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INTRODUCTION:

This was the last year of the 750 kg formula and the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union drivers could race on more or less equal terms. Both Rosemeyer and Caracciola won 4 races each but it was Caracciola who won the "right" races to become European champion in 1937.

1937 was the year when the development of the Grand Prix cars reached its climax. The new Mercedes-Benz W125 car with its 575 BHP engine was the most powerful Grand Prix car the world had ever seen. It was not until the turbo years in the early 80s that Grand Prix racing again would see such engine power.

While the German government was supporting the German racing car manufacturers with subsidies and army contracts, high salary French bureaucrats were sitting in committees discussing how to spend the 1,500,000 francs they had collected since 1934 to support French GP racing from increased driving license fees and public collections. Finally they announced that 1 million francs should go to the French car built to the 1938 formula that could run 200km at a speed exceeding 146.5 km/h by the widest margin on the Montlhéry track before 1 September 1937. They achieved that curious number by adding 2 percent to the speed of Chiron's Alfa during the first 200km at the French GP 1934 claiming that 2 percent faster than the fastest race done on Montlhéry was enough to beat the Germans. That the 1935 GP had been raced with chicanes and the 1936 GP had been a sports car race was ignored.

The championship
See the 1937 European Championship table.

Cancelled events:



1937 SEASON LINEUP:


Grand Prix:
Mercedes-Benz
If the 1936 season had been a catastrophe then everything worked out right for the team in 1937. The new 5.7 litre 575 BHP W125, which incorporated all the results of the test work done by Uhlenhaut's new racing department, proved to be a winner.
      Neubauer had had enough with Fagioli, who left the team for Auto Union. Chiron had retired from GP racing so the new driver lineup was Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hermann Lang as drivers with British driver Richard Seaman and Swiss Christian Kautz as junior drivers and Italian Goffredo Zehender as reserve.



Auto Union
The team continued with their successful 6 litre Auto Union C with only a few modifications. Varzi was of course sacked and the team tried to sign Lang as driver for 1937 but he decided to remain at Mercedes. Instead they signed Italian Luigi Fagioli, who had left Mercedes tired of the team orders. He would however suffer from rheumatism for most of the season and was a non starter for several races. So the driver lineup was Bernd Rosemeyer, Hans Stuck & Luigi Fagioli, as senior drivers Ernst von Delius & Rudolf Hasse as junior drivers and Hermann Müller as reserve. Late in the season Achille Varzi made a short comeback and signed on for two races and Tazio Nuvolari did a one off appearance for the team.

Alfa Romeo
In March 1937 Alfa Romeo bought 80% of the shares of Scuderia Ferrari. That meant that Alfa managing director Ugo Gobbato took full control of the race activities. Scuderia Ferrari continued to function as the Alfa works team with Enzo Ferrari now reduced to "mere" team manager.
      There were rumours of an Italian "dream team" of Nuvolari, Varzi and Fagioli! In the end however the driver lineup was similar to the one the year before with Tazio Nuvolari, Giuseppe Farina and Antonio Brivio as drivers. Reserve drivers included Carlo Pintacuda, Clemente Biondetti, Mario Tadini, Francesco Severi, Eugenio Siena, Count Trossi and Raymond Sommer. René Dreyfus had left Ferrari for Maserati Voiturette racing.
      The team continued with their 4.1 litre 12 cylinder Tipo C cars. In 1937 they were however totally outclassed by the German cars and therefore Vittorio Jano built a new lower chassis for a 4.5 litre engine known as the Tipo 12C/37. The cars were entered not by Scuderia Ferrari but by Alfa Romeo's works team, which made its comeback to racing in August 1937 under the name "Alfa Corse". But the new car failed to make any impression and Jano was fired when the chassis was found to be insufficiently strong.
      Private Alfa Romeo drivers included Raymond Sommer & Hans Rüesch

Maserati
Maserati was not involved in GP racing in 1937, waiting for the new 3 litre formula of 1938. Privateers however continued to race the 4.8 litre V-8RI and old 3.7 litre 6C-34 cars, among them Lazlo Hartmann, G. Soffietti and Paul Pietsch, who had bought Hartmann's old car, which always leaked oil.

Voiturette 1500cc:
Maserati
Maserati was back with its own works team in 1937. The drivers included Omobono Tenni, Ettore Bianco, Count Trossi and René Dreyfus. Another Maserati team was Count "Johnny" Lurani's new Scuderia Ambrosiana with Count Lurani, Luigi Villoresi and Eugenio Mimotti as drivers.
      Maserati continued with the popular 6CM car. The car lost to ERA on the straights but with its independent front suspension with double wishbones and torsion bars it was superior in the corners. At the end of the season 4CM "speciali" appeared. It had the 6CM chassis with the old 4 cylinder engine, the 4 cylinder giving better torque and acceleration out of slow corners. Four 4CM "speciali" cars were built.

ERA
To be able to beat the Maseratis the works team got Porsche to design a new independent front suspension. The cars (R4b and R12B) were upgraded with box section frames and Lockheed hydraulic brakes replaced the standard Girling mechanical ones. Much work was done to better the reliability of the Zoller supercharger. The new cars known as the ERA C was raced by Raymond Mays, Pat Fairfield and later by Arthur Dobson. The A & B type cars were raced by private owners.

Other
Prince Chula's White Mouse team had bought Seaman's Delage for "B. Bira". The car was extensively upgraded with a new chassis and independent suspension. Sadly the rebuilt car did not live up to the expectations and the project proved to be a disaster for the team.


IN MEMORIAM:

Earl Howe had a bad crash on 1 May at the Campbell Trophy, Brooklands, that put him out of racing for much of the season. Cyril Mervyn-White died of brain damage in hospital in Cork on 24th May, after having crashed his Bugatti on 20th May while practicing for the Cork International Car Race. Philip Jucker was killed on 1 June after crashing his Alta after just three laps at first morning practice for the International Light Car Race at Douglas Isle of Man. Jucker approached the Port Jack corner too fast, hit a kerb, went into a series of slides and taking the escape road went straight into a lamp post. Spectator Almeirinho Ribeiro died after having been hit by Benedicto Lopes' Alfa Romeo at the Rio de Janeiro GP on 6 June. René Kippeurt was killed instantly and Pat Fairfield and "Raph" got bad internal injuries from the steering wheel in a multiple crash at an early stage of the Le Mans 24h race on 19 June. Fairfield died the next day at Delageniére Clinic while "Raph" was out for the rest of the season. Maurice Bilney was killed during the Donington Twelve Hours Race on 24 July, Entering Holly Wood corner Bilney's AC went sideways and locked together with S. H. Robinson's Riley. The AC was then crushed between the Riley and a wall. Ernst von Delius died on the morning of 26 July from complications of a broken leg and internal injuries received during the Großer Preis von Deutschland at Nürburgring the day before when von Delius' Auto Union touched with Seaman's Mercedes-Benz on the long straight and crashed. Three female spectators and a guard were killed and five other spectators injured on the first lap of the Coppa Acerbo Junior on 15 August when Pasquino Ermini lost control of his Maserati that overturned into the crowd standing at the kerb edge. Ermini was also badly injured in the crash. Two spectators, who were sitting in the ditch in a prohibited area, were killed and 12 others injured when Hermann Lang's Mercedes-Benz slide into the ditch at the Masaryk GP on 26 September. Carlos Zatuszek died in an accident in practice for the GP of Cavilia on 8 October.


SOURCES:

The main sources of information for the 1937 season has been Paul Sheldon: "A history of Grand Prix and Voiturette Racing, volume 4", Chris Nixon: "Racing the Silver Arrows", Peter Hull: "Alfa Romeo, a History" David Venables: "The Racing Fifteen-Hundreds" and "First Among Champions", Georg C. Monkhouse: "Motor Racing with Mercedes-Benz" and "Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Racing 1934-1955" and Adriano Cimarosti: "The Complete History of Grand Prix Motor Racing".
      For information about the cars I have had good use of Karl Ludwigsen: "Quicksilver Century", Peter Kirchberg: "Grand-Prix-Report Auto Union 1934 - 1939", Anthony Pritchard: "Maserati a History", H.G. Conway: "Grand Prix Bugatti", Laurence Pomeroy: "The Grand Prix Car" , J. R. W Barker "ERA - A Concise History" and Doug Nye: "Autocourse History of the Grand Prix Car 1945 - 1965".
     
      These books I consider to be standard litterature, used for most of the race accounts and I will usually not mention them especially for each race. However if some other book has been of special use for a particular race, it has been mentioned at the end of that race account. See here for a more complete source list.

      There are also the classic biografies like Alfred Neubauer: "Männer, Frauen und Motoren", Rudi Caracciola. "Meine Welt", Hermann Lang: "Von Rennmonteur zum Europameister", Ludwig Sebastian: "Hinter drönenden Motoren", Raymond Mays: "Split Seconds" and Prince Chula: "Road Star Hat Trick".

      Also period magazines has been used as much as possible, especially the Swiss "Automobil-Revue", the Italian "Il Littoriale" and British "Motor Sport" and " The Autocar". I'm greatly thankful for my friends at A6 for providing me with copies of those.

      In addition to that come various Net resources, Discussion Groups, magazine articles, videos, YouTube etc.



EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE



Star 1 January 1937: Fairfield (ERA B) wins the South African GP handicap race at Prince George track in East London from Meyer and Chiappini (both Riley). Rosemeyer (Auto Union), who started last with almost half an hour handicap to take in, had a high speed puncture but still finished 5th and made the fastest lap. Von Delius (Auto Union) retired. Click here for full results.
Star 16 January 1937: Von Delius (Auto Union) wins the Grosvenor GP handicap race in Cape Town, South Africa from Rosemeyer (Auto Union) and Howe (ERA) in an interesting race where the Auto Union drivers caught Howe on the last lap. Click here for full results.
Star 30 January 1937: Fairfield (ERA A) wins the first Rand GP handicap race on the Lord Howe track in South Africa. Click here for full results.



Eugen Bjørnstad - Alfa RomeoIan Connell - ERAKarl-Gustav Sundstedt - Bugatti

I FLATENLOPPET

Flaten - Stockholm (S), 14 February 1937
15 laps x 3.0 km (1.86 mi) = 45.0 km (28.0 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

22Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-6
24Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
26Herbert BergH BergAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
28Helmer CarlssonVästerås Racer KompaniAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
30Karl-Emil RolanderK-E. RolanderBugattiT35C2.0S-8
32Axel JohnssonA. JohnssonBugattiT432.3S-8DNS- did not start
34Aleksi PatamaA. PatamaFordSpecial
36Adolf WesterblomE. BjørnstadAmilcarC-61.1S-6DNS - did not start
38Tore WistedtT. WistedtMGK3 Magnette1.1S-6
40Arvo SorriA. SorriChryslerSpecialDNS- did not start
42John ForsbergJ. ForsbergFordSpecial3.6S-8
44Gunnar BennströmVästerås Racer KompaniBugattiT37AS-4
46Arne SundstedtA. SundstedtBugattiT35B2.3S-8



Bjørnstad totally dominant on the ice...
In addition to the Nordic entries British driver Connell (ERA) and German driver Berg (Alfa Romeo) turned up for this ice race. With Carlsson (Alfa Romeo) doing a stop for repairs and Berg retiring no one was able to challenge Bjørnstad, who beat Connell by almost two laps.
This season opening ice race was run on the small lake "Flaten", 8 km south of downtown Stockholm. This was the first part of a series of three Swedish ice races and for some reason it was considered to be the most important one of the trio, British racing magazine "Motor Sport" listing it as the "Swedish Grand Prix", and it is therefore the only one included here in detail.
Entries:
As this was one of three races, the organizers had, apart from Norwegians and Finns, managed to attract Ian Connell from England with an ERA (R6B) he had newly bought from Douglas Briault and Herbert Berg from Germany with an Alfa Romeo Monza. Bjørnstad raced his Alfa Romeo Monza, rebuilt to monoposto and using double rear wheels on the ice, and Adolf Westerblom was to race a 1929 Amilcar, which Bjørnstad had bought from "Västerås Racer Kompani" late 1936. Helmer Carlsson entered his ex-Widengren Alfa Romeo Monza, this one also rebuilt to monoposto. Karl-Emil Rolander entered his Bugatti T35C (known as #4696 but actually #4928), which actually had won the Targa Florio back in 1929. Arne Sundstedt raced his father's ex-Chiron 1926 T35B Bugatti (#4922). Gunnar Bennström raced a Bugatti T37A (#37318), which "Västerås Racer Kompani" had bought in December 1936 and renovated and Axel Johnsson entered a Bugatti T43. The entry list also included Tore Wistedt's little MG and the specials of John Forsberg and Finnish drivers Aleksi Patama and Arvo Sorri.
Practice:
Favourites for the race were the two Alfa drivers Eugen Bjørnstad and Helmer Carlsson. Carlsson did the fastest practice lap with a time of 1m31s. Bjørnstad did a 1m39s lap and Connell a 1m42s one. However, as the grid had already been decided by ballot, Carlsson found himself back in the second row.
Race:
Sunday came with excellent conditions for an ice race with sunshine and - 6°C, and 15000 spectators turned up to the ploughed track. The cars lined up like this:
Pole Position
26
Berg

Alfa Romeo

24
Bjørnstad

Alfa Romeo

22
Connell

ERA

30
Rolander

Bugatti

28
Carlsson

Alfa Romeo

42
Forsberg

Ford

38
Wistedt

MG

34
Patama

Ford

46
A. Sundstedt

Bugatti

44
Bennström

Bugatti



Using his double rear wheels to their best, Bjørnstad took the lead of the start and then command of the race. At the end of the straight on the first lap Carlsson noticed a misfire on his Alfa and he had to stop for repairs. The problem proved to be a cable that he had installed as an overspeed protection and once it had been removed Carlsson was able to rejoin the race but without hopes of a podium position any longer. Extremely angry about the incident he made a series of fast laps, the fastest being a 1m28.8 to finish 7th. (Note 1)
      With Berg retiring his Monza from the race there was no one to challenge Bjørnstad and he took the flag almost two laps in front of Connell, who was trying his best to come to grips both with his new car and with ice racing. Sundstedt and Patama seem to have shared the third position.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.24Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81522m54.0s
2.22Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-61525m33.7s+ 2m39.7s
3=.46Arne SundstedtK-G. SundstedtBugattiT35B2.3S-81525m45.7s+ 2m51.7s
3=.34Aleksi PatamaA. PatamaFordSpecial1525m45.7s+ 2m51.7s
5.42John ForsbergJ. ForsbergFordSpecial3.6S-81528m10.9s+ 5m16.9s
6.30Karl-Emil RolanderK-E. RolanderBugattiT35C2.0S-81529m22.0s+ 6m28.0s
7.28Helmer CarlssonVästerås Racer KompaniAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81530m14.4s+ 7m20.4s
DNF26Herbert BergH BergAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8?
DNF38Tore WistedtT. WistedtMGK3 Magnette1.1S-6?
DNF44Gunnar BennströmG. BennströmBugattiT37AS-4?
Fastest lap: Helmer Carlsson (Alfa Romeo) 1m28.8s = 121.6 km/h (75.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 117.9 km/h (73.3 mph)
Weather: sunny, -6°C.

Footnote:
1. 7th according to Sheldon. Helmer Carlsson's son Bengt Alsed claims he had finished 5th.

With special thanks to the late Bengt Alsed.
Sources used especially for this race: Lennart W. Haajanen, "Bugatti Type 35C No4928", Bengt Alsed: "Västerås Racer Kompani" (unpublished).

Star 15 February 1937: Vincenzo Lancia dies from a heart attack at an age of 55 years.
Star 21 February 1937: Wimille (Bugatti T59/57) wins the Grand Prix de Pau sports car race. (Results)
Star 21 February 1937: Fredenloppet is run on Lake Freden - Västerås, Sweden in two parts. The first race is won by Connell (ERA-B 1.5L), the second race by Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L).
Star 28 February 1937: Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L) wins ice race at "Brunnsviken", Stockholm, Sweden, from Carlsson (Alfa Romeo), Rolander (Bugatti), A. Sundstedt (Bugatti) and Connell (ERA).
Star 29 March 1937: The B.A.R.C. Easter Meeting was held at Brooklands.
John Cobb (Napier-Railton) wins the Broadcast Trophy. Other events were won by Mervyn-White (Bugatti 2.3 L), Miss McOstrich (Frazer-Nash), Cotton (M.G.), Brettel (Austin), Eccles (Rapier), Esplen (M.G.) and Innes (M.G.)
Star 1 April 1937: During Mercedes-Benz tests at Monza. Seaman made a mistake and crashed the W25K against a tree. The driver received a broken knee-cap.
Star 4 April 1937: Pintacuda/ Mambelli (Alfa Romeo) wins the Mille Miglia sports car race in Italy. (Results)
Star 9 April 1937: Bernd Rosemeyer receives his pilot license.
Star 10 April 1937: Mays (ERA) wins the British Empire Trophy handicap race at Donington, England
Star Mid April 1937: The Auto Union team arrived with Rosemeyer, von Delius and Hasse for a three day test session on the new AVUS track. They used last year's racing cars but fitted with considerable larger tyres. Continental had developed 24 inch racing tyres, which proved their worth during the test runs, withstanding the immense pressures that result when going through the Nordschleife. On his first laps Rosemeyer in the Auto Union streamliner had gone too high into the steep curve. The car was carried up to the edge of the wall and for seconds the right wheels scraped the upper bead boarder. The car swerved but Rosemeyer saved the situation and possibly his life as well. Thereupon the AVUS directors had a white warning line painted two meters from the upper edge of the wall, making orientation significantly easier.



Eugen Bjørnstad - ERARené Dreyfus - MaseratiReggie Tongue - ERA

II° GRAN PREMIO DEL VALENTINO/
CIRCUITO DI TORINO

(Voiturette 1500cc)

Parco Valentino - Torino (I), 18 April 1937
40 laps x 2.926 km (1.818 mi) = 117.0 km (72.7 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6
4Roger ChambardR. ChambardBugattiT37A1.5S-4DNA
6A. GennardiA. GennardiFiatBalilla1.0S-4
8Georges FilipinettiEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4Ecurie Darbellay?
10Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
12Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
14Nicholas EmbiricosN. EmbiricosERAA1.5S-6DNA
16"B Bira""B Bira"ERAB1.5S-6
18Vittorio BelmondoV. BelmondoMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA
20Ciro BasadonnaEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
22Ettore BiancoOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
24Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
26Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA
28Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
30Aldo MarazzaA. MarazzaMaserati4CS1.5S-4DNS
32Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadERAA1.5S-6
34Enrico GessnerE. GessnerMaserati4CM1.5S-4
36Alberto Filippi GabardiA. Filippi GabardiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
38Giovanni LuraniScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
40René DreyfusOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6



.. and Bjørnstad shows he can win a park race as well
In the voiturette race the works Maseratis took the early lead from Bira's ERA. Bira passed Dreyfus on lap 4 and attacked Bianco, who used some dirty manoeuvres to keep the lead, but when Bianco lost his goggles the angry Siamese was finally able to pass only to retire soon afterwards with gearbox problems. But then Bjørnstad in an ERA came through the field and was able to take the lead with 5 laps to go and finished the race as a surprise winner.
The first Italian event of the season was run in Parco Valentino, Turin, on the bank of the river Po after a two years interval. There were races both for 1500cc voiturette class and for the Grand Prix cars. The track configuration was a new shorter one than in 1935.
Entries:
This was the first 1937 clash between the ERAs and the Maseratis but the ERA works team with their "C" spec cars did not start. There were 10 private Maseratis present at Turin including four 6CMs and also the Maserati works team was back in racing after a one year interval, with two 6CMs for Bianco and Dreyfus. Bira's ex-Seaman Delage was not ready so he raced his ERA (R2B "Romulus") instead. Eugen Bjørnstad, racing for the first time the red painted ERA (R1A) he had bought from the works team, and Reggie Tongue (R11B) were the two other private ERA drivers and the list also included Gennardi's little Fiat Balilla.
Practice:
There was practice on Thursday and qualifying for the grid started 9 a.m. on Friday. Practice times determined the grid order and on the twisty park circuit the works Maserati proved to be fastest with experienced Grand Prix driver Dreyfus taking pole position with a lap time of 1m53.6s followed by his team mate Bianco.
     
Race:
It turned out to be a hot and sunny day and when the event started in the afternoon the 40 lap voiturette class race took place before the main event. The grid looked like this (Marazza is listed last in the grid by "Automobil-Revue" but he obviously never started):
Pole Position
40
Dreyfus

Maserati
1m53.6s

22
Bianco

Maserati
1m54.0s

16
"B Bira"

ERA
1m55.4s

32
Bjørnstad

ERA
1m55.6s

28
Dusio

Maserati
1m56.8s

24
L Villoresi

Maserati


12
Cortese

Maserati


2
Tongue

ERA


36
Filippi Gabardi

Maserati


8
Filipinetti

Maserati


20
Basadonna

Maserati


38
Lurani

Maserati


34
Gessner

Maserati


6
Gennardi

Fiat


10
Soffietti

Maserati


(Or mirror)


(Note 1)



At 14:15 the race was started by the Italian crown prince Umberto. The works Maseratis of Bianco and Dreyfus took the early lead followed by Bira, Tongue and Bjørnstad. The top three all did the first lap in 2m01s. Filipinetti was already out of the race and Basadonna immediately made a pit stop. On the second lap Bjørnstad spun and hit the straw barriers losing several positions. Bianco was opening up a gap as Bira ferociously attacked Dreyfus while waving his hand to the flag marshals (remember this was the 1930s when modern type of blocking was considered unacceptable). Villoresi retired to the pit with fuel starvation because of a carburettor failure and was followed by his team mate Cortese. Both Scuderia Ambrosiana drivers were out of the race. On the fifth (seventh?) lap Bira finally found a way past Dreyfus and started to reel in Bianco. Tongue was still fourth and Dusio now fifth. It took only a few laps for Bira to catch the leading works Maserati and then a new duel began in which Bianco used some quite dirty manoeuvres to keep the lead while the Italian flag marshals looked in the opposite direction. According to "Motor Sport" "Trossi and Farina, who were watching the race, were protesting vigorously against the unfair tactics".
      But after this tight fight had gone on for several laps Bianco's Maserati started to leak oil and Bianco's goggles became so coated with oil that he had to get rid of them. The angry Siamese was finally able to find a way past on lap 24 and immediately started to open up a gap to the Maserati driver, who was struggling with oil in his face. Bjørnstad had come back through the field using an unorthodox ice racing style driving technique and was fifth at halfway through the race. Soon afterwards he passed Tongue for fourth, at the same time setting the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m52.2s. After 25 laps he was still 34 seconds behind the leader, but the Norwegian was now up at speed and closing in fast. Five laps later the gap to the leader has dropped to 14 seconds. Meanwhile Soffietti had to give up with a broken oil pump.
      Then on lap 30 Bira suddenly entered the pit with a stuck gearbox. After a failed attempt to restart the Siamese had to call it a day. The struggling Bianco was now back in the lead and Bjørnstad was attacking Dreyfus in second position. The Maserati team, taken by surprise by Bjørnstad's speed, had failed to warn their drivers before it was too late and Bjørnstad passed Dreyfus for second position on lap 34 and a lap later also Bianco to take the lead of the race. Dreyfus also passed Bianco and started an unsuccessful chase on the red ERA. With just two laps left of the race Bianco, blinded by the oil, entered the pit and collapsed in the seat. Rovere quickly took over the Maserati and brought it home in fourth position behind surprise winner Bjørnstad, Dreyfus and Tongue.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.32Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadERAA1.5S-6401h18m12.59s
2.40René DreyfusOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6401h18m27.22s+ 14.63s
3.2Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6401h18m33.87s+ 21.28s
4.22E. Bianco / G. RovereOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6401h19m30.48s+ 1m17.89s
5.28Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6401h20m25.16s+ 2m12.57s
6.36Alberto Filippi GabardiA. Filippi GabardiMaserati4CM1.5S-4391h21m17.8s
7.20Ciro BasadonnaEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4381h21m29.2s
8.38Giovanni LuraniScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati4CM1.5S-4361h21m29.8s
9.6A. GennardiA. GennardiFiatBalilla1.0S-4341h21m32.4s
DNF16"B Bira""B Bira"ERAB1.5S-632gearbox
DNF10Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6CM1.5S-6?oil pump
DNF34Enrico GessnerE. GessnerMaserati4CM1.5S-417mechanical
DNF12Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6?
DNF24Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6?fuel starvation
DNF8Georges FilipinettiEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-41
Fastest lap: Eugen Bjørnstad (ERA) in 1m52.2s = 93.9 km/h (58.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 89.8 km/h (55.8 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 92.7 km/h (57.6 mph)
Weather: sunny, warm



Antonio Brivio - Alfa RomeoGiuseppe Farina -Alfa RomeoCarlo Felice Trossi - Alfa Romeo

II° GRAN PREMIO DEL VALENTINO/
GRAN PREMIO PRINCIPE DEI PIEMONTE


Parco Valentino - Torino (I), 18 April 1937
60 laps x 2.926 km (1.818 mi) = 175.56 km (109.09 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

44Ernõ FesteticsGraf FesteticsMaserati8CM3.0S-8
46Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
48"Ventidue""Ventidue"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
50Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
52Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
54Adolfo MandirolaA. MandirolaMaseratiV8RI4.7V-8
56Martin WaltherM. WaltherBugattiT512.3S-8DNA
58Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12DNS - injured in crash
58Carlo PintacudaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12 replacing Nuvolari
60Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
62Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT594.7S-8



Quadruple Ferrari, despite problems
Nuvolari had a very big accident, when he crashed his Alfa Romeo Tipo 12C during practice. He was taken to hospital and left it three days later with a plaster corset. His car was taken over by Pintacuda. In the race Wimille in a Bugatti retired early and the four Ferrari entered Alfas were in a class of their own. But the Ferrari team had problems with boiling radiators and all had to stop for water, except for Brivio who went on to win the race.
Grand Prix racing was back to Parco Valentino on the bank of the river Po after a two years interval. The track configuration was a new shorter one than in 1935.
Entries:
Scuderia Ferrari decided to enter a full team of four drivers for the event. The highly expected new 12C-37 car was not ready at the beginning of the season but the team came with four of their twelve cylinder 12C-36s. The only possible challenger, at least on the paper, was Wimille's T59 Bugatti, probably with the 4.7 litre T50 engine. A Maserati V8RI was entered in the hands of privateer Adolfo Mandirola. Hungarian Count Festetics Maserati and the old "Monzas" of Alessandro Wild a.k.a. "Ventidue" and Contantino Magistri completed the field as Swiss driver Martin Walther seems not to have appeared with his Bugatti. (Note 2)
Practice:
Practice started 9 a.m. on Thursday morning. Nuvolari was fastest with a time of 1m45s. Brivio's best time was 1m54.4s, Farina's 1m50.2s and Trossi's 1m54s. Wimille had not yet arrived.
      Then practice was suddenly interrupted. Nuvolari had had a bad crash with his Alfa Romeo. The car had spun and gone tail first into a tree and as the car rolled over Nuvolari had been thrown out. The car ended up halfway over Nuvolari, who got tapped but was lucky not to get crushed. He was freed by the fire brigade and taken to hospital. He left it three days later with a plaster corset. His car itself was not badly damaged and was taken over for the race by Pintacuda.
      Qualifying for the grid started 9 a.m. on Friday for the voiturettes and was followed by the Grand Prix cars. A bump on the track at the place of Nuvolari's crash site had been fixed during the night and extra straw bales had been added. The Ferrari drivers put in some 15 laps each and Farina finally took pole position with a time of 1m46.2s. Nuvolari had of course been 1.2s faster on Thursday.
Race:

     
Pole Position
46
Trossi

Alfa Romeo
1m50.4s

60
Brivio

Alfa Romeo
1m48.1s

50
Farina

Alfa Romeo
1m46.2s

54
Mandirola

Maserati
2m02.2s

62
Wimille

Bugatti
1m56.1s

58
Pintacuda

Alfa Romeo
1m51.3s

48
"Ventidue"

Alfa Romeo
2m08.0s

52
Magistri

Alfa Romeo
2m04.1s

44
Festetics

Maserati
2m03.3s

(Or mirror)




The start signal was given by the Italian Crown Prince (Prince of Piedmont, later Umberto II). Brivio and Trossi were fastest away, followed by Farina, Wimille and Pintacuda. "Ventidue" spun on the first lap and went through a straw stack, the first of many incidents for that driver during the race. Immediately the race also lost much of its interest as Wimille stopped in the pits with oil leaking from the crank case. He stayed in the pit for two laps, then went out and did two slow laps before calling it a day.
      With Wimille gone no one had any chance to challenge the Ferrari Alfas of Brivio, Trossi, Farina and Pintacuda, who were driving in formation. On the third lap Farina passed Trossi for second and on the fourth lap he took over the lead.
      After five laps the situation was this:
1. Farina (Alfa Romeo)  9m47.6s
2. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)  9m48.0s
3. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)  9m57.4s
4. Pintacuda (Alfa Romeo)10m03.4s
5. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)10m53.6s

The other were already far behind.
      At that stage Farina seemed to have the victory in the bag. But that was not to be the case. The formation running had caused the Alfa Romeos to overheat and at 17 laps Brivio retook his lead as Farina was slowing down with a boiling radiator. Two laps later Farina made a 1m56s pit stop for a radiator re-fill. He returned a lap down in third position. Pintacuda also had to stop with brake problems and when Trossi pitted on lap 26 for exactly the same reason as Farina had pitted earlier. Farina could retake his second position. A reason for the problem might have been that Farina's and Trossi's cars had been equipped with a new improved lighter radiator model while Brivio and Pintacuda used the older type.
      When Farina and Trossi near the end of the race had to stop anew for a further refill, Brivio, who had led the early formation and was the only one without overheating problems, could cruise to victory with an almost 2 minute margin over Farina. Trossi finished third (Note 3) and Pintacuda fourth making it a rather expected Ferrari 1-2-3-4 in a quite boring event. The voiturette race had been much more exciting.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.60Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12601h52m30.2s
2.50Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12601h54m23.0s+ 1m52.8s
3.46Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12601h55m49.0s+ 3m18.8s
4.58Carlo PintacudaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12591h59m25.8s
5.52Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8561h54m15.0s
6.48"Ventidue""Ventidue"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8541h56m35.6s
7.54Adolfo MandirolaA. MandirolaMaseratiV8RI4.7V-8491h54m47.0s
8.44Ernõ FesteticsGraf FesteticsMaserati8CM3.0S-8481h57m23.6s
DNF62Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT594.7S-8?oil leak
Fastest lap: Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo) on lap 56 in 1m47.4s = 98.1 km/h (60.9 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 93.6 km/h (58.2 mph)
Pole position lap speed:< 99.2 km/h (61.6 mph)
Weather: sunny, hot

Footnote:
1. The grid shown is from "Automobil-Revue" (also used by Sheldon). "Il Littoriale " has a 3-2-3 grid.

2. He seems to have been entered, probably by mistake, as Walther Martin, which has created some confusion.

3. According to "The Autocar" Trossi had created amusement by driving round smoking a cigarette.

Star 20 April 1937: The new Campbell road circuit at Brooklands is officially opened. 69 year old Selwyn Edge accompanied by his daughter made a lap with the 1903 Gordon Bennett Napier.



Patrick Fairfield - ERAArthur Dobson - ERA Robin Hanson - Maserati

CORONATION TROPHY
(Voiturette 1500cc)

Crystal Palace - London (GB), 24 April 1937 (Saturday)
2 heats of 20 laps x 3.22 km (2.0 mi) = 64.4 km (40.0 mi)
Final of 30 laps x 3.22 km (2.0 mi) = 96.6 km (60.0 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

1Denis ScribbansD. ScribbansERAB1.5S-6
2Philip JuckerP. JuckerAlta1.5S-4DNA
3Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-6
4Charles BrackenburyE. K. RaysonMaserati4CM1.5S-4
5Austin DobsonA. DobsonMaserati6CM1.5S-6DNA
6Patrick FairfieldH. W. CookERAC1.5S-6
7Percy MaclureP. MaclureRiley1.1S-4
8Bill HumphreysB. HumphreysMGQ0.7S-4
10Freddie DixonF. DixonRiley1.5S-6DNA
11John AppletonJ. AppletonAppleton-Riley1.1
12Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-6
14Robin HansonMrs Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-6
15Peter AitkenP. AitkenFrazer Nash1.5S-4(Note 1)
15Peter AitkenP. AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-6DNA
16Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6
17Raymond MaysH. W. CookERAC1.5S-6
18Alan SinclairA. SinclairAlta1.1S-4DNA
19Walter WilkinsonW. CottonRiley1500/61.5S-6
20Reg ParnellR. ParnellMGK31.5S-6
21Aubrey Esson-ScottA. Esson-ScottScott-BugattiT51A1.5S-8



Fairfield wins the first Crystal Palace race
The first race at the extremely twisty Crystal Palace was run in two heats plus a final. Main contenders were two works and four private ERAs that faced two Maseratis. ERA works drivers Patrick Fairfield and Raymond Mays won the first and second heats. In the final Arthur Dobson with his ERA took the lead and held it for two laps but was then passed by the works ERAs. Mays in the lead had to retire on lap 9 with brake problems, leaving his team-mate Fairfield to win from Dobson and Robin Hanson in a Maserati.
This was the first race meeting on the new Crystal Palace Road Circuit. In honor of the Coronation of King Georg VI on 12th May the event was named the Coronation Trophy. The race was run in two heats plus a final, the winner receiving the trophy and £200. Work had begun on the track with a new "Panamac" non-skid surface in December 1936, only three days after a fire had destroyed the famous Crystal Palace itself. In order to create a two mile configuration on the limited space available the track included a long, very twisty infield section.
Entries:
The ERA works team with Raymond Mays (R4C) and Patrick Fairfield (R12C) faced the rest of the British elite. ERA drivers included Denis Scribbans (R9B), Ian Connell (R6B), Arthur Dobson (R7B) and Peter Whitehead (R10B).
      Charles Brackenbury raced Rayson's Maserati 4CM and Robin Hanson raced Mrs. Hall-Smith's 6CM. Austin Dobson had crashed his Maserati at the British Empire Trophy and did not appear. Walter Wilkinson raced Billy Cotton's unsupercharged Riley and Percy Maclure entered another unsupercharged Riley. Major Aubrey Esson-Scott in black overall and helmet raced a Bugatti T51A, newly rebuilt as a single-seater with a new long Mercedes inspired tail. John Appleton appeared in his "Appleton special" Riley and Bill Humphreys in a 0.75 litre MG. Jucker's new Alta was not ready for racing and Aitken (Maserati) and Sinclair (Alta) were also non-starters.
Heat 1:
The weather was warm and sunny and a huge crowd estimated to some 30,000 spectators turned up for the race. Some late comers actually got in for free as the organizers run out of tickets. After some delay caused by Aitken's Frazer Nash the cars lined up like this in their letter marked boxes (A-E for the first row) for the first heat:
Pole Position
1
Scribbans

ERA

15
Aitken

Fraser-Nash

7
Maclure

Riley

4
Brackenbury

Maserati

6
Fairfield

ERA

8
Humphreys

MG

3
Connell

ERA



As Harry Edwards dropped the flag Scribbans took the lead followed by Fairfield, Brackenbury, Connell and Maclure. At the end of the first lap Fairfield had taken over the lead from Scribbans and already opened up a 5 seconds gap while Connell had moved up to third. However, after only three laps Connell was out of the game when the carburettor came loose and went straight through the oil tank. Brackenbury in the green Maserati took over third position.
      At half distance Fairfield already had a 40 seconds gap to Scribbans and after 12 laps he lapped Humphreys. Humphreys then retired with rear axle trouble and on the 15th lap the exhaust of Scribbans' ERA came loose and he had to stop twice trying in vain to make repairs with a rope. In the end he had to drive with one hand while holding the exhaust pipe bracket with the other hand. Fairfield won the first heat from Brackenbury (Maserati) and Aitken (Frazer Nash). Maclure was the last to qualify for the final while Scribbans was too slow.
      The non-skid surface proved to be a disappointment as the tyres rapidly polished the surface to a slippery state.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.6Patrick FairfieldH. W. CookERAC1.5S-62045m37.9s
2.4Charles BrackenburyE. K. RaysonMaserati4CM1.5S-42046m59.1s+ 1m21.2s
3.15Peter AitkenP. AitkenFraser NashS-42047m29.9s+ 1m52.0s
4.7Percy MaclureP. MaclureRiley1.1S-42047m48.2s+ 2m10.3s
5.1Denis ScribbansD. ScribbansERAB1.5S-62052m29.9s+ 6m52.0s
DNF8Bill HumphreysB. HumphreysMGQ0.7S-414rear axle
DNF3Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-63carburettor
Fastest lap: Patrick Fairfield (ERA) in 2m15.0s = 85.8 km/h (53.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 84.6 km/h (52.6 mph)
Weather: sunny
Heat 2:
It was now time for the second heat, the first four from each heat plus the fastest fifth finisher going to the final. The cars lined up like this:
Pole Position
20
Parnell

MG

14
Hanson

Maserati

12
Dobson

ERA

16
Whitehead

ERA

17
Mays

ERA

11
Appleton

Riley

21
Esson-Scott

Bugatti

19
Wilkinson

Riley



Mays took the start and went off in the lead followed by Whitehead's and Dobson's ERAs and Hanson's Maserati. On the first lap Dobson passed Whitehead, who was experiencing engine problems, for second position. Mays immediately opened up such a gap that he could take it easy after four laps. Applerton had a fight with Esson-Scott for last position, the latter passing on the fourth lap. Applerton then had to retire on the tenth lap with a broken steering and on the thirteenth lap Esson-Scott, who was now a lap down, lost the Bugatti at the Stadion Dip as his foot slipped on the pedal. The car went backwards over the bank into a group of press photographers, who managed to save themselves in the last second, only one of them getting a slight injury.
      Near the end of the race Mays started to suffer from problems with the new hydraulic brakes, so that even the slightest use of the brake pedal produced locked wheels, and had to slow down letting Dobson close in but Mays had the situation in control and took the flag with 1.2s margin from Dobson's white ERA with Whitehead third making it an ERA 1-2-3. In Mays' mind the tightness and number of corners of the track made the race one of hardest he had ever done.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.17Raymond MaysH. W. CookERAC1.5S-62045m40.9s
2.12Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-62045m42.1s+ 1.2s
3.16Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-62045m49.6s+ 18.7s
4.19Walter WilkinsonW. CottonRiley1500/61.5S-62046m20.9s+ 40.0s
5.14Robin HansonMrs Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-62047m21.1s+ 1m40.2s
DNF20Reg ParnellR. ParnellMGK31.5S-6~14mechanical
DNF21Aubrey Esson-ScottA. Esson-ScottBugattiT51A1.5S-813crash
DNF11John AppletonJ. AppletonAppleton-Riley1.110steering
Fastest lap: Arthur Dobson (ERA) 2m14.1s = 86.4 km/h (53.7 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 84.6 km/h (52.5 mph)
Weather: sunny
Final:
After a demonstration run of a 1908 Italia and a 1912 Lorraine-Dietrich it was time for the final to be run over 30 laps.
Pole Position
14
Hanson

Maserati

12
Dobson

ERA

16
Whitehead

ERA

6
Fairfield

ERA

17
Mays

ERA

15
Aitken

Frazer Nash

7
Maclure

Riley

19
Wilkinson

Riley

4
Brackenbury

Maserati



As the flag was dropped Mays and Dobson were both fast away, the latter being slightly faster to take the lead of the race. After the first lap Dobson's white ERA was leading from Fairfield's and Mays' works cars. Mays went past his team-mate to retake second position and on the third lap the two works cars took over first and second positions from Dobson. The trio was followed by Whitehead, Brackenbury, Wilkinson, Hanson, Maclure and Aitken.
      On the fifth lap Brackenbury lost the brakes on his Maserati and nearly touched the sand bank at the Stadium Curve, and almost got hit by Wilkinson and Hanson. In the next corner Brackenbury then ploughed into a sand bank and got stuck. On the seventh lap Mays slowed down to let Faifield pass as did Dobson one lap later. Mays then retired with both engine and brake problems. On the same lap Wilkinson skidded into the Stadium Curve sand bank after his engine had failed. On lap 13 Aitken retired the mis-firing Frazer Nash with a broken oil pipe.
      Fairfield, in the works ERA, held a good lead, and could take it easy. Whitehead lost his third position when he spun at the Ramp Bend when trying to lap Maclure and lost two laps trying to restart the ERA. On the last lap Fairfield was back up in speed, setting the fastest lap of the day with a time of 2m11.9s. Dobson finished second with his ERA and Hanson was third with his Maserati.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.6Patrick FairfieldH. W. CookERAC1.5S-6301h07m08.8s(Note 2)
2.12Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-6301h07m57.2s+ 48.4s
3.14Robin HansonMrs Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-6301h09m25.2s+ 1m16.4s
4.7Percy MaclureP. MaclureRiley1.1S-4301h10m18.1s+ 3m19.3s
5.16Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6301h13m45.0s+ 6m36.2s
DNF15Peter AitkenP. AitkenFrazer NashS-414oil pipe
DNF19Walter WilkinsonW. CottonRiley1500/61.5S-67engine
DNF17Raymond MaysH. W. CookERAC1.5S-66engine
DNF4Charles BrackenburyE. K. RaysonMaserati4CM1.5S-44brakes, crash
Fastest lap: Patrick Fairfield (ERA) 2m11.9s = 87.8 km/h (54.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 86.3 km/h (53.6 mph) (Note 2)
Weather: sunny

Footnote:
1. It is not clear whether the car was raced by Aitken himself or by A.M.C. Jameson. "The Autocar" and Sheldon have Aitken. Motor Sport has Jameson in the text and in the final results but Aitken in the heat results.

2. The time is from the magazine "Motor Sport" and corresponds to 53.61 mph. Both "Motor Sport" and "The Autocar" give the obviously official speed of 53.77 mph, the latter magazine only publishing the results as speeds, but that would correspond to a time of 1h06m57.1s. There are several other inconstancies between the published times and speeds (only 2 out of 14 results are correct down to the 1/100 mph) but this is the worst case.

Sources used especially for this race: "Motor Sport" and "The Autocar" May 1937, Raymond Mays "Split Seconds"



Carlo Felice Trossi - MaseratiB. Bira - ERAEugen Bjørnstad - ERA

III° COPPA PRINCIPESSA DI PIEMONTE
(Voiturette 1500cc)

Posillipo - Napoli (I), 25 April 1937
30 laps x 4.1 km (2.55 mi) = 123 km ( 76.4 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Georges FilipinettiEcurie DarbellayMaserati4CM1.5S-4
4Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6
6Pino BaruffiP. BaruffiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
8Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
10Mario ColiniScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-4
12Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
14Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA
16Ciro BasadonnaEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
18"B Bira""B Bira"ERAB1.5S-6
20Luciano UboldiL. UboldiMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA
22Nicholas EmbiricosN. EmbiricosERAA1.5S-6DNA
24Emmanuel de GraffenriedScuderia MaremmanaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
26Enrico GessnerE. GessnerMaserati4CM1.5S-4
28Ettore BiancoOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
30Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
32Franco CorteseOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
34Agostino ProsperiScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-4
36A. GennardiA. GennardiFiatBalilla1.1S-4
38Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA
40Harry HerkuleynsH. HerkuleynsMGK3 Magnette1.1S-6
42Roger ChambardR. ChambardBugattiT37A1.5S-4
44Giovanni LuraniScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
46Mario MoradeiEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
48Henry LeuzingerEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
50Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadERAA1.5S-6



Maserati strikes back
In the voiturette race fifteen Maseratis challenged three ERAs. Cortese took the lead followed by Trossi, Bira (ERA) and Bianco. Bira was soon second and took the lead on lap five when Cortese had to make a pit stop. But on the next lap Trossi passed Bira and once in the lead the Maserati driver started to pull away to take the victory with Bira finishing second. There was a fight for third place between Bianco, Tongue and Bjørnstad, the Norwegian ERA driver being finally able to take the flag in third position.
A week after Turin there was a new Italian event on the spectacular and very tough Posillipo course at Naples. There were several uphill and downhill sections on the winding route that even went over a deep ravine. Narrow Monaco like sections between houses were intermixed with stunning panoramic sections. On this twisty track the nimble Maserati 6CM with its independent suspension was expected to be superior to the ERA.
Entries:
Not unexpected the entry list looked quite similar to the one of Turin with 14 of the entries appearing on both lists. Of the ERA drivers Bira again raced R2B "Romulus", Eugen Bjørnstad raced his R1A and Reggie Tongue R11B. Gennardi's little Fiat Balilla was again present and Chambard turned up with his Bugatti 37A. They were challenged by a horde of no less than 15 Maseratis, including three works 6CMs for Bianco, Trossi and Cortese. Luigi Villoresi entered his 6CM (#1541) and Giovanni Rocco was another 6CM entry (#1540) (Note 1). Dutch driver Harry Herkuleyns with a MG Magnette completed the entry list.
Practice:
Spectators had free entry to the Friday practice. All drivers had not arrived yet but some took the opportunity to learn the track. Tongue (ERA) proved to be fastest with a time of 2m40s with Bjørnstad second fastest, putting in laps between 2m41s and 2m43s. Villoresi and Cortese did a 2m45s lap each and Lurani 2m47s.
      Final practice sessions were scheduled for 14:00 and 16:00 on Saturday. The Maserati 6CMs proved to be fastest taking the top five positions in the grid with Trossi's 2m25.8s good enough for pole position. They were followed in the list by the three ERAs, Bira being the fastest ERA driver with a time of 2m30.6s. Four cylinder Maseratis and took the following ten positions while the three "odd" entries had to be content with the last row of the grid.
Race:
The voiturette race was run before the major class and started at 10 am. The grid looked like this (Note the position of the pole man in the middle of first row):
Pole Position
32
Cortese

Maserati
2m29.1s

30
Trossi

Maserati
2m25.8s

28
Bianco

Maserati
2m26.4s

18
" B Bira"

ERA
2m30.6s

12
Rocco

Maserati
2m30.2s

8
L Villoresi

Maserati
2m30.0s

24
de Graffenried

Maserati
2m37.4s

4
Tongue

ERA
2m33.8s

50
Bjørnstad

ERA
2m32.2s

46
Moradei

Maserati
2m40.8s

26
Gessner

Maserati
2m40.8s

34
Prosperi

Maserati
2m39.8s

10
Colini

Maserati
2m49.0s

2
Filipinetti

Maserati
2m48.4s

44
Lurani

Maserati
2m41.0s

6
Baruffi

Maserati
2m54.8s

16
Basadonna

Maserati
2m50.2s

40
Leuzinger

Maserati
2m50.2s

40
Herkuleyns

MG
4m58.0s

42
Chambard

Bugatti
3m03.1s

36
Genardi

Fiat
2m59.0s



The Italian Crown Princess (Marie José of Belgium) lifted the flag too early and then left the cars standing on the grid for some two minutes to overheat before she finally dropped the flag. Maserati driver Bianco took the start closely followed by his team-mate Cortese, who took over the lead during the first lap. They were followed by Trossi, Bira, Luigi Villoresi and Bjørnstad. At the end of the first lap Chambard had to make a pit stop because of a puncture. Bianco, who was still suffering from his eye injuries in Turin a week earlier, dropped to fourth on the second lap as also Trossi and Bira passed him. At the end of the second lap Cortese led with Trossi right behind him and Bira a bit behind.
      Bira soon caught and passed Trossi for second and then took the lead on the fifth lap when Cortese had to make a pit stop to change plugs and to fix a problematic gearbox. But on the next lap Trossi attacked Bira and took the lead from the Siamese. Once in the lead the Maserati started to pull away from the ERA. Several drivers had already retired, Filipinetti with carburettor problems, Herkuleyns with a broken oil pump, Rocco with broken goggles and an oilleaking car and Gennardi with a broken oil pipe. On lap 8 Villoresi also had to retire with carburettor problems.
      Situation after 8 laps:
1. Trossi (Maserati)20m10.4s
2. "Bira" (ERA)20m14.2s
3. Bianco (Maserati)20m33.8s
4. Bjørnstad (ERA)20m38.8s
5. Tongue (ERA)20m46.6s
6. Prosperi (Maserati)20m59.0s
7. de Graffenried (Maserati)21m28.6s
8. Gessner (Maserati)21m32.8s
9. Lurani (Maserati)21m59.4s
10. Moradei (Maserati)22m26.6s
11. Baruffi (Maserati)22m28.0s
12. Basadonna (Maserati)22m43.4s
13. Colini (Maserati)22m50.0s
14. Chambard (Bugatti)25m19.8s
15. Leuzinger (Maserati)27m36.2s

Trossi continued to open up the gap making the fastest lap of the race on lap 8. There was now a fight for third position between Bianco and Bjørnstad. Prosperi was up to fifth as Tongue was struggling with spark plug problems. Cortese and Colini had now also retired. Bjørnstad finally found a way past Bianco on lap 15.
      Order after 15 laps:
1. Trossi (Maserati)37m23.4s
2. "Bira" (ERA)37m46.4s
3. Bjørnstad (ERA)38m21.6s
4. Bianco (Maserati)38m21.8s
5. Prosperi (Maserati)38m45.4s
6. de Graffenried (Maserati)39m49.2s
7. Tongue (ERA)39m52.4s
8. Gessner (Maserati)40m18.0s
9. Baruffi (Maserati)41m03.6s
10. Lurani (Maserati)41m04.4s
11. Moradei (Maserati)41m41.0s
12. Basadonna (Maserati)41m58.6s
13. Chambard (Bugatti)45m11.0s
14. Leuzinger (Maserati)46m48.8s

Then on lap 18 the Norwegian spun and dropped down to fourth again. But it took Bjørnstad just two laps to catch Bianco, who clearly was in trouble, and once again pass him. The order at 2/3 distance:
1. Trossi (Maserati)49m46.4s
2. "Bira" (ERA)50m16.4s
3. Bjørnstad (ERA)50m57.2s
4. Bianco (Maserati)50m58.2s
5. Prosperi (Maserati)51m35.0s

On the 24th lap the pain in the eyes became too much for Bianco. He gave up and handled over the car to Belmondo, who returned the Maserati into the race in fifth position behind Prosperi. Situation after 25 laps:
1. Trossi (Maserati)1hm02m13.4s
2. "Bira" (ERA)1h02m56.0s
3. Bjørnstad (ERA)1h03m27.2s
4. Prosperi (Maserati)1h04m00.4s
5. Belmondo (Maserati)1h04m22.2s
6. de Graffenried (Maserati)1h05m36.4s
7. Tongue (ERA)1h06m21.4s
8. Gessner (Maserati)1h06m51.6s
9. Lurani (Maserati)1h08m31.4s
10. Moradei (Maserati)1h09m23.6s
11. Basadonna (Maserati)1h09m23.6s
12. Chambard (Bugatti)1h13m06.4s
13. Leuzinger (Maserati)1h14m15.4s

The order remained unchanged to the end with Trossi winning by a minute over Bira and with Bjørnstad, driving the last laps with badly cut tyres, finishing in 3rd position another half minute behind.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.30Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6301h14m41.4s
2.18"B Bira""B Bira"ERAB1.5S-6301h15m40.6s+ 59.2s
3.50Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadERAA1.5S-6301h16m10.6s+ 1m29.2s
4.34Agostino ProsperiScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-4301h16m45.0s+ 2m03.6s
5.28E. Bianco/V. BelmondoOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-629
6.24Emmanuel de GraffenriedScuderia MaremmanaMaserati4CM1.5S-429
7.4Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-629
8.26Enrico GessnerE. GessnerMaserati4CM1.5S-428
9.44Giovanni LuraniScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati4CM1.5S-428
10.46Mario MoradeiEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-428
11.16Ciro BasadonnaEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-427
12.42Roger ChambardR. ChambardBugattiT37A1.5S-426
13.48Henry LeuzingerEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-426
DNF6Pino BaruffiP. BaruffiMaserati4CM1.5S-416mechanical
DNF10Mario ColiniScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-413steering
DNF32Franco CorteseOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-611gearbox
DNF8Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati6CM1.5S-68carburettor
DNF40Harry HerkuleynsH. HerkuleynsMGK3 Magnette1.1S-67oil pump
DNF36A. GennardiA. GennardiFiatBalilla1.1S-47oil pipe
DNF12Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-67oil pipe
DNF2Georges FilipinettiEcurie DarbellayMaserati4CM1.5S-43fuel starvation
Fastest lap: Carlo Felice Trossi (Maserati) on lap 8 in 2m26.4s = 108.2 km/h (62.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 98.8 km/h (61.4 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 101.2 km/h (62.9 mph)
Weather: sunny and fine



Giuseppe Farina - Alfa RomeoClemente Biondetti - Alfa RomeoEmilio Villoresi - Alfa Romeo

III° COPPA PRINCIPESSA DI PIEMONTE

Posillipo - Napoli (I), 25 April 1937
50 laps x 4.1 km (2.55 mi) = 205.0 km (127.4 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

52Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
54"Ventidue""Ventidue"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
56Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
58Carlo Pes di VillamarinaScuderia MaremmanaMaserati6C-343.7S-6DNA
60Eugenio SienaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
62Martin WaltherM. WaltherBugattiT512.3S-8
64Carlos ArzaniScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
66Clemente BiondettiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
68Emilio VilloresiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo2900A2.9S-8
70Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6C-343.7S-6
72Adolfo MandirolaEcurie DarbellayMaseratiV8RI4.7V-8
74Ernõ FesteticsGraf FesteticsMaserati8CM3.0S-8
76Giacomo de RhamScuderia MaremmanaAlfa RomeoTipo B2.9S-8DNA
78"Nicola Sarubbi"C. GazzabiniAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8DNS
78Carlo GazzabiniC. GazzabiniAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8replacing Sarubbi
80László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati6C-34 3.7S-6



Scuderia Ferrari demonstration run
Five Alfa Romeos entered by Scuderia Ferrari turned up for the Naples race. Argentine Carlos Arzani made a guest appearance for the team. The entry list also included some older Alfa Romeos and Maseratis and a single Bugatti. The race turned out to be another demonstration run for the Ferrari team with Farina winning from Biondetti with Emilio Villoresi third in a stripped sports Alfa.
Entries:
Scuderia Ferrari entered no less than five cars. Farina and Biondetti raced 12C-36s. Carlos Arzani, who had come from Argentina to buy an 8C-35, raced the new car for Scuderia Ferrari before taking the car back to South America. Siena raced another 8C-35 while Emilio Villoresi had a stripped 2900A sports car. Old Alfa Romeo "Monzas" were entered by Magistri, "Sarubbi" and Wild, the latter under the pseudonym "Ventidue" (lucky number twenty-two). Di Villamarina and de Rham were entered under the name Scuderia Maremmana, the former in a Maserati 6C-34 and the latter in an Alfa Romeo Monza, but they never turned up. Other Maserati entries were Soffietti (6C-34) and Hungarian László Hartmann (6C-34 according to "Il Littoriale", 8CM according to Sheldon). Count Festetics had a Maserati 8CM and Mandirola a V8RI. And finally there was Swiss driver Walther with a white-red painted Bugatti.
Practice:
There were practice sessions on Friday and Saturday (see the voiturette race). Several drivers took part in the Friday session including Hartmann, "Ventidue" and some of the Ferrari drivers but any time worth mentioning were not set. On Saturday the grid positions were decided, Scuderia Ferrari expectedly took the top five positions with Farina fastest.
Race:
About an hour after the finish of the voiturette race it was time for the Grand Prix cars, which were lined up in the following grid:
Pole Position
56
Farina

Alfa Romeo
2m24.2s

64
Arzani

Alfa Romeo
2m29.8s

66
Biondetti

Alfa Romeo
2m32.0s

68
E Villoresi

Alfa Romeo
2m30.8s

60
Siena

Alfa Romeo
2m31.6s

78
"Sarubbi"

Alfa Romeo
2m41.6s

70
Soffietti

Alfa Romeo
2m41.2s

62
Walther

Bugatti
2m41.2s

52
Magistri

Alfa Romeo
3m00.0s

72
Mandrola

Maserati
2m48.4s

54
"Ventidue"

Alfa Romeo
2m42.8s

80
Hartmann

Maserati
2m51.8s

74
Festetics

Maserati
2m50.8s

(Note 2)

At 27 minutes past noon the princess dropped the flag and the cars were on their way with Farina leading and with Arzani following closely behind. Then followed Biondetti, Gazzabini, Soffietti and the rest. On the third lap Biondetti went past Arzani and settled down in second position.
      After five laps the order was as follows:
1. Farina12m34.2s
2. Biondetti13m04.4s (sic)
3. Arzani13m03.1s
4. Siena13m03.8s
5. E. Villoresi13m14.2s

The race went on with Farina effortlessly opening up a gap to Biondetti. Emilio Villoresi passed Siena and Arzani for third position and there he would remain until the end of the race.
      At lap 10 the situation was:
1. Farina25m14.2s
2. Biondetti25m45.4s
3. E. Villoresi26m01.4s
4. Arzani26m02.6s
5. Siena26m15.8s
6. Gazzabini26m37.4s
7. Hartmann26m57.6s
8. Magistri27m00.2s
9. Walter27m15.8s
10. "Ventidue"27m55.4s
11. Festetics28m48.0s
12. Mandirola28m53.0s
13. Soffietti29m44.6s

Villoresi made a fast stop to change a spark plug. After 13 laps Count Festetics had to retire because of carburettor problems in his Maserati and on the next lap Soffietti's Maserati was the next car out of the race with a broken differential. Siena has now caught Arzani and the duo started a fight for fourth position. Farina put in the fastest lap of the race on lap 21 with a time of 2m24.4s. On the 24th lap "Ventidue" overturned his Monza in a corner. Luckily the driver escaped without injuries.
      The situation at half distance:
1. Farina1h02m34.6s
2. Biondetti1h03m45.2s
3. E. Villoresi1h04m03.4s
4. Arzani1h04m09.4s
5. Siena1h04m14.2s
6. Gazzabini1h05m49.6s
7. Magistri1h06m34.4s
8. Hartmann1h07m07s
9. Walter1h08m14.8s
10. Mandirola1h11m53.4s

Siena had for the moment lost a little ground to the Italio-Argentine, but would soon catch him again. After 30 laps the gap between them was down to just 0.8 seconds and the duel would then go on all the way to the chequered flag. Farina had let Biondetti close in a bit but around lap 32 he started to drive faster again.
      Situation after 35 laps:
1. Farina1h27m30.8s
2. Biondetti1h28m37.8s
3. E. Villoresi1h29m08.2s
4. Arzani1h29m29.4s
5. Siena1h29m31.6s

With five laps to go Farina slowed down the pace a bit but was still able to take a comfortable victory over 100 seconds before Biondetti with Villoresi another 39 seconds behind. Those three were the only one to make the total distance, the rest being flagged in.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.56Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12502h04m28.8s
2.66Clemente BiondettiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12502h06m11.0s+ 1m42.2s
3.68Emilio VilloresiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo2900A2.9S-8502h06m50.4s+ 2m21.6s
4.64Carlos ArzaniScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-849
5.60Eugenio SienaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-849
6.78C. Gazzabini/"N. Sarubbi"C. GazzabiniAlfa RomeoMonza2.348
7.52Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.348
8.80László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati6C-343.7S-646
9.62Martin WaltherM. WaltherBugattiT51S-846
10.72Adolfo MandirolaEcurie DarbellayMaseratiV8RI44
DNF54"Ventidue""Ventidue"Alfa RomeoMonza2.324crash
DNF70Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6C-343.7S-614differential
DNF74Ernõ FesteticsGraf FesteticsMaserati8CM3.0S-813engine
Fastest lap: Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo) on lap 21 in 2m24.4s = 102.2 km/h (63.5 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 98.8 km/h (61.4 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 102.4 km/h (63.6 mph)
Weather: sunny and fine

Footnotes:
1. To sort out which driver belonged to which team in these voiturette races is more or less impossible unless one can find official entry lists. Many of the teams were not teams in the modern sense, rather loose organizations that a driver joined for a race or two bringing his own car with him, or two or more drivers who joined forces for administrative reasons. For this race "Il Littoriale" lists three Scuderia Ambrosiana drivers, Lurani, Villoresi and Cortese, while Sheldon has Cortese listed as a works driver and Villoresi as an independent. Sheldon also has Filipinetti and de Graffenried listed as independent drivers while Automobil-Revue has them racing for Ecurie Darbellay & Ecurie Helvétie and Alessandro Silva has told me de Graffenried in fact in this event raced under the Scuderia Maremmana banner.

2. Grid reconstructed by Shipp Dena from picture.

Star 28-29 April 1937: Daimler-Benz and Auto Union conducted a second test session at AVUS. Mercedes used a 1936 GP car and a new streamliner with the 5.58 litre V-12 engine. Auto Union came with a streamliner that had the present GP chassis and engine but the fully enveloping body. These three cars put in many laps over the next two days doing aerodynamic tests and finding out about handling, tires and fuel. The tests were supervised by the technical directors Sailer from Mercedes-Benz and Werner from Auto Union. It was realized, that the fastest and safest way through the North Turn was in the middle of the track where a rather high speed could be reached and one had the possibility to correct the car if needed. On the first day Caracciola bettered Hans Stuck's 1935 lap record from 260.5 km to 267 km/h, followed by a 268 km/h lap by von Brauchitsch. Next day Bernd Rosemeyer raised the in-official record to 281.09 km/h by doing a lap in 4:07.
      The tyres caused the main problem, with the wear highest on the left rear. The latest 24" tyres from Continental, made of synthetic Buna-rubber only surviving four laps at top speed by von Brauchitsch.



B. Bira - DelageTeddy Rayson - MaseratiAntony Powys-Lybbe -Alfa Romeo

I CAMPBELL TROPHY

Brooklands (GB), 1 May 1937 (Saturday)
100 laps x 3.648 km (2.267 mi) = 364.8 km (226.7 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

1500cc Class:
1Bill HumphreysB. HumphreysMG0.7S-4DNA - rear axle
2"B Bira""B Bira"Delage19261.5S-8DNA - car not ready
3Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-6
4Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-6
5Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6
6Denis ScribbansD. ScribbansERAB1.5S-6
7Peter WalkerP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6
7Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6DNS - alternative driver
8Earl HoweEarl HoweERAB1.5S-6
9Raymond MaysH. W. CookERAB1.5S-6
10Patrick FairfieldH. W. CookERA1.5S-6DNS - brake problems
11Andrew LeitchHon P. AitkenMaseratiDNA
12Peter AitkenHon P. AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-6
14Robin HansonMrs. M. E. Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-6
15Teddy RaysonE. RaysonMaserati4CM1.5S-4
16Mrs Gwenda HawkesMrs G. HawkesDerby1.5DNA
17"Jack" BartlettJ. BartlettAlta1.5DNA
18Philip JuckerP. JuckerAlta1.5S-42.0?
18Alan SinclairP. JuckerAlta1.5S-4DNS - alternative driver

Class over 1500 cc:
19Charlie DodsonF. W. DixonDixon-RileySpecial2.0
20Cyril Mervyn WhiteC. Mervyn WhiteBugattiT51S-8
21Antony Powys-LybbeA. Powys-LybbeAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
22Anthony HamiltonA. HamiltonAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
23Walter WilkinsonR. C. FlemingAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
24Christopher StanilandC. StanilandAlfa RomeoTipo B2.9S-8
25Charles BrackenburyC. E. C. MartinAlfa RomeoTipo B2.9S-8
26Kenneth EvansK. EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B2.9S-8
26"Bill" EverittK. EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B2.9S-8DNS - alternative driver
27"B Bira"Prince Chula of SiamMaserati8CM3.0S-8
28Francis AshbyA. F. AshbyAlfa RomeoTipo B3.2S-8
29Austin DobsonHon P. AitkenAlfa RomeoBimotore5.82*S-8
29Austin DobsonHon P. AitkenMaseratiDNS - alternative car



Bira wins, Howe crashes
GP cars and voiturettes raced together on the new Campbell road racing course at Brooklands. Bira took the lead with his Maserati and held it until lap 19 when he was passed by Earl Howe's ERA. The magnificent duel between these two continued until lap 26 when Howe overturned his car and suffered a bad head wound and several internal injuries. Bira just managed to miss the wrecked ERA and went on to win the GP class while Rayson was victorius in the voiturette class. Practically all the ERAs struck trouble.
This was to be the inaugural race on the new Campbell road racing course at Brooklands. The new course that was planned from an idea by Malcolm Campbell was Brooklands' answer to Donington Park and the new Crystal Palace. The cars over 1.5 litre and the voiturette class raced together for 100 laps.
Entries:
The entry list was long and included no less than eight Alfa Romeos: a Bi-motore owned by Dobson/Aitken, four Tipo B monopostos to be raced by Ashby, Brackenbury, Evans and Staniland and three old "Monzas" for Hamilton, Powys-Lybbe and Wilkinson. Bira entered the rebuilt ex-Seaman Delage but the car was not ready yet so he finally raced the ex-Whitney Straight Maserati "#3011" instead.
      Among the voiturettes were seven ERAs: Connell R6B, Dobson R7B, Howe R8B, Scribbans R9B, Walker R10B, Tongue R11B and Mays R4C. The second works entry for Fairfield was withdrawn after the car was found to have a problem with the new hydraulic brakes that was impossible to fix. Rayson had his old 1933/34 4CM. Jucker entered a new Alta with independent suspension.
Practice:
On the twisty track the voiturette cars of Peter Walker and Earl Howe proved fastest during qualifying. Leitch had considered driving the Bimotore but after having seen Austin Dobson doing some frightening laps in it, Leitch decided to call it a day. Connell had gearbox troubles with the ERA but was able to make repairs in time for the race and Tongue had to change a piston in the engine of his ERA.
Race:
Saturday came with fine warm weather but still the crowd was not that numerous. The 22 cars lined up for the 14:30 start in front of the new concrete pits in this order:
Pole Position
24
Staniland

Alfa Romeo
1m52.3s

8
Howe

ERA
1m52.2s

7
Walker

ERA
1m52.2s

29
A Dobson

Alfa Romeo
1m56.6s

9
Mays

ERA
1m54.2s

27
"B Bira"

Maserati
1m53.0s

21
Powys-Lybbe

Alfa Romeo
1m57.6s

3
A Dobson

ERA
1m57.6s

25
Brackenbury

Alfa Romeo
1m57.2s

15
Rayson

Maserati
2m00.4s

4
Connell

ERA
2m00.4s

6
Scribbans

ERA
1m57.8s

26
Evans

Alfa Romeo
2m01.0s

23
Wilkinson

Alfa Romeo
2m01.0s

22
de Belleroche

Alfa Romeo
2m01.0s

*




20
Mervyn White

Bugatti
2m04.0s

19
Dodson

Dixon Spl.
2m02.8s

18
Jucker

Alta
2m08.2s

12
Aitken

Maserati
2m08.0s

28
Ashby

Alfa Romeo
2m07.2s

14
Hanson

Maserati

5
Tongue

ERA

* 2 "B Bira" (Delage) 2:07.0 DNS



Walker took the lead followed by Howe and Bira while Aitken stalled his Maserati and it was pushed away from the grid to be started elsewhere. Bira took over the lead on the first lap with his Maserati followed by Howe in his green ERA, Walker in a black ERA, Mays in the works ERA and Dobson in the Bimotore. Walker soon lost the contact with the front group after his engine stopped. Mays had again brake problems with his car. Walker retired after eight laps on the Aerodrome Road with broken gearbox and Charlie Dodson came in with a bad overheating, spraying hot water over the spectators on the pit roof stand. Dodson and Dixon started in a hurry to cut away the radiator cowling.
      Bira held the lead during the first nineteen laps with Earl Howe on his tail but then Howe, who was doing an inspired race on his 53rd birthday (!) took over the lead and during the next laps the spectators were able to see a magnificent performance. By driving to the limit the ERA voiturette driver was keeping the lead from a car with twice the engine volume. The duel went faster and faster but on lap 25 Howe's birthday ended in tragedy as the veteran driver struck an earth bank on the Vickers bridge. The ERA leapt up, the front hit a palisade, the car then bounced to the other side of the track and overturned, putting the left side wheels up in the air. Howe fell out and suffered a bad head wound and injuries to arm, shoulder and ribs.
      Bira just managed to pass the wrecked ERA to the right to take the overall lead from Austin Dobson while Rayson in third position took over the lead in the voiturette class. Six laps later the main clutch on Dobson's Bimotore broke and the big car came to a halt. That put Rayson in second place with the old green Maserati and Brackenbury fourth in Charlie Martin's P3 Alfa. Mays stopped and gave over the troublesome car to Fairfield.
      Then it was time for the cars to make their pit stops for fuel. The pit stops went mostly smoothly without incidents. Four ERAs made their stops at the same time to the joy of the spectators. Staniland was momentarily up in third position before he too had to stop and then he fell back with brake problems. Arthur Dobson had a cup of tea (very British!) while his mechanics were changing front brake shoes on the troublesome ERA. He returned to the race but the car was no better and he came in several times before finally retiring. During the stops Duller took over Ashby's Alfa Romeo and Hamilton took over from de Belleroche.
      Bira kept on controlling the race. Rayson was still second after having made a good pit stop on lap 57 and Powys-Lybbe in an old green "Monza" was now up to third followed by Duller and Scribbans. It was certainly not ERA's day as Tongue had engine trouble and Connell had had so much problems with the carburettor that he was many laps behind. The gruelling Campbell track had certainly taken its toll. All around the track there were cars with misfiring engines and brake trouble. Aiken, Fleming, Staniland, all had to retire. On lap 70 Evans parked the Alfa at hill Bend without brakes and with broken transmission. But up front Bira went on lap after lap both driver and car doing the perfect job. Bira finally made his stop on lap 65, Bira's team doing a specially good job to give their driver an even bigger lead.
      Bira took the flag over 2 1/2 minutes in front of Rayson, who took a fine surprise victory in the voiturette class, while the old Maserati with Powys-Lybbe came far behind in third position. A few laps from finish Ashby's Alfa Romeo, raced by Duller, had to stop on the Railway Straight with engine trouble and Scribbans passed to finish unexpectedly fourth, the best of the ERA drivers that day. The single works ERA driven by Mays/Fairfield finished a disappointing 7th, 8 laps behind.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.2"B Bira"Prince Chula of SiamMaserati8CM3.0S-81003h16m52.6s
2.15Teddy RaysonE. RaysonMaserati4C1.5S-41003h19m29.4s+ 2m36.8s
3.21Antony Powys-LybbeA. Powys-LybbeAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81003h24m53.8s+ 8m01.2s
4.6Denis ScribbansD. ScribbansERAB1.5S-61003h27m07.0s+ 10m14.4s
5.25Charles BrackenburyC. E. C. MartinAlfa RomeoTipo B2.9S-899
6.5Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-698
DNFF. Ashby / J. DullerOBS GRID!Alfa RomeoTipo B3.2S-896engine
7.9R. Mays/P. FairfieldH W CookERAB1.5S-692
8.20Cyril Mervyn WhiteC. Mervyn WhiteBugattiT512.3S-891
9.14Robin HansonMrs. M. E. Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-691
DNF24Christopher StanilandC. StanilandAlfa RomeoTipo B2.9S-879brakes/cluch
DNF23W. Wilkinson/R. FlemingR. C. FlemingAlfa RomeoMonza2.674gearbox
DNF26Kenneth EvansK EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B2.9S-870transmission
(10)4Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-669
DNF12Peter AitkenP. AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-648fuel feed
DNF22de Belleroche/A.HamiltonA. HamiltonAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-844engine
DNF18Philip JuckerP. JuckerAlta43supercharger
DNF3Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-632brakes
DNF29Austin DobsonHon P. AitkenAlfa RomeoBimotore5.831transmission
DNF8Earl HoweEarl HoweERAB1.5S-625crash
DNF19Charlie DodsonF. W. DixonDixon-RileySpecial2.011clutch
DNF7Peter WalkerP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-68gearbox
Fastest lap: Earl Howe & Raymond Mays (ERA) in 1m53.0s = 116.2 km/h (72.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 111.2 km/h (69.1 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 117.1 km/h (72.7 mph)
Weather: sunny, warm



Teddy Rayson - MaseratiDenis Scribbans - ERAReggie Tongue - ERA

I CAMPBELL TROPHY

Results (1500cc Class)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.15Teddy RaysonE. RaysonMaserati4C1.51003h19m24.4s
2.6Denis ScribbansD. ScribbansERAB1.5S-61003h27m07.0s+ 8m03.3s
3.5Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-698
4.9R. Mays/P. FairfieldH W CookERAB1.5S-692
5.14Robin HansonMrs M E Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-691
(6)4Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-661NC
DNF12Peter AitkenPeter AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-648fuel feed
DNF18Philip JuckerP. JuckerAlta43supercharger
DNF3Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-632brakes
DNF8Earl HoweEarl HoweERAB1.5S-625crash
DNF7Peter WalkerP WHiteheadERAB1.5S-68gearbox
Fastest lap: Earl Howe & Raymond Mays (ERA) in 1m53.0s = 116.2 km/h (72.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 109.8 km/h (68.2 mph)

Sources used especially for this race: "Motor Sport" & "The Autocar" May 1937.

Star 2 May 1937: Count Lurani (Alfa Romeo 6C 2.3L) wins the 240 km Il Circuito dell'Agro Pontino race from Count Dusmet and Bruno Mussolini (il Duce's son), both also in Alfas.
Star 2 May 1937: AGACI spring meeting at Montlhéry. Jacques Seylar (Delahaye) wins the Criterium de Tourisme, Joseph Paul (Delahaye) the Coupe de Printemps and Hans Rüesch (Alfa Romeo) the Coup de Vitesse.



Hermann Lang - Mercedes-BenzBernd Rosemeyer - Auto UnionErnst von Delius - Auto Union

XI° GRAN PREMIO DI TRIPOLI

Autodromo di Mellaha - Tripoli (I), 9 May 1937
40 laps x 13.1 km (8.14 mi) = 524 km (325.6 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

750 kg GP Class:
2Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8
4Richard SeamanDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8
6Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
8László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati8CM3.0S-8
10Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6C-343.7S-6
12Luigi FagioliAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
14Raymond Sommerprivate/Scuderia Ferrari?Alfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
16Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
18Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
20Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8
22Ernst von DeliusAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
24Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
26Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8
28Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
30Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
34Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
36Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
38Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
58Ettore BiancoOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8CM3.0S-8
 
1500cc Class:
32Pietro GhersiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
40René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
42Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
44Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoTalbot1.5S-8
46Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
48Luciano UboldiL. UboldiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
50Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
52Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
54Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriMaserati4C1.5S-4
56Vittorio BelmondoV. BelmondoMaserati4C1.5S-4
60Francesco SeveriF. SeveriMaserati6CM1.5S-6



A new star from Untertürkheim
Among the Grand Prix cars the Germans were in a class of their own. Tyre wear proved to be a decisive factor. The Auto Union drivers decided to race flat out and had to make many pit stops to change wheels while the Mercedes- Benz drivers tried to save their tyres. Caracciola, Stuck, Fagioli, von Brauchitsch, Rosemeyer and Lang all had their turn in the lead but Stuck and Fagioli fell back with tyre wear while Caracciola and Seaman slowed down due to sand in the engine. Von Brauchitsch retired and Rosemeyer had a slow pit stop, leaving Lang, who drove faultlessly, with the deserved victory followed by four Auto Unions. Nuvolari in an Alfa had retired early.
      Ten Maseratis met Castelbarco's Talbot in the voiturette class which raced simultaneously with the Grand Prix cars. The Maserati works cars were in a class of their own, where Dreyfus showed his experience to win from his teammate Cortese. The rest the field finished far behind.
The first major Grand Prix of the year, known as "The Race of the Millions", was the fast Tripoli GP with really large sums as prize money due to its state lottery that had sold four million lottery tickets for 12 Lire each in Italy and its colonies. Some time before the event 30 winning tickets were selected and the ticket holders were invited to Tripoli.
      The event was no longer raced to formula Libre but followed the international 750 kg formula with 1.5 litre voiturettes filling up the grid for the necessary 30 entries needed for the lottery. Interest in the race was huge both in Italy and Germany.Tours were organized to the event so that the main stands became sold out months before and new temporary stands had to be built. No expense was spared to make the track the most modern and well equipped in the world. New innovations included a traffic light system for the most dangerous places along the track, not unlike the one used nowadays in Formula 1. Also, the start was done by red/amber/green lights. Timing with 1/100s accuracy was possible by an electric system that used photo cells.

      It might be of interest to see what the teams were able to earn in this event known for its substantial prizes. The amounts in the GP class were 30,000, 20,000, 12,000, 10,000, 8,000, 6,000, 5,000, 4,000, 3,000 & 2,000 Lire for top ten finishers, 1,500 Lire for other finishers, 1,200 Lire for having completed the first five laps within 20 minutes of the leader and 800 Lire for having completed the first two laps within 8 minutes of the leader. Also 3,000 Lire was given for the fastest lap and 2,000 Lire each for leaders at 10, 20 and 30 laps. Prizes in the voiturette class were 10,000, 7,500, 5,000, 3,500 and 2,500 Lire for top five. Also 1,000, 500 and 350 Lire were given to the top three on every five laps from lap 5 to 35 (1,000 Lire = approx $53 or £10.16s6d back then). The participants also received a share of the earnings from the lottery.
Entries:
It was the debut of the 1937 model Mercedes-Benz. Four of the new W125s were entered for the race plus one 1936 model as practice car. Seaman, who drove his first race for Mercedes-Benz, sat for the first time in a racing car since his crash at the 1937 Monza tests on 1 April in the 1936 GP car and his knee was still swollen. Auto Union entered five cars and drivers for the event and Scuderia Ferrari no less than six Alfa Romeos, including one for Raymond Sommer. All Alfas were obviously of the 12 cylinder type. Nuvolari's engine had been specially boosted, probably at the expense of reliability. Besides these three teams there were independent GP class entries by Hartmann, Soffietti, and Bianco racing Maseratis and Magistri with an Alfa Romeo Monza.
      To the 19 GP cars were added 11 voiturettes to complete a 30-car field needed for the lottery. It was a mix of old and new Maseratis including works cars for Ghersi and Dreyfus plus Count Castelbarco's rebuilt 1926 Talbot (Platé special). The organizers had invited prince Bira to race his ERA but he was committed to the Coronation of George VI on 12th May. Note that race numbers seem to indicate that Ghersi initially was meant to race in the GP class and Bianco in the voiturette class.
      The German teams came over the St. Gotthard Pass and continued by train to Naples, where the cars were loaded onto the 5,413 ton combined passenger and cargo ship "Citta di Palermo" for the 30 hour journey across the Mediterranean to Tripoli. The Italian dignitaries and drivers arrived on the 25,661 ton "Conte Grande" and there was another liner bringing German spectators to Tripoli. The weather was quite bad at the Mediterranean and Elly Rosemeyer, who flew with her husband from Rome in her "Taifun" plane, considered doing an emergency landing "at least ten times". Flying via Catania and Tunis they finally arrived safely at Tripoli. Drivers and official guests stayed at Hotel Uaddan, considered to be the best hotel the teams encountered during the racing season. Built in 1935 and named "a jewel of modern African architecture", it overlooked the bay and included a swimming pool, a casino and a 500 seat theatre. But Lang claims that fine sand entered everywhere into the hotel room and that his wife Lydia had big problems with flies.
      Due to the ship schedules the teams arrived on Sunday, a week before the race, and thus had a few spare days before practice began. Neubauer organized tours and told spectacular (and probably highly imaginable) stories about the places and their history and culture, while the Rosemeyers and Stucks had a big water-war on the hotel's swimming pool.
Practice:
The Tripoli track consisted of a series of high speed turns that put a lot of strain on the tyres. For this race and for the upcoming AVUS race Continental had produced thin treaded tyres for 24´ size rear wheels and 22' front wheels. As the German cars reached 280 km/h on the straights, tyre wear was expected to be high.
      Thursday's first official practice started at 14:17. The Mercedes drivers tried to save their own cars as much as possible and used the spare car extensively. Rosemeyer in the Auto Union was fastest with a time of 3m30s followed by Lang doing a 3m32s, Caracciola and Stuck with 3m37s. After a short interval the second practice session followed with Stuck being fastest, just 3/100 faster than Caracciola, both going under Varzi's 1936 lap record of 3h27.4s.
      The results of Thursday practice looked like this:
GP:
VOITURETTE:
Stuck3m24.96sSeveri4m27.55s
Caracciola3m24.99sDreyfus4m32.68s
Rosemeyer3m30.48sL. Villoresi4m37.20s
von Brauchitsch3m31.96sBelmondo4m37.78s
Lang3m32.37sRocco4m40.88s
Fagioli3m34.43sDusio4m46.25s
Seaman3m35.50sCortese4m46.44s
von Delius3m36.21sCastelbatco5m08.00s
Hasse3m42.62sUboldi5m08.27s
Farina3m42.95s
Nuvolari3m43.47s
Sommer3m48.03S
Brivio3m54.45s
Tadini3m57.21s
Trossi4m07.26s
Bianco4m09.33s
Hartmann4m37.03s
Magistri4m49.86s
Soffietti5m00.15s


The last practice started off at 14:00 on Friday in a gloomy mood as reports about the fate of the zeppelin Hindenburg were coming in (Note 1). Stuck established the fastest time of 3m19.0s (235.4 km/h) followed by Caracciola and Rosemeyer. Seaman went out with the practice car but it broke down at the far side of the track and was unable to return to the pits, missing the session. Nuvolari was able to do just a 3m33.44s. His Alfa Romeo was running on 11 cylinders but he was still a good 10 seconds faster than any of the other Ferrari drivers. Nuvolari then announced that he did not think he would start but after a lot of arguments finally decided to have a try after all.
      The practice times are shown on the grid below.
Race:
On Sunday morning there were fears that a sand storm, locally known as a "Gibli" would interfere with the race, but the wind calmed down during the day and for the first time in days it became really sunny and hot. Just before the start when the drivers already were on the grid that was secured by "Ascari" troopers and impossible to reach by outsiders, a blindfolded boy picked car numbers from a container. The lottery ticket numbers he took out of another container and one by one the combinations were announced. Then it was time for Air Marshal Balbo, accompanied by the race marshal and a few official guests, to greet the drivers. Finally at 3 p.m. everything was ready for the race itself. The sun was shining over a blue sky and the track temperature was well over 40° C. Marshal Balbo was to wave the flag but officially the race started with coloured light signals. The grid looked like this:
Pole Position
12
Fagioli

Auto Union
3m24.98s

20
Caracciola

Mercedes-Benz
3m22.85s

16
Rosemeyer

Auto Union
3m20.25s

38
Stuck

Auto Union
3m19.90s

26
Brauchitsch

Mercedes-Benz
3m29.22s

22
von Delius

Auto Union
3m28.61s

2
Lang

Mercedes-Benz
3m28.10s

30
Farina

Alfa Romeo
3m40.32s

6
Hasse

Auto Union
3m38.15s

4
Seaman

Mercedes-Benz
3m35.50s*

28
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo
3m33.44s

24
Tadini

Alfa Romeo
3m57.21s*

14
Sommer

Alfa Romeo
3m46.45s

34
Brivio

Alfa Romeo
3m44.20s

48
Uboldi

Maserati


46
L Villoresi

Maserati
4m13.20s

58
Bianco

Maserati
4m09.33s*

18
Trossi

Alfa Romeo
4m07.26s*

52
Dusio

Maserati
4m28.59s

8
L Hartmann

Maserati
4m21.59s

40
Dreyfus

Maserati
4m32.55s

32
Ghersi

Maserati
4m31.43s

54
Barbieri

Maserati
4m32.29s

56
Belmondo

Maserati
4m29.11s

60
Severi

Maserati


36
Magistri

Alfa Romeo


50
Rocco

Maserati
4m42.81s

44
Castelbarco

Talbot


10
Soffietti

Maserati


42
Cortese

Maserati
4m14.11s

* Set on Thursday

(Note 2)



Two minutes before the start the red light was turned on. Thirty seconds before the start the light turned to amber and as Marshal Balbo waved the flag the light changed to green. Caracciola and Rosemeyer had the best starts. Hasse, on the other hand, had a bad start as he nearly stalled and immediately lost some 15 seconds. The cars of Lang and von Delius slightly touched. Seaman behind them had to break and Nuvolari just managed to squeeze by him.
      At the end of the first lap Caracciola was leading with Rosemeyer close behind. Then after a short gap followed Stuck, von Brauchitsch, Lang, Fagioli, Seaman, von Delius, Farina, Hasse, Sommer, Brivio, Tadini and Trossi. Caracciola had made the standing lap in 3m46.6s corresponding to 208.12 km/h. On the very first lap spectator favourite Nuvolari had to make a 1m20s pit stop to change spark plugs.
      During the windy morning a lot of sand had blown onto the track and during the first laps of the race the air was so filled with desert sand that the drivers felt like driving in a fog. Ghersi was leading the voiturette class followed by Villoresi, Cortese and Dreyfus, who had been slow at the start.
      On the second lap Stuck passed Rosemeyer and both were then furiously attacking Caracciola. On the third lap they both passed Caracciola's Mercedes to give Auto Union a double lead. Caracciola had made the third lap in 3m31.60s while Stuck had made it in 3m25.73s on race conditions and almost full tanks! Stuck's stunning third lap proved to be the fastest lap of the day.
      The Mercedes team had planned to do the race on a two stops strategy, the drivers watching their tyres. The Auto Union team seems to have underestimated either the tyre wear or the cruise speed of the new Mercedes W125, because they let the drivers run flat out and were immediately in trouble. After four laps Stuck came in for new tyres after having thrown a tread and he dropped to eighth. Rosemeyer held the lead for just one lap as he pitted at the end of lap 5 for the same reason as Stuck. Fagioli had passed his former mechanic Lang for fourth position.
      Situation after five laps:
1. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)17m59.60s / 17m59.06s (Note 3)
2. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)18m02.74s
3. von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)18m05.45s
4. Fagioli (Auto Union)18m05.79s
5. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)18m07.46s
6. von Delius (Auto Union)
7. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)
8. Stuck (Auto Union)
9. Hasse (Auto Union)
10. Farina (Alfa Romeo)
11. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)
12. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)
13. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)

In the voiturette class Ghersi was still leading but Dreyfus was now second after having passed Villoresi and Cortese. Meanwhile Nuvolari was in for more repairs before he definitely retired after six laps. It's claimed that the Mantuan seemed relieved that the race with the troublesome car and unrealistic expectations from the Italian fans was over.
      Caracciola was again in the lead. Fagioli passed von Brauchitsch and closed in on his former team mate Caracciola, who despite the orders to save the tyres could not resist answering the challenge. It was a fierce but short fight. Fagioli managed to take over the lead but immediately thereafter his left rear wheel lost its tread and at the end of lap seven he had to come in for a tyre change. On the same lap Stuck already made a second pit stop for tyres. Like Fagioli it was the left rear wheel that caused the problem.
      Caracciola was once again back in the lead. He was followed by Lang, who from close distance had watched the Caracciola-Fagioli duel. Von Brauchitsch was third, followed by von Delius, Seaman, Rosemeyer, Hasse and Stuck. Farina was now leading the group of Alfa Romeos after Nuvolari's retirement but they were totally outclassed by the German cars.
      On the eighth lap it was von Brauchitsch's turn to charge, re-passing Lang and then overhauling Caracciola for the lead. The high speed again cost the driver dearly as he had to stop for tyres after he had lost the entire tread of a tyre in front of the main grandstand, with bits of rubber flying high in the air. In the voiturette class Dreyfus continued to close in on Ghersi and passed him on the ninth lap after which Ghersi made a brief pit stop and dropped behind Villoresi and Cortese.
      The order at ten laps:
1. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)36m06.69s
2. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)36m07.97s
3. von Delius (Auto Union)36m24.31s
4. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)36m34.47s
5. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)37m19.69s / 37m19.53s
6. von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)37m24.78s
7. Stuck (Auto Union)37m47.85s
8. Hasse (Auto Union)37m52.17s
9. Fagioli (Auto Union)
10. Farina (Alfa Romeo)38m25s
11. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)38m45s
12. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)39m05s
13. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)39m13s
14. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)40m56s
-   -   -
1.Dreyfus (Maserati)44m11.20s
2.Villoresi (Maserati)45m03.32s
3.Cortese (Maserati)45m16s
4.Severi (Maserati)45m49s
5.Ghersi (Maserati)45m54s
6.Dusio (Maserati)48m20s

Now it was time for Seaman and von Delius, who had had a good fight with each other, swapping positions, to make their first pit stops. On lap 14 Caracciola also found himself in tyre trouble and made his pit stop leaving the lead to Lang. At the end of the fifteenth lap, Lang then made his stop, the only German driver to make it according to the planned schedule.
      The situation after fifteen laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)54m44.33s
2. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)54m59.60s
3. von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)55m19.55s / 55m12.55s
4. Stuck (Auto Union)55m29.03s
5. Fagioli (Auto Union)55m37.10s
6. von Delius (Auto Union)55m59s
7. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)56m09s
8. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)56m16s
9. Hasse (Auto Union)56m18s
10. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)59m07s
11. Farina (Alfa Romeo)59m21s
12. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)59m41s
13. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)1h00m43s
14. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)1h01m13s

Rosemeyer was now back in the lead. Von Brauchitsch and Fagioli followed him while Stuck made yet another stop, dropping to ninth. After his pit stop, Caracciola had problems with sand in the supercharger and started to lose the contact with the leaders.
      At 18 laps Rosemeyer held an 18 second lead over von Brauchitsch with Fagioli another 21seconds behind followed closely by Lang, Seaman, von Delius, Caracciola, Hasse, Stuck, Farina, Sommer, Brivio, Tadini and Trossi.
      Not surprisingly, the leading trio, who had been racing flat out, got tyre problems again and both von Brauchitsch and Fagioli made their second pit stops at the end of the 18th lap. That meant that Lang was back again in second position. Rosemeyer nearly lost his Auto Union on the straight when he was hit in the head by a bit of tread from a tire, but he managed to keep the car on the track. Hasse had also made a pit stop and at the end of the 19th lap Rosemeyer was in for his half distance stop for fuel and tyres and Lang took the lead but Rosemeyer was soon back up in second position.
      Dreyfus now had almost a minute lead in the voiturette class and was followed by Villoresi, Cortese, Severi, Ghersi and Dusio.
      Order after 20 laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1h13m42.53s / 1h14m05.30s (Note 4)
2. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h14m09.99s
3. von Delius (Auto Union)1h14m12.72s
4. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)1h14m14.17s/1h14m14.11s
5. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h14m17.36/1h14m17.58
-   -   -
1. Dreyfus (Maserati)1h30m19s
2. Cortese (Maserati)1h33.21s
3. Villoresi (Maserati)1h33m31s
4. Severi (Maserati)1h40m11s

Von Brauchitsch parked his Mercedes after 21 laps after a stone had split the radiator. His was the only of the German entries to retire that day. All pre-made plans had been thrown into the wind and in the German pits people were struggling to keep up with all the tyre changes. An old rule restricting the pit crew to two mechanics working during a stop remained from the 1920s Tripoli races, where speeds had not been so high and only a few tyre changes were necessary, and that now made things even harder.
      Von Delius made his second stop (Note 5) and dropped to 7th while Stuck and Fagioli were once again charging up through the field. Then Stuck did his fourth pit stop. Caracciola and Seaman also made their second stops. The team did a fast job and Caracciola was away again after 43 seconds and Seaman after 44 seconds. But all was not well with Caracciola's Mercedes as sand had entered the supercharger and was destroying the engine.
      Meanwhile up front Lang and Rosemeyer were keeping a high pace, Rosemeyer putting in a 3m31.2s lap and Lang answering with a 3m29.2s.
      Situation at 25 laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1h31m47. (Note 4)
2. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h31m57.96s
3. Stuck (Auto Union)1h32m26.28s
4. Fagioli (Auto Union)1h32m54.69s
5. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)1h33m29.14s
6. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h33m31s
7. von Delius (Auto Union)1h34m10s
8. Hasse (Auto Union)1h35m08s
9. Farina (Alfa Romeo)1h37m16s
10. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)1h39m29s
11. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)1h40m20s
12. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)1h40m56s

Between laps 25 and 30 Stuck and Fagioli pitted once again. The order was Lang, Rosemeyer, Caracciola and Seaman. According to "Motor und Sport" Rosemeyer took the lead on lap 27. (Note 6) Lang was shocked to see Rosemeyer go past him, but after seeing Neubauer keeping a "1" sign and the red-black Mercedes flag horizontally to indicate Lang should keep his current speed, he realized he was still in the lead and that Rosemeyer had only un-lapped himself. According to Lang the Mercedes time keeper (Alice Hoffman?) had made a mistake and the team believed for a while Rosemeyer to be two laps behind instead of one. In fact, as we can see, that explanation was wrong by one lap and Lang had all reasons to be worried as Rosemeyer indeed had taken over the lead!
      On lap 28 Trossi retired his Alfa Romeo. On that lap it was also time for Rosemeyer's last stop. The driver came in with his hand raised to indicate he was in tyre trouble again. Then there was panic in the Auto Union pit. The tanking equipment was either malfunctioning or had run out of fuel. Elly Rosemeyer claims that the pit stop took a miserable 1m45s and also that she held herself well clear so that she did not need to hear her husband's curses.
      Lang was now leading by a good margin. Seaman was second in his first race for Mercedes but he was starting to struggle with sand in the supercharger as was Caracciola in third position. At lap 30 it was time for Lang's second and final stop. According to Lang he saw only smiling faces in the pit and Neubauer looked like he wanted to give him a hug already. Again the Mercedes team worked fast to have Lang's car ready in 44 seconds.
      Intermediate results for 30 laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1h50m21.63s
2. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)1h51m40.29s
3. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h51m50.94s
4. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h51m59.21s
5. Stuck (Auto Union)1h52m08.82s
6. von Delius (Auto Union)1h52m29.65s
7. Fagioli (Auto Union)1h53m07.63s
8. Hasse (Auto Union)1h53m41.79s
9. Farina (Alfa Romeo)1h57m46s

Dreyfus continued to dominate the voiturette class. Cortese and Dusio followed while Villorese was slowing down and Ghersi had run out of fuel.
      Between laps 30 and 35 Stuck made his sixth stop, Hasse his third, Fagioli possibly his fourth and Seaman probably made his third stop.
      Lang was still cruising as ordered, saving the car. Obviously Neubauer tried to keep Lang's speed down so that the inexperienced driver would not make any silly mistakes, believing that Rosemeyer was too far behind to be a threat. In Nixon's "Silver Arrows" Lang explained that receiving the orders to hold his speed, and unaware of where Caracciola exactly was, he had some worries that he was becoming a victim of team orders.
      Seaman and Caracciola fell back behind Rosemeyer, who took over second position at 35 laps and started to reduce Lang's advantage. Von Delius also found a way past the two slowly going Mercedes drivers to take third position. Lang's lap times during this part of the race are not known but as Rosemeyer's medium lap time for laps 30-35 was 3m38.6s and considering that he had lost about a minute to Lang during the pit stops, Lang's laps might have been somewhere around 3m42s as the difference between Lang and Rosemeyer was 45s with five laps to go.
      Situation at 35 laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)2h09m27s
2. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)2h10m12s
3. von Delius (Auto Union)2h10m23s
4. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2h10m32s
5. Stuck (Auto Union)2h11m01s

Down the field there was a tough fight for fifth place. Caracciola had been forced to let also Stuck past but as Fagioli tried to follow, the Mercedes driver blocked his former team mate from passing.
      Von Delius seems to have done a fast stop near the end of the race without losing position. Rosemeyer did a brave effort and during the last five laps Rosemeyer pulled in 35 seconds on Lang, but the latter speeded up a bit during the last laps to take the victory by a margin of less than 10 seconds. He was followed to the flag by four Auto Unions, his two struggling team mates, and Hasse's Auto Union.
      Farina led home the remaining four Scuderia Ferrari Alfas in 9th to 12th positions. After having dominated two minor races earlier in the season, the team had now been totally humiliated by the German competition on this fast track.
      Dreyfus in the works Maserati took the victory in the voiturette class followed by Cortese and Severi. The voiturette drivers had had a hard job during the race, looking in their mirrors, to keep the road clear for the Grand Prix cars. Sadly, with the race reports naturally concentrating on the Grand Prix, it is hard to find details about what really took place among the voiturettes.
      Right at the end of the race a furious Fagioli had finally forced his way past Caracciola. After the race the Auto Union driver rushed to the Mercedes pit and flung a wheel hammer at Caracciola, fortunately missing his head by an inch. Fagioli was then dragged away before he could continue the attack (Note 7).
      Auto Union mechanics had changed 35 tyres during the race, Stuck alone had done seven pit stops including two to change front wheels, Fagioli had done four, von Delius three and Hasse two. The Mercedes drivers had done two stops each except for Seaman who had done three. This was Lang's first victory and also the first for the Mercedes-Benz W125, winning first time out.
      Lang was brought to the main stand where he received an Arabic handmade silver trophy from Air Marshal Balbo. On his way back to the pit Lang was approached by a person who shouted in Italian language and when realizing Lang did not understand what he said kissed the driver several times. It was the lottery winner who was so overcome that he had to clutch Lang around the neck to support himself.
      When it was time for the winner's party Hermann and Lydia Lang had locked themselves up in their hotel room. This was a black tie event in the governor's palace, organized by Air Marshal Balbo, and the Langs, being poor, had no fitting clothes. Neubauer, understanding what was the problem, finally forced them out of their room explaining that the winner must always accept the prizes, no matter the circumstances. Lang, who was a shy person, thought that "this was much more embarrassing than if we had gone at the right time, as everybody was waiting and all eyes were upon us." Anyway, the party turned out to be a very joyful event that Lang describes in detail in his biography.
      Then the teams had to wait until Tuesday for the ship to bring them back to Italy.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.2Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8402h27m57.67s
2.16Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h28m07.32s+ 9.65s
3.22Ernst von DeliusAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h29m11.85s+ 1m14.18s
4.38Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h29m39.59s+ 1m41.92s
5.12Luigi FagioliAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h29m42.58s+ 1m44.91s
6.20Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8402h29m53.02s+ 1m55.35s
7.4Richard SeamanDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8402h32m07.55s+ 4m09.88s
8.6Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h33m16.66s+ 4m18.99s
9.30Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12392h32m49.16s
10.34Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12392h34m22.55s
11.14Raymond Sommerprivate/Scuderia Ferrari?Alfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12392h34m33.??s
12.24Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12372h34m43.62s
13.8László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati8CM3.0S-8352h36m33.57s
14.40René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6342h33m55.78s
15.10Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6C-343.7S-6342h36m34.64s
16.42Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6342h36m51.34s
17.60Francesco SeveriF. SeveriMaserati6CM1.5S-6302h33m31.62s
18.46Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6292h32m55.83s
DNF18Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-1228
19.52Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6272h42m32.67s
DNF26Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-821radiator
DNF32Pietro GhersiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-617
DNF36Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa Romeo4CM1.5S-414
DNF54Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriMaserati4CM1.5S-410
DNF56Vittorio BelmondoV. BelmondoMaserati4CM1.5S-49
DNF50Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-68
DNF28Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-126engine
DNF48Luciano UboldiL. UboldiMaserati4C1.5S-45
DNF58Ettore BiancoOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8CM3.0S-83
DNF44Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoTalbot1.5S-82
Fastest lap: Hans Stuck (Auto Union) on lap 3 in 3m25.73s = 229.2 km/h (142.4 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 212.5 km/h (132.0 mph) (Note 8)
Pole position lap speed: 235.9 km/h (146.6 mph)
Weather: sunny, hot



René Dreyfus - MaseratiFranco Cortese - MaseratiFrancesco Severi - Maserati

XII° GRAN PREMIO DI TRIPOLI

Results (1500cc Class)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.40René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6342h33m55.78s
2.42Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6342h36m51.34s+ 2m55.56s
3.60Francesco SeveriF. SeveriMaserati6CM1.5S-6302h33m31.62s
4.46Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6292h32m55.83s
5.52Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6272h42m32.67s
DNF32Pietro GhersiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-617
DNF54Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriMaserati4CM1.5S-410
DNF56Vittorio BelmondoV. BelmondoMaserati4CM1.5S-49
DNF50Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-68
DNF48Luciano UboldiL. UboldiMaserati4C1.5S-45
DNF44Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoTalbot1.5S-82
Fastest lap: Pietro Ghersi (Maserati) in 4m16.36s = 184.0 km/h (114.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 173.6 km/h (107.9 mph)
Pole position (Villoresi) lap speed: 186.3 km/h (115.7 mph)


In retrospect:
4,514,798.90 Lire (some $240,000 or £49,000 in 1937 corresponding to some $3.6 million nowadays), that's what lottery ticket V-04846, bought for 12 Lire by a butcher from Piacenza, proved to be worth. But according to Lang the money did not bring luck for the winner, who closed his butcher shop and lost huge sums on gambling before finally ending up poor and insane. Second prize was some1.8 million Lire and third to fifth prizes, a bit over 900,000, 450,000 and 225,000 Lire.

Footnote:
1. The zeppelin LZ-129 "Hindenburg" had crashed at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937 killing 35 out of 97 passengers and crew members and one man on the ground.

2. Grid order and results by Hans Etzrodt using information from "Grand Prix TRIPOLI 1925-1940" by Valerio Moretti and "Grand Premio di Tripoli" by Alberto Radaelli.

3. When two times are given the source of the first one is "Il littoriale" and the second one "Automobil Revue"

4. Here the difference in times is significant. To find out which one is the correct is hard. Using the first time Lang would have needed to do the next five laps at 3m25s per lap. Using the second time gives five 3m20s laps. In both cases it would need lap times faster than the fastest lap of the day. So Lang's time for 25 laps given by "Il littoriale" has been proved wrong. "Il littoriale" gives 1h30m47s for 25 laps and the given medium speed 216.425 km/h. Using a 13.1 km track length that speed corresponds to the time mentioned so it is not a simple printing error, but rather an error in the press release. Sadly "Automobile Revue" doesn't give the 25 lap time for Lang. But assuming the correct time was 1h31m47s instead things look better as it would give Lang 12s more time for each lap. 3m32s laps fits well together with the fact Lang had made a 3m29.19s lap around this time according to "Automobile Revue" so that could indicate that the 1h14m05.30s for 20 laps might be the correct one.

5. Up till the half way point the race has been quite straightforward to follow from old reports but then all the race reports seem to get lost somehow and it is not any longer possible to find out on which lap many of the pit stops and other events took place. Also the different accounts often contradict each other. But by analyzing the intermediate times one can get a rough idea of what might have taken place. The doubtful numbers given of course make the analysis harder.

6. Here is a further proof that the assumpion (see note 4) that Lang's time at 25 laps was 1h31m47s is correct, as it means Rosemeyer had been just 11s behind Lang two laps before the pass while 1h30m47s would have put Rosemeyer 1m11s behind Lang. It also fits with Lang's biography even if Lang puts the event after the second pit stop.

7. According to Neubauer Fagioli did apologize - in 1952 to be exact, just 8 days before his fatal crash - but I'm a little bit suspicions about that part of the story as it all fits together a bit too well, just as typical "Neubauer stories" use to do.

8. The official speed 216.315 km/h, repeted over and over again in books, is simply wrong and that by a huge margin! Using three decimals the "correct" speed would be 212.488 km/h.



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© 2014 Leif Snellman, Felix Muelas, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 27.10.2014