X ADAC EIFELRENNEN
(Voiturette 1500cc + 800cc)
Nürburgring (D), 14 June 1936
8 laps x 22.810 km (14.17 mi) = 182.48 km (113.4 mi)
Trossi victorius with the new 6-cylinder Maserati
by Leif Snellman
The Eifelrennen voiturette race was raced in drizzle after heavier rain on a wet track. Seaman in his Delage took an early lead but was an early retirement and the works Maserati team dominated the rest
of the race with Trossi in the new 6-cylinder car winning from his team mate Tenni. The works ERAs were struggling so Bira in his own ERA finished third while Bäumer in a little Austin made a remarkable
performance keeping on to the fourth position until he had to stop for fuel giving fourth position to Lehoux in the works ERA.
The 1936 International Eifelrennen was organized by the ONS (Oberste Nationale Sportbehörde). As usual it was a giant event with races for motorcycles, sports cars and race cars. The voiturette race was
run in two classes, 1500cc and 800cc. The cars had to cover 8 laps.
There were major strikes going on both in France and in Belgium with the harbours closed for several days but somehow the British team managed to get their cars both to Germany and back.
The Maserati works team entered three cars, two of them of the new 6-cylinder type with independent suspension for Carlo Felice Trossi and László Hartmann while Onobono Tenni raced a 4-cylinder car.
Independent Maserati drivers included Italian drivers Luigi Villoresi and Enrico Gessner and Swiss drivers Christian Kautz and Hans Rüesch.
Isle of Man winner Dick Seaman raced his black rebuilt 1927 GP Delage
The ERA works team sent two light green cars for Raymond Mays (R4B) and Marcel Lehoux (R3B). For the race the cars were equipped with "wings" behind the front wheels as mudguards. Earl Howe had his car (R8B)
looked after by the works at Bourne and also entered as part of the works team but run in his own colours of blue body with silver chassis and wheels. Prince Bira had planned to race his new
R5B "Remus" but the supercharger had failed at the Cork Grand Prix and as the car could not be thoroughly examined in time R2B "Romulus" was used instead. Greece driver Nicholas Embiricos entered
his own gray ERA (R2A). Of the ERA owners Pat Fairfield did not start at Eifelrennen as he had planned to race the 24 Houres of Le Mans the same day. However that race was cancelled due to the strike.
Ernst Dietrich-Troeltsch entered the Bugatti T51A (#51134) he had from the heirs of Rudolf Steinweg and Willy Seibel entered a Bugatti T37A (Note 1).
There were only two cars in the 800cc cycle car class, Bobby Kohlrausch from Thüringen with a MG "Magic Midget" and Westphalian Walter Bäumer with an overhead camshaft Austin 7 on loan from the
factory. Bäumer had a week earlier been the class winner and finished second overall at the Shelsley-Walsh hillclimb behind Mays' ERA, beating Stuck's Auto Union in rainy conditions.
Even as late as in 1936 the grid was still decided by ballot so the practice times had no consequence.
First practice was at Thursday between 5 and 8 p.m. in sunny weather with some clouds. Seaman was fastest with a time of 11m36s followed by Trossi 11m40s and Bira with 12 minutes flat.
Friday practice was run between 2 and 6 p.m. in intense heat. Trossi was fastest with a time of 11m34s followed by Bira 11m46s and Lehoux 11m53s. No other driver was able to go under 12 minutes.
Seaman decided to save his car for the race.
There was a Saturday practice as well at 4 p.m. but no information about the times is available from Prince Chula's book as Bira did not practice that day.
The intense heat of Friday and Saturday had given place to dark rain clouds on the day of the race and heavy rain was falling when the Eifelrennen started with a series of motor cycle races at eight o'clock.
By eleven o'clock it was time for the combined voiturette and sports car race. The rain had slacked off a little as the 16 cars lined up in the grid with several classes of sports cars lined up behind them.
The sports cars would be running only 4 or 5 laps and would thus not interfere with the voiturettes.
The works ERAs and Bira's car were started on the grid by portable electrical starters.
The start was given with both a flag and a rocket. Richard Seaman took the lead with his black Delage as the field headed for the Südkehre hairpin. As they returned back behind the pits straight, Seaman was
still leading followed by Trossi, Tenni, Bäumer and Bira. There was already a little gap to the rest led by Howe. After the Nordkurve Bira passed Bäumer for fourth position. At the decent to Hocheichen Seaman
slid on the wet road, went out on a field and the Delage got bogged down in the mud. It took Seaman some seven minutes to get the car back to the road and restarted. Rüesch crashed on the first lap as well.
Trossi was in his own class with the new independent suspension Maserati. At the end of the first lap he had opened up a half a minute gap to Bira and Tenni, who were racing close together. Behind them
followed Bäumer, Howe, Lehoux, Hartmann and Villoresi. Mays was down to 12th position with a badly misfiring engine and made a pit stop. Mays' problem proved to be a loose plug lead. Seaman finally arrived
amongst the sports cars and stopped at the pits where the decision was made to retire from the race. Motor Sport claims that the oil tank had been damaged. Even if it was not known at that time the steering
box had probably also been damaged.
During the second lap Tenni passed Bira for second position. At the end of the lap Trossi led by 1m04.4s over his team mate with Bira in third position 11.4 seconds behind Tenni:
|1. Trossi (Maserati)||25m01.4s (109.4 km/h)|
|2. Tenni (Maserati)||26m05.8s|
|3. Bira (ERA)||26m17.2s|
|4. Bäumer (Austin)||26m25.2s|
There were tremendous cheers from the grand stand for Bäumer, who using his experience kept the little white 750cc Austin still in fourth position in front of the ERA's of Howe, whose engine was misfiring,
and Lehoux, whose engine was lacking revs. Hartmann in the third works Maserati was seventh. Mays made another pit stop and Kohlrausch with his MG made a stop as well.
On the third lap Tenni spun his Maserati and Bira passed him but Tenni did not seem to be shaken despite the incident. Keeping up a high pace he soon retook his position from Bira, who preferred not to push
as he had never raced at Nürburgring before and especially not in rainy conditions. Further behind Lehoux had passed Howe for fifth position in the internal ERA battle.
Trossi continued to dominate the race with his 6-cylinder Maserati. Kohlrausch with his MG made an 11 minutes pit stop losing a lap and almost securing Bäumer the victory in the cycle car class. The latter
still held on to his fourth position. Halfway through the race, after four laps the order looked like this:
|1. Trossi (Maserati)||~37m28s (109.6 km/h)|
|2. Tenni (Maserati)||+ 53s|
|3. Bira (ERA)||+2 min|
|4. Bäumer (Austin)||+2m06s|
On the fifth lap Bira started to pull away from Bäumer. The cars increased their speeds a bit as he course was drying up.
On the sixth lap Bäumer had to come in for fuel as the little Austin did not have a tank capacity for such a long event. The stop took 47 seconds but it was enough for Lehoux to pass for fourth position.
After six laps Bira was 21 seconds in front of Lehoux.
On the seventh lap Trossi with his win secured eased off and Tenni pulled in a bit of his lead as he made the lap in 11m44.8s, which was the best time of the day. Hartmann with the works Maserati had now
moved up to sixth place
With one lap to go Lehoux was still 18s behind Bira and Prince Chula, who kept Bira informed of the gap, was reassured that Bira could keep on to his third position as the gap had gone down by only 3 seconds
during the seventh lap.
Trossi took the victory with the new Maserati followed by his team mate. Tenni made the last lap at around 11m45s to decrease the gap at the finish to just 46.2 seconds.
Behind the two Italians Bira and Lehoux, both with ERAs, ended third and fourth. Bäumer followed in fifth position with his tiny Austin 700 to win the cycle car class followed by Villoresi, Hartmann, Kautz and Howe,
Soon afterwards the skies opened and there was such a heavy shower that that no one could see anything.
1. If it is true that 16 cars took part in the race as claimed by Motor Sport Dietrich-Troeltsch might have been a non-starter as his car is not visible in any picture from the race or mentioned in any report.
2. Grid reconstructed from pictures and is very speculative, especially regarding Rüesch's and Hartmann's positions. Most pictures are showing an unfinished grid with cars still being pushed into positions (Kautz for example
is pusted into position between the other cars very late).
Dietrich-Troeltsch is not to be seen in any picture. (With thanks to Marco Kieser, Vladislav Shaikhnurov, Jo Quadt and Simon Davis.)
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Il Littoriale, Roma
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Prince Chula "Road Racing 1936"
X ADAC EIFELRENNEN
Nürburgring (D), 14 June 1936
10 laps x 22.810 km (14.17 mi) = 228.1 km (141.7 mi)
Rosemeyer defeats Nuvolari, rain and fog to master the Eifelrennen
by Hans Etzrodt
Fourteen of Europe's top drivers met at the Eifelrennen over 10 laps around the Nürburgring Nordschleife held during intermittent rain on a wet track. When the rain stopped on lap seven, heavy fog enveloped the circuit,
progressively reducing visibility to less than 50 meters. The remaining drivers had to slow down except Rosemeyer (Auto Union) who was able to maintain his pace and extend his lead over Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) to win
convincingly. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) led the first two laps after which Nuvolari took first place until lap six before Rosemeyer led the last four laps to win by 2m13s ahead of Nuvolari in the heavy fog. For his
ability to have driven considerably faster than anyone else in the dense fog, Rosemeyer was called the Nebelmeister (Fog Master). The Alfa Romeos of Brivio and Farina finished third and fourth, followed by the
Mercedes-Benz drivers Lang and Chiron ahead of the Auto Unions driven by Varzi, Stuck and Delius. Zanelli in the the 6-cylinder Maserati was one lap down. Caracciola and his teammate von Brauchitsch both retired, as did
Severi (Alfa Romeo) while Charles Martin escaped injuries when he overturned his Alfa Romeo.
The 1936 International Eifelrennen was organized by the ONS (Oberste Nationale Sportbehörde). Since the Avusrennen had been cancelled due to the Olympic Games in Berlin, the Eifelrennen had gained special
significance, because the only other race in Germany this year was the German Grand Prix. The motorcycle races took place in the morning, after which the sports cars had their race, followed by the Voiturettes,
1500 cc race cars, and the licensed motorcycle riders. The race for the grand prix cars was the last contest in the afternoon. This report concerns itself only with the race for the heavy racecars which raced over
10 laps of the 22.810 km Nordschleife of the Nürburgring or 228.10 km total length.
Caracciola and Chiron had been assigned the latest clean looking, short wheelbase 1936 Mercedes-Benz W25K models and appeared here with the same cars which they had raced one week earlier at the Penya Rhin Grand Prix
in Barcelona. The cars were much lower and shorter, with the exhaust pipe down at ground level below the rear axle and came with new 4.74-liter ME25 engines, delivering a factory quoted 453 hp in race trim.
Fagioli and Brauchitsch were assigned interim long wheelbase 1936 W25 models with high placed exhaust pipe and 4.31-liter M25C engines of 402 hp. The Mercedes reserve driver Hermann Lang drove an interim 1936
Mercedes-Benz W25 training car. This was going to be his first race in 1936 because Fagioli did not appear and Lang was to race Fagioli's interim 1935/36 model.
Auto Union came from Barcelona with Rosemeyer, Stuck and Delius. Another car was entered for Varzi and one for Hasse their reserve driver. All five cars used the 6-Liter V-16 engines which delivered 520 hp.
Scuderia Ferrari appeared with the same team that had raced at Barcelona, Nuvolari, the Penya Rhin winner, again with his 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo and a second V-12 for Brivio. Farina and Severi were driving
8C-35 Alfa Romeo's with 3.8-liter 330 hp engines, introduced at previous year's Italian Grand Prix.
Zanelli entered independently but drove one of the Scuderia Torino's older 6C-34 Maseratis with 3.7-liter 270 hp engine. Charles Martin from Great Britain was the only independent driver and raced with a 1935 Alfa Romeo tipo B/P3.
The Dutchman Dutchman Johannes Wilhelm "Jan" Rens from Rhenen in the Netherlands had entered a 2300 Bugatti T51 which he had bought from Armand Hug. According to Michael Müller, the engine was from Stuber's
Bugatti #51124, a T51 model and the chassis was from Maag's T35C Bugatti #4830. Another independent entry was B. "Raph" from France to race a new V-8 Maserati.
Mercedes appeared on Wednesday afternoon where they had the circuit blocked for two hours from all traffic. During beautiful summer weather Brauchitsch, who had been at Adenau since Saturday, and Lang were
turning some laps with two of their interim models. Brauchitsch did his starting lap below 11 minutes and later a lap in 10m33s at 129.7 km/h average speed. Thereafter he had his wheels changed to do an even
faster lap but was soon stopped. When he came at 150 km/h from Schwedenkreuz turn to the Poststrasse, the right front wheel came off the car and flew away. Brauchitsch was able to stop the skidding car after
150 meters on three wheels without any damage. Later when the wheel was found 200 meters away from the accident it was learned that the wheel had not loosened itself from the hub, but the entire axle tube on
which the wheel was mounted had broken off. Lang was also quick with his fastest lap in 11m50s.
Official practice for the heavy race cars began on Thursday from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. The weather improved, with occasional sunshine. The circuit saw great activity with all drivers present from Mercedes-Benz,
Auto Union and Scuderia Ferrari. Brauchitsch was fastest with a time of 10m31.3s at 130.1 km/h average speed. Stuck drove four laps, the best in 10m59s and still had problems with his car, insufficient power
was his main problem. Varzi drove four laps, the fastest in 11m56s and had a problem with the car's handling. Delius drove 5 laps, the fastest in 11m36s. Rosemeyer drove six laps, his fastest in 10m38s.
Michael Müller supplied information from the Dutch magazine ‘De Auto’ that the Dutchman "Jan" Rens skidded out of the Karussel turn during Thursday practice. He escaped with minor injuries but his Bugatti
sustained serious damages which prevented him to start.
Friday practice was again from 1:00 to 3:00 PM after the sports cars. The weather was very good. Brauchitsch, considered the favorite, drove the Mercedes spare car in 10m 31.4s which was one tenth of a second
slower than his record time on Thursday. Second fastest was Rosemeyer from six laps in 10m34.2s ahead of Nuvolari with 10m39s. Stuck drove four laps, the fastest in 11m17.2s and still had engine problems with
lack of power. Varzi drove five laps, the best in 11m17s and Delius' best time was 12m03s from five laps.
Caracciola was driving for only a short time because of work done to his car. The Alfa Romeos seemed to be in good shape because in their pits the engine hood was lifted hardly a single time. Fagioli would
probably not start because he had not yet arrived on Friday. Likewise the start of the Frenchman Raph was questionable.
Saturday practice was at 4 PM. Stuck drove four laps, the fastest in 11m57s. Varzi did 11m10s from three laps and Delius 12m05.3s from three laps. Rosemeyer drove three laps the fastest in 10m41s.
Reserve driver Hasse drove with the hill climb car, which had returned from England. He did three laps, the fastest in11m57s. The best practice times recorded during the three days were as follows:
|von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||10m29s|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||10m34.2s|
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||10m35s|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||10m57s|
|Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||11m07s|
|von Delius (Auto Union)||11m37s|
|Varzi (Auto Union)||11m56s|
|Hasse (Auto Union)||11m57s|
It was claimed that 300,000 spectators attended the Eifelrennen. Activities began at 8:00 in the morning with motorcycles racing in heavy rain before 11:00 AM when the sports cars and 1500 cc racecars took to the
track, followed by a motorcycle race for licensed riders. Next the 14 grand prix cars were pushed to the starting grid. They were immediately covered with cloths and blankets to protect them from the drizzle and
engines were started to warm up. In the meantime the drivers got ready in their pits, some, like Rosemeyer, replaced goggles with rain shields. Brauchitsch wore for the first time a red leather cap similar to that
of Nuvolari who had yellow sleeves on his jacket. Chiron wore blue overalls and Caracciola wore a red sweater instead of his white overalls. At around 3:00 PM the rain stopped again. The start was scheduled for
3:15 PM. Ten minutes beforehand Rosemeyer's mechanic, Sebastian, changed the 370 spark plugs with colder 340s on the engine. The organization left a lot to be desired, since the line-up for the starting grid was
not in order of the achieved practice times, as had been done for years in Monte Carlo, but instead by ballot. Alfa Romeo, Auto Union and Mercedes each had a place in the first row and the team leaders then placed
their fastest drivers in the cars which were arranged in the following order.
Whoever was to take the immediate lead had a great advantage because on the wet track the speeding racecars were creating large clouds of spray behind them, making passing maneuvers difficult. The engines were started one
minute before the start during very fine drizzle and a wet track. The incredible loud wailing sound, the screaming and boom of the many engines raised the tension and excitement in the crowd. The mechanics jumped to the
side and at 3:15 PM after the red-yellow-green traffic light and the nearby canon shot the roaring pack took off. While Rosemeyer shot ahead to take the lead with spinning wheels surrounded by Brauchitsch and Nuvolari,
Caracciola from the third row darted in one of his lightning starts on the very left of the track, passing the leading trio before the South Turn. Nuvolari passed Rosemeyer in the South Turn ahead of Brauchitsch, Lang,
Stuck, Brivio, Varzi, Farina, Chiron and Zanelli. As the cars returned from the South Turn behind the pits passing the grandstands again, Caracciola was leading Nuvolari by three seconds, about 100 meters. The three most
dominant drivers of that time period were leading the pack, just seconds apart.
At the end of the first lap, Caracciola passed the grandstand after 11m50s, five seconds ahead of Nuvolari's red Alfa Romeo. Despite the wet race track the German finished the lap at 115.7 km/h average speed. Rosemeyer in
third place was already 10 seconds behind. His car trailed a cloud of oil smoke from his exhaust. Brauchitsch who followed next, gave signs towards his pit with his arm. Team Manager Alfred Neubauer understood that Brauchitsch
complained about the large cloud of burned oil smoke trailing from the exhaust of Rosemeyer's car, which impeded visibility for the other drivers. Neubauer filed a protest with race management. Lang followed in fifth place,
ahead of Stuck, Brivio, Farina, Varzi, Delius and Chiron in 11th place. Martin was twelfth ahead of Zanelli and Severi.
On the second lap there were no changes, except that Stuck passed Lang for fifth place. The wet circuit did not allow the German cars to make use of their enormous engine power. Yet Caracciola drove faster but his car skidded
sideways and hit the embankment causing damage to one rear shock absorber, according to historian Erwin Tragatsch. As they passed the grandstand Nuvolari chased Caracciola with a gap of two meters, followed by Rosemeyer,
Brauchitsch, Stuck, Lang, Brivio, Farina, Varzi, Chiron, Delius, Martin, Zanelli and Severi last, who retired his Alfa Romeo with an oil pump problem which damaged his engine.
At the end of the third lap Nuvolari had taken the lead, and passed the grandstand five seconds ahead of Caracciola with Rosemeyer four seconds further behind and Brauchitsch 15 seconds further behind followed by Stuck with
the remaining field unchanged but further apart. Rosemeyer's car had stopped smoking after the engine had now properly warmed up.
After four laps Nuvolari had a lead of nine seconds over Rosemeyer, who had passed Caracciola, who was now four seconds behind. Stuck stopped his Auto Union at the pits. According to him one bank of cylinders did not work.
The engine and magnetos were checked, restarted and worked properly. The stop took over one minute and Stuck had dropped to second to last place. Brauchitsch advanced to third position when Caracciola arrived slowly at his
pit to retire. The reason was defective rear shock absorbers, a problem that was also encountered on Chiron's car, where the plates of the dividing layers had expanded. Martin had overturned his Alfa Romeo near Brünnchen
with the driver not being injured but ending his race. Lang was in fourth position followed by Brivio.
On lap five, midrace, the race pace increased since the drizzle had stopped and the circuit began to dry. Rosemeyer had warmed himself up and in a determined manor reduced Nuvolari's lead. Nuvolari finished the fifth lap
in 11m42s, at 116.97 km/h average speed. The race pace was visibly slow because on a dry circuit the times would have been 10m30s. The order of the 11 car field after five laps was:
|1.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||58m30.8s|
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||58m39.2s|
|5.||Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||59m35.2s|
|6.||Farina (Alfa Romeo)||59m46.8s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||1h01m15.0s|
|9.||Delius (Auto Union)||1h02m38.8s|
|10.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h02m57.8s|
On lap six Rosemeyer drove the fastest lap of the race in 11m25s and caught up with Nuvolari whose time was 11m34s. At the end of the lap they passed the grandstand with Rosemeyer 100 meters behind. But as they left the
South Turn the German was on the Alfa's tail and overtook Nuvolari as they passed the grandstands to the frenetic cheering and applause of the gigantic crowd and was first to go through the left-hand North Turn.
On lap seven all of a sudden a light fog cover appeared and enveloped the circuit with clinging fog which caused every driver to slow down their pace except Rosemeyer who carried on relentlessly despite the ever denser fog.
He was now 15 seconds ahead of Nuvolari. Lang stopped at the pits to change rear tires. In the fog he had spun his car, leaving the track near Schwalbenschwanz turn. Spectators pushed him back onto the road and Lang was
able to proceed. His incident enabled Brivio and Farina to advance to third and fourth place respectively. The fog settled down ever closer around about 2/3 of the circuit and the cars could no longer be seen clearly as
they passed the grandstand. Visibility was down to around 50 meters. Severe fog was also reported at the Karussell turn. At some time during his fight with Rosemeyer, Nuvolari had spun once, left the track, hit the
embankment and broke his windscreen. He was then was handicapped driving through rain and fog without that protection, according to a report by historian Erwin Tragatsch.
After eight laps Rosemeyer's lead over Nuvolari had increased to almost a full minute and he maintained his average speed of 117 km/h. His drive in the dense fog during these unusual and difficult conditions was an
unbelievable achievement. On this lap Brauchitsch stopped at the pits to retire with broken rear suspension. During the fog he had driven into a ditch and damaged the rear axle and under-shield of his Mercedes.
Chiron passed Varzi and Stuck was ahead of Delius with Zanelli in last place. Visibility was reported to be down to about 30 meters. The numbers on the cars could no longer be recognized from the grandstand but from
the pits they could be made out when personnel moved close to the edge of the track. The pits could no longer be seen from the grandstand, they were just a dark gray wall.
After nine laps Rosemeyer was leading Nuvolari by 1m40s. The young German did not slow down and carried on with undiminished speed. Despite the dense fog Rosemeyer's average speed remained at 117 km/h.
There was no change on the last lap. Great enthusiasm and cheering followed Rosemeyer's drive through the fog on the last lap, which was a true triumphal procession, as he was driving past yelling and waving walls of
spectators along the course. He had beaten Nuvolari, the most feared opponent of the German racecars. Rosemeyer finished with the Auto Union over 2m13s ahead of Nuvolari who was followed by his two teammates Brivio
and Farina. To the jubilation of the ten-thousands, Rosemeyer was lifted out of his car and carried to the timekeeper's stand to receive congratulations from Korpsführer Hühnlein with Nuvolari next to him.
|1.||18||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||10||1h56m41.2s|
|2.||4||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||10||1h58m54.0s||+ 2m12.8s|
|3.||3||Antonio Brivio||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||10||1h59m30.4s||+ 2m49.2s|
|4.||16||Giuseppe Farina||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||10||1h59m38.6s||+ 3m17.4s|
|5.||14||Hermann Lang||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25||4.3||S-8||10||2h02m28.0s||+ 5m46.8s|
|6.||17||Louis Chiron||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25K||4.7||S-8||10||2h03m33.0s||+ 5m51.8s|
|7.||6||Achille Varzi||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||10||2h03m35.4s|
|8.||2||Hans Stuck||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||10||2h03m36.6s|
|9.||11||Ernst von Delius||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||10||2h05m53.4s|
|10.||7||Juan Zanelli||J. Zanelli||Maserati||6C-34||3.8||S-6||9||2h04m14.6s|
|DNF||10||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25||S-8||8||rear suspension|
|DNF||1||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25K||4.7||S-8||4||rear suspension|
|DNF||5||Charles Martin||C. E. C. Martin||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.3||S-8||3||crash|
|DNF||8||Francesco Severi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||2||oil pump|
Fastest lap: Bernd Rosemeyer (Auto Union) on lap 6 in 11m25.0s = 119.9 km/h (74.5 mph)|
Winner's average speed: 117.3 km/h (72.9 mph)
Weather: drizzle at the start, later rain and heavy fog at the end.
Elly Beinhorn Rosemeyer in her book with Chris Nixon wrote about Bernd Rosemeyer's special eyesight in the fog. "I had been given first-hand experience of Bernd's extraordinary eyesight very early in our relationship,
when he drove me to a lecture one foggy night. I had very good eyesight myself and on this occasion I could barely see more than twenty metres ahead, yet Bernd was driving the Horch at around 50 mph, as calm and
relaxed as you please! When I asked him to slow down, he replied that he could see perfectly well, thank you, and had I noticed that cyclist in front of us? I could see nothing, but moments later, there was the cyclist.
Bernd pointed out several other things long before I saw them and that convinced me that he had a remarkable, infra-red-type vision. Armed with this 'secret weapon', he was virtually unaffected by the fog at the Nürburgring
and won easily."
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Freiburger Zeitung, Freiburg
IL LITTORIALE, Roma
Kölnische Zeitung, Köln
Motor Post, Berlin
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Special thanks to:
I MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ
Nepliget - Budapest (H), 21 June 1936
50 laps x 5.0 km (3.11 mi) = 250.0 km (155.3 mi)
Nuvolari does it once again!
by Leif Snellman
The German works teams took part in the first Hungarian Grand Prix with three cars each. The first half of the race was dominated by Rosemeyer (Auto Union) and Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) but Caracciola as
well as his team mate Chiron had to retire. Stuck (Auto Union) got ill and his team mate Varzi struggled.
Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo), who had saved his tyres during the first part of the race, then increased speed, took over the lead from Rosemeyer and held it to finish. Then von Brauchitsch had to retire as well
meaning all Mercedes-Benz cars were out of the race so Varzi finished a distant third.
The 1906 French Grand Prix, the first one of its kind, was won by Austro-Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz in a Renault but it would take 30 years before Hungary held their own Grand Prix.
For 1936 the Királyi Magyar Automobil Club (KMAC) was granted the right to organize an international race and AIACR initially set a date in May in the international race calendar but on the request by the organizers the
race was later moved to June 21.
Népliget Park ("Peoples' Park"), the biggest public park of Budapest located just east of the city centre, was selected as the race circuit and work began in the spring to improve the roads in the park. The circuit was 5 km
long and had to be raced for 50 laps for a total of 250 km. Apart from the 720 m long main straight the circuit consisted mostly of twisted sections with 11 left hand and 11 right hand curves for 22 in total including four
hairpins. The largest curve radius was 450 m. The average width of the track was 11.5 m with the widest section of 14.4 m and a 250 m long narrow section of 8 meter width.
Stands for 10,000 persons had to be built in the park and during the race weekend 2500 persons participated in the arrangements. That number probably included the army units that closed in the area, built bridges and a
telephone net and moved 600 sandbags to hazardous areas. Most interesting was the use of a modern electric timing system with photocells, probably similar to the one used at Tripoli, which would provide times with 1/100 s accuracy.
The initial entry list with a deadline of 22 May included 16 names. The entries got their race numbers according to their countries in Hungarian alphabetic order, starting with Miss Ellison from "Anglia" and ending with
Count Villapadierna from "Spanyolország". In the end only 11 competitors arrived to the race. The drivers were paid starting money equivalent to £25.
Auto Union sent three cars for their drivers Hans Stuck, Achille Varzi and Bernd Rosemeyer with Ernst von Delius acting as reserve. Daimler-Benz sent three cars as well for Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and
Louis Chiron while Herman Lang was reserve.
Scuderia Ferrari decided to send two of their 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo cars to the race, assuming the less powerful but more responsive cars had an edge on this twisty circuit over their 12-cylinder cars. Drivers were Tazio
Nuvolari and Mario Tadini. According to Simon Moore the team used 5.25" wide tyres on the 18" front wheels and 7" tyres on the 17" rear wheels.
Austin Dobson and Charles Martin entered their Alfa Romeo TipoB/P3 cars as independents. Dobson's car (#50005) was provided with Dubonnet independent suspension unlike Martin's car (#50003) that used the old leaf spring suspension.
Hungary was represented by László Hartmann, whose little 1.5 litre voiturette was the only Maserati car in the race.
After a welcome party for the drivers on Thursday, practice started on Friday 19th. With twenty thousand spectators attending the drivers made themselves familiar with the new circuit. On Saturday the times dropped as the
drivers were fighting for a place on the grid. Rosemeyer ended up fastest with a time of 2m38.15s. The full list of qualifying times can be seen on the grid below.
After the Saturday training session, the drivers took part in a ceremony where the memorial of Rudolf Steinweg was unveiled. Steinweg had died during training for the 1935 Guggerberg mountain climb near Budapest.
Race day came with sunny weather and the Népliget Park was filled with spectators. There are different estimates about the numbers of spectators from 70,000 to over 100,000. Also present was Miklós Horthy, Regent of the
Kingdom of Hungary, who arrived to the tones of the national anthem. The cars were positioned on the grid in two straight lines and a gun announced the five minute mark to the start.
|Hartmann and Martin swapped|
places for tactical reasons.
At 10:35 Károly Szendy, mayor of Budapest, dropped the flag and the eleven cars were on their way with Rosemeyer taking the lead followed by Stuck. After the first lap the race order was Rosemeyer, Stuck,
von Brauchitsch, Caracciola, Nuvolari, Varzi, Chiron, Tadini, Martin, Dobson and Hartmann.
The air temperature was 28° in the shade and the track temperature reached 50° making the newly laid tarmac to melt and the cars to slide badly.
For the first three laps there were no changes in the race order. On the fourth lap Stuck dropped back to fourth behind the two Mercedes-Benz cars of von Brauchitsch and Caracciola and soon afterwards he got
passed by Nuvolari as well. After five laps the order was Rosemeyer, von Brauchitsch, Caracciola, Nuvolari, Stuck, Varzi, Chiron and Tadini. Nuvolari, who was saving his tyres, was 15 seconds behind the leader.
On the 8th lap Caracciola went past his team mate for second position. On the 9th lap Rosemeyer lapped last positioned Hartmann. The order after 10 laps looked like this with Rosemeyer and Caracciola just 1.2
seconds between each other.
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||27m30.37s|
|4.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||27m54.68s|
|5.||Stuck (Auto Union)||28m15.67s|
|6.||Varzi (Auto Union)||28m69.98s|
|8.||Tadini (Alfa Romeo)||29m30.71s|
|9.||Martin (Alfa Romeo)||29m35.02s|
|10.||Dobson (Alfa Romeo)||29m42.12s|
On the 11th lap Caracciola passed Rosemeyer for the lead but was unable to open up a gap to the Auto Union driver. On the 16th lap Tadini got lapped by Caracciola. Dobson and Martin were already a lap down. On the
19th lap Chiron had to retire his Mercedes-Benz due to a supercharger failure. This was the race order after 20 laps:
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||54m32.06s|
|4.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||54m52.38s|
|5.||Varzi (Auto Union)||56m18.71s|
|6.||Stuck (Auto Union)||57m46.18s|
|7.||Tadini (Alfa Romeo)||58m44.85s|
|8.||Martin (Alfa Romeo)||58m44.85s|
|9.||Dobson (Alfa Romeo)||58m54.82s|
On the 21st lap Stuck, who was feeling ill, made a pit stop for brake adjustments and handled at the same time over the car to reserve driver von Delius. Halfway through the race on lap 25 Rosemeyer retook the lead from
Caracciola. Nuvolari closed in a little bit on the leaders reducing the gap to 20 seconds.
On the 28th lap von Brauchitsch went by Caracciola who then also had to see Nuvolari getting past. On the next lap Caracciola retired his car. Just as at Eifelrennen the problem was the engine block of the
Mercedes-Benz ME25. For 1936 the bore had been increased from 82 to 86mm and the front end of the block proved to be too weak for it.
The race order was now Rosemeyer, von Brauchitsch and Nuvolari with Nuvolari starting to put pressure on von Brauchitsch. Lap 30 proved to be decisive. What happened differs according to what source you use but
it seems like von Brauchitsch tried to lap Tadini while Nuvolari was following right behind him. Either Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo touched the left rear wheel of the Mercedes or then von Brauchitsch made a mistake but
the end result was anyway that Nuvolari went past for second position while von Brauchitsch found himself out on the grass after having made several spins and hitting a telephone pole. He was eventually able
to rejoin the race (probably a case of outside interference) but he had lost 2 minutes.
So after 30 laps Rosemeyer was leading Nuvolari by 8 seconds. Only von Brauchitsch also remained on the same lap:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h21m14.58s|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h21m22.51s|
|4.||Varzi (Auto Union)||1h24m02.16s|
|5.||Tadini (Alfa Romeo)||1h26m22.29s|
|6.||Martin (Alfa Romeo)||1h28m07.60s|
|7.||Delius (Auto Union)||1h28m38.91s|
|8.||Dobson (Alfa Romeo)||1h28m49.04s|
Nuvolari was now pushing, putting in a lap of 2m37s, and he managed to catch Rosemeyer after just three laps. Meanwhile, on the 33rd lap, Martin retired with rear axle trouble. On the 35th lap Nuvolari went past the
Auto Union to take the lead. After 40 laps Nuvolari led by six seconds:
|1.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h47m43.06s|
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h47m49.35s|
|4.||Varzi (Auto Union)||1h51m43.42s|
|5.||Tadini (Alfa Romeo)||1h54m25.27s|
|6.||Delius (Auto Union)||1h57m38.14s|
|7.||Dobson (Alfa Romeo)||1h59m07.16s|
On the twisty circuit the Alfa Romeo had the edge over the Auto Union. Apart from the fact that the Auto Union wheel base was 16cm longer the rear-engine car was oversteering and in the sharp corners the steering
wheel was vibrating and kicking back. Rosemeyer's hands were bleeding, his gloves were trashed and he threw them away but he was not giving up.
On the 41st lap Nuvolari lowered the lap record to 2m35.68s (115.622 km/h). After 43 laps he had increased his lead over Rosemeyer to 16 seconds. Two laps from the end of the race von Brauchitsch retired his car
to the pit with a broken steering arm. All three Mercedes-Benz cars were out of the race!
After 50 laps Nuvolari took the chequered flag as the race winner after an excellent performance. At the end of the race Nuvolari's right rear tyre was completely worn out. Rosemeyer, fighting to the end, finished
just 14 seconds behind. He had to be lifted out of the car and Dr. Gläser, the German racing team doctor, had to take care of his hands. After the race Rosemeyer also went back to hospital to check his liver. Varzi
finished third two laps behind the winner. Tadini was fourth three laps behind and von Delius fourth yet another lap behind. Dobson and Hartmann made it to the flag as well. Dobson claimed he had lost 10 pounds
weight during the race!
|1.||24||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||50||2h14m03.46s|
|2.||16||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||50||2h14m17.69s||+ 14.23s|
|3.||14||Achille Varzi||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||48||2h16m47.33s|
|DNF||22||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25K||4.7||S-8||47||broken steering arm|
|4.||28||Mario Tadini||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||47||2h14m11.99s|
|5.||12||H. Stuck / /E. von Delius||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||46||2h14m57.70s|
|6.||4||Austin Dobson||A. Dobson||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||45||2h15m57s|
|7.||10||László Hartmann||L. Hartmann||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||44||2h17m05s|
|DNF||6||Charles Martin||C. Martin||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||33||rear axle|
|DNF||18||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25K||4.7||S-8||26||engine|
|DNF||20||Louis Chiron||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25K||4.7||S-8||19||supercharger|
Fastest lap: Tazio Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) on lap 41 in 2m35.68s = 115.6 km/h (71.8 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 111.9 km/h (69.5 mph) (Note 3)
Pole position lap speed: 113.8 km/h (70.7 mph)
Weather: sunny and warm.
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2m35.68s|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2m37.48s|
|Varzi (Auto Union)||2m44.78s|
|Tadini (Alfa Romeo)||2m47.29s|
|Delius (Auto Union)||2m51.29s|
|Martin (Alfa Romeo)||2m53.14s|
|Dobson (Alfa Romeo)||2m57.15s|
Fittingly designer of Nuvolari's winning Alfa Romeo was Vittorio Jano, who was born in Italy 1891 as Viktor János, son of Hungarian immigrants.
The Hungarian race was listed in AIACR's calendar for 27 June 1937 and then again for 29 June 1938, but neither event was run due to financial problems and the instable world situation. It would take 50 years before
the next Hungarian Grand Prix was held. Then Ayrton Senna took pole position and Nelson Piquet won.
1. Cristea according to Paul Sheldon. Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien lists Prince Ghica Cantacuzino with a Maserati instead. (With thanks to Hugo Boecker)
2. Grid reconstructed from photographic evidence with thanks to Geza Sury.
3. Published speed was 111.774 km/h corresponding to 4.995m circuit length.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Il Littoriale, Roma
La Stampa, Torino
Le Figaro, Paris
Motor Sport, London
Automobil Chronic Heft #3, 1972
Bodo Herzog: "Unter dem Mercedes-Stern"
Sramoa Motorsport Blog
Special thanks to:
Richard A. Salamon