GRAND PRIX DE L´ALBIGEOIS
Les Planques - Albi (F), 12 July 1936
2 x 20 laps x 8.901 km (5.531 mi) = 2 x 178.0 km (110.6 mi)
Prince Bira in "Remus" dominates as the works ERAs struck trouble
by Leif Snellman
The race was run in two heats with the aggregate times deciding the total winner. Prince Bira won the first heat while the works ERA of Howe and Lehoux
got technical troubles. In the second heat the third works ERA of Fairfield had to retire as well and Bira won easly from Veyron's Bugatti and Rüesch's Maserati.
Just as in 1935 the race was run in two heats with the aggregate times deciding the total winner. There were separate prizes for the top three finishers in each heat.
Both Seaman and Mays were unable to race, the former still without a car after the Picardie crash as the repairs took longer than expected, so Seaman therefore took part in the
Spa 24 hour race instead. Mays was busy with business affairs. The Works ERAs were driven by Marcel Lehoux (R3B with Zoller supercharger), Earl Howe (R8B) and Pat Fairfield (R4A).
Prince Bira was to use his new R5B "Remus" for the first time outside Great Britain and Reggie Tongue his green ERA (R11B).
Hans Rüesch entered a re-bodied Maserati 4CS. Pierre Veyron had a one-off appearance with his old Bugatti T51A. Apart from the Maserati 6CM entered by Australian Frederick McEvoy
there was another 6-cylinder Maserati to be raced by László Hartmann for the works team. Private Maserati 4CMs were to be raced by Henri Durand and Ettore Bianco and Swiss driver
Luciano Uboldi raced a rebuilt Maserati with chassis and body designed by Vittorio Jano. Austrian Walter von Wustrow's 4-cylinder Bugatti completed the field.
The Friday practice session was run in excellent weather conditions. Lord Howe was fastest, setting a time of 3m33s followed by Fairfield 3m37s. Bira, fooled by the long straights,
had selected a too high rear axle ratio and was unable to do better than 3m45s.
On Saturday the fine weather continued. Howe was satisfied with his Friday time and did not go out. Fairfield had technical problems. Instead Lehoux with the third works ERA was
fastest with a time of 3m35s followed by Bira, who put in 3m36s with a new rear axle ratio.
Sunday morning was cloudy but just before the start of the first heat at 2:30 p.m. the clouds disappeared and the sun shined brightly over the fully packed stands.
The 13 cars were pushed to the grid in reversed order with the slowest car first, each driver walking beside his own car.
The organizers had selected a yellow flag for the start. It was dropped almost immediately taking many drivers including Howe and Bira by surprise but Lehoux
was fast away to take the lead.
At the end of the first lap Lehoux held a six seconds lead over Bira. Howe did not take the last curve but went on to the escape road to retire with a broken gearbox.
Bira was followed by the ERAs of Fairfield and Tongue and behind them came Bianco and Veyron.
At the end of the second lap Bira had pulled in the gap to the leader to just one second. McEvoy arrived to the last corner at high speed due to jammed front brakes
and went straight into the straw bales. The car shot high into the air and turned over several times. Luckily McEvoy was thrown out and landed in the straw bales and
he was able to crawl away with only minor bruises to his legs while the car burst into flames and was badly damaged before the fire was extinguished.
To the delight of the crowd now followed a long duel between Lehoux and Bira. At the end of the third lap the gap was down to 0.6 seconds. Lehoux made the third lap
in a record time of 3m33s opening up the gap to two seconds and Fairfield was just two seconds behind Bira. On the fourth lap Bira answered by doing 3m32s, closing the
gap to Lehoux again to just one second.
Fairfield's ERA started to misfire and he had to slow down. After seven laps Lehoux led Bira by 1 ½ second while Fairfield was still third, 26 seconds behind Bira,
followed by Bianco and Veyron. Tongue had made a pit stop dropping to eighth. Durand and Uboldi had already retired as would Wustrow after eight laps.
Both Lehoux and Bira broke the lap record again on the 8th lap, both doing 3m31s. Tongue had to make two more pit stops to change plugs.
After 10 laps the race order was:
At the end of the 13th lap Lehoux and Bira passed the finish line side by side, Bira setting a new lap record of 3m30s. Fairfield had dropped back 1m14s. Bira followed Lehoux without
difficulty and then on the 16th lap passed to take the lead and started to pull away. Bira made the 18th lap in 3m29s. Bianco passed Fairfield for third position but lost it again on the next lap.
Near the end of the race the Zoller supercharger got seized on Lehoux's ERA and he fell back half a minute behind Bira who took the victory. Fairfield finished third making it a triple
win for the ERA cars. Eight cars made it to the finish.
|1.||10||"B Bira"||"B Bira"||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||20||1h11m02.4s|| |
|2.||4||Marcel Lehoux||English Racing Automobiles Ltd.||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||20||1h11m39s||+ 36.6s|
|3.||8||Patrick Fairfield||English Racing Automobiles Ltd.||ERA||A||1.5||S-6||20||1h13m33s||+ 2m30.6s|
|4.||22||Ettore Bianco||E. Bianco||Maserati||4CM||1.5||S-4||20||1h13m42s||+ 2m39.6s|
|5.||2||Pierre Veyron||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T51A||1.5||S-8||19||1h11m15s|| |
|6.||12||Hans Rüesch||H. Rüesch||Maserati||4CS||1.5||S-6||19||1h14m25s|| |
|7.||28||László Hartmann||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||19||1h14m43s|| |
|8.||16||Reggie Tongue||R. Tongue||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||15||1h11m40s|| |
|DNF||14||Walter Wustrow||W. Wustrow||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||8|| || |
|DNF||24||Luciano Uboldi||L. Uboldi||Maserati||Spl.||1.5||S-6|| || || |
|DNF||18||Henri Durand||H. Durand||Maserati||4CM||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||26||Frederick McEvoy||F. McEvoy||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||1||crash|| |
|DNF||6||Earl Howe||English Racing Automobiles Ltd.||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||1||gearbox|| |
Fastest lap: "B Bira" & Marcel Lehoux (ERA) on lap 18 in 3m29s = 153.3 km/h (95.3 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 150.4 km/h (93.4 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 150.4 km/h (93.5 mph)
Hartmann's Maserati had a cracked piston and he was a non starter for the second heat. The ERA mechanics tried in vain to get Lehoux's seized supercharger to work. The announcement of
Lehoux's retirement was received with boos from the spectators.
So only six cars took part in the second heart. Bianco held the lead for a moment but before the end of the first lap Bira had taken control over the race. The order was Bira, Tongue,
Bianco and Fairfield. Then Fairfield's works car suffered a similar gearbox problem as had Howe's car in heat one and he had to retire after four laps. Bianco had to retire as well on
the seventh lap when the car caught fire and Tongue got a puncture too far away from the pits to be able to reach it. That left Bira in front of Veyron's Bugatti and Rüesch's red-white
Maserati and that was the way they finished, Bira winning by over a lap. The top three in the heat were the same ones in the aggregate results.
|1.||10||"B Bira"||"B Bira"||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||20||1h13m08.4|
|2.||2||Pierre Veyron||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T51A||1.5||S-8||19||1h13m54s|
|3.||12||Hans Rüesch||H. Rüesch||Maserati||4CS||1.5||S-6||19||1h14m27s|
|DNF||16||Reggie Tongue||R. Tongue||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||9||puncture|
|DNF||22||Ettore Bianco||E. Bianco||Maserati||4CM||1.5||S-4||6||fire|
|DNF||8||Patrick Fairfield||English Racing Automobiles Ltd.||ERA||A||1.5||S-6||4||gearbox|
Fastest lap: ?|
Winner's medium speed: 146.0 km/h (90.7 mph)
|1.||10||"B Bira"||"B Bira"||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||40||2h24m10.8|
|2.||2||Pierre Veyron||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T51A||1.5||S-8||38||2h25m09s|
|3.||12||Hans Rüesch||H. Rüesch||Maserati||4CS||1.5||S-6||38||2h28m52s|
Winner's medium speed: 148.2 km/h (92.1 mph)|
Albi was to be the last voiturette appearence for two famous French drivers. Pierre Veyron was to concentrate on sports cars, going on to win the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939 and for French/Algerian Marcel Lehoux the Deauville GP
a week after Albi would turn fatal.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
La Croix, Paris
Echo de Paris, Paris
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
Motor Sport, London
Prince Chula "Road Racing 1936"
13 July 1936: Bernd Rosemeyer got married to Elly Beinhorn. They deliberately choose 13th
as their wedding day as both regarded 13 as their lucky number.|
July 1936: Both the Le Mans 24h race and the Belgian Grand Prix were cancelled due to strikes.
I GRAND PRIX DE DEAUVILLE
Deauville (F), 19 July 1936
100 x 3.712 km (2.307 mi) = 371.2 km (230.7 mi)
A fatal race
by Leif Snellman
The first Deauville Grand Prix proved to be a tragic race with two fatalities. Eleven cars, among them two works Alfa Romeos and two works Bugattis, took part in the event. Farina (Alfa Romeo) took the
lead of the race but his teammate Dreyfus was an early retirement. Chambost crashed his Maserati and received a head injury that eventually proved fatal. Wimille (Bugatti) held on to second position and took over the lead
temporarily during the pit stops. When Farina tried to lap Lehoux (ERA) the two cars collided. Lehoux died immediately and Farina was hospitalized. In the end only three cars remained in the race and Wimille took
the victory followed by independent Alfa Romeo drivers Martin and de Villapadierna.
Deauville, one of the most fashionable holiday resorts in France, is located in Basse-Normandie between Le Havre and Caen. Deauville was one of several towns that in the 1930s tried to follow up on the success of
the Monaco Grand Prix, so the decision was taken to organize a race event for the resort.
The first Deauville Grand Prix was organized by Automobile Club l'Ouest, which had organized the Dieppe Grand Prix, 100 km northeast of Deauville, from 1929 to 1935, together with the Paris newspaper Le Matin.
Apart from Pau this was the only Grand Prix in France raced in 1936 to the international formula.
A rectangular race course with two short and two long straights on the promenade roads between the houses and the beach was selected for the event. From the start the circuit followed the Boulevard Eugène Cornuché
southwest past the Casino and the Hotel, made two 90 degrees right hand turns named Virages des Dunes and then followed the Terasse and the Boulevard de la Mer northeast with some minor bends
before doing two more 90 degrees right hand turns named Virages d'Arrive to return to the start. (That part of the circuit does not exist anymore as a Marina was built there in the 1970s.)
The circuit was 3.712 m long and the race was for 100 laps. Prizes offered were 50.000, 20.000, 10.000, 6.000 and 4.000 francs for the top five finishers. Additionally 15.000 francs was offered for the fastest lap
of the race.
On the map the course doesn't look worse than some of the other twisty 1930s street courses, but it is claimed that many drivers didn't like this course thinking it to be narrow, unsafe and with problematic corners
making it unsuited for racing. It's possible some of those comments were made in hindsight.
With the Second Italo-Ethiopian War over and the League of Nations' sanctions from 18 November 1935 lifted on 15 July the Italian government gave Scuderia Ferrari permission to race in France again and the team sent
two of their 8C-35 Alfa Romeos to be raced by Giuseppe Farina and René Dreyfus. Ferrari had kept Dreyfus as a test driver and now gladly took him back as full member of the team. Private Alfa Romeo TipoB/P3s of 1934
type were entered by Spanish nobleman José de Villapadierna (#50007), French Raymond Sommer (#50004) and British drivers Austin Dobson (#50005) and Charles Martin (#50003). Martin's car had Dubonnet independent front
The Bugatti works team entered two T59s for Robert Benoist and Jean-Pierre Wimille. Philippe Etancelin first entered his Maserati V8 RI but because of problems with the car he changed it to a Bugatti T51 on loan,
possibly from Molsheim.
Ex-Salmson driver Albert "Raymond" Chambost was to race his ex-Sommer Maserati 8CM (#3006, rebuilt to a two-seater) and Cholmondley-Tapper entered a Maserati 8CM as well while Frederick McEvoy was a non-starter
after his Maserati 6CM had burned at Albi.
Lehoux had entered his Bugatti T51 but then decided to race for ERA instead, works team sending a single car (R3B) with the engine size increased to 2 litres for him.
Practice took place on Thursday and Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m.
Martin had been sailing in the Baltic and had run out of cash in Hamburg. He sent a wire home for money but according to Simon Moore the shipping line that handled the transfer had several offices in Hamburg so it took
a full day to track down where the money had gone. Martin only reached Deauville the evening before the race and meanwhile his friend Charles Brackenbury qualified the Alfa Romeo for him.
Farina and Dreyfus dominated the first practice session, putting in times of 1m40s and 1m41s with Lehoux third with a time of 1m47s. The Bugatti team, Cholmondley-Tapper and Etancelin had not arrived yet. Villapadierna
was present but his Alfa Romeo did not arrive until the night.
All drivers except Brackenbury took part in the Friday practice session. Farina and Dreyfus made equal times of 1m40s with Wimille third four seconds slower.
For the third and last session most drivers, who now were more familiar with the circuit, were able to gain a few seconds. Dreyfus took pole position with a time of 1m38s with Farina second with a time of 1m39s. The
works Bugattis did not practice as the mechanics were changing ratios on the gearboxes but Wimille's time from the Friday practice was still good for a third position on the grid. Chambost, who has a bad wrist, did not
Cholmondley-Tapper, hit the edge of the sidewalk in front of the pits breaking the left rear brake drum on his Maserati.
At 5 a.m. on the same day the Spanish army units in Morocco revolted, an event that would lead to Spanish civil war and keep Spain out of the international race calendar until 1951.
Full practice results:
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||1m41s||1m40s||1m38s|
|Farina (Alfa Romeo)||1m40s||1m40s||1m39s|
|Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||1m48s||1m47s||1m46s|
|Dobson (Alfa Romeo)||1m49s||1m49s||1m46s|
|Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)||---||1m49s||1m47s|
|Brackenbury (Alfa Romeo)||2m09s||---||1m50s|
On race day heavy clouds were gathering over Deauville at lunchtime and gusts of chilly wind were blowing. However, that did not prevent a large audience from gathering all around the circuit.
Cholmondley-Tapper had not been able to properly fix the brake drum on the left rear wheel on his Maserati and was a refused to start by the officials.
The new course was opened by Ettore Bugatti, who made a lap around it in a Bugatti T41 "Royale". At 15:02 Maurice Henry, director of the race, lowered his flag to give the start to the eleven cars.
Farina was fastest away followed by Lehoux, Sommer, Villapadierna, Wimille and Dreyfus. At the end of the first lap the race order was Farina, Wimille, Lehoux, Sommer, Dreyfus, Villapadierna, Chambost, Benoist,
Martin and Etancelin. Dobson was already out of the race. He had taken a corner too fast, hitting a bank damaging the left side of the Dubonnet axle and the left front wheel.
On the second lap there were changes in the race order as Dreyfus moved up to third place followed by Lehoux, Sommer, Villapadierna, Benoist, Martin and Etancelin.
Chambost was missing. He had lost control of his Maserati 8CM and overturned at the Virages des Dunes. An ambulance took Chambost to the local hospital. First rumours seemed to claim he was only slightly
injured. However, the driver had suffered a fractured skull, from which he would die three days later.
Farina and Wimille were pulling away from the rest, Farina putting in a 1m42.5s lap followed by a lap of 1m41.4s. After having done four or five laps Dreyfus had to retire to the pit from his third position
due to a gearbox failure.
Only eight competitors now remained in the race. Farina was in his own class pulling away from Wimille as well as from the others. By eight laps he had opened up a 17 seconds gap to Wimille and after 10 laps
the gap was 18.3 seconds:
|1. Farina (Alfa Romeo)||16m48.1s|
|2. Wimille (Bugatti)||17m06.4s|
|3. Lehoux (ERA)||17m53.2s|
|4. Benoist (Bugatti)||17m55s|
|5. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||18m07s|
|6. Martin (Alfa Romeo)||18m23s|
|7. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)||18m56s|
|8. Etancelin (Bugatti)||19m03s|
According to l'Express du Midi Benoist made a pit stop at this point and Martin passed Sommer for fourth position. Lehoux had already been lapped by Farina but he kept on to his third position with his
2 litre voiturette against the bigger cars. After 20 laps Farina was leading Wimille, who was suffering from a dental abscess and not feeling well, by 25.8 seconds:
|1. Farina (Alfa Romeo)||33m37.0s|
|2. Wimille (Bugatti)||34m12.8s|
|3. Lehoux (ERA)||35m43.2s|
|4. Martin (Alfa Romeo)||36m09s|
The race order remained the same during the following laps. After the 29th lap Benoist made a pit stop for new rear tyres and dropped to last. After 30 laps Farina was leading Wimille by over a minute:
|1. Farina (Alfa Romeo)||50m24.3s|
|2. Wimille (Bugatti)||51m27.7s|
|3. Lehoux (ERA)||53m19.6s|
|4. Martin (Alfa Romeo)||53m54.6s|
|5. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||54m22.8s|
|6. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)||55m12.7s|
|7. Etancelin (Bugatti)|
|8. Benoist (Bugatti)|
Benoist took up the chase on the others and on the 32rd lap Benoist caught Etancelin and after a short duel passed him for 7th position.
During the first 30 laps Farina had constantly put in laps around 1m41s against Wimille's 1m43s.Farina made the 36th lap in 1m38.8s. That proved to be the fastest lap of the race. One source claimed that
Farina caught Wimille somewhere around lap 40 but did not try to lap him and slowed down instead. Another source said he actually lapped Wimille. Anyway, after that Farina seems to have slowed down a bit with lap times going up to 1m43s / 1m44s and Wimille pulled away from him again.
After the 47th lap just before mid-race Etancelin had to retire as the carburettor on his Bugatti got stuck in full open position. He had to use the gearbox to slow down the car.
Halfway through the race Farina was leading Wimille by 1m27.5s while Lehoux in third position had been lapped by Wimille.
The situation after 50 laps looked like this:
|1. Farina (Alfa Romeo)||1h24m53.5s|
|2. Wimille (Bugatti)||1h26m21s|
|3. Lehoux (ERA)||1h28m58s|
|4. Martin (Alfa Romeo)||1h29m25s|
|5. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||1h30m24s|
|6. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)||1n31m09s|
|7. Benoist (Bugatti)|
On the 53rd lap Farina stopped for refuelling. The stop took 53 seconds and Farina rejoined the race 22 seconds in front of Wimille. Lehoux also make his pit stop. That one took longer as a mechanic fumbled and
drenched the car seat with fuel and Lehoux dropped to fifth behind Martin and Sommer. Villapadierna and Martin made their fuel stops as well, the former losing 60 seconds and the latter 45 seconds.
After the pit stop Farina continued to go slowly and Wimille with a much lighter car than Farina was closing in on him. After 57 laps the gap was down to three seconds and on the next lap Wimille passed Farina on
Boulevard Eugène Cornuché to take over the lead of the race accompanied to applauds and cheers from the spectators.
Several sources claim Farina retook the lead on the very next lap. However in the results Wimille was listed as the race leader after 60 laps, three seconds in front of Farina:
|1. Wimille (Bugatti)||1h43m29s|
|2. Farina (Alfa Romeo)||1h43m32s|
|3. Martin (Alfa Romeo)|
|4. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
|5. Lehoux (ERA)|
|6. Benoist (Bugatti)|
|7. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)|
After 61 laps Wimille made his refuelling stop losing over half a lap to Farina, who meanwhile had closed in on Lehoux planning to put him three laps down. Lehoux came through the corner of the Baths before the
"terrace" back straight too fast and went wide out to the left just as Farina tried to pass him. Farina braked but a front wheel on his car touched Lehoux's rear wheel. Both cars spun and rolled over and over in a cloud of dust.
Lehoux' ERA caught fire. Both drivers had been thrown out of their cars and Lehoux had received a fatal skull fracture. The ambulance immediately went to the scene of the accident,
to where spectators already had rushed. The two drivers were immediately taken to the Deauville hospital where Lehoux was declared dead. Farina had severe bruises and cuts and a slight head injury but no internal
injuries or broken bones. He was able to leave the hospital a few days later.
On the 64th lap the accelerator on Benoist's Bugatti got stuck and he crashed into the sandbags in a corner.
Understandably, as news of the crashes spread emotions were upset in the pits as no one had expected such a tragic race. There were now only four competitors left with Wimille leading by over a lap from Sommer.
The race order after 70 laps:
|1. Wimille (Bugatti)||2h04m08s|
|2. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||2h05m59.9s|
|3. Martin (Alfa Romeo)||2h06m02.9s|
|4. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)||2h08m25.6s|
On the 72nd lap Sommer retired with a broken rear axle leaving only three competitors: Wimille in the works Bugatti followed by the green Alfa Romeo of Martin and the yellow Alfa Romeo of Villapadierna.
The situation after 80 laps:
|1. Wimille (Bugatti)||2h21m56s|
|2. Martin (Alfa Romeo)||2h23m47.1s|
|3. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)||2h26m20.1s|
Wimille slowed down the last 20 laps doing 1m47s lap times. He passed the chequered flag after 100 laps to take a joyless victory in the first and only Deauville Grand Prix as the circuit was never used again.
Martin finished second and times seem to indicate that de Villapadierna was flagged off after 98 laps.
Three days after the race at 11 o'clock Chambost died at the Saint'Francois hospital in Deauville.
|1.||14||Jean-Pierre Wimille||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||100||2h57m44.6s|
|2.||6||Charles Martin||C. Martin||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||100||2h59m11.6s||+ 1m27.0s|
|3.||10||José de Villapadierna||Scuderia Villapadierna||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||98||2h59m47.6s|
|DNF||18||Raymond Sommer||R. Sommer||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||72||rear axle|
|DNF||12||Robert Benoist||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||64||crash|
|DNF||28||Giuseppe Farina||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||60||crash|
|DNF||22||Marcel Lehoux||English Racing Automobiles Ltd.||ERA||B||2.0||S-6||58||fatal crash|
|DNF||16||Philippe Etancelin||Philippe Etancelin||Bugatti||T51||2.0||S-8||45||carburettor|
|DNF||30||René Dreyfus||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||4||supercharger|
|DNF||24||Albert Chambost||A. Chambost||Maserati||8CM spl.||3.0||S-8||1||fatal crash|
|DNF||4||Austin Dobson||A. Dobson||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||0||crash|
Fastest lap: Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo) on lap 36 in 1m38.8s = 135.3 km/h (84.0 mph)|
Winner's average speed: 125.3 km/h (77.9 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 136.4 km/h (84.7 mph)
Weather: overcast, windy.
Lehoux' death happened just a week after Mlle. Hellé-Nice's infamous crash at the São Paulo Grand Prix. She was informed of her former mentor's and lover's fate while laying seriously ill in a São Paulo hospital
This is yet another race with a lot of mysteries as the different race reports don't fit together. Therefore on which laps the different events happened are mostly guesses.
Most newspapers claim Chambost's crash happened on the second lap. However L'Express du Midi claims Chambost after two laps appeared at the pit and then left again a lap behind the others. That would indicate that
the crash happened on a later lap. Paul Sheldon gives lap 7.
There is also great confusion in the reports and also in books regarding the positions of Farina versus Lehoux at the time of their crash but doing a little math with available intermediate times it is quite clear
that Farina was trying to put Lehoux three laps down.
There is also confusion about how many laps de Villapadierna made, 98 or 99, but 98 laps should be correct. Interestingly Echo de Paris gives an alternative result, 3h02m26s that would fit with 99 laps. Where did
they get that time from?
1. Grid from L'Intransigeant 20 July 1936 with thanks to Richard Armstrong. It is not clear if Cholmondley's grid position was left empty or not.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
La Croix, Paris
La Stampa, Torino
L'Écho de Paris, Paris
L'Express du Midi
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
Motor Sport, London
Special thanks to:
IX GROßER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND
Nürburgring (D), 26 July 1936
22 laps x 22.810 km (14.173 mi) = 501.82 km (311.82 mi)
Rosemeyer defeats Europe's greatest drivers to win the German Grand Prix
by Hans Etzrodt
Twenty drivers met at the German Grand Prix racing for 22 laps around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the most interesting and difficult race track in Europe, held during cool but dry weather. All European race teams
were present: Mercedes-Benz, Auto Union, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Bugatti. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz) led the first lap ahead of teammate Lang and Rosemeyer (Auto Union). When Brauchitsch slowed on lap two, he and
Lang were passed by Rosemeyer who took the lead which he held till lap eight when he changed tires. Then Lang led for one lap but stopped on lap ten when Rosemeyer regained the lead. The two Mercedes-Benz cars of
Caracciola and Fagioli ran into problems, while Chiron in the fifth Mercedes had a lucky escape when he overturned his car at high speed. Three of the five Alfa Romeos retired, the two 12-cylinder cars of Nuvolari and
Dreyfus and Severi's 8-cylinder car. Two of the four Maseratis retired early, as did the single official Bugatti. Auto Union not only finished 1-2 with Rosemeyer and Stuck but all four cars finished with Hasse fourth
and Delius sixth. Brivio (Alfa Romeo) finished third, while only two Mercedes survived, Fagioli fifth and Brauchitsch seventh. Two Maseratis placed eighth and tenth while Sommer's independent Alfa Romeo took ninth place.
The 1936 German Grand Prix was organized by the ONS (Oberste Nationale Sportbehörde). The race was over 22 laps of the 22.810 km Nürburgring Nordschleife, a total of 501.820 km. It was claimed as the tenth
German Grand Prix, but that was incorrect as it included the 1925 Taunus-Rennen, won by Momberger (NSU).
The ONS prizemoney was considerable with a total of 40,000 Reichs-Mark. The overall winner received a trophy, "The Honor Prize of Adolf Hitler", and 20,000 RM in prize money. Second place received 10,000, third 5,000, fourth
2,500, fifth 1,500 and sixth 1,000 RM.
Daimler-Benz arrived with a total of seven cars. Five of them were the new clean looking 1936 Mercedes-Benz W25C models. They were much lower with a shorter wheelbase to save weight and the exhaust pipe was now down at ground
level below the rear axle. The car was powered by the new 4.74-liter ME25 engine, delivering 453 hp in race trim. The team entered for Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch, Louis Chiron, Luigi Fagioli and the former
mechanic and now reserve driver Hermann Lang. Freddy Zehender was the Mercedes reserve driver. They brought two additional cars; one was the practice car, an interim 1936 Mercedes-Benz W25 model, which Lang had raced to
fifth place in the Eifelrennen one month earlier.
Auto Union arrived with five cars for Bernd Rosemeyer, Hans Stuck, AchilleVarzi, Ernst von Delius and Rudolf Hasse their reserve driver with the practice car. Since Varzi failed to appear, Hasse was assigned the fourth car.
All five cars used the 6-Liter V-16 engine which delivered 520 hp. Since the Eifelrennen each of the cars had received a new carburetor which increased power at lower engine revolutions and eliminated the earlier fires.
The brakes were also improved.
Scuderia Ferrari, the racing arm of Alfa Romeo, appeared with four cars, two 4.0-liter V-12 Alfa Romeos for Nuvolari and Dreyfus, the latter replacing Farina who had been seriously injured in his collision with Lehoux the
week before at Deauville. Brivio and Severi drove 3.8-liter 8C-35 Alfa Romeos.
Scuderia Torino entered the new 4.8-liter V-8 Maserati for Richard Seaman from England, who was known as the successful race driver with ERA and Delage. He filled in for Omobone Tenni who had been slightly injured at the
Milan voiturette race at the end of June. Carlo Felice Trossi drove Scuderia Torino's 4CM Maserati fitted with the unique 4C-2.5 liter engine #2012, used 1936 in #32 car at the German Grand Prix, according to Adam Ferrington.
Scuderia Villapaderna entered an old 3-liter 8CM Maserati painted yellow
for Chilean Juan Zanelli. Cholmondeley-Tapper was an independent driver from England with his own green 3-liter 8CM Maserati, which was the former car of Earl Howe.
The Bugatti factory made one of their few entries in 1936 with a 3.3-liter T59 for Jean-Pierre Wimille, who had won the sports car Grands Prix of France and Reims and the tragic Deauville Grand Prix. The 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 Bugatti historian Michael Müller, the engine was from Stuber's Bugatti T51 and
the chassis was from Maag's T35C Bugatti. The independent Raymond Sommer from France raced a blue 3.2-liter 1935 Alfa Romeo tipo B/P3 monoposto.
On Wednesday Rosemeyer completed a lap in the amazing time of 10m08s which was an improvement on the lap record by 24 seconds. Stuck was also below the old record with 10m18s.
Official practice began on Thursday with Mercedes-Benz showing the greatest activity. Caracciola turned a lap in 10m03s at 136.2 km/h average speed and Brauchitsch managed 10m06s. Lang registered 10m10s, Chiron 10m16s
and Fagioli 10m36s. Rosemeyer did not repeat his time of 10m06s from the day before. The other Auto Union drivers were somewhat slower, Stuck with10m25s and Delius 10m35s. Sommer in his blue Alfa Romeo was listed with
12m54s. Brivio and Dreyfus initially appeared in 8-cylinder Alfa Romeos. The best time of Dreyfus was 10m43s and Brivio with 10m34s. Nuvolari had not yet arrived in Adenau. The improvements in the lap times since the
Eifelrennen were due to the fact that the partial new track surface sections in June were still soft in several places and did not provide maximum grip. Also the teams had worked to improve the road holding of the cars.
Friday practice again saw great activity. Nuvolari and Severi had now joined their teammates. Nuvolari drove the 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo in laps of 10m24s, 10m17s and finally 10m14s. Brivio and Dreyfus improved their
times with the 8-cylinder Alfa to 10m28s. In place of Varzi who had become sick and did not appear, the reserve driver Hasse practiced. The best practice times during the three days were:
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||10m07s|
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||10m14s|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||10m18s|
|Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||10m28s|
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||10m28s|
|Von Delius (Auto Union)||10m35s|
|Hasse (Auto Union)||10m42s|
|Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||12m54s|
Saturday activity was mostly limited to the small loop around the pits. Nuvolari was in the pits but did not practice while Brivio, Severi and Dreyfus turned several laps. Wimille and Zanelli also practiced; the latter in
the car of the Swiss driver Ruesch, according to Zanelli's mechanic.
It was claimed that 350,000 spectators attended the German Grand Prix. The year before there were 250, 000. At 10:00 AM the race cars were pushed from the nearby paddock through the tunnel and onto the track. Once again
the line-up for the starting grid was not in order of the practice times, as had been done for years in Monte Carlo, but instead by ballot. Bugatti, Auto Union and Alfa Romeo each had a place in the first row and the team
leaders then placed their lead drivers in the cars which were arranged in the following order.
Five minutes before the start the engines were silenced after their short but loud warm-up session on the grid. The countdown began in minutes; the engines were started one minute before 11:00 AM, the time of the start.
The starting grid was cleared of the mechanics, only the cars were left. For the first time a traffic light was introduced, hanging on a wire across the race track ahead of the rows of cars emitting a red light, which
meant one more minute. The loud wailing sound, the screaming and thunder of the many engines raised the tension and excitement among the colossal crowd. Next the yellow light lit up, only 15 more anxious seconds and
finally green simultaneously with the loud boom of a canon shot, loud as a bomb. The race was on. Von Brauchitsch from the second row shot ahead and made the best start followed by Stuck. Rosemeyer accelerated to the
very right near the pits with Lang's Mercedes clinging to von Brauchitsch's Mercedes. All cars left in this exciting racket except Delius' Auto Union which had a delayed start and was last. As the cars returned from the
South Turn, passing on the straight behind the pits, it was Brauchitsch in the lead ahead of Lang, Stuck and Rosemeyer, followed by Caracciola, Fagioli, Nuvolari, Dreyfus and Brivio.
At the end of the first lap Brauchitsch passed the grandstands ahead of Rosemeyer and Lang, after a gap followed Caracciola, Stuck, Nuvolari, Fagioli, Chiron, Dreyfus, Brivio, Hasse, Delius, the three Maseratis of Trossi,
Zanelli and Seaman, next Severi and Sommer in Alfa Romeos, followed by Cholmondeley, Rens and Wimille. Zanelli stopped at the pits as his Maserati was not running on all cylinders. He retired with fuel supply problems,
though another source claimed that he had over-revved his engine. Brauchitsch's average speed was 131.5 km/h with the order behind him as follows after the first lap:
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||10m25.0s|
|5.||Stuck (Auto Union)||10m40.8s|
|6.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||10m44.4s|
|9.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||10m57.2s|
|10.||Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||10m58.8s|
|11.||Hasse (Auto Union)||10m05.8s|
|12.||von Delius (Auto Union)||11m06.0s|
On the second lap Rosemeyer and Lang passed Brauchitsch at the Karussell but at the end of the lap Lang was nine seconds behind. Caracciola was now third a further eight seconds behind, followed by Nuvolari who had passed
Stuck. Von Brauchitsch had briefly stopped at the Karussell to check his steering. It was assumed that he went off the track before he arrived slowly at the pits. The front shock absorbers did not appear to be working.
Several times the front of the car was raised with a jack and dropped down again, including work on the shock absorbers. After four minutes he rejoined the race but was now in last position. Rosemeyer was leading at
133.5 km/h average race speed when the order was as follows after two laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||20m31.1s|
|4.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||21m08.2s|
|5.||Stuck (Auto Union)||21m09.6s|
|8.||von Delius (Auto Union)||21m39.8s|
|9.||Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||21m42.6s|
|10.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||21m45.2s|
|11.||Hasse (Auto Union)||21m49.2s|
On lap three there was no change amongst the first six with Rosemeyer driving at a very rapid pace with a lap in 9m56.6s at 137.600 km/h, a new lap record. He passed the grandstands 23 seconds ahead of Lang with Caracciola
following closely and Nuvolari behind. At the beginning of lap three, Dreyfus in the second 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo stopped at his pit to replace five spark plugs, which dropped him many places behind. Wimille (Bugatti)
retired on the circuit with a damaged gearbox and Seaman (Maserati) retired minutes later with a broken brake line. This left just 17 cars in the field with Brauchitsch in last place. At the "graveyard", a grass strip
past the pits, two abandoned cars were already parked, the Maseratis of Seaman and Zanelli.
At the beginning of lap five Caracciola stopped at his pit and climbed out of the car. The mechanics had to fix a fuel supply problem and he left after two minutes. Nuvolari was now in third place behind Rosemeyer and
Lang while Stuck advanced to fourth with Delius fifth after he had passed Chiron's Mercedes. Caracciola did not return from this lap. He came to a stop with the fuel pump not working and walked back to his pit from the
finishing straight where he left his car which was later brought back by his mechanics. Rosemeyer's race speed went up to 134.600 km/h, with the field in the following order after five laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||50m48.8s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||51m55.8s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||52m27.4s|
|5.||von Delius (Auto Union)||52m57.1s|
On lap six Dreyfus stopped for the second time at his pit to change spark plugs again. Rens retired his Bugatti with a broken con rod. At the beginning of lap eight Rosemeyer stopped at his pit for fuel and new tires
when he had over half a minute's lead over Lang. The stop included at lightning speed powder for Rosemeyer's hands and a swig of water. After 38 seconds he rejoined the race to the huge applause of the spectators. In
the meantime Lang and Stuck had passed, Lang in the lead, the first time in his life that he had led a grand prix race. He was 22 seconds ahead of Rosemeyer. Chiron had battled with Delius and regained fifth place at the
end of lap eight.
At the beginning of lap nine Nuvolari stopped for fuel and new tires. Lang still held first place ahead of Stuck and Rosemeyer in third place but Rosemeyer passed Stuck and Lang before the end of lap nine to resume the lead.
Brivio and Delius stopped to change tires.
At the beginning of lap ten Rosemeyer was again in command as Lang stopped for new rear tires. He was relieved by Caracciola, who had retired earlier. When he climbed into Lang's car, the spectators responded with hissing
and whistling. But they quieted down when the loudspeaker announced that Lang had broken the little finger of his right hand on the first lap. He had suffered substantial pain but managed to drive eight laps in great style.
Caracciola joined the race in Lang's car while Lang had his finger put in splints and bandaged in case he was needed as reserve driver. The various pit stops for fuel and tires had changed the order of the field after 10 laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h42m39.1s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h44m33.1s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h44m59.4s|
Mid-race, on lap 11, was the time for tire stops. Fagioli had a lengthy pit stop while his shock absorbers were adjusted but Chiron had a much faster stop. After the ongoing spark plug problems, Dreyfus had finally had enough
and retired the 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo with ongoing plug problems. When Brauchitsch stopped to change tires, Lang surprisingly relieved him and took over the car. The order of the field after 11 laps was:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h52m55.8s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h55m08.2s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h55m18.8s|
|7.||Hasse (Auto Union)||1h57m54.8s|
|8.||Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||1h58m14.8s|
|9.||von Delius (Auto Union)||1h59m45.6s|
|10.||Severi (Alfa Romeo)||2h07m24.2s|
On lap 12 there were still nine drivers on the same lap. Stuck, who had not yet changed his tires, was called into the pits which enabled Nuvolari to move into second place albeit over two minutes behind Rosemeyer.
Caracciola in Lang's car was now third and Stuck had fallen to fourth place after his stop. Severi refueled and changed tires at the beginning of lap 12. His teammate Dreyfus, who had retired earlier, took over the
cockpit and re-joined the race. By now six cars had retired with the order of the field after 12 laps as follows:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h03m13.8s|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h05m40.8s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h06m33.0s|
|6.||Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||2h08m53.6s|
|7.||Hasse (Auto Union)||2h10m05.8s|
|8.||von Delius (Auto Union)||2h11m06.6s|
|12.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||2h18m17.8s|
On lap 13 when Chiron drove along the straight over the bridge after Antoniusbuche, the car bounced to the left at very high speed, crashed through the fence and overturned. He landed between the racetrack and the new
Reichsstraße. Chiron was pulled from underneath the car and fortunately escaped with only light injuries to head and shoulder but was transported to the Adenau Hospital. His accident in a gentle curve was not his mistake
but was attributed to the bad road holding of his car. As a result he did not race again that year.
After lap 13, Caracciola in Lang's car stopped at the pits with a boiling radiator, tires were changed and water refilled. The mechanics worked on the car for a long time but then Caracciola climbed out of the car,
supposedly the supercharger had a problem. The car was retired when a mechanic drove it past the pits to the "graveyard" to join the other cars parked there. Stuck was now third and Brivio was in fourth place.
On lap 15 Rosemeyer stopped for the second time to change tires. This time the mechanics had more time due to Rosemeyer's lead of four minutes over Nuvolari. All four tires were changed since the white breaker strip
was already visible, so it was high time. Accompanied with enthusiastic shouts from the grandstand crowd he dashed back onto the track, still in the lead. Nuvolari retired at the Karussell with spark plug trouble,
according to the loudspeaker announcement, but supposedly it was failure of the rear axle. The Italian rode back to the pits on the tail of Sommer's old Alfa Romeo monoposto. Stuck's Auto Union now inherited second place
while Hasse finally passed Fagioli to gain fourth position. Rosemeyer controlled the pace and led by four minutes over Stuck at 133.2 km/h race speed when the order of the field was as follows after 15 laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h34m07.4s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h38m13.2s|
|3.||Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||2h40m26.2s|
|4.||Hasse (Auto Union)||2h42m40.4s|
There were no further changes in the order for the first five cars. Brivio changed tires. For a while Trossi's Maserati was driven by his teammate Seaman. Dreyfus in Severi's Alfa Romeo retired on lap 19 with broken oil
pump. Rosemeyer's average speed was 131.7 km/h with the times of the first four as follows after 21 laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3h38m06.2s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||3h41m48.2s|
|3.||Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||3h48m14.0s|
|4.||Hasse (Auto Union)||3h49m34.2s|
When Rosemeyer lapped Fagioli, the Italian stopped at his pit after lap 21 and Caracciola took over the car for the last lap since the Italian did not want to carry on. Only ten cars were now racing. Rosemeyer's last lap
was supported from the crowd with waving arms and cloths along the entire track. Time and again he thanked by waving back. His last lap was like a lap of honor. Stuck was also given similar treatment by the crowd. Rosemeyer
crossed the finish to the unbelievable jubilation of the enthusiastic crowd. Auto Union could celebrate a great success with all four of their cars finishing in first, second, fourth and sixth places. Mercedes-Benz started
with five cars but only two finished. Alfa Romeo started with four cars and only one finished, plus the independent Sommer in an older Alfa Romeo. Rosemeyer and Brivio stopped twice to change tires, while all others stopped
Individual and final times were reported to a 1/5 of a second which we have changed to a 1/10 of a second. The final times for fourth and fifth place finishers were controversial. We have published all final times from
official press reports.
Continental tires of the new type were driven in the practice sessions until they were worn down because they had to save on tires. In the race the tires were changed to a prearranged schedule and when they came off the
cars they were still in good condition. The tires did not consist of Buna nor had they Buna additives. This material was still too difficult to work with and its characteristics had not yet been explored to calculate in
advance its impact like you could do with rubber. With racing tires one had to be 100% sure, and for this reason they remained with rubber tires for the time being.
Bernd Rosemeyer became Deutscher Straßenmeister 1936 (German Road Champion 1936). The Eifelrennen and the German Grand Prix counted toward this title. Rosemeyer won both races and gained 10 points, Hans Stuck 5,
Hermann Lang 3, Ernst von Delius and Rudolf Hasse each 2 points.
The 1936 European Championship standings prior to the German Grand Prix had Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) in the lead with 1 point, Varzi Auto Union 2 points, Stuck (Auto Union) 3 points, Wimille (Bugatti) 4 points equal
to Nuvolari, Brivio and Sommer all (Alfa Romeo), Rosemeyer (Auto Union) 7 points.
The standings after the German Grand Prix was led by Stuck (Auto Union) 5 points, Brivio (Alfa Romeo) 7 points, Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) 8 points equal to Rosemeyer (Auto Union) and Sommer (Alfa Romeo, Nuvolari
(Alfa Romeo) 9 points, Varzi (Auto Union) 10 points, Wimille (Bugatti) 11 points.
Evidently none of the contemporary reports made reference to the European Championship.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Kölnische Zeitung, Köln
La Stampa, Torino
Motor Post, Berlin
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Presse Mitteilungen by ONS
Special thanks to:
5° CIRCUITO INTERNACIONAL DE VILA REAL
Vila Real (P), 26 July 1936
30 laps x 7.2 km (4.47 mi) = 216.0 km (134.2 mi)
Sameiro wins at Vila Real for the fourth time.
Three British drivers gave the race a international impression. However the race was won - once again - by Vasco Sameiro with a Alfa Romeo Monza.
The Circuito International was run in two parts: on 22 June there was motor cylcle races and a sportscar race with 18 entries.
The race was won by Eduardo Ferreirinha, driving a Ford V8.
A month later eight cars met for the Formula Libre race, over 30 laps of the 7.2 km circuit. This was the first Vila Real race with foreign competitors.
Portugal was represented by two Alfa Romeo Monzas for Vasco Sameiro and Manuel Soares Mendes, two Bugattis, one T51 for
Ribeiro Ferreira and one T35C, for Conde de Monte Real, plus a Ford V8 Special - one of a small series of three built by Manuel Alves de Freitas & Cia Lda, in Porto, for Giles Holroyd who however did not start.
Three British drivers gave the race a international impression. Douglas Briault raced ERA R6B and Gerard Manby-Colegrave ERA R1B while Edward "Teddy" Rayson entered a Bugatti.
Melo e Fago
Nevertheless, the winner of the race was a local - Vasco Sameiro "the King of Vila Real" from nearby Braga, with his Alfa Romeo Monza.
1 -16 August 1936: During the Olympic Games in Berlin AVUS is included in the tracks for the 50 km
Walk on 5 August, the Marathon Run on 9 August and the 100 km Cycle Road Race on 10 August.