Logo

Star After the disappointing performance of their new cars Alfa Corse decided to suspend their racing until they had got the cars race worthy. The team had also lost three cars in two races. The Auto Unions were still not ready. The Eifelrennen organizers therefore decided to cancel the race as only Mercedes would have entered. For this reason there was no GP race between 15 May and 3 July!



Manfred von Brauchitsch - Mercedes-BenzRudolf Caracciola - Mercedes-BenzHermann Lang - Mercedes-Benz

XXIV GRAND PRIX DE L'AUTOMOBILE CLUB DE FRANCE

Reims-Gueux (F), 3 July 1938
64 laps x 7.826 km (4.86 mi) = 500.86 km (311.22 mi) (Note 1)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Philippe EtancelinTalbot DarracqTalbotT150C4.5S-6
4René CarrièrèTalbot DarracqTalbotT150C4.5S-6
6?Talbot DarracqTalbotT150C4.5S-6DNA
8Joseph PaulLouis DelageDelage4.5V-12DNA - driver injured
10Eugène ChaboudS.E.F.A.C.SEFAC3.02x4
12Achille VarziOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8CTF3.0S-8DNA
14Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8CTF3.0S-8DNA
16Christian KautzAuto Union AGAuto UnionC/D3.0V-12reserve, replacing Müller
18Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionC/D3.0V-12
20Hermann MüllerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC/D3.0V-12DNS - crash in practice
22Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT59/50B33.0S-8
24Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12
26Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12
28Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12
30René DreyfusEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12DNA
32Gianfranco ComottiEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12DNA
34?Ecurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12DNA



Mercedes team puts up a show for the spectators.
It was the debut for the 3 liter Auto Union cars. The entry list was short with just five German and four French entries. When both Auto Unions and Wimille's Bugatti, the only serious French challenger, retired on the first lap of the race Neubauer let the Mercedes drivers have some internal competition so the spectators would have something to look at. When Lang had a disastrous four minute pit stop and Caracciola had engine trouble, it was von Brauchitsch who led home a 1-2-3 Mercedes victory.
The French GP was back in the GP calendar but moved from Montlhéry to Reims-Gueux. (Note 2)
      In February 1938 the French government added another million francs for the Fonds of Course committee to spend on French GP racing. After winning both the Pau and the Cork GP's with their old sports cars, Delahaye was confident that they should get the money to develop their new almost finished Type 155 GP car. To the horror of the Ecurie Bleue team 600,000 francs went instead to the Talbot factory when Anthony Lago showed a couple of blueprints and a promise of a new car for the French GP. Ecurie Bleue owner Lucy Schell threatened to boycott the French GP. The French Automobile club ACF answered by declaring that only manufacturers that started in the French GP could expect further awards. The other French manufacturers, Bugatti, Talbot and SEFAC, showed up for the GP but after a long fight with the ACF and a considerable amount of ill-feeling Lucy Schell moved her team headquarters to Monaco and no Delahayes were present at Reims.
Entries:
Of course there was no new Talbot car ready for the race. Anthony Lago removed the lamps and mudguards from two T150C sports cars and entered them for Ètancelin and Carrière.
      Auto Union entered two new streamliners for their first GP of the 1938 season. The team was however in complete disorder during practice in which both Müller and Hasse crashed. Hasse destroyed his car completely but was unhurt. Müller's car on the other hand was only slightly damaged but the driver was unable to race further and had to be replaced by Kautz. The team decided to withdraw the streamliners and only after some persuasion from the organizers they finally decided to race two rebuilt 1937 cars with 3 litre engines.
      Trossi and Varzi were expected with their works Maserati 8 CTF's but they did not show up. (Note 3) The Alfa Romeos were not present either and as entries as usual were restricted to factory teams the field was down to nine cars. To better the situation Neubauer offered to enter a fourth Mercedes for Seaman but was refused by the organizers, who insisted on a maximum of three cars per team!
     
Practice:
Race:
One can only say about the 1938 French GP that it was a race of great promise but that the organizers had lost no opportunity to turn it into a farce and a farce it also turned out to be.
Pole Position
26
Brauchitsch

Mercedes
2m40.7s

28
Lang

Mercedes
2m39.2s

24
Caracciola

Mercedes
2m41.9s

20
Hasse

Auto Union
2m50.9s

16
Kautz

Auto Union
2m43.0s

4
Carrière

Talbot
2m57.0s

10
Chaboud

SEFAC


2
Étancelin

Talbot
3m00.7s

22
Wimille

Bugatti



Caracciola made a miserable start but the other two Mercedes cars immediately took the lead as the flag dropped. Behind them there were problems for the rest of the field as Hasse spun in Virage de la Garenne and stalled. Hasse pushed the car into a side road and managed to start the engine downhill in reverse gear. However before he managed to put the steering wheel back on, the car had reversed into a field and got bogged down. Meanwhile Kautz had struck a kerb and had to return to the pits with a broken rear axle. Both Auto Unions were out! Wimille also retired on the first lap. Chaboud had for the first and only time managed to complete a lap during a race with the infamous SEFAC only to retire after two laps. 4 cars out, 5 to go.
      After two laps the three Mercedes cars were a minute ahead of the two Talbot cars. Neubauer let the Mercedes drivers have some internal competition so the spectators would have something to look at. After a lot of position swapping at the front Caracciola finally took command of the race and opened up a 10 seconds gap.
      On lap 20 Lang made his pit stop but due to evaporation in the fuel lines it took four minutes to restart his engine. Caracciola's engine started to run on 11 cylinders and von Brauchitsch took over the lead and went on to give Mercedes-Benz a 1-2-3 victory. Hardly a classic victory but a victory, nonetheless. Ètancelin had retired so the only other finisher was Carrière, who had to stop during the race for brake adjustments and finished 10 laps behind.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.26Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12643h04m38.5s
2.24Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12643h06m19.3s+ 1m40.8s
3.28Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12633h04m54.3s
4.4René CarrièrèTalbot DarracqTalbotT150C4.5S-6542h06m28.8s
DNF2Philippe EtancelinTalbot DarracqTalbotT150C4.5S-638engine
DNF10Eugène ChaboudS.E.F.A.C.SEFAC3.02x42mechanical
DNF16Christian KautzAuto Union AGAuto UnionC/D3.0V-120crash/ broken rear axle
DNF22Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT59/50B33.0S-80broken oil line
DNF18Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionC/D3.0V-120crash
Fastest lap: Hermann Lang (Mercedes Benz) in 2m45.1s = 170.6 km/h (106.0 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 162.88 km/h (101.1 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 177.0 km/h (110.0 mph)
Weather: sunny

Footnote:
1. Track length 7.826 km counted from winning speed 162.758 km/h given in contemporary newspaper "Il Littoriale". Fits well together with track length 4.865 mi given by Darren Galphin. Hayhoe/Holland in "Grand Prix Data Book" give track length 7.816 km.

2. That the French Minister of Finance with interests in the Fonds de Course also happened to be Mayor of Reims had of course nothing to do with the change!

3. In fact Varzi did not show up again until 1946!

Star 6 - 9 July 1938: After the French GP catastrophe drastic measures were needed for Auto Union. The team called in Stuck and Chiron to have their troublesome cars tested at Nürburgring. The top drivers found that nothing was basically wrong with the cars.
Star 8 July 1938: Nuvolari tested the Auto Union at Nürburgring.
Star 9 July 1938: "B Bira" (ERA) wins the Nuffield Trophy handicap race at Donington Park, England.
Star 9 - 10 July 1938: Pintacuda/Severi (Alfa Romeo) wins the Les 24 Heures de Spa at the Spa-Francorchamps race course in Belgium. (Results)



Luigi Villoresi - Maserati (Scuderia Ambrosiana)Luigi Soffietti - MaseratiLuigi Platé - Talbot

GRAND PRIX DE L´ALBIGEOIS
(Voiturette 1500cc)

Les Planques - Albi (F), 10 July 1938
2 heats of 20 laps x 8.9 km (5.53 mi) = 178.0 km (110.6 mi)
Total distance 356.0 km (221.2 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Ettore BiancoScuderia SubauraMaserati4CM1.5S-4
4Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
6Luigi SoffiettiGruppo VoltaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
8Armand HugEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
10Herbert BergH BergMaserati6CM1.5S-6
12Raymond MaysR. MaysERAB1.5S-6
14Jean DelormeJ. DelormeBugattiDNA
16Luigi PlatéL. PlatéTalbot7001.5S-8
18Dioscoride LanzaScuderia SubauraMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA
20Edoardo TeagnoScuderia SubauraMaserati6CM1.5S-6
22"Raph""Raph"Maserati6CM1.5S-6
24Luciano UboldiGruppo VoltaMaserati6CM1.5S-6DNA



Villoresi wins two heat race
Race was run in two parts with times added at the end. With the new Alfa Romeos failing to show up and with Mays as only British driver the field was disappontingly small. Mays led the first heat until he had to retire because of the Zoller compressor, leaving Luigi Villoresi to win. Bianco was hospitalized after a bad crash. Villoresi led the second heat but was later passed by Hug, who had retired in the first heat and thus was no treat to Villoresi's overall victory.
Entries:

     
Practice:
Heat 1:

Pole Position
8
Hug

Maserati
3m38s

4
L Villoresi

Maserati
3m34s

2
Bianco

Maserati
3m31s

6
Soffietti

Maserati
3m58s

20
Teagno

Maserati
3m50s

12
Mays

ERA
-

16
L Platé

Talbot
4m35s

10
Berg

Maserati
4m04s

22
"Raph"

Maserati
-



Only 9 cars showed up for the Albi race, one of which was Mays' works ERA. Once again the race was run in two parts with times added at the end. There was a nasty accident in the first heat when Bianco (Maserati 4CM) hit a telegraph pole putting himself into hospital. Mays, who initially led, was soon out with compressor problems leaving Villoresi, Teagno, Soffietti and Berg to take the four first places for Maserati. Villoresi led the second heat but Hug (Maserati 4CM), who had retired in the first heat, passed him at lap 7 and went on to win. Villoresi finished second and Soffietti third with Luigi Platé in a 12 year old Talbot GP car finishing 4th and 3rd overall. The overall winner was Villoresi.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.4Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6201h12m31.2s
2.20Edoardo TeagnoScuderia SubauraMaserati6CM1.5S-6201h12m48.0s+ 16.8s
3.6Luigi SoffiettiGruppo VoltaMaserati6CM1.5S-6191h13m53.0s
4.10Herbert BergH BergMaserati6CM1.5S-6181h12m49.0s
DNF22"Raph""Raph"Maserati6CM1.5S-617cylinder head
5.16Luigi PlatéL. PlatéTalbot7001.5S-8151h14m20.0s
DNF2Ettore BiancoScuderia SubauraMaserati4CM1.5S-48crash
DNF12Raymond MaysR. MaysERAB1.5S-67supercharger
DNF8Armand HugEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-47oil filler cap
Fastest lap: Raymond Mays (ERA) in 3m24s = 157.1 km/h (97.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 147.3 km/h (91.5 mph)
Weather:
Heat 2:

Pole Position
6
Soffietti

Maserati

20
Teagno

Maserati

4
L Villoresi

Maserati

16
L Platé

Talbot

10
Berg

Maserati

8
Hug

Maserati




Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.8Armand HugEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4201h13m05.2s(Note 1)
2.4Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6201h14m38.0s+ 1m32.8s
3.6Luigi SoffiettiGruppo VoltaMaserati6CM1.5S-6201h16m55.0s+ 3m49.8s
DNF10Herbert BergH BergMaserati6CM1.5S-617out of fuel
4.16Luigi PlatéL. PlatéTalbot7001.5S-8171h14m33.0s
DNF20Edoardo TeagnoScuderia SubauraMaserati6CM1.5S-68gearbox
Fastest lap: Armand Hug (Maserati) in 3m33s = 150.4 km/h (93.5 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 146.1 km/h (90.8 mph)
Weather:


Results (Aggregate):

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.4Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6402h27m09.2s
2.6Luigi SoffiettiGruppo VoltaMaserati6CM1.5S-639
(3)10Herbert BergH BergMaserati6CM1.5S-635NC
4.16Luigi PlatéL. PlatéTalbot7001.5S-832
(5)20Edoardo TeagnoScuderia SubauraMaserati6CM1.5S-628NC
(6)8Armand HugEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-427NC
Fastest lap: Raymond Mays (ERA) in 3m24s = 157.1 km/h (97.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 145.2 km/h (90.2 mph)
Weather:

Footnote:
1. Contemporary newspaper "Il Littoriale" gives 1h13m05 2/5s , possibly an error due to using 1/5 seconds in the results.



Star 16 July 1938: J. Willing / R. Jarvis (Delahaye 3.5L) wins the L.C.C. 3 hour sports car race at Brooklands, England.



Franco Cortese - MaseratiAldo Marazza  - MaseratiPietro Ghersi - Maserati (Scuderia Torino)

CIRCUITO VARESE
(Voiturette 1500cc)

Circuito Varese (I), 17 July 1938
2 heats of 15 laps x 3.6 km (2.24 mi) = 54.0 km (33.6 mi)
Final of 30 laps x 3.6 km (2.24 mi) = 108.0 km (67.1 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine(Note 1)

2Ettore BiancoScuderia SabaudaMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA
4Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati4CM1.5S-6
6Dioscoride LanzaScuderia SabaudaMaserati4CM1.5S-6
8Gianni BattagliaG. BattagliaMaserati6CM1.5S-6DNA
12Emilio GiussaniE. GiussaniMaserati4CM1.5S-4
14Franco CorteseOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
16Aldo MarazzaOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
18Luigi SoffiettiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
20Edoardo TeagnoScuderia SabaudaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
22Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
24Filippo TassaraF. TassaraMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA
26Guido BarbieriG. BarbieriMaserati6CM1.5S-4
28Arialdo RuggeriA. RuggeriMaserati6CM1.5S-6
30Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
30Giorgio PelassaScuderia TorinoMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA
32Eugenio MinettiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
34Andrea BrezziScuderia Torino DNSMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNS
36Paul PietschP. PietschMaserati6CM1.5S-6
38Sergio CarnevalliScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
38Enrico GessnerE. GessnerMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNS
40Giovanni RoccoOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6



Cortese scores while Villoresi retires
The race consisted of two heats plus a final. Once Again the Alfa Romeos failed to appear so only Maseratis were seen on the grid. Marazza won the first heat and Villoresi the second. Villoresi led the final until lap 14 when he was passed by Marazza. Villoresi retook the lead three laps later only to retire soon afterwards leaving Cortese to win from Marazza and Ghersi.
Entries:

     
Practice:
Heat 1:

Pole Position
20
Teagno

Maserati

18
Soffietti

Maserati

16
Marazza

Maserati

28
Ruggeri

Maserati

12
Giussani

Maserati

32
Minetti

Maserati

4
Castelbarco

Maserati

30
Ghersi

Maserati

(Note 1)



There was an all-Maserati entry at Varese. Marazza won the first heat from Teagno and Soffietti and Luigi Villoresi won the second heat from Cortese and Pietsch. In the final Villoresi had to retire leaving Cortese to win half a minute in front of Marazza. Best non Italian was Pietsch in 4th place.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.16Aldo MarazzaOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-61530m57.0s
2.20Edoardo TeagnoScuderia SabaudaMaserati6CM1.5S-61531m08.2s+ 11.2s
3.18Luigi SoffiettiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-61531m10.6s+ 13.6s
4.30Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-61531m11.2s+ 14.2s
5.28Arialdo RuggeriA. RuggeriMaserati6CM1.5S-61531m15.4s+ 18.4s
6.32Eugenio MinettiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-61531m20.2s+ 23.2s
DNF12Emilio GiussaniE. GiussaniMaserati4CM1.5S-4?
DNF4Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati4CM1.5S-61
Fastest lap: Pietro Ghersi (Maserati) in 1m59.0s = 108.9 km/h (67.7 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 104.7 km/h (65.0 mph)
Weather:
Heat 2:

Pole Position
6
Lanza

Maserati

22
L Villoresi

Maserati

26
Barbieri

Maserati

38
Carnevalli

Maserati

14
Cortese

Maserati

36
Pietsch

Maserati

(Note 1)




Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.22Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-61530m08.2s
2.14Franco CorteseOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-61530m16.8s+ 8.6s
3.36Paul PietschP. PietschMaserati6CM1.5S-61530m33.2s+ 25.0s
4.6Dioscoride LanzaScuderia SabaudaMaserati4CM1.5S-61530m53.8s+ 45.6s
5.26Guido BarbieriG. BarbieriMaserati6CM1.5S-41533m03.2s+ 2:55.0s
6.38Sergio CarnevalliScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati1.5S-41533m34.0s+ 3:25.8s
DNS?40Giovanni RoccoOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6?
Fastest lap: Luigi Villoresi (Maserati) in 1m57.8s = 110.0 km/h (68.4 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 107.5 km/h (66.8 mph)
Weather:
Final:

Pole Position
22
Villoresi

Maserati

14
Cortese

Maserati

36
Pietsch

Maserati

6
Lanza

Maserati

16
Marazza

Maserati

20
Teagno

Maserati

18
Soffietti

Maserati

30
Ghersi

Maserati

28
Ruggeri

Maserati

26
Barbieri

Maserati




Results


Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff
1.14Franco CorteseOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-63059m35.2s
2.16Aldo MarazzaOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6301h01m03.6s+ 1m28.4s
3.30Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6301h01m08.4s+ 1m33.2s
4.36Paul PietschP. PietschMaserati6CM1.5S-6301h01m24.1s+ 1m48.9s
5.20Edoardo TeagnoScuderia SabaudaMaserati6CM1.5S-6301h02m08.0s+ 2m32.8s
6.26Guido BarbieriG. BarbieriMaserati6CM1.5S-4301h02m35.0s+ 2m59.8s
DNF22Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-617
DNF28Arialdo RuggeriA. RuggeriMaserati6CM1.5S-610
DNF18Luigi SoffiettiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6?
DNF6Dioscoride LanzaScuderia SabaudaMaserati4CM1.5S-6?
Fastest lap: Franco Cortese (Maserati) in 1m55.8s = 111.9 km/h (69.5 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 108.7 km/h (67.6 mph)
Weather:


Footnotes:
1. Heat grids constructed by Alessandro Silva from photographic evidence and from Auto Italiana. He also pointed out that Ghersi raced car #30, not #10 and Carnevalli #38, not #42, and that the DNA entries are unconfirmed.




Richard Seaman - Mercedes-BenzR. Caracciola / H. Lang - Mercedes-BenzHans Stuck - Auto Union

XI GROßER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND

Nürburgring (D), 24 July 1938
22 laps x 22.81 km (14.17 mi) = 501.82 km (311.8 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Tazio NuvolariAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12
4Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12
6Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionC/D3.0V-12
8Hermann MüllerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC/D3.0V-12
10Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12
12Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12
14Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12
16Richard SeamanDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12
18Walter BäumerDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12DNA
20René DreyfusEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12
22Gianfranco ComottiEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-12
24Giuseppe FarinaAlfa CorseAlfa RomeoTipo 3123.0V-12
26Clemente BiondettiAlfa CorseAlfa RomeoTipo 3123.0V-12
28Piero TaruffiScuderia TorinoAlfa RomeoTipo 3083.0S-8
30Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoAlfa Romeo8C 2900A2.9S-8
32Emmanuel de GraffenriedBaron de GraffenriedMaserati6C-343.0S-6
34Ernõ FesteticsGraf FesteticsAlfa RomeoTipo B2.9S-8DNA
36Arthur HydeA. HydeMaserati8CM3.0S-8
38Herbert BergEcurie HelvetiaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
40Paul PietschP. PietschMaserati6CM1.5S-6
42Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroAlfa RomeoTipo 3083.0S-8
44Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6



Seaman's remarkable triumph
Strong entries from Mercedes-benz, Auto Union and Alfa Romeo with Nuvolari now racing for Auto Union. Lang took the lead from Nuvolari and Seaman but Nuvolari crashed on the first lap. Lang had to make a pit stop on lap three, leaving over the lead to von Brauchitsch who was closely followed by Seaman while Caracciola was feeling ill and retired. During the second pit stops there was an highly spectacular incident when von Brauchitsch's Mercedes caught fire. He was able to continue but then had a high speed crash and was lucky to walk away unhurt. That left Seaman to take the flag as a surprise winner, the first Grand Prix victory for a British driver since 1924.
Entries:
Auto Union had two cars with the new beautiful coachwork and two older cars ready for the GP. The great sensation for the race was that Nuvolari had signed on as first driver for Auto Union. He had made himself familiar with the car during the week before the race and was the fastest Auto Union driver during practice. Auto Union had also been forced to re-employ Stuck but he was the slowest of the Auto Union drivers.
      Mercedes-Benz came to Nürburgring with no less than 7 cars, 4 race cars and 3 reserves. That meant that Seaman got his first drive of the year. The team left nothing to the chance and tested how slowly the cars could be run in the event of a puncture without the plugs oiling up. So Caracciola and von Brauchitsch made a very slow lap running side by side while holding a conversation!
      During practice von Brauchitsch was sensational and managed with his 3 litre car to come within 2.2 seconds of Rosemeyer's old lap record. That also shows how much development had been made in road holding in just one year. Mercedes drivers took the four top grid positions.
      Alfa Corse entered two cars for Farina and Biondetti but they were outpaced by the Germans. Maserati did not even care to enter their 8CTFs for the German home race. Ghersi raced a Alfa Romeo sports car with fenders and headlights removed, the same car that had been used by Dusio at the Mille Miglia.
      Delahaye turned up with their new Type 155 monoplace, but the car showed disappointing road holding and for the race itself the old Type 145's were used.
     
Practice:
Race:
Nuvolari was given a tremendous ovation from the spectators as the cars lined up for the start. No one had forgotten his victory in the 1935 race.
Pole Position
16
Seaman

Mercedes
10m01.2s

14
Lang

Mercedes
9m54.1s

12
Brauchitsch

Mercedes
9m48.4s

2
Nuvolari

Auto Union
10m03.3s

10
Caracciola

Mercedes
10m03.1s

4
Stuck

Auto Union
10m23.0s

8
Müller

Auto Union
10m19.3s

6
Hasse

Auto Union
10m19.1s

26
Biondetti

Alfa Romeo
10m50.0s

24
Farina

Alfa Romeo
10m31.1s

40
Pietsch

Maserati

20
Dreyfus

Delahaye

28
Taruffi

Alfa Romeo

30
Ghersi

Alfa Romeo

36
Hyde

Maserati

38
Berg

Maserati

44
Cortese

Maserati

42
Balestrero

Alfa Romeo

32
de Graffenried

Maserati

22
Comotti

Delahaye



The start lights failed to function properly and never changed from yellow to green so the start became a bit messy as the drivers went off as they liked. Lang took the lead followed by Nuvolari and Seaman, who passed the Italian for second place in the Südkehre. At the Karussel Nuvolari dropped to fourth as Caracciola passed and made it into a 1-2-3 lead for Mercedes-Benz. Coming to Brünnchen Nuvolari spun the Auto Union and crashed. He rejoined at the bottom of the field only to retire soon afterwards as the car had been damaged. The Mercedes team held the four top places after the first lap with Lang leading. But on the third lap Lang was in trouble with oiled up plugs, had to do a pitstop and dropped back to 7th. Von Brauchitsch took over the lead followed closely by Seaman and Caracciola, who was feeling ill.
      Now happened the single occasion when Nazis tried to interfere directly with a race. NSKK-Obergruppen-führer (Lieutenant-General) Erwin Kraus claimed that Nuvolari had got oil on his goggles from a Mercedes car and ordered Neubauer to take all his cars in for oil leak checks. Neubauer refused the order as it would destroy Mercedes' chances of a victory whereupon Krauss asked if Neubauer accused him for favouring Auto Union.
      The first laps saw a lot of retirements. Berg, Comotti and de Graffenried all had to call it a day and after 3 laps Biondetti, Farina and Taruffi were all out of the race making it into another dark day for Alfa Romeo. Neubauer called in Lang's sick car so that reserve driver Bäumer could have a try.
      On lap 7 von Brauchitsch made a 44 second stop for fuel and new rear tyres leaving over the lead to Seaman but on the next lap he was back in the lead as Seaman made his stop. During the pitstop von Brauchitsch had complained that Seaman had been harassing him for the lead and Neubauer gave Seaman an order to hold his position. On lap 10 Caracciola gave up with severe stomach ache and handled over the car to Lang.
      Von Brauchitsch was racing flat out and opened up a gap to Seaman, who had decided to take a chance and make a fast second stop for fuel only. At the halfway point the order was von Brauchitsch, Seaman, Lang, Hasse, Stuck and Müller. The Auto Union team was struggling and Müller was called in so that Nuvolari could take over. On lap 14 Hyde's Maserati went into a ditch seriously wounding the driver. On lap 16 von Brauchitsch came in for his second stop and 13 seconds later Seaman also arrived to the pits. Then came one of the most dramatic moments in the history of GP racing.
      The mechanic refueling von Brauchitsch's car overdid it and fuel spurted all over the car and driver. A flash came out of an exhaust pipe and in the next second the car was on fire, mechanics running all over the place and von Brauchitsch jumping out trying to extinguish his burning clothes. Seaman's car was pulled back and restarted by mechanic Lindenmaier even while flames were licking the back of his overall. Seaman took off through the smoke and extinguisher foam to take the lead of the race. (Note 1)
      The fire was soon extinguished but the car was covered with foam. Korpsführer Hühnlein asked von Brauchitsch if he wasn't going to continue and soon enough the Mercedes was on its way. But coming up to Flugplats the car crashed in 200km/h, the driver being lucky to escape unhurt. Von Brauchitsch claimed that the steering wheel had come loose but the team guessed that the driver had made a mistake.
      The rest of the race went on without incidents except for the fact that the fire foam machine exploded covering the spectators and pits with foam! Seaman had a firm lead over Lang and went on to win the 1938 German GP. Lang followed in second place, Stuck finished third and Nuvolari in Müller's car fourth. Seaman was the first British driver to win a Grand Prix since Segrave in 1924. Seaman's comment was: "I only wish it had been a British car".
     

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.16Richard SeamanDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12223h51m46.1s? (Note 2)
2.10R. Caracciola / H. LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-12223h55m06.1s+ 4m20.0s
3.4Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12224h00m42.3s+ 8m56.2s
4.8H. Müller / T. NuvolariAuto Union AGAuto UnionC/D3.0V-12224h01m19.1s+ 9m33.0s
5.20René DreyfusEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-1221
6.40Paul PietschP. PietschMaserati6CM1.5S-620?
7.42Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroAlfa RomeoTipo 3083.0S-8
8.30Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoAlfa Romeo8C 2900A2.9S-8
9.44Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
DNF6Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionC/D3.0V-1215engine
DNF14H. Lang / W. Bäumer Daimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-1215?engine
DNF12Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1543.0V-1215crash
DNF36Arthur HydeA. HydeMaserati8CM3.0S-814run into ditch
DNF32Emmanuel de GraffenriedBaron de GraffenriedMaserati6C-343.0S-63transmission
DNF24Giuseppe FarinaAlfa CorseAlfa RomeoTipo 3123.0V-122mechanical
DNF28Piero TaruffiScuderia TorinoAlfa RomeoTipo 3083.0S-82skid off track
DNF2Tazio NuvolariAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-122crash
DNF26Clemente BiondettiAlfa CorseAlfa RomeoTipo 3123.0V-121crash
DNF22Gianfranco ComottiEcurie BleueDelahaye1454.5V-121gearbox
DNF38Herbert BergEcurie HelvetiaMaserati6CM1.5S-61fuel pump
Fastest lap: Richard Seaman (Mercedes Benz) in 10m09.1s = 134.8 km/h (83.8 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 129.9 km/h (80.7 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 139.6 km/h (86.7 mph)
Weather:
In retrospect:
The nasty incident with NSKK Obergruppenführer Kraus continued after the race as he accused Neubauer of having sent von Brauchitsch away with a car with burnt brake lines. Neubauer answered that Korpsführer Hühnlein himself had asked for the car to start and Hühnlein admitted that but Neubauer had some anxious moments before the brakes of the wreck were checked and found intact.

Footnote:
1. There is an famous anecdote that Seaman remained standing in the pits and when Neubauer asked what he was waiting for he answered that during the earlier stop Neubauer himself had told him to stay behind von Brauchitsch. A good story but just a story. In fact Seaman left about five seconds after the fire started and Neubauer was never near him during that time.

2. Its either 3h51m46.1s (Autocourse, Hornung, Nixon etc.) or 3h51m46.2s (Sheldon, Higham, Völker etc.)

Star 1 August 1938: The B.A.R.C. August Meeting was held at Brooklands.
The different events were won by W. M. Couper (Talbot 3.4L), Charles Follett, George Abecassis (Alta), Arthur Dobson (ERA) R. Cutler (Frazer-Nash), Stuart Wilton (M.G.) Fane (B.M.W) Wooding (Talbot 1.2L), George Abecassis (Alta).
Star 5 August 1938: Stuck (Auto Union) wins the La Turbie hillclimb in France.
Star 7 August 1938: The Monaco Grand Prix had been scheduled for the 7 August, but the race was cancelled and replaced by the Coppa Ciano.



PREVIOUS 1938 INDEX NEXT
MAIN INDEX


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