III GROSSER PREIS DER SCHWEIZ
Bremgarten (CH), 23 August 1936
70 laps x 7.280 km (4.524 mi) = 509.6 km (316.7 mi)
Rosemeyer wins the Swiss Grand Prix ahead of Varzi and Stuck
by Hans Etzrodt
There were 17 cars at the start of the third Swiss Grand Prix, comprising eight German cars, seven from Italy and two from France. They were racing over 70 laps of the fast Bremgarten road
circuit, outside Bern. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) held the lead with Rosemeyer (Auto Union) chasing right behind him but unable to pass. The fierce battle between the two Germans was very
exciting and was decided on lap nine in Rosemeyer's favor. He took the lead and never looked back. When Nuvolari retired the Alfa Romeo after 18 laps, the most dangerous opponent was
eliminated from the field and a German victory was assured. The Alfas of Farina and Dreyfus retired, as did the Mercedes of Fagioli, Caracciola and von Brauchitsch, who retired in that order.
Rosemeyer won by 53 seconds ahead of Varzi in second place, who was followed by Stuck, all three in Auto Unions with the Lang/Fagioli Mercedes in fourth place and Hasse (Auto Union) the last
finisher. Independent drivers like Sommer (Alfa Romeo), Etancelin (Maserati) and Earl Howe (Bugatti) retired, plus both Scuderia Maremmana Maseratis of Biondetti and de Rham,
and the new Bugatti of Wimille.
The Swiss Grand Prix was held for the third time on the same 7.28 km long circuit which had been used in the preceding two years. Since 1935 the event had been elevated to Grande Épreuve status.
The circuit was in excellent condition. The grandstand turn and the Bethlehem bend had been reworked to give more camber, and higher lap speeds. The prize money for first place was 15,000
Swiss francs, second 8,000, third 4,000, fourth 2,000 and fifth 1,000 francs.
Special significance was given to this event which was the third of the four Grande Épreuves counting toward the 1936 European Championship. After the first two races at Monaco and Germany,
Stuck held first place with 5 points, followed by Brivio with 7, Rosemeyer 8, Caracciola 8, the independent driver Sommer 8, Nuvolari 9, Varzi 10 and von Delius and Trossi 12 points each.
Daimler-Benz was confident that they had remedied their car's handling problems during Nürburgring tests, so after a 4-week break they entered four of the short 97 inch wheelbase cars with
redesigned rear axles. Alfred Neubauer managed the team with drivers Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch, Luigi Fagioli and Hermann Lang. The latter drove with a bandaged right hand
because at the German GP four weeks earlier he had broken his little finger against the right body panel when hastily shifting gear. The entire team appeared for Thursday practice, including
reserve driver Louis Chiron, who had recovered very well after his accident at the German Grand Prix.
Auto Union, arrived with four 6.0-L V-16 cars, under team manager Karl Otto Feuereissen. They were to be driven by Hans Stuck, Bernd Rosemeyer, Achille Varzi and Ernst von Delius with Rudolf
Hasse as the reserve driver. But for the race the drivers were reversed and Hasse raced the car while Delius was the reserve driver. Stuck carried his injured arm in a black sling. In the race he drove
without it but his right hand and elbow were bandaged. A week ago in a practice crash at Pescara he had seriously injured his hand and right elbow which had not yet fully healed and the
stitches had not yet been removed. By this time Varzi had already become addicted to morphine. While Varzi was practicing at the Swiss race track, team manager Feuereissen carried out a
raid at Varzi's hotel room finding both Varzi's girlfriend Ilse and drugs in the room.
Scuderia Ferrari entered two 12-cylinder Alfa Romeos for Tazio Nuvolari and René Dreyfus and one older 8-cylinder for Guiseppe Farina. Scuderia Torino did not take part in the race but Philippe
Etancelin raced his own Maserati 4.8-liter V-8. Clemente Biondetti drove an ex-Scuderia Torino 3.7-liter 6-cylinder type 6C34 with Siata radiator cowl. Scuderia Maremmana from Florenz arrived
with two 3.7-liter 6-cylinder type 6C34 Maseratis to be driven by Clemente Biondetti and Hans Stuber. The latter did not start and was replaced by Jacques de Rham, while Stuber was the
A Bugatti entry was made for Jean-Pierre Wimille. He practiced in two different Bugatti types, an old 3.3-liter T59 during Friday practice but on Saturday after the arrival of the new Bugatti
T59/50B with 4.7-liter S-8 engine, he practiced and raced the new Bugatti. Raymond Sommer was an independent driver in a Tipo B/P3 Alfa Romeo. Earl Howe raced his 3.3-Liter T59 Bugatti
and the Swiss Hans Rüesch drove a 3.7-liter 6-cylinder type 6C34 Maserati.
Thursday, the first practice day was warm and sunny. The cars practiced from 3.45 PM until 5:00 PM. Mercedes reserve driver Chiron completed 18 practice laps in the older type spare car and
was the most active driver. Caracciola drove 15 laps and established a new record lap in 2m41.7s at 161.082 km/h. Lang drove 8 laps, as did Fagioli and von Brauchittsch completed 6 laps.
Rosemeyer in the Auto Union came closest to Caracciola's time with a lap in 2m43.1s. He drove a total of 10 laps, as did Varzi while Stuck completed 8, but von Delius was not present. Scuderia
Ferrari appeared with just one 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo which completed 16 laps, mainly driven by Farina, but also for a few laps by Nuvolari and Count Brivio, the reserve driver. The new Grand
Prix Bugatti had not yet arrived from Molsheim. Of the independent drivers only Etancelin with his Maserati and Earl Howe with his Bugatti practiced. The best lap times from Thursday were
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2m43.1s|
|Farina (Alfa Romeo)||2m52.1s|
|Varzi (Auto Union)||2m56.2s|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||3m00.0s|
|v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||3m05.6s|
|Earl Howe (Bugatti)||3m16.0s|
Friday's practice took place at the same times as on Thursday. It was another warm sunny day when new record laps were established by Rosemeyer. Shortly after Caracciola had driven a lap
in 2m42.9s, Rosemeyer recorded a time of 2m40.2s at an average of 163.600 km/h. Hardly had he established the new record, than he drove a lap in 2m38.3s at an average of 165.173 km/h. The
Mercedes drivers Brauchitsch and Lang and Varzi (Auto Union) were active with times below Caracciola's Thursday record. Brauchitsch drove in 2m40.3s, Lang 2m40.4s and Varzi 2m40.6s. At
the end of the day Rosemeyer was looked upon as the popular favorite. Friday's best lap times were as follows:
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2m38.3s|
|v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2m40.3s|
|Varzi (Auto Union)||2m40.6s|
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2m42.2s|
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||2m45.1s|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||2m48.2s|
|Hasse & Delius (Auto Union)||2m50.4s|
|Farina (Alfa Romeo)||2m53.8s|
|Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||2m58.7s|
|Earl Howe (Bugatti)||3m13.8s|
On Saturday at 10:00 AM the grand prix cars were weighed at the railroad yard where a scale was available. The cars had to weigh 750 kg or less to participate in the race. Before the allotted
time, the Auto Union team was present under the guidance of the famous designer Ferdinand Porsche. The red Alfas were also lined up nearby. After a few minutes the silver Mercedes
racecars arrived, escorted by the never tiring race manager Alfred Neubauer.
Saturday grand prix practice was just for one hour and began at 1:30 PM. The weather had changed with the sky full of gray clouds. The grand prix cars had just started practice, when a light
drizzle started to moisten the circuit. The German teams used new tires with a different tread profile and an improved inner construction of the connection between the cover and the walls,
which reduced the danger of throwing treads. Most drivers made use of the last practice except Etancelin, Sommer, Lord Howe and Stuber. In the race Stuber was replaced by the Swiss driver
de Rham in the Maremmana Maserati. Wimille practiced with the new Bugatti single-seater over five laps of which the fastest was 2m53.8s compared to 2m52,6s with the 3.3-liter. In the first
15 minutes Rosemeyer recorded 2m39.8s, just one second short of his previous record. Nobody seriously expected that Rosemeyer's record from Thursday would be lowered. In spite of that, it
was, because Caracciola went to all lengths and produced a lap in 2m37.9s at 165.979 km/h average speed. Immediately Rosemeyer began attacking this time, but came up short with only 2m39.3s.
Varzi in his Auto Union managed a lap in 2m39.5s. Nuvolari improved to 2m41.5s from Friday's 2m42.9s and completed a total of 16 laps while Dreyfus drove 18. Stuck with his stitched up arm
injury drove six laps with a best of 2m45.8s. Saturday practice times were as follows:
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2m39.3s|
|Varzi (Auto Union)||2m39.5s|
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2m41.5s|
|v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2m42.7s|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||2m45.8s|
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||2m48.4s|
|Farina (Alfa Romeo)||2m53.4s|
|Delius (Auto Union)||2m56.3s|
At 10:00 AM the Preis of Bern took place, the race for the voiturette class. The Swiss Grand Prix followed in the afternoon. Despite the warm summer weather, the estimated spectator
attendance was around 37,000. Despite his earlier intentions, the Swiss Rüesch did not start because his Maserati had suffered an un-repairable transmission defect in practice. Instead of
the Swiss driver Stuber, his countryman Jacques de Rham started in the second Maserati of Scuderia Maremmana, while Stuber was now the reserve. Auto Union made a last minute driver change,
deciding that Hasse would drive the fourth car in his first race and von Delius take the role of reserve driver. The Grid positions had been decided by practice times and at 1:15 PM the 17
cars began to line up accordingly. Caracciola had secured the preferred starting place, on the right of the front row.
Exactly at 1:30 PM the ACS President Dr. Mende lowered the red Swiss flag with the white cross and, with an ear-splitting metallic song the wild pack shot away. Caracciola did one of his famous
super starts, followed by Rosemeyer, Lang and Varzi. At the end of the first lap, Caracciola was the first to enter the grandstand turn, closely followed by Rosemeyer, Lang, Nuvolari, Varzi, von
Brauchitsch, Fagioli and Stuck. The Maserati of De Rham had retired with engine maladies at the Kiesgrube.
After the second lap Caracciola with a lap in 2m39.0s was leading Rosemeyer and Nuvolari, who had passed Lang. After a long gap, Varzi, Brauchitsch, Fagioli, Dreyfus and Stuck followed at short
intervals. Wimille in the new Bugatti was in mid-field while Biondetti trailed with the independent drivers.
The next seven laps brought a nerve-racking wheel to wheel duel between Caracciola Rosemeyer, whose sensational pace drew the attention of the spectators away from the progress of the second group
consisting of Nuvolari, Lang, Varzi and Brauchitsch. Then there was a gap to Fagioli. On the third lap Rosemeyer was just one second behind the Mercedes and trying to pass, but Caracciola baulked him.
Wimille retired the new Bugatti on the circuit after only three laps with a broken gear lever.
After four laps Caracciola was shown the blue flag by track marshals, meaning, move to the right, let the following car pass. He was pressed hard by Rosemeyer who was shaking his fist every
time he passed the pits. Nuvolari had lost some ground and behind him Lang lay in ambush with Varzi and Brauchitsch at his heels. The crowd was overcome by excitement as it was clear to everyone
that the clash between Caracciola and Rosemeyer would come to a head with Nuvolari as a dangerous third not to mention the bunch lurking in the background.
After five laps the leading protagonists remained glued together and still Caracciola did not allow Rosemeyer to pass. However Nuvolari had fallen 8 seconds behind. The order was as follows
after 5 laps:
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||13m28.4s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||13m36.6s|
|5.||Varzi (Auto Union)||13m44.1s|
|6.||v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)|
On the sixth lap Caracciola and Rosemeyer remained inseparable since the Auto Union driver refused to slacken off. Fist shaking and repeated blue flags continued, but Caracciola persisted in
blocking the track. Lang had passed Nuvolari, who was now demoted to fourth position. Behind Varzi and Brauchitsch, Fagioli surprisingly slowed down and stopped at the pits where he retired
with a broken connecting rod, which happened in the heat of the battle when his engine was over-revved. Farina arrived a bit later and stopped at the pits to retire his 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo
with a long crack in the cylinder head which had caused water to enter the engine.
Caracciola used every trick to keep the faster Rosemeyer behind. At the end of lap seven they appeared alone, since they had left the others behind in their bitter duel. They were
separated by about 20 seconds from Lang in third place, who was followed by Nuvolari. Evidently, Rosemeyer was faster through the corners, but was unable to pass the Mercedes as the top speed
of the two cars was equal and the straights were not long enough to pass. Eventually Auto Union Manager Karl Otto Feuereissen protested to race management about Caracciola's baulking. Varzi
passed Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo, who was now in fifth place and on lap eight von Brauchitsch also passed the Italian, who was then sixth after he had been third just three laps earlier.
On the ninth lap the Swiss race manager W. Ed. Huber walked death-defiantly to the edge of the track and wildly waved the blue flag to Caracciola. At last Rosemeyer who followed him
closely was able to pass. Now in the lead, the young German drove a new record lap in 2m36.3s at 167.230 km/h average speed, in so doing beat Caracciola's practice record of 2m37.9s.
After Biondetti retired with a broken prop-shaft the field was down to 12 cars with the fastest drivers in the following order after 10 laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||26m42.7s|
|4.||Varzi (Auto Union)||27m09.5s|
|5.||v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||27m11.6s|
|6.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)|
Caracciola was unable to keep up with Rosemeyer and progressively fell behind, while Rosemeyer went even faster, creating on lap 14 a new fastest lap in 2m35.7s at 168.724 km/h average speed.
On lap 15 he went even faster with a lap in 2m34.5s at 169.633 km/h average speed, which proved to be the fastest lap of the race. At this time Varzi attacked Lang's Mercedes and passed him,
gaining third place. Shortly afterwards Rosemeyer lapped his teammate Stuck.
After lap 18 Caracciola slowed down because his accelerator linkage became stuck and he had to regulate his speed by continuously switching the ignition on and off. He could no longer
threaten Rosemeyer and had to let him go. Varzi was third ahead of Lang and Brauchitsch with Nuvolari sixth followed by Dreyfus. To the amazement of everyone, at the end of lap 18 Nuvolari
stopped at his pit to refuel and top up with water. But then the car refused to restart, prolonging the stop. Eventually the mechanics pushed the car behind the pits. From the outset
Nuvolari was able to keep up with the German cars, but a few laps after the start he noticed a loss of power and fell behind as the engine began to overheat. The same circumstance later
affected Dreyfus' car, which was also a 12-cylinder. Initially it was assumed that the driving gear of the magneto had distorted, so that the engine received retarded ignition. However
that was not the case. When tested later, the magneto gave the spark at the correct time. It still had to be investigated if possibly a lack of fuel supply had caused the overheating of
the engines. Before the next race at Monza the problem was successfully eliminated by enlarging the exhaust pipes and installing larger oil coolers.
Varzi, Lang and von Brauchitsch maintained very similar intervals between each other while the gap between Rosemeyer and Caracciola had continuously increased to 18 seconds
after 20 laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||52m55.5s|
|3.||Varzi (Auto Union)||53m37.4s|
|5.||v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||54m01.9s|
Earl Howe, who had been second to last, drove his Bugatti off the track in the Eymatt turn, ending his race. Caracciola's lead over Varzi had shrunk to 20 seconds on lap 23. On the following
lap Dreyfus stopped at the pits to refuel, which took 32.1 seconds. But four laps later the Frenchman retired the 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo with the same problem that had afflicted Nuvolari's car.
Varzi was trying to close up on Caracciola and on lap 27 they were separated by only 12.5 seconds. At the end of lap 29 Rosemeyer passed the grandstand and Varzi appeared next instead of
Caracciola, who had retired at the Forsthaus bend with a broken right rear axle support tube. Etancelin retired the Maserati after 34 laps with a broken accelerator linkage. Brauchitsch
had closed on to Lang's tail. By now Stuck had fallen two laps behind and had only completed 33 laps by mid-race, with the following order after 35 laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h32m33.7s|
|2.||Varzi (Auto Union)||1h33m13.7s|
|4.||v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||1h34m14.7s|
|5.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h32m53.0s||2 laps behind|
It was now time for refueling stops and tire changes. Rosemeyer stopped and was serviced in 35 seconds. In the meantime Varzi moved into first place until lap 37 when he refueled and changed
tires in 39 seconds. Lang's pit stop on lap 44 took 30 seconds. Fagioli took over his car because Lang could no longer hold the wheel, suffering enormous pain from the broken little finger
of his right gearshift hand. The refueling stop for von Brauchitsch took 30 seconds but surprisingly it was without a tire change. After refueling, Etancelin stopped at the Kiesgrube to
retire with a broken accelerator linkage. Shortly before lap 40, Brauchitsch passed Fagioli for third place and that's how the order remained for the next ten laps. Brauchitsch stopped with
a torn left rear tire which was caused by one of the broken-off stones from the small paving stone track surface of the grandstand turn. The tire was replaced in his pit in 34.5 seconds.
After the many retirements, the field was down to just seven cars after 50 laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h13m57.7s|
|2.||Varzi (Auto Union)||2h14m42.8s|
|3.||v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2h14m01.9s||1 lap behind|
|4.||Lang/Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)||2h15m02.3s||1 lap behind|
|5.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h12m46.7s||2 laps behind|
|6.||Hasse (Auto Union)||3 laps behind|
|7.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||5 laps behind|
At the beginning of lap 51 Brauchitsch stopped again at his pit since the engine was overheating, the result of a piece of newspaper being caught in front of his the car's grill. The engine
hood was removed to refill water but all of this took time. Possibly as a result it was seen that the rear wheels were locked and finally the car disappeared behind the pits. After the
retirement of Brauchitsch the Auto Union of Hasse moved into fifth place. Sommer in the old Alfa Romeo experienced a problem on the track and arrived pushing his car exhaustingly to his pit,
where it was quickly repaired for him to re-join the race to the spectators' applause. After that, nothing meaningful happened and monotony fell upon the proceedings which were only
interrupted by the repair of the small loose paving stones in the turn in front of the grandstand. During the breaks between the passes of cars, the grandstand-turn was painstakingly repaired
because some small stones in the recently re-plastered bend had become loosened by the suction of the large rear wheels and pulled out. They had to be pounded back into place and locked against
each other with wooden wedges, a sight that nevertheless offered some interest and which was appropriately explained by the radio announcer. Since the threat to the Auto Unions had disappeared,
the drivers received pit signals to slow down. Fagioli and Stuck passed by nose to tail, but Stuck was actually a whole lap behind Fagioli. The field was down to 6 cars after 60 laps:
|1.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h41m32.8s|
|2.||Varzi (Auto Union)||2h42m16.5s|
|3.||Lang/Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)||2h42m59.2s||1 lap behind|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h43m00.8s||2 laps behind|
|5.||Hasse (Auto Union)||2h42m00.1s||4 laps behind|
|6.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||13 laps behind|
At the beginning of lap 61 Fagioli in Lang's car, stopped at his pit with a flat right rear tire because the wheel rim had broken, something which had never happened before. The wire spokes
had pushed into the Rudge gearing which took extra time to remove the wheel. During the lengthy pit stop Fagioli lost his fourth place to Stuck. Fagioli then made up the lost time against
the battered Stuck and on lap 62 he re-passed the Auto Union. But the injured Stuck did not give up and repassed Fagioli on the following lap to regain third position. On lap 64 Sommer
retired with a broken drive shaft somewhere on the track but he had actually completed only 51 laps at that time. Since changes in the order were no longer taking place, an obvious sense of
monotony descended once more. After 70 laps Rosemeyer received the checkered flag and finished as a much celebrated victor followed by Varzi and Stuck, all three in Auto Unions ahead of
Fagioli in Lang's Mercedes and Hasse's Auto Union in fifth place. All others had been left far behind. Immediately after the race ended, Hans Stuck, who was completely exhausted, was carried
to the pits by his mechanics.
Auto Union had achieved a triple victory. But this was not the entire significance of their success. What counted much more was the fact that all four Auto Unions finished the race, while
from the opponents only one single car survived. But this single car was also German, a Mercedes-Benz, which demonstrated the dominance of the German teams at that time.
|1.||4||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||70||3h09m01.6s|
|2.||8||Achille Varzi||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||70||3h09m54.2s||+ 52.6s|
|3.||6||Hans Stuck||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||69||3h10m41.0s|
|4.||16||H. Lang / L. Fagioli||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25C||4.7||S-8||69||3h11m04.8s|
|5.||2||R. Hasse / E. von Delius||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||67||3h11m02.8s|
|DNF||20||Raymond Sommer||R. Sommer||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||51||drive shaft|
|DNF||10||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25C||4.7||S-8||50||locked rear brakes|
|DNF||18||Philippe Etancelin||P. Etancelin||Maserati||V8RI||4.8||V-8||34||accelerator linkage|
|DNF||12||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25C||4.7||S-8||29||right rear axle tube|
|DNF||28||René Dreyfus||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||26||overheating|
|DNF||24||Earl Howe||Earl Howe||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||24||drove off track|
|DNF||32||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||18||overheating|
|DNF||36||Clemente Biondetti||Scuderia Maremmana||Maserati||6C34||3.7||S-6||10||drive shaft|
|DNF||14||Luigi Fagioli||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25C||4.7||S-8||6||connecting rod|
|DNF||30||Giuseppe Farina||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||6||cylinder head|
|DNF||22||Jean-Pierre Wimille||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59/50B||4.7||S-8||3||shift lever|
|DNF||38||Jacques de Rham||Scuderia Maremmana||Maserati||6C34||3.7||S-6||0||engine maledies|
Fastest lap: Bernd Rosemeyer (Auto Union) on lap 15 in 2m34.5s = 169.6 km/h (105.4 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 161.0 km/h (100.0 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 166.0 km/h (103.1 mph)
Weather: sunshine, warm.
The European Championship final standings after the Swiss Grand Prix were: Stuck first with 8 points, Rosemeyer 9, Varzi 12, independent driver Sommer 13, Caracciola 14, Nuvolari and Brivio both
Bernd Rosemeyer, although very happy about his victory, after the race he was extremely upset about Caracciola who had baulked him for seven laps during the race. In the evening both men
accidently met in the hotel's elevator when Caracciola teased Rosemeyer, which triggered a shouting match, with Rosemeyer berating Caracciola, which carried on in the hotel's lobby and at the prize
giving. This was clearly a fight between generations. There were only eight years between them, but the old champion refused to accept his inferiority against the young challenger. It would
take half a year before the two drivers returned to speaking terms after a dinner given for the race drivers by Dr. Goebbels in Berlin.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Motor Post, Berlin
MOTOR UND SPORT, Pössneck
Motorwelt, DDAC, München
Late August 1936: The Mercedes-Benz team withdrew from racing to reorganize itself for 1937.
IX JUNIOR CAR CLUB 200 MILE + ANDRE GOLD CUP
Donington Park (GB), 29 August 1936 (Saturday)
77 laps x 4.107 km (2.552 mi) = 316.2 km (196.5 mi)
The voiturettes having the upper hand over the Grand Prix cars
The organizers at Donington park and the general secretary of the Junior Car Club "Bunny Dyer" realized that rather than Brooklands short handicap races long distance scratch races was the way to go if
you wanted to get spectatators. The Junior Car Club therefore decided to revive their Brooklands 200 mile race last held 1921-1928. This time the race was held on the 2.552 mi variant Donington Park Circuit
, the cars doing 77 laps equalling 196.5 miles (why they did not do 78 laps (199 mi) or 79 laps (201 mi) instead is a mystery).
The big cars and voiturettes were raced together and the André Gold Cup was presented to the overall winner regardless of class. The overall winner would receive £200, second £100 and third £50.
As it was assumed that the big cars might get the upper hand there were extra prizes for the voiturette class with £100, £50 and £25 for the top three. The entry fee was £15.
To be classifed a driver had to finish within 10 minutes after that the fastest 1500cc car had taken the flag.
Favourites in the major class were the Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3s of Austin Dobson (#50005 with Dubonnet front suspension) and Chris Staniland (#5003).
Dobson's car had Dubonnet front suspension had installed an extra tank in his car to be able to do the race without refuelling. Stanliands car was of the older type and had belonged to Raymond Sommer.
It would later be rebuilt as the Multi Union.
Anthony Powys-Lybbe entered his Alfa Romeo Monza and Miss Eileen Ellison entered her 3 litre Maserati for Thomas Cholmondeley-Tapper to drive while she herself would do the timekeeping during the race.
Percy Maclure entered a 6 cylinder Riley, the only non supercharged car in the race. The rest of the entries of the bigger class consited of old Bugattis.
In the voiturette class there were no less than eight ERAs.
The works entries were Raymond Mays (R4B), Earl Howe (R8B), Patrick Fairfield (R4A). Independent ERA entries were
Prince Bira (R5B "Remus", blue), Douglas Briault/Kenneth Evans (R6B, bright green), Arthur Dobson/Cyril Paul (R7B, white), Denis Scribbans (R9B, cream with red wheels) and Peter Whitehead (R10B, black).
Challenging them was Seaman's old but rebuilt Delage. Having won the Coppa Acerbo Junior and the Prix de Berne the weeks before he was clear favourite in the voiturette class.
Two MG Magnettes completed the field.
Fairfield was fastest in practice with a time of 2m05.6s with Whitehead second (2m08.6s). Bira saved his car during practice and did a best time of 2m13s that put him far back in the field.
Saturday came with beautiful sunny weather.
At 2:30 p.m. "Ebby" Ebblewhite dropped the flag to start the race.
|Rest of grid unknown|
Fairfield was on pole but it was Whitehead who took the start. He was followed by Scribbans, Seaman, Howe, Bira, Rayson, Fairfield, Dobson, Paul, Briault, Staniland and Powys-Lybbe.
At the end of the first lap Seaman had passed Scribbnas for second position. Brocklebank retired his Bugatti with ignition trouble. On the second lap Seaman took over the lead with a struggling Whitehead falling back to
third position behind Scribbans.
On lap 6 Howe, who had passed Whitehead, found a way past Scribbans as well and started the chase on Seaman.
The top four cars were close together with Bira just 5 seconds behind leading Seaman.
Austin Dobson had made a fast pit stop for brake adjustments and was advancing though the field. On lap 7 the hub of the left front wheel on Dobson's Alfa Romeo broke and in 160 km/h the wheel flew into the
pit area creating a dangerous situation. The wheel jumped a paling fence struck a parked fuel lorry, bounced 10 meters up in the air and landed on the pit roof and went on back crossed circuit in front of Seaman Delage
before an official managed to capture it. Dobson managed to keep the car straight on three wheels and ended up on the grass field next to the circuit.
After ten laps Seaman was leading Howe by 3.2 seconds. Peter Whitehead had to retire his ERA with piston failure and a lap later Paul joined him. On the same lap Bira passed Scribbans for third position.
Staniland had a troublesome race making several stops for adjustments of his Alfa Romeo and Mays' ERA was leaking oil into the cockpit, making the pedals slippery and forcing him to make several pit stops.
On lap 13 Howe took over the lead from Seaman who was not trying to fight back but rather tried to save his Delage as he was planning to do a non-stop race. Bira was 12 seconds behind the duo.
After 20 laps Howe was leading Seaman by 12.4s. Fairfield had moved past Scribbans up to fourth position and on the 21st lap Fairfield passed Bira who was making consistent 2m14s laps trying to save his
car for third position.
The race took its tolls. After 29 laps Cyril White's Bugatti Bugatti stalled at Starkey's and was pushed away and a lap later Scribbans in fifth position became the third ERA driver to retire when a piston
broke. The race order was Howe, Seaman, Fairfield, Bira and Staniland.
Howe made 30 laps in 1h06m22s (69.22 mph/111.4 km/h ). He was pushing to get time for his pit stop was leading Seaman with 14.6 seconds with Fairfield third a further 13 seconds behind and with Bira
27 seconds behind Fairfield.
On lap 34 Rayson and Tapper passed Staniland for fifth and sixth positions as Staniland overshot at Coppice and had a make a stop for brake adjustments.
Douglas Briault made his pit stop on lap 35, handling over his ERA to Kenneth Evans, the M.G. driver doing his first race in an ERA.
On lap 38 Bira came in for his scheduled pit stop lasting 48 seconds.
After several pit stops Percy Maclure gave up on lap 40. Fairfield retired giving over third position to Bira, who already had lost two laps to Howe. It was noticed that Bira's fuel tank was leaking. Howe
did 40 laps in 1h28m13s (69.43 mph/111.7 km/h). He had not been able to open up the needed gap over Seaman for the necessary pit stop. The gap had i fact shrunk to 9 seconds.
On lap 49 Bira made another pit stop to fill up his leaking tank. The hand held automatic starter failed in its first attempt and the pit stop lasted 57 seconds but
the gap to Reyson was sufficient and Bira returned to the race still in third position.
On lap 50 Howe, with only a 8.4s lead made a scheduled 39 seconds pit stop giving back the lead to Seaman. Seaman now speeded up to open a gap to Howe in case he needed to do a fast pit stop. Howe did
his best to follow driving flat out and taking risks but had to see Seaman pull away.
Rayson retired his Bugatti after 51 lap because of engine trouble and Powys-Lybbe retired his Monza three laps later with a faulty transmission.
Seaman did 60 laps in 2h12m05s (69.56 mph/111.9 km/h) The gap to Howe was 44 seconds. Bira's ERA started to drop its speed. MacRobert retired his M.G on lap 62 and on the next lap Bira retired to the pit with a broken oil pipe.
Evans was now third in his first race in a ERA, Tapper with his Maserati fourth after a fast refuelling stop and Staniland fifth and Leitch sixth.
After 70 laps Seaman, nursing his Delage, held a 51.4 seconds lead over Howe who was pushing to get closer, but during the last laps Seaman held exactly the same speed as Howe winning by 51.4 seconds
to take both the Gold Cup, the JJC 200 and the voiturette victory, collecting £350 in total.
Howe finished second and Briault / Evans third tith thri ERAs and Cholmondley-Tapper fourth with the masearti. Only those four were classified.
Before the race there were doubts about the idea to race the Grand Prix cars and the voiturettes together. However the preparations of the Grand Prix cars proved to be weak and the voiturettes dominated the race.
This was Seamans's third victory in three weeks.
Voiturette 1500cc results|
30 August 1936: Bernd Rosemeyer (Auto Union) wins the "Großer Bergpreis von Deutschland" hillclimb in Freiburg, Germany.
5 September 1936: Jack Chambers crashed his Riley in the town of Newtonards during the RAC Tourist Trophy sports car handicap race at Ards near Belfast creating the worst
catastrophe in the history of British motor sport with 8 dead and 15 seriously injured spectators.
Frederick Dixon & Charles Dodson (Riley 1.5L) took a joyless victory in the race.|
|1.||Dixon / Dodson||Riley TT Sprite 1.5L||5h11m00s|
|2.||E. Hall||Bentley 4 ½L||5h12m00s|
|3.||Fane||Frazer Nash - BMW 2L||5h20m45s|
|5.||Lord Howe||Lagonda LG45R||5h21m07s|
|6.||P. MacLure||Riley TT Sprite||5h21m31s|