Tuesday 30 October 2012

Mercedes-Benz W25

Until 1934, three automotive companies dominated Grand Prix racing: Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, and Maserati. Each year, these companies produced racecars that were faster and more powerful than those of the previous year.

The Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR), the controlling body for motor sport in the 1930s, decided to change the requirements for the 1934, 1935, and 1936 Grand Prix seasons. The most important new requirement for the racers was that the maximum weight could not exceed 750 kg, excluding driver, fuel, oil, water, and tires.

The AIACR believed that Grand Prix cars were becoming too fast and reasoned that the change in weight parameters would limit the size of the engines used.

However, the AIACR had not at all taken into consideration the possibility of the manufacturers using new technology and lightweight metallurgy to create yet more powerful, efficient racers.

Mercedes-Benz saw an opportunity to move ahead, promoting their know-how and the sale of their products through Grand Prix racing.

Luigi Fagioli on his way to winning the 1935 Grand Prix de Monaco in the Mercedes-Benz W25.

I did this sketch while waiting for my Halifax flight at gate B05 at the Montréal airport on September 24th. The guy next to me practicing on his guitar; it was great to sketch to this guy's music.

Pen&ink, paint markers and markers on gray archival stock 12"x 9" © Paul Chenard 2012

Mercedes-Benz took a traditional approach with the front-engined rear-drive racer, but also took a serious look at using innovative aerodynamics and lightweight materials to give them an advantage. A steel-blocked 3.36-litre straight-8 supercharged engine powered the new Mercedes W25, and it was wrapped in a beautiful aerodynamic aluminum skin, with all-round independent suspension.

In that first year of the new formula, they won the Coppa Acerbo, the Italian Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix. For 1935, they won 9 major races, giving driver Rudolf Caracciola the European Championship.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Spa 6 Hours Classic 2012

After our long weekend at the fabulous Goodwood Revival as vendors, Nicolas Cancelier and I went to the Spa 6 Hour Classic race as spectators.

I absolutely love going to that event on such a historic track. The countryside is beautiful, and the track is very challenging. The sights and sounds are amazing!

Sports Car Digest has done a feature on the races that weekend; you can read them here:

Last year at the same event, my camera died, and I've yet to replace it. I've thought of my roll as an artist, and decided to do at least one sketch at each event, instead of photography.

Lola T70
Pen&ink, paint markers and markers on gray archival stock © Paul Chenard 2012

This time, I set up behind a friend Jason's beautiful Lola T70, and sketched the exposed V-8 and it's sinewy headers and exhaust pipes, and trumpeting brake-cooling ducts.

Photos can never really compare to live art ...

Monday 1 October 2012

The Goodwood Revival 2012

Another year older and deeper in debt, as the song goes ...

Going to the Revival as a vendor is not for the financially faint-hearted, especially if you are from outside Europe.

Wonderful British artist and friend Anna-Louise Felstead graced us with her presence.

That said, it’s a 3-day 13-hour-per-day adrenaline rush of sights, sounds, contacts made, art sold, friendships renewed, experiences shared … a very hard combination to resist.

We were visited by Mrs Carroll Shelby, a lovely warm-hearted person ... a huge honour for us.

My friend Belgian automotive artist Nicolas Cancelier and took another “leap of faith” and returned as vendors again.

Nicolas and I working on our art in the open
Photo © Matt Jacques

There were numerous changes in the event organization this year which directly hurt our sales. On the positive side, new contacts and relationships nurtured have a direct result of the hatching of large interesting projects with interesting people.

While at the Revival, I met Mrs. Carroll Shelby, Mr. and Mrs. Henri Pescarolo, Rowan Atkinson, Tony Brooks, Jean Alesi, Sir Stirling and Lady Susie Moss and Murray Walker.

We also met some wonderful artists and business owners.

The next few months will be very telling, but for the optimist in me, things are looking bright indeed.