Five years after Whitney Straight’s historic trip to South Africa to take part in the First South African Grand Prix, motor racing had become an established sport in the country and during the European winters British and Continental drivers escaped the cold to take part in the ‘summer series’ down south. This ensured that expensive racing cars could be used to generate an income instead of being stored on blocks during a time that the wintry European season was closed.
For 1939, the South African Grand Prix was to be a ‘proper’ grand prix for voiturettes of 1.5 liters and for the first time run as a scratch race, no more run on the antiquated handicap system with fields made up of outdated machinery, specials and the modern cars of the visiting European drivers. With FIA approval and in line with the European formula, a top class field including the ‘works’ Maserati team, independent Maserati pilotes and a group of competent English amateurs in ERAs was assembled.
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