AVUS - Berlin, 21 May 1933.
15 laps x 19.573 km (12.163 mi) + 831m (0.516 mi) starting straight = 294.43 km (182.96 mi)
Varzi wins Europe's fastest race with the big Bugatti in a sensational end fight.
by Hans Etzrodt
On the first day of practice one of Germany's best drivers, Otto Merz, crashed to his death. This calamity overshadowed the entire event. The 1933
Avusrennen eclipsed all previous races at this track due to the impressive and exciting battle of Count Czaykowski and Varzi in their 5-liter Bugattis.
The Count led every lap except the last two after Varzi passed him on the penultimate lap. Despite Czaykowski's great effort to regain the lead, Varzi
won by a fraction of a second. With a speed of 206.9 km/h, the Avus staged the fastest race in Europe, established by Varzi with the 5-liter Bugatti.
The realization of the third International ADAC Avusrennen was in doubt for some time because the Berlin Police demanded improved safety precautions for
spectators, which would have been too expensive for the organizers. In discussions between the ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club), the local
Government and Director Reiners from the Avus Administration it became possible by mid March to reduce the needed safety arrangements to a level
acceptable to police and still ensure the safety of the spectators. For this year's event the Avus grandstand foundations were renewed and terrace-like
standing places along the track installed to improve the vision for standing spectators. The Avus circuit on the outskirts of Berlin comprised two
parallel straights joined at the Potsdam end by the slightly banked South Loop and at the Berlin end in the North by another 180-degree flat turn.
This boring track permitted prolonged high speed driving. The track itself received a new surface between kilometer 4.6 and 5.6 to eliminate the
uneven parts. In view of the importance of the Avusrennen, the organizers decided to deliver only personal invitations to prominent racing drivers at
home and abroad. The prize money for first place was 10,000 mark, second place 6,000, third 4,000, fourth 2,000 and fifth 1,000 mark. As in the
previous year, the event was split in two separate races; one for the small cars up to 1500 cc, which had to complete just 10 laps or 195.561 km
and the second race for the big cars over 1500 cc, which had to do 15 laps equal to 294.426 km.
The Picardie Grand Prix was held the same day at Peronne, France. The majority of the international French drivers preferred to race at Peronne,
consequently entries for the Avusrennen were reduced. Two Mercedes-Benz streamlined heavy SSKL sports cars were entered by Daimler-Benz to defend
the German colors. The first one was von Brauchitsch's 1932 victorious 270 hp Mercedes-Benz SSKL with streamlined silver color Vetter body, designed
and built in a hurry for last year's race by Reinhard Koenig-Fachsenfeld.
Early in 1933 Daimler-Benz had bought this car back from its owner Baron von Zimmermann, who had sponsored von Brauchitsch since 1929. Daimler-Benz
now contracted von Brauchitsch to drive for them in nine races. The engine of the SSKL had just been reworked at Untertürkheim to deliver 300 hp at
3300 rpm. The extremely heavy car, 1800 kg race ready, was again appearing in silver color. It showed some small improvements for 1933, such as a refined
tapered tail end and a continuous smooth undertray, rear wheel fairing discs and heavier wire wheels. The Daimler-Benz factory had also produced a
streamlined SSKL of their own for 1933 with slightly more rounded body panels again produced by Vetter but this car was painted in traditional white. Since Caracciola was out of
the running after his Monaco crash, veteran Mercedes driver Otto Merz was assigned to race once more before retiring from racing for good. The two best
German drivers, Stuck and Caracciola, would follow the race from a safe distance. Stuck, whose Porsche-designed racecar was only expected to be completed
in July, would watch the race as a radio reporter and Caracciola as a convalescent from a hospital bed, listened to the radio commentary.
Three Alfa Romeo Monzas were entered by Scuderia Ferrari for Borzacchini, Nuvolari and Siena. At some races this year Nuvolari was to drive a
specially manufactured Duesenberg. There was a real possibility that this car would be ready in time and that he would start with the Duesenberg at
the Avus, however it was not to be. The Austrian Charly Jellen with his white-striped, brand new red Alfa and Louis Chiron arrived from Zittau in
Saxony, where they had competed in the Lückendorf hill climb on May 14th. The German Rudolf Steinweg, who had bought Prince Leiningen's 2-liter Bugatti,
and the Swiss Hans Stuber had also been at Lückendorf, where Stuber suffered brake defect at high speed and consequently destroyed his Bugatt
against a tree. Luckily he escaped without any bodily harm but was not expected to show up at the Avus after his accident. Fagioli was entered in a
Maserati, Varzi, Kaye Don, Count Czaykowski, "Williams" and Laszlo Hartmann in Bugattis. On May 5 Czaykowski had established new 1-hour and 100 km
world records at the Avus, which must have been useful pre-race experience for him.
On Thursday morning, the first official practice, not many drivers had made an appearance for their initial trial runs. The Italians with their
Alfa Romeos and Maseratis were still missing and Chiron was there only as spectator. From the small car field, the Austins, Bugattis, Alfa Romeo,
Amilcar and Macher's streamlined DKW were present. From the large cars, the Daimler-Benz team with Merz and von Brauchitsch and the Bugatti of "Williams"
were doing practice laps. The morning was cool and rainy. At noon a heavy rain shower had soaked the track. Merz and von Brauchitsch wanted to take
this opportunity to test the track in the wet, slippery condition.
Team manager Alfred Neubauer left for the nearby Continental tire depot to obtain advise. In the meantime
the car of Merz was fitted with tires with a tread designed to provide
better adhesion in the wet. In order not to increase frictional resistance unnecessarily, only two of these tires were mounted tentatively one in front
and the other at the rear but on the other side. With those tires Merz was to complete a few careful trial laps on the wet course.
When von Brauchitsch and Merz left for their test lap after the rain, it was already noticeable that both cars slid and went into a skid but they both
caught the cars and pulled away at rapid speed. Only two km away from the start Merz's Mercedes-Benz left the track on the straight. Exactly how it
happened was not known and only one SA-trooper saw this accident, witnessed however from a greater distance, when the car suddenly overturned several
times. Brauchitsch had not noticed the accident because he had driven down the straight at high speed ahead of Merz but on his way back down the return
straight he must have seen the crashed car. Brauchitsch, pale and shocked, was the first to bring the news to the start line minutes after one o'clock.
Seconds later, the standby ambulance and entire Mercedes team headed to the scene of the accident.
By that time team manager Alfred Neubauer had returned from the Continental tire depot. Competent specialists understood that Merz was still
accelerating the car at the place where he met with his fatal accident. When shifting into top gear, the limit of adhesion was exceeded, one rear wheel
gripped more than the other, causing the car to go sideways. At the place where Merz' car was found, the rough concrete pavement of the Avus changed
over into asphalt. Unexpectedly the clearly visible tire tracks of the car came to a sudden end and only reappeared 36 meters further where the racecar
struck the ground. The car then left the track up the slope and finally shattered a kilometer-stone. The track at that part was not as smooth as the rest
of the course and as a result the cars tended to leap at high speed over several small bumps, which may have contributed to Merz' difficulties. It was
peculiar that no signs of braking were to be seen. The Mercedes-Benz now raced off the track to the right up a soft, high slope. Merz, who was
cool-headed and physically strong, brought the car down from the slope, but when he again reached the track, the impact bounced the car up the
slope again. The tire marks led once more downwards, so the car was still on its four wheels and partially under control of the driver. The car's final
deathblow was a kilometer-stone at the lower part of the slope. As a result of the impact with this stone the car toppled over and then overturned
several times, finally coming to rest upside down. Merz was hurled out of the car and was found lying on the race track with severe skull and spine
fractures. SA-troopers rushed to the scene and carefully carried the driver to the eight meter wide median separating the two straights. He was unconscious but gave
signs of life. The ambulance men speedily brought the injured driver with the car to the Charlottenburg Hildegard Hospital. But all help came too
late. The doctors could only determine that he was already dead.
This grave accident overshadowed all further practice also on Friday and Saturday. Nonetheless more drivers now showed up. The Italians Nuvolari,
Borzacchini and Siena were practicing in their red Alfa Romeos, Chiron was doing some remarkable laps and Count Czaykowski showed that he would be a
very formidable competitor. The small cars were also eagerly practicing. The fastest lap was put up by Manfred von Brauchitsch in his streamlined
7.1-liter Mercedes-Benz SSKL at 214.8 km/h. During the practice days many spectators were in attendance and displayed great interest in the proceedings.
The Avusrennen on Sunday was a major event for the people of Berlin. The mass migration to the famous race track began during the morning hours. Long
before the start of the race, the grandstands were tightly packed and sold out. The starting place was crawling with semi and full officials, drivers
and authorities. Along the entire track numerous groups of curious spectators shoved their way. This year's Avusrennen could lay claim to be a race
with a huge crowd attendance of 120,000 registered spectators and 50,000 non-paying onlookers behind the fences. Many officials and leading personalities
of the new Nazi government were present.
A clear blue sky stretched over the entire city of Berlin. The proceedings opened at 1:30 PM with a high speed demonstration by the fastest man on two
wheels, Ernst Henne on the solo world record BMW. But the weather was already too hot to improve on his records set early Saturday morning. Then Major
a. D. Adolf Hühnlein, leader of the NSKK, started the exciting 1500 cc car race over ten laps, which Veyron won at 181.8 km/h.
The sensational race of the small cars was a foretaste of things to come. Kaye Don and Fagioli did not appear at the start of the big car race, so the
grid was reduced to 11 cars, where positions had been distributed by drawing lots. It was already in late afternoon when Adolf Hühnlein lowered the
flag for the second time to release the field for the race over 15 laps. Manfred von Brauchitsch, the fastest driver during practice, was placed with his
streamlined Mercedes at the end of the starting grid, a position decided by ballot.
The air was filled with the sound of engines screaming and roaring as the 11 cars took off in a cloud of bluish oil and fuel haze.
Borzacchini, Chiron and Jellen were the first ones to pull away. After a few minutes
a faint thunder announced the arrival as the cars neared the starting area. The rumbling rose and rose until Count Czaykowski thundered like lightning
past the grandstand in his 5-liter Bugatti, followed by Varzi's similar car, Nuvolari's long red Alfa Romeo and von Brauchitsch's unwieldy silver Mercedes
already fourth. Chiron had to retire after the first lap with a broken valve.
On lap two two the order remained the same except Brauchitsch arrived last at a slow speed and had to stop for 40 seconds because his right rear tire had
thrown a thread, unable to cope with the high speeds. Altogether,
Brauchitsch had to stop five times, namely on laps 2, 4, 7, 10 and 13. The tires were replaced every time in great haste and the German always left
with great enthusiasm, but had fallen near the end of the field. The reason why the Mercedes had lost the treads of the rear tires and had to change
the right rear tire four times was attributed to the Mercedes' extreme weight of 1800 kg. But higher temperature and the possibility of a new
compound and tread may also have contributed. Brauchitsch had to drive slower than last year to assure that the tires would last at least three laps.
When Steinweg retired on lap two with a broken oil pipe, only nine cars were left in the race.
The lead had developed into a duel between the 5-liter Bugattis of the fast Count Czaykowski and Varzi, both outdistancing the rest of the field.
The 2.6-liter Alfas of Nuvolari and Borzacchini were unable to keep up with the very fast 5-liter Bugattis and were placed constantly behind in third
and fourth place. Then "Williams" and Siena were next. Count Czaykowski completed the fourth lap at an average speed of 209.71 km/h.
Brauchitsch made his second tire stop and fell again to last place. After the
fifth tour the Count was leading with 29m37.4s, an average speed of 199.8 km/h and was eight seconds ahead of Varzi. Nuvolari and Borzacchini
followed next with "Williams" in fifth place.
On lap six Brauchitsch passed Hartmann to gain eighth place without trouble, only to stop the following lap for a third tire change in 46 seconds.
In the following rounds Czaykowski maintained a small lead over Varzi. They completed each lap
at an ever faster pace and the average speed rose continuously. The second group of cars was led by the Alfa Romeos of Nuvolari and
Borzacchini, then "Williams" and Siena. "Williams", who had driven a steady race in his Bugatti until lap eight, came crawling out of the North Turn
with a heavily smoking engine before the end of that lap. Officially a broken fuel pipe ended his race, but in reality it may have been caused by an
engine fire. After lap eight the leaders Czaykowski and Varzi lapped Brauchitsch and Hartmann. Nuvolari and Borzacchini in third and fourth place were
leading the second group, followed by Siena.
After ten laps the Count led with 58m0.8s at an average speed of 203.3 km/h with Varzi following four seconds behind. At this stage Borzachini was
just over three minutes further back (1h01m03s), followed by Nuvolari. Siena who had held fifth place until the end of lap ten retired his Alfa
Romeo with a broken oil pipe. Jellen now inherited fifth position and was lapped by the two fast moving 5-liter Bugattis. Hartmann had to stop after
round 10 to change tires and Brauchitsch made his fourth tire stop. On lap 12 Czaykowski set a new track record of 211.35 km/h and 213 km/h on the
following lap. Brauchitsch made his fifth stop for tires on lap 13. Just before the end of lap 14,
the experienced Varzi who had stayed right behind the count, caught up, passed Czaykowski and became the leader. During his attack Varzi finished lap
14 at an average speed of 219.23 km/h. In order to keep up with his feared rival, Count Czaykowski went even faster than before and set the best lap of
the race on the last round at 221.72 km/h. Despite the Count's great effort, Varzi succeeded in keeping the lead, being at the finish only 1/5 of a
second ahead of Czaykowski, who had driven one of the greatest races of his life.
The two leading cars had already lapped all other drivers at least once. Therefore Nuvolari and Borzacchini had to carry on driving another lap to
complete the 15 lap distance, which was required if a driver was to be counted. The Italians crossed the line in a dead heat in third
place, Jellen finished in fifth, von Brauchitsch was sixth and the Hungarian, Hartmann, was seventh and last.
|1.||32||Achille Varzi||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T54||5.0||S-8||15||1h25m24.4s|
|2.||33||Stanisłas Czaykowski||S. Czaykowski||Bugatti||T54||5.0||S-8||15||1h25m24.6s||+ 0.2s|
|=3.||27||Mario U. Borzacchini||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||15||1h30m55.8s||+ 5m35.4s|
|=3.||26||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||15||1h30m55.8s ||+ 5m35.4s|
|5.||24||Charly Jellen||C. Jellen||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||15||1h35m33.4s||+ 10m09.0s|
|6.||21||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz A.G.||Mercedes-Benz||SSKL||7.1||S-6||15||1h39m42.6s||+ 14m18.2s|
|7.||29||László Hartmann||L. Hartmann||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||15||1h44m14.0s||+ 18m49.6s|
|DNF||34||Eugenio Siena||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||10||broken oil pipe|
|DNF||31||"Williams"||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T54||5.0||S-8||7||broken fuel pipe, (fire ?)|
|DNF||28||Louis Chiron||L. Chiron||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||1||broken valve|
|DNF||25||Rudolf Steinweg||R. Steinweg||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||1||broken oil pipe|
Fastest lap: Stanisłas Czaykowski (Bugatti) in 5m17.8s = 221.7 km/h (137.8 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 206.9 km/h (128.5 mph)
While von Brauchitsch was the only driver who encountered never ending tire problems with his 1800 kg heavy Mercedes-Benz, the Continental tires
of Burggaller and Macher lasted through the whole race. The Dunlops and Engleberts of the French and Italian teams also lasted the entire race.
After the race, engineers from Daimler-Benz, Continental and representatives from the AvD and Avus carried out detailed tests on the Avus track
using remote thermometers fitted to the same racecar driven by Manfred von Brauchitsch. These top speed tests determined that the heat from the
exhaust gasses was absolutely meaningless to affect the tire temperature. As a result the tire failures were not brought about by a faulty routing
of exhaust gasses.
Thursday was the only time that it had rained during practice and the race. The brief rain shower contributed to the death of Otto Merz.
Statements to the effect that Hitler attended the Avusrennen on May 21, 1933 are pure fiction by misinformed writers of later times and false
proclamations; one scribe perhaps copying the other. In fact Propaganda Minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels presented the victorious Achille Varzi with
the trophy of the Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler. The Wuppertaler General Anzeiger reported that Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler had indeed visited the Avus -
but that happened on May 2, 1933. Hitler in company of Minister Dr. Goebbels and other important government officials showed up at the Avus when the participants
of the 9. ADAC Reichsfahrt arrived for a special stage of two laps around the Avus. The writers might have mixed up the Avusrennen with the
Reichsfahrt only three weeks earlier without crosschecking the dates.
As a member of the Scuderia Ferrari, Tazio Nuvolari participated at Tunis, Mille Miglia, Monaco, Alexandria, Tripoli and Avus. He then announced that
from now on he would race on his own, independently. By the end of May he received an Alfa Romeo, which he had ordered from the factory.
In the middle of May, the Algerian driver Guy Moll switched from Bugatti to a 2336 cc Monza Alfa Romeo.
IX GRAND PRIX de PICARDIE
Péronne (F), May 21, 1933.
20 laps x 9.765km (6.068 mi) = 195.3 km (121.4 mi)
A sad weekend for France and for Grand Prix racing.
by Leif Snellman
The minor race near Péronne was overshadowed by two fatal accidents involving notable international drivers. During practice Louis Trintignant,
older brother of the later well known Maurice Trintignant, crashed against a kilometre stone when swerving to avoid a gendarme on the track. During
the race itself Guy Bouriat, who was fighting for the lead with Philippe Etancelin, crashed into a tree after loosing control while lapping a slower
car. Etancelin in a private Alfa Romeo Monza won the ill-fated race from Raymond Sommer and Marcel Lehoux.
At the same time as the Avusrennen was held in Berlin the minor Picardie Grand Prix took place just south of the city of Péronne in northern France.
That annual event was held as usual on the triangular circuit connecting the little villages of Mesnil-Bruntel, Mons-en-Chausseé and Brie, near the
first world war Somme battlefields. The Automobile Club Picardie-Artois had upgraded the narrow 9765 m circuit with new, supposedly adequate barricades.
Races were to be run in three classes, 1100cc, 1500 cc (15 laps) and over 1500cc (20 laps). Except for the class prizes the overall winner would
also receive a special premium of 10,000 franc.
As expected when two races take place on the same a weekend, entries for both events suffer. Not unexpectedly the majority of the French drivers preferred to
race at Péronne rather than being outperformed by the Bugatti T54's on the long straights of Berlin's AVUS.
With Scuderia Ferrari and Automobiles Ettore Bugatti concentrating on the Avus race, the Picardie entries were scaled down to privateers, even though
drivers like Bouriat surely had some kind of work support.
Bugatti T35s and T51s dominated the entry list but there were Alfa Romeo Monzas for Etancelin, Sommer, and Equipe Villars-Waldthausen.
From the 14 Bugatti entries, Bugatti T51 drivers included Lehoux, Gaupoillat, Bouriat, Bussienne, and Brunet.
Louis-Aimé Trintignant, a vineyard owner from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, raced a Bugatti T35C (4941) with the engine of the Bugatti T51 (51128).
Félix, "Eric Lora" and Delorme turned up with 2 litre T35C Bugattis and Raoul Miquel in a 2.3 litre T35B. Four Bugatti entries failed to appear
including Guy Moll.
During Saturday morning practice Louis-Aimé Trintignant lost control of his Bugatti T35C at high speed when he tried to avoid a gendarme, who suddenly
had stepped out on the road near the Mons-en-Chausseé curve. The car hit a kilometre stone, overturned and rolled for 50 meters. The unfortunate young
driver was thrown forward and killed instantly as his throat was cut open by the glass windscreen. Trintignant's body ended up lying by the roadside
where frustrated spectators covered the corpse with newspapers until it was removed.
Trintignant had been showing considerable promise especially in hill climbs. His calm and mature driving had left the impression as
a "coming man" in motor racing.
With Merz' crash at the Avus this was the second fatal accident during the weekend and sadly the misfortunes did not end there.
The Grand Prix cars lined up according to their starting numbers.
When the flag dropped, the highly popular Guy Bouriat in a Bugatti T51 made an excellent start from the third row and took the lead. He was soon
challenged by Etancelin, who had started with his Alfa Romeo Monza from pole position. The duel between Bouriat and Etancelin continued for the
first half of the race. On lap 11 Etancelin finally managed to pass Bouriat for the lead.
On lap 16 Etancelin was still leading and had managed to open up a slight margin, to Bouriat. When they came up to lap the Swiss driver Villars in an Alfa
Romeo Monza, Villars gave way and Etancelin passed without problem. What then happened is a bit unclear but probably Bouriat was keen to pass as soon
as possible to rejoin the fight with Etancelin. Bouriat might have taken chances, while Villars was unaware that there had been two cars behind rather
than just one and turned back into the slipstream of Etancelin. Anyway, the wheels of Villars' Alfa and Bouriat's Bugatti slightly touched with the
result that the Bugatti performed a series of ever widening slides until the car went off the track and hit a tree at approximately 150 km/h. The result
of the impact was horrible as the car burst into flames while Bouriat was crushed and died instantly. The fire was violent and the body of the
unfortunate Bouriat was found badly charred.
The race went on with Etancelin, not realizing of what had happened, carrying on at full speed. Several minutes behind him were Sommer and Lehoux
fighting for second position.
Soon afterwards Robert Brunet crashed his Bugatti T51 but escaped with a broken ankle. There were other retirements but details about the reasons
could not be found; these were Gaupillat, Miquel, Felix, von Waldthausen and Delorme. Thus the field was reduced to less than half of what it
was at the start.
Etancelin took the flag almost three minutes ahead of Sommer who barely won the duel for second place. Lehoux was third and the lapped Villars
and Bussienne continued to finish fourth and fifth, while "Eric Lora" was flagged off in sixth position, one lap behind.
However, the results didn't matter much as competitors and spectators alike were shocked about the horrible fate of Guy Bouriat, who had been extremely
popular in France.
|1.||2||Philippe Etancelin||P. Etancelin||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||20||1h25m36.2s|
|2.||4||Raymond Sommer||R. Sommer||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||20||1h28m24.0s||+ 2m47.8s|
|3.||6||Marcel Lehoux||M. Lehaux||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||20||1h28m28.0s||+ 2m51.8s|
|4.||28||Julio Villars||Equipe Villars-Waldthausen||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||20||1h35m11.0s or 1h30m11.0s?|
|5.||20||Pierre Bussienne||P. Bussienne||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||20||1h35m44.4s||+ 10m08.2s|
|6.||18||"Eric Lora"||"Eric Lora"||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||19|
|DNF||26||Jean Delorme||J. Delorme||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8|
|DNF||30||Horst von Waldthausen ||Equipe Villars-Waldthausen||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8|
|DNF||36||Robert Brunet||R. Brunet||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||crash|
|DNF||10||Pierre Félix||P. Félix||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8|
|DNF||12||Guy Bouriat||G. Bouriat||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||10||fatal crash|
|DNF||16||Raoul Miquel||R. Miquel||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8|
|DNF||8||Jean Gaupillat||J. Gaupillat||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8|
Fastest lap: Philippe Etancelin (Alfa Romeo) in 4m10.8s = 140.2 km/h (87.1 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 136.9 km/h (85.1 mph)
This was one of the darkest weekends of the 1933 season, comparable only with the "Black Day of Monza", with the loss of three drivers in Grand Prix
races and two further fatalities at the Indy 500 qualifying. The Automobile Club Picardie-Artois eventually erected a memorial for Trintignant and Bouriat
at the Mons-en-Chasusseé corner near the start line.
Louis Trintignant's Bugatti would continue its racing life in the hands of his brother Maurice. The car would take Maurice to many victories and fame, then
spend the second world war dismantled in a barn only to be raced again in the post war era. Rat droppings found after the war storage in the fuel tank gave
its owner the nickname "Le Petoulet" while the car itself would be known as the "Le Grandmere".
There exists contradicting information on which lap the Bouriat accident had happened. Some sources place the accident on lap 10 and others on lap 16.
As there is other information indicating that Etancelin took over the lead from Bouriat only on lap 11, I have decided to use the latter version.
I thought earlier that the track was rebuilt with new chicanes for the 1934 race because of the 1933 accidents and that the length thus was increased
to 9.765km. However, it is now clear that the 1933 track already had a length of 9.765km (Automobil-Revue 25 April 1933) so further research has to be
made on that subject.
VII ADAC EIFELRENNEN
Nürburgring (D), May 28, 1933.
15 laps x 22.810 km (14.173 mi) = 342.15 km (212.6 mi)
Nuvolari wins unrivaled at the Nürburgring.
by Hans Etzrodt
The international Eifelrennen was the only major race at the Nürburgring in 1933 but the organization and meaning of the event held now on the North Loop
portrayed that of an earlier German Grand Prix. Initially Chiron held the lead until his car gave trouble. Then Nuvolari took over from lap two
onwards, never to relinquish the lead. Brauchitsch drove a magnificent steady race without a stop and finished second with the
heavy Mercedes-Benz. Chiron, who had to pit four times, wound up fourth behind Taruffi who was new to the difficult Nürburgring.
Concurrently with the 13 grand prix cars battled nine racecars of the voiturette class and a bunch of nine cycle cars. Each class was started at short interval after the preceding group.
The VII. International ADAC Eifelrennen followed seven days after the Avusrennen. Since the German Grand Prix had been moved to the Avus, the Eifelrennen
would be the only major event of the year to be staged at the Nürburgring. The race for cars at the 22.810 km North Loop was divided into three classes.
Cars up to 800 cc had to cover 12 laps or 273.72 km and those over 800 cc had to do 15 laps or 342.15 km. The winner of the 800 cc racing cars received
900 mark and the honor prize of the Nürburgring of 2,550 mark, awarded to each class winner. In the class over 800 cc the winner received 2,300 mark
plus the honor prize of the Nürburgring. The winner of the large car class over 1500 cc received 3,500 mark and the honor prize of the Nürburgring,
the second received 2,300, third 1,400 and fourth 1,000 mark.
Most drivers who had participated at the Avus headed for revenge to the Eifel Mountains on the following weekend. Since the large Bugattis were unsuitable
for the Nürburgring, they wisely stayed away. Borzacchini raced at the Targa Florio, so no serious competition was left for Tazio Nuvolari. Eugenio
Siena and new man Piero Taruffi, who was impressed by the countless corners of the Nürburgring, were additional Scuderia Ferrari drivers. Louis Chiron
arrived from the Avusrennen with his repaired 2.3-liter Alfa Romeo Monza. Daimler-Benz entered a large Mercedes-Benz SSKL for Manfred von Brauchitsch but
not the streamlined version raced at the Avus. Herbert Wimmer was to start in the 2.3-liter Bugatti T35B 4948, which he had bought at the end of 1932 from Paul
Pietsch. Pietsch sold it because he had changed over to an Alfa Romeo Monza, which he also entered for the Eifelrennen. Pietsch had teamed up with
Charly Jellen in another Alfa Romeo Monza, painted in red with white stripes along the body sides, while Pietsch's Alfa was white with red stripes.
Rudolf Steinweg came with his old 2-liter Bugatti and the Swiss Equipe Villars-Waldthausen entered Julio Villars and Baron Horst von Waldthausen, both in
Alfa Romeo Monzas. Another driver from the Avusrennen was the Hungarian László Hartmann who was to appear in a Bugatti T35B. Officine A. Maserati
had entered an 8CM for Luigi Fagioli and George E. T. Eyston an Alfa Romeo Monza. Norbert Sinner from Luxembourg arrived with a 2.3-liter twin-cam
Bugatti and a late Bugatti entry was accepted by Spanish driver Jean-Marie de Texidor, living in Belgium.
On Thursday, the first day of practice, it was rather quiet at the Nürburgring because of heavy rains. Most drivers then appeared on Friday and the
circuit was busy by midday. Nuvolari, Siena, Taruffi and Chiron put up fast times in the Alfa Romeos as did von Brauchitsch with the huge Mercedes-Benz.
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE stated that the Swiss Villars and Baron von Waldthausen also drove some fast laps. Practice was completed without any incidents and
Nuvolari was generally seen to have the best chance of victory.
Since the early morning hours on Sunday countless motorists and pedestrians headed for the Nürburgring in expectation of the various battles; 100,000
spectators had come to watch. While it had rained for the most part during the 10:00 AM motorcycle races, it ended just before the cars assembled for
the planned 2:00 PM start. The track was drying but the sky remained overcast all day. According to the original plan the nine cars of the class up
to 800 cc were to start first for 12 laps around the North Loop. Four minutes later the nine cars of the 1500 cc class were to follow for 15 laps
and finally the 13 big cars. But this was all changed at the time of the race, when all cars lined up together in front of the grandstand with the
13 grand prix cars in front. Behind them stood the 1500 cc class race cars and the little cars at the end.
Three cars had failed to show up, those of Fagioli, Sinner and Eyston. The start was delayed due to a brief memorial service held in memory of Albert
Schlageter, an early Nazi member and Party hero, who was court-martialed by the French ten years earlier and executed on May 26, 1923. Then
Ministerpräsident Hermann Göring arrived with other Nazi luminaries, protected by SS and SA troupes present. The field of 13 grand prix cars was
finally released at 2:30 PM on a drying circuit. Taruffi had the best start, shadowed by Chiron, then Brauchitsch, Nuvolari and Siena. Chiron
arrived in the lead at the end of lap one, which he finished in 12m36s, an average speed of 108.5 km/h. Nuvolari followed closely in second place and
after a while came von Brauchitsch, Taruffi, Jellen and Pietsch.
Nuvolari attacked the Frenchman constantly and finally found a way past on lap two. He then continued
to extend his lead over Chiron, who was followed by von Brauchitsch in third place.
On lap five Chiron headed for the pits and lost second place. Thereafter he had to make three further stops because his tank had sprung a leak and
was unable to regain his earlier position. Chiron stopped again at his pit on lap eight, when the steady driving von Brauchitsch in the huge Mercedes
held second place. The German did not have to change tires during the race and stayed ahead of Taruffi, Chiron, Pietsch and Jellen.
Steinweg had to retire his Bugatti early on with defective valves and Villars parked his Alfa after encountering engine problems. Wimmer ended with his
Bugatti in a roadside ditch. Since Nuvolari had the fastest car, he had no problem distancing himself from the rest. Taruffi was learning the Nürburgring,
it was his first time there. Chiron's Monza was similar to Nuvolari's but since he had only a 2.3-liter engine, his car was slower and could not keep up
with Nuvolari's pace.
Nuvolari completed lap after lap in his steady fast pace, his lead increasing continuously, even though his first place was never in danger.
Brauchitsch was second, followed by Chiron who had to stop on lap 12 for the third time with a leaking tank and fell back to fourth place behind Taruffi.
Two laps later Chiron had to stop once more. Nuvolari finished with an average speed of 113.4 km/h, far ahead of von Brauchitsch in second place,
Taruffi third, the unlucky Chiron fourth and Hartmann fifth. The Hungarian erroneously drove one additional lap and on this 16th lap he
crashed at the South Loop but did not injure himself. Pietsch and Siena, who were one lap behind Nuvolari, carried on driving to complete the full
distance of 15 laps. The fate of the remaining six drivers could not be fully verified, because the reports hardly mentioned them. It cannot be
ascertained at which stage drivers retired or if others were still cruising way behind the seven finishers to be flagged off.
However, 'Der Nürburgring' magazine reported that the German Steinweg was driving in a wild senseless zigzag along the circuit. He barely reached his
pit and as he climbed out of his car he collapsed unconsciously. The fuel line had sprung a leak and the gases rushed towards the driver. Because of
the rain Steinweg had his face covered with a plastic shield under which the gases got stuck and slowly anaesthetized the unknowing driver.
|1.||1||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||15||3h00m59s|
|2.||4||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz A. G.||Mercedes-Benz||SSKL||7.1||S-6||15||3h06m54s||+ 5m55s|
|3.||6||Piero Taruffi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||15||3h09m09s||+ 8m10s|
|4.||2||Louis Chiron||L Chiron||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||15||3h11m48s||+ 10m49s|
|5.||7||László Hartmann||L. Hartmann||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||15||3h12m12s||+ 11m13s|
|6.||14||Paul Pietsch||P. Pietsch||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||15||3h13m29s||+ 12m30s|
|7.||5||Eugenio Siena||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||15||3h18m11s||+ 17m12s|
|DNF||8||Rudolf Steinweg||R. Steinweg||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||?||fuel leak|
|DNF||9||Julio Villars||J. Villars||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||?||engine trouble|
|DNF||10||Horst von Waldthausen||Equipe Villars-Waldthausen||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||?|
|DNF||12||Charly Jellen||C. Jellen||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||?|
|DNF||15||Herbert Wimmer||H. Wimmer||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||?||crash|
|DNF||?||Jean-Marie de Texidor||J.M. de Texidor||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||?|
Fastest lap not available. (Presumably Nuvolari must have established the fastest lap, which apparently was not recorded.) |
Winner's medium speed: 113.4 km/h (70.5 mph)
Weather: rain had stopped before the beginning of the race with the circuit drying and the sky overcast.
Since no printed starting grid could be found at the time of this writing, a wrong grid was unknowingly assembled first with the help of photographs.
This grid had portrayed the most likely scenario but at the same time it was pointed out that it might contain errors especially some cars at the rear
might be in their wrong position. The starting grid now shown is finally correct, two years later, with the help of two additional pictures found in
Earl Howe in his 1500 cc Delage won the voiturette class in 3h17m42s at 103.7 km/h and would have placed ahead of Siena's Alfa in seventh place,
no mean feat for a 1.5-liter car built in 1927. In second place followed Burggaller (Bugatti) 3h17m43s and Veyron (Bugatti) 3h23m36s came third.
Howe and Burggaller both drove one lap too much and in this last lap Burggaller was able to pass his opponent. After the German finished lap 16
in first place he was told that he was second in the decisive 15th lap.
The class up to 800 cc over 12 laps was won at ease by Hamilton (MG) in 2h50m15s, ahead of Kohlrausch (Austin) 3h14m32s and Seifert (DKW).
After the race Ministerpräsident Hermann Göring of the new Germany held a speech addressing the large crowd at the start and finish area, also
broadcasted in Germany. Thousands of brown shirted SA troupers paraded along the wide starting area in front of Göring and political SA leaders.
This was followed with the prize giving, Göring presenting Earl Howe, Nuvolari and the other winners with their trophies.
It could not be determined with certainty whether Sinner (Bugatti) or Texidor (Bugatti) did not start. But by conjecture it appears that de Texidor
started the race. The outcome of the non-finishers remains uncertain due to incomplete reporting in the various publications available.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
ADAC Motorwelt, München
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Der Nürburgring, Adenau
Dunlop Zeitung, Hanau
Freiburger Zeitung, Freiburg
MOTOR SPORT, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Neues Wiener Tageblatt, Wien
The Autocar, London
The Motor, London
Wuppertaler General-Anzeiger, Wuppertal
Special thanks to:
Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive
XXIV° TARGA FLORIO
Piccolo Circuito Madonie - Palermo (I), 28 May 1933.
7 laps x 71.85 km (44.65 mi) = 503.0 km (312.5 mi)
Just Alfa Romeos.
by Leif Snellman
Clashes in the calendar meant that the Targa Florio entry list was the weakest in many years with only 14 Italian drivers and with Scuderia Ferrari
as the only team. What looked to be a foregone conclusion turned to a surprise when Borzacchini who was dominating the race crashed, handing the
victory to his team mate Ghersi.
When a landslide in 1931 made the 108 km long "Medio Madonie" route unusable the Targa Florio was moved back to the original 148 km "Grande Madonie"
route, first used back in 1906. But that was only a temporary measure. The "Grande Madonie" was in even worse condition than the Medio Madonie and
more prone to future landslides. The only solution was to build a new section of road bypassing the most dangerous points. Financed by the Fascist
government a new sector was built among the remote mountains, leaving the old track near Caltavuturo and going downwards to meet the Medio Madonie
route halfway down to Collesano. The new 71.75 km "Piccolo Madonie" was ready for the 1932 Targa Florio.
Initially the 24th Targa Florio was planned to be run on 14th May 1933 on the same route as in 1932 as a seven lap event "pro", a five lap "1st category"
and a three lap "amateur" race. That plan was later changed to a single seven lap event with no classes to keep up the "Classicissima" status of the race.
The Reale Automobile Club d'Italia in Palermo had reserved 150,000 lire for prize money. The winner would receive 50,000 lire and a gold medal, the second placed 30,000 lire and the third
placed 15,000 lire. Each other driver who managed to take the flag would receive 2000 lire while those being able to do at least four laps would receive
When Tripoli GP, initially scheduled for 19th March, was moved to 7th May the Targa Florio organizers found themselves in a dilemma. With the money
filled Tripoli being highly popular among the Italian drivers and as transporting the teams from Libya to Sicily in a week proved impossible Targa
Florio had to be moved. A gap was found in the calendar at 28th May as the Premio Reale di Roma race had been cancelled. However, now the Targa would
clash with Eifelrennen and it was also more or less impossible for competitors from Avusrennen and Picardie GP a week earlier to reach Sicily in time.
So when the deadline came on 7th May the organizers were faced with the fact that just 14 entries had been received, all of them Italians. Adding to
that, most of the drivers were more or less unknown amateurs. There were 11 Alfa Romeos in the list and 3 Bugattis. The Swiss paper Automobil Revue
did not hesitate to use the word "Fiasco". Luckily Scuderia Ferrari decided to split their effort between Targa Florio and Eifelrennen, otherwise it
would have been a total catastrophe. Scuderia Ferrari sent three Alfa Romeo Monzas for Borzacchini, Brivio and the lesser known Carraroli. Of these
three cars only Borzacchini's was of the upgraded 2.6 litre model.
Of the other Alfa Romeo drivers only Ghersi and Balestrero can be considered as known names. The other six private drivers must be considered
amateurs with a mix of 2.3 litre 8 cylinder and 1.75 litre 6 cylinder cars.
The three Bugatti drivers Cusinotta, Giardina and Toia can hardly be called well known names either and the Bugattis were not very competitive
T37s and a T35.
The weather was perfect with the sun shining over a cloudless sky when the cars lined up at 10 a.m. watched by 50000 spectators.
Cars started at intervals|
the stat was given by S. E. Manareo, Under Secretary of State to the Minister of War.
The first driver, Piccolo Cucinotta, was waved away in his Bugatti, followed by the others in three minute intervals.
At the end of the first lap Borzacchini was leading with a time of 54m11s, followed by Brivio 1 minute 14s behind, then Magistri and Ghersi.
Magistri was soon afterwards out of the race as was Giardina and Toia. On the second lap Borzacchini opened up his gap to Brivio to 2m15s with
Ghersi another minute behind.
After three laps the order was:
|1. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)||2h43m|
|2. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||2h45s|
|3. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||2h48s|
|4. Carraroli (Alfa Romeo)|
|5. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)|
|6. Gazzabini (Alfa Romeo)|
|7. Napoli (Alfa Romeo)|
|8. D'Alessio (Alfa Romeo)|
|9. Lo Bue (Alfa Romeo)|
|10. Virgilio (Alfa Romeo)|
|11. Cucinotta (Alfa Romeo)|
|12. Toia? (Bugatti)|
Borzacchini continued to add to the gap making the fastest lap of the race. Everything looked set like a clear victory for the popular but unlucky man
from Terni, but Targa Florio was always full of surprises. On the fourth lap Borzacchini got a puncture near Collesano and lost a lot of time, dropping
9 minutes behind Brivio who had taken over the lead. When Borzacchini tried to make up for the lost time he made a mistake and hit a stone wall near
Collesano He managed to take the car back to the pits only to retire with broken suspension.
Brivio was now leading, having done the four laps in 3h 54 min. 3s with Ghersi 1½ minute behind. So the interest was now turned to the possible duel
between Brivio and Ghersi. That one proved to be fast resolved as Ghersi on the next lap had to give in with lubrication problems and Brivio, now having
a big gap to
Balestrero, could concentrate on bringing this Alfa to the finish. He took the flag with 20 min. margin to Balestrero and Carraroli took the remaining
Scuderia Ferrari car to third followed by Gazzabini and D'Alessio while Cusinotta was too far behind to be classified.
|1||8||Antonio Brivio||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||7||6h35m06.2s|
|2||4||Renato Balestrero||R Balestrero||Alfa Romeo||8C 2300||2.3||S-8||7||6h55m52.6s||+ 20m46.4s|
|3||5||Guglielmo Carraroli||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||7||7h07m45.0s||+ 32m38.8s|
|4||12||Carlo Gazzabini||C. Gazzabini||Alfa Romeo||8C 2300||2.3||S-8||7||7h21m02.6s||+ 45m56.4s|
|5||9||Remo D'Alessio||R. D'Alessio||Alfa Romeo||8C 2300||2.3||S-8||7||7h34m11.0s||+ 59m04.8s|
|NC||1||Letterio Cucinotta||L. Cucinotta||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||7||7h51m02.0s||+ 1h15m55.8s|
|DNF||11||Lillo Napoli||L. Napoli||Alfa Romeo||8C 2300||2.3||S-8||5||mechanical|
|DNF||7||Giuseppe Virgilio||G. Virgilio||Alfa Romeo||6C||1.8||S-6||5||mechanical|
|DNF||3||V Lo Bue||V. lo Bue||Alfa Romeo||6C 1750||1.8||S-6||5|
|DNF||13||Pietro Ghersi||P. Ghersi||Alfa Romeo||8C 2300||2.3||S-8||4||lubrication|
|DNF||10||Mario U. Borzacchini||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||3||crash, leaf spring|
|DNF||14||Francesco Toia||F. Toia||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||1||engine|
|DNF||6||Costantino Magistri||C. Magistri||Alfa Romeo||8C 2300||2.3||S-8||1||head gasket|
|DNF||2||Agostino Giardina||A. Giardina||Bugatti||T37||1.5||S-4||1||mechanical|
Fastest lap: Mario U. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo) in 54m11s = 79.6 km/h (49.4 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 76.4 km/h (47.5 mph)
Brivio's speed of 76.5 km/h can be compared to Nuvolari's 79.2 km/h in 1932.
Cusinotta's T37 was the last Bugatti to ever finish at the Targa Florio, a race that the marque won five times in a row in the 1920s.
1. Francesco Toia according to Paul Sheldon, Salvatore Casano according to "Motorsport" July 1933, page 429.
30 May 1933: Louis Meyer (Tydol Special Miller) wins the Indianapolis 500.