Thursday 28 April 2011

Ferrari 156 “Sharknose” 50th Anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Ferrari's first rear-engined Formula 1 car, the famous 156 “Sharknose”. It was so named because of the distinctive air intake “nostrils” on either side of the front of the racer.

Battle Plans 1961 Black and white pen&ink (14"x 11), digitally painted, available as a limited edition.
© Paul Chenard 2010
The 156 was designed by Carlo Chiti, and was powered by a 1,476 cc V6 “Dino” engine.

The car was driven to success by such notable drivers as Phil Hill, Wolfgang von Trips, Richie Ginther, Giancarlo Baghetti, Ricardo Rodríguez, Lorenzo Bandini, Willy Mairesse and John Surtees.

Belgian Grand Prix 1961 - "Sharknoses" Limited edition of 50 – 14.5”x 11” (36.8 cm x 27.9 cm) – $150 USD plus S/H
American Phil Hill won the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship driving the “Sharknose”, with a win at the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix, and podium finishes in Monaco, Nederlands, Great Britain and Germany.

Black & white pen&ink (22"x 17), digitally painted, available as a limited edition signed by Phil Hill.
© Paul Chenard 2007
Sadly, all the “Sharknose” F1 Ferraris were scrapped after the 1963 season, but a few replicas have since been constructed.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

1934 Grand Prix de Nice

In the beautiful coastal setting of Nice, France, the 1934 Grand Prix was vaguely reminiscent of Monaco.

The racers started along the Quai des États-Unis, with the waterfront and grandstands to their left, and the cityscape and pits to their right.

1934 Grand Prix Season – Grand Prix de Nice – Alfa Romeo P3Limited edition of 50 – 14.5”x 11” (36.8 cm x 27.9 cm) – $150 USD plus S/H

At the green flag, they raced off down the Promenade des Anglais, past the Hôtel Negresco, downshifting quickly at the tight hairpin curve to the right, back down the Promenade, upwards through the city, around the Jardin Albert 1e, and back to the waterfront starting point.

Three Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos (driven by Louis Chiron, Count Trossi, and Achille Varzi) squared off against seven Maseratis (whose drivers included Tazio Nuvolari, Philippe Étancelin, and Whitney Straight), one Bugatti team car driven by René Dreyfus, and some privately entered Alfas, Bugattis, and Maseratis. Both the Mercedes and Auto Union teams chose not to participate.

The race start saw Varzi and Chiron leading, with Nuvolari and Dreyfus battling for third place. Dreyfus crashed out, allowing Nuvolari’s attention to shift to Chiron. But Nuvolari’s Maserati was not up to another duel and threw a piston.

After the necessary pits stops by all the racers, Étancelin’s Maserati took second place, with Trossi slipping into third position.

With Nuvolari’s retirement, there was no one to really challenge Varzi’s lead, and the somber Italian took the race.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Bonne fête, monsieur Gurney!

An American racing icon celebrates a birthday; Dan Gurney is 80 years young today.

Born in Port Jefferson, New York, he moved to California as a teenager.

He became a successful racer, winning his first Formula 1 race at the French Grand 1962 driving a Porsche 804; it was also Porsche's first F1 win.

Not satisfied to be just a racer, he was instrumental in getting Colin Chapman to bring his Lotus’ to the Indianapolis 500, finally leading to their win with Jim Clark in 1965.

1967 was a big year for Americans in motor sport, and someone who was at the forefront of it was Dan Gurney.

He won, along with A. J. Foyt, the 24 Heures du Mans in a GT40 Mark IV and remains the only American to win a Formula 1 race in a car of his own construction at Spa in Belgium, racing his Eagle Weslake T1G. At his Le Mans win, Gurney introduced the tradition of spraying Champagne, which has carried from that point on.

In his career, he won races in Nascar, Can-Am, Trans-Am and Indy. Later on, as a team owner/manufacturer, his cars would also win the Indy 500, and the IMSA GTP series.

He is current writing his biography, which we are all looking forward to. There will certainly be some Champagne spraying when that is published!

Wednesday 6 April 2011

1934 German Grand Prix

After their humiliating defeat at the French Grand Prix by the Scuderia Ferrari team, the German teams were very determined to succeed on their home ground. With nearly 300,000 spectators, including officials of the Third Reich, there was considerable pressure to win.

1934 Grand Prix Season – German Grand Prix – Auto Union Type A
Limited edition of 50 – 14.5”x 11” (36.8 cm x 27.9 cm) – $150 USD plus S/H

The race took place on the long, grueling Nürburgring, called by many racers “the Green Hell.” With a length of over 28 kms (more than 17 miles) and having 187 turns through forests and changing elevations, it’s not difficult to see why.

From race start, a battle developed between the leader, Auto Union driver Hans Stuck, and Mercedes driver Rudolf Caracciola. They pulled away from the rest of the pack, breaking lap record after lap record. 

Caracciola manage to get by Stuck at the Karussel curve and take the lead, but the strain was too much for the Mercedes W25’s engine, forcing him to retire.

Luigi Fagioi took up the chase in his teammate’s place, with Louis Chiron driving his Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo P3 in a very distant third place, ahead of Nuvolari’s Maserati.

It was a resounding first win for Stuck and the Auto Union team, with an encouraging second place for Mercedes on the especially challenging track.