Up to 1938 our “A Record of Grand Prix and Voiturette Racing” books include all races for racing cars whether or not run to the prevailing Grand Prix formula. This reflected the nature of motor racing at the time when there was no closely structured set of formulae as there is today and organisers, other those of the various national grand prix, ran their events under whatever rules they chose.
However, from 1938 when the 4.5 unsupercharged, 3.0 supercharged formula was introduced most races were either for these cars or the unofficial “Formula 2” voiturette class for 1.5 supercharged cars. So this date was taken as a cut off and from then on the Record Books exclude events not run to the prevailing grand prix or secondary formulas.
But this did not mean that free-formula racing stopped. There were many races, mainly in England, until about 1960 that did not fit into any of these specific categories. They were known as Formule Libre (NOT Formula Libre). For instance, after the Formula 1 declined in 1952, there was really no race suitable for the V16 BRM and the 4.5-litre Ferraris to compete in so that the major race in many meetings was a Formule Libre race. Typically meetings would have a Formula 2 race with a Formule Libre as the final race of the day, and it is worth stressing that often the Formule Libre race was considered the main race, even if there was a Formula 1 race.
The Grand Prix and Voiturette Record Books only covered scratch races. Before 1940, most UK and Irish races were run on a handicap basis and therefore were excluded. These events are often dismissed as purely British parochial affairs but if the entry lists are examined names like Villoresi, Minetti, Trossi, de Graffenried, Rüesch and Louis Gerard will be found so that is, perhaps, rather a harsh judgement. It is important to distinguish between the short-distance, individually handicapped races, and long distance races where the handicaps were set on a class basis so that effectively there were a series of races being run concurrently. Consequently we have felt it right that these long distance races should be given proper recognition by including them in this Volume.
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