INTRODUCTION:In 1936 politics seriously started to interfere with the racing calendar. On 3rd October 1935 Italian troops invaded Abyssinia and on 18th November the League of Nations imposed economic sanctions on Italy. Mussolini answered by boycotting the French and British motor sports events. On 7th March 1936 Hitler entered the demilitarized Rhineland and on 18th July the Spanish Civil War began. In western Europe the season was interrupted by strikes and unrest, The Belgian GP and the Le Mans 24 h race had to be cancelled.
For Grand Prix racing 1936 was the year of Auto Union and Bernd Rosemeyer. The 27 year old German dominated the season to become European champion. At mid season Mercedes-Benz withdrew from racing, returning to Stuttgart to lick their wounds.
Voiturette racing was dominated by Richard Seaman's 10 year old Delage, a fact that perhaps gives a too negative impression of the technical ability of the other teams.
There was a new meeting in Zürich on 7th December 1935 about proposals for a new racing formula. There were serious discussions about whether the new Grand Prix formula should be for 1500cc cars. However no final decisions were made. Another meeting was held in February 1936 with suggestions about a 4 litre/2.7 litre formula . But it was not until October 1936 that a new 4.5 litre/3 litre formula for 1938 was announced.
SEASON LINEUP:GRAND PRIX:
After two years full of conflicts Neubauer should probably have liked to get rid of Fagioli but the fact was that the Mercedes team could not afford to give up a driver of his capabilities. So the driver line up was as before Rudolf Caracciola, Luigi Fagioli and Manfred von Brauchitsch with Hermann Lang as junior driver.
Caracciola urged Alfred Neubauer to also sign his old friend, Monegasque Louis Chiron to replace the injured Geier.
To face the challenge from the new cars of Auto Union and Alfa Romeo the Mercedes factory constructed a new 600 BHP 5.6 liter V12 unit known as the DAB. To fit this heavy engine into the cars under the 750 kg limit demanded considerable changes to be done to the 1936 cars to save weight. The new car was built with no less than 25 cm shorter wheel base than the old ones. Other news included a transverse gearbox and a de Dion rear axle. The new car was in fact so small that the tall von Brauchitsch could not fit into it properly and he had a miserable season.
The finished DAB engine proved to be seriously overweight. Somehow the engineers managed to squeeze it in under the weight limit only to find that the weight distribution was such that the car was totally undrivable. Instead a 4.7 litre 450 BHP variant of the old engine (known as ME25) had to be built in a hurry and put into the new cars.
The 1936 season was to become the worst in Mercedes-Benz's history. To sort up the mess a new "Rennabteilung" (racing department) under engineer Uhlenhaut was created to take over from the experiment department.
Auto Union had a new car called the C type for the 1936 season. The volume of the V16 engine was increased to 6 litres giving 520 BHP.
There had also been several modifications to better the handling of the cars including a ZF limit slip differential. Dr Karl Feuereissen took over from Willy Walb as team manager.
The driver line up for 1936 was Hans Stuck, Achille Varzi and Bernd Rosemeyer as senior drivers with Rudolf Heydel, Ernst von Delius and Rudolf Hasse selected as junior drivers. Pietsch and zu Leiningen had left the team.
Alfa Romeo continued developing the Tipo 8C-35 car putting in a new 4.1 litre V12 engine. The new model was known as the Tipo 12C-36. First driver Tazio Nuvolari stayed on at Scuderia Ferrari as were Antonio Brivio, Carlo Pintacuda and Mario Tadini. René Dreyfus was away developing Talbot sports cars but returned to Scuderia Ferrari from the Deauville GP onwards. Trossi, having worked as President for Scuderia Ferrari since 1932, had now resigned and left for Maserati. A new driver for the team was Giuseppe Farina, who had left Gino Rovere.
In 1936 Gino Rovere became president of Maserati. Scuderia Subalpina changed its name to Scuderia Torino entering a V-8RI for Count Trossi. Giorgio Ambrosini was racing manager. There were hardly any serious attempts to develop the V-8RI during the 1936 season except for the fact that the engine volume was increased to 4.7 litres. The old 8CM cars were not competitive any longer. At the end of the year Maserati abandoned all interest in Grand Prix racing until the new 3 litre formula in 1938.
Bugatti tried to develop a light metal variant of the 59/50 with a 4.7 litre engine but still with an antique chassis and suspension. Jean-Pierre Wimille continued as driver.
Maserati, now represented by Scuderia Torino, still raced the 4C-1500 but at Eifelrennen the new Tipo 6CM was introduced. The car looked like a miniature of Maserati's V-8RI GP car with independent suspension and streamlined body. The new car was not as strong as the ERA but with drivers like Scuderia Torino's Count Trossi and Omobono Tenni the 6CM was a serious challenge the British cars and dominated the local Italian events.
Works team drivers were Raymond Mays, Marcel Lehoux, Earl Howe and Pat Fairfield. A further 7 ERA-B cars were sold to private owners. Drivers included "B. Bira", Reggie Tongue and Greek driver Nicholas Embiricos. After the 1935 successes 1936 was a troublesome season for the ERA drivers. The cars were unreliable and suffered from poor preparation by the factory. The challenge from Maserati and Seaman's Delage was also surprisingly strong.
Giulio Ramponi, who prepared Richard Seaman's cars, persuaded the latter to change his ERA for Earl Howe's old Delage for the 1936 season, a maneuver that got more than one eyebrow to rise. The skillful Ramponi however knew what he was doing. Lighted by 120 kg and with a new supercharger the old Grand Prix car that had won the 1927 World Championship once again proved to be a winner, dominating the 1936 Voiturette season.
|24 DECEMBER 1935 - FEBRUARY 1936: Rosemeyer is hospitalized for six weeks with jaundice and liver problems, possibly after eating a bad oyster.|
| 1 JANUARY 1936: Massacuratti (Bugatti 35B) wins the South African GP handicap race at
Click here for full results.
|JANUARY 1936: Varzi went through a minor throat operation.
||4 - 15 FEBRUARY 1936: After almost being trapped in the snow
near St Gotthard the Auto Union team reaches Monza for winter tests.
The first test day the promising new junior driver Heydel had a fatal accident at
what is now known as the "Ascari chicane". The car was totally wrecked by fire.
EARLY 1936: Mercedes-Benz tested at Monza. Lang's practice nearly ended with a catastrophe as he
was hit on the arm by a stone, thrown upon the car by a kid.
6-16 FEBRUARY 1936: The Olympic Games were held in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany. Australian Voiturette driver Frederick McEvoy,
competing for Great Britain, wins a Bronze Medal in the four man bobsled race.
Antonio Brivio also took part, finishing 12th in the two man bobsled and 10th in the four man bobsled.
LÅNGFORSSJÖN - Sala (S), 9 FEBRUARY 1936
1 lap x 15 km = km, 8 starters.
In this minor ice sprint on a Swedish lake the favourites were the Swede Widengren and the Norwegian Bjørnstad, both driving their own Alfa Romeo Monzas. Bjørnstad had to retire with carburettor problems leaving Widengren to win in front of a home crowd.
No grid or race numbers available Results: 1 Widengren (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L) 9:54.9 2 Carlsson (Bugatti T35C 2.0L) 10:11.0 3 Sundstedt (Bugatti T35B 2.3L) 10:15.6 4 Ebb (Mercedes SSK) 10:16.9 5 Westerblom (Amilcar C6 1.1L) 10:25.2 6 Rolander (Amilcar C6 1.1L) 10:20.0 ? Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L) ? Elo (Bugatti T35) Fastest lap: ?
HÖRKEN - Grängesberg (S), 17 FEBRUARY 1936
10 laps x 1.300 km = 13 km, 8 starters.
Widengren and Bjørnstad took on each other again a week later on another Swedish lake. On the first lap Widengren crashed into the snow wall creating chaos and the race had to be stopped. Widengren clamed that Bjørnstad had pushed him out. Ignoring the critisism Bjørnstad controlled the restarted race and took the victory in front of Carlsson's Bugatti.
No grid or race numbers available Results: 1 Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L) 11:34.3? 2 Carlsson (Bugatti T35C 2.0L) + 0.6 3 Sundstedt (Bugatti T35B 2.3L) + 13.0 4 Ebb (Mercedes SSK) + 18.7? 5 Westerblom (Amilcar C6 1.1L) + 42.2 6 Elo (Bugatti T35) +1:18.7 DNF Widengren (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L) 1 lap Fastest lap: ?
IV SVERIGES VINTER GRAND PRIX
RÄMEN (S), 23 FEBRUARY 1936
8 laps x 46.5 km + 1.3 km start = 373.3 km, 11 starters.
After a two year pause the Swedish winter GP was back to once again be held in the woods near the frozen lake Rämen, with the start on the lake itself. New railway tracks had been laid out for 25 extra trains bringing spectators. Remembering the accident at Vram 1933 K.A.K. had made changes and improvements to get the event more safe. The event was divided into two classes, a standard car class for stock cars costing no more than 9,000 SKr and a racing class. The 29 standard cars raced six laps, the 11 racing cars started 20 minutes behind the standard cars and raced eight laps. Unfortunately the racing class favourite Widengren had fever and was a non starter.
Just as at Vram 1933 there was a multiple crash on the first lap involving some ten standard cars but there was no major injuries. Anders Olsson in a supercharged Graham was the winner of the standard class.
In the racing class Norwegian driver Bjørnstad totally dominated the race. Bjørnstad's Alfa Romeo Monza had been converted to a single-seater and he was using twin rear wheels for the ice race. Second was Finnish driver Ebb and third Swede Johnsson with a Bugatti. The race proved to be an economic failure with only 30,000 spectators against some 80,000 - 100,000 during the earlier years.
DNA: 3 Carlsson (Bugatti), 14 P-W Widengren (Alfa Romeo) No grid available. Race numbers were: 1 Berg, 2 Bjørnstad, 4 Ebb, 5 Elo, 6 L Hartmann, 7 Johnsson, 8 Lind, 9 Rolander, 10 Stolz, 11 Sundstedt, 12 Westerblom Results: 1 Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L) 3:46:00 2 Ebb (Mercedes Benz SSK 7.1L) + 5:52 3 Johnsson (Bugatti T43 2.3L) + 11:42 4 Lindh (Bugatti T37A 1.5L) + 37:37 5 Sundstedt (Bugatti T35B 2.3L) + 45:38 6 Rolander (Amilcar C6 1.1L) + 46:45 7 Elo (Bugatti) + 52:55 DNF Stolz (Bugatti) 7 laps DNF Berg (Mercedes-Benz) 4 laps DNF Westerblom (Amilcar C6 1.1L) 2 laps axle DNF L Hartmann (Maserati) 1 lap Fastest lap: Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo) 26:15
GRAND PRIX DE PAU
PAU (F), 1 MARCH 1936
100 laps x 2.76 km = 276 km, 12 (10?) starters
The summer GP season started at Pau on 1 March. The Ferrari team was on its way to France but was stopped at the border at a direct order from Mussolini. No Italan team should race in France until after the meeting of the League of Nations 10 March. So the grid which was restricted to 12 cars was made up of private Bugattis and Alfas and Étancelin's private Maserati V8-RI.
Wimille (Bugatti T59) took the lead and started to open up a gap to Sommer (Alfa Romeo), Martin (Alfa Romeo) and Étancelin. The Maserati driver soon passed Martin and Sommer for second place but it was nothing Ètancelin could do against Wimille. On lap 30, however, Wimille's Bugatti was out of the race with brake trouble leaving Ètancelin in the lead.
The race developed into a fight between Étancelin and Sommer, the latter being able to re-pass the Maserati and take the lead. Then Sommer was out of he race with rear axle failure and Étancelin was back in front. His car developed engine trouble but with some careful driving he managed to bring the sick car home as winner from Martins's Alfa.
Results: 1 Étancelin (Maserati V8-RI) 3:22:26.6 2 Martin (Alfa Romeo Tipo B 2.9L) + 13.4 3 Lehoux (Bugatti T51) + 1:31.4 4 de Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo Tipo B 2.9L *4) - 3 laps DNF Sommer (Alfa Romeo (Tipo B 3.2L) 75 laps rear axle DNF Delorme (Bugatti T51) 50 laps valve DNF Wimille (Bugatti T59 *2) 29 laps brakes DNF Brunet (Maserati (8CM 3.0L) 7 laps brakes DNF "Raph" (Alfa Romeo Tipo B 2.9L) 4 laps engine DNF Mlle. Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L) 3 laps crash * Entered by Scuderia Ferrari *2 Entered by Automobiles Bugatti *3 Entered by Scuderia Villapadierna Fastest lap: Wimille (Bugatti) 1:57.5
NORGES GRAND PRIX
GJERSJØEN (N), 8 MARCH 1936
20 laps x 3 km = 60? km, 3 starters.
For the fourth year in a row KNA planned to move the race away from Gjersjøen, this time to Semsvannet near Asker, SW of Oslo. But even here the ice quality was bad and finally the race was moved back to Gjersjøen and held almost a month later than usually. After a 15 km race for standard and a 30 km race for sports cars had been held the three race cars finally were pushed to their grid positions and sent off. Yet again it became a fierce fight between Widengren and Bjørnstad but on the 4th lap the Swedish driver was off. He was unable to continue due to a broken gas pedal and that meant the end of the excitement as Bjørnstad could dominate the rest of the race over Carlsson. So the 25000 spectators were finally able to see a Bjørnstad victory in the racing class.
|MARCH 1936: Varzi went to hospital to finally have his troublesome appendix removed.|
14-19 MARCH 1936: Auto Union tests the new car at Monza. On 16 March Rosemeyer is fit
enough from his illness for his first tests.
4 APRIL 1936: Seaman (Maserati 8CM 2.7L) wins the BRITISH EMPIRE TROPHY handicap race at Donington Park, England.
5 APRIL 1936: Brivio/Ongaro (Alfa Romeo 2.9A) wins the MILLE MIGLIA sports car race in Italy. (Results)
9 APRIL 1936: Stuck (Auto Union) wins the La Turbie hillclimb
I COUPE DE PRINCE RAINIER
CIRCUIT DE MONACO (MC), 11 APRIL 1936 (Saturday) VOITURETTE
50 laps x 3.180 km = 159.0 km, 18 starters, Weather: cold, dull
In this preliminary event before Monaco GP 6 ERA's took on 9 Maseratis, one of which was Gino Rovere's new 6CM. Howe (ERA) took the lead pursued by Mays (ERA) and Tenni (Maserati) There was great confusion on lap 3 when Bianco (Maserati) spun in front of the rest of the field. The leading ERA's were soon in the pit with misfire leaving ex motorcycle driver Tenni to take over the lead. Tenni opened up a gap of one minute to Bira (ERA) before crashing in the hairpin on lap 35 leaving Bira in the lead. Bira was challenged by Zehender (in Rovere's Maserati 6CM) until Zehender's engine exploded and spread oil at St. Devote creating multiple accidents. ERA drivers Fairfield and Mays were disqualified due to push starts. Bira won the dramatic race where only 6 drivers were able to take the flag. Lehoux's works ERA was second and Greece newcomer Embiricos third.
DNA: 52 Trevoux (ERA), 62 Seaman (Delage) Results: 1 "B Bira" (ERA B) 1:51:51.5 2 Lehoux (ERA B *2) + 2:04.8 3 Embiricos (ERA A) - 1 lap 4 Kautz (Maserati 4CM) - 1 lap 5 Howe (ERA B *2) - 2 laps 6 L Villoresi (Maserati 4CM) - 4 laps DNF Rüesch (Maserati 4CS) 43 laps crash DNF McEvoy (Maserati 4CM) 43 laps crash DNF Rovere/Zehender (Maserati 6CM *) 43 laps piston DNF Tenni (Maserati 4CM *) 36 laps crash DNF Cormack (Alta 52S 1.1L) 35 laps crankhaft DNF Villeneuve (Bugatti T51A) 25 laps mechanical DNF Durand (Maserati 4CM) 17 laps mechanical DNF Mestivier (Amilcar MC0 1.3L) 16 laps engine DNF Bianco (Maserati 4CM) 16 laps oil pressure DNF Zehender (Maserati 4CM *) 4 laps accelerator DSQ Fairfield (ERA A) 50 laps push start DSQ Mays (ERA B *2) 48 laps push start DNS Kohlrausch (MG C) crash on warm up lap * Entered by Officine Maserati *2 Entered by H W Cook Fastest lap: Rovere (Maserati) 2:08
VIII GRAND PRIX DE MONACO
CIRCUIT DE MONACO (MC), 13 APRIL 1936 (Monday)
100 laps x 3.180 km = 318.0 km, Weather: heavy rain.
Bugatti also used a 4.7L T50B during practice.
Chiron's career as Mercedes-Benz works driver got a good start when he took the pole position at the Monaco GP. Nuvolari's oldest son Giorgio was seriously ill but although worried, Nuvolari was able to concentrate on the race enough to take second place on the grid with the Alfa. Auto Union's reserve driver von Delius crashed during practice putting himself into hospital.
Race: There was torrential rain as the cars lined up for the grid. Farina's Alfa was leaking oil and he took over Tadini's car.
In a cloud of spray the cars took off, Caracciola taking the lead followed by Nuvolari, Chiron and Rosemeyer. At the chicane after the tunnel Tadini, who had taken the chance to start with Farina's leaking Alfa, left a large pool of oil. Passing the chicane on lap 2 the leading cars succeeded in staying clear of the oil but Chiron spun and crashed. Then there were cars all over the place. Farina hit the sandbags and von Brauchitsch hit Farina. When the field had passed "Williams'" Bugatti was out of the race as was Siena's Maserati. Trossi's works Maserati had also been involved as had Brivo's Alfa. The last victim was Tadini, who after completing a full lap span off on his own oil!
The race continued on a track slippery from both oil and rain. Caracciola led from Nuvolari, Rosemeyer, Varzi, Stuck and Fagioli. On lap 6 Rosemeyer had to do a pitstop and dropped back. On lap 9 Fagioli made the same mistake as Chiron and crashed in the chicane. Fagioli retired as the third Mercedes-Benz driver on the same spot!
After 10 laps Nuvolari passed Caracciola to take the lead and started to extend the gap by one second per lap. At lap 13 Rosemeyer came sideways up the hill towards Hotel de Paris, hit a stone wall and was out of the race. Order: Nuvolari, Caracciola, Varzi, Stuck, Wimille, Étancelin, Brivio and Trossi.
After 27 laps Nuvolari's car developed brake problems and he had to slow down and let Caracciola's Mercedes and Varzi's and Stuck's Auto Unions past. The two Auto Union drivers were having a bitter fight for 2nd place. Étancelin's fuel tank split and for several laps the driver spread fuel on the track making conditions even worse before retiring
Halfway the Auto Unions and Alfas came in for tanking. Caracciola was also expected in but as time went on it became clear that in the rainy weather the Mercedes driver had planned a nonstop strategy. That meant that the victory chances for the rest were over unless Caracciola made a mistake. But that was not to be. Three years after a crash at the Tabac corner that nearly ended his career Caracciola took a superb victory in the Monaco GP from the two Auto Unions of Varzi and Stuck. Nuvolari succeeded to bring the brakeless Alfa home fourth in the terrible conditions.
|2 MAY 1936: "B Bira" (ERA 1.5L) wins the JCC International Trophy handicap race at Brooklands, England.|
Chris Nixon claims in his book "Racing the Silver Arrows" (page 133-134) that the Italians entered a bobsled team with Varzi, Trossi, Taruffi and Cortese. However this is not correct! Here are the true facts:
The Italian entries and results for the 2 man bob were:
ITALY 1 (Antonio Brivio Sforza, Carlo Solveni), Result: 11th
ITALY 2 (Edgardo Vaghi, Dario Poggi), Result: 10th
The Italian entries and results for the 4 man bob were:
ITALY 1 (Antonio Brivio Sforza, Carlo Solveni, Emilo Dell'Oro, Raffaele Manardi), Result: 10th
ITALY 2 (Francesco de Zanna, Ernesto Francechi, Umberto Gillarduzzi, Amedeo Angeli), Result: DNF
(Source: American Olympic Committe Report, IVth Olympic Winter Games Garmisch Partenkirchen Germany)
Other Olympic results by racing drivers during the years include:
Karl Ebb, athletics, 5th in 3000m steeplechase (Paris 1924).
Asser Wallenius, speed skating, 5th in 500m, 10th in both 5000m and 10000m and was on his way to a medal in the 1500 m race when he fell on the last lap (Chamonix 1924).
Alfonso de Portago, bobsled, 4th in 2 man bobsled, 9th in 4 man bobsled (Cortina 1956).
Prince Birabongse Bhanubandh, yachting for Thailand, 12th with the boat "Tichiboo" in the Star class (Melbourne 1956), 19th with "Siames-Cat" in the Star class (Rome 1960), 22th with "Linglom" in the Dragon class (Tokyo 1964) and 21th in the Tempest class (München 1972).
Roberto Mieres, yachting, raced with the boat "Mizar" in the Star Class and finished 17th (Rome 1960).
Robin Widdows, bobsled, 16th in 2 man bobsled and 12th or 13th in 4 man bobsled (Innsbruck 1964), 8th in 4 man bobsled and possibly 15th in 2 man bobsled if started (Grenoble 1968).
Divina Galica, alpine skiing, disq slalom, 23th giant slalom, 30th downhill (Innsbruck 1964), ret slalom, 8th giant slalom, 32nd downhill (Grenoble 1968) and 15th slalom, 7th giant slalom, 26th downhill (Sapporo 1972).
Ben Pon, shooting, 31st in skeet (München 1972).
Jackie Stewart just failed to make it to the British trap team for the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
( Official Olympic Reports can be found on the Net at http://www.aafla.org/5va/reports_frmst.htm )