XV ADAC EIFELRENNEN
Nürburgring (D), 13 June 1937
10 laps x 22.810 km (14.173 mi) = 228.10 km (141.73 mi)
Rosemeyer's third consecutive Nürburgring victory.
Rosemeyer took the start, only to be passed by Caracciola's Mercedes. Rosemeyer then retook the lead on the third lap. After a tremendous duel with Caracciola Rosemeyer managed to
open up a gap after the pit stops. Caracciola tried his best but on this track he could do nothing against Rosemeyer, who took his third Nürburgring victory in a row.
Both German teams had of course a full five car entry for the Eifelrennen.
Auto Union was much depending on Bernd Rosemeyer with Rudolf Hasse as second driver as Hans Stuck was in South America and Luigi Fagioli was suffering from rheumatism and had to miss the race,
spending his time at a spa in Venice instead. He would not race again until Coppa Acerbo two months later. Ernst von Delius was to start but he was in pain and a bit shaken by the test crash one week
earlier when he got hit by a sparrow. Motorcycle racer Hermann Müller made his Auto Union race debut.
Daimler-Benz entered five cars to be driven by their regular drivers Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hermann Lang and by junior drivers Richard Seaman and Christian Kautz.
Kautz made his racing debut with the team in a car fitted with the new experimental suction carburettor supercharger system.
Scuderia Ferrari entered two 12 cylinder cars for Tazio Nuvolari and Giuseppe Farina.
The rest of the entries were also-runners with no chance for a top position. Hans Rüesch entered his Alfa Romeo 8C-35 with the same appearance as it had had at Helsinki, red with a white oval surrounding
Renato Balestrero was to race his Tipo B/P3 colored with a white front part and dark rear part.
Guglielmo Carraroli was to race an Alfa Romeo 2900A sports car.
Lazlo Hartmann was there with his Maserati 8CM painted in Hungarian red-white-green as was Soffietti with his narrow nosed Maserati 6C-34. Mandirola entered a Maserati 8CM painted in the Swiss colors, red
with white bonnet, and Hungarian Count Festetics was also to race an 8CM.
Instead of the usual rain and fog Nürburgring was hit by a heat wave with 35°C (95°F) during Friday practice! Rosemeyer was fastest in practice and took pole position with a time of 9m57s, being 3
seconds slower than during the pre-race test. He was joined in the front row by von Brauchitsch and Caracciola.
There were problems with von Brauchitsch's car and he had to take over Seaman's. A new car for Seaman was sent from Stuttgart and it arrived on Saturday night on a special built fast going lorry.
At dawn the weather did not look too good but it improved with the sun eventually breaking through the clouds. An estimated 300,000 spectators turned up for the event.
The event started off as early as 8 o'clock with two motorcycle races with entries in several classes. It was followed by a five lap sports car race, in which some 31 cars in 6 classes took part.
The overall winner was Indian-British driver Alfred Fane (Agabeg) in a Frazer Nash-BMW 328 with an overall time of 1h03m05.6s. Ex-Mercedes driver Henne tried to challenge Fane but he crashed at
Hocheichen and injured a shoulder. After the race Fane did a lap of honor with Korpsführer Hühnlein as a passenger.
After that it was finally time for the racing cars. As this was only a ten lap race, less than half the distance for the German Grand Prix, no refueling was needed. Herr Dietrich of Continental,
which delivered the tyres to the German teams, expected that doing lap times below 10m20s meant that the rear tyres had to be changed at half distance.
Unlike the sports cars, which had used a 4-3-4 grid, the Grand Prix cars were lined up in 3-2-3 formation:
The race was started with red-amber-green lights. On the grid several cars kept moving forward and when the amber light turned to green Nuvolari's Alfa had already almost reached the front line. Rosemeyer
took the lead, only to be passed at the back straight between Südkehre and Tribunenkurve by Caracciola's Mercedes. Spectators at the main stand got reports from the Karussel indicating that Caracciola was
leading there by two seconds. The last reporting station was at Galgenkopf at the start of the main straight and there Caracciola held on to his lead.
The first lap finished with seven German cars at the top. Caracciola was leading by 5 seconds after having done the first lap with a standing start in 10m13.4s. He was followed by Rosemeyer, von Brauchitsch,
Lang, von Delius, Seaman and Hasse. Nuvolari was the first Alfa driver in eighth place.
On the second lap Seaman had to retire at Fuchsröhre with fuel feed problems. Rosemeyer did the second lap in 9m58.8s. Rosemeyer was now challenging Caracciola and managed to pass him for the lead only to
be re-passed. Starting the third lap Caracciola was leading by 1.4 seconds. Then after a tremendous duel between the Mercedes-Benz and the Auto Union drivers, Rosemeyer took the lead at Aremberg, passing
Caracciola on the outside in the corner, and started to open up the gap to the Mercedes cars of Caracciola and von Brauchitsch. The rest of the cars, led by Lang, were already far behind. Meanwhile Kautz
did a low profile race with his new experimental Mercedes. He pitted with his car leaking oil but was sent out again.
After five laps the pit stops started with Caracciola coming in first with his left rear tyre worn down to the canvas and he was soon followed by von Brauchitsch. The Mercedes mechanics worked 38 seconds
on Caracciola's car and 35 or 36 seconds on von Brauchitsch's car and then they were away again, holding on to their positions.
Order at half point:
|1. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)|
|2. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)|
|3. von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)|
|4. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)|
|5. Hasse (Auto Union)|
|6. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)|
|7. Rüesch (Alfa Romeo)|
|8. Müller (Auto Union)|
On the sixth lap it was Rosemeyer's and Lang's turn to change rear tyres. The Auto Union mechanics did a record job sending Rosemeyer back after only 25 seconds, Lang's pit stop taking 45 seconds. The
Auto Union mechanics were sent out from the pit to receive applause from the spectators. (Note 1)
Because of the fast pit stop and Caracciola's earlier tyre trouble Rosemeyer was now leading Caracciola by 45 seconds. So Rosemeyer could ease up, just concentrating on keeping the gap. Von Brauchitsch
was still third, Hasse cruising to save tyres fourth and Nuvolari fifth, making an excellent effort as usual.
On the seventh lap Lang was back in the pit to change his wet plugs and lost two places to Hasse and Nuvolari. All Mercedes cars had plug problems during the race because of the fuel pump, which either
gave too much fuel or did not work at all.
Hasse made a late stop on the 8th lap to change rear tyres just in case, but with the car already up on the jack the team, noticing the tyres looked ok, frantically signaled him to continue as Nuvolari
was approaching fast. Hasse got off the jack and rejoined the race just behind Nuvolari. On the back straight behind the pits the Alfa Romeo driver waved the faster Auto Union by, a gesture much
appreciated by the crowd.
Farina retired around lap 8 with engine trouble. Already gone were Festetics, Mandirola and Balestrero.
Rüesch was the fastest privateer, working hard to keep newcomer Müller behind.
But no one could do anything against Rosemeyer, who after having done 10m10s laps speeded up a bit on the last lap, doing a 10m03s to win by some 50 seconds and receiving an enthusiastic welcome by the
team as well as by the spectators. Rosemeyer took his third consecutive Nürburgring victory calmly. The Eifelrennen was after all raced on the 13th of June and 13 was Rosemeyers's lucky number.
The Auto Union success interrupted the line of victories Mercedes had had during the first part of the season. Caracciola and von Brauchitsch finished second and third. Hasse finished fourth, having to
save the tyres, and Nuvolari fifth receiving a great ovation, the Mantuan always being popular by the Nürburgring crowd. Lang was sixth having done the later part on the race on 7 cylinders.
Hans Rüesch in his Alfa Romeo was the first privateer to take the flag in a very honorable eighth position before newcomers Kautz, and Müller.
After the race the engine on Rosemeyer's Auto Union was removed from the car and sealed, as it was to be used for a planned speed record attempt.
Fastest laps: Rosemeyer 9m58.4s, Caracciola 10m02.1s, von Brauchitsch 10m02.2s, Lang 10m25.0s, Hasse 10m26.1s, Nuvolari 10m26.2s.
|1.||1||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||10||1h42m11.1s||(Note 2)|
|2.||6||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||10||1h43m01.4s||+ 50.3s|
|3.||8||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||10||1h43m56.4s||+ 1m45.3s|
|4.||4||Rudolf Hasse||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||10||1h45m35.0s||+ 3m23.9s|
|5.||11||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.0||V-12||10||1h45m46.0s||+ 3m34.9s|
|6.||7||Hermann Lang||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||10||1h48m06.1s||+ 5m55.0s|
|7.||5||Hermann Müller||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||10||1h48m35.1s||+ 6m24.0s|
|8.||18||Hans Rüesch||H. Rüesch||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||10||1h48m44.1s||+ 6m33.0s|
|9.||10||Christian Kautz||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||10||1h49m38.4s||+ 7m27.3s|
|10.||2||Ernst von Delius||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||10||1h50m43.3s||+ 8m32.2s|
|11.||15||Luigi Soffietti||L. Soffietti||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||9|
|12.||16||László Hartmann||L. Hartmann||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||9|
|DNF||12||Giuseppe Farina||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.0||V-12|
|DNF||19||Renato Balestrero||R. Balestrero||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8|
|DNF||21||Adolfo Mandirola||Ecurie Genevoise||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8|
|DNF||23||Ernõ Festetics||Graf Festetics||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8|
|DNF||24||Guglielmo Carraroli||G. Carraroli||Alfa Romeo||2900A||2.9||S-8|
|DNF||9||Richard Seaman||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||1||fuel feed|
Fastest lap: Bernd Rosemeyer (Auto Union) in 9m58.4s = 137.1 km/h (85.2 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 133.9 km/h (83.2 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 137.5 km/h (85.5 mph)
Weather: nice and sunny
At the post race party the question about the Vanderbilt Cup came up. Elly Rosemeyer was hesitating to follow her husband on the long and very costly journey twice over the Atlantic Ocean for just
a race weekend (she was pregnant as well). Doktor Richard Bruhn, Chairman of Auto Union, who fully understood that Elly's presence had a positive influence on Bernd's driving, declared that
Auto Union of course would pay her ticket.
1. It must have been a memorable moment for the team as chief mechanic Ludwig Sebastian even begins his biography with this pit stop.
2. There are altenative results in the British papers, where the decimals were recognized as 1/5 seconds instead of 1/10s i.e 1h42m11.1s would mean 1h42m11 1/5s = 1h42m11.2s etc. including the
fastest lap which in this case would be 9m58.8s instead. As none of the original Eifelrennen results (including sports cars and motor cycles) have decimals higher than 4 there might indeed
have been a mistake in the initial results service.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Il Littoriale, Roma
La Stampa, Torino
Le Figaro, Paris
Motor Sport, London
Motorwelt (DDAC), München
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
The Autocar, London
Elly Beinhorn - Bernd Rosenmeyer - Mein Mann der Rennfahrer
George Monkhouse - Motor racing with Mercedes-Benz
Ludwig Sebastian - Hinter dröhnenden Motoren
19 June 1937: Rudolf Caracciola married Alice "Baby" Hoffman-Trobeck, who worked as Mercedes timekeeper.
When Chiron, who had been dating "Baby" for years, heared the news he was furious, but had only himself to blame as
he several times had refused her suggestions to get married.
19-20 June 1937: Jean-Pierre Wimille / Robert Benoist (Bugatti) wins the
"Les 24 Heures du Mans" race on the Circuit de la Sarthe in France.
Early in the race seven cars were involved in a chain collision at White House. Both René Kippeurt (Bugatti) and ERA's works driver Pat Fairfield (Frazer Nash-BMW) received fatal wounds and "Raph" (BMW) was badly injured
while Fritz Roth (BMW), Raoul Forestier (Riley), and Jean Tremoulet (Delahaye) only recieved minor injuries.|
|1.||Wimille / Benoist||Bugatti T57G||3287.938 km|
|2.||Paul / Mongin||Delahaye 135CS||3185.443 km|
|3.||Dreyfus / Stoffel||Delahaye 135CS||3125.428 km|
|4.||Gérard / de Valence||Delage D6||2907.590 km|
|5.||Steffington / Murton-Neale||Aston Martin Ulster||2768.686 km|
|6.||Orsich / Sauerwein||Adler Trumpf||2766.894 km|
II° CIRCUITO DI MILANO
Sempione Park - Milano (I), 20 June 1937
50 laps x 2.4 km (1.49 mi) = 120 km (74.6 mi)
Eugenio Siena scores
Once again it was three private ERAs against a field of Maseratis. This time the Maseratis took command from the start with Severi leading from Rovere and Siena.
However, both Severi and Rovene were soon in trouble leaving Siena to win. Marazza once again did a fine job in his old 4CS car.
Parco del Sempione was, as in 1936, used for the Milan Grand Prix, but for 1937 the circuit was straightened out a bit, bypassing
four of the tightest 1936 corners. The new circuit had a more simple profile, more or less rectangular in shape, and had been shortened by 200m to 2.4 km. The number of
grandstands was increased from six to eight.
Also, an electric timing system with photo cells, similar to the one used at Tripoli in May and Florence a week earlier, was installed.
The entry list naturally had similarities to the one at Florence. However, there seems to have been no works Maserati entries and their driver Trossi was instead racing for Scuderia Ferrari in the GP class.
Rovere had access to the works new 4-cylinder engined 6CM Maserati that had been introduced at Florence, so it might have been entered under the driver's name.
Scuderia Ambrosiana entered 1.5 liter cars for brothers Emilio and Luigi Villoresi and Scuderia Maremmana cars for Francesco Severi and Franco Cortese, while Nando Barbieri did not appear.
Also there were private 6CMs entered by Eugenio Siena, Vittorio Belmondo, Giovanni Rocco and Gino Rovere and two 1500cc 4CS two seaters were entered by Aldo Marazza and Nando Righetti .
Luigi Castelbarco was to race Luigi Plate´s 8 cylinder Talbot and Sergio Carnivali the "MB Speciale" with Bugatti chassis and Maserati engine.
The works ERA team was not present, and their driver Pat Fairfield was racing at Le Mans, so the British entries consisted, apart from Johnny Wakefield's blue Maserati 6CM, of three private ERAs: Reggie
Tongue's dark green R11B, Peter Whitehead's black R10B, and the "White Mouse" stable's yellow-blue R2B "Romulus" for Prince Bira. The Siamese team arrived after much hesitation as it had been seen in
Florence, where Bira had retired with brake problems, that the engine of the ERA was in very bad shape. Prince Chula approached Maserati about the possibility of borrowing a 6CM but got the answer that
the company's policy was to sell cars, not to lend them. So to keep their promise to the organizers it was decided that Bira should start in the ERA but immediately retire if the engine showed signs of
giving up. New brake pads were sent down from England by air.
Apart from the 1500cc cars there were also five 1100cc Maseratis to be raced by "Johnny" Lurani, Pino Baruffi, Giuseppe Gilera , Gianbattista Azzi and Eugenio Minetti (4CS).
On Friday the voiturettes practiced between the sessions for the larger class. Rovere was fastest setting in a time of 1m25.45s. Then followed Emilio Villoresi, 1m27.8s, Siena, 1m28.40s Cortese 1m28.60s and
Tongue 1m29.32s, Luigi Villoresi 1m30.4s, Severi 1m31.1s, Belmondo 1m32.7s and Lurani 1m33.8s.
Bira did not take part in Friday practice with his ERA as it was not ready but he did some laps in Lurani's 1100cc car to learn the circuit.
Paul Sheldon has listed times for the grid positions that then should correspond to Saturday practice results even if some of the times are clearly rounded off: Siena 1m24s, Rovere, 1m25.24s, Severi 1m26.24s,
Cortese and Marazza 1m27s, E & L Villoresi, Bira and Rocco 1m28s, Tongue and Wakefield 1m29s.
Race day came with nice and sunny weather. There are no spectator numbers available but in 1936 there had been some 30,000 spectators and the number was hardly less in 1937.
While the dignitaries including Giuseppe Furmanik, who had succeeded Count Vicenzo Florio as president of the Italian Sports commission (CSAI), took their positions on the grand stand the spectators found
positions on the stands or on the grass all around in the park. For some reason Gilera did not start so there were 20 voiturettes that lined up like this for the 2 a.m. start:
||* 26 Gilera (Maserati) DNS|
It seems that the flag was dropped a bit suddenly, as some drivers were taken by surprise and had not revved up their engines. Anyway, Severi immediately took the lead followed by Rovere, Siena, Emilio and Luigi Villoresi
and Bira with the ERA's brakes not yet bedded in sixth position.
Severi held his lead for six laps but then had to make a pit stop giving the lead over to Rovere. But Siena was in great form and managed to pass Rovere to be the third leader of the race.
Luigi Villoresi, who had to stop for a long time, and Bira were falling back while Marazza, racing the two seater sports car advanced to third. Lurani had used the car to drive in hill climbs and its close ratio box was
ideal for the circuit.
The order was now Siena, Rovere, Marazza and Bira. Behind them there was a duel between Cortese and Emilio Villoresi that ended when Villoresi had to make a pit stop, losing a lap. Then on the 29th (or 19th?) lap Bira
came into the pits and reported that the oil pressure had disappeared on the ERA.
Now the eyes were on Rovere in the special 4 cylinder Maserati, who held a firm second position following Siena. Would he be able to retake the lead?
No! After 32 laps Rovere retired with engine troubles leaving over second position to Marazza. Cortese was third and Tongue fourth and best of the ERAs, while Luigi Villoresi had car trouble and was falling further back.
There were no major changes of the order during the latter part of the race, even if Cortese was able to close the gap to Marazza to 10 s in the end.
So the race ended with some odd names in the results list. Siena took the flag to take his only voiturette victory. Marazza did a great job in the 4CS to finish second and Cortese third followed by Tongue in fourth place.
Lurani finished 11th overall and first of the 1100cc entries.
Just as at Florence there were problems with the electrical timing during the race as the system got jammed or the photoelectric cell failed to find the cars.
|1.||10||Eugenio Siena||E. Siena||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-4||50||1h13m02.95s|| |
|2.||6||Aldo Marazza||A. Marazza||Maserati||4CS||1.5||S-4||50||1h13m35.64s||+ 32.69s|
|3.||42||Franco Cortese||Scuderia Maremmana||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||50||1h13m44.03s||+ 41.08s|
|4.||4||Reggie Tongue||R. Tongue||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||50||1h14m50.03s||+ 1m47.35s|
|5.||36||Vittorio Belmondo||V. Belmondo||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-4||50||1h15m39.31s||+ 2m36.36s|
|6.||22||Luigi Villoresi||Scuderia Ambrosiana||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||50||1h16m40.70s||+ 3m37.75s|
|7.||12||Francesco Severi||Scuderia Maremmana||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||50||1h17m08.54s||+ 4m05.59s|
|8.||54||Peter Whitehead||P. Whitehead||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||50||1h17m35.34s||+ 4m32.39s|
|9.||16||Ferdinando Righetti||F. Righetti||Maserati||4CS||1.5||S-4||50||1h18m27.66s||+ 5m24.71s|
|10.||14||John Wakefield||J. Wakefield||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||50||1h19m13.29s||+ 6m11.34s|
|11.||8||Giovanni Lurani||Scuderia Ambrosiana||Maserati||4CM||1.1||S-4||47||1h17m36.41s|| |
|12.||18||Pino Baruffi||Gruppo Volta||Maserati||4CM||1.1||S-4||46||1h17m05.10s|| |
|DNF||32||Eugenio Minetti||Scuderia Ambrosiana||Maserati||4CS||1.1||S-4||36|| |
|DNF||52||Emilio Villoresi||Scuderia Ambrosiana||Maserati||4CM||1.5||S-6||35|| |
|DNF||50||Gino Rovere||G. Rovere||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-4||32||engine|| |
|DNF||34||"B Bira"||"B Bira"||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||30||engine|| |
|DNF||24||Sergio Carnevalli||Gruppo Volta||MB-Maserati||1.5||S-4||29|| || |
|DNF||40||Luigi Castelbarco||L Platé||Talbot||700||1.5||S-8||9|| || |
|DNF||48||Gianbattista Azzi||G. Azzi||Maserati||4CM||1.1||S-4||5|| || |
|DNF||38||Giovanni Rocco||G. Rocco||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||4|| || |
Fastest lap: Luigi Villoresi (Maserati) on lap 5 in 1m25.20s = 101.4 km/h (63.0 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 98.6 km/h (61.2 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 102.9 km/h (63.9 mph)?
Weather: : Nice and sunny
The day had been Siena's, who had joined Alfa Romeo as a young apprentice and been mechanic for drivers like Antonio Ascari, Campari and Nuvolari. Ironically, his good performance at Milan might have contributed to his
death as he was offered a seat by Alfa Corse for Tripoli 1938, a race that would be fatal.
This was a hard race to write an account about as the few available sources give widely different accounts of what and when things happened and the order of the competitors during the race. I have tried mainly to follow
the Italian papers and I have assumed all the British accounts in papers and books have their origin in the same source.
II° CIRCUITO DI MILANO
Sempione Park - Milano (I), 20 June 1937
70 laps x 2.4 km (1.49 mi) = 168 km (104.4 mi)
Alfa Romeo gives Auto Union a lesson
On the twisty park circuit Hasse's long Auto Union had no chance against the more nimble Alfa Romeos and Hasse had to see himself beaten not only by Nuvolari's and Farina's Scuderia Ferraris
but also by Rüesch's private Alfa.
Parco del Sempione, near the Alfa Romeo factory at Portello, was, as in 1936, used for the Milan Grand Prix, but with a shortened circuit (see the voiturette race).
The race was subtitled "Coppa del Fascio Primogero".
Scuderia Ferrari entered three 12 cylinder Alfa Romeos for Tazio Nuvolari, Giuseppe Farina and Carlo Felice Trossi. Hans Rüesch entered his usual white nosed 8 cylinder car.
Auto Union sent one car for Rudolf Hasse. There have often been speculations why Auto Union, after having been beaten at the 1936 race, decided to enter a car for the 1937 race as well to a circuit
that did not fit their car. Mostly the answer has been that they wanted to give Hasse some practice in a minor race. However, Automobil-Revue has an answer. It claims that the entry was the result
of a recent agreement between the German and Italian automobile sport authorities to take part in each other's race events.
Initially it was meant that Piero Dusio should drive his 3.7 liter Maserati 6C-34 in the race under the "Scuderia Torino" banner. However, Dusio sold the car to Scuderia Maremmana, which entered
an Alfa Romeo P3 for Giacomo de Rham and at a late moment also invited prince Bira to drive the 6C-34. However as Dusio now was out of car, it was decided that
de Rham should give over the Alfa Romeo P3 to Dusio for the race and that de Rham would start the race in the Maserati 6C-34 and then give it over to Bira.
The rest of the field consisted of two Alfa Romeos by privateers Andrea Brezzi, and Giovanni Minozzi and two 3 litre Maseratis driven by Hungarians Count Festetics and Lazlo Hartmann, the latter's
car probably painted red-white-green.
First practice started at 2 p.m. on Friday. Hasse was immediately out to learn the new track and soon was down to a lap time of 1m23s. Later he improved to 1m22.2s. Farina was next with a time of
1m22.93s with Nuvolari two seconds slower than his team mate and Trossi also taking it easy concentrating on learning the circuit. Later in the afternoon the Ferrari drivers pushed a bit more,
Trossi going down to 1m22.3 and Nuvolari, according to "Il Littoriale" making 1m21 flat, being fastest of the day. However, according to "La Stampa" the fastest Friday times were: Hasse 1m22.3s,
Trossi 1m22.3s, Nuvolari 1m22.5s, Rüesch 1m22.8s and Farina 1m22.9s
Practice continued on Saturday morning and afternoon but as usual, because of the newspaper deadlines, there is, apart from the grid positions, no information available about the Saturday practice
The voiturette race was scheduled for 2 p.m., the big class for 3:45 p.m. In the interval between the two races reports of the horrible Le Mans accident came through to the teams.
After having had serious problems with the photoelectric cells during the voiturette race it was decided to return to manual timing for the big class.
The 11 competitors lined up for the 70 lap race with Nuvolari in pole position like this:
When the flag dropped Farina did the best start, coming from the second row to take the lead, but he had to see himself passed by Nuvolari on the very first lap. Behind them followed Trossi, Rüesch and
Hasse. As expected the real race was between five competitors, the three Ferraris and Rüesch's private Alfa vs. Hasse's Auto Union. The rest of the cars were also-runs.
On the sixth lap Hasse, struggling with too much horsepower for this type of circuit, finally managed to pass Rüesch for fourth position but the duo had fallen back from the three works Ferraris.
Further back Bira had taken over the Scuderia Maremmana Maserati from de Rham on the sixth lap and was running in 7th position. It was the first time Bira sat in the 6C-34 even if he had experience
with the similar 8CM.
Trossi was pushing Farina and passed him for second position on lap 13 and Trossi, good as ever on street circuits, started to close in on Nuvolari. Meanwhile Dusio was the first retirement in the
race and he was later to be followed by Count Festetics.
At 20 laps Nuvolari and Trossi had a 40 second advantage over Hasse. Trossi caught Nuvolari and managed to pass him on the 21st lap to the cheers of the emotional crowd, who, while being Nuvolari fans,
loved to see him challenged by an underdog.
To their disappointment Trossi had to stop on the next lap to change a sparking plug, falling down to fifth position. On the 24th lap Farina spun out on the grass but managed to rejoin without any car
damage. He had however dropped behind Hasse. So the race order was now Nuvolari, Hasse, Farina, Rüesch and Trossi.
Laszlo Hartmann lost control of his Maserati and went spectacularly into the straw barriers at a speed of some 100 km/h, in front of the main grandstand but continued nonstop.
Trossi caught and passed Rüesch on the 31th lap. Rüesch then had to see himself lapped by Nuvolari on lap 36. Farina, who had been attacking Hasse for several laps, found a way past on lap 46, moving
up to second.
Meanwhile Bira had to retire with engine problem or fuel starvation.
Trossi, again going strong, was closing in on Hasse, but then the steering was not feeling right and he had to make a lengthy stop to check the steering and for front brake adjustments on lap 49.
When Nuvolari put Hasse a lap down on lap 55 the latter seems to have got a bit frustrated by the situation and spun his Auto Union, losing third position to Rüesch. On the 59thlap Nuvolari, showing
his superiority, lapped second positioned Farina as well.
And that was the race order that continued to the end. Nuvolari took the flag for his only 1937 race win, followed two minutes later by his team mate Farina. Rüesch was an excellent third, having beaten
an Auto Union fair and square. Some early reports seem to have put Trossi in front of Hasse as the Alfa driver had passed the Auto Union late in the race. However, it was soon realized that Trossi was 2
laps behind the German.
This was to be the last prewar Italian "town" event that featured a class racing to the international formula. From now on they would concentrate on the voiturette class leaving the Grand Prix cars to
Montenero, Pescara and Monza.
|1.||88||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||70||1h37m15.2s|
|2.||78||Giuseppe Farina||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||70||1h39m19.4s||+ 2m04.2s|
|3.||58||Hans Rüesch||H. Rüesch||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||69||1h39m38.4s|
|4.||82||Rudolf Hasse||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||69||1h39m49.0s|
|5.||66||Carlo Felice Trossi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||67||1h38m08.6s|
|6.||86||Giovanni Minozzi||G. Minozzi||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||66||1h38m04.4s|
|7.||56||Andrea Brezzi||A. Brezzi||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||63||1h38m31.8s|
|8.||74||László Hartmann||L. Hartmann||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||62||1h38m43.4s|
|DNF||64||"B Bira" / G. de Rham||Scuderia Maremmana||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||48||engine/fuel?|
|DNF||76||Ernõ Festetics||Graf Festetics||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||32|
|DNF||84||Piero Dusio||Scuderia Maremmana||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||S-8||16|
Fastest lap: Tazio Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) on lap 60 in 1m20.6s = 107.2 km/h (66.6 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 103.6 km/h (64.4 mph)
Pole position lap speed: ?
Weather: sunny and nice..
1. A picture from the grid show that at least the first row and possible the other was like this (i.e. a mirror image of
what is shown is Sheldon's book).
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Primary sources researched for this article:
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Il Littoriale, Bologna
LA Stampa, Torino
The Autocar, London
The Motor, London
Special thanks to:
3 July 1937:
The J. C. C. Members Day was held at Brooklands with two One-Hour High-Speed trials and
one and two lap handicap events for amateurs.|
4 July 1937: Louis Chiron (Talbot) wins the Grand Prix de l´Automobile Club de France 40 laps sports cars race at Montlhéry,
|1.||Louis Chiron||Talbot T150C||3h46m06.1s|
|2.||Gianfranco Comotti||Talbot T150C||3h48m12.5s|
|3.||Albert Divo||Talbot T150C||3h49m48.9s|
|4.||René Carrière||Delahaye 135CS||- 1 lap|
|5.||Raymond Sommer||Talbot T150C||- 2 laps|
|6.||Chaboud / Trémoulet||Delahaye 135CS||- 7 laps|
II GEORGE VANDERBILT CUP RACE
Roosevelt Raceway - New York (USA), 5 July 1937
(Monday - delayed two days due to rain)
90 laps x 3 1/3 mi (5.364 km) = 300 mi (482.8 km)
|1||Mauri Rose||T. B. Martin||Maserati||V8 RI|
|2||Jimmy Snyder||H.C. Henning||Boyle-Miller|
|3||Ted Horn||H Hartz||Wetteroth-Miller|
|4||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16|
|5||Tazio Nuvolari||Squderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12|
|7||Billy Winn||B Winn||Summers-Miller||4.2|
|8||Deacon Litz||Malmacaan Team||Maserati||V8 RI||DNA - did not appear|
|9||Ernst von Delius||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16|
|10||Giuseppe Farina||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||V-12|
|12||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8|
|14||Rex Mays||B. White||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8|
|15||Richard Seaman||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8|
|16||Eugen Bjørnstad||Balmacaam Team||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8|
|17||George Connor||J. Marks||Adams-Miller|
|18||Bill Cummings||J. Moore||Miller-Offenhauser|
|19||H. Lewis||K. Petillo||DeBaets-Studebaker|
|21||Babe Stapp||H. J. Topping||Maserati||V8 RI|
|22||Joe Thorne||J. Thorne||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8|
|24||Frank Brisko||Elgin PP Co.||Stevens-Brisko FD|
|25||Kelly Petillo||K. Petillo||Wetteroth-Miller|
|28||Bob Swanson||Bob Swanson||Bugatti||DNA - did not appear|
|31||Chester Gardner||C. Gardner||Duesenberg-Offenhauser|
|33||Frank Wearne||P. Wierick||Miller|
|34||Shorty Cantlon||William Cantlon||Miller||DNA - did not appear|
|42||Wern Oldenduff||F Griswold||Alfa Romeo||DNA - did not appear|
|43||Lucky Teeter||Fowler||DNA - did not appear|
|44||Ronnie Householder||R. Householder||Stevens-Miller|
|45||Enzo Fiermonte||Fiermonte-Rand||Maserati||V8 RI||DNS lack of experience|
|45||Wilbur Shaw||Fiermonte-Rand||Maserati||V8 RI|
|46||Moretti||Virgil Williams||Williams||DNA - did not appear|
|49||Henry Banks||L. Kimmel||Kimmel-Offenhauser|
|54||Herb Ardinger||L. Welch||Welch-Offenhauser||4.2|
|63||Benny Bradfon||B Bradfon||Duesenberg||DNQ - did not qualify|
|65||Milt Marion||M. Marion||Miller|
|66||Gus Zarka||G. Watts||Ambler|
|67||Ora Bean||R. B. Lynch||Ambler|
|72||R. Snowberger||F. M. Gardner||Packard-Miller||4.2|
The long journey
Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz split their effort, half the team going to New York and half the team remaining in Europe for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Seamn challenged Rosemeyer but at the end the British driver had to make an extra stop for fuel and Rosemeyer could take a flag as winner.
Both German teams and Scuderia Ferrari decided to go to New York for the 1937 Vanderbilt cup, after the organizers had
promised to move the race from July 4th to July 3rd so that there were ample time for the teams to catch the ship home
even in case of a race delay due to rain. As the race clashed with the Belgian GP it meant that the teams were split up,
with two drivers from each team entering each race.|
The Ferrari team entered SS Rex (Note 1) in Genua on 16 June and the German teams entered SS. Bremen (Note 2)
in Bremerhaven 22 June. The newly wed Mr & Mrs Caracciola joined Bremen the next day at Cherbourg. After having taken part in the Milan GP Nuvolari and Farina went onbord SS Normandie (Note 3)
in Le Havre on 23 June. On Normandie Nuvolari who recently had lost his father learned the terrible news that his oldest son
Giorgio had died (Note 4).
Prizes: First: $20,000; second, $10,000; third, $5,000; fourth, $3,500; fifth, $3,000; sixth, $2,200; seventh, $1,800; eighth, $1,600; ninth, $1,500; tenth, $1,400.
Consolation money outside first ten: $10,000
The track had been changed since last year and made more faster. The European drivers did not particularly like the track,
however, the hidden curves making it hard to find the brake points.
For some curious reason the American organizers had asked the Germans to paint swastikas on their cars.
Qualifying speed was was taken as the avarage for 10 laps with 3 attempts permitted.
Caracciola was fastest in practice from Rosemeyer and Californian driver Rex Mays, who raced in the Alfa Romeo 8 cylinder car
that had been used as a spare car for the Ferrari team during the 1936 race. The car was heavily modified and with a new
larger supercharger Mays proved to be faster than the works 12 cylinder cars to the disgust of the Ferrari team.
Before the race the Mercedes-Benz team decided to change to the new suction carburettor supercharger system on
all their cars to better the supercharger response at medium revs. Mercedes would retain the new system; gone forever
was now the typical Mercedes-Benz scream of the blower supercharger that had filled the GP races since
At Saturday 1.30 PM when the cars were already lined up for the start it began to rain.
The race was immediately postponed until Monday.
|* Car qualified by Enzo Fiermonte, who withdrew.|
At 2 PM Monday 5th 80,000 spectators finally saw Ralph de Palma wave the flag. Rosemeyer pulled his
Auto Union hard to the left and took the first corner in front of Caracciola and Mays. Then followed Nuvolari, Seaman
and Farina. On lap two Seaman moved into fourth position and on the next lap Caracciola took over the lead and
opened up a 6 seconds gap. American Billy Winn was doing a great job having passed Farina and Nuvolari and was
fighting with Seaman for fourth place before having to fall back with mechanical problems.
On lap 11 it was Rosemeyer's turn to take the lead, he and Caracciola having a tough fight and pulling
away from the others. Mays was still third now followed by Nuvolari, who had decided to start after all. Nuvolari was
driving flat out as usual, having already passed Seaman. Nuvolari's efforts ended on lap 16 when the engine could
not stand the pace anymore and threw a rod.|
Caracciola was the next to retire with supercharger failure on lap 22. Caracciola was however not particularly disappointed
as the America trip doubled as his and "Baby's" honeymoon trip. Seaman had started to advance and the order was now
Rosemeyer, Seaman, Mays, von Delius and Farina.
On lap 38 Rosemeyer made a 35 seconds pitstop for fuel and tyres, Seaman now being the new leader by 30 seconds. Mays was also in
for a 78 seconds stop and at lap 40 Farina came in and gave over his car to Nuvolari.
Rosemeyer pulled in Seaman's lead and caught the Mercedes just as Seaman pulled into the pits for his stop on lap 46.
The order after the pitstops were: Rosemeyer, Seaman, Mays, von Delius, Nuvolari, Winn and Horn.
Nuvolari was in great form, passing von Delius and then challenging and passing Mays. But on lap 50 the Flying Mantuan
was back in the pits having destroyed his second engine of the day and gave back the Alfa to Farina, who limped on
to finish fifth after having to do an extra pitstop on lap 70.
Near the end Seaman was rapidly closing in on Rosemeyer but then the Mercedes run out of fuel and
Seaman had to make an unscheduled stop one lap from the finish, leaving Rosemeyer to win by 50 seconds.
After having been promoted to SS-Obersturmführer for his victory at Eifelrennen 1936, Rosemeyer
was now promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain).
|1.||4||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||90||3h38m00.75s|
|2.||15||Richard Seaman||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||90||3h38m51.78s||+ 51.03s|
|3.||14||Rex Mays||B. White||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||90||3h44m35.82s||+ 6m35.07s|
|4.||9||Ernst von Delius||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||90||3h48m09.50s||+ 10m08.75s|
|5.||10||G. Farina/T. Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||V-12||90||3h51m29.75s||+ 13m29.00s|
|6.||22||Joe Thorne||J. Thorne||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||90||3h59m56.10s||+ 21m55.35s|
|7.||18||Bill Cummings||J. Moore||Miller-Offenhauser||90||4h02m54.30s||+ 24m53.55s||9th ?|
|8.||72||R. Snowberger/K. Fowler||F. M. Gardner||Packard-Miller||90||4h03m47.40s||+ 25m46.65s|
|9.||45||Wilbur Shaw||Fiermonte-Rand||Maserati||V8 RI||90||4h04m03.42s||+ 26m02.67s|
|10.||54||Herb Ardinger||L. Welch||Welch-Offenhauser||90||4h17m18.43s||+ 39m17.68s|
|11.||33||Frank Wearne||P. Wierick||Miller||90||4h19m19.42s||+ 41m18.67s|
|12.||31||Chester Gardner||C. Gardner||Duesenberg-Offenhauser||90||4h22m00.37s||+ 43m59.62s|
|13.||24||Frank Brisko||Elgin PP Co.||Stevens-Brisko FD||87|
|DNF||1||Mauri Rose||T. B. Martin||Maserati||V8 RI||85||universal joint|
|14.||65||Milt Marion||M. Marion||Miller||78|
|DNF||16||Eugen Bjørnstad||Balmacaam Team||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||60||transmission|
|DNF||3||Ted Horn||H Hartz||Wetteroth-Miller||59||transmission|
|DNF||17||George Connor||J. Marks||Adams-Miller||55||transmission|
|DNF||67||Ora Bean||R. B. Lynch||Ambler||42||flywheel bolts|
|DNF||25||Kelly Petillo||K. Petillo||Wetteroth-Miller||39||pinion bearing|
|DNF||2||Jimmy Snyder||H.C. Henning||Boyle-Miller||39||gear lever|
|DNF||19||H. Lewis||K. Petillo||DeBaets-Studebaker||25||magneto coupling|
|DNF||49||Henry Banks||L. Kimmel||Kimmel-Offenhauser||24||rear axle|
|DNF||12||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||17||supercharger|
|DNF||5||Tazio Nuvolari||Squderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||16||connecting rod|
|DNF||27||Albert Cusick||Gustav-Schumacher||Schumacher-Cusick-Ford||11||left rear hub|
|DNF||21||Babe Stapp||H. J. Topping||Maserati||V8 RI||8||piaton|
|DNF||44||Ronnie Householder||R. Householder||Stevens-Miller||8||oil pipe|
|DNF||7||Billy Winn||B Winn||Summers-Miller||8||transmission|
|DNF||66||Gus Zarka||G. Watts||Ambler||2||connecting rod|
Fastest lap: ?|
Winner's medium speed: 132.9 km/h (82.6 mph)
Pole position lap (2m19.78s) speed: 138.16 km/h (85.85 mph)
1. Italia Flotta Riunite's turbine steamer "Rex" ( 51062 GRT, 140,000 SHP 29.0 knots) had held the "Blue Riband" as the
fastest Atlantic liner in 1933-35.
2. North German Lloyd's turbine steamer "Bremen" ( 51731 GRT, 135,000 SHP 28.5 knots) had held the "Blue Riband" as the
fastest Atlantic liner in 1933.
3. CGT's Turbo-electric "Normandie" (83423 GRT, 165,000 SHP 32.2 knots) was at that time of the 1937 trip the world's
largest liner. She had just lost the "Blue Riband" to Cunard-White Star's "Queen Mary" but won it back in July.
4. Some sources says typhoid, other talks about heart failure.
5. While swastikas were often to be seen on German record cars and streamliners, this is one of the very few times
that swastikas apperared on Grand Prix cars in race condition.
6. Qualifying results giving as speed. Caracciola's pole speed corresponds to a 2m19.78s lap.
Sheldon (1st ed) has the speed recalculated to time for 10 laps but as he has used 3 miles instead of 3 1/3 miles for track length all his times are wrong.
10 July 1937:
The B. A. R. C. Meeting was held at Brooklands.|
H. L. Hadley (Austin 0.7 L) wins the National Race.
The other handicap races were won by R. Parnell (M. G. 1.1 L), C. H. Masters (Fiat 1.0 L), Michael May (Alvis 2.0 L) and Arthur Dobson (ERA 1.5 L).
VII GRAND PRIX DE BELGIQUE
Spa-Francorchamps (B), 11 July 1937
34 laps x 14.864 km (9.236 mi) = 505.38 km (314.03 mi)
Hasse's greatest day
by Hans Etzrodt
The major contenders had to split their teams in half because of clashing dates with the Vanderbilt Cup race in the USA. A steady driving Hasse (Auto Union) became the unexpected winner
at the fast Spa circuit, ahead of the chargers Stuck (Auto Union) and Lang (Mercedes-Benz). This latest victory made it three in a row for Auto Union. The under-powered Alfa Romeos of
Sommer and Trossi did not feature at all, while the Belgian driver Gouvion broke his Maserati's engine during practice and Fagioli did not appear. Although there were only eight starters,
it proved to be one of the more exciting races. While Hasse decided on a one stop race, Stuck and Lang planned for a faster pace and had to stop twice for tires. In their battle, Stuck,
Lang and Hasse swapped the lead several times and the outcome of the three hour race was not decided until the end. This kept everybody on their toes while all records were shattered.
When it looked like Lang was going to seize the lead for the last time, his Mercedes let him down and he fell back to third place. Stuck's faster pace required two pit stops but did
not work to his advantage and he was fairly beaten by his calculating teammate Hasse. It was not to be von Brauchitsch's weekend since he once again encountered trouble when his speeding
Mercedes left the road during practice. It was a wonder that he was not seriously injured after the car made a complete somersault. During the race a supercharger failure caused his
retirement. Kautz (Mercedes-Benz) finished fifth while Müller (Auto Union) retired.
In 1936 the Belgian Grand Prix was held as a 24 hour sports car race but the following year, despite French entreaties, the R.A.C.B. (Royal Automobile Club de Belgique) decided to hold the
Grand Prix de Belgique again for racecars to the current 750 kg formula. The last time grand prix cars had raced at Spa was in 1935, when Caracciola won in a Mercedes-Benz at 157.369 km/h
and von Brauchitsch established the existing lap record of 166.698 km/h. The race was to be run again over 34 laps on the same 14.864 km road circuit, a total of 506 km, so that time comparisons
were possible with the 1935 race.
The Belgian Grand Prix took place just one week after the Vanderbilt Cup race in the USA. To render participation possible in both races, it was necessary to split the teams of the Scuderia Ferrari,
Auto Union and Daimler-Benz. In 1937 the only existing transatlantic passenger air service was by airship. Originally it was planned for Caracciola and Rosemeyer to return with the dirigible "Hindenburg"
in time for practice at Spa. Their tight schedule, with the Hindenburg due to depart New York on July 7, never materialized. Two months earlier this gigantic airship, within seconds, was completely destroyed,
when the 804-foot "Hindenburg" went up in flames upon landing at Lakehurst, N.J. Instead, the two European champions were now on the high seas aboard the "S.S. Europa" on their return from America and were
expected to arrive on July 13. With Nuvolari, Farina, Rosemeyer, von Delius, Caracciola and Seaman still at sea, the entry at Spa was reduced to only nine cars. Scuderia Ferrari was represented by Count
Felice Trossi and reserve driver Raymond Sommer in 12C-36 Alfa Romeos. Count Antonio Brivio had recently married and was unavailable, while Brivio and Pintacuda had not yet returned from Brazil where
they had raced with success in the Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix, although Stuck made it back in time from Brazil.
Auto Union entered three Type C cars for Hans Stuck, Rudolf Hasse and their new man, the 25 year old motorcycle racer H. P. Müller. Fagioli, still unwell with rheumatism, did not appear for this race.
Daimler-Benz arrived with four of their W125's, which for the last time were equipped with the old pressure carburation system, causing the fearsome, shrill scream of the supercharger every time the
driver backed off the throttle. A suction-carbureted car, delivering more power, had just been successfully raced by Seaman in the Vanderbilt Cup race. At Spa the racing crew had a suction-carburetor
kit available, but it was not utilized. Instead of Rudolf Uhlenhaut, long time engineer Jakob Krauss was responsible for the engineering and Karl Kudorfer, Daimler-Benz press expert, took Alfred
Neubauer's place as team manager. Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch and the 23 year old Swiss, Christian Kautz, were at hand and the newcomer Hans Hugo Hartmann was the reserve driver. His parents
had had to sign his contract with Mercedes, because he was not yet 21 at the time. Besides these three factory teams the only independent driver was the Belgian Lancia dealer Franz Gouvion in an old
8CM Maserati which was totally outclassed.
On Wednesday, the first practice day, von Brauchitsch crashed the W125/1 training car at Frontier bend. This was the right uphill hairpin just past the left Eau Rouge bend, which was to be eliminated
in 1939. He had braked too late and when his car hit the embankment, it somersaulted off the track landing on its wheels in a meadow. Driver and car were lucky to escape serious injury. Manfred got away with
bruises and a cut on the shoulder. After a sleepless night and against doctors' orders, the German sat behind the wheel again on Friday, the third practice day. He did several fast laps, the fastest in 5m11s
with his W125/2. This performance made him the favorite for the race. Kautz in a new W125/6 had problems when his car kept jumping out of gear.
Hasse, one of the youngest drivers, was quite familiar with this circuit as he had driven around the course dozens of times with the Adler sports car at Francorchamps.
H. P. Müller, in only his second race with Auto Union encountered engine problems. Gouvion broke the engine of his Maserati and could not repair it in time for the race.
About 50,000 people lined the beautiful Ardennes circuit. It had been raining up to just before the start. The young Belgian King Leopold III and his brother, Prince Charles, were the most prominent visitors,
seated in the royal box. Before the start the King met with the drivers, who explained their cars in which the monarch showed great interest. The line-up for the starting grid was not in order of the achieved
practice times, but instead by ballot. Lots were drawn by the teams and then the team managers usually assigned their best drivers to the front positions. This old-fashioned arrangement, which was customary at
Spa, once again placed a slower car to the front of the grid where the 8 drivers lined up as follows:
About 20 minutes before the start, during warming up in front of the grandstand, the radiator on von Brauchitsch's car sprang a leak. With everyone lined up at the start, the concerned Mercedes mechanics
completed this repair quickly on the grid by soldering the radiator. But then the cooled down engine refused to start. Thus, when King Leopold gave the starting signal at 1:00 PM, one mechanic was still
desperately cranking the starting handle in front of Brauchitsch's Mercedes, which was parked in the first row. In all this excitement Stuck streaked away like lightning, followed by Sommer, Hasse, Lang and
Müller, with the stranded Mercedes-Benz balking Kautz and Trossi. Finally, as Trossi's Alfa reached the stationary Mercedes, von Brauchitsch's engine fired up and he chased after the field.
The on form Stuck immediately set down an incredibly fast pace. He completed the first lap at an average of 165.758 km/h with a gap to Lang, then Hasse, Kautz and Müller. Instead of a record first lap, von
Brauchitsch stopped at his pit to have his windshield and goggles cleaned, as they were covered with oil from Müller's Auto Union, when the Mercedes driver tried to pass him. It was not going to be von
Brauchitsch's day as he had fallen back again to last place. On the second lap, Trossi stopped the Alfa Romeo at the pits. Stuck completed the third lap in 5m19s at 167.7 km/h, beating von Brauchitsch's
1935 record of 166.698 km/h. Trossi blew the engine of his Alfa on his third lap when he was already two laps behind the leaders. Lang's Mercedes caught up with the Stuck's Auto Union and followed right
On the fourth lap Stuck did a 5m15s lap at 169.9 km/h, while Brauchitsch drove a lap at 168.977 km/h. Stuck, Lang and Hasse was the order for the first seven laps. Stuck completed lap seven in 5m08s at
173.7 km/h. But the pace was too much for his tires, and his Auto Union threw a thread and he stopped for new tires, which put Lang into the lead on lap eight. Stuck, now with fresh tires, resumed the
race in fifth place. For the next four laps it was Lang leading with Hasse not far behind, then Kautz, while von Brauchitsch also had to change tires.
At the end of lap 11 while Lang made a pit stop for new tires and refueled at the same time, Hasse's Auto Union took the lead. The order on lap 12 was Hasse, Lang, Kautz, Stuck, von Brauchitsch, Müller
and Sommer bringing up the tail. Stuck caught up and quickly passed Brauchitsch and Kautz. After 13 laps the order was as follows:
|1. Hasse (Auto Union)||1h08m56s = 168.2 km/h|
|2. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)||1h09m53s = 165.8 km/h|
|3. Stuck (Auto Union)||1h10m21s = 164.7 km/h|
|4. Kautz (Mercedes-Benz)||no time|
|5. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||no time|
|6. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||no time|
|7. Müller (Auto Union)||no time|
On lap 14 Müller retired with a broken oil pipe and the field was down to six cars. Rudi Hasse, ahead of Lang and Stuck, lapped the circuit at 173.804 km/h and was leading by 42 seconds. Hasse knew that
he had to save his tires until half distance, when he would have to stop for a change. He drove his regular laps to make the tires last till the end of lap 17 when he pulled into the pits as planned, to
change tires and refuel. He had come in just in time because the white signal-strip of the left rear tire was already visible. As the engine of Hasse's Auto Union was fired up again, Lang's Mercedes
flashed by into the lead with Stuck behind him. So, Hasse was now in third place chasing after the leaders. On lap 18, Lang pulverized the lap record in 5m05s at 175.446 km/h while trying to put some
distance between himself and the Auto Unions. On a 1/2 km stretch of the Masta straight Lang's Mercedes was timed at 310.595 km/h, while Stuck's Auto Union was doing 281.628 km/h. When Stuck's Auto Union
had to make one more tire stop, Hasse inherited second place from his team mate. Brauchitsch passed Kautz, who also had to stop for fuel. The six car field was split into two groups with Lang, Hasse and
Stuck in front, then, after a long gap came Brauchitsch and Kautz, almost like twins. Much further behind was Sommer's Alfa Romeo, which had already been lapped by Lang's Mercedes. After 22 laps the order was:
|1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)||1h56m21s = 168.2 km/h|
|2. Hasse (Auto Union)||1h57m13s = 167.3 km/h|
|3. Stuck (Auto Union)||1h58m07s = 166.0 km/h|
|4. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||no time|
|5. Kautz (Mercedes-Benz)||no time|
|6. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||1 lap down|
Lang's tires did not withstand this fast pace and on lap 23 he had to pull in with a defective thread for his second tire change. His Mercedes limped into the pits and he lost the advantage he had established.
With Lang in the pits, Hasse took the lead but the Mercedes left the pit just before Stuck's Auto Union arrived.
The outcome of the race was uncertain, since there were still 11 laps to go to the finish. Hasse drove the second part of the race at a faster pace but in smooth style. His lap times were between 5m12s and
5m08s. Lang in second place, with his third set of tires, continued his chase and was getting ever closer to the leading Auto Union. Stuck also came towards the front, passing third man Kautz. On lap 28,
Hasse was leading Lang by 54 seconds with Stuck's Auto Union a further 31 seconds behind.
Lang would probably have been able to pass Hasse and win, if he had not have been forced to slow down. All of a sudden, on lap 29, Lang's Mercedes began to wander at the rear and the car skidded all over
the road where trees stood right next to it. His swerving car missed an apple tree by a hair, so Lang slowed his pace to keep the Mercedes in the center of the road. He stopped at the pits but was
immediately sent out again. One universal joint at the rear axle had partially broken and every time he accelerated, the car swerved severely. Lang's problem enabled Stuck to close up, and was only five
seconds behind. The only thing Lang could do was to slow down and on lap 30 he let Stuck by without a fight. When Manfred von Brauchitsch stopped at the pits to change spark plugs, Kautz passed him to gain
fourth place. Eventually Brauchitsch retired with supercharger trouble on lap 32 while in fifth place.
The smooth driving Hasse, who had taken the lead on lap 23, finished a deserving winner, having beaten his senior team mate fair and square. It was Hasse's first Grand Prix win in his second year with Auto
Union. His average, a new record of 167.189 km/h was faster than Brauchitsch's 1935 lap record of 166.698 km/h. Stuck finished 42 seconds behind Hasse, which was about the time he lost with his second wheel
change. This shows that overall Stuck had not driven faster than Hasse. After Lang's car broke down, he had to slow down and content himself with third place, two minutes behind Stuck at the finish.
Kautz came fourth, 18 seconds behind Lang, not bad for the junior driver in only his second Grand Prix race. On top of this fine performance, Kautz had lost valuable time by spinning off at Malmédy, when
he had an encounter with a dog on the course. The Swiss driver came to a stop with the front of his Mercedes in a shallow ditch with the engine stalled, but managed to get out again and push-start his stalled
car by himself. Tony Kaye observed, no-one was injured, but it could so easily have been a disaster. His car finished up just a couple of feet from where spectators were lining the edge of the circuit.
His car demolished a cameraman's stand and the cameraman narrowly escaped the out-of-control car by running into the middle of the road. Fortunately no other cars were following. Sommer was the last finisher
in the under-powered Alfa Romeo, one lap behind.
The cheerful Auto Union mechanics carried the tall Rudi and Hans Stuck on their shoulders to King Leopold III, who shook their hands and personally presented the trophy. Before the King left the circuit to
drive away he stopped near the Mercedes pit when he saw Manfred von Brauchitsch, left his car and shook his hand to express his appreciation of the German's valiant performance.
|1.||12||Rudolf Hasse||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||34||3h01m22s|
|2.||8||Hans Stuck||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||34||3h02m04s||+ 42s|
|3.||2||Hermann Lang||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||34||3h04m07s||+ 1m45s|
|4.||6||Christian Kautz||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||34||3h04m25s||+ 3m03s|
|5.||16||Raymond Sommer||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||33||3h05m54s|
|DNF||4||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W125||5.7||S-8||31||supercharger|
|DNF||14||Hermann Müller||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||C||6.0||V-16||13||broken oil pipe|
|DNF||18||Carlo Felice Trossi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||12C-36||4.1||V-12||5||engine|
Fastest lap: Hermann Lang (Mercedes-Benz) on lap 18 in 5m04.7s = 175.1 km/h (108.8 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 167.2 km/h (103.9 mph)
Weather: overcast, dry
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
IL Littoriale, Roma
La Stampa, Torino
Le Figaro, Paris
Motor Post, Berlin
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Motorwelt (DDAC), München
Special thanks to:
17 July 1937: "B Bira" (ERA) wins the London Grand Prix
at the Crystal Palace track in England.
18 July 1937: The Grand Prix de la Marne is run as a 63 laps sports car race at the Reims-Gueux circuit in France.
|1.||Louis Chiron||Bugatti T59||3h23m58.5s|
|2.||Albert Divo||Talbot T150C||3h26m47.3s|
|3.||René Le Bègue||Talbot T150C||- 1 lap|
|4.||Raymond Sommer||Talbot T150C||- 1 lap|
|5.||Schell / Dreyfus||Delahaye 135CS||- 4 laps|
|6.||Chaboud / Trémoulet||Delahaye 135CS||- 6 laps|
24 July 1937: The Donington 12 Hours
sports car race is held at Donington Park (GB) Three-quarters into the race the event was temporary stopped for 16 minutes when the cars of Maurice K. H "Bill" Bilney (AC - Ford 1.2L)
and Robinson (Riley) got locked up. The AC was crushed between the Riley and a wall and Bilney received fatal wounds while Robinson suffered a broken tight.
|1.||"B. Bira" /H. Dobbs||Delahaye 135CS 3.6L||691.59 mi - 271 laps|
|2.||C. Paul / C. Brackenbury||Riley TT 1½ L||678.83 mi - 266 laps|
|3.||F. Gerard /A. Bateman||Riley TT 1½ L||648.20 mi - 254 laps|
|4.||A. Curtis / M. May /A. Hess|| HRG 1½ L||631.89mi - 248 laps|
|5.||F. Monkhouse /J. Weir /M. Clayton||Aston Martin Ulster 1½ L|
|6.||J. Barnes /A. Langley||Singer Le Mans 1.0L|