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V GROßER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND

Nürburgring - (D), 19 July 1931.
Group I: 22 laps x 22.810 km (14.173 mi) = 570.25 km 501.82 km (311.82 mi)
Group II: 18 laps x 22.810 km (14.173 mi) = 410.58 km (255.12 mi)                  


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Group I: over 1100 cc engine capacity
(Black lateral stripe on hood)
2Manfred von BrauchitschM. v. BrauchitschMercedes-BenzSSKL7.1S-6
4Ernst-Günther BurggallerGerman Bugatti TeamBugattiT35B2.3S-8
6Heinrich-J. von MorgenGerman Bugatti TeamBugattiT512.3S-8
8Rudolf CaracciolaR. CaracciolaMercedes-BenzSSKL7.1S-6
10Hans StuckHans StuckMercedes-BenzSSKL7.1S-6
12Otto MerzAlfred NeubauerMercedes-BenzSSKL7.1S-6
14Luigi FagioliOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati26M2.8S-8
16René DreyfusOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8
18Clemente BiondettiOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8DNA - Did not appear
20Boris IvanowskiB. IvanowskiMercedes-BenzSSK7.1S-6DNA - Did not appear
22Otto SpandelFürst Hohenlohe-JagstbergMercedes-BenzSSK7.1S-6
24Sir Henry BirkinSir H. BirkinMaserati26M2.5S-8
26Louis ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8
28Achille VarziAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8
30Albert DivoAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8
32Guy BouriatAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8
34Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8
36"W. Williams"Automobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8replaced Divo in #30 car
38Phil "Red" ShaferR. ShaferShaferSpecial4.3S-8
40Juan E. ZanelliComte d'ArnouxBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - Did not appear
42Earl HoweE. HoweBugattiT512.3S-8
44Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
46Baconin BorzacchiniScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8DNA - Did not appear
48Jean-Pierre WimilleJ.P. WimilleBugattiT512.3S-8
18Ernst KotteOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8DNA - Did not appear
-Hans StuberH. StuberBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - Did not appear
-Luigi ArcangeliScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8DNA - Did not appear
-XAC LuxembourgBugattiDNA - Did not appear
-H. Urban-EmmrichH. Urban-EmmrichTalbotraced in Group II
 
Group II: over 500 and up to 1100 cc
(White lateral stripe on hood)
52Toni BauhoferZschopauer MotorenwerkeDKWFWD0.5S-2
54Hans SimonsZschopauer MotorenwerkeDKWFWD0.5S-2
56Fritz TheissenZschopauer MotorenwerkeDKWFWD0.5S-2
58Rudolf SteinwegR. SteinwegAmilcar1.1S-6
60Boris IvanowskiB. IvanowskiAustin.75S-4DNA - Did not appear
62A. SchlumbergerA. SchlumbergerRally1.1S-4DNA - Did not appear
64Curt WeicheltC. WeicheltBMWWartburg.75S-4DNA - Did not appear
66Hugo Urban-EmmrichH. Urban-EmmrichMG MidgetType C.85S-4
68Gerhard MacherG. MacherDKWRWD1.0S-4
70Kurt VolkhartK. VolkhartNeander-VolkhartSpecial1.1S-2DNA - Did not appear
72Engelbert Graf ArcoE. Graf Arco-ZinnebergAmilcar1.1S-6
74Georges LoridantG. LoridantAmilcar1.1S-6DNA - Did not appear
76Luigi PremoliConte L. PremoliSalmson1.1S-4
78Dudley FroyD. FroyRiley1.1S-4
80E. MarkiewiczE. MarkiewiczAustin.75S-4DNA - Did not appear
82José ScaronJ. ScaronAmilcar1.1S-6
84August FringsA. FringsAmilcar1.1S-4DNS - Did not start
86Benoit FalchettoF. BenoitAmilcar1.1S-6DNA - Did not appear
88Francis SamuelsonCaptain F.H.B. SamuelsonMG MidgetType C.85S-4
90Marcel RouleauM. RouleauAmilcar1.1S-6
92Louis DecaroliR. BouclySalmson1.1S-4DNA - Did not appear
94Roger BouclyR. BouclySalmson1.1S-4DNS - Did not start
96CanottiR. BouclySalmson1.1S-4DNA - Did not appear


Caracciola invincible at the Nürburgring

by Hans Etzrodt
A huge field of 31 starters from 10 nations took part in the rainy 1931 German Grand Prix, held on the Nordschleife version of the Nürburgring. The race did not comply with the international 10-hour formula. Caracciola in the heavy Mercedes-Benz led almost from beginning to end, establishing an early lead of over two minutes to his closest rivals. Fagioli with the fastest works Maserati led initially during part of the first lap, then held second place until lap five when Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo passed him, only to be displaced by Chiron's Bugatti a few laps later. Varzi in the other works Bugatti at one time held fourth place. The German von Morgen in the quickest independent Bugatti held a bold third place in the early laps during the soaking rain. Merz, Stuck, von Brauchitsch and Spandel in the other stripped Mercedes-Benz sports cars never mixed with the front group. The Bugatti drivers Bouriat, Williams, Lehoux, Wimille, Earl Howe, von Morgen and Burggaller, Dreyfus and Birkin in Maseratis and Shafer in the Shafer-Special all encountered one problem or another. The 1931 German Grand Prix was the third repetition of the battle between Mercedes-Benz and Bugatti or Caracciola and Chiron. Eventually the prolonged rain ended after 13 of the 22 laps. When Chiron embarked on his end spurt on the drying circuit, his effort to catch the leading Mercedes came too late to endanger Caracciola's unexpected victory. Varzi finished third, followed by Nuvolari, Merz, Stuck, Bouriat, Wimille, Spandel, Birkin and Earl Howe last.
The A.v.D. (Automobilclub von Deutschland) organized the fifth Grand Prix of Germany on the 22.810 km North Loop of the Nürburgring. It was the first time that the difficult South Loop was not used. Although the CSI of the AIACR determined no particular formula for the 1931 Grand Prix except the 10-hour duration, Germany did not follow the examples of Italy, France and Belgium with their 10-hour events for unlimited racecars. The sports car cultivated with special attention in Germany, was to be further supported at the Grand Prix of Germany, so that the race on the Nürburgring was open for all categories of cars of the international sporting regulations of appendix C. The regulations altogether ignored the phrase "race- and sports cars". For the first time the German Grand Prix was not a race limited to sports cars but now also allowed race cars.
      Due to the bad economic situation following the October 1929 Wall Street crash, the planned 1930 German Grand Prix had not taken place. The financial crisis in 1931 still strained all of Germany, forcing the organizers to question whether the event was justified during the hardest days in Germany since WW I. Indeed, during the preceding days of the race the fate of the German Grand Prix had been in doubt several times. Only because of the outstanding participation of foreign drivers, who already practiced on the Nürburgring for several days, the organizers decided on the Wednesday before the Grand Prix to follow through with the race. However, related events like banquets etc. were abstained from, so that the event was limited to just the race.
      The 48 entries were divided into two groups. Group I consisted of cars over 1100 cc, free formula cars, which had to complete 22 laps or a total distance of 501.820 km. Group II cars or cycle cars with engines over 500 cc and up to 1100 cc had to cover 18 laps or 410.580 km. There were no limitations and regulations regarding engine design, car weight or fuel, though all cars had to have fixed body panels. That was actually the only limitation issued. It was calculated that both groups would finish the race at about the same time. Driver changes were permitted, but relief drivers had to be nominated before the race. Not more than two persons were allowed to be in the car, but they were allowed to change over only in front of the pits.
      The entry fee for each Group I car was 300 RM and 150 RM for Group II cars. The competitors were handed back 100 RM for every car that started, as long as they had completed at least five laps. All competitors which finished the required distance within the time limit were returned their full entry fee. Drivers, who took longer than 45 minutes after the first of their Group had finished the race, were excluded from the classification. Race management could declare the race as completed 60 minutes after the first car had passed the finish. Scruteneering was scheduled for Saturday, July 18. The large and small cars were to race simultaneously and to differentiate between the two groups, the Group I cars had a black lateral stripe on the hood while the Group II cars carried a white lateral stripe at the same place. Since many of the small cars were to race in the German national color, white, they had two thin black lateral stripes with white in between.
      The total prize money offered was 30,000 RM (Reichsmark). The winner of Group I received the Grand Prix of Germany Trophy and 12,000 RM, the second placed driver 6,000 RM, the third 2,000 RM, altogether 20,000 RM were offered in this group. The Group II winner received the trophy of the Grand Prix plus 6,000 RM, the second 3,000 RM and third 1,000 RM, altogether 10,000 RM. Special prizes were offered for the fastest car with a two-stroke engine and the fastest car with front-wheel drive. Besides those prizes the overall winner would receive the golden Nürburg-Ring to wear on his hand. Each driver who had started with the exception of the first three in each group would be presented with a standard memorial cup.
Entries:
The AvD received 48 entries in total. Group I was headed by the white cars from Germany. The German Bugatti Team arrived with two of their 2300 Bugatti racecars, a newly acquired twin-cam T51 for von Morgen and an older single-cam T35B for Burggaller. The remaining white cars were all large 7.1-liter Mercedes-Benz SSK sports cars, stripped of their fenders, lights, bumpers and running boards and lightened as much as possible. Caracciola, Merz and Stuck with limited factory support -Rennstallleiter Alfred Neubauer was present- all drove white SSKLs, the lightened chassis version of the SSK. As the leading driver for the Stuttgart factory, Caracciola always had the best prepared SSKL with the strongest engine. The independent von Brauchitsch arrived with another SSKL but his was painted field-gray, as was the SSK of Spandel. The Franco-Russian Ivanowski, who was living in Paris, had entered another SSK but he did not appear. Despite their experience and intense practice, it was in no way assured that the heavy Mercedes SSKL sports cars would stand a chance against the pure bred nimble racecars from Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
      Besides the two German Bugattis, the strongest entry came from the Molsheim factory in the form of five blue 2300 twin-cam full-blooded racecars for Chiron, Varzi, Divo, Bouriat and Williams with their pit manager Meo Costantini. Lehoux, Earl Howe and Wimille also in 2300 twin-cam Bugattis were independent entries. Zanelli with an older 2300 single-cam Bugatti did not appear.
      The Alfa Romeo factory had lent two of their 2300 racecars to Scuderia Ferrari. Only one of those Alfas arrived for Nuvolari, while the other to be driven by Borzacchini did not appear and neither did the driver. Both cars had raced the week before at the Belgian Grand Prix where the one driven by Campari and Zehender supposedly suffered severe fire damage. This would have been too difficult to repair within just a few days for the German race which explained the absence of the second Alfa Romeo. Luigi Orsini wrote that the Scuderia Ferrari had mounted Continental tires on Nuvolari's car, which supposedly "were not good enough to give the Mantuan any chance of troubling the better-fancied runners." However, that statement does not agree with the fact that during the race Nuvolari twice held second place. Corrado Filippini stated that the gear ratios of Nuvolari's car were too high.
      The Maserati factory arrived with a 2800 M26 for Fagioli and a 2500 for Dreyfus. Both cars carried a spare wheel on the right front side. A third works Maserati M26 was to be driven by Biondetti and when it was withdrawn, a white M26 of independent German driver Kotte should take its place but did not appear. Another M26 was driven by Sir Henry Birkin. Lastly, the American AAA Championship racer Phil "Red" Shafer arrived from the USA with his Shafer-Special, a 2-seat racecar based on a Rigling chassis with a 4.3-liter straight-8 Buick engine.
      The cycle cars of Group II comprised 23 entries, which are listed above. Although only 12 of these little cars were to race concurrently with the large cars, they were classified separately and had their own race over just 18 laps with their own classification and prizes. The Group II racing progress will not be described here in much detail. Allegedly Frings (Amilcar) and Boucly (Salmson) also started in the race, which would have raised the total to 14 entries. This was mentioned only in a few reports but since their race progress was nowhere reported, both drivers are shown here as non-starters.
Practice:
Two weeks before the race, the Hotels of Adenau at the Nürburgring were busy with people from all countries. The Mercedes team had been practicing for two weeks under the supervision of Daimler-Benz team manager Alfred Neubauer. They were driving one lap after another. In the evenings Merz, Caracciola, Stuck and von Brauchitsch practiced tire changes with a new style quick jack in a meadow near to the Forsthaus St. Hubertus where they kept their cars. In the end Caracciola with his mechanic Sebastian held the record, changing all four tires in one minute and ten seconds. Stuck, who had raced at the Nürburgring only twice before in 1927, practiced diligently to learn the many difficult turns of the circuit. He even gave Count Giovanni Lurani a frightening tour around the course in the SSKL, to quote the count: "During practicing, my friend Stuck had taken me for a run round the course on his Mercedes. Anyone who knows the tortuous circuit of the Nurburgring, the 22 km of which are a continuous up and down with frightening curves which gave it the nickname of "Switchback Circuit," can well imagine the feeling of absolute terror and emptiness which I experienced during that lap, sitting beside the dare-devil Stuck." This was the first time that the young von Brauchitsch raced on the Nordschleife and he developed a good knowledge of the circuit. Caracciola must have taken a leave of absence from early practice, since he arrived in his convertible Friday morning before the race and began immediately with practice. The Mercedes team was aware of the hard task ahead, to race against the fast and nimble twin cam Bugattis, which had won almost every race that year. With their limited chances, the Germans did not expect to win and hoped for rain, where their heavy cars would have better road holding than the light Bugattis.
      The Bugatti works team with Chiron, Varzi and Williams kept busy practicing under the supervision of Meo Costantini. Nuvolari in the red Alfa Romeo drove one lap after another. The small cars, like DKW, Amilcars and the British MG Midgets were also busy. Sir Henry Birkin and Earl Howe were seen on the circuit since Thursday. Earl Howe practiced in his Mercedes-Benz SS but drove his 2300 Bugatti in the race. Unfortunately Ivanowski, Zanelli, Stuber and Arcangeli did not arrive, likewise several drivers of the little cars. On Friday, the first official practice day, there was increased activity. After midday Friday the black and red American Shafer-Special appeared; it was the only car which was cranked with a portable electrical starter.
      AUTOMOBIL-REVUE reported about the many different people taking drivers' times with their stop watches. "On Friday Varzi, the joker, wanted to give everyone a scare. He had his plan. He drove two similar practice laps, 11m59s and 11m57s. Then he drove his third lap. All stopwatches were ticking, all eyes were waiting all ears took notice. At 11 minutes there were jerky movements at the horizon, everybody looked towards Antoniusbuche. One could hear the whining shriek of a supercharger. 11m4s, 11m6s, 11m9s - then he was past, - not possible! 11m9s !!! Varzi was laughing to himself. He had taken a short cut along the Steilstrecke, which was blocked during the race. His plan had succeeded. Everybody now "feared the man in blue overalls".
Race:
On Sunday morning the sky was covered with gray clouds that grew darker until it began to drizzle around mid morning. This changed into rain one hour before the start. Despite the adverse weather, the hard economic circumstances and the financial worry, a huge crowd of about 100,000 to 150,000 spectators had arrived there on Sunday. After the cars had assembled at the starting line in numerical order, some changes became evident. The #30 Bugatti of Divo was driven by Williams while his #36 Bugatti was scratched. The four works Bugattis must have been granted special permission to carry no black stripe, while all other big cars carried a wide black stripe. The engines were started half a minute before the flag was dropped.
Pole Position
6
von Morgen

Bugatti

4
Burggaller

Bugatti

2
von Brauchitsch

Mercedes-Benz

10
Stuck

Mercedes-Benz

8
Caracciola

Mercedes-Benz

16
Dreyfus

Maserati

14
Fagioli

Maserati

12
Merz

Mercedes-Benz

24
Birkin

Maserati

22
Spandel

Mercedes-Benz

30
"Williams"

Bugatti

28
Varzi

Bugatti

26
Chiron

Bugatti

34
Lehoux

Bugatti

32
Bouriat

Bugatti

44
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo

42
Howe

Bugatti

38
Shafer

Shafer-Special

48
Wimille

Bugatti

 
56
Theissen

DKW

54
Simons

DKW

52
Bauhofer

DKW

At 10:00 AM sharp when rain was falling lightly, the starter Herr Wendt dropped the flag. The 19 big cars spurted away with tremendous, earsplitting noise, followed by the 12 Group II cars, which were released simultaneously. Caracciola with the huge Mercedes immediately took the lead, followed by von Morgen's Bugatti. However, after the turn around Südkehre, the Maseratis of Fagioli and Birkin raced into the lead. When they came chasing along the return straight from the Südkehre (South Turn), they already had a considerable advantage to Caracciola. Then the pack of red, white, blue, gray and green racecars followed. Scaron's Amilcar was leading the small group. Steinweg's white Amilcar was last after a bad start.
      Eventually, after 12 minutes, the cars returned from the long lap. Caracciola, who had been able to get around Fagioli's Maserati at the Schwalbenschwanz turns, arrived first, the supercharger screaming, tires throwing up rainwater high into the air. He was followed after a five second gap by Fagioli, next came von Morgen and then Varzi. Scaron in his Amilcar was way ahead leading the Group II cars, followed by Froy, Count Arco and Macher's white DKW. Steinweg crashed on the first lap when the steering linkage broke on his Amilcar which turned over. Fortunately he escaped with light head injuries and a leg contusion. Urban-Emmrich also crashed on lap one just after Fuchsröhre, where his MG left the track, rolled over a few times and landed several meters down the embankment. The car was heavily damaged. The driver luckily escaped with only slight back contusions and was taken to hospital. After the first lap, the cars were in the following order:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)
2.Fagioli (Maserati)
3.von Morgen (Bugatti)
4.Varzi (Bugatti)
5.von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)
6.Birkin (Maserati)
7.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)
8.Lehoux (Bugatti)
9.Wimille (Bugatti)
10.Chiron (Bugatti),
then Stuck (Mercedes-Benz), Williams (Bugatti), Burggaller (Bugatti), Dreyfus (Maserati), Bouriat (Bugatti), Howe (Bugatti), Merz (Mercedes-Benz), Spandel (Mercedes-Benz), Shafer (Shafer Special).

After the second lap, Caracciola in first place had increased his advantage, working on his plan of establishing a gap of over a minute, enough time to change tires. Fagioli followed at a great distance and von Morgen was third. Nuvolari had moved from seventh to fourth place, Varzi and von Brauchitsch were next. Wimille was now seventh and Chiron held eighth place. Birkin's Maserati had fallen to ninth position, before Stuck and Lehoux.
      After three laps there was no change amongst the leading six. Caracciola, who went faster now, had increased his advantage to 40 seconds. Fagioli followed in the red Maserati, next came von Morgen's white Bugatti still in third place, hard pressed by Nuvolari's red Alfa Romeo. Chiron had passed Wimille into seventh place and Stuck had gone around Birkin for ninth position. Williams retired with an engine problem and Lehoux made a pit stop to change plugs.
      At the end of four laps, Caracciola had further extended his lead to Fagioli with the bold Nuvolari now in third place. He had worked himself from the back of the grid through the heavy spray of 15 cars into the front group. Von Morgen, who had started from the first row, found himself in fourth position and was now hounded by Chiron and Varzi with their light blue factory Bugattis. Wimille was seventh, next came von Brauchitsch, Stuck and Birkin in tenth place. Burggaller retired his Bugatti with engine problems.
      After five laps, 114 km, Caracciola had over one minute advantage after 1h16m29s, followed by Nuvolari 1h17m31s and Fagioli third in 1h17m33s.
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)
3.Fagioli (Maserati)
4.von Morgen (Bugatti)
5.Chiron (Bugatti)
6.Varzi (Bugatti)
7.Wimille (Bugatti)
8.Stuck (Mercedes-Benz)
9.von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)
10.Birkin (Maserati),
followed by Merz (Mercedes-Benz), Bouriat (Bugatti), Spandel (Mercedes-Benz), Dreyfus (Maserati), Lehoux (Bugatti), Howe (Bugatti) and Shafer (Shafer Special) last.

By the end of the sixth lap, 136.86 km, Caracciola's time in first place was 1h16m29s. Nuvolari had passed Fagioli for second in 1h17m31s. Caracciola was around two minutes ahead of Chiron's and Varzi's works Bugattis, when they evidently decided to pick up some speed and overhauled von Morgen. Wimille had fallen to ninth place, Merz was tenth. During the following lap everybody had settled down. No position changes were recorded.
      On lap eight Fagioli ousted Nuvolari from second place, then Chiron also went around Nuvolari to chase after Fagioli. Merz had gone past Wimille to capture ninth place. The rain subsided during lap eight. The whipping rain in the face lessened, visibility improved and the track was beginning to dry.
      At the end of nine laps, after two hours racing, Chiron had finally got second place behind Caracciola who at this time had maintained his advantage to Chiron at two minutes. Not for nothing was the German called "The Rainmaster". Fagioli was third, Nuvolari fourth, trailed by Varzi, von Morgen, Stuck, Merz, von Brauchitsch and Wimille still tenth.
      The order after nine laps, half distance for the Group II cars, was Scaron (Amilcar) leading in 2h08m02s at 86.2 km/h, second Froy (Riley) 2h10m43s, third Count Arco (Amilcar) 2h14m36s, Macher (DKW), Theissen (DKW), Samuelson (MG Midget) and Rouleau (Amilcar). Only the leading drivers in the small class carried out quick pit work. Scaron did not have to refuel or change tires at all.
      After ten laps Caracciola led with over two minutes. There were still 17 cars in the field.
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)
2.Chiron (Bugatti)
3.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)
4.Fagioli (Maserati)
5.Varzi (Bugatti)
6.von Morgen (Bugatti)
7.Stuck (Mercedes-Benz)
8.Merz (Mercedes-Benz)
9.von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)
10.Wimille (Bugatti),
then Birkin (Maserati), followed by Lehoux (Bugatti), Spandel (Mercedes-Benz), Bouriat (Bugatti), Dreyfus (Maserati), Howe (Bugatti), Shafer (Shafer Special).

At mid-race after the eleventh lap there were no position changes except Merz had passed Stuck for seventh place and Bouriat passed Spandel for eleventh position. Caracciola led in 2h18m57s at 108.2 km/h, ahead of Chiron by 2m02s and followed by Nuvolari a further 29 seconds behind. Next appeared Fagioli, Varzi, von Morgen, Merz, Stuck, von Brauchitsch, Wimille, Birkin, Lehoux, Bouriat, Spandel, Dreyfus, Earl Howe and Shafer. The track was getting dryer and the light Bugattis of Chiron and Varzi were racing faster and so did all the others.
      On the twelfth lap most drivers stopped for replenishments. Caracciola refueled with the quick-filler hose himself while Wilhelm Sebastian and Fridolin Zimmer changed rear wheels in the record time of only 69 seconds. When Caracciola rejoined the race, he kept his lead because nobody had caught up to him yet. Chiron also refueled on lap 12 but on Costantini's advice did not change rear tires. His stop took 58 seconds for fuel, oil and water. Stuck and Merz refueled and changed rear wheels in 1m26s. Fagioli, Spandel, Birkin, Bouriat and Shafer also stopped. Most drivers refueled on this lap but some, like Nuvolari and von Morgen did not and thereby temporarily improved their position.
      On lap 13, Varzi stopped for fuel and after some hesitation also changed the rear wheels, thereby losing over two minutes. At this time von Brauchitsch stopped with a broken differential. Shafer also retired on this lap at his pit with broken suspension on his Special after the fluid had run out of the hydraulic shock-absorbers. The relentless rain had stopped by around 1:30 in the afternoon. At the end of 13 laps Caracciola was 1m14s ahead of Nuvolari, who had not yet stopped. Chiron was third, followed by von Morgen, Varzi, Fagioli, Merz and Stuck who had lost third gear, Wimille, Dreyfus, Lehoux, Bouriat, Spandel, Birkin and Earl Howe. The field was down to 15 cars.
      After 14 laps the circuit had completely dried up in some places but in the wooded areas the surface was still moist and shiny. Chiron, who had passed Nuvolari, was now in second position, still two minutes behind Caracciola. The German was made aware through pit signals of the threat from Chiron's faster machine, so he increased his speed. Fagioli retired the leading Maserati somewhere on the circuit. According to W.F. Bradley, Fagioli retired with a stripped third gear inside the Maserati's gearbox, whereas Luigi Orsini wrote that "halfway through the race his Maserati stopped for the seizure of the gearbox. A quick check revealed the total absence of lubricant, which had leaked out from a plug left untightened by the oversight of a mechanic or the result of a possible sabotage." About Birkin's progress, W.F. Bradley reported that he stopped his Maserati to change oiled up sparkplugs while Varzi headed again to his pit when the spare wheel strap came loose and had to be tightened. Earl Howe in last place refueled and changed wheels.
      On lap 15 Lehoux disappeared when he cornered too fast, his Bugatti went into a skid and rolled over. In the crash he suffered a cut above his eye. Nuvolari, Dreyfus and Wimille made their stops for fuel and tires. Nuvolari fell from third to fifth place. Spandel in his 3-year old SSK drove steadily behind the leading group. After 15 laps the gap between Caracciola and Chiron remained at two minutes with von Morgen another 2m30s behind in this order:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)
2.Chiron (Bugatti)
3.von Morgen (Bugatti)
4.Varzi (Bugatti)
5.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)
6.Merz (Mercedes-Benz)
7.Stuck (Mercedes-Benz)
8.Wimille (Bugatti)
9.Bouriat (Bugatti)
10.Spandel (Mercedes-Benz),
then Birkin (Maserati), Dreyfus (Maserati) and Howe (Bugatti) last. The field was now down to 13 cars.

On lap 16 the gap between Caracciola and Chiron had widened to 2m8s on a drying circuit. Dreyfus passed Birkin's Maserati. Wimille stopped at his pit.
      On lap 17 Caracciola was still leading the now faster driving Chiron who finally made up time. Varzi had also picked up speed and moved into third position, followed by Nuvolari, Merz and von Morgen. The latter had lost his third place when he had made his stop for his fuel and tires. Dreyfus retired his Maserati also with a broken gearbox.
      On lap 18 Chiron, who now made up time on the dry roads, had reduced Caracciola's advantage to 1m44s. Would he be able to catch the leading Mercedes-Benz? Neubauer gave the German pit signals with a red flag, warning him of the approaching Bugatti. Varzi also drove faster now and with 11m48s established the fastest lap of the race. This compared with Chiron's best time of 12m03s and 12m06s for Caracciola. Bouriat found a way around Wimille for eighth place.
      No position changes took place over the next two laps. Caracciola was concerned about how much time Chiron could make up in the last four laps but controlled himself not to exceed 4000 rpm. On the following lap Chiron reduced Caracciola's advantage to 1m30s. After 20 laps the order was:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)
2.Chiron (Bugatti)
3.Varzi (Bugatti)
4.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)
5.Merz (Mercedes-Benz)
6.von Morgen (Bugatti)
7.Stuck (Mercedes-Benz)
8.Bouriat (Bugatti)
9.Wimille (Bugatti)
10.Spandel (Mercedes-Benz),
then Birkin (Maserati) and Howe (Bugatti) last.

On lap 21 Caracciola's advantage to Chiron was still the same at 1m30s. On the dry road the Bugatti driver could outdrive the heavy Mercedes but it was too little, too late. Wimille retired his Bugatti for unknown reasons. On this second to last lap von Morgen retired in sixth place, according to Erwin Tragatsch, due to the loss of oil pressure.
      On the last lap Neubauer waved his slow down flag and Caracciola made sure he didn't rev his engine above 3500 rpm. Tumultuous applause greeted the German as he passed the finish line. He was a very popular victor in 4h38m10.0s, followed 1m18s later by Chiron's Bugatti, who also received great cheers. Chiron in light blue overalls climbed out of his similarly colored car, ran back a short distance, broke through the crowd around the white Mercedes, climbed onto the car with his arms wide open, embraced and kissed his friend Caracciola on each cheek to the frantic applause by the crowd. This victory was a tremendous joy for the large crowd, a German driver in a German car with German Continental tires had beaten the elite of international motor racing. Again it started to rain, as Varzi finished in third place, three minutes behind the victor, then Nuvolari in fourth position, completely dressed in red. According to the AAZ report he had slowed down with a broken windshield. Next arrived Merz, Stuck and Bouriat, who were the last drivers on the same lap as Caracciola. Wimille, Spandel and Birkin were all one lap down but carried on to be counted, completing their 22 laps; likewise Earl Howe who had been lapped twice. The very last car to finish was Theissen's little DKW to end his 18th lap in 5h24m18.6s.

      The small car field comprising 12 Group II racecars up to 1100 cc raced simultaneously with the larger cars and had to complete only 18 laps, a total of 410.580 km. Just seven of those little cars finished. Scaron, who led with his Amilcar from start until the last lap, had a breakdown a few kilometers from the finish while holding a 6m37s advantage. He then had to stop three times to blow out the jets of his carburetor, while Dudley Froy with his little Riley passed him to win the race in 4h23m56.6s at 93.4 km/h average speed, followed by Count Arco-Zinneberg (Amilcar) in 4h32m18s. In third place finished the unlucky and very disappointed Scaron (Amilcar) in 4h32m52.5s, fourth Rouleau (Amilcar), fifth Samuelson (MG Midget), sixth Macher (DKW with rear wheel drive) and Theissen (DKW with FWD), last. His car had slid into a ditch and flipped over, which did not stop him to continue and completing the race as the very last car to reach the finish line. The Rules stipulated that drivers, who took longer than 45 minutes after the first driver had finished the race, were excluded from the classification. Despite having exceeded their maximum time allowances, Samuelson (MG), Macher (DKW) and Theissen (DKW) were classified.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

Group I:
1.8Rudolf CaracciolaR. CaracciolaMercedes-BenzSSKL7.1S-6224h38m10.0s
2.26Louis ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8224h39m28.0s
3.28Achille VarziAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8224h42m10.0s
4.44Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8224h43m54.0s
5.12Otto MerzAlfred NeubauerMercedes-BenzSSKL7.1S-6224h43m54.8s
6.10Hans StuckH. StuckMercedes-BenzSSKL7.1S-6224h47m34.0s
7.32Guy BouriatAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8224h50m04.0s
8.48Jean-Pierre WimilleJ.-P. WimilleBugattiT512.3S-8224h52m08.0s
9.22Otto SpandelFürst Hohenlohe-JagstbergMercedes-BenzSSK7.1S-6224h54m45.0s
10.24Henry BirkinSir H. BirkinMaserati26M2.5S-8225h01m03.0s
11.42Earl HoweEarl HoweBugattiT512.3S-8225h08m19.6s
DNF6Heinrich-Joachim von MorgenGerman Bugatti TeamBugattiT512.3S-821oil pressure
DNF16René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-816gearbox
DNF34Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-814crash
DNF14Luigi FagioliOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.8S-813gearbox
DNF2Manfred von BrauchitschM. v. BrauchitschMercedes-BenzSSKL7.1S-612differential
DNF38Phil "Red" ShaferP. ShaferShaferSpecial12shockabsorbers/suspension
DNF4Ernst-Günther BurggallerGerman Bugatti TeamBugattiT35B2.3S-83engine
DNF30"W. Williams"Automobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-82engine
Fastest lap: Achille Varzi (Bugatti) in 11m48s = 115.98 km/h (72.07 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 108.2 km/h (67.3 mph)
Group II:
1.78Dudley FroyD. FroyRiley1.1S-4184h23m56.6s
2.72Engelbert Graf ArcoE. Graf Arco-ZinnebergAmilcar1.1S-6174h32m18.0s
3.82José ScaronJ. ScaronAmilcar1.1S-6174h32m52.5s
4.90Marcel RouleauM. RouleauAmilcar1.1S-6165h07m22.0s
5.88Francis SamuelsonCaptain F.H.B. SamuelsonMG MidgetType C.85S-4165h09m52.2s
6.68Gerhard MacherG. MacherDKWRWD1.0S-4165h13m50.0s
7.56Fritz TheissenZschopauer MotorenwerkeDKWFWD0.5S-2155h24m18.6s
DNF52Toni BauhoferZschopauer MotorenwerkeDKWFWD0.5S-24clutch
DNF54Hans SimonsZschopauer MotorenwerkeDKWFWD0.5S-23clutch
DNF76Luigi PremoliConte L. PremoliSalmson1.1S-43broken axle
DNF58Rudolf SteinwegR. SteinwegAmilcar1.1S-61crashed
DNF66Hugo Urban-EmmrichH. Urban-EmmrichMG MidgetType C.85S-41crashed
Fastest lap: José Scaron (Amilcar), time not published.
Winner's medium speed: 93.3 km/h (58.0 mph)
Weather: rain, last quarter of race dry, sunshine at the end.
In retrospect:
After the race, Caracciola told the interviewer that he did not fear the bad weather and that heat would have been worse. He had driven exactly by the clock and had planned before the race to try to take the lead on the first lap and not surrender it. From the first kilometer on he knew that he could extract the last ounce out of his car. Chiron waited too long until he fired away and put his foot down.
      The plight of the injured drivers turned to the better than expected. Steinweg, who turned his Amilcar over in a turn after a brake linkage broke, ended up lying underneath his car. He was lucky not to receive serious injuries. After the race Steinweg was able to stay in his hotel after his foot had been bandaged. On Monday after the race, Lehoux with his bandaged right hand was free to go. Urban-Emmrich who during the race turned over his MG in a corner was not seriously injured. He left the Adenau hospital a few days after the race to return to his home in Prague.
      For the first time a race was broadcast over the radio by the West-German and South-West-German Broadcasting Company. The broadcast had to be interesting to captivate the listeners and a special report was developed, similar to a relay race. Four experienced sport reporters took charge of this. Dr. Laven was at the Start and Finish, Dr. Wenzel at the interesting corners of Wehrseifen, Dr. Ernst at the notorious Karussel, and August Christ at Döttinger Höhe. All German broadcasting stations were connected including the German Shortwave Station and a number of Swiss stations, also in Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. The broadcast was heard by millions. Dr.Laven started the report shortly before the start. No sooner had the last cars disappeared from his sight, the commentary was passed to the next speaker at Wehrseifen, who then took over before the race leader reached his post. And so it continued around the Nürburgring, fast like lightning and with temperament, like the drivers behind the wheel. All of the speakers were connected via telephone and in addition they heard the report of the other speakers through their headsets. The relay report from the Nürburgring had succeeded like few sporting events via radio had triumphed before.

Primary sources researched for this article:
ADAC Motorwelt, München
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
Automobil-Revue (AvD-Zeitschrift), Frankfurt
AZ - Motorwelt, Brno
Der Nürburgring, Adenau
Freiburger Zeitung, Freiburg i. Breisgau
Il LITTORIALE, Roma
MOTOR, Berlin
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
The Autocar, London
The Motor, London
Wuppertaler General Anzeiger, Wuppertal
Special thanks to:
John Humphries
Mercedes-Benz Archiv, Stuttgart




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© 2011 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 08.11.2016