Alfa Romeo P3

The Alfa Romeo P3, P3 monoposto or Tipo B was a classic Grand Prix car designed by Vittorio Jano, one of the Alfa Romeo 8C models. The P3 was first genuine single-seat Grand Prix racing car and Alfa Romeo's second monoposto after Tipo A monoposto (1931). It was based on the earlier successful Alfa Romeo P2. Taking lessons learned from that car, Jano went back to the drawing board to design a car that could last longer race distances. The P3 was the first genuine single seater racing car, and was powered by a supercharged eight-cylinder engine. The car was very light for the period, weighing just over 1,500 lb (680 kg) despite using a cast iron engine block.
The P3 was introduced in June, halfway through the 1932 Grand Prix season in Europe, winning its first race at the hands of Tazio Nuvolari, and going on to win 6 races that year driven by both Nuvolari and Rudolf Caracciola, including all 3 major Grands Prix in Italy, France and Germany.
The 1933 Grand Prix season brought financial difficulties to Alfa Corse so the cars were simply locked away and Alfa attempted to rest on their laurels. Enzo Ferrari had to run his breakaway 'works' Alfa team as Scuderia Ferrari, using the older, less effective Alfa Monzas. Alfa prevaricated until August and missed the first 25 events, and only after much wrangling was the P3 finally handed over to Scuderia Ferrari. P3s then won six of the final 11 events of the season including the final 2 major Grands Prix in Italy and Spain.
The regulations for the 1934 Grand Prix season brought larger bodywork requirements, so to counteract this the engine was bored out to 2.9 litres. Louis Chiron won the French Grand Prix at Montlhery, whilst the German Silver Arrows dominated the other four rounds of the European Championship. However the P3s won 18 of all the 35 Grands Prix held throughout Europe.
By the 1935 Grand Prix season the P3 was hopelessly uncompetitive against the superior German cars in 6 rounds of the European Championship, but that didn't stop one final, legendary works victory. The P3 was bored out to 3.2 litres for Nuvolari for the 1935 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, in the heartland of the Mercedes and Auto-Union empire. In the race, Nuvolari punctured a tyre early on while leading, but after the pitstop he carved through the field until the last lap when Manfred von Brauchitsch, driving the far superior Mercedes Benz W25 suffered a puncture, leaving Nuvolari to win the race in front of 300,000 stunned Germans.
The P3's agility and versatility enabled it to win 16 of the 39 Grands Prix in 1935. The P3 had earned its place as a truly great racing car.
Alfa Romeo P3
Grand Prix 750 kg
Alfa Romeo
1932 - Alfa Corse
1933/1935 - Scuderia Ferrari
Vittorio Jano
1932 + Tazio Nuvolari, Rudolf Caracciola, Giuseppe Campari, Baconin Borzacchini
1933 + Louis Chiron, Luigi Fagioli,
1934 + Guy Moll, Achille Varzi, Brian E. Lewis, Carlo Felice Trossi, Gianfranco Comotti
1935 + Raymond Sommer, Comte George de Montbressieux, Richard Shuttleworth, René Dreyfus, Vittorio Belmondo, Mario Tadini, Antonio Brivio, Guido Barbieri, Pietro Ghersi, Renato Balestrero,
1936 + "Charlie" Martin, Comte José María de Villapadierna, Giovanni Battaglia, Clemente Biondetti, Austin Dobson
Technical specifications
channel section side members
Suspension (front)
Semi elliptic leaf springs, friction dampers
1935 independent Dubonnet system with trailing links
Suspension (rear)
Semi elliptic leaf springs, friction dampers
1935 reversed quarter elliptic leaf springs
Straight-8 (two straight 4 blocks),
Twin Roots Superchargers
1932 - 2654 cc,
1934 - 2905 cc,
1935 - 3165 cc, bored out for German Grand Prix
Alfa Romeo 4-speed manual
c.1934 Alfa Romeo 3-speed manual
2,642 mm (104 in)
Front 1,397 mm (55 in), Rear 1,346 mm (53 in)
Dry weight
700 kg (1,545 lb)
1932 - Dunlop
1933/35 - Englebert
Competition history
1932 Italian Grand Prix, Tazio Nuvolari, 1st
Constructors’ Championships
Not applicable before 1958
Not applicable before 1950
Race victories
1932 Italian Grand Prix, Tazio Nuvolari
1932 French Grand Prix, Tazio Nuvolari
1932 German Grand Prix, Rudolf Caracciola
1932 Coppa Ciano, Tazio Nuvolari
1932 Coppa Acerbo, Tazio Nuvolari
1932 Monza Grand Prix, Rudolf Caracciola
1933 Coppa Acerbo Luigi Fagioli,
1933 Grand Prix du Comminges Luigi Fagioli
1933 Marseille Grand Prix Louis Chiron,
1933 Italian Grand Prix Luigi Fagioli
1933 Masaryk Circuit Louis Chiron
1933 Spanish Grand Prix Louis Chiron
1934 Monaco Grand Prix, Guy Moll,
1934 Alessandria Grand Prix Achille Varzi,
1934 Tripoli Grand Prix Achille Varzi,
1934 Casablanca Grand Prix, Louis Chiron,
1934 Targa Florio, Achille Varzi,
1934 Internationale Avus Rennen, Guy Moll,
1934 Mannin Moar, Hon. Brian Lewis
1934 Montreux Grand Prix, Comte Trossi
1934 Penya Rhin GP, Achille Varzi,
1934 Grand Prix de France, Louis Chiron,
1934 Grand Prix de la Marne, Louis Chiron
1934 GP de Vichy, Comte Carlo Trossi,
1934 German Grand Prix Tazio Nuvolari
1934 Coppa Ciano, Achille Varzi,
1934 Grand Prix de Nice, Achille Varzi,
1934 GP du Comminges, Gianfranco Comotti,
1934 Circuito di Biella, Comte Trossi,
1935 Grand Prix du Pau, Tazio Nuvolari
1935 Bergamo Circuit, Tazio Nuvolari
1935 GP de France, Raymond Sommer
1935 Biella Circuit, Tazio Nuvolari
1935 Lorraine GP, Louis Chiron
1935 Marne GP, René Dreyfus
1935 Dieppe GP, René Dreyfus
1935 Varese Circuit, Vittorio Belmondo
1935 German GP, Tazio Nuvolari
1935 GP du Comminges, Raymond Sommer
1935 Coppa Ciano, Tazio Nuvolari
1935 Nice GP, Tazio Nuvolari
1935 Coppa Edda Ciano, Mario Tadini
1935 Donington GP, Richard Shuttleworth
1935 Coppa della Sila, Antonio Brivio
1935 Brooklands Mountain Circuit Championship, Richard Shuttleworth
Last season

Alain de Cadenet with Alfa Romeo P3
Engine of the Alfa P3 Tipo B - Note the twin gear driven superchargers
The Tipo B Aerodinamica variant with Guy Moll won the Avus G.P. in 1934
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Last updated on 10 March 2014 at 10:37.


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