XVI° GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA
Autodromo di Monza (I), 11 September 1938
60 laps x 6.993 km (4.345 mi)= 419.58 km.(260.715 mi)
Nuvolari takes Auto Union back to the top
by Hans Etzrodt & Leif Snellman
The four works teams of Daimler-Benz, Auto Union, Alfa Romeo and Maserati plus two independents started at the 1938 Italian Grand Prix. The venue had been changed back from Livorno to Monza. After practice
Mercedes-Benz was seen as favorite. Lang (Mercedes-Benz) led the first lap with Nuvolari (Auto Union) in fourth place. On lap two, Caracciola spun his Mercedes-Benz turning into the Florio straight, stalling
the engine, but he rejoined eventually in last place. By lap five, Nuvolari had worked his way up to second place and on lap nine he passed Lang for the lead. Kautz (Auto Union), Taruffi (Alfa Romeo) and
Seaman (Mercedes-Benz) had retired by lap 16. The Alfa Romeo of Belmondo retired on lap 13 while Zehender's Maserati and Wimille disappeared before lap 17. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz retired after lap 20, when
Nuvolari still battled with Lang for the lead followed by the Auto Unions of Müller and Stuck with Trossi (Maserati) fifth. Luigi Villoresi (Maserati) and Lang retired after he made the fastest lap. So, after
lap 35, three Auto Unions of Nuvolari, Stuck and Müller were leading, ahead of the 16-cylinder Alfa Romeos of Biondetti and Farina, next Caracciola's car ahead of Ghersi's Alfa Romeo. Stuck retired
on lap 41 and Müller much later, four laps from the end leaving just five finishers. Nuvolari was the victor with the first 1938 win for Auto Union, ahead of Farina's V-16 Alfa Romeo, Caracciola (Mercedes) with
help by Brauchitsch finished third, Biondetti's V-16 Alfa Romeo fourth and independent Ghersi (Alfa Romeo) last. Trossi (Maserati) was disqualified after his mechanics repaired his car on the track.
The organization of the 16th Gran Premio d'Italia was overseen by the general commissioner of RACI, Count Bonacossa, who closely followed the organization of the Italian Grand Prix, and inspected the Monza
track to personally understand the work done and the state of the circuit track. The race counted towards the 1938 Italian and the European Championships.
The 1938 Italian Grand Prix was held at Monza on the Florio circuit, introduced by Count Vincenzo Florio in 1930, which was also used for the 1935 and 1936 race. The course consisted for the most part of the 5.5 km
asphalt circuit which connected with the oval course on the back straight where the Florio Link had been built. It consisted of a sharp left turn leading via a short straight to the oval circuit where a sharp right
turn headed towards the South Curve of the oval. To slow the fast German cars the organizer used this year only one chicane, placed just past the midpoint of Curva Sud on the oval track. It was an artificial
obstacle consisting of two double-S bends changing the length of the Florio course to 6.993 km which had to be lapped 60 times, a total of 419.58 km. The road edges of the chicane were bordered with high angled
concrete curbs and straw bales.
Entries for 18 drivers were received, representing four factory racing teams and two independent drivers, namely Ghersi and Belmondo both with 3-liter straight-eight Alfa Romeos. The independent Swiss driver
De Graffenried with a Maserati did not appear, so there were only 17 starters.
The Daimler-Benz team, managed by Alfred Neubauer, arrived with five W 154 cars for Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch, Hermann Lang, Richard Seaman and reserve driver Walter Bäumer. The fifth car was used
only for practice.
Auto Union, supervised by team manager Dr. Karl Otto Feuereissen, arrived with five V-12 type D cars, for Tazio Nuvolari, Hans Stuck, H. P. Müller and Christian Kautz, with Rudolf Hasse as reserve driver.
As of 1938 Scuderia Ferrari no longer managed the Alfa Romeo Grand Prix cars from Modena but now the factory in Milan did that under the name of Alfa Corse. Engineer Vittorio Jano had left Alfa Romeo to start at
Lancia. The new supercharged cars were designed by Gioachino Colombo and Luigi Bazzi, a straight eight and a V-12 based on the previous engines and also a V-16. The 16-cylinder cars were entered for Nino Farina
and Clemente Biondetti, while Jean-Pierre Wimille and Piero Taruffi were assigned the 12-cylinder cars and as reserve they had Severi.
Maserati entered three 3-liter 8-cylinder cars of 8CTF type for Luigi Villoresi, Carlo Felice Trossi and Goffredo Zehender. In Gigi Villoresi they had their best driver who was in the position to beat his brother
Emilio Villoresi. They also counted on Marazza, who was still very young, on Cortese, who was a confident man even if not a sprinter, and on the German Pietsch, who drove fast, but at the price of many risks.
Varzi would not drive.
The independent Swiss Baron Emanuel de Graffenried was entered but did not appear. In 1938 he was carrying out his military service and had to obtain a special authorization for his race starts. For Germany and his home Grand Prix he got one but not for the Italian Grand Prix.
Tuesday was the first official practice day with morning practice from 8-10 and afternoons from 2-4. Nuvolari practiced first in the morning with a time of 2m41s. Müller also appeared and did a lap in 2m43s and 2m42s.
Neither Stuck nor Hasse were seen on the track but it was likely that Kautz would take Hasse's place. Sebastian proceeded with fine-tuning the cars and when the times were not fast enough, the transmission ratios were
changed as they were too high. Many spectators attended in the afternoon when Auto Union was joined by Alfa Romeo with all their drivers present, with the exception of Wimille. Taruffi, Farina, Biondetti, Severi and
Emilio Villoresi, Pintacuda and Sommer took to the track. Biondetti made a time in 2m40s at 157.342 km/h. Farina set the best time with the 12-cylinder, reaching 2m38s and 2m36s while Taruffi did a lap in 2m46.8s with
the 8-cylinder Alfa. Towards evening, a 16-cylinder car also arrived and was put on the track to make carburetion adjustments. Maserati was not present except Gigi Villoresi waiting for the cars that were said to
arrive on Wednesday. Mercedes had also arrived but did not practice.
Wednesday was second official practice. In the morning Caracciola and Lang, driving Mercedes, reached 2m36.2s at an average speed of 161.165 km/h. Much activity prevailed in the afternoon with Auto Union, Mercedes-Benz
and Alfa Romeos. Maserati was expected on Thursday. Caracciola drove in 2m33.6s at an average speed of 163.898 km/h also 2m33.3s. Lang followed with 2m34s at 163.748 km/h, then Nuvolari (Auto Union) at 163.36 km/h
average in 2m34.1s and 2m24s. Stuck could not practice on Wednesday as his transportation truck was stranded in Como. Brauchitsch and Seaman, both in Mercedes, reached 162.31 km/h average in 2m35.1s. The further order
was Müller, Kautz (both Auto Union), Taruffi, Wimille and Biondetti (all in Alfa Romeos).
|Farina (Alfa Romeo V-16)||2m36.0s / 2m38.0s / 2m38.2s|
|Biondetti (Alfa Romeo S-8)||2m40.0s|
|Nuvolari Auto Union)||2m41.0s / 2m43.0s|
|Müller (Auto Union)||2m42.0s|
|Sebastian (Auto Union)||2m42.0s|
|Kautz (Auto Union)||2m43.0s|
|Taruffi (Alfa Romeo S-8)||2m46.8s|
Thursday was the third day of practice. Maserati made an official appearance, putting an eight-cylinder three-liter car on the track. Carlo Felice Trossi with the red car registered an excellent 2m41s equal to over 155 km/h
average. Caracciola drove today 2m35.3s; Seaman 2m34.2s; Brauchitsch 2m34s, and finally Lang set the best time in 2m32.8s at an average of 164.756 km. Auto Union was the least active. Nuvolari did not show up on the track.
Müller, Hasse and Kautz achieved excellent times, Müller in 2m33.4s, Hasse in 2m39.9s, and Kautz in 2m34.1s. Maserati was not able to align with Achille Varzi. Maserati received a communication in the evening from its driver
Achille Varzi that his current health conditions do not allow him to be able to align himself in next Sunday's race for the 16th Italian Grand Prix. Instead, Zehender would probably run, but he did not practice on Thursday.
The Alfa Romeo drivers were quite active. Farina on board the 16-cylinder car registered 2m42.4s and 2m36.0, Wimille in the 12-cylinder 2m39.2s; Taruffi also with the 12-cylinder 2m40.2s; Villoresi with the 8-cylinder 2m42.1s
and 2m41.6s; Marinoni with the 16-cylinder 2m47.2s and 2m40,4s.
|Nuvolari (Auto Union)||2m34.0s|
|Farina (Alfa Romeo V-12)||2m36.0s|
|Müller (Auto Union)||2m38.0s|
|Kautz (Auto Union)||2m40.0s|
|Taruffi (Alfa Romeo V-12)||2m42.0s|
|Wimille (Alfa Romeo)||2m43.0s|
|Biondetti (Alfa Romeo S-8)||2m44.0s|
Friday was the fourth and last official practice day. It was raining almost continuously and whoever had not yet made a fast lap, had no chance to improve their time. The wet track did not allow that and the times achieved
were not remarkable. Auto Union took to the track in the morning and Hans Stuck made a lap in 2m53.4s and 2m53.2s while Kautz made 2m58s but thereafter they were not seen again throughout the day. The cars of the other teams
were all very active. Of the Grand Prix cars in the morning, they had also tried the Alfa of Gigi Villoresi in 2m48.1s and Piero Taruffi in 2m51s, Lang 2m54s, Zehender 2m51.3s and Pietsch 2m55.2s. Alfa Corse now had Farina
and Biondetti drive the 16-cylinder Alfa Romeo while Belmondo and Wimille were to drive the 12-cylinder car. The 16-cylinder was driven alternatingly by the mechanic Marinoni and Farina with times of 2m51.1s and 2m52.2s.
Auto Union sent Kautz onto the track but he drove not for a time. Villoresi (Maserati) reached 2m47.2s, Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz) 2m49.1s, Count Trossi Maserati) 2m51.3s, Wimille (Alfa Romeo) 2m46.4s. The Maserati
driving positions had not been finalized. It was only certain that Varzi would not drive. Either Zehender or the German Pietsch would drive instead. Practice was concluded at 5 p.m.
|Lang (Mercedes-Benz)||2m32.8s / 2m43.4s|
|Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2m33.1s / 2m34.0s|
|Müller (Auto Union)||2m33.4s / 2m35.8s|
|Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||2m33.6s / 2m35.3s|
|Nuvolari (Auto Union)||2m34.0s|
|Kautz (Auto Union)||2m34.1s / 2m34.8s|
|Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)||2m34.2s / 2m34.4s|
|Farina (Alfa Romeo V-16)||2m36.0s / 2m42.4s|
|Trossi (Maserati)||2m37.3s - Possible fake time by Gazz.d.Sport!|
|Biondetti (Alfa Romeo S-8)||2m38.8s|
|Hasse (Auto Union)||2m39.0s / 2m39.9s|
|Wimille (Alfa Romeo)||2m39.2s / 2m39.4s|
|Taruffi (Alfa Romeo V-12)||2m40.2s / 2m40.4s|
|Marinoni (Alfa Romeo V-16)||2m40.4s / 2m47.2s|
|E. Villoresi (Alfa Romeo S-8)||2m41.6s / 2m42.1s|
|Trossi (Maserati)||2m42.0s / 2m51.0s|
|L. Villoresi (Maserati)||2m47.2 / 2m47.4s / 2m48.1s|
|Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2m49.2s / 2m49.4s|
|Taruffi (Alfa Romeo )||2m51.0s|
|Lang (Mercedes-Benz)||2m51.2s / 2m51.4s / 2m54s|
|Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)||2m51.3s / 2m51.6s|
|Zehender (Maserati)||2m51.3s / 2m51.6s / 2m56.3s|
|Farina (Alfa Romeo)||2m52.2s / 2m52.4s|
|Stuck (Auto Union||2m53.2s / 2m53.4s|
|Pietsch (Maserati)||2m55.2s / 3m06.4s|
|Marinoni (Alfa Romeo)||2m57.1s|
|Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)||2m57.2s / 2m57.3s|
Saturday unofficial practice in the wet was especially allowed by the stewards of the Italian and Milan Grand Prix in the morning to numerous drivers in consideration that Friday's bad weather had affected practice.
|Farina (Alfa Romeo V-16)||2m46.0s|
|Biondetti (Alfa Romeo S-8)||2m47.0s / 2m47.4s|
|Lang (Mercedes-Benz)||2m47.0s / 2m47.2s|
|Stuck (Auto Union||2m50.0s|
|Nuvolari (Auto Union)||2m50.4s / 2m56.4s|
A sudden change in the weather helped the event to a glorious success. After the rain of the last days, followed beautiful sunshine, a hot day with a gigantic crowd of estimated 80,000 people, was waiting in great
anticipation along the seven km long circuit. The small cars of the 1500 cc Voiturettes were started at 10:30 a.m. for the Milan Grand Prix, which was won by Emilio Viloresi. In the afternoon after cars and drivers
paraded past the stands, the 17 cars lined up on the starting grid in order of their practice times with the fastest car at the right.
Note: The RACI time keepers published only the order of the staring grid but not the times. The times shown in the starting grid below were published in the various practice press reports. The missing times of two
drivers were nowhere found in our sources, but some hotshot might have added fake times years later in reviews.
After the engines were started up, General Tarabini gave the green light at 2:00 p.m. to the roaring pack of the 17 cars remaining after the withdrawal of the Swiss De Graffenried. Müller was shooting into the lead,
followed by Caracciola, Lang, Brauchitsch, Biondetti, Seaman and Kautz.
The wait for their return was less than three minutes when the cars appeared at great speed at the end of the first lap. The Mercedes of Lang was in the lead ahead of Müller, Seaman, Caracciola, Nuvolari, Brauchitsch,
Biondetti, Trossi, Luigi Villoresi, Stuck, Taruffi, Wimille and Zehender in 13th place.
On the second lap Caracciola spun around twice at the sharp left turn of the Florio Link, and dented the tail and side when running backwards into the straw bales, stalled the engine and did not injure himself.
Caracciola alone put the car back on the road, he hung the steering wheel onto one of the mirrors, push-started the car and jumped in. After three tries, he eventually was off again but with great delay, having lost more
than one lap but carried on at moderate pace. On lap two Kautz arrived slowly at the Auto Union pits. The mechanics inspected the engine and as a broken piston was diagnosed, there was nothing more to do.
On the third lap Nuvolari passed Seaman for third place and the crowd began to shout for him. On the fourth lap Nuvolari was on the heels of Müller and on the fifth he was even ahead of him, in the wake of Lang's
Mercedes in first place. Lang held the lead at 155.17 km/h average speed with the order as follows after five laps:
|2.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||13m36s|
|3.||Müller (Auto Union)||13m36s|
The Italian cars traveled as a group. Biondetti was the first in sixth position and at his tail was Trossi, followed by Stuck and Villoresi, who in turn were pursued by Wimille. Taruffi was forced to several stops
before he had already retired due to engine failure. Nuvolari continuously gained ground on Lang, whose Mercedes was losing power due to the engine pistons overheating after more than half an hour in the race.
On the seventh lap the two drivers were tail-to-tail. On lap nine, Farina stalled for a moment due to a sudden leak of fuel that gushed from a loose tube. Nuvolari returned from the ninth lap in the lead, causing
an ear-splitting jubilation in the stands as he led ahead of Lang, Müller, Seaman and Brauchitsch. From this moment on, the race was characterized by the tenacious pursuit of Lang. On the 10th lap Brauchitsch
stopped to change a spark plug and Biondetti did likewise on the 11th round. Belmondo retired on the 13th lap due to gearbox problem. Nuvolari held a lead of nine seconds ahead of Lang, third was Müller, then came
Stuck with Trossi in fifth place. Nuvolari was leading at 158.305 km/h average speed with the order as follows after 15 laps:
|1.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||39m45.4s|
|3.||Müller (Auto Union)||40m16.4s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||40m30.4s|
|6.||L. Villoresi (Maserati)||40m51.2s|
After 16 laps Seaman retired, he had passed the pits and was completing another lap slowly when he found that his car was in flames. He drove towards some officials but they did nothing, and after some minutes the fire
went out of its own. Twenty minutes later a perspiring soldier arrived with a single handheld extinguisher. After 16 laps Belmondo retired the Alfa Romeo due to gearbox failure. On lap 17 Zehender went off the road
at the chicane where he left his Maserati and walked back to the pits. On the same lap Wimille retired due to engine failure. On the 19th round Biondetti stopped again at the pits for 1m15s for another plug and
Villoresi retired his Maserati due to a broken metal band holding the fuel tank. Trossi now remained the only one to defend the colors of the Bologna factory. Nuvolari held the lead at 158.671 km/h average speed with
the order as follows after 20 laps:
|1.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||52m53.2s|
|3.||Müller (Auto Union)||53m41.0s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||54m07.4s|
After the 20th lap Brauchitsch also disappeared from the fight with engine problems of his Mercedes. On the 23rd round Trossi stopped for only a minute to refuel and maintained his fifth position in the fight.
Nuvolari held the lead at 159.116 km/h average speed with the order as follows after 25 laps:
|1.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||1h05m55.4s|
|3.||Müller (Auto Union)||1h07m02.4s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h07m17.4s|
On the 26th lap Farina refueled, losing 1m22s. On lap 29 Nuvolari stopped to change two tires and refueled in 38 seconds while Lang went into the lead and immediately drove the fastest lap of the day in 2m34.2s at
163.260 km/h average speed. When Tazio rejoined the race, he was cheered by a gigantic ovation from the spectators. Caracciola was going to stop for fuel and tires on lap 31. Lang held the lead at 152.233 km/h
average speed with the order as follows after 30 laps:
|2.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||1h19m57.6s|
|3.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h20m33.4s|
|4.||Müller (Auto Union)||1h21m43.4s|
On lap 31 Caracciola was going to stop for fuel and tires. Due to a burned exhaust gasket, the hot gases heated up the metal floor, which burned Caracciola's right foot despite asbestos-soles. He stopped at the pits,
climbed out of his car and Brauchitsch took over the wheel, however only for four laps, while Rudi cooled his feet in a bucket of water. On lap 35 Caracciola climbed back into the car and carried on.
Müller stopped twice for 20 seconds to change a spark plug. His two stops allowed Trossi to pass temporarily into fourth place behind Stuck who in turn had to stop to refuel. Meanwhile, Farina threw himself in pursuit
with his 16-cylinder. On lap 31 Lang stopped to refuel staying exactly 1m07s, which placed Nuvolari into the lead with an advantage that had risen to one minute. With great determination Lang rejoined and chased after
the Italian. Then Lang was again at the pits changing plugs for nearly two minutes before he left on lap 34 to chase after Nuvolari, but he returned slowly from this lap with smoke clouds from the exhaust and retired.
After Lang's retirement, Stuck and Müller were now behind Nuvolari, who was almost two minutes ahead of Stuck. This was a hopeful situation with Auto Unions in the first three places. On lap 35 Trossi came to a stop
somewhere on the track with ignition failure due to a broken ground wire. He got help from two of his mechanics who left the pits to repair the Maserati on the track and therefore Trossi was disqualified. However,
he continued to lap, finishing the race with the car in perfect working order. On lap 35 Brauchitsch stopped at the pits and Caracciola rejoined the race. It was important for him to finish the race if he wanted to
win the European Championship. At this point Nuvolari held the lead at 157.415 km/h average speed with the leaders in the following order after 35 laps:
|1.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||1h33m17.4s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h35m12.8s|
|3.||Müller (Auto Union)||1h36m06.4s|
|4.||Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)||1h38m01.0s|
|5.||Farina (Alfa Romeo)||1h39m51.4s|
|7.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)|
The most prominent Italian cars were the two Alfa 16 cylinders of Biondetti and Farina. The two drivers, despite the numerous stops made at the pits due to various problems, gained ground. After lap 40 the positions
had not changed. Nuvolari held the lead at 157.332 km/h average speed with the following times after 40 laps:
|1.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||1h46m40.4s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h48m59.2s|
|3.||Müller (Auto Union)||1h49m27.4s|
|4.||Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)||1h51m47.2s|
|5.||Farina (Alfa Romeo)||1h53m03.8s|
|7.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)|
Stuck retired on the 41st lap when the main oil line broke off at the crank case, causing the engine to run without oil. Stuck had a bad starting place since he could not practice due to missing parts for his engine.
But Stuck was fighting from 11th place at the start, was fourth after 15 laps, third after 30 laps and second after 35 laps. After German's retirement Nuvolari and Müller were given signs to slow their pace. Nuvolari
reacted, not however Müller who was now second. Farina stopped at the pits for spark plugs and changed two tires, but by lap 45 he had gained two places and moved into third position. He was followed by Caracciola in
the only surviving Mercedes ahead of Biondetti. The stops of Biondetti and Ghersi were no longer counted as their delay became ever greater. Ghersi even beat the records in terms of the number of stops. Nuvolari
held the lead at 157.063 km/h average speed with the leaders in the following order after 45 laps:
|1.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||2h00m12.8s|
|2.||Müller (Auto Union)||2h02m44.4s|
|3.||Farina (Alfa Romeo)||2h06m13.8s|
|5.||Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)||2h12m36.4s|
|6.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)|
Auto Union had only Nuvolari and Müller in the race. In third place was Farina, followed by Caracciola with the last Mercedes left in the race, while Biondetti was following the German with Ghersi in last place.
Nuvolari held the lead at 156.950 km/h average speed with the leaders in the same order after 50 laps:
|1.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||2h13m40.0s|
|2.||Müller (Auto Union)||2h16m16.2s|
|3.||Farina (Alfa Romeo)||2h21m05.0s|
|5.||Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)||2h26m08.2s|
|6.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)|
Only six of the 17 cars were left in the race. On lap 52 Nuvolari stopped for a moment at the pits to change a few oiled spark plugs. It was feared that he would lose victory; but he soon resumed the race with Müller
still far away. Auto Union were in the lead, followed by Alfa Romeo and Mercedes. Trossi continued to honor his Maserati company, but he was out of classification. Ghersi was many laps behind, but he thought it was
better to finish even if his car had a disastrous engine running. The positions remained unchanged. Nuvolari's advantage was now such that no one could disturb him. Only an engine problem could betray him. Farina
continued to earn an excellent finish. Biondetti chased Caracciola, gaining a few seconds. Nuvolari held the lead at 155.879 km/h average speed with the field of six cars in the following order after 55 laps:
|1.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||2h28m02.2s|
|2.||Müller (Auto Union)||2h29m40.8s|
|3.||Farina (Alfa Romeo)||2h34m21.8s|
|5.||Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)||2h39m35.0s|
|6.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)|
Müller now had the foolish idea to get involved in a small race battle, Müller was second, Trossi in the Maserati was three laps back in fifth place. On lap 56, Müller's Auto Union was seen with blue smoke shooting out
of the engine on the middle of the straight, result of a few broken connecting rods. On the 57th lap, four laps from the end, Müller passed at reduced speed. His engine only jerked. The race was over for the German
and Farina, albeit with a gap, passed automatically into second place.
After 60 laps the race ended with the victory of Tazio Nuvolari who had lapped the entire field. The German anthem was resounding, the Giovinezza hymn was heard for Nuvolari, the enthusiastic crowd broke through the
barriers. It was a great spectacle, Nuvolari was hoisted on the shoulders of the crowd and carried in triumph to the honor-stand, congratulated by the authorities, taken to the radio booth, defended from the assault
of the enthusiastic crowd by soldiers and carabinieri, while the spectacular exodus of 80,000 people started almost simultaneously towards Milan. Great applause received also Farina who finished second with the
16-cylinder Alfa Romeo, but was one lap behind. Caracciola ended up in third place, but three laps behind. He drove the first 30 laps, gave the car to Brauchitsch for five laps, then drove again for 22 laps.
Biondetti in the second 16-cylinder Alfa Romeo came fourth, also three laps behind. Ghersi in the 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo was fifth, 13 laps behind. Trossi was still racing the Maserati four laps behind, but he had
been disqualified, as he was helped by his mechanics when his car had stopped on the circuit.
Neubauer was disgusted with the performance of the Mercedes cars. So that evening the team instead celebrated Caracciola's European Championship win and the engagement of Dick Seaman and Erika Popp,
daughter of the BMW president.
|1.||22||Tazio Nuvolari||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||60||2h41m39.6s|
|2.||30||Giuseppe Farina||Alfa Corse||Alfa Romeo||Tipo 316||3.0||V-16||59||2h42m16.6s|
|3.||12||R. Caracciola / M. von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W 154||3.0||V-12||57||2h42m39.4s|
|4.||6||Clemente Biondetti||Alfa Corse||Alfa Romeo||Tipo 316||3.0||V-16||57||2h45m.01.8s|
|DNF||20||Hermann Müller||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||57||engine|
|DSQ||14||Carlo Felice Trossi||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||8CTF||3.0||S-8||56||2h43m23.4s|
|5.||2||Pietro Ghersi||Scuderia Torino||Alfa Romeo||Tipo 308||3.0||S-8||47||2h45m55.6s|
|DNF||36||Hans Stuck||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||40||oil pipe|
|DNF||26||Hermann Lang||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W 154||3.0||V-12||34||engine|
|DNF||4||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W 154||3.0||V-12||20||engine|
|DNF||8||Luigi Villoresi||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||8CTF||3.0||S-8||18||fuel tank|
|DNF||28||Jean-Pierre Wimille||Alfa Corse||Alfa Romeo||Tipo 312||3.0||V-12||16||engine |
|DNF||18||Goffredo Zehender||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||8CTF||3.0||S-8||16||crash|
|DNF||16||Richard Seaman||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W 154||3.0||V-12||16||engine fire|
|DNF||32||Vittorio Belmondo||R. Balestrero||Alfa Romeo||Tipo 308||3.0||S-8||12||gearbox|
|DNF||34||Piero Taruffi||Alfa Corse||Alfa Romeo||Tipo 312||3.0||V-12||4||engine|
|DNF||24||Christian Kautz||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||2||piston|
Fastest lap: Hermann Lang (Mercedes Benz) on lap 29 in 2m34.2s = 163.3 km/h (101.4 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 155.7 km/h (96.8 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 165.2 km/h (102.6 mph)
Weather: sunny, very hot.
The practice and intermediate times differed now and then between the sources. We believe to have selected the correct times.
Eberhard Hundt in MOTOR und SPORT: Caracciola on the second lap spun out of the turn into the straw bales. Something that by his own fault had never happened to this driver before, catapulted him all the way to the
end of the field at the beginning of this race. Mercedes-Benz had two different brake-drums to balance the retarding effect. Caracciola had the larger brake-drums with greater retarding on the rear wheels and came
unexpectedly with blocked rear wheels into a skid. The race car pushed itself deep into the straw bales, while the entire field chased past. Spectators removed the straw bales. This they were still allowed, but the
racecar itself they were not allowed to touch and did not do so, which the sporting commissioner of this turn confirmed in writing. Caracciola now moved his car and pushed it back onto the track, removed the steering wheel
and hung it over the rearview mirror. He then pushed strongly in the back, jumped around the left rear wheel onto the seat, despite his leg injury, selected first gear, the engine stopped. At the third try of this kind,
the engine started, and now Caracciola drove the race gradually with a steady pace and with the many retirements of others he reached the third place at the end.
We are very grateful to Patrick Italiano who have used official documents and period press to find out the correct Alfa Romeo start numbers given here (Ghersi, Wimille & Taruffi).
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Aachener Anzeiger, Aachen
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
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
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Revista RACI, Roma
Rheinisch-Westfälische Zeitung, Essen
The Autocar, London
Special thanks to:
11 September 1938: The 12 Heures de Paris sports car race is run at Montlhéry, France.|
|1.||18 René Le Bègue / André Morel||Talbot Lago T26||121.925 km/h - 1463.103 km|
|2.||12 Louis Villeneuve / René Biolay ||Delahaye 135CS||115.262 km/h - 1383.146 km|
|3.||10 Mme. Anne Itier / Mme. Germaire Rouault||Delahaye 135 coupé||113.451 km/h - 1361.419 km|
|4.||28 Eugène Chaboud/ Jean Prenant||Delahaye 135CS||110.435 km/h - 1325.220 km|
|5.||32 Maurice Mestivier/Mme. Fernande Roux||Amilcar|| 98.209 km/h - 1178.516 km|
|6.||58 Angelo Molinari / Adrien Alin||Simca Six|| 97.545 km/h - 1170.550 km|
17 September 1938: B.A.R.C. 50 Mile and 192 Mile handicap races were held at Brooklands,
Wooding (Talbot 95), winning the first race and "B. Bira" (ERA 1.5L) the second one.
19 September 1938: ERA announces that they have abandoned their GP car project.
24 September 1938: Dunlop fifteeth anniversary jubilee meeting at Brooklands.|
The ten races were won by Chris Staniland (Multi Union 2.9L), V. H. Tuson (Fiat 1.1L), Mike Coupler (Talbot), C. J. Baker-Carr (Bentley),
Johnny Wakefield (ERA 1.5L), A. H. B. Hurst (M.G.), Bert Hadley (Austin), Arthur Ashby (Alfa Romeo P3 2.9L), I. H. Nikols (M.G 0.7L), Raymond Mays (ERA 2.0L)
25 September 1938: Hans Stuck (Auto Union) wins the Maloja Pass hillclimb in.
28 September 1938: Munich crisis. The German teams, who are at Donington for the GP race, are getting order from the
German embassy to leave England as fast as possible and in worst case leave the material. The teams leave Donington for Harwich and
the Netherlands on two hours notice. The mechanics are prepared to put fire on the cars if stopped on the road.
2 October 1938: Hans Stuck (Auto Union) wins the Feleac hillclimb in Romania.
8 October 1938: George Abecassis (Alta 1.5L) wins the Imperial Trophy 32 mile handicap race in torrential rain at Crystal Palace, England.
The event is televised.