Thursday 26 May 2011

Silver Clouds: The 1934 Grand Prix Season

It was inevitable that my love of drawing would one day lead me to express artistically my passion for Grand Prix racing history.

In researching the racing history of the 1930s, I came across material that captivated me. There were many stories about technological developments, about political manoeuvres, about rivalries between racecar teams, and, above all, about drivers.

In particular, the 1934 Grand Prix season formed a turning point in Grand Prix racing history. Disrupting the ebb and flow of the established racing teams’ fortunes and successes, two new, powerful teams suddenly joined the fray of the 1934 season. These teams would establish clear and total Grand Prix dominance from 1935 to 1939, but their auspicious performances in 1934 did not go without notice.

With the idea of passing on these great stories, I decided to write a little book and provide an illustrated overview of the season, with a focus on the 9 key races and 12 of the people who were part of it.

After months of research, writing, creating art, design, layout and finally, assembly and packaging, my little less than perfect book on the 1934 Grand Prix season is ready and available. It’s published as a limited edition of only 50 copies, signed, numbered and custom wrapped.

It’s been a stimulating exercise of tying it all together, visually and narratively.

I hope that the story, the art and the package will offer the reader a memorable experience.

Please contact me at if you are interested in purchasing a copy.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Sir Moss takes Monaco 1961

50 years ago on the last weekend in May, everything pointed to a possible Ferrari sweep of the Grand Prix de Monaco.

Ferrari had introduced their new Formula 1 contender the 156 “Sharknose”, which carried a distinct horsepower advantage over the competition.

Ferrari was running two engine configurations; a V-6 with a 65 degree V-angle (180 hp) and one with a 120 degree V-angle (190 hp). Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips raced 65 degree V-6’s and Richie Ginther the 120 degree V6.

Sir Stirling Moss - Winner, Monaco Grand Prix 1961
Prismacolor pencils on gray archival stock, 10"x 8"  © Paul Chenard 2009
Private collection. Available as a limited edition.

Sir Stirling Moss was driving the Rob Walker Lotus 18 F1 car which ran with a 1.5 litre Climax inline-4 engine producing only 174 hp.

Lotus was also there with Jim Clark driving the Lotus-Climax, with Jo Bonnier and Dan Gurney racing the Porsche 718’s.

From his pole position, Sir Moss took an early lead from Ginther and Clark, and retained it to the end. He drove at 10/10’s for the whole race, keeping just ahead of the very persistent Ginther and Hill in their more powerful cars.

Sir Moss is quoted in saying that this was his best race ever, and in seeing the machines and talent he was up against, one can only agree!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Indianapolis 500 – 100th Anniversary

There are many automotive racing milestones this year, but without a doubt, the most important is probably the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500. It also most of the most widely followed sporting events on the planet, so this birthday is doubly important.

That first race was won by Ray Harroun, driving a Marmon Model 32 “Wasp”. His average speed was 74.6 mph (120 kph).

Since that first Indy 500, the race has been won by drivers like Ralph De Palma, Jimmy Murphy, Tommy Milton, Louis Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Bill Vukovich, Roger Ward, A.J. Foyt, Jim Clark, Bobby Unser, Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Mark Donohue, Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi, Arie Luyendyk, Jacques Villeneuve, Hélio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti … and the race speeds have gone up as high as 236 mph (379 kph!)

The most successful racers have been A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with 4 wins each; the most successful team is by far Penske Racing with 15 victories, their first in 1972 and their most recent in 2009.

The Indy 500 has always been held in the last weekend in May, and has been held every year except the war years of 1917 and 1918, and 1942, 1943, 1944, and 1945.

This year, the Indianapolis 500 is held on the same day as another famous race, the Grand Prix de Monaco … lots of stimulation in one day for motorsports fans!

Thursday 5 May 2011

Juan Manuel Fangio 1911-1995

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth 
of Juan Manuel Fangio.
Limited edition archival Giclee print
Edition of 100 - Signed/numbered - 11"x 17" (28cm x 43cm)
$125 USD plus shipping
© Paul Chenard 2011

Many, including myself, consider this Argentinian racer as the greatest driver of the post-war era.

Born in Balcarce in 1911 to Italian immigrants, Fangio started racing in 1934, driving a Ford Model A that he built. He later raced long-distance road races driving a Chevrolet to success, becoming Argentine National Champion in 1940 and 1941.

In 1948, he went racing in Europe, capturing a few wins, and the notice of the Grand Prix teams. He was hired by Alfa Romeo in 1950, and finished 2nd in the Championship. In 1951, he won his first of five Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championships, again driving for Alfa Romeo. He finished 2nd again in 1953 with Maserati.

In 1953, he also won the La Carrera Panamericana, driving a Lancia D24.

In 1954, he started with Maserati, winning two races, then switched to Mercedes, and won four more races, taking his second Championship.

He won again in 1955, driving for Mercedes, in 1956, driving for Ferrari , and in 1957, driving again with Maserati.

His most famous win came in the 1957 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, where he beat a strong Ferrari opposition, driving the famous Maserati 250F. At the same time, he established a new track record.

He retired to Argentina in 1958 at the age of 47. He made countless guest appearances at many automotive events worldwide, and even appeared as himself in John Frankenheimer’s film “Grand Prix”.

The Juan Manuel Fangio Museum opened in Balcarce in 1986. This fine gentleman racer died in 1995 in Buenos Aires at the age of 84.