an average
speed of 152.321 km/h. This year the course had received minor changes at the entrance and exit of the high banked Parabolica corner, where the drivers
before had had to reduce their speed too much at both transitions. As a result higher speeds could be expected for the race. An exciting race on a
spectator friendly high speed track was expected and this year the event was held at the beginning of the racing season.
Since the Monaco Grand Prix had taken place only one week before, the race at Rome had automatically lost some importance. Within the given time of just
one week after Monaco it was not possible for the official Alfa Romeo team or the Bugatti Equipe to enter a new contest at Rome. Chiron as independent
driver had also placed an entry but notified the organizers that he could not be present in Rome due to recovering from his crash at Monte Carlo.
Likewise, Zehender in his 2300 cc Alfa Romeo and Ruggeri in a Maserati did not take part as planned. The race was limited mainly to a battle between
many well-known independent drivers. Only Maserati appeared to be represented strongly. The main focus turned towards the debut of the new Maserati
16-cylinder with two 2500 cc engines. Initially Ruggeri had been the nominated driver for this #66 Maserati and Fagioli was assigned to a 2.8-liter
car #52. When the #52 Maserati broke down during practice, Fagioli took over the 16-cylinder car and Ruggeri did not start. Other Maserati drivers
included Dreyfus and Castelbarco. Scuderia Ferrari entered Taruffi with a 2300 cc Alfa Romeo and various 2300 cc Bugatti were registered by independents
like Varzi, von Morgen, Renzi, Cazzaniga and "Rover", who was none other than Lelio Pellegrini. Biondetti arrived with his 'Speciale', a hybrid with
a 2500 Maserati engine and front grill on a Bugatti chassis.
Additionally to these category 3 cars there were entered nine cars from category 1 in the 1100 cc class and 13 category 2 cars for up to 2000 cc.
This amounted to 33 cars in total, as listed in detail above, divided into 4 groups, of which each had their own heat race of 25 laps on the 4 km
circuit. However, Heat 3 (3000 cc) and Heat 4 (over 3000 cc) cars raced together. After these three heat races, a Repechage of 25 laps was to be
held before the 60 lap final to determine the absolute winner of the Reale Premio di Roma.
During practice Varzi and von Morgen proved to be the fastest with lap-times equivalent to an average of 162 km/h. On Friday afternoon Varzi did a lap
of 1m31s. Fagioli had a time of 1m35s driving a Maserati 2000. Ernesto Maserati himself had driven the new Maserati 1100 monoposto on the road from
Bologna. At the beginning it was left open if Furmanik or Matrullo should drive the new Maserati 1100 but then Furmanik turned with it the first
practice laps. Friday evening the drawing of lots took place for the 33 participants. Morgen drove a fast lap of 1m28s during practice, three
seconds below the existing record. After the Tunis Grand Prix the German had returned his troublesome 5-liter car to Ettore Bugatti and after the
race at Monte Carlo he had Varzi's 2.3-liter car painted white and brought it to Rome. At the last practice a transmission problem occurred on
Fagioli's Maserati 8C 2800, which could not be rectified in time for the race and therefore Fagioli was entrusted to drive the 5-liter 16-cylinder
#66 Maserati for the first time at this race.
On Sunday morning it had rained in Rome but stopped just before the Heat 1 start of the 1100 cc cars at 12:00 noon. Seven of the nine entries showed up.
Since Scaron with his Amilcar was missing, a duel was expected between Decaroli in the Salmson and the new 4-cylinder Maserati monoposto of Furmanik.
Decaroli immediately took the lead on a drying track after the rain prior to the start. Already on the second and again on the sixth lap the second
placed Furmanik attacked Scaron and was able to briefly pass him once. Then he took it easy until lap 15 to make another advance. On lap 20 he passed
shortly before the hairpin bend, but the moment was not well chosen because he could not hold the car in the corner, went off the track, stalled the
engine and lost valuable time. Behind them was first Ardizzone the 2-liter 12-cylinder Delage, which had the engine cut in half to a 1-liter, 6-cylinder
motor; he retired with engine damage on lap 13, and Del Re who also had to quit.
Decaroli finished his steady drive as winner. Tuffanelli with his Maserati gained places and eventually placed second. However, his older Maserati type
was inferior to the new monoposto in regards of speed. The general impression was that the new Maserati monoposto was the fastest 1100 cc car.
Nevertheless, Furmanik still finished third. After the Salmson of Martinatti had fallen back with punctures, he possibly placed in fourth place but it
is not clear whether he finished or not. Pratesi had also lost time when he stopped at his pit on lap 24 and did not count after he was flagged off.
Results (Heat 1)
|1.||18||Louis Decaroli||L. Decaroli||Salmson|| ||1.1|| ||25||46m58.6s|| |
|2.||12||Giuseppe Tuffanelli||G. Tuffanelli||Maserati||26C||1.1||S-8||25||49m25.8s||+ 2m27.2s|
|3.||14||Giuseppe Furmanik||G. Furmanik||Maserati||4CM||1.1||S-4||25||51m32.2s||+ 4m33.6s|
|4.||16||François Martinatti||F. Martinatti||Salmson|| ||1.1|| || || || |
|5.||6||Albino Pratesi||A. Pratesi||Salmson|| ||1.1|| || || || |
|DNF||8||Filippo Ardizzone||P. Ardizzone||Delage||2LCV||1.1||S-4||13||radiator|| |
|DNF||10||Luigi del Re||L. del Re||Lombard||AL3||1.1||S-4||10||supercharger|| |
Fastest lap: Giuseppe Furmanik (Maserati) in 1m47.4s = 134.1 km/h (83.3 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 127.7 km/h (79.4 mph)
Weather: drying up after rain
No reliable grid available|
The race for cars up to 2000 cc had received 13 entries, but only 11 came to the start, of which eight were to finish the race. The track had dried up at
the time the race was started. After the first lap the two Bugatti of Minozzi and Czaykowski were in front, followed by D'Agata in the Maserati, Romano
in a Bugatti and Savi in another Maserati. After the second lap Czaykowski had to stop at his pit and lost three quarters of a lap. He then restarted
in ninth place and in wonderful style regained one position after another. Cerami retired and Sebastiani was not even mentioned in any reports. In the
meantime Romano at the front had passed D'Agata to gain second position. The Maserati of D'Agata had engine problems and retired eventually. Minozzi
and Romano finished the race steadily and safely in first and second place, without any threat from Comotti's little 1750 Alfa Romeo, which had gained
third place by steady driving. Czaykowski passed Comotti into third place and even pestered Romano near the end. If the race had gone one further lap,
Czaykowski would have taken second place. It was a great success for Bugatti to have three cars in the first three places, then Comotti's Alfa Romeo
and in fifth place Savi in the Maserati who was followed by Cantono, "Rover" and Rose-Itier.
Results (Heat 2)
|1.||24||Giovanni Minozzi||G. Minozzi||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||25||41m07.0s|| |
|2.||32||Emilio Romano||E. Romano||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||25||42m04.0s||+ 57.0s|
|3.||22||Stanisłas Czaykowski||S. Czaykowski||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||25||43m00.0s||+ 1m53.0s|
|4.||40||Gianfranco Comotti||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||6C 1750||1.8||S-6||25||43m02.4s||+ 1m55.4s|
|5.||42||Giuseppe Savi||G. Savi||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||25||43m39.2s||+ 2m32.2s|
|6.||36||Paolo Cantono||P. Cantono||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||25||43m56.0s||+ 2m49.0s|
|7.||26||"Rover"||Lelio Pellegrini-Quarantotti||Itala||65 s/c||2.0||S-6||25||44m13.8s||+ 3m06.8s|
|8.||28||Anne-Cecile Rose-Itier||Mme Rose-Itier||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||25||47m55.4s||+ 6m48.4s|
|DNF||34||Giuseppe D'Agata||G. D'Agata||Maserati|| || || ||17||engine problems|| |
|DNF||44||Domenico R. Cerami||D. Rosso Principe di Cerami||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||11||mechanical|| |
|DNF||20||Guido Sebastiani||G. Sebastini||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||0||supercharger|| |
Fastest lap: Giovanni Minozzi (Bugatti) in 1m32.0s = 156.5 km/h (97.3 mph) (record).|
Winner's medium speed: 145.9 km/h (90.7 mph)
Heat 3 & 4:|
No reliable grid available|
Heat 3 (3000 cc) and Heat 4 (over 3000 cc) were held together to save time and because there was only one heavy machine, Fagioli in the 5000 cc,
16-cylinder Maserati. He started with a 20 seconds interval behind the pack of 3000 class cars, which consisted of Dreyfus in a 2800 Maserati,
Castelbarco in a 2500 Maserati, Taruffi in a 2300 Alfa Romeo, three Bugatti 2300s with Varzi, von Morgen and Cazzaniga and Biondetti in the well-known
Maserati-Bugatti hybrid. The latter retired very early with clutch damage, followed soon by the Bugatti of Cazzaniga. The other five finished the race,
although not without any problems. At the beginning Varzi led von Morgen, who had started in the last row, and Dreyfus. On lap six Dreyfus passed von
Morgen. On lap eight von Morgen put on a spurt and on lap nine he passed first Dreyfus and in the steeply inclined curve also Varzi. Dreyfus followed
von Morgen and also took Varzi. Up to lap 13 the order remained von Morgen, Dreyfus, Varzi, during which time the German driver extended his advantage
to over 200 meters. On lap 13 the engine of Dreyfus' Bugatti began to misfire and he fell back to third place. On lap 15 Dreyfus dropped to fourth, a
place where he remained for a long time, only to be relegated to fifth place by Castelbarco just before they reached the finish. Von Morgen was still
leading but as of lap 14 his advantage over Varzi diminished, he slowed visibly and was overtaken on lap 18. On lap 23 von Morgen was also passed by
the not very fast Alfa Romeo of Taruffi and he finally finished third. Fagioli in his 5000 Maserati had driven with excellent regularity, of course
in the best time and had the fastest average speed in the race. He had passed all cars except Varzi's Bugatti since he could not completely overcome
the 20 seconds starting interval and finished in second position 6.4 seconds after Varzi. Fagioli's elapsed time was less than Varzi's, so Fagioli's
average speed was higher. In the 3000 cc class a Bugatti came first ahead of Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Maserati.
Results (Heat 3 & 4)
|1*.||66||Luigi Fagioli||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||V5||5.0||V-16||25||37m33.4s||*|
|1.||50||Achille Varzi||A. Varzi||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||25||37m47.0s|
|2.||54||Piero Taruffi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||25||38m17.8s||+ 30.8s|
|3.||64||H.-J. von Morgen||H.-J. von Morgen||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||25||38m33.8s||+ 46.8s|
|4.||46||Luigi Castelbarco||L. Castelbarco||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||25||39m53.4s||+ 1m06.4s|
|5.||48||René Dreyfus||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||8C 2800||2.8||S-8||25||39m54.0s||+ 1m07s|
|DNF||60||Carlo Cazzaniga||C. Cazzaniga||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||4||mechanical|
|DNF||58||Clemente Biondetti||C. Biondetti||MB Speciale|| ||2.5||S-8||2||clutch|
Fastest lap cars up to 3000 cc: H.-J. von Morgen (Bugatti) in 1m27.4s = 164.8 km/h (102.4 mph).|
Fastest lap cars over 3000 cc: Luigi Fagioli (Maserati) in 1m27.6s = 164.4 km/h (102.1 mph)
Winner's medium speed (Fagioli): 159.8 km/h (99.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed (Varzi): 158.8 km/h (98.7 mph)
* Fagioli raced simultaneously in a separate class.
The Repechage was a 25-lap race to give those drivers a second chance who had recovered from their problems experienced in one of the prior heat races.
To the Repechage were admitted only fifth to eighth placed cars of Heat two and Heat three. Only the first three finishers from the Repechage were then
allowed to take part in the Final. Five drivers, Dreyfus, Savi, "Rover", Cantono and Mme. Rose-Itier decided to start in the Repechage, which developed
into a boring affair. Dreyfus' engine now ran very reliably and he lapped the slower machines with ease. Savi in the 2000 Maserati placed second ahead
of "Rover's" Itala. Cantono had retired after only four laps and Rose-Itier was last.
|1.||48||René Dreyfus||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||8C 2800||2.8||S-8||25||38m35.0s|
|2.||42||Giuseppe Savi||G. Savi||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||25||42m44.4s||+ 4m09.4s|
|3.||26||"Rover"||Lelio Pellegrini-Quarantotti||Itala||65 s/c||2.0||S-6||25||43m51.0s||+ 5m16.0s|
|4.||28||Anne-Cecile Rose-Itier||Mme Rose-Itier||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||25|| || |
|DNF||36||Paolo Cantono||P. Cantono||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||4|| || |
Fastest lap: René Dreyfus (Maserati) on lap 4 and 12 in 1m29.0s = 161.8 km/h (100.5 mph).|
Winner's medium speed (Dreyfus): 155.5 km/h (96.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed (Savi): 140.4 km/h (87.2 mph)
Amid the spectators were the King and other dignitaries, amongst them Sheik Feisal, Vincenzo Florio, Bruno and Vittorio Mussolini, also various officials
of Rome. There were 11 drivers at the start. The first two finishers from Heat 1 were not admitted since they did not qualify for the final, having
failed to set the required time for admission.
No correct grid available|
His Excellency Acerbo waved the flag to release the drivers for the Final. At the start Varzi pulled away first but Fagioli passed him to take the lead
just before they entered the Parabolica turn. At the end of the first lap Fagioli was leading Varzi, von Morgen, Dreyfus, Taruffi, Czaykowski,
Castelbarco, Minozzi, Comotti, Rover and Savi. The 5-liter Maserati was driven convincingly by Fagioli. Behind him on the second lap were Varzi,
von Morgen, Dreyfus and Taruffi in their own race and the smaller cars like those of Minozzi and Czaykowski again a separate race. After five laps the
times were: Fagioli 7m40.4s at 156.384 km/h, Varzi 7m42.2s, von Morgen 7m51.6s, Taruffi 7m53.8s, Dreyfus 7m56.4s his engine not working properly,
Czaykowski 8m09s, Castelbarco 8m21s, Comotti 8m49s, and Rover 8m58s.
By lap ten Fagioli was 8.2 seconds ahead of Varzi with a further 11 seconds gap to Taruffi, who had passed von Morgen, whose engine seemed to be
down on power right from the beginning. Dreyfus had already fallen back with engine problems. On lap 15 Fagioli was leading Varzi by15 seconds and his
possible victory, owing to the superior speed of his car, appeared secured. Varzi was 8 seconds ahead of Taruffi and 21 to von Morgen. The order Fagioli,
Varzi, Taruffi, von Morgen, Czaykowski and Castelbarco remained until lap 18, while Varzi lost more ground to the heavy Maserati, despite his brilliant
driving. After all he was the only one who could keep close to the heavy Maserati.
After 20 laps Fagioli had established 28 seconds lead to Taruffi, then Morgen 23 seconds behind Taruffi. Varzi was now in fourth place, 31
seconds behind von Morgen as he had had to change his left rear tire. Fifth was Czaykowski ahead of Castelbarco, Comotti and Minozzi in eighth place.
Dreyfus had to stop at the pits, Fagioli turned his laps regularly and the race had lost interest.
Fagioli's advantage over Taruffi was 34 seconds on lap 40 and on lap 50 it had increased to 44 seconds. During this time Czaykowski had to stop
twice at his pit to have a loose exhaust pipe fixed and on the second stop removed, losing a lot of time. Varzi had to stop a second time at his pit to
change both rear tires and once more had to regain fourth place, which he had lost temporarily. In the order Fagioli, Taruffi, von Morgen, Varzi,
Czaykowski, Minozzi, Castelbarco there were no changes until the end except on lap 58 when there was brief excitement when Fagioli's car
slowed down for a moment but immediately regained its prior speed. Fagioli explained after the race that it was necessary for him to open the reserve
tank. The final result had Fagioli in first place, followed after 29 seconds by Taruffi and von Morgen 2m04 s behind in third place. Stragglers were
allowed ten minutes to complete the full distance of 60 laps. While von Morgen had fallen one lap behind the leader, Varzi was four laps back,
followed by Czaykowski, Minozzi, Castelbarco and Comotti. "Rover" in last place was flagged with only 59 laps completed. Dreyfus and Savi did not
|1.||66||Luigi Fagioli||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||V5||5.0||V-16||60||1h30m45.2s|
|2.||54||Piero Taruffi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||60||1h31m14.2s||+ 29.0s|
|3.||64||H.J. von Morgen||H.-J. von Morgen||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||60||1h32m49.2s||+ 2m04s|
|4.||50||Achille Varzi||A. Varzi||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||60||1h37m07.2s||+ 6m32.0s|
|5.||22||Stanisłas Czaykowski||S. Czaykowski||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||60||1h37m25.4s||+ 6m40.2s|
|6.||24||Giovanni Minozzi||G. Minozzi||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||60||1h37m40.4s||+ 6m55.2s|
|7.||46||Luigi Castelbarco||L. Castelbarco||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||60||1h37m55.0s||+ 7m09.8s|
|8.||40||Gianfranco Comotti||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||6C 1750||1.8||S-6||60||1h42m56.0s||+ 12m10.8s|
|9.||26||"Rover"||Lelio Pellegrini-Quarantotti||Itala||65 s/c||2.0||S-6||59|| || |
|10.||48||René Dreyfus||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||8C 2800||2.8||S-8||?|
|11.||42||Giuseppe Savi||G. Savi||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||?|| || |
|DNS||32||Emilio Romano||E. Romano||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8|| ||valve|| |
Fastest lap: Luigi Fagioli (Maserati) on lap 2 in 1m26s at 167.4 km/h (104.0 mph).|
Winner's medium speed (Fagioli): 158.7 km/h (98.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed (Czaykowski): 147.8 km/h (91.8 mph)
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung reported about von Morgen's predicament in the Final that the German had no chance for victory due to no fault of his own.
Special tires were ordered from a German company and did not arrive. That cost von Morgen at least second place. He did take new tires but they were
already mounted and as found out later they came with a smaller wheel circumference. That meant loss of speed. So, von Morgen finished third behind
Fagioli in the Maserati and Taruffi in the Alfa Romeo.
Fagioli had driven the fastest lap in 1m26s at an average speed of 167.44 km/h. It was claimed that Varzi had driven the fastest lap, which was
supported by the Italian journalist Giovanni Canestrini, while German observers credited von Morgen with this success. There existed a valid mistrust
about the reliability of the official timing, but it had to be accepted nonetheless.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
IL LITTORIALE, Roma
Special thanks to:
II GRAND PRIX D'ORANIE
Circuit Automobile d'Arcole - Oran (F), 24 April 1932.
3 hour race on a 9.046 km (5.621 mi) circuit
Wimille's first victory
by Leif Snellman
It was a three hour race. Newcomer Moll (Bugatti) took an early lead but then fell back to retire and Wimille (Bugatti) took over command of the race followed by Gaupillat (Bugatti). There were several
retirements including two crashes where Mme Mareuse and Delorme received minor injuries. When Gaupillat also retired Wimille dominated the rest of the race to win from Zehender (Alfa Romeo). Falchetto
(Bugatti), who had started the race 22 minutes late, was fastest on the track advancing through the field to finish sixth.
In 1930 an Oran Grand Prix had been organized by L'Automobile Club d'Oranieas as part of the centenary celebration of the French conquest of Algeria. It was held on the roads near the village of Arcole
(Bir-El-Djir), east of Oran. In 1932 the second Oran Grand Prix was held on 24 April, the same day as the Rome Grand Prix at Littorio.
The event included a rally with 53 competitors, a 1h15min race for motorcycles and a 2 hour touring cars race with 20 competitors on Saturday, and a 3 hour Grand Prix for racing cars with three classes,
1.1 litre, 1.5 litre and unlimited, racing together on Sunday.
Naturally the French drivers and Bugatti cars dominated the entry list. Apart from Count Czaykowski, who had decided to race in Rome instead, most of the French top drivers were present.
2.3 litre T51s were entered by Marcel Lehoux, Jean Gaupillat and a certain Mlle. Saquier had bought T51 #51127 via Bugatti agent Ernst Friderich in Nice for newcomer Benoit Falchetto
for reasons we will not go into here.
2 litre T35Cs vere entered by "Mlle. Hellé-Nice", Jean Delorme, Victor Mouret and Dominici. Jean-Pierre Wimille had bought his
T51 directly from the Molsheim factory for 140,000 francs in December 1931 and from March 1932 onwards he had also had a T54 available, possibly on loan from the factory. Probably it was the T51 he
raced at Oran.
There were also two new names to Grand Prix racing, Louis Trintignant, whose younger brother later would be more famous and the first to win the Monaco Grand Prix twice, entered a Bugatti T35C, and Guy Moll.
Moll was the son of a Spanish mother and a French father who had emigrated from France to Algeria. In 1932 Moll had just finished his studies and without any previous racing experience or connection to
the racing took part in a small local race driving a Lorraine-Dietrich. Marcel Lehoux had witnessed that drive and immediately noticed the talent of the young driver and now entered Moll at Oran to drive
one of Lehoux's own cars, a T35C.
Philippe Etancelin and Italian Goffredo Zehender entered Alfa Romeo Monzas and Jean de Maleplane a Maserati.
In the 1.5 litre class Pierre Veyron and Louis Joly in Maseratis challenged four Bugatti drivers, among them Mme. Marguerite Mareuse, who had assisted Wimille in his early career. She was racing an
8 cylinder T51A.
Finally in the 1.1 litre class the big names were José Scaron, Amilcar agent in Le Havre, who was racing with works support, and Roger Boucly in a Salmson. They were racing against three local
"talents" in Amilcars.
Late Saturday the rally drivers on their way to Oran were hit by a storm, rain, wind and flooding roads that made conditions very hard for them. During the night the storm just turned worse with thunder,
lightning and hard winds beating Oran and hail and heavy rain destroying the roads. In the morning it looked like the race had to be postponed and it was not until the last moment when the weather turned
fine that the decision was taken that the 10,000 spectators, gathered along the course, would see the race after all.
When the flag dropped Moll took a surprise lead. Falchetto was unable to get his car away. Cloitre had problems getting his car away as well and Pellegri was an early retirement. After the first lap
Lehoux made a three minute stop at the pit with technical problems.
Moll led for two laps until Wimille took over followed by Gaupillat. Soon drivers began to retire. The first big name was Etancelin with a broken axle on his Monza, followed by Moll. 22 minutes into
the race Falchetto finally got his Bugatti ready and he joined the race but over 5 laps behind Wimille.
On the 13th lap there was an accident when the front wheel of Mme Mareuse's Bugatti collapsed during heavy braking. Two tyres burst and the car somersaulted throwing out Mme Mareuse, who was taken to
hospital with facial injuries.
Lehoux had to retire as well and then Delorme had a bad crash with his Bugatti that resulted in a broken rib and a hit on the head. Luckily Delorme had raced with a helmet.
When Gaupillat also had to retire from second position with a broken half shaft after 17 laps, Wimille was left in total command of the race. However, the eyes of the spectators now turned to Falchetto,
who despite the hopeless situation was making an excellent job. He was fastest driver on the track, passing car after car in his chase. He even seems to have managed to unlap himself, passing Wimille,
to the applauses of the spectators.
Three hours into the race the flag was dropped for the 14 remaining drivers. Wimille won by two laps followed by Zehender in the Monza and Joly and Veyron in the voiturette Maseratis. Trintignant was
fifth and Falchetto had climbed all the way to sixth position. Joly was the winner of the voiturette class and Scaron winner of the cycle car class.
It was Wimille's first major victory and he had done it in dominant style, without making a single error. Wreaths of flowers were given to the winner and in the evening Wimille took the flowers to the
hospital as a gift to his former sponsor, Mme Mareuse.
While both Lehoux and Moll had been forced to retire, Lehoux was over the moon with his protégé's first laps.
And Benoit Falchetto had made a great race as well. If one subtracts the 22 minutes he had lost early on from three hours, it will show that his medium speed during the race had been 127.1 km/h (79.0 mph)
against Wimille's 126.2 km/h!
Primary sources researched for this article:|
La Croix, Paris
L'Echo de Alger, Alger
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Petit Nicois, Nice
Motor Sport, London
I BRITISH EMPIRE TROPHY
Brooklands (GB), 30 April 1932 (Saturday).
Heats: 18 laps x 4.453 km / 2.767 mi + finish = 80.5 km (50 mi)
Final: 36 laps x 4.453 km / 2.767 mi + finish = 160.9 km (100 mi)
The Clash of the Titans
by Leif Snellman
The event was run on scratch with heats and final. The minor cars classes raced in the first heat that was won by Earl Howe in his GP Delage. In the second heat the big cars met with Eyston
(Panhard & Levassor) being the winner. In the final the top four from the second heat met again with the top duo from the first heat also participating. Cobb (Delage) led for the first laps,
but then Birkin (Bentley) took command until halfway through the race when he had to retire with a blown engine. Eyston then held the lead but trying to save tyres he run too slowly and got
surprised by Cobb, who went on to win, a victory he then lost after a protest but later reclaimed after a counter-protest.
The B.A.R.C. British Empire Trophy was one of only two real scratch races at Brooklands in 1932. The other one was the Mountain Championship, part of the B.R.D.C. Autumn Meeting on
10 September (Note 1).
There was to be four 50 mile heats for the different classes and a 100 mile final, but due to the small entry list the first three heats were run together.
In the 750cc class there were only two entries, Goldie Gardner's MG and the Earl of March's Austin.
In the 1100cc class "Bill" Humphreys' Amilcar and Francis Ashby's Riley were challenged by Vernon Balls' three Coventry-Climax engined Crossley cars, a model new to racing (one of them possibly entered under
A. Gilbert's name?). The mechanics had worked hard to get the cars ready and finally managed to get two of them to the start but the cars were to suffer from the hurried preparation.
The 2000c class had suffered especially with only two out of six cars coming to the race. They were both 8 cylinder cars built for the 1926-27 Grand Prix formula. Earl Howe was to race the GP Delage and
Henken Widengren an O.M. (Henken was the younger brother of Per-Wictor Widengren. The latter was better known in the Nordic countries, while Henken because of his Brooklands races was the one better
known in England.) Of the two cars the Delage was much stronger claimed to have given 170 hp at 8000 rpm back in 1927, while the numbers for the O.M. were only 117 hp/6000 rpm. However the O.M was the lighter car.
The stars of the event, however, were the Brooklands monsters of the free formula, which now for once had the chance to meet in a scratch event. R. Hebeler entered a Talbot 90 and Arthur
W. Fox (Fox & Nicholl Ltd.) a single seater Talbot 105 for Brian Lewis.
The 4.5S "Blower" Bentley, built especially for the 1929 Brooklands "500", with streamlined nose and featuring a single seater body designed by Reid Railton, was entered in Dorothy Paget's name for Tim Birkin
to drive. It had been rebuilt for 1932 and the engine had been rebored from 100mm to 105mm increasing the volume from 4,398 cc to 4,442cc. Running on alcohol it developed 240 hp, 65 more than a normal
"Blower" Bentley. The car had also been repainted from blue to bright red.
Then there was Woolf Barnato's huge, long tailed, 6.6 litre Speed 6 Bentley two-seater to be raced by Jack Dunfee.
The largest car of them all was Captain George Eyston's red 1926 type Panhard & Levassor 35CV, weighing 42 cwt or some 2130kg. It had an 7,938cc engine giving about 290 hp. Raced by Charles Ortmans and
Marcel Doré in 1929-30 the car model had broken several class speed records on the straight outside the French city of Arpajon.
And finally there was John Cobb's aluminium and blue colored Delage with a 10,688cc 60deg V12 engine and weighing "only" 34cwt or some 1730kg). Run by René Thomas at Arpajon back in 1924 the car had held
the absolute world land speed record for six days until beaten by Eldridge's 21.7 litre FIAT "Mephistotheles".
Due to the small entry the first three heats were run together.
Grid in line across the track|
When the flag dropped Howe with his Delage took the best start to lead throughout the race. He was followed by Henken Widengren in the O.M. with Ashby in third position closely followed by Humpreys.
Gardner retired after a few laps. After six laps Ashby also had to retire with a broken experimental type of tappet and Humpreys took over third position and the Earl of March, leading the 750cc class,
advanced to fourth overall.
There were no more changes to the order so Earl Howe got the Canada Trophy and £40 for his overall victory while class winners Bill Humphrey got the India Trophy and £40 and Lord March the South Africa
Trophy and £20.
Results (Heat 1-3)
|1.||31||Earl Howe||Earl Howe||Delage||15S8||1.5||S-8||18||28m24s|| |
|2.||35||Henken Widengren||H. Widengren||OM||GP8||1.5||S-8||18||29m42s||+ 1m18s|
|3.||25||Bill Humphreys||W. Humphreys||Amilcar||C6||1.1||S-4||18||32m22s||+ 3m58s|
|4.||12||Earl of March||Earl of March||Austin||Seven||0.7||S-4||18||32m26s||+ 4m02s|
|DNF||23||G. Crowther|| V. Balls||Crossley-Climax||10||1.1||S-4|| || |
|DNF||24||A. Gilbert||A. Gilbert||Crossley-Climax||10||1.1||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||21||Francis Ashby||A. F. Ashby||Riley||6||1.1||S-4||6||tappet||
|DNF||11||A. T. Goldie Gardner||A. T. Gardner||MG||Midget C||0.7||S-4||~2||gasket||
Fastest lap: N/A|
Winner's medium speed: 170.0 km/h (105.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed 1100cc: 149.2 km/h (92.7 mph)
Winner's medium speed 750cc: 148.9km/h (92.5 mph)
Grid in line across the track|
Cobb took the best start to lead the first lap but then he dropped back and Eyston took over the lead with Cobb following. Birkin was third and Dunfee fourth. The two Talbots had no chance against the big
four and soon fell far behind.
On the 10th lap Cobb fell back to fourth position. Then Birkin threw a tread on the right front tyre of the "Blower" Bentley and had to pit for a wheel change. So the order was now Eyston, Dunfee Cobb and
Birkin and they also finished in that order, Eyston winning by almost a minute in the end. For his heat victory Eyston received the Australia Trophy and £40.
Results (Heat 4)
|1.||44||George Eyston||G. Euston||Panhard||8C||8.0||S-8||18||23m46s|
|2.||42||Jack Dunfee||W. Barnato||Bentley||Speed 6||6.6||S-6||18||24m45s||+ 59s|
|3.||47||John Cobb||J. Cobb||Delage||V12/LSR||10.6||V12||18||25m11s||+ 1m25s|
|4.||46||"Tim" Birkin||Hon. D. Paget||Bentley||4.5S||4.4||S-4||18||25m39s||+ 1m53s|
|5.||43||Brian Lewis||A. W. Fox||Talbot||105||3.0||S-6||18||26m56s||+ 3m10s|
|6.||41||Roland Hebeler||R. Hebeler||Talbot||90||2.3||S-6||18||31m20s||+ 7m34s|
Fastest lap: N/A|
Winner's medium speed: 203.1 km/h (126.2 mph)
The idea was to have the top four from both heats competing in the final but with only two 1500cc cars present and the cycle cars finishing in 3rd and 4th position in the first heat it was considered needless
(and probably also dangerous) for the cycle cars to race against the monster cars in the final. So in the final the top four from the last heat were joined by only Howe and Widengren.
Grid in line across the track |
Cobb again took advantage of the huge acceleration of the Delage to take the lead at the start. Eyston was second followed by the Bugattis of Birkin and Dunfee with Howe and Widengren in expected 5th
and 6th positions. On the second lap Birkin passed Eyston for second position. Cobb's plan was to save the tyres for most of the race and only go flat out for the last six or so laps. Coming off the
Members banking, following the plan he let Birkin's red Bentley take over the lead on lap four. Eyston then also overtook Cobb on the 7th lap.
Widengren got problems at lap 13 and came in to change a plug but he was then forced to retire the O.M. on the next lap.
The race order Birkin, Eyston, Cobb, Dunfee and Howe remained until half distance. Then suddenly reports came that Birkin was in trouble. At first a new puncture was suspected but then the car came
rolling into the pit with misfire and with a boiling engine. Water was quickly added and the car was sent out again but a lap later a loud bang indicated that the radiator was again out of water and
the cylinder block had cracked.
The new leader Eyston speeded up to keep control of the race but fearing tyre trouble he then slowed down again on lap 26. Immediately Cobb read the situation correctly and passed the Panhard & Levassor
on the inside as they entered the Railway Straight.
For the remaining 10 laps of the race the two cars were running flat out. Eyston's car was slightly faster but Cobb held to the ideal line and the straights were not long enough for Eyston to overtake.
Lap after lap Eyston took the Panhard & Levassor early down the banking trying in vain to pass Cobb on the inside at the Fork.
After 36 laps Cobb took the chequered flag by a car's length from Eyston and on the slowing down lap the tyres of Eyston's car gave up, flapping tyre treads beating the track. Unlucky Dunfee never received
the chequered flag as he had by mistake been waved down and in to the pits by an official one lap too early, thus handling third position over to Howe in the Delage.
|1.||47||John Cobb||J. Cobb||Delage||V12/LSR||10.6||V12||36||47m29s|
|2.||44||George Eyston||G. Euston||Panhard||8C||8.0||S-8||36||47m29.2s||+ 0.2s|
|3.||31||Earl Howe||Earl Howe||Delage||15S8||1.5||S-8||36||48m11s||+ 42s|
|DNF||42||Jack Dunfee||W. Barnato||Bentley||Speed 6||6.6||S-6||35||stopped in error|
|DNF||46||"Tim" Birkin||Hon. D. Paget||Bentley||4.5S||4.4||S-4||18||cylinder block|
|DNF||35||Henken Widengren||H. Widengren||OM||GP8||1.5||S-8||14||engine|| |
Fastest lap: N/A|
Winner's medium speed: 203.4 km/h (126.4 mph)
There were talks about Cobb having blocked Eyston. Eyston himself was content to let the results remain as they were, but his friends pushed him and at the end, seeing himself as representing the car
manufacturer, he had to make a formal protest.
The Stewards, represented by Sir Algeron Lee-Guinness, S. C. H. Davis and Lionel Martin, held a 2 1/2 hour meeting after which they changed the results giving the victory to Eyston with Cobb relegated to second.
"The Motor" commented the decision, wondering how the results could be swapped that way and with a disqualified driver actually finishing second.
B.R.D.C. later also dismissed a protest from Woolf Barnato regarding the early flagging in of Dunfee.
Cobb appealed to R.A.C. and a real legal meeting was held on May 18(?), with Eyston, Cobb and the Stewards each represented by solicitors.
After hearing the evidence for over four hours, it took the R.A.C. stewards just ten minutes to make their decision, reversing the race results back to the original.
So Cobb won the British Empire Trophy and £100. The whole affair had been handled without any bad feeling between the drivers, and afterwards Eyston stood Cobb a dinner.
1. The other major Brooklands events in 1932 were the B.A.R.C. Easter Monday Meeting on 28 March, the B.A.R.C. Whit Monday Meeting on 16 May, the J.C.C. 100 Mile Race on 3-4 June, the B.A.R.C. Inter-Club
Meeting on 18 June, the L.C.C. Guy's Gala on 2 July, the L.C.C. Relay on 16 July, the B.A.R.C. Bank Holiday Meeting on 1 August and the B.R.D.C. 500 Mile Race on 16 September.