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.
by Leif Snellman
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
13 June 1937: ADAC Eifelrennen sports car races are run in 6 different classes at Nürburgring.|
4 laps (91.26 km) for class 1-2, 5 laps (114.05 km) for classes 3-6.
|Class 1. 1100cc without supercharger|
|1.||75 "Regies" (Emil Vorster)||MG - Midget|| 59m33.4s (91.9 km/h)|
|2.||80 Kurt Haagner||NSU-Fiat|| 59m36.3s (91.9 km/h)|
|3.||76 Willy Zinn ||NSU-Fiat|| 59m46.3s (91.6 km/h)|
|4.||77 Kurt Soergel||NSU-Fiat||1h00m17.3s (90.8 km/h)|
|Class 2. 1500cc without supercharger|
|1.||61 Dr. Fritz. Werneck||BMW|| 56m33.3s (96.8 km/h)|
|2.||57 Ralph Roese||BMW|| 57m38.0s (95.0 km/h)|
|3.||60 Eugen Krings||BMW|| 57m38.3s (95.0 km/h)|
|4.||58 Willi Pfeiffer||BMW|| 57m50.1s (94.6 km/h)|
|Class 3. 2000cc without supercharger|
|1.||39 "AFP Fane" (GB)||BMW||1h03m05.3s (108.4 km/h)|
|2.||36 Uli Richter||BMW||1h03m17.1s (108.1 km/h)|
|3.||37 Paul Heinemann||BMW||1h04m29.3s (106.1 km/h)|
|4.||32 Paul Greifzu||BMW||1h04m44.3s (105.7 km/h)|
|Class 4. Over 2000cc without supercharger|
|1.||23 Edoardo Teagno (I)||Alfa Romeo||1h12m43.1s (94.2 km/h)|
|Class 5. 2000cc with supercharger|
|1.||11 Herbert Berg||Alfa Romeo||1h04m30.2s (106.1 km/h)|
|1.||17 Robert Kohlrausch||MG||1h10m19.2s (97.4 km/h)|
|1.||16 Robert Fleischandlel (A)||Amilcar||1h11m51.4s (95.2 km/h)|
|1.||10 Quadri (CH)||Maserati||1h13m24.1s (93.2 km/h)|
|Class 6. Over 2000cc with supercharger|
|1.||1 Lazlo Hartmann (H)||Alfa Romeo||1h03m51.1s (107.1 km/h)|
|1.||3 Luigi Castelbarco (I)||Alfa Romeo||1h04m24.3s (106.2 km/h)|
|1.||4 Herbert Wimmer ||Bugatti||1h10m30.4s (97.0 km/h)|
|1.||5 Enrico Platé (CH)||Alfa Romeo||1h11m50.1s (95.2 km/h)|
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
by Leif Snellman
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 independent sprung 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||4CM||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
by Leif Snellman
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:
XIII GRAND PRIX DE PICARDIE
Peronne (F), 27 June 1937
2 heats of 10 laps x 9.765 km (6.068 mi) = 97.65 km (60.68 mi)
Final of 15 laps x 9.765 km (6.068 mi) = 146.475 km (91.02 mi)
Mays dominates with the works ERA
by Leif Snellman
The race was run in two heats plus final. B Bira led the first heat before retiring, leaving Dreyfus to take the victory. Then Mays in the ERA-C dominated both
the second heat and the final. Dreyfus and Wakefield finished second and third with their Maseratis.
Organized by the l'Automobil Club de Picardie et de L'Aisne the race was run as a 1.5 litre voiturette contest in two 10 laps heats, with half of the entry starting in each heat, and a15 laps final.
The race was held on a narrow triangular circuit outside Péronne. Two of the legs consisted of major roads while the third was the twisty road between the villages Brie and Mesnil-Bruntel.
The works ERA driver Pat Fairfield had had a fatal crash at Les 24 Heures du Mans on 19th June, so
the team entered only one car, Raymond Mays with his black R4C with Porsche independent suspension and Zoller supercharger.
Both of the White Mouse stable's ERA's were out of action, R2B "Romulus" needing an engine rebuild after the Milan GP and R5B "Remus" was not built up and used as a collection of spare parts.
Bira was therefore racing his rebuilt ex. Seaman Delage. The car featured a new chassis and front suspension. The team chief mechanic Stanley Wuyts and his assistant Kenneth Hall had spent a lot of
time to get the light blue car ready. The project would prove to cost the team £7,836 (an ERA costed £1,800 and a voiturette Maserati £1,050).
Private ERA entries were made by Reggie Tongue (R11B, green with black ans silver stripe), Charles Martin (R3A, red) and Peter Whitehead (R10B, black).
The spectators missed to see any duel between Mays and the top Italian voiturette driver Count Carlo Felice Trossi as the latter suffered from eye strain and decided not to race. However the Maserati works team sent
a car for René Dreyfus to drive.
Rich American John Du Puy entered two Maseratis for himself and for Swiss driver Emmanuel "Toulo" de Graffenried while German Fritz Gollin entered his silver colored Maserati 6CM (#1545)
under the Süddeutsche Renngemeinshaft banner. Robin Hanson was a Maserati driver as well racing Marjorie Hall-Smith's 6CM (#1538)and John Wakefield entered his blue painted 6CM (#1546) he had bought recently.
French Anne-Cecile Itier entered her outdated Bugatti, her compatriot Alphonse de Burnay and Amilcar and Dutch driver Harry Herkuleyns and MG Magnette.
Friday weather was foggy but the circuit was in good condition. Mays was fastest with a time of 3m57s (148.3 km/h). Bira's fastest lap during the 1936 had been 4m11s.
During Saturday morning practice mays improved his lap time to 3m48s (154.2 km/h). Here are the known times from second practice:
|de Graffenried (Maserati)||4m21s|
|Du Puy (Maserati)||4m39s|
|de Burnay (Amilcar)||5m03s|
Itier's and Martin's times are missing.
Race day came with beautiful weather and a huge crowed gathered to watch the races. Jean Pujol, driving Émile Darl'mat's Peugeot 302 Le Mans car closed the circut and then seven cars
lined up, two and two on the grid for the first heat.
| 2 Bira (Delage)||4m04s|
| 6 Dreyfus (Maserati)||4m10s|
|12 Tongue (ERA)||4m17s|
|18 Hanson (Maserati)||4m29s|
| 4 Du Puy (Maserati)||4m39s|
|16 de Burnay (Amilcar)||5m03s|
| Grid appearence unknown as Itier's time is missing |
At 1 p.m. The flag was dropped and Dreyfus took the lead followed by Bira.
Dreyfus made the first lap, in 4m12s followed closly by Bira while third positioned Hanson already was 24s behind the duo. Du Puy was fourth and Mme.Itier fifth. Tongue retired
his ERA with a piston failure while de Burnay had gone wide, bent a wheel and to made a pit stop for a wheel change.
On the next lap Bira took over the lead from Dreyfus, making the second lap in 4m04s (144.1 km/h)
The race continued in the same order during the third to fifth laps with gap between Bira and Dreyfus varying between 6 and 9 seconds.
The race order after 5 laps looked like this:
|1. Bira (Delage)||20m28s (143.1 km/h)|
|2. Dreyfus (Maserati)||20m37s|
|3. Hanson (Maserati)|
|4. Du Puy (Maserati)|
|5. Itier (Bugatti)|
|6. de Burnay (Amilcar|
On the sixth lap, Dreyfus broke the lap record by doing a 4m02s lap (145.3 km/h). At the end of the seventh lap, when lapping a slower car there was a load bang from Bira's Delage.
On the eight lap Bira slowed down and Dreyfus passed him for the lead. Bira stopped at his pit complaining that the clutch was slipping and the engine did not feel right. He went out
for another lap but then returned to the pit to retire.
Mrs. Itier made a spectacular spin in front of the grand stand without any damage to her Bugatti.
Dreyfus took the chequered flag to win Hanson by over 4 minutes with Du Puy third a further two minutes behind. Mme Itier finished fourth had also qualifed for the final.
|1.||6||René Dreyfus||Officine A Maserati||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||10||41m34.2s|| |
|2.||18||Robin Hanson||Mrs M E Hall-Smith||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||10||45m36s||+ 4m01.8s|
|3.||4||John Du Puy||J. Du Puy||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||10||47m41s||+ 6m06.8s|
|4 NC||8||Anne-Cecile Rose-Itier||Mme. Rose-Itier||Bugatti||T51A||1.5||S-8||10||49m27s||+ 7m52.8s|
|NC||2||"B Bira"||"B Bira"||Delage||15S8||1.5||S-8||8||clutch|| |
|5.||16||Alphonse de Burnay||A. de Burnay||Amilcar||C6||1.1||S-6||7|| |
|DNF||12||Reggie Tongue||R. Tongue||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||0||piston|| |
Fastest lap: René Dreyfus (Maserati) in 4m02s = 145.3 km/h (90.2 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 140.9 km/h (87.6 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 144.1 km/h (89.5 mph)
Bira's retirement from the first heat created a serious conflict in the "White Mouse Stable". The mechanics were of the opinion that they could have fixed the clutch for the final had Bira only cared
to do the last lap. It ended with both the chief mechanic and his assitant resigning.
The second heat ws to start at 2:15 p.m. Again seven cars lined up on the grid.
|22 Mays (ERA)||3m48s|
|32 Whitehead (ERA)||4m15s|
|26 de Graffenried (Maserati)||4m21s|
|24 Wakefield (Maserati)||4m28s|
|28 Gollin (Maserati)||4m29s|
|36 Herkuleyns (MG)||4m37s|
| Grid appearence unknown as Martin's time is missing |
As the flag dropped Mays immediately took command of the race while Martin suffered engine trouble and got away more than half minute behind the others.
Mays did the first lap in 4m05s (143.5 km/h) with Wakefield 17 seconds behind him. Gollin entered the Mons-en-Chaussée corner before the pits in third position but spun his
Maserati dropping down to sixth.
On the second lap, Mays increased his lead over Wakefield to 27 seconds. Martin retired to the pits due to mechanical problems while Whitehead stopped somewhere on the track.
On the end of the third lap de Graffenried passed in second poition as Wakefield had to make a pit stop to change a wheel, but the Swiss driver was already 59 seconds behind Mays.
After 5 laps the race order was as follows with Mays leading by 1m48s:
|1. Mays (ERA)||20m34s (142.4 km/h)|
|2. de Graffenried (Maserati)||22m22s|
|3. Wakefield (Maserati)||22m43s|
|4. Gollin (Maserati)|
|5. Herkuleyns (MG)|
With the distances beween the competitors the rest of the race was of little interest. Mays slowed down his pace but was still the fastest driver on the circut. At the end of the 7th lap his lead
over Graffenried was 2m37s after the eight lap 2m58s and after the ninth lap 3m18s. Mays finished the race almost a lap ahead of second Graffenried with Wakefield a distant third. Gollin and Herkuleyns
were also admitted to the final despite not having done 10 laps.
|1.||22||Raymond Mays||R. Mays||ERA||C||1.5||S-6||10||41m30.2s|| |
|2.||26||Emmanuel de Graffenried||J. Du Puy||Maserati||4CM||1.5||S-4||10||45m12s||+ 3m41.8s|
|3.||24||John Wakefield||J. Wakefield||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||10||46m41s||+ 5m10.8s|
|4.||28||Fritz Gollin||Süddeutsche Renngemeinshaft||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||9|| || |
|5.||36||Harry Herkuleyns||H. Herkuleyns||MG||K3 Magnette||1.1||S-6||8|| |
|DNF||32||Peter Whitehead||P. Whitehead||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||1||piston|| |
|DNF||30||Charles Martin||C. Martin||ERA||A||1.5||S-6||1||piston|| |
Fastest lap: Raymond Mays (ERA) in 4m05s = 143.5 km/h (89.2 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 141.1 km/h (87.7 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 154.2 km/h (95.8 mph)
Four cars from the first heat and five from the second qualified for the final that started at 4:35 p.m.
Dreyfus made the best start only to be passed after only some 50 meters by the better accelerating ERA of Mays. Mays did the first lap from standing start in
4m02s (145.3 km/h) with Dreyfus 3 seconds behind. Then followed in order Wakefield, Gollin, Hanson, de Graffenried, Du Puy, Itier and Herkuleyns.
Mays pulled away with ease. After the second lap, he led by 10 seconds after the third lap with 16 seconds.
Further back there was a very tight fight for fourth position between Hanson, Gollin and de Graffenried with only a few seconds separating the competitors.
Mays picked up the pace even more, doing the fourth lap in 3m59s (147.1 km/h). The situation after 5 laps, where Mays had opened up a 33 second gap, looked like this:
|1. Mays (ERA)||20m05s (145.9 km/h)|
|2. Dreyfus (Maserati)||20m38s|
|3. Wakefield (Maserati)||21m10s|
|4. Gollin (Maserati)|
|5. Hanson (Maserati)|
|6. de Graffenried (Maserati)|
Dreyfus regularly did 4m04s laps but had no chance against Mays who made the sixth lap in a record time of 3m58s (147.7 km/h) only to inprove the time on the seventh lap
to 3m54s (150.2 km/h). After eight laps the gap between Mays and Dreyfus was 47 seconds, after nine laps 49 seconds, and after ten laps 55 seconds.
The race order after 10 laps was:
|1. Mays (ERA)||39m55s (146.8 km/h)|
|2. Dreyfus (Maserati)||40m50s|
|3. Wakefield (Maserati)||42m32s|
|4. de Graffenried (Maserati)||44m13s|
|5. Hanson (Maserati)||45m09s|
|6. Gollin (Maserati)||45m29s|
|7. Itier (Bugatti)||50m36s|
Du Puy retired his Maserati on the eleventh lap. After thirteen laps Mays lead has increased further to 1m21s. He was regulary doing sub-four minute laps
while Dreyfus's best lap of the race would be 4m02s. Mays did the last lap in 3m56s to win by 1m43s over Dreyfus who was followed to the flag by four other Maserati drivers.
Itier could not complete her last lap as the Bugatti broke down on the circuit.
|1.||22||Raymond Mays||R. Mays||ERA||C||1.5||S-6||15||59m47.6s|| |
|2.||6||René Dreyfus||Officine A Maserati||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||15||1h01m30.6s||+ 1m43.0s|
|3.||24||John Wakefield||J. Wakefield||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||15||1h03m52.6s||+ 4m04.4s|
|4.||26||Emmanuel de Graffenried||J. Du Puy||Maserati||4CM||1.5||S-4||14|| || |
|5.||28||Fritz Gollin||Süddeutsche Renngemeinshaft||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||14|| || |
|6.||18||Robin Hanson||Mrs M E Hall-Smith||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||14|| || |
|7.||36||Harry Herkuleyns||H. Herkuleyns||MG||K3 Magnette||1.1||S-6||11|| || |
|DNF||8||Anne-Cecile Rose-Itier||Mme. Rose-Itier||Bugatti||T51A||1.5||S-8||10||mechanical|| |
|DNF||4||John Du Puy||J. Du Puy||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||10|| || |
Fastest lap: Raymond Mays (ERA) on lap 7 in 3m54s = 156.2 km/h (97.1 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 147.0 km/h (91.3 mph)
Primary sources researched for this article:|
La Croix, Paris
La Dépêche, Toulouse
Le Figaro, Paris
Prince Chula Chakrabongse: "Road Star Hat Trick"
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|