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Arthur Dobson - ERAB. Bira - MaseratiPeter Whitehead - ERA

X JUNIOR CAR CLUB 200 MILE RACE

Donington Park (GB), 28 August 1937 (Saturday)
77 laps x 4.107 km (2.552 mi) = 316.2 km(196.5 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

 
Category over 1500 cc
1Hans RüeschH. RüeschAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8DNA - did not appear
2Kenneth EvansK EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
3Antony Powys-LybbeA F AshbyAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
4"B Bira"Prince Chula of SiamMaserati8CM3.0S-8
5Francis ChiappiniF. ChiappiniMaserati26M2.5S-8DNA - did not appear
6Percy MaclureP. MaclureRiley2000/62.5uS-6
7Tony RoltA. RoltTriumphDolomite2.5S-8
 
Category 1500 cc
8Raymond MaysERA LtdERAC1.5S-6
9Arthur DobsonERA LtdERAC1.5S-6
10Earl HoweERA LtdERAB1.5S-6
11Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-6
12Charles MartinC. MartinERAA1.5S-6
14Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6
15Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6
16Charles BrackenburyA C DobsonERAB1.5S-6
17Peter AitkenP. AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
18Austin DobsonA. DobsonMaserati6CM1.5S-6
19Robin HansonMrs E Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-6
20John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati6CM1.5S-6
21Reg ParnellR. ParnellMGK3 Magnette1.4S-6
22Leslie BrookeL. BrookeBrooke-Riley1.1S-6DNA - did not appear



Second in a row for Dobson

by Leif Snellman
The Grand Prix cars and 1500cc voiturettes raced together for 77 laps. Bira in his 3 litre Maserati held an early lead but then the works ERAs of Mays and Arthur Dobson passed him and started to pull away. Earl Howe in the third works ERA made a fine comeback after his crash in May but then crashed due to failing brakes. With just 13 laps to go leader Mays had to retire with a split drive shaft. Thet left his team mate Arthur Dobson with a lead that Bira was unable to challenge, the duo both doing the race without any pit stops. Whitehead with a private ERA finished third and Wakefield fourth with a voiturette Maserati.
In 1936 the organizers at Donington park and Junior Car Club revived the Brooklands 200 mile race last held 1921-1922, now at the Donington Park Circuit. The format for 1937 was the same with The big cars and 1500cc voiturettes were raced together for 77 laps.
Entries:
There were seven entries in the larger class but in the end only five of them took part in the race.
      The Prince Chula's White Mouse Stable entered a blue Maserati 8CM (#3011) for Prince Bira. Anthony Powys-Lybbe raced an green Alfa Romeo Monza (#2211130, ex-Noel Rees, John Cobb, Louis Fontes) entered by Frank Ashby.
      Kenneth Evans entered his green Alfa Romeo P3 with Dubonnet front suspension (#5005, 1935 German GP winner with Nuvolari), and Percy Maclure raced a Riley, the only unsupercharged car in the event. Newcomer "Tony" Rolt partnered by J. Elliot entered a 8 cylinder 2482cc Triumph "Dolomite" that did not have the speed of the other entries.
      Hans Rüesch, who held the lap record, was a non starter after his Alfa Romeo 8C-35 had cracked the cylinder block at the Swiss Grand Prix and South African Francis Chiappini's Maserati was not ready to race either.
      There were eight ERA entries in the 1.5 litre class. The works team sent two Zoller supercarged and ERA-C with Porsche independent front suspension for Raymond Mays (R4C) and Arthur Dobson (R12C), fresh from their success at Berne and Earl Howe, who was making his first race since his after his crash at the Campbell Trophy in May, raced his dark blue/silver R8B as a works entry as well. With Arthur Dobson racing for the works team Charles Brackenbury took over Dobson's own white R7B. The other four ERA drivers were Ian Connell (R6B), Charles Martin (R3A), Reggie Tongue (R11B, repaired after the Pescara crash) and Peter Whitehead (R10B).
      Other entries in the class included Maserati 6CMs raced by Austin Dobson, Robin Hanson with a car entered by Mrs Hall-Smith, and John Wakefield with his now red painted car while Peter Aitken was an non-starter due to lubrication trouble with his Maserati. Reg Parnell raced a 1.4 litre MG while Leslie Brooke with a special MG-Riley did not turn up.
Practice:
Practice started on Thursday. The weather was rather cold and only a few drivers turned up. Bira being fastest with a time of 2m07s.
      During Friday practice the ERA works drivers proved to be fastest with Mays taking pole position with a time of 2m03.6s (74.68mph). Whitehead's ERA suffered serious plug trouble. There were also problems with Evans' Alfa Romeo and the mechanics had to weld the differential casing during Friday night while Connell's mechanics grinded down the piston rings of the ERA.
Race:

      On Saturday morning an overcast weather soon turned to a clear sky and by 2:30 p.m. when it was time for the race a huge crowd had gathered at Donington Park. The seventeen competitors were lined up four and four according to their practice times:
Pole Position
8
Mays

ERA
2m03.6s

9
Ar Dobson

ERA
2m04.4s

4
B Bira

Maserati
2m07.0s

10
Howe

ERA
2m07.6s

6
Maclure

Riley
2m09s
15
Whitehead

ERA

12
Martin

ERA

18
Au Dobson

Maserati

14
Tongue

ERA

20
Wakefield

Maserati

3
Powys-Lybbe

Alfa Romeo

2
Evans

Alfa Romeo

21
Parnell

MG

16
Brackenbury

ERA

19
Hanson

Maserati

7
Rolt

Triumph

11
Connell

ERA



As Charles Follett held up minutes boards one by one of the cars came to life except Martin's ERA. The mechanics pushed and pulled the car and finally it started , now positioned along the four in the first row, as "Ebby" Ebblewhite dropped the flag.
      Bira took the best start with his Maserati to lead the field into Red Gate followed by Mays, Whitehead and Austin Dobson with Arthur Dobson, who had made a poor start, falling back to fifth while the engine on Martin's ERA immediately stopped. The car was jacked up and started, the rear wheels, just touching the ground, giving up a huge cloud of smoke but when the car was dropped down it stalled again. The car was retired on the spot with a broken transmission.
      At the end of the first lap the order was: Bira, Mays, Whitehead, Austin Dobson, Arthur. Dobson, Wakefield, Howe, Brackenbury, Parnell, Tongue, Maclure, Powys-Lybbe, Evans, Connell, Hanson and Rolt. Bira had made the first lap in 2m10s (70.66 mph) to lead Mays by 3 seconds.
      On the second lap the Dobson brothers swapped positions. Connell was already in trouble with smoke coming from the cockpit of his ERA. On the third lap Arthur Dobson, making up for his bad start, passed Whitehead for third place. Connell retired his ERA with a broken piston.
      On lap four Brackenbury lost control of his ERA while breaking for the Red Gate corner and spun alling from seventh to 15th position with only Rolt behind him. Rolt in fact was lapped by Bira after only seven laps, the Triumph not only much slower than the other cars but had also fuel running over the exhaust pipe due to a leaking fuel filler cap.
      Bira made 10 laps in 21m44s (70.44 mph). Mays followed 1.6s behind him with Arthur Dobson third, Whitehead fourth and Howe now up to fifth position while Austin Dobson with his Maserati was falling back due to misfiring. Tongue made several pitstops before retiring his ERA on lap 12 with engine problems. On the same lap Evans' Alfa Romeo P3 who was in seventh position, came to a halt on the grass before the pits as the gear casing that had been welded after practice had given way. Maclure, hating his goggles, decided to push them up to his forehead for the rest of the race.
      On the 13th lap Mays got past Bira by taking Starkey's corner in a wide slide and getting better speed on the straight before Red Gate. Two laps later Arthur Dobson in the second works ERA also passed Bira. Further back Earl Howe passed Whitehead for fourth place. Meanwhile Wakefield made a pit stop for new goggles and change of seat cushions.
      Mays did 20 laps in 43m22s (70.62 mph.) He was leading Arthur Dobson by 1.6s and Bira was 9.4s. Behind the trio there was a wider gap to Howe, Whitehead and Austin Dobson. Maclure in seventh position had already been lapped by Mays after 18 laps and eight positioned Parnell had been lapped after 16 laps. Behind them followed Powys-Lybbe, Wakefield, Hanson, Brackenbury and Rolt. The works ERA duo started to pull away from Bira's Maserati by about a second per lap.
      The race order remained the same for the top five at thirty laps Mays doing it in 1h05m02s (70.63 mph) with Dobson still just 1.4s behind while Bira had fallen back 19.8s. Half a minute behind Bira Howe and Whitehead were having a duel for fourth position. Howe's brakes were failing and after overshooting Coppice turn he made a 1m45s pit stop for adjustments and refueling on the 37th lap leaving the engine running until officials demanding it to be stopped. That left Whitehead in fourth position. Austin Dobson retired his Maserati with a broken fuel or water-pipe after 39 laps.
      Halfway through the race Hanson and Rolt made their planned pit stops as did Parnell whose M.G. had been smoking for some laps. Parnell exited the cockpit to stretch while the mechanics worked on the car. Mays in full control of the race did 40 laps in 1h26m49s (70.55mph). Arthur Dobson followed 3.8s behind while Bira now was 32.4s behind, the rear shock-absorbers slackening on his Maserati making the car to jump up and down. Whitehead made a 1m05s stop on lap 40 to refuel but held on to his fourth position. Brackenbury and Wakefield made their pit stops as well. Hanson retired his Maserati after 49 laps due to engine trouble coasting to his pit.
      Mays did 50 laps in 1h48m33s (70.53 mph) He led his team mate by 3s and Bira by 46.8s Whitehead was still fourth and Howe fifth. On the 52nd lap Mays and Dobson lapped the third works ERA of Howe. Immediately afterwards Howe's brakes failed at Starkey's turn and he made a 180 degree turn in the grass. Restarting he then crashed into the sandbank and retired there and then,
      There was speculation in the pit whether the two works ERAs had to stop for refueling and Bira would be able to take the victory because of that. Whitehead again made a pitstop, leaving in just 27s. Maclure also made a stop for refueling and brake adjustments but then the Riley could not re-start. Three mechanics and two marshals tried to push start the car but eventually Maclure himself had to jump out and push before the engine fired. After just one more lap Maclure was back in a pit again, this time to fix a broken fuel pipe.
      Mays did 60 laps in 2h10m29s (70.41 mph). He led Dobson by 6.4s. Then followed Bira, Whitehead and Wakefield. On the 63rd lap Mays patted his helmet as he passed the pits and the pit crew made preparations for refueling. When Mays on the next lap was ready to pit there was a load noise and the engine revved up. The car coasted past Red Gate with a split drive shaft and Mays threw his arms up in resignation. Bira's pit immediately showed a board with Siamese signs and Bira started to push, doing his laps 2s faster than before. But new race leader Dobson responded to the challenge. From 48s the gap to Bira actually increased to 52.2 s on lap 69.
      Dobson's time for 70 laps was 2h33m06s (70.01 mph) with Bira 49.6s behind. Whitehead was third, Wakefield fourth and Powys-Lybbe fifth. Brackenbury passed Maclure for sixth position after 69 laps but the brakes on the ERA were failing and he was repassed after 72 laps.
      Dobson made the last laps unchallenged to win his second race in a week for the ERA works team. Bira finished second 39.6s seconds behind the winner with Whitehead third, Wakefield fourth, Powys-Lybbe fifth Maclure sixth and Brackenbury seventh. Parnell and Rolt were flagged off.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.9Arthur DobsonERA LtdERAC1.5S-6772h49m12.4s 
2.4"B Bira"Prince Chula of SiamMaserati8CM3.0S-8772h49m52s+ 40s
3.15Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6772h54m45s+ 5m33s
4.20John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati6CM1.5S-6772h56m36s+ 6m24s
5.3Antony Powys-LybbeA F AshbyAlfaMonza2.3S-8772h57m56s+ 8m44s
6.6Percy MaclureP. MaclureRiley2000/62.5uS-6772h58m34s+ 9m22s
7.16C Brackenbury/C PintacudaA C DobsonERAB1.5S-6773h01m16s+ 12m04s
8.21Reg ParnellR. ParnellMGK3 Magnette1.4S-6733h00m19s 
9.7Tony RoltA. RoltTriumphDolomite2.5S-8722h59m53s
DNF8Raymond MaysERA LtdERAC1.5S-664rear axle 
DNF10Earl HoweERA LtdERAB1.5S-651crash 
DNF19Robin HansonMrs E. Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-649engine 
DNF18Austin DobsonA. DobsonMaserati6CM1.5S-639water pipe 
DNF2K. Evans/D. EvansK EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-812gearbox
DNF14Reggie TongueR TongueERAB1.5S-612engine 
DNF11Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-63oil leak 
DNF12Charles MartinC. MartinERAA1.5S-60gearbox 
Fastest lap: Raymond Mays (ERA) in 2m08.2s = 115.3 km/h (71.7 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 112.1 km/h (69.7 mph)
Weather: sunny.
Results (1500cc)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.9Arthur DobsonERA LtdERAC1.5S-6772h49m12.4s 
2.15Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6772h54m45s+ 5m33s
3.20John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati6CM1.5S-6772h56m36s+ 6m24s
4.16C Brackenbury/C PintacudaA C DobsonERAB1.5S-6773h01m16s+ 12m04s
5.21Reg ParnellR. ParnellMGK3 Magnette1.4S-6733h00m19s 
DNF8Raymond MaysERA LtdERAB1.5S-664rear axle 
DNF10Earl HoweERA LtdERAB1.5S-651crash 
DNF19Robin HansonMrs E. Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-649engine 
DNF18Austin DobsonA. DobsonMaserati6CM1.5S-639water pipe 
DNF14Reggie TongueR TongueERAB1.5S-612engine 
DNF11Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-63oil leak 
DNF12Charles MartinC. MartinERAA1.5S-60gearbox 
In retrospect:
As usual with British races no intermediate times were announced, only speeds. The intermediate times have been calculated from the speeds.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Motor Sport, London
The Autocar, London
The Motor, London
J.C.C. Gazette, London
Also:
Prince Chula Chakrabongse: "Road Star Hat Trick"
Special thanks to:
Adam Ferrington

Star 4 September 1937: Gianfranco Comotti (Talbot) wins the "RAC Tourist Trophy" 100 lap sports car handicap race at Donington Park, England.
Results:
1.Gianfranco ComottiTalbot T150C4h35m27s
2.René Le BègueTalbot T150C4h39m40s
3."Bira"BMW 3284h41m01s
4.John Donald BarnesSinger 94h42m18s
5.Paul / MonginDelahaye 135CS4h46m59s
6.Norman BlackSinger 94h49m30s



Raymond Mays - ERAJohn Wakefield - MaseratiWilliam Cotton - ERA

PHOENIX PARK (V DUBLIN TROPHY)
(Voiturette 1500cc)

Phoenix Park - Dublin, 11 September 1937 (Saturday)
24 laps x 6.857 km (4.261 mi) = 164.6 km (102.3 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

1"B Bira""B Bira"Delage15S81.5S-8
2Raymond MaysH W CookERAB1.5S-6
3Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6
4Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6
5William CottonW. CottonERAB1.5S-6
7Frank O'BoyleF. O'BoyleAlta58S
8Peter AitkenEcurie AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-6
10Austin DobsonEcurie AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-6
11Robin HansonMrs M E Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-6
12John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati6CM1.5S-6
?Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-6DNA - did not appear



Yet another works ERA victory.

by Leif Snellman
Ten cars took part in the 1500cc scratch race. Bira had thought that on the fast circuit he might be able to challenge Mays' works ERA with his rebuilt ex-Seaman Delage. However Mays dominated the race from start to finish while Bira had a duel for second position with Wakefield in a Maserati. The duel ended when Bira retired with a broken spring. Mays won the race from Wakefield with Cotton with a private ERA finishing third.
The event organized by the Irish Motor Racing Club (I.M.R.C.) at Phoenix Park consisted of two 100 mile races, an unlimited handicap race intended mainly for local Irish drivers for the Wakefield Trophy and a 24 laps scratch race for 1500cc voiturettes for the Dunlop Trophy. Prizes for the top three finishers in the 1500cc race were £100, £50 and £20 with the prizes in the handicap race being half of that.
Entries:
The interest for the race was much centered on the 1937 B.R.D.C. Road Racing "Gold Star", in effect the British championship. B. Bira, who was driving under a R.A.C. licence as Siam was not represented in AIACR, was the 1936 "Gold Star" winner. During the year international and major races were giving 10-8-6-4 etc. points while national or minor events gave less ponts. The points situation after the RAC Tourist Trophy was: Mays 57, Dobson 52, Bira 51.
      With both Phoenix Park races carrying full 10 "Gold Star" points for a win both Raymond Mays and "B. Bira" decided to desert the prestigious Shelsley-Walsh hill climb for Ireland, entering both the Phoenix Park races.
      There were 31 entries in the handicap race but only 10 in the scratch race. An 2 litre engine was installed in Arthur Dobson's JCC200 winning ERA (R12C) for Mays to race in the handicap race while Mays was to race his own ERA (R4C) in the scratch race. Arthur Dobson was thus unable to take part in the event. Three other ERA entries were Reggie Tongue (R11B), Peter Whitehead (black R10B) and dance band leader William "Billy" Cotton who after racing an M.G. recently had bought Seaman's ERA (green R1B) and was now doing his race debut with it.
      The "White Mouse" stable entered their 3 litre Maserati for Bira in the handicap race but guessing their ERA had no chance against the works entry they decided to entered their straight-eight Delage instead in the 1500cc race. The Delage bought from Seaman had been rebuilt with new chassis and independant front suspension and painted light blue for a total cost of £7836.
      There were four 6 cylinder Maserati entries with Ecurie Aitken entering two cars for Peter Aitken and Austin Dobson, Robin Hanson with a car (#1538) entered by Mrs. Hall-Smith, and John Wakefield racing his car (#1546), now repainted green. Local Dublin driver "Frank" O'Boyle entered an Alta.
Practice:
Practice was on Friday morning for both races. Bira and Mays both did 2m25s laps (105.8 mph) with their bigger cars. For the 1.5 class Mays proved fastest doing 2m29s (103.0 mph) with his ERA.
Race:
Saturday came with fine weather and a large crowd turned up to see the races. The event started with the handicap race. Winner was D. Yule, who had a 7 lap plus 2 minute handicap and was racing a C.M.Y. which was orginally a Morris Minor. Bira, who started from scratch, finished second thus gaining 8 "Gold Star" points for a total of 59 while Mays, also starting from scratch, retired.
      Then it was time for the 1500cc scratch race. Mays started from pole position with his black Zoller supercharged works car with Hanson and Bira besides him in the front row.
      A few minutes before the start it was noticed that Whitehead's ERA had been filled up by mistake with an ethyl-benzol mixture and the tank was drained and refilled in a rush.
Pole Position
2
"B Bira"

Delage

11
Hanson

Maserati

1
Mays

ERA

8
Aitken

Maserati

5
Cotton

ERA

Rest of grid unknown.



Mays made the best start and did the first lap in 2m41s (95.3 mph) to lead over Bira by 5 s with Cotton third and Wakefield fourth. Whitehead almost immediately retired his ERA with as broken piston, stopping at the Mountjoy corner just after the start.
      Mays did the second lap in 2m31s pulling away a further second from Bira while Wakefield took over third position from Cotton. After the second lap Tongue retired his ERA due to an engine failure.
      While Mays was pulling away, Bira was unable to open a gap to third positioned Wakefield. Despite Bira doing the 5th lap in 2m30s the distance to Wakefield decreased from 5 to 4 seconds. After 8 laps the Delage and the Maserati were close together and on the ninth lap Wakefield took over second position. But on the tenth lap Bira retook his position and Hanson passed Dobson for 5th place.
      After 10 laps Mays was leading Bira by 22s with Wakefield a further 5s behind. Then followed Cotton, Hanson and Dobson.
      The works ERA was drawing steadily away from the Delage/Maserati duel and after 12 laps Mays' gap had increased to 31 seconds to Wakefield, who once again had taken over second position. On the same lap Aitken retired when a fuel pipe split and blinded him with fuel, and Austin Dobson retired his Maserati due to an engine seizure.
      The duel for second position continued, Bira passing Wakefield on lap 17 to lead him by 2 seconds. On the next lap the gap was just 1.5s and on the 19th lap Bira came slowly to the pit with a broken left rear spring on his Delage and had to retire. O'Boyle retired his Alta after having valve trouble throughout the race.
      With their positions secured both Wakefield and Mays, who four times had made 2m27s laps (167.9 km/h - 104.4 mph), a 1.5 litre lap record, were able to ease a little during the last laps of the race. Mays took the chequered flag to secure the victory and 10 "Gold Star" points, with Wakefield finishing second, Cotton third after a well driving debut with the car and Hanson fourth.
      Raymond Mays tells in his book" Split Seconds": I remember the glee which greeted my unsuccessful single-handed attempts to carry the immense Dunlop Trophy... with the aid of a second pair of hands I did finally manage to totter off the dais with this monstrous cup, only to be told that tradition demanded that the winner filled it with Irish whisky.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.1Raymond MaysH W CookERABS-62459m38.2s 
2.11John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati6CMS-6241h01m50.0s+ 2m11.8s
3.5William CottonW. CottonERABS-6241h02m34.4s+ 2m56.2s
4.12Robin HansonMrs M E Hall-SmithMaserati6CMS-6231h03m04.0s 
DNF1"B Bira""B Bira"Delage15S8S-819spring 
DNF7Frank O'BoyleF. O'BoyleAlta19valves 
DNF8Peter AitkenEcurie AitkenMaserati6CMS-612fuel tank 
DNF10Austin DobsonEcurie AitkenMaserati6CMS-612engine 
DNF3Reggie TongueR. TongueERABS-62piston 
DNF4Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERABS-60piston 
Fastest lap: Raymond Mays (ERA) in 2m27s = 167.9 km/h (104.4 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 165.6 km/h (102.9 mph)
Weather: sunny and fine.
In retrospect:
Had Bira managed to do just one more lap he would have been classified as fifth and secured 3 valuable points. Now Mays was leading the "Gold Star" championship 67-59 over Bira. Mainly due to an victory at the Imperial Trophy at Chrystal Palace on 9th October Bira was later able to take the ponts lead but had to wait until 16th December and the results of the South African Rand GP before his second "Gold Star" was secured 73-70.

Race numbers are from the race program and confirmed by film on You Tube. Both editions of Paul Sheldons book have wrong numbers.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Motor Sport, London
The Autocar, London
The Motor, London
Also:
Prince Chula Chakrabongse: "Road Star Hat Trick"
Raymond Mays: "Split Seconds"
Special thanks to:
Adam Ferrington



Rudolf Caracciola - Mercedes-BenzHermann Lang - Mercedes-BenzBernd Rosemeyer - Auto Union

XV° GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA

Ardenza Circuit, Livorno, 12 September 1937
50 laps x 7.218 km (4.485 mi) = 360.9 km (224.3 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1255.7S-8
4Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8
6Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1255.7S-8
8Richard SeamanDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1255.7S-8
10Christian KautzDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1255.7S-8
12Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
14Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
16Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
18Hermann Paul MüllerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
20Vittorio BelmondoScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
22Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
24Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
26Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
28Clemente BiondettiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12 Started for A. Brivio
30Gianbattista GuidottiSA Alfa RomeoAlfa Romeo12C-374.5V-12
32Hans RüeschH. RüeschAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8DNS - did not start



Caracciola and Lang dominate the Italian Grand Prix

by Hans Etzrodt & Leif Snellman
The three works teams of Mercedes-Benz, Auto Union, Alfa Romeo plus Scuderia Ferrari contested the 1937 Italian Grand Prix. The venue was changed from Monza to Livorno to give the Italians a greater chance of winning but this did not produce the hoped-for Italian victory. Instead, the German cars completely outclassed the Italians and won easily without ever being challenged. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) was the early leader but was soon passed by his eager teammate Lang, who launched a private duel just seconds apart to the dismay of furious Mercedes team manager Neubauer. Just seconds behind, in third place, Rosemeyer (Auto Union) watched the fun, chasing after the two Mercedes, creating a high-speed trio, to the immense enjoyment of the large crowd. At mid-race, during the pit stops, Mercedes team manager Neubauer lectured Lang as Caracciola had to win the race to become European Champion. Then Caracciola led uncontested with obedient Lang following behind with the sick and slowing Rosemeyer in third place. Stuck stopped on the 18th lap when Hasse took over the driving. Guidotti in the new 4.5-L Alfa Romeo spun off the road and retired. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) once held 4th place on lap 21 but finding the situation hopeless, handed his car over to Farina, who had withdrawn on lap 13. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz) held 4th place for a long time before he fell behind to drop out on lap 36. Biondetti retired his Alfa on lap 39. Kautz withdrew his Mercedes-Benz after 43 laps. The Auto Unions dropped behind the leading Mercedes followed by the Alfa Romeos. Eventually Caracciola won half a second ahead of Lang with the sick Rosemeyer third, followed one lap behind by Seaman, Müller, Varzi, Farina for Nuvolari, then three laps back trailed Trossi, Hasse for Stuck and Belmondo last five laps in the rear.
The organization of the 15th Gran Premio d'Italia and simultaneously the 17th Coppa Ciano was overseen by RACI Commendatore Magnani, who was in Livorno, accompanied by Commendatore Castagneto, who became aware of all that had to be done, lingering for a long time on the narrow route and on the finish line. The Livorno branch of RACI, collaborating with the technicians from Rome, was perfecting the organizational work, as 13 popular railroad trains were to arrive in Livorno between Saturday and Sunday.
      The race counted towards the 1937 Italian and European Championships, to be held for the first time on the newly arranged Ardenza town circuit located just south of Livorno (Leghorn in English), leading through narrow streets and being bordered by walls. From the start at Rotonda Ardenza, then Via della Torre - Ardenza terra - Via del Litorale - Via Aurelia - Piazza Bartolomei - (Antignano - Via Aurelia Miramare) - Via Amerigo Vespucci - Via Duca Cosimo - Piazza Dino Leoni - Piazza del Castello - then along the narrow 1.4 km coastal straight of Viale Vittorio Emanuele, the only place to pass another car. At its end was the start at Rotonda Ardenza, all measured 7 km, to be covered 55 times, for a total of 385 km. However, after remeasuring the circuit, the length was not 7.0 km, but 7.218 km. Hours before the start, due to three delays, the race was reduced from 55 to 50 laps, with the total distance of 360.9 km, with full agreement of the manufacturer team managers. The switch of the Grand Prix from Monza to Livorno was officially claimed as a successful test and a useful lecture but the true reason for this was that the venue change was to give the Italian cars a greater chance of winning as they had been successful here at the 1936 Coppa Ciano, beating the Auto Unions. The prizes amounted to 150,000 Lire.
Entries:
Entries for 16 drivers were received, representing three racing teams and Swiss champion Hans Rüesch as independent. But the latter did not start after car damage in practice, so there were just 15 starters.
      The Daimler-Benz team, managed by Alfred Neubauer, arrived with five W 125 cars for Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch, Hermann Lang, Richard Seaman and Christian Kautz as drivers.
      Auto Union, supervised by team manager Dr. Karl Otto Feuereissen, arrived with four V-16 type C cars, for Bernd Rosemeyer, Achille Varzi, Hans Stuck and H. P. Müller with Rudolf Hasse as reserve driver, who was still handicapped with leg and foot injuries he had received at his Monaco crash. Varzi was a surprise entry. He told team manager Feuereissen that he had given up his affair with Ilse and drugs and asked for a drive, his first Grand Prix in 1937. The team manager was hesitant but after persuasion by Rosemeyer, Varzi was signed on for the three last races of the season. Varzi then had been at the Nürburgring for a few days, to work together on the final tuning of the cars and to train properly.
      A change took place during March of 1937 when SA Alfa Romeo acquired 80% of the share capital in SA Scuderia Ferrari, on the basis that Enzo Ferrari's functions remained as before. But for the 15. August Coppa Acerbo race, SA Alfa Romeo works entered two of the new more powerful 4.5-liter V12-cylinder 12C-37 type and not by Scuderia Ferrari. However, the cars were undrivable with twisting frame in the hands of Nuvolari. So, for the Italian Grand Prix it was again Scuderia Ferrari who entered the 4.1-liter V12-cylinder type 12C-36 Alfa Romeos for Tazio Nuvolari, Giuseppe Farina, Carlo Felice Trossi, reserve driver Belmondo and Marquis Antonio Brivio with Clemente Biondetti as his Scuderia Ferrari reserve driver. Biondetti was entered with an 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo but in the race, he drove with the 12-cylinder. Marquis Brivio, who was originally entered as driver, had an altercation with Ferrari team manager engineer Luigi Bazzi, who decided that Biondetti was to race instead. Brivio then stated that according to the contract with Ferrari, only he had the right to drive, as he was the second Scuderia driver after Nuvolari. But on Sunday Brivio appeared with his wife as spectator in the race. However, there was a separate pit for SA Alfa Romeo, apart from Scuderia Ferrari, for a renewed trial run to test the new works entered 12C-37 type driven by Alfa Romeo chief mechanic Gianbattista Guidotti, supervised by designer Vittorio Jano. The only independent driver was the Swiss Hans Rüesch with a 3.5-liter, 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo.
Practice:
Thursday was the first practice with the fastest time made by Brauchitsch in 3m18.6s at 126.887 km/h average speed. All 17 drivers were able to put up laps during the two practice periods. Guidotti drove the 12C-37 Alfa Romeo works entry. Practice was organized by engineer Furmanik, president of the ACI Sporting Commission and engineer Ivo Magnani, general director of RACI, also race director Renzo Castagneto and Commendatore Emanuele Tron, chairman of the RACI organizing committee Livorno. The best times were as follows:
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)3m18.6s
Varzi (Auto Union)3m20.2s
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)3m21.4s
Rosemeyer (Auto Union)3m21.6s
Lang (Mercedes-Benz)3m21.8s
Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)3m22.4s
Stuck (Auto Union3m23.2s
Farina (Alfa Romeo)3m27.2s
Trossi (Alfa Romeo)3m27.2s
Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)3m28.6s
Müller (Auto Union)3m29.2s
Guidotti (Alfa Romeo)3m29.4s
Brivio (Alfa Romeo)3m30.4s
Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)3m30.6s
Kautz (Mercedes-Benz)3m35.2s
Belmondo (Alfa Romeo)3m42.8s
Rüesch (Alfa Romeo)3m45.0s

Friday practice was disrupted by rain and wind but did not prevent an enthusiastic crowd from attending. During the storm Nuvolari recorded the time of 3m36.6s, while Rosemeyer ran in 3m34.4s and Brauchitsch in 3m34s. Caracciola made a lap in 3m26.2s. Farina lapped in 3m36.2s. Nuvolari had left the eight-cylinder to take the wheel of the 1936 twelve-cylinder. With it he began to turn in 3m29s, then gradually went down to 3m28s; 3m26s; 3m23.6s; 3m23s net and finally 3m22.4s, the best time of the day. But Nuvolari made the last lap, stopping before the finish line in 3m21.8s according to the timing performed by the pits. Müller scored a time of 3m29s while Varzi was lapping also fast, his best in 3m23.2s. Mercedes drivers did not do any fast laps, probably in the hope that they could show their paces on a dry Saturday. Belmondo and Rüesch did not practice.
Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)3m21.8s
Varzi (Auto Union)3m23.2s
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)3m26.2s
Müller (Auto Union)3m29.0s
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)3m34.0s
Rosemeyer (Auto Union)3m34.4s
Farina (Alfa Romeo)3m36.2s

Charles Faroux reported that Saturday practice took place without rain, but with a real wind storm and one might fear for bad weather on Sunday. Caracciola flashed around in 3m11s at 132 km/h average speed. Varzi registered a lap in 3m13.6 mph while Rosemeyer's time was 3m14.2s. The times were as follows:
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)3m11.0s
Varzi (Auto Union)3m13.6s
Rosemeyer (Auto Union)3m14.2s
Lang (Mercedes-Benz)3m15.6s
Stuck (Auto Union3m17.4s
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)3m19.8s
Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)3m20.8s
Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)3m21.6s
Trossi (Alfa Romeo)3m22.2s
Müller (Auto Union)3m22.4s
Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)3m24.6s
Guidotti (Alfa Romeo)3m24.2s
Farina (Alfa Romeo)3m24.4s
Belmondo (Alfa Romeo)3m39.0s

Saturday afternoon between 4:30 and 5:30 was reserved for scrutineering and other formalities, presided by Technical Commissioner engineer Canestrini starting with Auto Union, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo then Rüesch and Belmondo. Part of that was weighing the cars, all of which were below the 750 kg limit.
Race:
Biondetti drove with the 12-cylinder instead of 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo. Rüesch, who had practiced on Thursday, did not start due to a damaged engine. But according to Charles Faroux, the Swiss champion was absent at the start, as he broke his Alfa's rear bridge during practice.
      Sunday morning a strong storm and rain eventually subsided, so the race took place in dry condition with the roads still moist in places. The gigantic crowd, estimated between 40,000 to over 50,000 people, was waiting in great anticipation along the seven km long circuit. Due to the heavy rain, the preliminaries preceding the race had been delayed and got underway at 2:35 p.m. with the traditional parade in front of stands, which began with the notes of the national anthems being played, accompanied by enthusiastic applause. The banners were carried by the young fascists of the various RACI provincial sections. Then followed together with the sound of the national anthems the cars and the drivers, greatly applauded by the crowd, preceded by the flags of the respective nations carried by a sailor of the Italian Navy. First were the red Alfa Romeos led by Nuvolari. Next, the sounds of the German hymn echoed and the German drivers paraded with their cars. They all lined up on the starting grid in order of their practice times with the fastest car at the right during the subsequent flag raising ceremony.
Pole Position
12
Rosemeyer

Auto Union
3m14.2s

14
Varzi

Auto Union
3m13.6s

2
Caracciola

Mercedes-Benz
3m11.0s

4
Brauchitsch

Mercedes-Benz
3m18.6s

16
Stuck

Auto Union
3m17.4s

6
Lang

Mercedes-Benz
3m15.6s

26
Trossi

Alfa Romeo
3m22.2s

8
Seaman

Mercedes-Benz
3m21.6s

22
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo
3m20.8s

24
Farina

Alfa Romeo
3m24.4s

30
Guidotti

Alfa Romeo
3m24.2s

18
Müller

Auto Union
3m22.4s

20
Belmondo

Alfa Romeo
3m40.0s

10
Kautz

Mercedes
3m29.0s

28
Biondetti

Alfa Romeo
3m24.6s



The stands at the finish line were overloaded with spectators, the straight section of Antignano was black with crowds, the enclosure of the pits was semi-invaded, human clusters were everywhere and along the slopes of Monte Nero even the meadows had been stormed. The giant crowd was so passionate and annoying taken by the event, that at certain points of the course people burst through barriers and cordons and poured out in a stream onto the circuit roads, looking for a place to watch the race. As a result, the start had to be delayed by about half an hour to give time to clear the track as best as possible. Accordingly, the race was then reduced from 55 to 50 laps, in full agreement with the manufacturer team managers to prevent drivers driving until the darkness of the evening.
      George Monkhouse wrote, "Three minutes before the start, when all drivers were sitting in their cars waiting for the engines to be started up, it was apparent that about a quarter of a mile after the start the road was completely blocked by spectators who were having a free fight with the police and definitely winning! Suddenly with a great rush about 3,000 or 4,000 people started stampeding down the road to the back of the pits. Nuvolari, in order to get a better view of the incident, stood up on the tail of his car. It was obvious that it would be some time before the police could restore order, so Neubauer very wisely shouted to the Mercedes mechanics to put back the soft plugs and warm up the engines again; Auto Union promptly followed suit.
      "At last, order appeared to be finally restored, and the drivers got back into their cars, when it was announced that there would unfortunately be a further delay while an ambulance went round the circuit to collect a spectator who had fallen out of the tree on to the road and killed himself."
      Al last, the engines were started up and off went the screaming pack with Caracciola and Lang in the lead, followed by Rosemeyer and Brauchitsch; then came Varzi, Nuvolari, Müller and Seaman. The wait for their return was just over three minutes when the cars appeared at great speed. The first to cross the finish line was the Mercedes of Caracciola, followed by Varzi, Lang, Rosemeyer, Brauchitsch and Nuvolari, a gap, then Müller, Seaman, Stuck, Kautz and then Farina, Trossi, Biondetti, Guidotti and Belmondo.
      After the second lap Caracciola remained in the lead ahead of Lang who had passed into second place, ahead of Rosemeyer with a gap to Brauchitsch, Varzi and Nuvolari, followed by Müller, Seaman, Stuck, Farina, Kautz, Trossi, Biondetti, Guidotti and Belmondo.
      At the beginning of the 4th lap Lang passed Caracciola for first place, much to the consternation of the Mercedes manager. According to Monkhouse:" No amount of flag waving, pit signals, or even Neubauer's irate figure in the road, had any effect on Lang who seemed to have taken the bit between his teeth." Rosemeyer was driving seconds behind in third place, enjoying to watch the battle, despite his handicap of a sore throat, making it difficult for him to turn the head. Lang's second lap was in 3m19.6s and the third lap in 3m18s at 131.236 km/h average speed. On the fourth lap Farina made a brief pit stop. The order was as follows after five laps:
1.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)16m45s
2.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)16m48s
3.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)16m50s
4.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)16m56s
5.Varzi (Auto Union)17m19s
6.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)17m20s
7.Müller (Auto Union)17m23s
8.Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)17m25s
9.Stuck (Auto Union)17m33s
10.Kautz (Mercedes-Benz)17m45.2s
11.Trossi (Alfa Romeo)17m59.0s
12.Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)18m09.0s
13.Guidotti (Alfa Romeo)18m10.0s
14.Farina (Alfa Romeo)18m11.8s
15.Belmondo (Alfa Romeo)18m51.4s

On the sixth lap the positions of the first three remained the same but Nuvolari passed Varzi for fifth place to the enjoyment of the crowd. After eight laps Belmondo and Farina were lapped by the leaders. On the 10th lap Guidotti's new Alfa Romeo was lapped. Stuck had fallen behind as he had to slow with a locking left front brake. Lang held the lead after the tenth lap at 131.617 km/h average speed with the order as follows after ten laps:
1.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)32m54.0s
2.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)32m57.8s
3.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)33m01.8s
4.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)33m11.4s
5.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)34m05.2s
6.Varzi (Auto Union)34m07.2s
7.Müller (Auto Union)34m08.6s
8.Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)34m09.4s
9.Stuck (Auto Union)34m24.4s
10.Kautz (Mercedes-Benz)34m45.2s
11.Trossi (Alfa Romeo)35m00.2s
12.Guidotti (Alfa Romeo)35m34.2s
13.Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)35m35.0s
14.Belmondo (Alfa Romeo)37m15.0s
15.Farina (Alfa Romeo)37m18.6s

Lang again lowered the lap record with 3m12.2s at an average of 135.196 km/h. On the 11th lap Farina stopped for a long time at the pits to cure a carburetion problem. When he tried to rejoin, the engine would not start, so he had to retire. At the end of the 15th lap Brauchitsch stopped at the pits to change the left rear tire in 30 seconds. Then it was Stuck's turn to change the right rear tire. According to Peter Kirchberg's recordings, Stuck began his game again when he drove the car past the pits to the parking place, so that the mechanics had no opportunity to examine the car, which was sufficient reason for management to let him go. Them, after changing tires, the car was taken over by reserve driver Hasse on the 18th lap. Rosemeyer stopped on the 19th lap to change both rear wheels in 25 seconds. On lap 19 Caracciola regained the lead with Lang second, but he was again in the lead after the following lap at 132.676 km/h average speed with the order as follows after 20 laps:
1.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1h05m17.0s
2.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h05m22.4s
3.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h06m45.0s
4.Müller (Auto Union)1h07m31.2s
5.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h07m31.4s
6.Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)1h07m38.4s
7.Varzi (Auto Union)1h07m40.0s
8.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)1h08m26.2s
9.Trossi (Alfa Romeo)1h09m04.2s
10.Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)1h10m05.0s
11.Guidotti (Alfa Romeo)1h10m08.4s
12.Hasse for Stuck (Auto Union)1h11m53.8s
13.Belmondo (Alfa Romeo)1h13m49.4s
14.Kautz (Mercedes-Benz)no time

The pursuit of Nuvolari kept the attention of the spectators. On the 21st lap Nuvolari, who had an excellent recovery, took fourth place ahead of Müller. Monkhouse recalled:" Nuvolari made several efforts to get past Müller but without success, and then began some of his real driving acrobatics, which he generally reserves for his own countrymen. Nuvolari, when he really gets excited, looks just like a little monkey on a stick. He was leaping up and down in the driving seat, broadsiding his Alfa on either side of Müller within inches of him, but never being able to get past. Eventually he managed to squeeze through just before a corner with about a millimetre between his wheels and Müller's. The crowd went mad to see Tazio in such form." Unfortunately, Nuvolari's mechanical means was what it was and the Mantuan, after a leap forward, fell behind. On lap 22, Nuvolari changed both rear wheels in 48 seconds. On lap 23 Lang stopped, since both rear tires were without tread and changed them in 28 seconds. On the same lap, Nuvolari completed his fastest lap in 3m16.8s at an average of 132.035. Müller also stopped to refuel and change tires. Caracciola stopped on the 24th lap to refuel and change both rear wheels in 38 seconds. On the same lap Guidotti with the new 12-cylinder Alfa slowly reached the walkway that precedes the finish line and retired. He talked with Jano, the engineer, that he stopped due to a slight damage to the rear bridge, after Guidotti had skidded off the track and damaged the car. Caracciola led at 130.734 km/h average speed with the order as follows after 25 laps:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h22m49.0s
2.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1h23m05.2s
3.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h23m30.4s
4.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)1h23m57.2s
5.Müller (Auto Union)1h24m09.0s
6.Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)1h24m12.0s
7.Varzi (Auto Union)1h24m34.0s
8.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h25m17.0s
9.Kautz (Mercedes-Benz)1h25m30.0s
10.Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)1h27m22.0s
11.Trossi (Alfa Romeo)1h28m35.0s
12.Hasse for Stuck (Auto Union)1h30m00.0s
13.Belmondo (Alfa Romeo)no time

After 26 laps, Belmondo, Varzi and Kautz also stopped to refuel and change tires. As Varzi and Seaman lost some time with pit stops, Nuvolari advanced from eighth to sixth place. Seaman's Mercedes refused to start but eventually he rejoined to hunt down Nuvolari and Müller. Trossi was able to get around Biondetti taking tenth position. After the 30th lap, Caracciola led at 130.703 km/h average speed with the following order after 30 laps:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h39m25.2s
2.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1h39m26.0s
3.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h39m57.0s
4.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)1h40m18.0s
5.Müller (Auto Union)1h41m30.0s
6.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h42m08.0s
7.Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)1h42m19.0s
8.Varzi (Auto Union)1h42m31.0s
9.Kautz (Mercedes-Benz)1h43m21.0s
10.Trossi (Alfa Romeo)1h45m36.0s
11.Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)1h45m41.0s
12.Hasse for Stuck (Auto Union)1h47m42.0s
13.Belmondo (Alfa Romeo)1h51m00.6s

Nuvolari who had given a colossal display of driving, figured out that he could not make any real impression on the German cars and handed the Alfa over to Farina on the 32nd lap. On lap 33 Caracciola and Lang in their wheel-to-wheel fight, set the new lap record in 3m11.2s at an average of 135.903 km/h, the fastest lap of the race. Monkhouse recalled:" The crowd enjoyed this fight between the two Mercedes cars immensely, but not so Neubauer, who was very angry indeed, and when Lang came in to refuel at half distance, he spoke to him severely and told him not to be stupid. Caracciola was all out to win this race on account of the European Championship, and also as two Mercedes cars were well in front of Rosemeyer, there was no object in trying to increase this lead any further." On lap 36 Brauchitsch retired due to suspension failure. Biondetti stopped at the pits again for 38 seconds and on the 40th lap he stopped at Antignano and retired. After the 40th lap, Caracciola led at 131.452 km/h average speed with the order now as follows after 40 laps:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2h11m47.0s
2.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)2h11m48.2s
3.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)2h13m00.0s
4.Müller (Auto Union)2h15m08.2s
5.Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)2h15m31.2s
6.Varzi (Auto Union)2h16m25.8s
7.Kautz (Mercedes-Benz)2h16m55.4s
8.Farina for Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2h17m01.4s
9.Trossi (Alfa Romeo)2h22m26.8s
10.Hasse for Stuck (Auto Union)2h22m30.4s
11.Belmondo (Alfa Romeo)2h27m40.6s

During the 43rd lap Kautz stopped at Miramare and retired with supercharger problems. This allowed Farina in Nuvolari's Alfa to climb to seventh, likewise advanced Trossi, Hasse in Stuck's car and Belmondo. After his lengthy pit stop, Seaman did an inspiring race to catch up and finally pass Müller to gain fourth place. After the 45th lap, Caracciola led at 131.510 km/h average speed with the order as follows after 45 laps:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2h28m11.0s
2.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)2h28m14.8s
3.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)2h29m37.2s
4.Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)2h31m48.8s
5.Müller (Auto Union)2h32m05.6s
6.Varzi (Auto Union)2h32m54.4s
7.Farina for Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2h33m57.2s
8.Trossi (Alfa Romeo)2h39m27.0s
9.Hasse for Stuck (Auto Union)2h41m00.8s
10.Belmondo (Alfa Romeo)no time

On lap 48 Lang stopped for ten seconds for partial refueling. The last laps developed into a rather monotonous affair, as both Mercedes drivers had accomplished such an advantage that no danger was threatening their positions. With a wonderful final spurt of about 15-meter advantage Caracciola secured his victory ahead of his young teammate Lang. While Caracciola made the lap of honor, much applauded, the flag of Germany was placed on the highest flagpole of the Circuit, while the music played the German and Italian national anthems. The Mercedes mechanics and team members lifted the winner from the car and accompanied him to the grandstand where he received congratulations from Constanzo and Galeazzo Ciano and la Contessa Edda and Conte Bonacossa. Then the tide of crowds poured onto the track, led without stopping by the many thousands of spectators arriving from the Antignano straight.
      Rosemeyer finished third on the same lap, a heroic performance to defend third place despite his sore throat, making it difficult to turn the head. One lap behind followed Seaman, Müller and Varzi as sixth in a state of collapse who had to be helped out of his Auto Union. Seventh was Farina for Nuvolari, then three laps back finished Trossi, Hasse for Stuck and Belmondo who was last, five laps in the rear.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.2Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1255.7S-8502h44m54.4s
2.6Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1255.7S-8502h44m54.8s+ 0.4s
3.12Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16502h46m19.8s+ 2m25.4s
4.8Richard SeamanDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1255.7S-8492h45m20.8s
5.18Hermann Paul MüllerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16492h45m40.0s
6.14Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16492h46m15.4s
7.22T. Nuvolari / G. FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12492h47m38.4s
8.26Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12472h46m15.6s
9.16H. Stuck / R. HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16472h46m39.4s
10.20Vittorio BelmondoScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12452h45m50.8s
DNF10Christian KautzDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1255.7S-843supercharger
DNF28Clemente BiondettiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-1238mechanical
DNF4Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1255.7S-836rear axle
DNF30Gianbattista GuidottiSA Alfa RomeoAlfa Romeo12C-374.5V-1224crash damage
DNF24Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-1210unable to restart
Fastest lap: R. Caracciola & M. von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz) on lap 33 in 3m11.2s = 135.9.0 km/h (84.4 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 131.3 km/h (81.6 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 136.0 km/h (84.5 mph)
Weather: overcast, dry.
In retrospect:
The intermediate times differed now and then between the sources. We believe to have selected the correct times.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
DDAC Motorwelt, München
IL LITTORIALE, Milano
IL TELEGRAFO, Livorno
Kölnische Zeitung , Köln
La Gazzetta della Domenica, Milano
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
LA STAMPA, Torino
L'Auto, Paris
Motor Post, Berlin
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
L'AUTO ITALIANA, Milano
Revista RACI, Roma
The Autocar, London
The Motor, London
Special thanks to:
Adam Ferrington
Alessandro Silva
Giuseppe Prisco
George Monkhouse: Motor Racing with Mercedes-Benz.

Star After the Italian Grand Prix Stuck was sacked from Auto Union. The exact reason remains unknown. According to Auto Union Stuck was sacked because he did only one or two good laps per race and then failed to keep up the pace and because he often retired for curious reasons. According to Stuck he was sacked because he had disturbed the driver negotiations by showning his contract to Rosemeyer, who immediately had made a huge increment to his salary demands for the 1938 season.
Star 18 September 1937: John Cobb /Oliver Bertram (Napier Railton) wins the "B.R.D.C. 500 km" handicap race at Brooklands, England.



Carlo Felice Trossi - MaseratiLuigi Villoresi - MaseratiGiovanni Rocco - Maserati

III° COPPA EDDA CIANO
(Voiturette 1500cc)

Lucca (I), 19 September 1937
60 laps x 2.35 km (1.46 mi) = 141.0 km (87.6 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Luciano UboldiGruppo VoltaUboldi-Maserati1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
4Achille VarziOfficine A MaseratiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
6Aldo MarazzaA. MarazzaMaserati4CS1.5S-4
8Ettore BiancoOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
10Franco BertaniF. BertaniMaserati4CS1.1S-4
12Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
14Emilio VilloresiScuderia AmbrosiansaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
16Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosiansaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
18Franco CorteseF. CorteseMaserati6CM1.5S-6
22Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
24Edoardo TeagnoE. TeagnoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
26Ferdinando RighettiScuderia AmbrosiansaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
28Francesco SeveriF. SeveriMaserati6CM1.5S-6
30Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
32Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6



Trossi fastest Maserati driver.

by Leif Snellman
Varzi did a comeback to voiturette racing driving for the Maserati works team together with Trossi. It was however Cortese who took the start from Varzi and Luigi Villoresi but on lap 3 Varzi passed Cortese to take the lead. Trossi started to advance passing Villoresi and Cortese and after 7 laps he had passed Varzi for the lead. Varzi got engine problems and fell back leaving Villoresi, Cortese and Bianco to fight for second place. The fight ended with Bianco retiring and Cortese crashing, ending up in hospital, leaving Villoresi and Rocco to finish on the podium. Trossi however dominated the race to win by over a lap.
The event, raced for the third time in the medieval town of Lucca in Tuscany and organized by AC di Lucca, was named after Benito Mussolini's daughter Contessa Edda Ciano, who served as godmother for the event (see the 1935 race for details about the circuit). This year the race was for 60 laps and restricted to voiturettes.
Entries:
Thirteen drivers took part in the event, all with Maseratis but there is quite a confusion what type of Maserati each driver raced and for what team. We have decided to follow Sheldon's entry list even when it clashes with the reports from the contemporary magazines.
      Franco Bertani raced an 1.1 litre 4C while the rest of the field was a mix of old 4CMs, independent sprung 6CMs and new independent sprung cars with revised 4CM engines.
      Having won at San Remo in July Varzi tried voiturette racing once more driving for the Maserati works team together with Trossi. Both probably raced the new 4CM cars, Trossi the ex-Furmanik speed record car and Varzi a new one, depite one source saying that Trossi raced a 6CM as the 4CM had been sold to Villoresi. There was also a third works entry, David Venables says Rocco while Paul Sheldon says Bianco.
      Scuderia Ambrosiansa entered at least three cars. Villoresi, Cortese and Bianco are mentioned as drivers in the papers while Sheldon instead lists Righetti.
      Also the race numbers were changed before the race. The Italian race organizers often made late changes to the race numbers to hinder printing of "pirate" race programmes.
     
Practice:
Qualifying took place on Friday afternoon , and Saturday at 6.30 am.
      Friday session was preceded by a "violent downpour" that made the streets slippery. Trossi was fastest making a 1m31.2s lap (98.3 km/h). Cortese after a cautious start, gradually increased the pace ending up with a time of 1m32.8s. Depending on source Dusio did either 1m33.2s or 1m33.4s and Rocco either 1m35.6s or 1m35.8s. Varzi did a series of laps between 1m40s and 1m37s ending up with a time odf 1m36.0s before calling it a day. Other times were Luigi Villoresi 1m37.0, Teagno 1m38.4s and Bertani 1m53.0 taking it easy. Bianco's time is not known while Marazza, Righetti, Severi and Emilio E Villoresi diod not take part in Friday practice.
      Saturday session seems to have been disturbed by rain as well. Cortese was fastest to take pole position The lap times are not known but Trossi ended up in second position in the grid despite unable to take part in the second session due to engine repairs so the conditions must have been similar to those on Friday.
Race:
It was raining again on race day making the streets slippery. A bit before the race was to start a caravan of cars arrived to the front of the grandstand bringing the guests and bigwigs of the province to the event including Costanzo Ciano, his wife Countess Carolina and his daughter in law Edda Ciano Mussolini with her very young son. The thirteen cars were lined up on the grid 3 and 3:
Pole Position
16
L Villoresi

Maserati

30
Trossi

Maserati

18
Cortese

Maserati

4
Varzi

Maserati

32
Dusio

Maserati

8
Bianco

Maserati

26
Righetti

Maserati

22
Rocco

Maserati

24?
Teagno?

Maserati

6
Marazza

Maserati

14
E Villoresi

Maserati

10
Bertani

Maserati

28?
Severi?

Maserati

(Note 1)



At 3:30 pm Giuseppe Furmanik president of the RACI's sport commission, dropped the flag and Cortese took the lead from his pole position with sprays of water flying up from the rain-soaked street. He was followed by Luigi Villoresi and Varzi with Trossi making a slower start following a bit behind them in fourth position. Marazza and Severi were late away. Varzi almost immediately took over second position so at the end of the first lap the race order was Cortese, Varzi, L. Villoresi, Trossi, Dusio, Bianco and Rocco.
      During the second lap Varzi closed in on Cortese and Trossi caught Villoresi. The first retirement of the day was Marazza who parked his Maserati after competing just one lap.
      On the third lap Varzi passed Cortese to take over the lead and started to pull away while behind them Trossi had overtaken Luigi Villoresi for third position. Trossi took over second position from Cortese on the fourth lap to the joy of the enthusiastic spectators who had looked forward to a Varzi -Trossi duel.
      On the fifth lap Varzi held a 4 seconds lead but Trossi was charging and on the 6th next lap the duo was racing close together. On the seventh lap Trossi took over the lead from Varzi. The two cars swooped almost wheel-to-wheel over the finish line amidst large sprays of water raised by the wheels. For two laps the two drivers fought only a few meters apart with Varzi, depite the conditions, putting in a 1m29.0s lap (95.1 km/h), the fastest of the race thus far.
      After 10 laps Trossi ha opened up a 2 seconds gap to Varzi. Behind them followed Cortese and Villoresi close together with Dusio fifth and Bianco, who was recovering from a bad start, sixth. Meanwhile Emilo Villoresi retired due to carburation problems. Varzi's car started to suffer from a stuck carburetor needle and he lost a little speed with each lap. First the gap to Trossi was three seconds, on the next lap seven, then twelve seconds. After fifteen laps the gap to the leader has risen to twenty seconds, and Cortese and Villoresi, who for several laps had had a fierce duel for third position, were close behind Varzi. Behind followed another contest between Dusio, Bianco and Rocco. Dusio, however, had to retire after 17 laps with engine trouble giving over fifth position to Bianco.
      Meanwhile Trossi was pulling away making a 1m28.8s lap (95.3 km/h) and on the twenty-second lap he improved the time to 1m27.6s (96.6 km/h). Then came a downpour that made the streets very slippery again. Varzi had to give up second position to Cortese and after 24 laps he retired his Maserati.
      At thirty laps, halfway through the race, Trossi was leading by more than fifty seconds over Cortese and Villoresi who were still fighting for second position. Almost a minute behind the duo was Rocco in fourth position followed by Righetti, Teagno, Severi and Bertani. Bianco, had hit a dog slightly damaging the bodywork and the steering. He raced on but on the 35th lap at the underpass of Porta San Pietro the damaged steering made him go wide and crash. The Maserati came to a standstill with a bent wheel and he was forced to retire.
      On lap 34 Cortese put in the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1m26.2s (98.1 km/h). but still he was challenged by Luigi Villoresi who took over second position on lap 40 and held it until lap 45 when Cortese took it back.
      On the 46th lap Cortese, while lapping Severi on the curve in front of the Wall of the Fascist Martyrs, lost control, spun three times and crashed hard into the straw bales. Severi's Maserati had stopped as well, collected by the spinning car, but eventually both cars managed to start again. But Cortese retired almost immediately afterwards suffering from a partially fractured radius bone on his left arm that sent him to hospital. With Cortese out of the event Villoresi took over second and Rocco third position.
      Not much happened during the last 13 laps of the race except for Trossi showing his dominance on street circuits putting second positioned Villoresi a lap down. Trossi took the chequered flag greeted by an enthusiastic crowd to receive the prize cup from Edda Ciano Mussolini.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.30Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6601h30m40.4s
2.16Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosiansaMaserati6CM1.5S-6591h30m51.2s
3.22Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-6591h31m46.8s
4.26Ferdinando RighettiScuderia AmbrosiansaMaserati4CM1.5S-4571h32m07.6s
5.24Edoardo TeagnoE. TeagnoMaserati6CM1.5S-6571h32m07s
6.28Francesco SeveriF. SeveriMaserati6CM1.5S-6541h32m24.4s
7.10Franco BertaniF. BertaniMaserati4CS1.1S-4511h32m35.8s
DNF18Franco CorteseF. CorteseMaserati6CM1.5S-646crash
DNF8Ettore BiancoOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-635crash
DNF4Achille VarziOfficine A MaseratiMaserati4CM1.5S-424engine
DNF32Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-617valves
DNF14Emilio VilloresiScuderia AmbrosiansaMaserati4CM1.5S-49carburation
DNF6Aldo MarazzaA. MarazzaMaserati4CS1.5S-41
Fastest lap: Franco Cortese (Maserati) on lap 34 in 1m26.2s = 98.1 km/h (61.0 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 93.3 km/h (58.0 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 91.8 km/h (57.0 mph)
Weather: showers before and during the race.

Footnote:
1. Grids from picture evidence with thanks to Adam Ferrington and Richard Pace.

Primary sources researched for this article:
IL Littoriale, Roma
RACI
La Stampa, Torino
Il Telegrafo, Livorno
Special thanks to:
Adam Ferrington
Richard Pace

Star 25 September 1937: The M. C. C. Members Day was held at Brooklands with two One-Hour High-Speed trials and one and two lap handicap events.



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© 2022 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt, Felix Muelas - Last updated: 04.08.2022