1934 Alfa Romeo Gran Premio P3 Aerodinamica
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The Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 was designed by Vittorio Jano and was Alfa Romeo's second monoposto (single seater) racer, the first being the Tipo A of 1931. Four Tipo A's had been constructed and none have survived; the closest Tipo A in existence is a replica which now resides in the Alfa Romeo Museum.
The Tipo A had been powered by two six-cylinder engines and matted to two gearboxes and dual propeller shafts. Though much of the design had carried over from the Tipo A, the Tipo B was equipped with a single eight-cylinder engine and drive-train in an effort to reduce the weight of the vehicle. The Tipo B made its inaugural appearance on June 5th, 1932 at the Monza Grand Prix. It was equipped with an eight-cylinder engine similar to the one Jano had created for the road-going 8C 2300. There were differences from the double overhead camshaft unit, such as the engines intake being mounted on the drivers left side. The engine capacity was larger due to an increase of stroke from 88 to 100 mm. Dual superchargers powered the front and rear testa fissa alloy blocks which resulted in nearly 200 horsepower. The single differential sat behind the three-speed gearbox. Power was sent to each rear wheels thanks to two propeller shafts designed in a triangular setup. These shafts ran beside the driver which allowed a lower sitting position and improved handling characteristics.
At Monza, the Tipo B proved its potential by emerging victorious. In the hands of Tazio Nuvolari and Rudolf Caracciola, the Tipo B dominated the season with wins at the French and German Grand Prix's, among others. Part of its success was its excellent power-to-weight ratio. The body was constructed of aluminum and mechanical drums were used to keep the racer in the driver's control.
The P3 was raced from 1932 through 1935 and provided many podium finishes for its drivers. In 1933 Alfa Romeo retired from racing and soon shifted the racing activities to Scuderia Ferrari. Ferrari's main driver was Tazio Nuvolari. Many of Tipo B cars were sold to privateers. Rule changes in 1934 meant the car was modified to accommodate the new regulations. One of the rules stated that the chassis was to be 33.5 inches wide, which meant the P3 was to be enlarged.
As the years progressed, the car began to show its age. Competition was coming from teams such as Mercedes and Auto Union. Jano and Ferrari worked on improving the car throughout the years. In 1935, Nuvolari's car was given a larger engine, now having a bore of 71mm and a stroke of 100mm. This resulted in a displacement size of 3165cc and horsepower in the 265 neighborhood. Cantilever rear springs were adapted to improve upon the vehicles performance and handling. Later in the year, some of the Tipo B's were outfitted with hydraulic brakes and Dubonnet independent front suspension.
Nuvolari's most famous and remembered race came in 1935 at the German Grand Prix. His car was now outclassed by the more powerful Mercedes and Auto Union cars. At the end of the race, it was Nuvolari in his Scuderia Ferrari Tipo B outpacing the rest of the competition and finishing in a very impressive and memorable first place.
IV INTERNATIONALES AVUS-RENNEN 1934
Worried by his rival Varzi's victories, Nuvolari decided to enter at AVUS with his leg still in plaster. He had the pedals of his Maserati altered so that he could reach them all with his left foot.It should have been the debut race for both Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz. Caracciola turned up for practice an did a few fast laps under considerable pain from his wounded hip.To the disappointment for the German spectators Mercedes-Benz decided to withdraw their cars after practice because of fuel pump problems.
A giant number of spectators turned up to see the debut of the German cars. The main opposition consisted of three Maserati 8CMs and three Scuderia Ferrari Alfas driven by Chiron, Moll and Varzi.
Rain was falling as the GP class cars were lined up for the start. As the flag fell Stuck took the lead and after the first lap he had opened up a one minute gap (that's correct!) to Louis Chiron who was second. Moll was given a signal to go faster and as the track dried up he passed Varzi on lap 4 and Chiron on lap 7. Stuck continued to open up the lead to 85 seconds before coming in for new tyres on lap 10. Moll took over the lead with his Alfa Romeo streamliner. 2 laps later Stuck was out of the race with clutch failure. Moll could race the last laps without worrying about the opposition and took the flag one and a half minute ahead of team mate Varzi. Momberger's 3rd place was the best the Germans could do that day. It was definitely not the result the spectators had hoped for.
Many big races have been lost due to parts or equipment problems such as clutch failure.
In 1934 Guy Moll shocked the motor racing world by winning the Monaco Grand Prix on his debut for Scuderia Ferrari. The young Algerian then took on the might of Mercedes and Auto Union, claiming victory at the fearsomely quick AVUS circuit in Berlin in a specially developed Alfa Romeo Gran Premio P3 Aerodinamica.
A Tribute to Guy Moll victory at AVUS,work by artist G.Allen.Guy Allen is an illustrator, cartoonist, and graphic designer with 20 years professional experience.