Merz (Mercedes)Kimpel (Bugatti)Seifert (NSU)


Solitude-Stuttgart (D), 12 September 1926.
20 laps x 22.3 km (13.86 mi) = 446.0 km (277.13 mi)


Class up to 1500 cc
51Hermann FriedrichAF Zella-Mehlis GmbHPlutoSport s/c1.1S-4
52Otto KleyerO. KleyerAdler6/25 PS1.5S-4DNS - was stuck in mud
53Georg KlöbleNeckarsulmer FahrzeugwerkeNSU6/60 s/c1.5S-6
54Jakob SchollNeckarsulmer FahrzeugwerkeNSU6/60 s/c1.5S-6DNS - practice crash
55Felix SeifertNeckarsulmer FahrzeugwerkeNSU6/60 s/c1.5S-6
Class 1501 to 2000 cc
56Georg KimpelG. KimpelBugattiT35C2.0S-8
57Christian WernerDaimler-Benz A. G.MercedesGrand Prix 19242.0S-8
58Otto MerzDaimler-Benz A. G.MercedesGrand Prix 19242.0S-8
Class over 2001 cc
59Karl KapplerK. KapplerBugattiT35T2.3S-8DNA - Did not appear
60Helmuth TaxisH. TaxisAlfa RomeoRL3.4S-6DNS - practice damage

Otto Merz wins with Mercedes at Solitude

by Hans Etzrodt
From ten entries only six made the start for the 1926 Solitude race, a local meeting. The rain soaked track made the event for racing cars slower than the sports car race held during the sunny morning. The two 1924 Mercedes Grand Prix cars of Werner and Merz dominated the race which was briefly led by Kimpel (2000 Bugatti) and later Seifert (1500 NSU). But Merz regained the lead and won ahead of Kimpel with Seifert third. Werner, Klöble (NSU) and Friedrich (1100 Pluto) retired from the boring race. For the first time, Alfred Neubauer was seen in action as the Mercedes-Benz team manager, waving his flags and signaling to his drivers.
The Solitude races of 1923 and 1924 were hill climbs with the course leading up to the Solitude castle. That changed in 1925 with the creation of a new 22.3 km Solitude circuit which led anticlockwise past the castle through the woods southwest of Stuttgart. Once again the Stuttgarter Solitude G.m.b.H. with the ADAC of that district organized the 1926 race on the same narrow dirt road circuit of an undulating nature with numerous bends. For this year's race some parts had been resurfaced, especially in the turns. The sports cars raced in the morning over 15 laps and the race cars started in the afternoon over 20 laps or 446 km. The overall winner of the racecar class would receive 5,000 Mark and the class winners 1,000.
Only six of the ten entries appeared at the start. The official explanation was that the international participants had moved to the Semmering hill climb in Austria, which took place on the same day. The non-starters were all Germans, including Karl Kappler with his Bugatti who had to cancel his start due to sciatica. The NSU driver Scholl had a practice accident which prevented him from starting. Otto Kleyer from Frankfurt entered a 1500 Adler but failed to start minutes before the race. The Stuttgart driver Helmuth Taxis had entered his Alfa Romeo race car but its axle broke during practice and could not be repaired in time for the start.
      Since the Solitude-Rennen took place the same day as the Semmering-Rennen, the Mercedes team had to split forces. Caracciola drove their only entry of a type K at the Semmering race, which he won outright. For the Solitude race the newly formed Daimler-Benz AG brought two racecars for Christian Werner and Otto Merz with his riding mechanic Eugen Salzer. The cars were the latest version of the 1924 two-liter straight-eight two-seater Mercedes Grand Prix type, of which seven cars had been built. The engine had double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder with a large Roots blower mounted at the back of the engine, extracting the mixture from the carburetor and delivering it to the cylinders, producing 170 hp at 7000 rpm. The car, which was capable of 200 km/h, was improved in 1925 and further modified in 1926. The rumble seats which were added for the German Grand Prix had been removed, from at least one of the cars as Rosenberger drove one of the '4-seat Avus cars' in the sports car race. However a photo of the car could not be found to confirm this. The Bugatti driver Baron Hans Erich von Trützschler lodged a protest against Rosenberger's car on the grounds that it was not available in free commercial trade. However, Rosenberger was allowed to start but with a limited proviso but he was not concerned because the car had previously been accepted by the ONS at the German Grand Prix. The protest became irrelevant as the car did not finish the race due to engine failure. The German privateer Georg Kimpel also started in the 2000 cc class with his new supercharged 2-liter Grand Prix Bugatti which he had just acquired and wanted to test it for the first time at the Solitude.
      In the 1500 class, the NSU race cars, built by Neckarsulmer Fahrzeugwerke AG, Neckarsulm, were entered by the factory race team for their heavy-set top driver Georg Klöble, Jacob Scholl and Felix Seifert. The cars were the latest 1926 NSU 6/60 PS models with a 6-cylinder side valve engine of 1476 cc (59 x 90 mm), delivering 60 hp at 4000 rpm. Ignition was by Bosch magneto and the Roots supercharger was driven from the gearbox. It had mechanical 4-wheel brakes, Rudge wire wheels and a wheelbase of 285 cm. The top speed was quoted at 175 km/h. In the same class Hermann Friedrich started with the 1100 Pluto, entered by the Automobilfabrik Zella-Mehlis GmbH, who manufactured the Amilcar under license in Germany but named their cars Pluto. It had a 4-cylinder 1054 cc engine and was designated 5/30/65 PS and was probably supercharged. The ten cars are listed at the beginning of this report.
All grandstand tickets had been sold out and an estimated 100,000 spectators allegedly attended the race but this might be an inflated figure. At exactly 8:00 AM the race for sports cars started amid beautiful hot weather over 15 laps or 334.5 km. The 19 sports cars were divided into six classes between 1100 and 5000 cc capacity. The fastest lap was made by Ernst Hailer in a Mercedes K with a supercharged 6.3-L engine. This was on lap nine in 13m18.6s at 100.6 km/h average speed. Willy Walb, in a similar Mercedes K, won the race in 3h27m42.2s at 96.8 km/h. The young Stuttgart driver Erwin Ruckle died on lap five when his 1100 Salmson left the track at Lake Steinbach and plunged down an embankment overturning twice. Ruckle suffered a double fractured skull and died at the crash site. His seriously injured co-driver was carried away on a stretcher and transported to hospital.
      The racecars were released in single car starts with 1˝ minute intervals between them. This was, planned for 1:00 PM, but at that time the yellow 1500 Adler of Otto Kleyer was pushed in front of the three large grandstands to the starting area. However, the car got bogged down in the soft grassy soil. Attempts to pull the car along two planks onto the racetrack failed and the Adler became a non-starter. Friedrich's Pluto was the first to start at 1:18 PM, followed by the two NSUs, the Bugatti and the two Mercedes. A thunderstorm opened almost at the same time and soaked the track and spectators alike with intermittent bursts of rain. This of course slowed the pace of the cars significantly. Werner's Mercedes led his teammate Merz by almost half a minute, closely followed by Kimpel's Bugatti, the two NSU's of Klöble and Seifert, and Friedrich's Pluto which was over 2 1/2 minutes behind the leader. The times were as follows after the first lap:
1.Werner (Mercedes)14m05.4s
2.Merz (Mercedes)14m35.0s
3.Kimpel (Bugatti)14m40.0s
4.Klöble (NSU)14m49.2s
5.Seifert (NSU)15m33.0s
6.Friedrich (Pluto)16m43.0s

On the second lap Werner ran into trouble and stopped at the pits handing the lead to Otto Merz and his riding mechanic Eugen Salzer who were followed by Kimpel and Klöble. However after five laps, Kimpel's Bugatti was in the lead, 1m 28s ahead of Klöble's NSU. Merz had dropped 2m41s behind, but was two minutes ahead of Seifert's NSU. On lap four Werner's Mercedes had fallen 9m33s behind and was in the pits to have spark plugs changed. Friedrich's Pluto had developed engine problems and retired on lap four. Now only five cars were left in the race with Kimpel's Bugatti in the lead after five laps:
1.Kimpel (Bugatti)1h13m00.4s
2.Klöble (NSU)1h14m28.0s
3.Merz (Mercedes)1h15m41.6s
4.Seifert (NSU)1h17m43.6s
5.Werner (Mercedes)1h22m33.0s

On lap 7 Kimpel started one of several stops to change brake shoes as the linings were wearing out. This enabled Seifert's NSU to take first place for a short time, however since Merz regained the lead on lap eight. On lap nine Werner, whose car had been repaired, established the fastest lap at 13m23.3s. Merz and Werner were leading the Bugatti, followed by Klöble and Seifert after ten laps.
1.Merz (Mercedes)2h29m28.0s
2.Werner (Mercedes)2h30m28.8s
3.Kimpel (Bugatti)2h32m43.6s
4.Klöble (NSU)2h33m14.4s
5.Seifert (NSU)2h36m18.2s

On lap 11 Kimpel repassed Werner's Mercedes which had developed a gear selector problem. On lap 12 Kimpel's Bugatti spun at the Schatten turn but he carried on and lost more time when he stopped at the pits. Both NSU drivers lost time when Seifert went into a skid at the Ramsel turn and Klöble drove into the sandbags at Eltingen. When Werner retired on lap 13 with a defective gearbox, the field had shrunk to four cars. On the same lap Klöble made the fastest lap for the NSU cars in 14m17.8s, but as he passed the finish, Merz had almost caught up with him. During the following two laps Klöble lost much time while Merz drove laps in the 13 minute range. In the last third of the race the sun began shining again. After 15 laps, Merz was almost ten minutes ahead of the second placed NSU of Klöble, who was followed by Kimpel and Seifert.
1.Merz (Mercedes)3h38m27.2s
2.Klöble (NSU)3h48m17.0s
3.Kimpel (Bugatti)2h49m11.2s
4.Seifert (NSU)2h55m47.0s

After changing spark plugs, Klöble had to retire his NSU on lap 16 at Glemseck with continued spark plug trouble. It was later learned, that the iron content of the Tetra additive, which was mixed with the Motalin fuel as a pre-ignition inhibitor, caused a deposit on the spark plugs under certain driving conditions, resulting in a short. There were only three cars left at the finish. The Mercedes of Merz was almost 15 minutes ahead of Kimpel's Bugatti, followed by Seifert's NSU.
      As a result of the heavy rain, the drivers could not reach their car's full potential. Merz's winning speed of 92.1 km/h was below the 96.8 km/h of Willy Walb, the winner in the morning's dry sports car race. Later in 1934 Walb became the Auto Union team manager. At this Solitude race Alfred Neubauer acted for the first time as the Mercedes team manager. In front of his pits he waved different colored flags and used signs with coded letters to direct his drivers through the long race.



1.58Otto MerzMercedes-BenzMercedesGrand Prix 19242.0S-8204h50m24.4s
2.56Georg KimpelG. KimpelBugattiT35C2.0S-8205h05m06.4s+ 14m42s
3.55Felix SeifertNeckarsulmer FahrzeugwerkeNSU6/60 s/c1.5S-6205h13m30.4s+ 23m06s
DNF53Georg KlöbleNeckarsulmer FahrzeugwerkeNSU6/60 s/c1.5S-615spark plugs 
DNF57Christian WernerMercedes-BenzMercedesGrand Prix 19242.0S-812gearbox
DNF51Hermann FriedrichAF Zella-Mehlis GmbHPlutoSport s/c1.1S-4 4engine 
Fastest lap: Christian Werner (Mercedes) on lap 9 in 13m23.3s at 99.9 km/h (62.1 mph).
Winner's average speed: 92.1 km/h (57.3 mph).
Weather: first dry at the start, then rain.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobil-Welt, Berlin
Der Motorwagen, Berlin
MOTOR, Berlin
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Stuttgarter Neues Tagesblatt, Stuttgart
Wiener Sport-Tagblatt, Wien
Special thanks to:
Bernhard Völker

Valpreda (Chiribiri)Cereseto (Bugatti)Borgatta (Bugatti)


Circuito Ligure-Piemontese (I), 20 September 1926 (Monday).
Race: 6 laps x 45 km (27.96 mi) = 270 km (167.8 mi)
Touring: 4 laps x 45 km (27.96 mi) = 180 km (111.8 mi)


Class over 1500 cc
14Arturo FarinottiA. FarinottiBugattiT352.0S-8
Cesare BarbanoC. BarbanoAlfa RomeoRLTF 243.6S-6
Pietro FabrisP. FabrisBugattiT35A2.0S-8
Category over 1100 cc to 1500 cc
50Federico ValpredaF. ValpredaChiribiriMonza C1.5S-4
Ludovico AstengoL. AstengoBugatti15001.5S-4
Alfredo CeresetoA. CeresetoBugatti15001.5S-4
Pio BorgattaP. BorgattaBugattiT371.5S-4
Antonino CaliriA. CaliriBugattiT371.5S-4
Vittorio Emanuele GherardiV.E. GherardiBugatti15001.5S-4
Bruno GiordanoB. GiordanoBugattiT221.5S-4
Category up to 1100 cc
Giuseppe BianchiG. BianchiDerbys/c1.1S-4
Filippo SartorioF. SartorioGarChapuis Dornier1.1S-4

Valpreda victorious at Ligure-Piemontese Circuit

by Hans Etzrodt
At the first Ligure-Piemontese Circuit race, the 28 entries were divided into racecars and touring cars. This report deals with the 14 racecars which had to do 6 laps around the 45 km circuit. The touring cars raced simultaneously and followed minutes later. On the first lap, Farinotti (2000 Bugatti) was eliminated in a crash. He escaped injured, but his mechanic Mario Fogazzi died at the site. Spectators followed the battle between Valpreda (1500 Chiribiri) and Cereseto (1500 Bugatti). Valpreda became the surprise winner ahead of Cereseto followed by the 1500 Bugattis of Borgatta, Gherardi, Caliri and Astengo in seventh place while Bianchi (1100 Derby) finished sixth. The three large class racecars of Farinotti, Barbano and Fabris did not finish. The touring car class was won by Rabagliati (Lancia) ahead of the Ceiranos driven by Beccaria and Cattaneo.
The Circuito Ligure-Piemontese race was held for the first time in 1926. It was organized by the Club Automobilistico Genovese which assured that the circuit was policed by the troops of the Infantry throughout the entire circuit. It was located in the Piedmont region of the Alessandria province in the Po valley. The circuit was triangular in shape and was perfectly flat. It ran clockwise with the start in the city of Novi Ligure on the Corso Romualdo Marenco, from which it turned right at the station square through a narrow curve in front of the Grand Hotel, which was protected by sandbags. From there, the circuit proceeded along Via Mazzini, exiting the town to head north through nearby Pozzolo Formigaro, where a fast right turn was followed by a straight stretch of 14 km to the very old town of Tortona (east of Alessandria). Here the course made two right turns, one into the town, the other exiting it to head south along another straight stretch of 20 km past Porta Alessandria. This was followed by Corso Genova, then Serravalle, passing through the villages of Villavernia and Cassano Spinola, and eventually reaching the turning point of Serravalla Scrivia. At Serravalle there was a hairpin, which was considered the most dangerous bend of the circuit. The course then led north along a more or less straight stretch of about 7 km of Route Nationale No.35 back to Novi at the start and finish. The racecars had to drive six laps around the 45 km circuit and the touring cars just four.
A complete list of racecar entries is at the beginning of this report with the touring cars listed only in the results. However, some notes may be of interest. According to historian Alessandro Silva, the driver of the 1924 Alfa Romeo RLTF in the racecar class was given as "Barbieri" by Auto Italiana and Gazzetta dello Sport. Several Barbieris have raced in Italy but in the mid-twenties there was only a Nino Barbieri from Verona who raced an Amilcar. Only five or six RLTF24 Alfa Romeos were made in 1924, a couple of them with 3.6-litre engines. One of these ended up in Genoa in 1925/26 owned by a rich man called Barbano who had beautiful cars usually raced by hired drivers. A few times he drove the Alfa himself. A lot of other drivers from nearby Genoa competed in this race. A local Genoa newspaper (Il Caffaro) had listed the Alfa Romeo driver as Cesare Barbano. Amongst the touring car entries the fourth placed finisher Corrado Della Chŕ drove a Lancia Lambda according to Auto Italiana and Gazzetta dello Sport. Alessandro Silva stated that Della Chŕ also drove an Alfa Romeo 3-Liter RLS in 1926.
Thousands of spectators crowded the circuit, coming from the surrounding regions. The14 race cars (Only 11 cars started according to La Stampa but it was not mentioned which ones of the 14 drivers) had to drive six laps of the very dusty circuit.
Grid not available

The race was started by Mr. Gianferrari at 2:20 PM in a mass start with two cars per row. The 14 touring cars (Only 12 touring cars started according to La Stampa but it was not mentioned which ones of the 14 drivers) had to drive only four laps and started at 2:27 PM also two per row.
      The race was marred by a serious accident about three kilometers after the start. Arturo Farinotti who was well favored with his 2000 Bugatti reached the 11 meters wide Pozzolo Formigaro bend before entering Pozzolo. As a result of the dust raised by the cars ahead, visibility was poor and Farinotti, a former motorcyclist, crashed into a roadside post, overturning the car. Both the men, driver and the mechanic, were thrown onto the wide road and were hit immediately by two following cars. Farinotti received severe injuries to his left arm and head. He was cared for promptly by Dr. Calsi first and then by Dr. Giglione from the ambulance of the Green Cross and was transported to the hospital in Alessandria. His condition was serious but not life threatening. His riding mechanic died minutes after the crash from serious head injuries. Mario Fogazzi aged 30 came from Brescia but lived in Milan a father with two children. His body was transported to the mortuary of the Pozzolo Formigaro Municipality. The news of the tragic accident spread immediately among the public, arousing much consternation.
      However, the attention of the spectators was soon focused on the battle between Valpreda's Chiribiri and Cereseto's 1500 Bugatti. Valpreda from Alessandria had been able to separate himself from his adversaries which were eight Bugatti drivers. At the end he won the 1500 category and was also the overall winner at an average of over 120 km/h, after making the fastest lap at the 122 km/h. He was followed by the Bugattis of the young Cereseto, Borgatta and Gherardi and by the Genoese Bianchi with the 1100 Derby. Caliri (Bugatti) had been delayed by an accident. None of the three drivers in the 2000 category reached the finish. Amongst the touring cars Rabagliati was the winner but was challenged by Cattaneo, who had a flat tire during the last lap and had to leave the category win to his teammate Beccaria. They both had factory assistance.

Race Car Results


1.50Federico ValpredaF. ValpredaChiribiriMonza C1.5S-462h14m52.6s 
2.Alfredo CeresetoA. CeresetoBugatti15001.5S-462h21m50.0s+ 6m57.4s
3. Pio BorgattaP. BorgattaBugattiT371.5S-462h28m18.6s+ 13m26.0s
4.Vittorio Emanuele GherardiV.E. GherardiBugatti15001.5S-462h30m44.4s+ 15m51.8s
5.Antonino CaliriA. CaliriBugattiT371.5S-462h34m30.4s+ 19m37.8s
6.Giuseppe BianchiG. BianchiDerby1.1S-462h39m02.0s+ 24m09.4s
7.Ludovico AstengoL. AstengoBugatti15001.5S-462h43m56.8s+ 29m04.2s
DNFBruno GiordanoB. GiordanoBugattiT221.5S-4   
DNFArrigo SartorioA. SartorioGarChapuis Dornier1.1S-4   
DNFCesare BarbanoC. BarbonoAlfa RomeoRLTF 243.6S-6
DNFPietro FabrisP. FabrisBugattiT35A2.0S-8
DNF14Arturo FarinottiA. FarinottiBugattiT352.0S-80crash on lap one
Fastest lap, 1500cc: Federico Valpreda (Chiribiri) in 22m00.2s = 122.7 km/h (76.2 mph).
Winner's average speed: 120.1 km/h. (74.6 mph).
Weather: dry and warm

Touring Car Results


1.Armando RabagliatiA. RabagliatiLanciaLambda2.6V-441h46m18.0s 
2.Luigi BeccariaL. BeccariaCeiranoS1501.5S-441h49m32.0s+ 3m14.0s
3.Pietro CattaneoP. CattaneoCeiranoS1501.5S-441h49m32.2s+ 3m14.2s
4.Corrado Della ChŕC. Della ChŕLanciaLambda2.6V-441h49m50.0s+ 3m32.0s
5Andrea PodestŕA. PodestŕCeiranoS1501.5S-442h05m52.0s+ 19m34s
6.Carlo Dal CantoC. Dal CantoAmilcar1.1S-442h49m45.4s+ 1h03m27.4s
DNFVirgilio CavannaV. CavannaSénéchal1.1S-4   
DNFAnacleto RossatiA. RossatiCeiranoS1501.5S-4   
DNFPaolo PavesioP. PavesioCeiranoS1501.5S-4   
DNFRenato BalestreroR. BalestreroOM6652.0S-6   
DNFUmberto PugnoU. PugnoLanciaLambda2.6V-4   
DNFGiuseppe RicciG. RicciLanciaLambda2.6V-4   
Fastest lap: Armando Rabagliati (Lancia) in 24m09.6s = 111.8 km/h (69.4 mph).
Winner's average speed: 101.6 km/h.(63.1 mph).
Weather: dry and warm
In retrospect:
The reason why the 1926 Circuito Ligure-Piemontese was held on a Monday was because the hill climbs at Susa-Moncenisio and Coppa della Collina Pistoese were both held on Sunday, September 19. To allow some drivers to participate in both races, the Circuito was postponed to September 20.
      September 20th was in fact an Italian Holiday until 1930, named "Anniversario della Presa di Roma". It was the anniverary of the conquest of Rome by the Italian troops in 1870 that caused the transfer of the capital to Rome and the end of the State of the Church (only the Vatican palaces and St Peter remained under the Pope).

Primary sources researched for this article:
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
Special thanks to:
Alessandro Silva
Giuseppe Prisco


© 2021 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 22.06.2021