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Back in 1999 when I went online with my site the 1938 season was not included. I then added that season in a rather rush to get my site complete. Now, twelve years later, the 1938 pages are being completely redesigned with full entry lists and results included even for the minor races. Also, I don't have to worry about limited web resources any more, but can concentrate on getting the reports and results tables correct and complete, including race speeds and track lengths. The page will follow the format already seen on the 1931-1933 and 1939 pages.
Leif Snellman


The new formula for the 1938 - 1940 seasons was announced in October 1936. The main requirements of this formula were:
1. A minimum engine capacity of 1000cc and a maximum capacity of 4500cc for cars without
2. A minimum engine capacity of 666cc and a maximum capacity of 3000cc for cars with supercharger.
3. A minimum weight of 400kg to 850 kg on a sliding scale depending on the engine capacity.
4. Free choice of fuel.
    The weight excluded fuel, engine oil and water.
The same formula was used in the American Automobile Association (AAA) in the Indycar Championship 1938-1956.

Supercharged Piston Displacement and Minimum Weight:
Increasing by 1.928 kilograms / 4.25 pounds per 10 cubic centimeters/ 0.61 cubic inch of displacement
      666 cc   40.639 cu. in.   400.000 kg     881.840 lbs.
      700 cc   42.714 cu. in.   406.555 kg     896.291 lbs. 
      800 cc   48.816 cu. in.   425.835 kg     938.795 lbs. 
      900 cc   54.918 cu. in.   445.115 kg     981.300 lbs. 
    1,000 cc   61.020 cu. in.   464.395 kg   1,023.805 lbs. 
    1,100 cc   67.122 cu. in.   483.675 kg   1,066.309 lbs. 
    1,200 cc   73.224 cu. in.   502.955 kg   1,108.814 lbs. 
    1,300 cc   79.326 cu. in.   522.235 kg   1,151.319 lbs.
    1,400 cc   85.428 cu. in.   541.515 kg   1,193.823 lbs. 
    1,500 cc   91.530 cu. in.   560.795 kg   1,236.328 lbs. 
    1,600 cc   97.632 cu. in.   580.075 kg   1,278.833 lbs. 
    1,700 cc  103.724 cu. in.   599.355 kg   1,321.338 lbs. 
    1,800 cc  109.836 cu. in.   618.635 kg   1,363.842 lbs. 
    1,900 cc  115.938 cu. in.   637.915 kg   1,406.347 lbs. 
    2,000 cc  122.040 cu. in.   657.195 kg   1,448.852 lbs. 
    2,100 cc  128.142 cu. in.   676.475 kg   1,491.356 lbs. 
    2,200 cc  134.244 cu. in.   695.755 kg   1,533.861 lbs. 
    2,300 cc  140.346 cu. in.   715.035 kg   1,576.366 lbs.  
    2,400 cc  146.448 cu. in.   734.315 kg   1,618.870 lbs. 
    2,500 cc  152.550 cu. in.   753.595 kg   1,661.375 lbs. 
    2,600 cc  158.652 cu. in.   772.875 kg   1,703.880 lbs. 
    2,700 cc  164.754 cu. in.   792.155 kg   1,746.384 lbs. 
    2,800 cc  170.856 cu. in.   811.435 kg   1,788.889 lbs. 
    2,900 cc  176.958 cu. in.   830.715 kg   1,831.394 lbs. 
    3,000 cc  183.060 cu. in.   849.995 kg   1,873.898 lbs. 
Non-Supercharged Piston Displacement and Minimum Weight:
Increasing by 1.285 kilograms / 2.833 pounds per 10 cubic centimeters/ 0.61 cubic inches of displacement
    1,000 cc   61.020 cu. in.   400.000 kg     881.840 lbs.    
    1,100 cc   67.122 cu. in.   412.850 kg     910.169 lbs. 
    1,200 cc   73.224 cu. in.   425.700 kg     938.498 lbs.    
    1,300 cc   79.326 cu. in.   438.550 kg     966.827 lbs.    
    1,400 cc   85.428 cu. in.   451.400 kg     995.156 lbs.      
    1,500 cc   91.530 cu. in.   464.250 kg   1,023.485 lbs.    
    1,600 cc   97.632 cu. in.   477.100 kg   1,051.814 lbs.      
    1,700 cc  103.724 cu. in.   489.950 kg   1,080.143 lbs.    
    1,800 cc  109.836 cu. in.   502.800 kg   1,108.472 lbs.       
    1,900 cc  115.938 cu. in.   515.650 kg   1,136.801 lbs.    
    2,000 cc  122.040 cu. in.   528.500 kg   1,165.131 lbs.      
    2,100 cc  128.142 cu. in.   541.350 kg   1,193.460 lbs.      
    2,200 cc  134.244 cu. in.   554.200 kg   1,221.789 lbs.       
    2,300 cc  140.346 cu. in.   567.050 kg   1,250.118 lbs.       
    2,400 cc  146.448 cu. in.   579.900 kg   1,278.447 lbs.       
    2,500 cc  152.550 cu. in.   592.750 kg   1,306.776 lbs.      
    2,600 cc  158.652 cu. in.   605.600 kg   1,335.105 lbs.       
    2,700 cc  164.754 cu. in.   618.450 kg   1,363.434 lbs.      
    2,800 cc  170.856 cu. in.   631.300 kg   1,391.763 lbs.      
    2,900 cc  176.958 cu. in.   644.150 kg   1,420.093 lbs.     
    3,000 cc  183.060 cu. in.   657.000 kg   1,448.422 lbs.      
    3,100 cc  189.162 cu. in.   669.850 kg   1,476.751 lbs.     
    3,200 cc  195.264 cu. in.   682.700 kg   1,505.080 lbs.      
    3,300 cc  201.366 cu. in.   695.550 kg   1,533.409 lbs.    
    3,400 cc  207.468 cu. in.   708.400 kg   1,561.738 lbs.     
    3,500 cc  213.570 cu. in.   721.250 kg   1,590.067 lbs.    
    3,600 cc  219.672 cu. in.   734.100 kg   1,618.396 lbs.      
    3,700 cc  225.774 cu. in.   746.950 kg   1,646.725 lbs.    
    3,800 cc  231.876 cu. in.   759.800 kg   1,675.055 lbs.    
    3,900 cc  237.978 cu. in.   772.650 kg   1,703.384 lbs.      
    4,000 cc  244.080 cu. in.   785.500 kg   1,731.713 lbs.      
    4,100 cc  250.182 cu. in.   798.350 kg   1,760.042 lbs.      
    4,200 cc  256.284 cu. in.   811.200 kg   1,788.371 lbs.     
    4,300 cc  262.386 cu. in.   824.050 kg   1,816.700 lbs.      
    4,400 cc  268.488 cu. in.   836.900 kg   1,845.029 lbs.     
    4,500 cc  274.590 cu. in.   849.750 kg   1,873.358 lbs.     
Tables supplied by Don Capps

The object was to give small cars a chance to compete on equal terms but it soon turned out that all went for maximum capacity and maximum weight. The constructors compensated for the loss of engine volume by increasing the engine revs and developing the superchargers. The new cars became extremely hungry on fuel demanding huge tanks and several pit stops.
      The new formula was a hard blow for the French attempt to re-enter GP racing. The French manufacturers, who during the 750 kg era had turned to sports car racing and had 4.5 litre engines ready, estimated that a ratio of 1 to 1.75 (i.e. 2.5 litre / 4.5 litre formula) was needed between supercharged and non supercharged engines to give the latter a chance at all, even with restrictions to normal fuel.

The championship
The AIACR continued to hold the European Championship for drivers. The French, German, Swiss and Italian Grand Prix were included in the championship. See the 1938 European Championship table.

The curious French racing politics continued. The Fonds of Course committee ignored the winning Delahaye team and preferred to support Talbot and Bugatti instead with a further million francs, thereby almost guaranteeing that the French should remain a second class nation in GP racing. Delahaye answered by boycotting the French GP.

Rosemeyer's fatal accident on 28 January put a shadow over the whole 1938 season, just as Clark in 1968, Villeneuve in 1982 and Senna in 1994. Mercedes was to dominate the races. Auto Union started off the season in confusion and it was not until September that they got their act right.

The 1500cc Voiturettes continued as before and 1938 was a landmark in the motor racing as Alfa Corse introduced the classic type 158 Alfetta.

Cancelled events:
The political situation put its own marks upon the season. It was the year of the Anschluss and the München crisis and the Spanish civil war continued. Gone from the calendar was the Tunis GP scheduled for 8 May. The Vanderbilt Cup planned for 4 July clashed with the French GP so only the Schells would have entered from Europe. The Roosevelt Field circuit was bankrupt by April. The Eifelrennen organizers decided to cancel their race, planned for 12 June, because only Mercedes would have entered as Auto Union was not ready. The Hungarian GP at Budapest scheduled for 19 June was cancelled for economic reasons as was the Monaco GP scheduled for 7 August that would have included a Coupe Rainier for sports and touring cars. The Masaryk GP at Brno scheduled for 25 September was cancelled as well. The Donington GP was delayed for three weeks while Hitler and Chamberlain held their discussions and the German Mountainclimb championship was actually held in Austria for propaganda reasons.



After tests with both 4.5 and 3 litre engine variants Mercedes-Benz finally decided to build a 3 litre supercharged V12 engine for the 1938 season. The W 125 chassis was used with only smaller changes but the engine was mounted in at an angle and the driver sat alongside the propeller shaft. That enabled the new W 154 car body to be extremely low. To compensate for the smaller engine the gears were increased to five. Mercedes did much testing with the positioning of the fuel tanks, building two different body shapes. Just in case that the 4.5 litre cars would turn out to be superior, Porsche was assigned to start the construction of a 24 cylinder 4.5 litre engine.
      The team continued with their usual driver lineup consisting of Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hermann Lang with Richard Seaman as junior driver. Walter Bäumer replaced Kautz as reserve.

Auto Union
When the season started the Auto Union team was in real confusion. Stuck had been sacked, head designer Porsche had left the team to work on the Volkswagen and Rosemeyer had died in a terrible accident during a world record attempt in January. The new designer Eberan-Eberhorst had constructed a 3 litre supercharged V12 engine for the new formula.
      The team started the season with Rudolf Hasse and Hermann Müller as drivers and Christian Kautz, moving from Mercedes, as junior driver with Ulrich Bigalke and Ewald Kluge as reserves. Later in the season the team signed on Tazio Nuvolari and re-employed Hans Stuck.

Alfa Romeo
On 1 January 1938 Scuderia Ferrari was dissolved. Racing was now handled by the Alfa Corse works team based at Milan with Enzo Ferrari as team manager and Spaniard Wilfredo Ricard as head designer. Alfa Romeo built a new car resembling the 1937 12C-37 but with a much improved road-holding. The company built no less than three new 3.0 litre engines for the car, a straight 8 cylinder, a V12 and a V16. That was just too much and the development programs suffered.
      Tazio Nuvolari was to be the leading driver for the team but he resigned after the first race to join Auto Union. Brivio had retired so the Alfa Corse team had Giuseppe Farina, Mario Tadini and Carlo Pintacuda as drivers with Clemente Biondetti, Eugenio Siena, Emilio Villoresi and Raymond Sommer to jump in occasionally. Halfway through the season Jean-Pierre Wimille also joined the team.

In early 1938 the Maserati factory was taken over by the wealthy industrialist Adolfo Orsi and moved to Modena. Adolfo's son Omer Orsi became the new managing director. The Maserati brothers continued in the team on a 10 year contract. The works team made its comeback to GP racing with their new 3 litre 8CTF car. The new car proved to be extremely fast and able to challenge the Germans on equal terms but sadly the car also proved to be very fragile. As drivers functioned Count Trossi, Goffredo Zehender, Luigi Villoresi and Achille Varzi.

The O'Reilly-Schell's Ecurie Bleue functioned as a semi-works team. Delahaye started to develop a new 4.5 litre V12 engine and a new monoplace car, the Type 155. Meanwhile the team continued to use stripped Type 145 sports cars in GP racing. The driver lineup included René Dreyfus and Gianfranco Comotti.
During the season Ecurie Bleue came into a bitter fight with the French automobile club over subventions, the end result being that the team moved its base to Monaco and boycotted the French GP.

During 1937 the team received 400,000 francs from the Fonds de Course committee for further development. Bugatti constructed a supercharged 3 litre variant of their Type 50B engine for GP racing. The engine was put into the old Type 59 chassis and the combination was called Type 59/50B3. Jean-Pierre Wimille continued as works driver.

Early in 1938 Tony Lago declared that Talbot should develop a 3 litre V16 engine for GP racing and immediately got a 600,000 francs subvention from the Fonds de Course committee. No V16 engine was ever seen but the team used an enlarged 4.5 litre variant of their 4 litre sports car engine for GP racing. Talbot also started the construction of two new car models, the MC 90 and the MD 90. Meanwhile the 4.5 litre engine was put into a variant of the T150C sports car chassis.


Alfa Romeo
On 7th August 1938 Alfa Romeo returned to Voiturette racing with their new 8 cylinder Type 158 "Alfettas". The cars were entered by the Alfa Corse works team and raced during the rest of the season by Emilio Villoresi, Clemente Biondetti, Francesco Severi, Raymond Sommer and test driver Attilio Marinoni.

After the takeover by Adolfo Orsi, Maserati concentrated on both GP and Voiturette racing. The team entered new variants of their 4CM and 6CM cars with improved suspension and bodywork. As works drivers the team entered Aldo Marazza, Count Trossi and Giovanni Rocco. Luigi Villoresi raced in the beginning for Scuderia Ambrosiana but later moved to the works team.
      Other top Maserati drivers during the year were Paul Pietsch with his white works/semi-works 6CM and Swiss driver Armand Hug, whose fine season included two victories. British driver Johnnie Wakefield also started the season with a Maserati before changing to ERA.

During the 1938 season ERA was working on their GP project. The new car took most of the little company's resources and soon it became clear that ERA never would have a chance to compete with the Germans. So in autumn 1938 the decision was made to finish the GP car as a Voiturette, known as the ERA-E type. For the team's Voiturette racing the GP project proved fatal. There was money only for upgrading one C type car to what was to be called the D type. For works drivers Raymond Mays and Earl Howe the 1938 was a season with little success and much disappointment.
      After the terrible Delage adventure the White Mouse Stable bought an ERA-C for the 1938 season for "B Bira" Other ERA privateers included Arthur Dobson and Reggie Tongue and later also Johnnie Wakefield after having destroyed his Maserati.


Bernd Rosemeyer was killed on 28 January on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt Autobahn when his speed record Auto Union lost its downforce at 430 km/h. On 3 April during the Mille Miglia a Lancia Aprilia bounced on a level crossing and ploughed into a tightly packed crowd of spectators. Ten or eleven persons were killed, including seven children, and two dozen more were injured. Tucker Clayton was badly injured at the Brooklands Easter meeting on 18 April when his M.G. went over the banking after a crash with A. P. Hamilton's Alfa Romeo and ended up in a tree. About a dozen spectators were either injured or killed (details of the accident seems to have been suppressed) when Joăo Alfredo Braga crashed his Alfa Romeo into the crowd at the Rio de Janeiro GP on 12 June. On 7 May at the International Trophy race at Brooklands Joseph Paul's V12 Delage burst in flames, forcing Paul to lift his left hand and pull over in an attempt to leave the track. He was then hit by A. C. Lace's Darracq and both cars swerved and ran up the steep safety bank. The burning Delage went through the fence and down the other side crashing into people who were walking back along the track to the pits, while Paul jumped out and received concussion and severe burns. Spectator Miss Peggy Williams was killed and ten others persons were injured including race drivers Kay Petre, Douglas Hawkes (married to Gwenda Stewart) and Betty Haig. Famous supercharger and Austin car designer T. Murray-Jamieson died later in hospital. During the Tripoli GP on 15 May Eugenio Siena and László Hartmann were involved in two separate crashes between GP cars and Voiturettes. Siena died immediately while Hartmann broke his back and died the following day. On 30 May spectator Everett Spence was killed by a flying tire at the Indy 500. At the "Prix de Bremgarten" on 20 August Hans Gubelin (BMW) surprisingly took the lead on the last lap. The flag man failed to flag him off as winner and the driver passed the finish line at full speed only to crash fatally on the next lap. In a similar bizarre accident at the Milano GP at Monza on 11 September Aldo Marazza failed to see the chequered flag. He continued at full race speed, overturned the car in the Lesmo curve, and crashed into the woods. 26 years old Marazza had a lung pierced on a branch of a tree and died at the hospital the same evening.


Star 1 January 1938: Ugo Gobbato announced that "Alfa Corse" in the future will have the sole responsibility for Alfa Romeo racing activities. All "Scuderia Ferrari" personal and equipment was to be transferred from Modena to Portello.
Star 1 January 1938: "Buller" Meyer (Riley) wins the South African GP handicap race at East London. Click here for full results.
Star 15 January 1938: Earl Howe (ERA) wins the Grosvenor GP handicap race in Cape Town, South Africa.
Click here for full results.
Star 28 January 1938: Bernd Rosemeyer had a fatal crash during a world record attempt on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt highway. Click here for analysis of the event.
Star 12 - 19 March 1938: Auto Union held a test for new drivers at Monza with the following drivers:
	 Huschke von Hanstein
Christian Kautz was selected as junior driver for the 1938 season.
Star 12 March 1938: The March Meeting was the season opening meeting of Brooklands.
The four handicap races were won by Baker-Carr (Bentley 6.5L), K. Gammon (Riley 1.8L), Harvey-Noble (MG) and John Horsfall (Aston Martin 2L).
Star 2 April 1938: "B Bira" (ERA) wins the Coronation Trophy handicap race at Crystal Palace - London
Star 3 April 1938: Clemente Biondetti / Aldo Stefani (Alfa Romeo) wins the Mille Miglia sports car race in Italy. (Results)
Star 9 April 1938: "Charlie" Dodson (Austin) wins the British Empire Trophy handicap race at Donington, England.
The works ERA team appear with the cars repainted from black to green as they plan to take part in international events in 1938.

René Dreyfus - DelahayeR. Caracciola / H. Lang - Mercedes-BenzGianfranco Comotti - Delahaye


Pau (F) 10 April 1938
100 laps x 2.7696 km (1.721 mi) = 276.96 km (172.1 mi)
(Note 1)


2René DreyfusEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12
4Gianfranco ComottiEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12
6Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12
8Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12DNS - oil pressure
10Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT59/50BS-8DNA
12Tazio NuvolariAlfa CorseAlfa RomeoTipo 3083.0S-8DNS - fire
14Emilio VilloresiAlfa CorseAlfa RomeoTipo 3083.0S-8DNS - withdrawn
14Giuseppe FarinaAlfa CorseAlfa RomeoTipo 3083.0S-8DNA?
16René Le BčgueLe BčgueTalbot150C4.0S-6DNA
18"de Maris"A EmbiricosTalbot150C4.0S-6DNA
20"Raph"Scuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
22Antonio NegroScuderia SabaudaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
24Dioscoride LanzaD. LanzaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
28Maurice TrintignantM. TrintignantBugattiT35C/512.3S-8
30Yves MatraY. MatraBugattiT512.3S-8
32Francis BayardF. BayardBugattiT512.3S-8DNA

Dreyfus' sensational victory gave Delahaye its greatest moment.

On the twisty Pau street track René Dreyfus in a Delahaye was able to keep pace with Caracciola's Mercedes and while the Delahaye run a nonstop race, the fuel hungry supercharged Mercedes lost time during its pit stop that Lang, who had taken over the car from Caracciola, was never able to regain. With the Mercedes also developing plug trouble Dreyfus totally dominated the latter part race to win by almost two minutes.
As a shakedown to the season proper Mercedes-Benz decided to enter two of their new cars in the Pau GP.
      The main rivals were the Alfa Corse works team that was making its comeback to Grand Prix racing, having taking over from the dissolved Scuderia Ferrari. The idea was to prepare three new Alfa Romeo 308 cars for the race to be driven by Nuvolari, Farina and Emilio Villoresi but in the end only two cars arrived to Pau.
      Ecurie Bleu sent two Delahaye type 145 cars. Comotti's Delahaye featured a radiator grille looking like a type 135, probably for commercial reasons.
      Making his race debut was 20 years old Maurice Trintignant. The organizers had accepted his entry, possibly to honour the memory of his brother Louis.
Both Mercedes cars suffered from clutch slip and oiled up plugs and the new five-speed gear box was more of a trouble than help on the street track. During practice Lang lost control and crashed into the straw bales. The team withdrew Lang's car and entered just one car for Caracciola.
      Nuvolari was in great form during practice but suddenly the new Alfa Romeo 308 caught fire as chassis flexing had ruptured the saddle tank. Nuvolari escaped with minor burns on his legs but was clearly shaken and the car was destroyed. As a matter of fact Nuvolari was furious and declared that he would never race for Alfa Romeo again. Fearing a repetition of the accident Alfa Corse decided to withdraw Villoresi's car.

Results of Friday practice:
Nuvolari 1m48s, Dreyfus 1m50s, Lang 1m53s, Caracciola 1m53s, Villoresi 1m55s, Lanza 2m00s, Comotti 2m02s, Trintignant 2m17s.

      The results of Saturday practice can be seen on the grid. Dreyfus' Delahaye had shown good speed during the practice, being almost as fast as the Mercedes cars. The organizers became worried when realizing that Trintignant had qualified for a position in the middle of the field. Charles Faroux wanted to move Trintignant to the last position and changed his mind only on the condition that Trintignant during the race would not try to pass any one (!) and would keep a close look in his mirrors.

Pole Position
















* 8 Lang (Mercedes-Benz) 1:49 DNS
Comotti took Lang's place in the grid!

(Note 2)

Caracciola took the lead of the race followed by Dreyfus, Trintignant, Lanza, Comotti, "Raph" and Matra. On the twisty Pau street track Dreyfus was able to keep pace with the leader and actually pass. Caracciola re-passed but by now the Mercedes team must have known what would happen. The fuel consumption of the Delahaye was about half of that of the supercharged Mercedes cars and the track had become slippery from oil and rubber making it impossible for Caracciola to use the power advantage of the Mercedes-Benz. Situation after 50 laps:
1. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h32m26s
2. Dreyfus (Delahaye)1h32m32s
3. Comotti (Delahaye)- 3 laps
4. "Raph" (Maserati)- 4 laps
5. Trintignant (Bugatti)- 12 laps
6. Matra (Bugatti)- 12 laps
7. Lanza (Maserati)- 14 laps

With half of the race gone Caracciola came into the pits for fuel. The braking and gear changing on the Pau track had got Caracciola's old leg injury to make itself known and he gave over the car to Lang. Dreyfus took over the lead never to be challenged again as he was running on a nonstop strategy. Lang's car developed plug trouble but it is unlikely that the Mercedes team would have won that day even with a healthy car. The team had to admit that they had been beaten squarely and fairly. So Dreyfus went on to a sensational victory, taking the flag almost 2 minutes in front of Lang. Comotti was third in the other Delahaye followed by "Raph"'s Maserati.



1.2René DreyfusEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-121003h08m59s
2.6R. Caracciola / H. LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-121003h10m50s+ 1m51s
3.4Gianfranco ComottiEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12943h09m50s
4.20"Raph"Scuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6853h10m37s
5.28Maurice TrintignantM. TrintignantBugattiT35C/512.3S-8833h09m33s
6.24Dioscoride LanzaD. LanzaMaserati6CM1.5S-6813h09m54s
DNF30Yves MatraY. MatraBugattiT512.3S-840
DNF22Antonio NegroScuderia SabaudaMaserati6CM1.5S-69steering
Fastest lap: Rudolf Caracciola (Mercedes Benz) in 1m47.0s = 87.93 km/h (54.64 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 87.93 km/h (54.64 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 92.32 km/h (57.37 mph)

1. Track length (2769.6m) source is from a previous winners list in Autocourse Vol 1 1951 (which looks official) where speeds given are consistent with track length.

2. Film evidence shows this to be the correct grid (definitely!) with Comotti starting to the right on Lang's grid position rather than to left. As I had mistaken Lanza for Negro earlier, my previous grid was completely wrong.

Star 18 April 1938: Peter Whitehead (ERA) wins the Australian GP handicap race at Bathurst.

B. Bira - ERAArthur Dobson - ERA	Arthur Hyde - Maserati


Brooklands (GB), 18 April 1938 (Monday)
10 laps x 3.648 km (2.267 mi) = 36.48 km (22.67 mi)


"B Bira"Prince ChulaERAC1.5S-6
5Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-6
Arthur HydeA. HydeMaserati8CM3.0S-8
Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati6CM?1-5S-6
Emmanuel de GraffenriedBaron de GraffenriedMaserati4CM1.5S-4
William CottonW. CottonERAB1.5S-6
John SnowJ. SnowAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.8S-8DNA
A.C. LaceA.C. LaceTalbot 150C?4.0S-6DNA
Dick WilkinsR. WilkinsB.H.W.5.0S-8DNA
Entry list probably incomplete

"Bira" beats Dobson in one of Brooklands' finest short races

This race was part of the Easter meeting. Luigi Villoresi and Emmanuel de Graffenried in their Maseratis gave the event an international character. The event turned out to a duel between ERA drivers Arthur Dobson and "B. Bira". Dobson led for the first half of the race, the Siamese prince then took over the lead and held it to the flag.
The Campbell Trophy was a ten lap sprint that was part of the Brooklands B.A.R.C. Easter meeting. The handicap races that day were won by Oliver Bertram (Bowler-Hofman Spl. 4.5L), John Horsfall (Aston Martin 2.0L), George Abecassis (Alta 2.0L), Miss Dorothy Stanley-Turner (MG Q 0.75L), Wooding (Talbot 3L) and Peter Monkhouse (MG Magnette).
The big race of the day however was then the scratch Campbell Trophy scratch race over ten laps of the Campbell circuit with a Ł 100 prize for the winner.
Arthur Hyde entered his ex-Cholmondeley-Tapper Maserati 8CM and there were international voiturette Maserati entries from Baron de Graffenried and Luigi Villoresi, the latter with different coloured front and rear wheels. ERA entries included "B Bira" with R12C "Hanuman", Arthur Dobson with his white R7B, Billy Cotton with the green ex-Seaman R1B.
      The Alfa Romeo P3 of John Snow was a non starter as were the 4 litre Darracq of A.C. Lace and the B.H.W. of R.S. Wilkins.
Over 20,000 spectators had arrived to Brooklands for the Easter meeting. John Cobb's new Railton Special world speed record car was at display at the paddock.
Grid in line across the track

As the flag was dropped Arthur Hyde in his green Maserati took the lead, followed by Dobson's ERA and the Maseratis of de Graffenried and Villoresi. Hyde had to let Dobson by on the first lap and on the next lap Bira also passed, putting Hyde down to third position. Now a hectic duel started between the two ERAs in the front. Dobson was overdriving, trying to keep his car in front of Bira's faster and better accelerating C type. De Graffenried was falling back with a sick engine and on the fourth lap Cotton passed Villoresi whose Maserati on this track seemed to have no chance against the ERAs. On the fifth lap reaching the Railway turn Bira moved up beside Dobson and they run side by side up the Road Straight before Bira got the upper hand on took over the lead that he then held until the finish of the race. Dobson finished 1.6s behind with Hyde taking third position. During the race Bira had also beaten the old lap record.



1."B Bira"Prince ChulaERA1.5S-610~18m27.4s (Note 1)
2.5Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERA1.5S-610~18m29.0s+ 1.6s
3.Arthur HydeA. HydeMaserati8CM3.0S-810~19m00.8s+33.4s
4.William CottonW. CottonERAB1.5S-610
5Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati6CM?1.5S-610?
DNFEmmanuel de GraffenriedBaron de GraffenriedMaserati4CM1.5S-41
Fastest lap: "B. Bira" (ERA) in ~1m47.8s = 121.8 km7h 75.71 mph (Note 1)
Winner's medium speed: 118.6 km/h (73.7 mph)
Weather: fine but cold

1. Times calculated from speeds.

Main sources: Bill Boddy's "The history of Brooklands Motor Course", sports magazine "Motor Sport" May 1938.

B. Bira - ERAArthur Dobson - ERALuigi Villoresi - Maserati (Scuderia Ambrosiana)

(Voiturette 1500cc)

Carrigrohane (EIR), 23 April 1938 (Saturday)
12 laps x 9.797 km (6.088 mi) = 117.6 km (73.1 mi)


21Herbert BergH BergMaserati6CM1.5S-6DNS - did not start
22"B Bira"Prince ChulaERAC1.5S-6
23Earl HoweEarl HoweERAB1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
24Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-6
25Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6DNS - did not start
26Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-6
27Norman WilsonN. WilsonERAA1.5S-6
28Tony RoltA. RoltERAB1.5S-6
29Giovanni LuraniScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
30Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
31Emmanuel de GraffenriedJohn du PuyMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNS - did not start
32Armand HugEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
33Luigi SoffiettiScuderia SubauraMaserati4CM1.5S-4
34John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati6CM1.5S-6
35Robin HansonMrs Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-6
36Frank O'BoyleF. O'BoyleAlta1.5S-4
37Antony Powys-LybbeA. Powys-LybbeTalbot7001.5S-8DNS - engine
38Bryce PrestwickB. PrestwickMGK3 MagnetteS-6
39William EverittW. EverittMGK3 MagnetteS-6DNA - did not appear

"Bira" goes from last to first

With a defect first gear Bira came last in the start but it did not take long before he had advanced to second behind leading Dobson. Then Bira passed and opened up a half a minute gap to win the race from Dobson and Luigi Villoresi.
The Cork light car race for voiturettes had a excellent entry list including eight Maseratis v.s seven ERAs. As the ERA works team was not present, the favourite was Bira with his ex-works ERA-C (R12C "Hanuman") other ERA entries included Wilson (R4A), Rolt (R5B), Connell (R6B) Dobson (R7B) and Tongue (R11B) while Earl Howe never came to the race. Maserati drivers L. Villoresi, Soffietti and Hug nade the field truly international. O´Boyle's Alfa and Prestwick's M.G. Magnette completed the field.

Pole Position




"B Bira"


L Villoresi


















With a defect first gear Bira came last in the start but it did not take long before he had advanced to second behind leading Dobson. Then Bira passed and opened up a half a minute gap. Meanwhile Dobson spun but was able to continue. There was a hard fight between Luigi Villoresi (Scuderia Ambrosiana) and Wakefield (private Maserati). Wakefield manged to pass Villoresi on lap 4 and lap 9, pnly to be oventaken both time again by the Italian. That duel ended when Wakefield's maserati started to misfire. He then overturned the car which crashed badly, leaped over a wall and run down over a field into the river. Wakefield survived the horrible crash with broken ribs. Near the end of the race Villoresi tried hard to catch Dobson, but he did not succeed.



1.22"B Bira"Prince ChulaERAC1.5S-61247m55.0s
2.24Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-61249m33.8s+ 1m38.8s
3.30Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-61249m34.0s+ 1m39.0s
4.27Norman WilsonN. WilsonERAA1.5S-61252m48.0s+ 4m53.0s
5.32Armand HugEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-41253m28.0s+ 5m33.0s
6.33Luigi SoffiettiScuderia SubauraMaserati4CM1.5S-41256m56.0s+ 9m01.0s
DNF34John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati6CM1.5S-612crash
DNF35Robin HansonMrs Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-68mechanical
DNF38Bryce PrestwickB. PrestwickMGK3 MagnetteS-65plugs
DNF28Tony RoltA. RoltERAB1.5S-62piston
DNF26Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-62piston
DNF36Frank O'BoyleF. O'BoyleAlta1.5S-40
Fastest lap: "B. Bira" (ERA) at 3m56s = 149.4 km/h (92.9 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 147.2 km/h (91.5 mph)

René Dreyfus - DelahayeB. Bira - MaseratiLouis Gerard - Delage


Carrigrohane (EIR), 23 April 1938 (Saturday)
33 laps x 9.797 km (6.088 mi) = 323.3 km (200.9 mi)


1Tazio NuvolariAlfa CorseAlfa Romeo3083.0S-8DNA - did not appear
2Giuseppe FarinaAlfa CorseAlfa Romeo3083.0S-8DNA - did not appear
3Hans RüeschH. RüeschAlfa Romeo8C-352.9S-8DNA - did not appear
4Christopher StanilandW. C. DevereuxMulti Union2.9S-8DNA - did not appear
5Francis AshbyA. F. Ashby & CoAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.0S-8DNA - did not appear
7Kenneth EvansK EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
8Mrs Jill ThomasE. M. ThomasAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8DNA - did not appear
9Alfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8DNA - did not appear
10"Buddy" FeatherstonhaughJ. L. SnowAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8DNA - did not appear
10John SnowJ. L. SnowAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8DNA - alternative driver
11Laury SchellEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12DNA - did not appear
12Gianfranco ComottiEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12
14René DreyfusEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12
15Joseph PaulCount HeydenDelahaye1353.6S-6
16Jean VialeCount HeydenDelahaye1353.6S-6
17Louis GerardCount HeydenDelage3.0S-6
18Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugatti59/50B3.0S-8
19Herbert BergH BergMaserati26M2.6S-8DNA - did not appear
20"B Bira"Prince ChulaMaserati8CM3.0S-8

Dreyfus and Delahaye wins again

With Mercedes Benz and Alfa Romeo deciding not to participate, no one could hinder René Dreyfus and Delahaye to take their second victory of the season. With Wimille struggling with his Bugatti, Dreyfus was dominating the event, beating "Bira's" Maserati by almost two minutes.
The Cork GP was held at the 6 mile 154 yard Carrigrohane track. The event had starts both for GP cars, voiturettes (see above) and handicap. After the Pau GP, Mercedes Benz had intended to enter the Grand Prix at Cork. Indeed the race promoters, The Irish Hospital Trust, had visited Germany and Italy early in 1938 and met the racing departments of Mercedes, Auto Union and Alfa Romeo. Mercedes wished to enter but along with Alfa Romeo tried to pursuade the Irish organisers to run the race at a later date when the teams could better guarantee their entries. When the organizers insisted on a date of April 23nd, Mercedes dropped out, but Alfa did enter two cars for Nuvolari and Farina. These cars appear in the official race programme. However after the Pau incident Nuvolari had left Alfa Romeo and one car was badly damaged by fire. Rather than send a single car, Alfa withdrew from the race.
      So the main contenders for the GP race were the two Delahayes of the Ecure Bleue team, Wimille's new Bugatti T59/50B3, Bira's ancient Maserati, Evans' even older Alfa Romeo Tipo B and Gérard's non supercharged 3 litre Delage.

Pole Position


"B Bira"





Alfa Romeo









(Note 1)

Dreyfus started from the pole position but it was Bira in the Maserati who took the start. However, it did not take more than a lap for Dreyfus to put the Delahaye up into the lead. Both Wimille, who was struggling with the new Bugatti, and Comotti in the second Delahaye had to retire but Dreyfus dominated the race to take his second GP victory of the year. The French optimism for the rest of the season was high, even knowing that the Germans had a huge horsepower advantage.



1.14René DreyfusEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12332h09m40s
2.20"B Bira"Prince ChulaMaserati8CM3.0S-8332h11m30s+ 1m50s
3.17Louis GerardCount HeydenDelage3.0?S-6302h10m47s
4.7Kenneth EvansK EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8302h12m15s
5.15Joseph PaulCount HeydenDelahaye1353.6S-625
DNF18Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugatti59/50B3.0S-821piston
DNF12Gianfranco ComottiEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-1212oil leak
DNF16Jean VialeCount HeydenDelahaye1353.6S-62clutch
Fastest lap: René Dreyfus (Delahaye) in 3m49s = 153.9 km/h (95.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 149.5 km/h (92.8 mph)

1. Film evidence shows this to be the correct grid (not the mirror image) with thanks to Anthony Taylor.

Star 7 May 1938: Percy Maclure (Riley 1.7L) wins the J.C.C. International Trophy handicap race at Brooklands, England. Two spectators, including car designer T. Murray-Jamieson, died and several were injured after Joseph Paul's V12 Delage collided with A. C. Lace's Darracq and rolled over the safety bank.
Star 8 May 1938: René Le Bčgue (Talbot) wins the Coupe de Paris sports car race and Forestier (Riley) the Grand Handicap Olazur sports car race at Montlhčry - Paris, France.
Star 10 - 14 May 1938: Auto Union held their yearly test for new drivers at Nürburgring with the following results:
	 Kluge                  11.01
	 Bigalke                11.04
	 Zimmermann             11.37
	 Huschke von Hanstein   12.40
	 Kohlrausch             DNS
Ewald Kluge and "Ulli" Bigalke were selected as reserve drivers for the 1938 season.
Star 14 May 1938: Raymond Mays (ERA 1.5L) wins the 100 miles Coronation Trophy race at Donington Park, England.


© 2019 Leif Snellman, Felix Muelas - Last updated: 14.01.2019