GRAN PREMIO de ESPAÑA
Autódromo Nacional de Sitges-Terramar (E), 28 October 1923.
200 laps x 2.0 km (1.243 mi) = 400.0 km (248.5 mi).
|1||Jimmy Murphy||Harry A. Miller Inc.||Miller||Special 122||2.0||S-8||DNA - Did not appear|
|2||Albert Guyot||SA des Etablissements Rolland-Pilain||Rolland-Pilain||GP||2.0||S-8||DNA - Did not appear|
|3||José des Santos-Mora||SA Autocostruzioni Diatto||Diatto||20 S||2.0||S-4|
|4||Alfonso Carreras||Elizalde y Cia||Elizalde||1.7||S-4|
|5||Clive Gallop||Bamford and Martin Ltd.||Aston Martin||1.5||S-4|
|6||Dario Resta||Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd||Sunbeam||2.0||S-6|
|7||Pierre de Vizcaya||Automobiles Ettore Bugatti||Bugatti||T32 Tank||2.0||S-8||DNA - Did not appear|
|8||X||Benz & Cie, AG||Benz||RH||2.0||S-6||DNA - Did not appear|
|9||Louis Zborowski||Harry A. Miller Inc.||Miller Special||122||2.0||S-8|
|10||José Feliu||Elizalde y Cia||Elizalde||1.7||S-4|
|11||Albert Divo||Sunbeam Motor Company||Sunbeam||2.0||S-6|
|12||X||Benz & Cie, AG||Benz||RH||2.0||S-6||DNA - Did not appear|
|13||Martin de Alzaga||Harry A. Miller Inc.||Miller Special||122||2.0||S-8||DNA - Did not appear|
|14||X||Benz & Cie, AG||Benz||RH||2.0||S-6||DNA - Did not appear|
Divo wins the Spanish Grand Prix at Sitges
by Hans Etzrodt
The Spanish Grand Prix for 2-Liter racecars was the first race held on the new 2-km high-speed oval at the Sitges Autodrome. Only Divo and Resta in Sunbeams and Count Zborowski with a Miller
were considered for victory. Gallop's Aston Martin was a 1500 car while the Elizaldes of Carreras and Feliu had 1.75-Liter engines and Mora drove an old overweight Diatto. After Resta retired,
the battle was between Divo and Zborowski. When the Count stopped seven laps from the end to change a wheel, Divo kept his foot on the accelerator. He held on to first place, winning ahead of
Zborowski's Miller, Carreras' Elizalde, Mora (Diatto) fourth and Feliu (Elizalde) last. It was an entertaining race with a hard-fought battle for the lead.
Inspired by the Brooklands oval, the 2.0 km Autódromo Nacional de Sitges-Terramar, located about 42 km south of Barcelona, started construction in 1922 and was completed within 300 days.
The oval circuit had two banked corners, one at an angle of more than 60 degrees. The first race at the opening on October 28, 1923, was the First International Spanish Grand Prix, held in
counter clockwise direction. On the inner part of the oval was a small airfield with hangers, surrounded concentrically with a bicycle speedway, a horse race track and the automobile track.
Tennis places, garages, grand stands and a restaurant were also included. The week-long opening program of the Sitges Autódromo included the following four races:
Sunday, October 28: The Spanisch Grand Prix for two-liter racecars.
Monday, October 29: The Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Thursday, November 1: The Spanisch Grand Prix of Cyclecars (1100 cc).
Sunday, November 4: The Spanisch Grand Prix of Voiturettes (1500 cc).
The opening race on Sunday was to start at 10:30 in the morning over a distance of 700 km, equivalent to 350 laps around the oval. The prize for first place was 50,000 pesetas and a cup; second
20,000 pesetas and a cup; third 10,000 and a cup; fourth 5,000 and a medal; fifth 3,000 and a medal; sixth 3,000; seventh 3,000; and eighth 3,000 pesetas. The King in Madrid designated his nephew,
the young Don Alfonso de Borbón, as the King's delegation, to attend the inaugural race on Sunday at Sitges.
The favorites were the 2-Liter Miller, Sunbeam and Benz. But when Benz did not appear due to last minute difficulties, it was between Miller and Sunbeam. While at Indianapolis, De Alzaga,
Count Zborowski and Jimmy Murphy had formed a Miller team for Monza, their cars fitted with Miller-built two-man bodies in conformity with European regulations. The 2-Liter Miller, called the
type 122, as it had 122 c. i. capacity, had a straight-eight engine, twin o.h.c., driving 2 large valves per cylinder, delivered 120 hp at 5000 rpm and had won the Indianapolis 500 with a single
seat body. After Monza, only Louis Zborowski and Martin de Alzaga remained from the Miller team to start at Sitges, while Jimmy Murphy had left for America where on October 21, he finished
third at the Kansas City 250 Mile Race. Eventually only the Miller of Zborowski was going to start in Spain.
Sunbeam sent two of their cars which had won the French Grand Prix at Tours. Albert Divo who had finished second at Tours was assigned one car, the other was driven by Dario Resta. The car
had a 1988cc (67 x 94 mm) 6-cylinder engine, twin o.h.c. with two valves per cylinder, capable of 108 hp at 5000 rpm and 180 km/h.
The Diatto 20 S of José des Santos-Mora, was said to be three years old and the heavy car would prevent him from competing with the more modern cars.
Elizalde gave one more proof of their enormous sportsmanship by entering two cars in the last minute. Even though the preparation time was short, the Elizalde racecar was a new demonstration of
this great Spanish company. The cars came with 4-cylinder 1750cc engines, to be driven by Alfonso Carreras and José Feliu.
The 1500 Aston Martin was the same car that Count Zborowski had driven so brilliantly at the last Peñya Rhin Grand Prix. At Sitges it was entered for Douglas Hawkes, the notable English driver
who already ran last year with Aston Martin in Peña Rhin, but now Clive Gallop started with the car.
The participation of Pierre de Vizcaya with one Bugatti T32 Tank seemed safe. He had left for Paris on Wednesday, immediately to return to Barcelona. But neither car nor driver appeared in time
for the race.
The Rolland-Pilain of Albert Guyot that won at San Sebastian, was one the fastest French cars at Monza. His entry seemed probable but he also did not appear.
On Saturday night at the offices of the Autodromo Nacional, the registered cars in the 2000 cc class, the 1500 voiturettes and the 1100 cyclecars passed scrutineering including weighing and the
order of the start was established by assigning race numbers.
|3||José des Santos-Mora||Diatto||885 kg weight|
|4||Alfonso Carreras||Elizalde||662 kg|
|5||Clive Gallop||Aston Martin||665 kg|
|6||Dario Resta||Sunbeam||722 kg|
|9||Louis Zborowski||Miller Special||716 kg|
|10||José Feliu||Elizalde||664 kg|
|11||Albert Divo||Sunbeam||724 kg|
El Mundo Deportivo reported about an estimated crowd of 35,000 with around 1500 automobiles parked. The Royal delegation of Her Majesty King Alphonso XIII of Spain delegated his nephew the young
Alfonso, for the representation in this act. At 10:30 AM, the nephew Alfonso arrived at the Autodromo for the opening race. Due to rain in the morning, the start of the race was delayed for 11:30 AM
and the distance was reduced from 350 to 200 laps and from 700 to 400 km. After a tour around the circuit in a royal "Hispano-Suiza" accompanied by the young Alfonso, followed by an Itala with the Mayor
of Barcelona, other officials and a christian entourage driving around and blessing the racetrack.
After the seven racecars lined up in front of the stands, Federico "Frick" Armangué, the Director of the Autodrome, drove the pilot car, a superb Hispano-Suiza, for the rolling start. He was leading the
seven cars during a presentation lap and with a signal from Armangué at the finish, the cars took the flying start at 11:45 AM in the order of #3 Mora (Diatto), #4 Carreras (Elizalde), #5 Gallop
(Aston Martin), #6 Resta (Sunbeam), #9 Zborowski (Miller), #10 Feliu (Elizalde) and #11 Divo (Sunbeam).
After the first lap Resta was in the lead followed by Zborowski, Divo, Gallop, Mora, Carreras and Feliu. On the fourth lap, Divo passed Zborowski and completed the first five laps in 3m29s at 175.610 km/h
average speed. The smaller Aston Martin and Elizalde were admired for keeping up with the 2000 cc cars. On lap 8, Divo was still in the lead. The Diatto of Mora stopped at the pits to repair a breakdown
in two minutes. On lap 9, Zborowski had just taken the lead when he was passed by Resta. Feliu in the Elizalde fell one lap behind. On lap 12, Divo passed the Count, then Resta for the lead with Gallop's
Aston Martin in 4th place.
On lap 18, Zborowski was back in the lead, which he kept until lap 21, when Divo passed him again. Resta was third followed 250 meters behind by Gallop's Aston Martin. Then Resta passed Zborowski and the
leading Divo, with the Count in third place. After several laps without variations until the 26th lap, Zborowski returned to second place. The constant lead changes continued in the battle waged between
Divo, the Count and Resta. Gallop's Aston Martin followed half a lap behind in fourth place ahead of Carreras who was one and a half laps behind, Feliu 2 laps and Mora 3 laps and a half. After two more
laps the Count was again in the lead and after another five, he dropped to third place. The drivers seldom exceeded a speed of 135 km/h. On lap 46, the order was Resta, Divo and Zborowski. On lap 49
Divo attacked and passed Resta. Then Zborowski also passed Resta, chasing after Divo.
After 50 laps, Resta again took the lead after 44m27s. On lap 54, as Divo stopped to change a wheel, Zborowski took the lead, and began a serious fight as he was now driving faster. Even Gallop in the
Aston Martin passed Divo and Resta, followed by Carreras, Mora and Feliu. On lap 57, Divo had regained third place. On lap 65, Zborowski stopped for a wheel change, when Resta took the lead ahead of
Divo and the Count dropped to third place, until Resta changed another wheel. Towards mid-race, there was a large breakdown of the Aston Martin sitting at his pit and another stop by Divo while the Count
marched splendidly in the lead.
After 100 laps, mid-race, Zborowski led Divo, both in 1h26m19.1s at 139.5 km/h average speed. Resta was third, Mora's Diatto fourth 9 laps behind, Carreras' Elizalde fifth 14 laps behind, Feliu's Elizalde
sixth also 14 laps back and Gallop's Aston Martin seventh 20 laps behind. The battle intensified with Resta, Zborowski and Divo alternating the lead, defending themselves in their mutual attacks. Eventually
Zborowski was in full swing, lap after lap with the Count ahead of Divo and Resta, driving in a group. On lap 138, Resta stopped at the pits, his breakdown seemed to be serious. Zborowski stopped on lap 144
as Divo took the lead and gained a lap.
After 150 laps, Divo led in 2h05m02s at 144 km/h average speed. Zborowski resumed and the battle became more serious. The Count hurried as Divo did his best to keep up the increased pace but Zborowski moved
ahead. Meanwhile, Carreras, Feliu, Mora and Gallop in their slower cars were trailing behind driving very regularly. As Zborowski covered the laps in 42 seconds, Divo fell behind. Resta eventually resumed,
but had lost about eight minutes in his pit. The fight between Divo and Zborowski continued but Resta was no longer able to keep the pace. Resta's breakdown on lap 167 was serious and caused his retirement.
Feliu stopped at the pits and changed a wheel. Gallop had a problem with his Aston Martin and retired after lap 167, but had completed only 147 laps, as he was already over 20 laps behind.
The fight between Divo and the Zborowski continued, despite the Count's advantage in the faster Miller over Divo's Sunbeam. The latter did his best to stick to his pace but the Count now increasingly pulled
away. Zborowski was applauded and it was hoped by many that he would be the winner. On lap 193, Zborowski destroyed a tire and changed the wheel in only 35 seconds. Divo had seen the Count's dilemma and
increased his pace in the hope to gain a good advantage. Upon rejoining, Zborowski drove as fast as possible but was unable to catch the Sunbeam of Divo, who won the race 50 seconds ahead of the Miller.
Both cars covered more laps than they should and the finish was indifferent and without excitement. The smaller cars were far behind and carried on covering the required race distance. The Elizalde of Carreras
finished 38 minutes later, with Feliu and Mora still continuing their race for a few more laps. The Elizaldes, whose engines did not fail once, were admired for their regularity.
|1.||11||Albert Divo||Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd||Sunbeam||2.0||S-6||200||2h48m08.5s|
|2.||9||Louis Zborowski||Harry A. Miller Inc.||Miller Special||122||2.0||S-8||200||2h48m58.5s||+ 50.0s|
|3.||4||Alfonso Carreras||Elizalde y Cia||Elizalde||1.7||S-4||200||3h26m55.0s||+ 38m46.5s|
|4.||3||José des Santos-Mora||SA Autocostruzioni Diatto||Diatto||20 S||2.0||S-4||200||3h31m04.0s||+ 42m55.5s|
|5.||10||José Feliu||Elizalde y Cia||Elizalde||1.7||S-4||200||3h33m20.0s||+ 45m11.5s|
|DNF||6||Dario Resta||Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd||Sunbeam||2.0||S-6||166||mechanical|
|DNF||5||Clive Gallop||Bamford and Martin Ltd.||Aston Martin||1.5||S-4||147||mechanical|
Fastest lap was not timed, but Louis Zborowski (Miller) did one lap in 45.8s = 157.2 km/h (97.7 mph).|
Winner's average speed: 142.7 km/h (88.7 mph).
Weather: Sunny and warm
The final classification times published in newspapers and magazines deviated between the Spanish press and the foreign reports by as much as 15 minutes including different average speeds. For this report we have selected the times from the Spanish press.
Drivers' names: Some drivers were given alternative names in the various reports.
#3 José des Santos Mora was also listed as Garcia.
#4 Alfonso Carreras was listed as José María Carreras or as Satrustegui.
#5 Clive Gallop (Aston Martin) started the race while Douglas Hawkes was on the entry list.
#10 José Feliu (Elizalde) was also listed as Felu or Felice.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
La Jornada Deportiva, Barcelona
Le Miroir des Sports, Paris
Special thanks to: