XII GROßER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND
Nürburgring (D), 23 July 1939
22 laps x 22.81 km (14.17 mi) = 501.82 km (311.8 mi)
Sixth time for the Rain Master
Auto Union entered no less than five cars for the race against four for Mercedes-Benz. The Maserati works team sent two
of their fast 8CTF cars for their only start of the season but the only Alfa Romeo was Sommer's private 8 cylinder car.
The Schell's were there with their Delahayes and Süddeutsche Renngemeinschaft with their silver colored Maseratis.
Mandirola's and Mazaud's private entries completed the field.
Mercedes-Benz had worked hard to cure the engine problems that had occurred during the French GP and were now confident
that the cars would stand the whole distance..
Practice was all about just one man, Hermann Lang. The Mercedes driver was in a class of his own, finally beating even
Rosemeyer's pole time from 1937 with a 9:43.1 lap. Von Brauchitsch and Caracciola completed an all Mercedes front row.
Brendel made a fine debut, being faster than Nuvolari during practice.
Nuvolari's car had started to burn after the last practice session and Meier had both gone off the track and destroyed
an engine so the Auto Union team had a lot of work to do before the race.
Some 250,000 - 300,000 spectators turned up to what would be the last German GP for a considerable time.
During practice the weather had been sunny but now the sky was grey with fog in the woods and drizzling rain
on several places of the track.
As giant variants of the modern Goodyear blimps two Zeppelins (Note 1)
flew over the scene.The cars lined up according to their practice times like this:
When the light turned to green von Brauchitsch made a perfect start to lead the field into the Südkehre followed
by Stuck, Lang and Caracciola. But coming to the curve Lang cut in in front of the field to take the lead
and then went away with such a speed that spectators on the far side of the track must have
thought that some accident had happened to the rest of the competitors. In fact Lang hardly believed his eyes when
the pits showed a lead of 28 seconds after one lap.|
Von Brauchitsch was second followed by Müller, Caracciola, Nuvolari and Pietsch.
Stuck and Sommer were already out of the race and Villoresi was in the pit for new plugs but Pietsch in the sister
car was really flying, passing car after car.
Lang took the second lap a bit easier to open the lead to "only" 40 seconds.
But on lap 3 Lang heard the same noise as in the French GP and decided to retire to the pits rather
than to have his engine destroyed. Von Brauchitsch also went into the pits for new plugs and suddenly, to the
surprise of all, Pietsch's Maserati was leading the German GP. But the fun lasted less than a lap as Pietsch
had brake problems and he had to let Nuvolari past and made a pitstop for adjustments.
Neubauer sent junior driver Brendel a signal to come in so that Lang could take over the car. But Brendel
refused to obey and instead made a 10:28 lap, the fastest of the race so far.
Before the Adenauer Brügge Pietsch's Maserati spun in front of Brendel and the Mercedes driver went
into a ditch destroying the car, arousing Neubauer's anger. As the driver phoned the pits and
asked for a car to pick him up he was told by Neubauer in no uncertain terms that he could start walking.
It was now raining over the whole track and the cold created plug troubles to several cars including Meier and Pietsch.
Nuvolari was leading from Müller and Caracciola in the sole remaining Mercedes as von Brauchitsch had retired, too.
Caracciola soon advanced to second position, 5 seconds behind the leading Auto Union.
Meanwhile Villoresi retired his Maserati with a split tank.
For five laps Nuvolari led the race but then he had to make a one minute stop for engine inspection leaving the lead to
Caracciola. On the next lap Nuvolari made a new stop for fuel and tyres falling further back.
The order was now: Caracciola, Hasse, Müller, Nuvolari, Pietsch, Dreyfus, Meier, Joa, "Raph", Mazaud and Mandirola.
Caracciola made a 1:23 minute pitstop for fuel, tyres and plugs on lap 9 falling back to third place.
The Auto Union team made faster stops and now Hasse (37 s stop) was leading Müller (44 s stop) by 15 seconds,
followed by Caracciola, Nuvolari, Pietsch, Meier and Dreyfus.
The rain increased and the rain specialist Caracciola soon passed Müller for second place.
The front stub axle broke on Meier's Auto Union when he went down the Fuchsröhre and the front wheels started to
move in different directions. The driver was fortunate to be able to stop the car without damage.
Caracciola passed also Hasse to take the lead and when Hasse tried to answer he went off the slippery track and had
to retire leaving only two Auto Unions to challenge the Mercedes.
Müller was now second half a minute behind Caracciola and Nuvolari a distant third suffering from engine problems.
Nuvolari made his second fuel stop on lap 16. Pietsch had spun twice and had made four pit stops but the Maserati was still
making good speed in fourth place.
On lap 18 Caracciola made an 18 seconds stop for fuel only without losing his lead. Nuvolari's engine exploded in a
spectacular way and Müller in the last remaining Auto Union also made a short stop for fuel.
On the last laps Caracciola raced in dominant style, making the fastest lap of the race, and he took the flag
to win the German GP for the sixth time. It was to be Caracciola's last victory.
Müller finished second and Pietsch third despite his problems. Dreyfus, "Raph" and Mazaud took the next places, showing
that the Delahaye sportscars even if they lacked speed did not lack reliability.
However Laurie Schell had now had enough of the Delahayes and the team immediately made arrangements for buying the works
After the race Lang's car was tested by Uhlenhaut but he could find no fault. Then an angry Lang demanded the engine to be
dismantled on the spot, revealing a piston seizure.
|1.||12||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W154||3.0||V-12||22||4h08m41.4s|
|2.||6||Hermann Müller||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||22||4h09m39.3s||+ 57.9s|
|3.||32||Paul Pietsch||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||8CTF||3.0||S-8||21|
|4.||24||René Dreyfus||Ecurie Lucy O'Reilly Schell||Delahaye||T145||4.5||V-12||20|
|5.||26||"Raph"||Ecurie Lucy O'Reilly Schell||Delahaye||T145||4.5||V-12||19|
|6.||28||Robert Mazaud||R. Mazaud||Delahaye||T135CS||4.5||S-6||19|
|7.||40||Leonhard Joa||Süddeutsche Renngemeinschaft||Maserati||4CM||1.5||S-4||19|
|DNF||2||Tazio Nuvolari||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||18||engine|
|DNF||8||Rudolf Hasse||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||11||crash|
|DNF||10||Georg Meier||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||10||/13? broken front stub axle|
|DSQ||36||Adolfo Mandirola||A. Mandirola||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||9||DSQ - wrong refueling procedure|
|DNF||30||Luigi Villoresi||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||8CTF||3.0||S-8||6||spin/fuel tank|
|DNF||14||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W154||3.0||V-12||5||leaking tank|
|DNF||20||Heinz Brendel||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W154||3.0||V-12||3||crash|
|DNF||16||Hermann Lang||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W154||3.0||V-12||2||engine|
|DNF||22||Raymond Sommer||R. Sommer||Alfa Romeo||Tipo 308||3.0||S-8||0||engine|
|DNF||4||Hans Stuck||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||0||fuel pipe|
Fastest lap: Rudolf Caracciola (Mercedes) on lap 20 in 10m24.2s (10m24.0s?) = 131.6 km/h (81.7 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 121.1 km/h (75.2 mph)
Pole position speed: 140.8 km/h (87.5 mph)
1. They were the largest airships in the world, the LZ 127 and LZ 130, both named "Graf Zeppelin". The former was famous for its round-the-world flights in the late 20s and South America
trips in the 30s, the latter was the sister ship of the infamous LZ 129 "Hindenburg" and had never done any trips with passengers. While waiting for helium gas to come available for passenger
trips the Zeppelins were used for propaganda and for electronic espionage along the borders.
30 July 1939: Mays (ERA) wins the Prescott Hillclimb in Gloucestershire, England.
6 August 1939: Le Bégue (Talbot MD 90) wins the Grand Prix du Comminges
on the St Gaudens track in France. (Results)
6 August 1939: Lang (Mercedes-Benz) wins the Großer Bergpreis von Deutschland
hillclimb on Großglockner, Germany (Austria).
10-12 August 1939: Mercedes-Benz made tests on Nürburgring to solve the engine troubles.
Mercedes-Benz used an advanced carburettor system with an "extra" carburettor (known as the Zusatzvergaser) coming on in several programmable steps at high RPMs. It turned out
that the Zusatzvergaser could stuck in an open position. That drenched the plugs and cylinders with fuel destroying the piston rings and making the engine to fail.
The troubles were solved with modified carburettors, a loss of 10 BHP and 300 RPM.
11 August 1939: Jean Bugatti, the 27 year old son of Ettore Bugatti dies in a 200 km/h crash
on the Molsheim-Strasbourg highway. He was testing a T57C near Duppigheim at 10 p.m. when he run over a cyclist that came in from a side path. The cyclist survived with broken wrists but Bugatti
lost control, and the car turned left and went off the road hitting two pear trees, it then bounced across the road and hit yet another tree on the right side
The car split in half lengthwise and Bugatti was thrown out and was found dead with his hand still holding the remains of the steering wheel.
15 August 1939: Righetti/Rangoni (Alfa Romeo 2500SS) wins the Targa Abruzzo 8 hour sports car race at