The Race of Two Worlds
- Darren Galpin
- 8W Special, November 16, 1999
- 1971 Questor GP - F1 at the Oval, thirty years before the USGP came to Indy, by Tom Prankerd
1958 Race of Two Worlds
This gaudily painted Eldorado Special was Stirling's mount for the offbeat Race of Two Worlds held at Monza in 1958. Although the Old Continent came up with its best drivers, the European cars were all but withdrawn when it became obvious the New World machines would give them a damned good thrashing around the Monza banking. With the Americans dominating the event and the European F1 cars getting even by running away with the inaugural US GP at Sebring just one year later - against very poor US folklore-standard opposition such as Rodger Ward's Kurtis-Kraft sprint midget - the issue still remains unsettled. Who is really the best? You could point to Michael Andretti and Alex Zanardi to win over Europe's hearts. But then again, we also have the examples of Jacques Villeneuve (succeeding in F1) and Stefan Johansson (failing in CART) to ponder.
In 1954, a new steeper banking was constructed at Monza and was used in the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, being merged with the existing circuit to provide a 6.214 mile (9.822 km) circuit, the cars running a lap of the road circuit before completing a lap of the oval. The course was re-used for the 1956 Grand Prix, and the similarity of the Monza oval to that of Indianapolis was not lost on Giuseppe Bacciagaluppi, president of the Automobile Club of Milan. Bacciagaluppi invited Duane Carter, the competitions director of the United States Automobile Club, to watch the race, and together they fleshed out the idea for a joint Formula 1/Championship car race, The Race of Two Worlds, where the best of Grand Prix racing would race the best of Champ Cars.
The race would use the banked track only, and was scheduled for June 1957. Preparations for the American drivers was done by Pat O'Connor in April of 1957, who tested a 5.5 litre V8 Chrysler test car for Firestone (instead of the traditional four cylinder Offenhauser unit), managing 226 miles at an average of 163.4mph, with a best lap faster than 170mph - this compared to O'Connor's Indianapolis 500 pole position speed of 144mph! Once the Indianapolis race was completed, ten front engined roadsters were transported from New York to Genoa on the ship Independence, whereupon the were taken to Monza on trucks supplied by Alfa Romeo. The drivers and mechanics followed on behind in an old DC-3, taking some 26 hours to arrive.
The competition though fizzled out, as the Formula 1 drivers didn't want to compete. They had no existing cars capable of racing with the championship cars on the banking, and the roadsters wouldn't be much good on a road course. Having already experienced the banking, the drivers were also concerned about the track. It was very bumpy, and the suspension travel of the cars was completely used up as their cars were pressed into the track. Coupled with the high speeds involved, most of the drivers boycotted the event, with only 3 Jaguar D-Types from Ecurie Ecosse entering, these cars having finished 1-2 in the previous weekend's Le Mans 24 Hrs. The formula 1 drivers worries about speed were well founded, as Tony Bettenhausen took pole position for the race at an average speed of 177mph.
There was an amusing incident during practice. Jimmy Bryan, in his Dean Van Lines Special, had 10 $10 bills blow out of the top pocket of his overalls. Being somewhat upset at this, he stopped his car at the foot of the banking, and climbed to the stop. Given the steepness of the banking, this was quite a feat, and he managed to get most of his money back too.
The American cars only had two speed gearboxes, whereas the Jaguars had four-speed units, and the Jaguar drivers used this to great effect at the rolling start, shooting from the back of the grid to the front and leading the first lap by some 300 yards. This wasn't to last for long though, and the USAC drivers soon overtook. However, there was prize money for the first lap leader, and this went to Jack Fairman. Jimmy Bryan won this 63 lap heat, and the second heat, but finished second to Troy Ruttman in the third, and thereby clinched the overall race win at an average of 160.1mph.
The 1958 Race
29 June 1958 - Monza 500
|No||Driver||Entrant||Car||Engine size (cc)|
|1||Jimmy Bryan||George Salih||Belond-AP Special||4200|
|2||Jack Fairman||Ecurie Ecosse||Lister Jaguar D-Type||3800|
|4||Masten Gregory||Ecurie Ecosse||Jaguar D-Type||3442|
|5||Jim Rathmann||John Zink||Zink Leader Card Special||4200|
|6||Ivor Bueb||Ecurie Ecosse||Jaguar D-Type||3800|
|8||Rodger Ward||Roger Walcott||Wolcott Fuel Injection Special||4200|
|9||Bob Veith||Robert M Bowes||Bowes Seal Fast Special||4200|
|10||Stirling Moss||Scuderia Eldorado||Eldorado-Italia||4190|
|12||Mike Hawthorn||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||4023|
|14||Luigi Musso||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||2962|
|16||Harry Schell||Luigi Chinetti||Ferrari-Chinetti||2962|
|24||Jimmy Reece||Fred Sommer||Hoyt Machine Special||4200|
|26||Don Freeland||Bob Estes||Bob Estes Special||4200|
|29||Juan Manuel Fangio||AE Dean||Dean Van Lines Special||4200|
|35||Eddie J Sachs Jr||Jim Robbins||Jim Robbins Special||4200|
|49||Ray Crawford||Ray Crawford||Maguire Mirror Glaze Special||4200|
|55||Maurice Trintignant||Sclavi Inc||Sclavi and Amos Special||4200|
|75||Johnny Thomson||Racing Associates||D-A Lubricant Special||4200|
|98||Troy Ruttman||JC Agajanian||Agajanian Special||4200|
The American cars all used the 4.2 litre, 4-cylinder double-overhead cam Offenhauser unit, usually offset to the left of the chassis in order to counteract the centrifugal force generated in the long left hand bends. The cars had beam axles at the front and rear, with torsion bars for suspension. Most used twin Monroe telescopic dampers on each corner in order to try an minimise the problems of the year before. The cars had two-speed gearboxes, and required push starts, and used Firestone tyres on Halibrand light-alloy wheels, the normal wire wheels used in Europe being unable to withstand the forces involved, as evidenced by Ascari at Indianapolis in 1952, when the wheel of his Ferrari collapsed.
Of the three Jaguars, two were 3.8 litre-engined D-types, and one was the 3442cc car which was used in the previous year's race. Jack Fairman raced a Lister-framed version, which had a single seater frame. However, this resulted in a 10mph drop in maximum speed as the bodywork of the standard D-type was of aerodynamic advantage.
Ferrari built a brand new V12 4.2-litre car for the race, with a quoted power output of just under 400bhp. The car had coil springs and a wishbone at the front, with a transverse leaf spring and de Dion axle at the rear. Ferrari still used wire wheels for this race, the wheels being made by Borrani. Although fitted with a five-speed gearbox, two of the gears were removed for the race.
The second factory Ferrari was a specially built frame using a 2880cc V6 Dino 296 sportscar engine. Coil springs were used all round, with a front wishbone and rear de Dion axle. The springs were completely encased in rubber in order to obtain the desired spring rate. Although it arrived at the circuit fitted with Englebert tyres, it qualified on Firestones.
The third Ferrari, that of Harry Schell, was entered by the North American Racing Team. This was an old GP car using an unsupercharged 4.2 litre V12 engine, and was modified by Chinetti. Driven in hill climbs by Carroll Shelby, the car had never been raced, although it did achieve 176mph during a Daytona Speed Week. It used a rear transverse leaf spring below a de Dion axle at the rear, and wishbones and transverse leaf springs at the front.
The Stirling Moss entry was the Eldorado-Maserati, gaudily painted white with a one-toothed cowboy on the side. The engine was a 4.2 litre V8 derived from a Maserati sportscar unit, and during practice the fuel injection was replaced by four twin-choke carburettors. The engine was offset to the left, with the transmission passing to the left of the drivers seat. Fuel was carried in the tail and to the left of the cockpit. It also had a two-speed gearbox, front wishbones and coil springs, rear transverse leaf springs and de Dion axle.
|1||12||Luigi Musso||281.077 kph (N.B. Musso qualified Hawthorn's car)|
|3||19||Juan Manuel Fangio||275.841|
|14||14||Phil Hill||259.468 (N.B. Took over Musso's car)|
The Race - Heat 1
Race day was warm and sunny, but the sensational development was whether Juan Manuel Fangio would be able to take the start or not. When the spark plugs were being changed in the morning, it was discovered that one of the pistons was cracked. It was hoped that the start would be put back sufficiently for a new piston to be fitted, but despite a delay of 15 minutes, the task couldn't be completed. The car, without an engine, was wheeled out to its grid position, and then was wheeled straight back to the pits, thereby complying with the official rules. The World Champion would not be starting the race.
Starting with a rolling start, Musso took advantage of his three gears (starting in Hawthorn's car, Hawthorn not liking the circuit and suffering from a stomach upset) to jump into the lead, followed by Sachs, Bryan and Rathmann, and completed the first lap in 56s. Sachs passed Musso to lead at the end of lap two, before Musso again took the lead with a 54.8s lap. On lap five Sachs retook the lead again, and Bryan slipped past Musso two laps later. The Italian crowd were loving it, particularly as Musso was taking considerable amounts of the banking on full opposite lock.
By the eleventh lap, Rathmann was in the lead, which was where he was to stay, from Musso, Sachs, Bryan and Freeland. Musso and Sachs continued to dispute second place vigorously until on lap 20 a big hole appeared in the crankcase of Sachs' engine, a con-rod being thrown. Second place wasn't to last for long, as six laps later Musso brought the Ferrari into the pits, suffering from the methanol exhaust fumes. New tyres were put on the car, and Hawthorn took it back out in seventh place. Stirling Moss by this time had moved up to third.
At the end of lap 53, Bob Veith passed Moss for third, and shortly afterwards Ruttman rushed past both of them as he got a tow by tucking behind a car they were lapping. Unfortunately this move was wasted, as he then had to come in the pits for fuel (while the engine was still running!), and dropped to seventh. The finishing positions were Rathmann, Bryan, Veith, Moss, Thompson and Hawthorn.
Heat 1 - Prix Esso (63 laps)
|1||5||Jim Rathmann||59m40.9s, 269.178kph|
|5||75||Johnny Thomson||61 laps|
|6||12||Luigi Musso/Mike Hawthorn||60 laps|
|7||98||Troy Ruttman||60 laps|
|8||24||Jimmy Reece||59 laps|
|9||56||Maurice Trintignant||59 laps|
|10||49||Ray Crawford||58 laps|
|11||2||Jack Fairman||57 laps|
|12||16||Harry Schell||56 laps|
|13||4||Masten Gregory||55 laps|
|14||6||Ivor Bueb||45 laps|
|R||8||Rodger Ward||20 laps/torsion bar|
|R||35||Eddie Sachs||20 laps/con-rod|
|R||14||Phil Hill||17 laps/magneto/fuel line|
|R||26||Don Freeland||17 laps/cam gear|
|DNS||19||Juan Manuel Fangio||changing cracked piston for second race|
There then followed an hour and a half break, during which time the mechanics welded various bits back together. The drivers would start the race in the finishing order of the previous race. Fangio still wasn't able to take the start, and Maurice Trintignant was replaced by a rookie driver by the name of AJ Foyt.
Rathmann led this race uninterrupted, from Bryan, Musso, Moss and Veith on lap 1. Schell's Ferrari very quickly retired, suffering from several mechanical maladies. Veith, Moss, Ruttmann and Bryan spent the next few laps swapping places, and on lap 19 Musso again brought the 4.2 litre Ferrari into the pits suffering from the fumes, but this time he handed over to Phil Hill, the 3-litre Ferrari he drove in the first race not starting the second. Hill would bring the car back into the pits on lap 40 for a tyre change.
Moss, now in 3rd, closed on Veith, while Bryan, followed closely by Ruttman, closed on Moss, and there followed a very close battle between the four drivers from lap 31 until lap 56, the cars slipstreaming past each other on the long straights. On lap 57 though, Moss began to loose revs due to the failure of one of his two magnetos (the engine having two spark plugs per cylinder), and he dropped back into fourth at the finish. As Ruttman crossed the finishing line, Fairman hoved into view in a cloud of smoke - a piston had gone on the last lap.
Heat 2 - Prix Mobil (63 laps)
|1||5||Jim Rathmann||1h00m18.5s, 266.388kph|
|5||10||Stirling Moss||62 laps|
|6||56||AJ Foyt||61 laps (replaced Trintignant)|
|7||24||Jimmy Reece||60 laps|
|8||49||Ray Crawford||60 laps|
|9||12||Luigi Musso/Phil Hill||60 laps|
|10||2||Jack Fairman||57 laps|
|11||6||Ivor Bueb||51 laps|
|R||8||Rodger Ward||31 laps|
|R||4||Masten Gregory||rear body frame|
|R||16||Harry Schell||12 laps/mechanicals|
|R||75||Johnny Thomson||1 lap/crankshaft|
|DNS||19||Juan Manuel Fangio||changing cracked piston for third race|
Fangio finally appeared on the grid for the last race, but for a long time his car wasn't with him, and people began to wonder whether in fact he would drive someone else's car. Moss had a large plaster on his forehead, but he put on his helmet and goggles and climbed into his car. Hawthorn climbed into his car, and eventually Fangio's mount was wheeled out. It wouldn't be for long though, as at the end of lap one Fangio wheeled around with his fuel pump adrift, and was out of the race.
Rathmann again led from lap one, with the two Jaguars bringing up the rear. Moss had been the last off the grid, courtesy of being unable to move off in first gear and having to use top instead, and this was to presage an impressive comeback. He passed Hawthorn for sixth on lap 14, and Crawford for fifth on lap 20. He then set about catching young AJ Foyt at two seconds a lap.
Veith suddenly lost a wheel on lap 29, the car snaking around before coming safely to rest, moving Moss up into fourth place behind Rathmann, Bryan and Foyt. By now the Ferrari fumes were overcoming Hawthorn, and he brought the car in to hand over to Hill, some 24 laps after taking over. On the 41st lap though, Moss disappeared. The steering on his Eldorado-Maserati failed when he was flat out on the banking. He hit the guardrail at the top, knocking a couple of posts down before coming to rest at the bottom of the banking unharmed. It was a lucky escape. The order was then Rathmann, Bryan, Hill (who had passed Crawford on the 58th lap) and Crawford. Rathmann held this position to the finish.
Heat 3 - Prix Shell (63 laps)
|1||5||Jim Rathmann||59m37.9s, 269.404kph|
|3||12||Mike Hawthorn/Phil Hill||60 laps|
|4||49||Ray Crawford||60 laps|
|5||24||Jimmy Reece||59 laps|
|6||6||Ivor Bueb||52 laps|
|R||56||AJ Foyt||54 laps/crankshaft|
|R||4||Masten Gregory||44 laps|
|R||10||Stirling Moss||40 laps/accident|
|R||9||Bob Veith||28 laps/wheel|
|R||98||Troy Ruttman||12 laps/fuel line|
|R||19||Juan Manuel Fangio||1 lap/fuel pump|
The times were then aggregated to give an overall result, the clear winner being Jim Rathmann. Unfortunately though, the Automobile Club of Milan had made a financial loss on the race, and it was never held again.
Aggregate result (189 laps)
|1||5||Jim Rathmann||2h59m37.3, 189 laps, 166.72mph|
|2||1||Jimmy Bryan||3h01m09.6, 189 laps|
|3||12||Mike Hawthorn/Luigi Musso/Phil Hill||3h01m00.0, 180 laps|
|4||49||Ray Crawford||3h01m26.4, 178 laps|
|5||24||Jimmy Reece||3h01m50.2, 178 laps|
|6||56||AJ Foyt/Maurice Trintignant||2h55m58.8, 174 laps|
|7||10||Stirling Moss||2h40m59.2, 164 laps|
|8||9||Bob Veith||2h27m23.0, 153 laps|
|9||6||Ivor Bueb||3h01m25.8, 148 laps|
|10||98||Troy Ruttman||2h13m07.9, 135 laps|
|11||2||Jack Fairman||2h00m13.7, 114 laps|
|12||4||Masten Gregory||2h00m11.1, 99 laps|
|13||16||Harry Schell||1h18m33.2, 71 laps|
|14||75||Johnny Thomson||1h05m25.8, 65 laps|
|15||8||Rodger Ward||51 laps|
|16||35||Eddie Sachs||20 laps|
|17||26||Don Freeland||17 laps?|
|18||14||Phil Hill||17 laps|
|19||19||Juan Manuel Fangio||1 lap|