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First single-seat race cars


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#1 tsrwright

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:56

Anyone know when and where was it first not, or no longer, required to have a mechanician/mechanic?

 

Or to put it slightly differently, when and where did some classes of race-cars become single seaters?



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#2 E.B.

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 13:01

At Indy, mechanicians were only optional in 1911, becoming compulsory the following year. 1923 was the next year in which they were optional, although I think Christian Lautenschlager was the only driver to take up the option.

#3 Michael Ferner

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 13:19

Some of the early Brooklands specials were single-seaters (if mostly built and used for record attempts, and not "regular" racing), and, of course, the tricycles that competed in the early town-to-town races were manned by only the driver - or, should one say rider (enter the discussion about the division between motor cars and motor cycles). There seem to have been no hard rules for (dirt) track racing in the US, and many of the cars used even before WW1 carried no mechanics, and perhaps not even a mechanics seat. Else, even the smallest cyclecars of the teens and twenties were manned by two, sometimes sitting in front of and behind each other, so, technically, the 1923 Indianapolis 500 and the subsequent races of the same formula appear to be the right answer.



#4 arttidesco

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 13:26

 sometimes sitting in front of and behind each other,

 

Auf English sagt man "in tandem" :up:



#5 AAGR

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 14:03

Land Speed record cars have usually been single seaters, right ? In which case .... let's start from there  at the beginning of the 20th century ?



#6 Michael Ferner

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 22:51

Auf English sagt man "in tandem" :up:

 

Thanks. :)



#7 tsrwright

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 01:49

taylov

VeloceGT, on 16 Dec 2013 - 02:07, said:snapback.png

The Marmon Wasp in the 1911 Indy was a single seater. Any earlier suggestions?

 

Jenatzy's 1899 LSR electric car "La Jamais Contente", the first to reach 60 mph and the first serious attempt at streamlining, too. 

 

Also, I'm sure (?) that at least one of the LSR Stanley steamers was a 120+ mph single seater around the mid 1900s.

 

Tony

 

Trying to make up for my sin of posting the same question twice I have placed the above posts here -  thank you.

 

:o



#8 David McKinney

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 07:42


As far as Grand Prix racing is concerned, riding mechanics were dispensed with for 1925, though the requirement for two-seater bodywork remained for several more years yet. OTTOMH, the first single-seaters were the P3 Alfas in 1932

#9 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 09:05

As far as Grand Prix racing is concerned, riding mechanics were dispensed with for 1925, though the requirement for two-seater bodywork remained for several more years yet. OTTOMH, the first single-seaters were the P3 Alfas in 1932

Alfa Monoposto.



#10 David McKinney

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 12:07

Tipo B Monoposto

But usually known as the P3

(I wondered if I'd get a bite!)

#11 arttidesco

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 12:27

Thanks. :)

Bitte schoen  ;)


Edited by arttidesco, 16 December 2013 - 12:28.


#12 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 12:28

Would you not include the Tipo A Monoposto?  come to that, wasn't the 1926/27 Delage a single seater?



#13 Tim Murray

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 13:35

In 1927, yes. In 1926 Grand Prix formula cars were still required to have two seats, although no riding mechanics were carried.

#14 tsrwright

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:59

At Indy, mechanicians were only optional in 1911, becoming compulsory the following year. 1923 was the next year in which they were optional, although I think Christian Lautenschlager was the only driver to take up the option.

 

That's useful to know. I can see board-track cars with mechanics up to around this time and assume the championship cars would all have run under the same rules including on the long dirt-tracks. Is that correct?

 

...There seem to have been no hard rules for (dirt) track racing in the US, and many of the cars used even before WW1 carried no mechanics, and perhaps not even a mechanics seat. Else, even the smallest cyclecars of the teens and twenties were manned by two, sometimes sitting in front of and behind each other, so, technically, the 1923 Indianapolis 500 and the subsequent races of the same formula appear to be the right answer.

 

Did the non-championship 'big-cars' (is that the correct term?) run under different rules?  Certainly the junior cars of 1914-16 in California were all single seaters (and even mid-engined).

 

As far as Grand Prix racing is concerned, riding mechanics were dispensed with for 1925, though the requirement for two-seater bodywork remained for several more years yet. OTTOMH, the first single-seaters were the P3 Alfas in 1932

 

The 'black book' Vol 1says they were prohibited in 1925. I wonder if that was extended to voiturettes and cyclecars? I can see that there were passengers in the 1925 JCC 200 mile race at Brooklands and that Boddy says they were not allowed in 1926.

 

The very early single seat vehicles such as the De Dion Boutons were classified as motor cycles and presumably need not, indeed could not, carry a passenger. Otherwise I am not sure what was compulsory and what was optional.

 

But it does seem that it was American dirt-track racing, junior or otherwise, that pioneered single-seat race-cars as a type.

 

PS  I wouldn't consider LSR cars as being  'race-cars'.


Edited by tsrwright, 17 December 2013 - 13:08.


#15 BRG

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 14:04

Blatantly exposing my extreme ignorance, may I ask what the riding mechanic was actually there for?  I know that some early cars needed someone to pressurise the fuel tank, and there was tyre/wheel changing to do pretty frequently, but what else did they do, apart from experiencing total panic for extended periods?



#16 tsrwright

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 01:24

Blatantly exposing my extreme ignorance, may I ask what the riding mechanic was actually there for?  I know that some early cars needed someone to pressurise the fuel tank, and there was tyre/wheel changing to do pretty frequently, but what else did they do, apart from experiencing total panic for extended periods?

 

Early races were mainly place to place not on a circuit so carrying a mechanic was one way of having him with you, and there must have been plenty to do anyway.

 

Presumably, as the initally very long circuits got shorter the need for a riding mechanic got less and less.



#17 Allan Lupton

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:35

Blatantly exposing my extreme ignorance, may I ask what the riding mechanic was actually there for?  I know that some early cars needed someone to pressurise the fuel tank, and there was tyre/wheel changing to do pretty frequently, but what else did they do, apart from experiencing total panic for extended periods?

tsrwright is right so far as he goes and there was sometimes also a rule that only the car's crew could work on it during the race - sometimes extended to only allow spares carried in the car to be fitted.



#18 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 18:19

That's useful to know. I can see board-track cars with mechanics up to around this time and assume the championship cars would all have run under the same rules including on the long dirt-tracks. Is that correct?

 

 

Did the non-championship 'big-cars' (is that the correct term?) run under different rules?  Certainly the junior cars of 1914-16 in California were all single seaters (and even mid-engined).

 

 

The 'black book' Vol 1says they were prohibited in 1925. I wonder if that was extended to voiturettes and cyclecars? I can see that there were passengers in the 1925 JCC 200 mile race at Brooklands and that Boddy says they were not allowed in 1926.

 

The very early single seat vehicles such as the De Dion Boutons were classified as motor cycles and presumably need not, indeed could not, carry a passenger. Otherwise I am not sure what was compulsory and what was optional.

 

But it does seem that it was American dirt-track racing, junior or otherwise, that pioneered single-seat race-cars as a type.

 

PS  I wouldn't consider LSR cars as being  'race-cars'.

 

I believe nobody really thought about dropping riding mechanics in "proper" racing cars until Ray Harroun and the Marmon showed up in 1910. Very early (19th century) race rules sometimes classified cars upon number of seats, with bi-, tri- and quadricycles usually getting the prerogative to run unaccompanied due to minimal weight and maintenance involved, but "proper" cars had always been manned by (at least) two, even in day-to-day operation. It was very much a "class" thing: the rich owner would get to operate the car, and the mechanic rode along to cover all the unpleasant pitfalls of automobile transportation - no need for the gentleman to get his hands dirty! The smaller vehicles, such as the cycles and voiturettes, were not an option for the monied driver, anyway, so the riding mechanic was not really essentiell. Those sentiments pretty much transfered into the racing world, even if the drivers (monied or not) had to do some dirty work here, too, but the mechanic was thought to be indispensible, at least for the longer events. I'm not really sure about early hill climbs or sprints, but anyway the cars used for these were usually the same as those used for road racing - unless it was a proper LSR attempt, which called for a "freak" car, anyway.

 

One early exception from those rules was the (dirt) track racing crowd, and again, it was (sort of) a class thing: track racing was a sport for professionals, not gentlemen, and the distances were usually very short, so that it made sense for the driver to ride alone, and some of the cars were, no doubt, single-seaters, even way before Harroun's Marmon. And I'm not really sure about riding mechanics being compulsory at Indy, they certainly weren't in 1922: the rotary-valve Wehr, a non-starter that year, was definitely a single-seater, and shown as such in pictures and print - it was also a 2-litre car, and as such subject to a different weight limit. Perhaps the number of seats was connected to that rule?

 

To address your questions: "championship cars" is a pretty modern terminus, but yes, the cars running the National Championship races on board tracks were all of the same spec, but NOT necessarily those running National Championship races on dirt tracks!! It's a pretty complicated subject, and I'm not sure if I understand it all, but car specs were dependent not only of track type, but track length as well! "Non-championship big cars" is also not a period expression, and is also of dubious clarity when it comes to classifying racing cars - rules were quite often made by track owners and/or promoters, even for AAA events. The mid-teens "junior cars", or cyclecars or early midgets, were mostly regarded as toy racers, so most (but not all!) were single-seaters, but in Europe most (?) cyclecars and voiturettes still carried riding mechanics at the same time, as far as I know. Even in Europe, local rules often prevailed, and riding mechanics were allowed or even compulsory for some events, and not for some others, for several more years past 1925! And as for the early De Dion-Boutons (I suppose you mean the tricycles), that's a whole 'nother can of worms: sometimes they were running as cars, and sometimes as motor cycles - it took a few years to establish a clear (??) boundary!! Most were of the two-seater variety, though - at least for as long as the rules required this!  ;)



#19 RStock

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 18:44

taylov

VeloceGT, on 16 Dec 2013 - 02:07, said:snapback.png

 

Jenatzy's 1899 LSR electric car "La Jamais Contente", the first to reach 60 mph and the first serious attempt at streamlining, too. 

 

Also, I'm sure (?) that at least one of the LSR Stanley steamers was a 120+ mph single seater around the mid 1900s.

 

Tony

 

Trying to make up for my sin of posting the same question twice I have placed the above posts here -  thank you.

 

:o

 

There have been single seat racing cars virtually since the inception of the automobile. The earliest I could find on a quick search is this photo of Henry Ford and Barney Oldfield from 1902.

 

http://en.wikipedia....d_999,_1902.jpg



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#20 tsrwright

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:53

There have been single seat racing cars virtually since the inception of the automobile. The earliest I could find on a quick search is this photo of Henry Ford and Barney Oldfield from 1902.

 

http://en.wikipedia....d_999,_1902.jpg

 

I believe that Old 999 was built for a 5 mile match race which may or may not have made a difference.

 

Michael Ferner's account of the American scene is very interesting for which many thanks. The social angle is an interesting one -  its role in motor sport doesn't get much attention.



#21 tsrwright

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 04:06

Michael said  "The mid-teens "junior cars", or cyclecars or early midgets, were mostly regarded as toy racers"

 

I don't believe they were thought of as 'toys' nor with big V twin engines would they have been. It seems to me it was quite serious motor racing.

 

But moving on ... I just found this in the Addendum to Vol 1 'black book' re GP de Provence 8.3.25 which was a formula libre race ... cars to have 2 seats (1 seat for 1100cc entries) each car to be occupied by at least one person (sic).

 

Indeed, the rules, if any, were all over the place,

 

 

 

 

 


 

Edited by tsrwright, 22 December 2013 - 04:08.


#22 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 09:59

Well, when I say "mostly", I basically mean all of those who didn't run them themselves! I'm pretty sure you are correct in thinking that the Junior/Cyclecar/Midget racers themselves were as serious about their racing as anyone else, but to the "outside" world, meaning those who ran or watched "real" racing cars, I would very much expect a certain snobby attitude. That did only change with the Midget revolution in the thirties, and even then rather slowly.