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VII° COPPA CIANO JUNIOR
(Voiturette 1500cc + 1100cc)

Livorno (I), 2 August 1936
15 laps x 7.0 km (4.35 mi)= 105 km (65.2 mi)
(Note 1)


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Alexander ToddA. ToddArkus-M.G.DNA - did not appear
4Luigi PlatéLuigi PlatéTalbot7001.5S-8
6Moris BergaminiM. BergaminiMaserati4CM1.1S-4
8László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati6CM1.5S-6
10Mario ColiniScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.1S-4DNA - did not appear
12Frederick McEvoyF. McEvoyMaserati6CM1.5S-6
14Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
16Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
18Nicholas EmbiricosN. EmbiricosERAA1.5S-6
20Gino de SanctisG. de SanctisFiatBalilla1.0S-4
22Ignazio RadiceI. RadiceMaserati4CS1.5S-4DNS - did not start
24Francesco MatrulloF. MatrulloFiatBalilla1.0S-4DNA - did not appear
26Gino RovereOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
28Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6
30Vittorio BelmondoV. BelmondoMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNS - did not start
32Aldobrando GianettiA. GianettiFiatBalilla1.0S-4
34Agostino ProsperiScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-4
36Gianbattista AzziG. AzziRocca-FiatDNA - did not appear
38Richard SeamanR. SeamanDelage15S81.5S-8
40Dioscoride LanzaLuigi PlatéTalbot7001.5S-8DNA - did not appear
42Ettore BiancoE. BiancoMaserati4CM1.5S-4



Trossi wins as Seaman struggles

by Leif Snellman
The 1936 Coppa Ciano voiturette race was run to 1500cc formula. Seaman in his Delage led the first laps but then fell back due to fuel starvation and Trossi in his works Maserati dominated the rest of the event with Embiricos (ERA) second and Luigi Villoresi (Maserati) third.
For the first time, the Coppa Ciano was held on the new Livorno circuit (see the GP report for more details). After having restricted the voiturette race to 1100cc during the the earlier years the formula was now changed to 1500cc.
Entries:
Richard Seaman's Delage had finally been repaired after the Picardie crash where the steering box had split. Giulio Ramponi had replaced the engine with a rebuilt one that gave 10 hp more than the old one. Seaman was held up at customs and could only take part in the final practice session. Final adjustments could not be made.
      There were two ERAs taking part, Nicolas Embiricos (R2A, grey) and Reggie Tongue (R11B, green with black and silver stripe).
      Their main opponents were the three Maserati 6CM with independent front suspension: Trossi's works car (#1531), Hungarian Lázló Hartmann's car (#1532) and the one belonging to Australian born British playboy Frank McEvoy (#1535).
      The rest of the field consisted of five 4 cylinder Maseratis, Platé's old Talbot and two Fiat-Balillas.
Race:
The weather was uncertain. It had rained all night and the rain continued to fall during the morning. The start of the voiturette race was given at 3 p.m. by Mrs. Visconti, daughter of the Podestŕ of Livorno (Podestŕ was an official appointed by the fascist regime replacing the major).
Pole Position
18
Embiricos

ERA

38
Seaman

Delage

16
Trossi

Maserati

14
L Villoresi

Maserati

26
Rovere

Maserati


?



42
Bianco

Maserati


?



Rest of grid unknown.

Seaman took the lead followed by Villoresi, Trossi, Bianco and Rovere. Embiricos had made a bad start from his position and had dropped to 8th. But soon the strongest cars were able to advance through the field and soon the order was Seaman, Trossi, Villoresi, Embiricos, Hartmann and Rovere.
      Seaman held the lead for the first laps but then the Delage started to suffer from fuel starvation due to a faulty air pressure pump. On the fourth lap Trossi took over the lead and held it to the end. A struggling Seaman was soon down to fourth position. Embiricos passed Luigi Villoresi but was unable to do anything against Trossi even though the ERA theoretically was faster than the Maserati. Seaman was passed by Hartmann and Rovere as well and ended up in 6th position.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.16Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-61558m05.4s 
2.18Nicholas EmbiricosN. EmbiricosERAA1.5S-61558m45.8s?+ 50.4s
3.14Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati4CM1.5S-41559m13.8s+ 1m08.0s
4.8László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati6CM1.5S-6151h01m14.4s+ 3m09.0s
5.26Gino RovereOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CM1.5S-4151h01m58.0s+ 3m52.6s
6.38Richard SeamanR. SeamanDelage15S81.5S-8151h02m32.0s+ 4m31.6s
7.6Moris BergaminiM. BergaminiMaserati4CM1.1S-4141h00m15.0s 
8.12Frederick McEvoyF. McEvoyMaserati6CM1.5S-6141h00m32.8s 
9.34Agostino ProsperiScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-4141h01m15.0s 
DNF42Ettore BiancoE. BiancoMaserati4CM1.5S-413engine 
DNF32Aldobrando GianettiA. GianettiFiatBalilla1.0S-413? 
10.4Luigi PlatéLuigi PlatéTalbot7001.5S-8131h01m04.0s 
11.20Gino de SanctisG. de SanctisFiatBalilla1.0S-4121h00m09.8s 
DNF28Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-69  
Fastest lap: Trossi (Maserati) on lap 7 in 3m48.6s = 110.2 km/h (68.5 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 108.5 km/h (67.4 mph)
Weather:
In retrospect:
Information differs about Embiricos' finish time. Automobile Revue and Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung (Berlin) say the time was 58m45.8s. La Stampa and L'Auto on the other hand say 59m03.8s and Paul Sheldon's black book suggests 59m05.8s correcting two unnamed Italian sources that had claimed 58m05.8s. Published errors are often contagious to several papers. Could winner Trossi's 58m05.4s in this case somewhere have been copied in part to Embiricos' result?



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X° COPPA CIANO

Livorno (I), 2 August 1936
30 laps x 7.0 km (4.35 mi) = 210 km (130.5 mi)
(Note 1)


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

42László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati8CM3.0S-8DNA - did not appear
44Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-6
44Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-6DNS - altenative driver
46Clemente BiondettiScuderia MaremmanaAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8
48Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
50Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
52Giosuč CalamaiG. CalamaiAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6
54Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
56Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
58Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW25K4.7S-8DNA - did not appear
60René DreyfusScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
62Luigi FagioliDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW25K4.7S-8DNA - did not appear
64Carlo PintacudaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
64Francesco SeveriScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8DNS - altenative driver
66Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16



Boy, did those Italians cheer?

by Leif Snellman
Three Auto Unions were challenged by four Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos at the Coppa Ciano, held on a new circuit. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) had to retire immediately but he took over Pintacuda's car and started a wild chase on the field led by Varzi (Auto Union). Stuck (Auto Union) was also an early retirement and he took over Rosemeyer's car. The Auto Unions suffered from brake problems and Brivio (Alfa Romeo) and Nuvolari were able to catch Varzi and pass him. Varzi eventually had to retire and the Scuderia Ferrari drivers Nuvolari, Brivio and Dreyfus went on to an unsuspected triple victory.
For the first time the Coppa Ciano was held on the new Livorno circuit, also known as the Circuito del Miramare. For safety reasons the whole Montenero mountain section of the course had been left out shortening the circuit from 20 km to some 7 km. On this course variant, rather than circling the rotunda the cars went through a hairpin and returned back on the west side before moving left and into the Ardenza district. Instead of climbing along Via di Montenero the route took the cars along the railroad before passing over it on the way through Antignano along the main street. South of Antignano after a sharp turn it joined the old race track back towards Livorno.
Entries:
Daimler-Benz had initially entered two cars for Luigi Fagioli and Manfred von Brauschitsch but after the disastrous results at the German Grand Prix the team decided to miss Coppa Ciano and instead make preparations for extensive tests at Nürburgring, in an attempt to sort out the problems with their cars. Auto Union entered cars for their usual trio of Bernd Rosemeyer, Hans Stuck and Achille Varzi. The team was confident after their double victory at the German Grand Prix a week earlier so the cars arrived to Livorno straight from Nürburgring after only routine maintenance.
      Scuderia Ferrari entered four cars for the race, two V-12s for Tazio Nuvolari and Antonio Brivio and two 8-cylinder cars for René Dreyfus and Carlo Pintacuda, the latter now having returned from South America. It is possible the areas round the radiators were colour coded and in that case Pintacuda's would probably have been white but this is pure speculation.
      Clemente Biondetti was to race Ghiocomo di Rahm's Tipo B Alfa Romeo (#50010) under the Scuderia Maremmana banner and Pietro Ghersi a 6-cylinder Maserati for Scuderia Torino. The start list also included amateur driver Giosuč Calamai from nearby Florence in an old Alfa Romeo 6C-1750.
Race:
Despite the uncertain weather, it had rained all night and the rain continued to fall at intervals during the morning, a record crowd turned up for the 16th Coppa Ciano.
      Enzo Ferrari has said that a racing driver gets a second slower when he gets married. At Coppa Ciano Rosemeyer was more than a second slower. Having been married for less than three weeks his wife was flying from Berlin to Istanbul with her Messerschmitt Bf108 "Taifun" preparing herself for a record flight that she had planned for months and Rosemeyer was visibly stressed and worried. Auto Union team manager told Rosemeyer not to do anything foolish but rather retire if he did not feel well.
      Once the voiturette race had finished the cars were lined up for the main event with Nuvolari's Alfa in the middle of the first row with the Auto Unions of Rosemeyer and Varzi on each side.
Pole Position
48
Varzi

Auto Union
3m22s?

56
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo
3m26s

54
Rosemeyer

Auto Union
3m25s

50
Brivio

Alfa Romeo
3m30s

66
Stuck

Auto Union
3m28s

46
Biondetti

Alfa Romeo
3m42s

64
Pintacuda

Alfa Romeo
3m40s

60
Dreyfus

Alfa Romeo
3m32s

52
Calamai

Alfa Romeo
3m58s

44
Ghersi

Maserati
3m51s

(Note 2)

At the start Rosemeyer led the field into the first hairpin but soon Varzi took over the lead followed by Rosemeyer, Brivio, Stuck, Dreyfus, Pintacuda and Biondetti. To the terrible disappointment for the spectators Nuvolari was out with a broken differential on his 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo only seconds after the start. Nuvolari run back to the pits and demanded a new car. The team was naturally hesitant to bring in Brivio but when Nuvolari made it clear he wanted an 8-cylinder car instead of the V-12 Pintacuda was called in after two laps and Nuvolari took over, returning to the race some 40s behind the leader Varzi, who was followed by Stuck and Rosemeyer with Brivio already 10s behind.
      On the third lap Stuck, going through the narrow and twisty Antignao town section of Livorno, hit a curb stone and damaged his car so much he had to retire. After four laps the race order was Varzi, Brivio, Dreyfus, Nuvolari, Biondetti and Rosemeyer. Rosemeyer had a much uninspired race and retired after 6 laps. Rosemeyer admitted that he was so nervous that he could not race so Stuck took over the car. Varzi was doing 3m27s laps, Brivio 3m29s and Nuvolari 3m30s.
      After seven laps Varzi had opened up a 17 seconds gap to Brivio with Dreyfus third. But now the Italian spectators were cheering and jumping for joy as Nuvolari was driving one of his greatest races. The narrow twisty sections were fitting the Mantuan and the 8-cylinder Alfa perfectly. On the 12th lap Ghersi retired his Maserati with engine problems while Biondetti obstinately defended his fifth position against Stuck. As Nuvolari on the same lap caught Dreyfus, the French driver turned over to the right waving by his team mate. On the 14th lap Varzi was leading Brivio by 23 seconds but the Auto Union driver was in trouble with the brakes. At half distance he situation was:
1.Varzi (Auto Union)52m33s
2.Brivio (Alfa Romeo)52m47s
3.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)52m58s
4.Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)53m17s

After 16 laps the gap from Varzi to Brivio was down to 12s and to Nuvolari 20s but by now Varzi's rear left wheel brake was locking up badly. The spectators were standing and cheering. On the 19th lap Varzi, Brivio and Nuvolari appeared together. On the next lap Nuvolari passed both opponents to take the lead while Varzi came into the pit with brake failure. After a 1m10s stop Varzi returned to the race only to retire after one or two more laps.
      Brivio in the stronger V-12 car took the lead from Nuvolari on lap 21 opening up a 200m gap but on the next lap Nuvolari was back in the lead after having made 3m32.2s, the fastest lap of the race. Brivio got a sign from the pit that the cars should remain in those positions. Nuvolari despite not having any more opposition kept on going very fast.
      Scuderia Ferrari dominated the last third of the race. The "Flying Mantuan" led the Ferrari team home in 1-2-3 positions and took one of his greatest and most popular victories, once again humiliating the opposition. Stuck finished fourth, 3 minutes behind the winner and Calamai finished fifth and last.

      During the summer of 1936 Nuvolari probably raced better than ever in his career, beating the German teams four times within two months (Penya Rhin, Milan, Budapest and Coppa Ciano).

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.64C. Pintacuda / T. NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8301h44m40.0s
2.50Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12301h44m57.8s+ 17.8s
3.60René DreyfusScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8301h30m10.6s+ 1m30.4s
4.54B. Rosemeyer /H. StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16301h47m44.2s+ 3m04.2s
5.52Giosuč CalamaiG. CalamaiAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-627
DNF48Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-1622brakes
DNF46Clemente BiondettiScuderia MaremmanaAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-814mechanical/engine?
DNF44Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-612engine
DNF66Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-164mechanical
DNF56Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-120differential
Fastest lap: Tazio Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) on lap 22 in 3m23.2s = 124.0 km/h (77.1 mph)
Winner's medium speed 120.4 km/h (74.8 mph)
Weather:
In retrospect:
After this race Rosemeyer sent his famous telegram to his wife in Damascus:
"Nach der sechsten Runde aufgegeben. Komm bald. Du darfst mich nicht wieder allein lassen." (Gave up after six laps. Come [home] soon. You must never leave me alone again.)

While Rosemeyer returned to Berlin with Lufthansa his mechanics did not have such comfort on their way to Auto Union factory in Zwickau via the Brenner Pass and Munich. Ludwig Sebastian: "We took the ordinary train from Rome but were unable to find any seats and had to stand in the corridor."

Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer dedicated a whole 14 page chapter in her book Mein Mann der Rennfahrer on her flight clearly showing how important it was for her. Her idea was to fly over three continents starting from Damascus and ending up back in Berlin in a single day. On 2-3 August she therefore flew from Berlin via Budapest and Istanbul to Damascus to get herself in the correct position. The 2 August flight had indeed been an adventurous one as she had been forced to do instrument flying without radio in rain clouds over the Czech mountains. On Thursday 6 August she finally made the three continents flight starting at Damascus in darkness and continuing to Cairo, Athens and Budapest to reach Berlin in the evening.

The headline "Boy, did those Italians cheer?" is a quote from Motor Sport September 1936.


Footnote:
1. The 1936 race course was very similar to the 1937 one that had a length of 7.218 km (4.485 mi) but it seems there exact length of the 1936 course is unknown. Results speeds were given using a course length of 7 km, giving a race length of 105 km for the voiturette race and 210 km for the Grand Prix, but 7.2 km should probably be closer to the correct value.

2. Grid from photographic evidence (David Venables - First Among Champions, page 118)

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
La Stampa, Torino
L'AUTO, Paris
Motor Sport, London

Star 3 August 1936: The B.A.R.C. August Meeting was held at Brooklands.
Handicap races were won by A. T. G. Gardner (M. G. 1.1 L) - two races, R. H. Eccles (Rapier 1.1 L), Billy Cotton (M. G. 1.1 L),
R. King-Clark (M.G. 0.7 L), D. N. Letts (M. G. 1.3 L), A. C. Kelway (Bugatti 1.5L ) H. T. H. Clayton (Amilcar 1.1 L) and
J. P. Wakefield (Alta 1.5 L).
Star 9 August 1936: Jean-Pierre Wimille (Bugatti T59/57) wins the controversial Grand Prix du Comminges 40 lap quasi-sports car race at St. Gaudens.
Results:
1.Jean-Pierre WimilleBugatti T592h53m06s
2."Heldé"Talbot 150C2h56m55s
3."Raph"Talbot 150C2h58m07s
4.René Le BčgueDelahaye 135CS- 2 laps
5.Marcel MonginDelahaye 135CS- 2 laps
6.Robert BrunetDelahaye 135CS- 3 laps
Star 12-15 August 1936: The new Mercedes-Benz "Rennabteilung" makes extensive Mercedes tests at Nürburgring with Rudolf Caracciola & Manfred von Brauchitsch as drivers.



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VIII° COPPA ACERBO JUNIOR
(Voiturette 1500cc + 1100cc)

Pescara (I), 15 August 1936 (Saturday)
6 laps x 25.8 km (16.0 mi) = 154.8 km (96.2 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
4Gino RovereOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CM1.1S-4
6Mario ColiniScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
8Richard SeamanR. SeamanDelage15S81.5S-8
10Nicholas EmbiricosN. EmbiricosERAA1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
12Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6DNS - supercharger
14Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
16Moris BergaminiM. BergaminiMaserati4CM1.1S-4
18Frederick McEvoyF. McEvoyMaserati6CM1.5S-6
20Enrico GessnerE. GessnerMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
22"B Bira""B Bira"ERAB1.5S-6
24Agostino ProsperiScuderia ImperioMaserati4CM1.5S-4
26Umberto MazzaferroU. MazzaferroFiatBalilla1.1S-4
28Hans RüeschH. RüeschMaserati4CS1.5S-6
30Luciano UboldiL. UboldiMaseratiSpl.1.5S-6DNA - did not appear



Seaman beats the Maseratis

Entries:

     
Practice:

     
Race:

     
Pole Position
22
"B Bira"

ERA
12m49s

2
Trossi

Maserati
12m47s

8
Seaman

Delage
12m20s

24
Prosperi

Maserati
13m43s

18
McEvoy

Maserati
13m35s

16
Bergamini

Maserati


26
Mazzaferro

Fiat
17m55s

28
Rüesch

Maserati
15m33s

4
G Rovere

Maserati

14
L Villoresi

Maserati

The voiturette race run as a preliminary to the GP race was started at 8 AM. Seaman immediately took the lead from the pole and Bira (ERA) in 2nd place had only to see how the leading Delage drew away and disappeared. Bira was soon in the pit where the car caught fire. Trossi took over second place but Seaman was in a class of his own winning by 83 seconds.
     

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.8Richard SeamanR. SeamanDelage15S8S-861h14m25.2s 
2.2Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CMS-661h15m04.8s+ 39.6s
3.28Hans RüeschH. RüeschMaserati4CS1.5S-661h19m38.6s+ 5m13.0s
4.18Frederick McEvoyF. McEvoyMaserati6CMS-661h20m45.0s+ 6m19.8s
5.16Moris BergaminiM. BergaminiMaserati4CM1.1S-461h24m18.6s+ 9m53.4s
6.4Gino RovereOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CM1.1S-461h25.54.6s+ 11m29.4s
DNF22"B Bira""B Bira"ERABS-64fire 
DNF26Umberto MazzaferroU. MazzaferroFiatBalilla1.11  
DNF24Agostino ProsperiScuderia ImperioMaserati4CMS-40mechanical 
DNF14Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati4CMS-40engine 
Fastest lap: Richard Seaman (Delage) in 12m15.8s = 126.2 km/h (78.4 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 124.8 km/h (77.6 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 125.5 km/h (78.0 mph)
Weather: very hot.



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XII° COPPA ACERBO

Pescara (I), 15 August 1936 (Saturday)
16 laps x 25.80 km (16.0 mi) = 412.8 km (256.5 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

32Clemente BiondettiScuderia MaremmanaMaserati8CM3.0S-8
34Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-6
36Scuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-6DNA - did not appear
38René DreyfusScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
40Richard SeamanOfficine A. MaseratiMaseratiV8RI4.8V-8
42Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
44Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
46Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16DNS - practice crash
48Ernst von DeliusAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
50Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
52"Raph"B de las CasasMaseratiV8RI4.8V-8DNA - did not appear
54Adolfo MandirolaScuderio TorinoMaserati8CM3.0S-8DNA - did not appear
56Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
58Austin DobsonA. DobsonAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
60Hans RüeschH. RüeschAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
62Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16



Rosemeyer wins the Coppa Acerbo with an Auto Union hat trick.

by Hans Etzrodt
In the absence of Mercedes-Benz, the Coppa Acerbo at Pescara was a two way battle between Auto Union and Alfa Romeo. It was one of the difficult Italian races and turned out to be one of the most impressive victories for Auto Union. The three German cars at the start finished in the order Rosemeyer, von Delius and Varzi. The three Alfa Romeos of Nuvolari, Farina and Dreyfus retired with damaged engines, while Brivio was the only one exempt and ended with his Alfa in fourth place. The independent Rüesch (Alfa Romeo) finished last, while the Maseratis of Ghersi, Biondetti and Seaman retired as did Dobson's old Alfa Romeo. Hans Stuck left after the first practice session when he was injured in such a way in a crash with the Auto Union that he was unable to start in the race.
The Coppa Acerbo was first held in 1924 when Minister Giacomo Acerbo named the race in honor of his brother Capitano Tito Acerbo, a decorated war hero, who was killed during the last year of WW I. Now in its 12th running it had become one of the more important events of the international calendar. Practically the same 25.8 km Pescara circuit was in use for 1936; however road surface improvements had made it a faster course over the years. The cars had to complete 16 laps, a total of 412.8 km.
      It was triangular in shape consisting of regular roads with all the normal road hazards. The Start and Finish line was outside the Adriatic seaside resort of Pescara, where the road went straight for about one kilometer along the shore. Before Pescara the circuit turned right heading inland for about 11 km along a winding road up into the Abruzzi Mountains, through forests and the hill villages of Villa Raspa, Montani, Spoltore, Pornace and Villa S. Maria, rising to 190 meters above sea level. Then the circuit descended to Capelle sul Tavo where there was a slow righthand hairpin exiting under a bridge. From here, the road led into the approximately 11 km long Monte Silvano downhill straight to the coast at blistering speed. This was the fastest stretch of the circuit and included a one kilometer timed section, which was on a slightly downhill incline. The Monte Silvano straight was followed by a fast right turn at Monte Silvano railroad station, which led into the Lungo Mare straight along the coast back to the start. To slow the cars on that sea-level straight, since 1934 a large artificial chicane had been introduced just before the Start-Finish area, to reduce the speed as cars passed the pits.
      The race was held on August 15, Ferragosta, a public holiday in Italy. This year, the organizers once again introduced an artificial chicane on each of the two straights, breaking the two long straights into four sections. It was no longer possible to 'fly' at maximum speed and stay at this rate for about a minute. The first chicane was at Villa Carmine at km 17.50, but after the Timed Kilometer between km 15.50 and km 16.55. The other chicane, slower than the first, was at Villa Verrocchio, at km 22.34. Officially, these chicanes reduced the risks of high speeds that could be reached on the straights but more truthfully they tended to interrupt the long sprints which favored the more powerful German cars.
Entries:
Mercedes-Benz decided not to take part in the Coppa Acerbo after they had failed to attend the Coppa Ciano race, concentrating instead on testing and improving their cars for the Swiss Grand Prix. Auto Union, arrived with four 6.0-L V-16 cars, under team manager Dr. Karl Otto Feuereissen to be driven by Hans Stuck, Bernd Rosemeyer, Achille Varzi, Ernst von Delius and Rudolf Hasse as the reserve driver.
      Scuderia Ferrari entered two 12-cylinder Alfa Romeos for Tazio Nuvolari and Antonio Brivio and two 3.8-liter straight-eights for René Dreyfus and Guiseppe Farina. This was to be Farina's first race after his crash at Deauville four weeks earlier, from which he was now recovered. The Maserati works entered one of the latest 4.8-liter V-8 Maseratis for Richard Seaman. Scuderia Torino appeared with Pietro Ghersi in a 3.7-liter 6-cylinder type 6C34 Maserati and Adolfo Mandirola had an older 3-liter 8CM Maserati. Scuderia Maremmana from Florenz arrived with an older 3-liter 8CM Maserati for Clemente Biondetti, because their 2.9-liter Alfa Romeo Tipo B had suffered unrepairable engine damages two weeks before at Livorno.
      Independent entries were made by de la Casas, "Raph" with a Maserati type V8RI and two Tipo B/P3 Alfa Romeo, 2.9-liter straight-eights by the British driver Arthur Dobson and the Swiss Hans Rüesch.
Practice:
On Thursday, the first official day of practice, after the morning session for motorcycles, the race cars took to the track from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Almost all competitors tried the circuit which had been made more difficult with two chicanes on the straights of Capelle and Monte Silvano. The first to appear in front of the pits were the silver cars of Auto Union. Gradually the other competitors from Alfa Romeo and Maserati joined in and were applauded. The fastest lap was made by Varzi in an Auto Union in 11m06s at an average of 139.459 km/h. Hans Stuck made a lap in 11m21.6s, Rosemeyer in 11m41.2s and also 11m24s. Von Delius, the fourth driver of the German company, drove a lap in 12m55.4s and later 11m39s.
      Among the red Alfa Romeos Brivio made the best time in 11m10.6s at an average of 138.302 km/h, Dreyfus made a lap in 11m50.2s and Farina in 12m25.8s. The best Maserati time was recorded by Ghersi in 12m36.4s with an average of 122.790 km/h.
      During the last laps Stuck's Auto Union hit a barricade flanking the chicane near Capelle. Stuck was doing around 280 km/h approaching the chicane and slowed down to around 60 km/h for the chicane, but brushed his left rear wheel against the concrete border wall. He spun; the car went sideways, left the road and slid down a slope. Stuck was able to aim for a tree to stop the car, which probably prevented it from overturning. He had hit the right elbow with serious contusions and cut his right hand between the ring- and little finger which was later stitched. Since he was unable to continue with practice or the race, Stuck left that evening for Switzerland to prepare for the upcoming Swiss Grand Prix. The chassis of the Auto Union was damaged by the impact and Auto Union decided to start with only three cars, Rosemeyer, Varzi, the winner of last year's race at Pescara, and Delius, while Rudolf Hasse remained as the reserve driver.
      Another version of the crash claimed that a wheel broke off the car at full speed; Stuck tried to brake, but crashed into the artificial barrier in the center of the road. Stuck removed the steering wheel and was catapulted out of the cockpit, finishing in a cornfield. A miracle: apart from a violent blow when his elbow made contact with the chicane, Stuck was practically unharmed. When the reserve driver Hasse stopped to help, Stuck wanted to continue making two more laps, but was unable to do so.
      After Stuck's crash, the car was retrieved and supposedly repaired overnight to be ready for Delius. Varzi's engine suffered a serious defect during practice and was replaced with the spare engine.
      Friday, the second and last practice day, started in the morning with the motorcycle races over 12 laps which lasted more than three hours. Serafini (Bianchi) won the 500 class at 115.677 km/h average speed and Fumagalli (Bianchi) made the fastest lap in 13m 41.8s at 121.920 km/h average speed. Milano (Norton) won the 350 class and Cavacciuti (Benelli) the 250 class.
      Nuvolari had arrived in Pescara on Thursday night. The Mantuan completed the circuit in 11m5.8s, at an average speed of 139,501 km/h. After practice he appeared very satisfied. Varzi and Delius in the Auto Unions each drove six laps without interruption. Varzi made a lap in 11m6s at 139.459 km/h but was the fastest of all today when he completed a lap in 10m59s at an average of 140.940 km/h. Rosemeyer also drove several laps in succession. The Maserati of Ghersi made a lap in 12m25s at an average of 125,006 km/h and later 12m23s. The Alfa Romeos spent a lot of time in the pits because the cars started to overheat. Almost all drivers experienced brake problems. At the conclusion of practice a gloomy mood was felt in all pits. Nobody knew what the next day would bring.
      However, the people from Auto Union had seen enough to know what had to be done. Nearly all night they were at work. The mechanic Ludwig Sebastian worked through the entire night to replace the brakes on Rosemeyer's car and since there was no spare engine left, he fitted new pistons to Varzi's broken engine from the first practice and installed it into Rosemeyer's car.
      When Delius and Hasse tested the cars in the early morning at around six o'clock, they hoped that everything would work to some degree. At the Alfa pits the situation was not much different. They had also worked the entire night and were concerned about their cars.
Race:
On August 15, the Ferragosta, a public holiday in Italy, the blue morning sky was cloudless. At 8:00 in the morning the 1500 cc voiturette cars had their race over six laps, which Richard Seaman won in his ten year old Delage after 1-1/4 hours.
      The start for the grand prix cars was planned at 10:00 AM. Dietrich from Continental measured the ground temperature which was 45 degrees and a hard day was expected which was however not the worst problem. In the mountains the circuit was covered with tar and on the long straights the macadam surface was also softened as a result of the August heat. This caused a problem when accelerating as the wheels tended to spin even with the best profile. The drivers were aware that the course was difficult and also dangerous.
      A crowd of 80,000 witnessed the race, which was attended by the Italian Agriculture Minister Professor Acerbo and other public figures. On a very hot morning the cars lined up at the start arranged in order of their practice times. During the engine warm up on the grid and the change to racing spark plugs, Rosemeyer's mechanic Ludwig Sebastian told the driver to do the first two laps relatively slowly and take care of the new brakes and especially the new pistons all of which needed to be driven in.
Pole Position
42
Brivio

Alfa Romeo
11m10s

56
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo
11m05.8s

62
Varzi

Auto Union
10m59s

48
von Delius

Auto Union
11m39s

50
Rosemeyer

Auto Union
11m24s

40
Seaman

Maserati
12m23s

34
Ghersi

Maserati
12m23s

38
Dreyfus

Alfa Romeo
11m53s

32
Biondetti

Maserati
13m15s

44
Farina

Alfa Romeo
13m09s

60
Rüesch

Alfa Romeo
13m53s

58
Dobson

Alfa Romeo
13m18s

At 10:00 AM Dino Alfieri, the Press and Propaganda Minister, lowered the checkered flag when Nuvolari shot away at incredible speed followed by Brivio and Varzi and to the exciting applause of the grandstand crowd. Nuvolari finished the first lap at an average speed of 136.669 km/h with the cars in the following order:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)11m20s
2.Varzi (Auto Union)11m28s
3.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)11m30s
4.Brivio (Alfa Romeo)11m31s
5.Delius (AutoUnion)11m40s
6.Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)11m18s
7.Farina (Alfa Romeo)11m18s
8.Ghersi (Maserati)12m21s
9.Biondetti (Maserati)12m41s
10.Seaman (Maserati)13m00s
11.Dobson (Alfa Romeo)13m20s
12.Rüesch (Alfa Romeo)13m20s

At the beginning of the second lap, Dreyfus and Farina in the 8-cylinder Alfa Romeos stopped at the pits to change spark plugs. Dreyfus stopped for 30 seconds but Farina was there much longer. Nuvolari improved his pace and so did Varzi and Rosemeyer while Brivio slowly lost ground. At the end of the second lap the gap between the first cars remained unchanged. Nuvolari's race time was 22m33s, Varzi 22m41s, Rosemeyer 22m46s, Brivio 23m11s and Delius 23m15s. The others were distant and already separated. Farina visited his pit again with an obvious fault in the circulation of oil and was now very far behind.

At the beginning of lap three, Varzi, still in second place behind Nuvolari, was signaled from the pits to attack, but an incident in the mountains delayed him. When a stone shattered Varzi's windscreen, he had to brake so hard that it damaged a rear tire. Varzi stopped at the Capelle emergency depot to have the right rear tire replaced after which he rejoined in fourth place. Nuvolari continued to lead with a lap in 11m10s, with Rosemeyer now second in 11m04s, now speeding up after the first two careful laps. It was announced that on the Timed Kilometer Rosemeyer passed in 13.2s or 272.727 km/h average speed while Nuvolari's time was 14.8s at 243.242 km/h. Brivio was now third with a lap in 11m06s ahead of Delius in 11m38s. Varzi, in fourth place, had passed five seconds after Brivio and stopped at his pit at the beginning of lap four to have a new windscreen fitted as he could not drive without it. Quickly Sebastian cut a piece of sheet metal which he wired to the frame of the windscreen and Varzi set off again after the leading group.

On lap four the Nuvolari-Rosemeyer duel was in full swing. Nuvolari's time was 11m05s while Rosemeyer lapped in an even 11 minutes. The two champions passed in front of the grandstands just two seconds apart. Brivio stopped for 43 seconds at his pit to tighten the radiator cap which had lost water. At the exit of the Timed Kilometer Varzi lost the tread of his right rear tire which he changed at his pit, losing 1m16s. Now Delius had inherited third place after he passed the Timed Kilometer at 268.656 km/h equal to the time of 13.4s, followed by Brivio, Varzi, Ghersi, Dreyfus, Biondetti and Farina, the last some distance behind.

During the fifth lap Rosemeyer's silver Auto Union overtook Nuvolari at Villa Montani with a lap in 10m55s while the Mantuan's was 11m06s. At the end of the fifth lap the German was leading the Mantuan by ten seconds to the dismay of the grandstand crowd. Delius in third place was 2m24s behind Rosemeyer and Brivio was following while Varzi stopped again at the pits for a few seconds. Meanwhile Biondetti disappeared from the race and Seaman had also retired. After 129 kilometers Rosemeyer's race average was 138.883 km/h with the times at the end of the fifth lap as follows:
1.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)55m44s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)55m54s
3.Delius (Auto Union)58m08s
4.Brivio (Alfa Romeo)58m17s
5.Varzi (AutoUnion)59m27s
6.Ghersi (Maserati)1h00m47s
7.Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)1h01m12s
8.Farina (Alfa Romeo)1h02m51s
9.Rüesch (Alfa Romeo)1h04m02s
10.Dobson (Alfa Romeo)1h04m34s

On lap six Rosemeyer kept the lead, increasing his pace with a lap in 10m52.6s, putting more distance between himself and Nuvolari who reacted in 11m00.4s. Brivio, in fourth place, pressed Delius with a lap in 11m12s which closed him up to 1.4 seconds behind the German. Varzi was now seventh, behind Dreyfus and Ghersi, and was more than seven minutes behind the leader.

During the seventh lap Rosemeyer maintained his pace with a lap in 10m52.4s while Nuvolari lost more ground with a lap in 11m03s. Brivio who lapped in 11m15s took third place from Delius. Varzi did not resign himself to seventh place. During this lap he gained a place by driving a spectacular new record lap in 10m47.2s equal to 143.288 km/h average speed.

On lap eight the race was halfway through and it was time for pit stops. Rosemeyer drove the lap in 10m57s. Varzi meanwhile beat his previous record with a lap in 10m43.8s at 144.268 km/h average speed, reaching an average speed of 285.714 km/h on the Timed Kilometer, a speed which was equaled by Delius. Varzi was now fifth behind Delius. Ghersi pitted for fuel and tires, while Farina and Dobson retired after this lap. The independent Rüesch (Alfa Romeo) was no longer mentioned but he was still driving albeit at the tail of the field. Rosemeyer's race average had increased to 140.184 km/h with the times at the end of lap eight as follows:
1.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h28m27s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h29m05s
3.Brivio (Alfa Romeo)1h32m03s
4.Delius (Auto Union)1h32m11s
5.Varzi (AutoUnion)1h35m11s
6.Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)1h35m38s
7.Ghersi (Maserati)1h37m49s
8.Farina (Alfa Romeo)1h38m30s
9.Dobson (Alfa Romeo)1h46m10sone lap behind
10.Rüesch (Alfa Romeo)no time

At the beginning of lap nine Nuvolari stopped at the pits to refuel and change his rear tires in 1m35s. Brivio who at the time was ahead of Delius also refueled and changed tires losing 1m47s. During his pit stop Delius passed him to regain third place. When Nuvolari restarted, he was driving hard in order to catch Rosemeyer, who stopped after lap nine to refuel.

At the beginning of the tenth lap Rosemeyer stopped at his pit but since the tires were still in perfect condition, he only refueled taking 41 seconds. Nuvolari was now resigned to second place 1m50s behind the leader. Delius, who also did not change tires, refueled in 43 seconds. After a quick lap of 10m53s Varzi stopped at the pits only to refuel and have the windscreen replacement checked. During his fast lap Varzi was stopped at 12.8 seconds over the Timed Kilometer equal to an average of 281,250 km/h. As a result of his pit stop Rosemeyer's average race speed had dropped to 139.237 km/h with the ranking as follows after 10 laps:
1.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h51m10.6s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h53m00.4s
3.Delius (Auto Union)1h56m07.4s
4.Brivio (Alfa Romeo)1h57m05.4s
5.Varzi (Auto Union)1h58m35.8s

By lap eleven the crowd no longer hoped for an attack by Nuvolari, who was now too far behind the leader. But then the spectators suffered an even greater setback during the eleventh lap when the Mantuan had to stop in the mountains at Campo Boario and retired with engine failure, a broken valve. The spectators were disappointed and the race had effectively ended for them although they remained to the end. Rosemeyer could not be threatened by Brivio and was only left to defend the colors of Auto Union. Even Dreyfus retired due to engine trouble. The first four positions were now held by Rosemeyer, Delius, Brivio and Varzi. The latter was forced to pit once more but despite his fate he showed great strength. Nuvolari had retired with engine damage, just as two weeks before in the Coppa Ciano. The engines of the 12- and 8-cylinder Alfa Romeos started to overheat after a few laps, something that had not happened before. Dreyfus and Farina had lubrication problems with damaged pistons and rings. Brivio was now the only one who could compete with the German cars.

On lap twelve, after Nuvolari's disappearance, Rosemeyer slowed his pace and lapped in 11m17s and it was expected that the German would win. Delius was signaled by his pit of the danger posed by Brivio and he drove in 11m20s, while Brivio lapped in 11m24s. Varzi in fourth place drove a lap in 10m52.8s. After Ghersi retired, Rüesch who was at the very end of the field found himself in fifth place.
      The question now was whether Varzi, who was 1m14s behind Brivio in third place, could catch the Alfa Romeo? Another question was whether Brivio could regain second place by catching Delius who led him by 51 seconds? The German lapped in 11m31s while Brivio's time was better with 11m25s, but he appeared to be in trouble, struck by a kind of sunstroke. So, behind Rosemeyer there was still a battle going on for positions. Delius improved his pace and increased his lead by five seconds, but Brivio also increased his pace.

Varzi's performance was superb. Despite the fact that he had no hope of victory, he gained 29 seconds in just one lap on Brivio. Before the end of lap 15 he overtook Brivio but then stopped at his pit because his left rear tire showed the white stripe of the canvas. Ludwig Sebastian made Varzi leave immediately without changing. As a result Varzi lost about ten seconds but he then took off on his last lap in pursuit of Brivio who was again third. Varzi had lost around 25 seconds in total. Would he be able to hunt down Brivio and make up the lost time?

At the end of lap 16, Rosemeyer's triumphal arrival was greeted by great applause. The winner was carried joyfully by his mechanics and was highly praised by the authorities. The notes of the German anthem were heard. Big cheers were also given to the young von Delius, the revelation of this race.
      On this last lap, after Rosemeyer and Delius had already crossed the finish line, everyone in the stands began to stand up and craned their necks, waiting uneasily and breathless. Who would arrive in third position? Finally, a dust cloud in the last turn before the finish straight, it was Varzi, followed five seconds later by Brivio in the Alfa Romeo. The Galliatese ended up third with the tire completely worn down to the canvas.
      It must have been a terrible fight, since Brivio reached the finish totally exhausted and had a bucket of water poured over his head. He was breathless and extremely fatigued. It was a heavy day for Alfa Romeo but bearable after their victory in Livorno, two weeks earlier.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.50Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16162h57m57.8s
2.48Ernst von DeliusAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16163h04m18.0s+ 6m20.2s
3.62Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16163h05m01.6s+ 7m03.8s
4.42Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12163h05m06.8s+ 7m09.0s
5.60Hans RüeschH. RüeschAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-812
DNF34Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-612
DNF56Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-1210broken valve
DNF38René DreyfusScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-88piston, valve
DNF44Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-88piston, lost exhaust
DNF58Austin DobsonA. DobsonAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-88
DNF32Clemente BiondettiScuderia MaremmanaMaserati8CM3.0S-84mechanical
DNF40Richard SeamanOfficine A. MaseratiMaseratiV8RI4.8V-84spark plugs
Fastest lap: Achille Varzi (Auto Union) on lap 8 in 10m43.8s = 144.3 km/h (89.6 mph)
Winner's average speed: 139.2 km/h (86.5 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 140.9 km/h (87.6 mph)
Weather: sunny and very hot
In retrospect:
The Italian Motor Sports Commission decided to include a Timed Kilometer again this year, which was installed at the beginning of the great Cappello straight, between km 15.50 and 16.55 ahead of the first chicane.
      The Montesilvano speed trap over one kilometer showed the shortest time in 12.6 seconds equal to 285.714 km/h average speed for Varzi and Delius (Auto Union), while the 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo was timed at a speed of 243.242 km/h.
      The journalist Corrado Millanta explained that the difference of 42 km/h showed that the 12-cylinder Alfas could actually not exploit their entire engine performance, because with Coppa Acerbo transmission gearing, the difference between the Auto Union and Alfa Romeo would not have been more than 20 km/h.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
DDAC-Motorwelt, München
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'AUTO ITALIANA, Milano
Motor Post, Berlin
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
RACI settimanale, Roma
Special thanks to:
Ms. Paola Masetta
Ms. Rosella Lamperti



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© 2019 Leif Snellman, Felix Muelas - Last updated: 12.01.2019