Nürburgring (D), 21 May 1939
10 laps x 22.81 km (14.17 mi) = 228.1 km (141.7 mi)
Lang wins the Eifelrennen after close battle with Nuvolari
by Hans Etzrodt and Leif Snellman
The International Eifelrennen of 1939 with 13 cars at the start delivered a great duel between Lang, Nuvolari and Caracciola over 10 laps. Mercedes had already won at Pau and Tripoli and were hoping for
a third win. For Auto Union this was their first race in 1939 but although they came well prepared, they were still slower than the Mercedes. The three Mercedes of Lang, Brauchitsch and Caracciola led the
1st lap followed by the Auto Unions of Müller, Nuvolari, Bigalke, Hasse and the Mercedes of Hartmann while Seaman retired with a broken clutch. On the 2nd lap Caracciola passed Brauchitsch and Nuvolari who
also had a slow start, pulled ahead of Müller with the order changed to Lang, Caracciola, Brauchitsch, Nuvolari. On the 3rd lap Nuvolari passed Brauchitsch for third place. Lang stopped after the 4th lap for
fuel and tires and was passed by Caracciola and Nuvolari on the 5th lap, with the new order Caracciola, Nuvolari, Lang, Brauchitsch. Then the latter changed wheels on the 6th lap while Lang passed Nuvolari
for second place behind Caracciola. On the 7th lap Caracciola refueled, enabling Lang to take the lead with Nuvolari again second as he did not have to stop. On the 8th lap Lang was just nine seconds ahead
of Nuvolari with Caracciola 20 seconds behind the Italian. The battle between the three leading drivers continued in an excitingly tense and very fast race until the very end. After 10 laps Lang won,
11 seconds ahead of Nuvolari with Caracciola a further 20 seconds back. This time the spectators remained until the very end of the race as they wanted to see if Lang or Nuvolari would be the victor.
The 12th Internationales Eifelrennen of 1939 was the third race for the German teams. The ONS (Oberste Nationale Sportbehörde) had organized the International Eifelrennen, but the DDAC
(Der Deutsche Automobil-Club) and the NSKK (National-Sozialistisches Kraftfahr-Korps) were charged with the execution of this race. It was run over 10 laps of the 22.810 km Nürburgring
Nordschleife, a total of 228.1 km and was held to the 3-liter supercharged and 4½-liter un-supercharged Grand Prix formula. In accordance with this sliding scale formula, 1500 cc cars were allowed to
race with the larger cars.
The Grand Prix class prize money for the first five drivers was 5000, 4000, 3000, 2000 and 1000 Mark. The German drivers received an additional award from the fuel and oil companies with 2000, 1000
and 500 Mark for the first three finishers.
There were 15 entries listed after the withdrawal of Alfa Corse and the Delahaye team and Maserati did not even attempt to enter. Delahaye had withdrawn their early entry of two cars as they had not
received their new engines. Alfa Corse had also withdrawn their early entries and instead raced on the same weekend at the Anvers Grand Prix, north of Bruxelles, where Farina won the race ahead of Sommer.
As usual the German teams came in force to this event after a one-year break. Auto Union with Engineer Eberan von Eberhorst und team manager Dr. Karl Otto Feuereissen entered five type D cars powered by
3-liter, V-12-cylinder engines, now also with two-stage supercharging. The drivers were Tazio Nuvolari, Hans Stuck, H. P. Müller, the motorcycle champion Georg Meier who was to start in his first race
with a race car and Ulrich Bigalke who drove here in his first race while Rudolf Hasse was reserve. This was their first race of the year, while Mercedes had a proven car after already winning at Pau and Tripoli.
Daimler-Benz team manager Alfred Neubauer with Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut were present with seven Mercedes-Benz W 154 cars with this year's new 3-liter, V-12-cylinder engine, also with new two-stage
supercharging. They had no less than seven drivers during practice. Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch, Hermann Lang, and Richard Seaman were the team main drivers, with Hans Hugo Hartmann in the
fifth car, his first start in a GP car, while Walter Bäumer and Heinz Brendel were reserve drivers. The radiators of the four main Mercedes were painted and framed in different colors to enable the pit
crew to recognize the cars from a long distance. Brauchitsch's radiator was framed in red, Seaman's green, Lang blue and Caracciola gray.
Automobiles Talbot-Darracq entered two of their 4.4-liter un-supercharged 6-cylinder Talbots for Philippe Etancelin and René Carrière.
There were three independent Maseratis from the German Paul Pietsch with his 1500 cc 6CM and Süddeutsche Renngemeinschaft with Heinz Dipper driving also a 6CM and Leonard Joa a 4CM.
Already the week prior to official practice some sports cars were seen testing on the Nürburgring.
May 18 - Thursday was the first official practice from 2 to 5 p.m. for Grand Prix cars with slightly cool but dry weather. At the south end of the pits Auto Union had taken up quarters while the Mercedes-Benz
racing team worked at the north end. In between were the two French Talbot entries and the three German independent drivers. After one or two laps, most cars stopped again to receive attention by engineers,
technicians, and mechanics to prepare the cars for the great battle. Lang recorded no official time as his car had a new experimental engine which was not working particularly well. Brauchitsch and Seaman
both lapped at 137.2 km/h, Nuvolari and Caracciola both at 135.7, Müller 133.4, Meier 133.3, Stuck 132.2, Lang 132.02 and Bigalke 128 km/h, these speeds were converted and shown as time in the list below.
May 19 - Friday practice in the morning was not possible due to dense fog and rain with visibility barely 50 meters. In the afternoon the fog disappeared but the rain persisted. After the sports cars the
Grand Prix cars practiced on the wet track but an improvement of Thursday's times was impossible. Lang drove with 11m24s at 120.05 km/h the fastest lap, Brauchitsch did 11m25.2s and Seaman 11m26s. Caracciola
did not practice. Nuvolari was timed at 11m39.3s, Müller 11m42s and Hasse 11m43.3s, while Meier, Bigalke also Carrière , Etancelin, Dipper and Pietsch drove over 12 minutes. Hans Stuck had bad luck on the
foggy morning he had taken part in the opening celebration of the new bowling-alley held in the basement of the grandstand. During a contest between race drivers, with help of their wives, and the press,
Hans Stuck badly strained his foot, unable to drive on Sunday. In the afternoon Rudolf Hasse immediately practiced for Stuck, although he had not driven a race car since October last year.
|Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||9m58.2s - 9m58.3s - 9m58s|
|Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)||9m58.2s - 9m58.3s - 9m58s|
|Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||10m04.9s - 10m04s - 10m21s|
|Nuvolari (Auto Union)||10m04.9s - 10m05s - 10m05.1s|
|Müller (Auto Union)||10m15.3s - 10m16s|
|Meier (Auto Union)||10m15.7s - 10m16.2s|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||10m20.9s|
May 20 - Saturday was the last practice day. After the Sports cars, the Tripoli winners Hermann Lang and Rudolf Caracciola in the small 1500 cc winning Mercedes race cars, drove a lap of honor around the
Nordscheife. During the following practice session Lang was able to go very fast, 9m54.4s, as his car was fitted with an experimental engine, which he had chosen to drive after both Caracciola and Brauchitsch
had declined it on the grounds that it was likely to blow up. Hasse practiced a lot as Stuck was unable to drive with an injured foot. The French driver Carrière crashed with his Talbot during Saturday practice
at the Adenauer Forst and left the road near Schwedenkreuz where the car overturned. He was transported to hospital with severe leg injuries and contusions. At this place Nuvolari also had nearly bad luck on
Saturday when his car spun around but he could catch it in times and completed the lap.
|Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||11m25.2s - 11m24s|
|Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)||11m26.0s - 11m25s|
|Nuvolari (Auto Union)||11m39.3s|
|Müller (Auto Union)||11m42.0s|
|Hasse (Auto Union)||11m43.3s|
|Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||9m57.0s - 10m05.4s|
|Nuvolari (Auto Union)||9m57.0s - 10m05.2s|
|Müller (Auto Union)||10m16.0s|
|Meier (Auto Union)||10m16.4s|
|Hasse (Auto Union)||10m20.2s|
|Bigalke (Auto Union)||10m41.8s|
|Joa (Maserati 1500)||11m52.2s|
Sunday provided splendid race weather. Days before and the whole night thousands of spectators had arrived from all directions on bicycles, cars, trucks, buses and by train to Adenau. There was a crowd of estimated
200,000 spectators around the entire circuit. In the morning from 9 to 10:15 a.m. was a race for sports cars, followed by a lap of honor around the Nordscheife by the Tripoli winners Hermann Lang and
Rudolf Caracciola in the small 1500 cc winning Mercedes, as they had already done on Saturday practice. From 11:00 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. a race for the motorcycles was followed at 1:00 p.m. by the Grand Prix cars.
The motorcycle champion Georg Meier who in the Auto Union was to have given his debut as race car driver, could not appear at the start because his overrevved engine during practice could not be repaired
in time for the race. The German time keepers published only the order of the staring grid supposedly according to the best practice laps however, they did not publish the qualifying practice times.
The best times shown in the starting grid below were published in the various practice press reports, shown above. The missing times of two drivers, Pietsch and Dipper, were nowhere found in our sources.
The rather unusual starting grid below, displayed in six rows with only one driver in row 4 and row 6, is true and accurate as seen in two photographs. This arrangement differs with others reported elsewhere.
The noon sun was shining on the starting grid. Tension lay spread out over the wide grandstand area. The starting signal went by light. Red light - still 30 seconds, when the engines were started to bellow
and the mechanics jumped to the sides; yellow - ten seconds, then the green light beamed at 1:00 p.m. with the starting shot - and the field of 13 cars took off. But not the three drivers of the first row,
Lang, Caracciola or Nuvolari grabbed the best start, instead Brauchitsch and Seaman with Müller, from the second and third row shot to the front heading for the Südkehre, but Lang caught up with all of them
passing just before the turn. After his wild start, Brauchitsch's clutch slipped intermittently throughout the race while Seaman was passed by everybody as he dropped behind with a broken clutch. As the cars
left the Südkehre, the order was Lang, Brauchitsch, Müller, Bigalke, Caracciola, Nuvolari, Hasse, Pietsch, Hartmann, Seaman, Etancelin, Joa and Dipper. The loudspeaker informed that Lang was leading the field at
Lap 1 - At the end of the 1st lap the Mercedes of Lang passed after 10m17.1s at 133 km/h race average speed ahead of Brauchitsch, then Caracciola who had passed the Auto Unions of Bigalke and Müller, then
Nuvolari, Bigalke, Hasse and Hartmann. Seaman who had started too fast, broke his clutch, and crawled literally behind the field completing just one slow lap to reach his pit where he retired.
Lap 2 - At the Karussell Lang led Caracciola by 25 seconds. After the 2nd lap Lang led at 134.4 km/h average speed with a lead of 15 seconds to Caracciola who had passed Brauchitsch, while Nuvolari demoted
Müller to fifth place, followed by Hasse, Bigalke, Hartmann und Pietsch.
Lap 3 - After three laps Lang was only eight seconds ahead of Caracciola who was trying to catch the leader. Nuvolari passed Brauchitsch ahead of the Karussell for third place and was half a minute behind Lang
and Caracciola. Lang finished the third lap at 135.1 km/h average race speed ahead of Caracciola, Nuvolari and Brauchitsch in the leading group.
Lap 4 - On lap four Caracciola kept chasing after Lang and drove a new record lap which closed the gap to only five seconds behind Lang, as was reported from the Karussell. At Döttinger Höhe, on the long
straight before the finish, Caracciola shot past Lang who would now stop at the pits at the beginning of the 5th lap, while Nuvolari followed with 36 seconds behind Caracciola in third place.
Lap 5 - On the 5th lap Lang changed rear wheels and refueled, as he had started the race with a half-filled tank in order to run faster laps. It took 33 seconds before he left, while Caracciola had taken
the lead with Nuvolari in second place, 45 seconds behind. Caracciola was at full speed and drove another new fast lap, this in 9m53.5s at 138.3 km/h, a new record. The race had become unusual gripping. In the
meantime, Müller had fallen behind with a misfiring engine and was passed by Hasse for fifth place. At mid-race Caracciola held the lead at 136 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after 5 laps:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes Benz)||50m18.1s|
|2.||Nuvolari (Auto Union)||51m03.0s|
|3.||Lang (Mercedes Benz)||51m07.1s|
|4.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes Benz)||51m24.3s|
|5.||Hasse (Auto Union)||52m04.2s|
|6.||Müller (Auto Union)||52m06.2s|
|7.||Bigalke (Auto Union)||52m47.1s|
Lap 6 - On the 6th lap Brauchitsch stopped at the pits with engine running, solely changed rear wheels in 25.5 seconds and remained in fourth place ahead of Hasse and Müller. Brauchitsch had to drive from
the start with full tank to assure the team's success and therefore did not have to refuel. So Caracciola only led the 5th and 6th lap while Lang regained the lead on lap seven and held it till the end.
Lap 7 - On lap seven Caracciola made his pit stop changing rear wheels and filled up, as he had also started with a half-filled tank before the start in order to run faster laps. It took 36.5 seconds before
he could leave. In the meantime, Lang, who after a brief battle had already passed Nuvolari, regained the lead as they both passed Caracciola in the pits. Hasse had pulled ahead of Brauchitsch for fourth place.
Lang's Mercedes was going like a rocket, establishing a lap in 9m52.2s at 138.5 km/h average speed which was the fastest lap ever driven on the Nürburgring. But even with this lap he could not shake off Nuvolari.
Lap 8 - On lap eight the order was Lang at 135.1 km/h race average speed, but only 4.5 seconds ahead of Nuvolari who had a 12 seconds advantage to Caracciola. It was obvious from the demeanor of the Auto Union
pit, that Nuvolari was going to try to go through non-stop, and this he succeeded in doing. In the meantime, Brauchitsch had repassed Hasse to regain fourth place. Müller slowly passed the pits with banging exhaust
notes like a machine gun due to wet spark plugs with the engine running on only 11, 10 or even less cylinders. From the exhaust stumps of the cylinder with the wet spark plug one could see upon sharp acceleration the
pure fuel shooting out. The Manager of his pit knew about it but signed the driver to carry on. Müller was passed by Bigalke who had no problems. At the end trailed Hartmann and Pietsch.
Lap 9 - On the ninth lap Nuvolari was about 400 meters behind Lang when Nuvolari had decided to stop the battle with Lang, as his tires would then not last till the end.
Lap 10 - Lang started his last lap with 11-seconds advantage. Nuvolari received the last attack signs from his pit. At the Karussell Lang had 13-seconds advantage. Tension was hanging in the air. Finally, at
the finish Lang's advantage to Nuvolari was 11 seconds. This was Lang's third victory in consecutive order after 1h40m57.1s at 135.5 km/h average speed. He collected 5,000 Mark in prize money, Nuvolari 4,000,
Caracciola 3,000 and Brauchitsch 2,000.
|1.||16||Hermann Lang||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W154||3.0||V-12||10||1h40m57.1s|
|2.||2||Tazio Nuvolari||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||10||1h41m08.3s||+ 11.2s|
|3.||12||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W154||3.0||V-12||10||1h41m28.4s||+ 31.3s|
|4.||14||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W154||3.0||V-12||10||1h42m53.1s||+ 1m56.0s|
|5.||4||Rudolf Hasse||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||10||1h42m56.1s||+ 1m59.0s|
|6.||10||Ulrich Bigalke||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||10||1h44m52.1s||+ 3m55.0s|
|7.||6||Hermann Müller||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||D||3.0||V-12||10||1h46m31.2||+ 5m34.1s|
|8.||20||Hans Hugo Hartmann||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W154||3.0||V-12||9||1h48m10.4s|
|9.||22||Paul Pietsch||P. Pietsch||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||9||1h41m23.0s|
|10.||26||Leonhard Joa||Süddeutsche Renngemeinschaft||Maserati||4CM||1.5||S-4||9||1h45m28.4s|
|11.||28||Philippe Etancelin||Automobiles Talbot-Darracq||Talbot||MD||4.5||S-6||9||1h46m37.3s|
|12.||24||Heinz Dipper||Süddeutsche Renngemeinschaft||Maserati||6CM||1.5||S-6||8||1h50m39.2s|
|DNF||18||Richard Seaman||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W154||3.0||V-12||1||clutch|
Fastest lap: Hermann Lang (Mercedes-Benz) on lap 7 in 9m52.2s = 138.7 km/h (86.2 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 135.6 km/h (84.2 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 138.2 km/h (85.9 mph)
Weather: sunny, cloudy, dry.
The practice times differed now and then between the sources. We believe to have selected the correct times.
After the race there was trouble in the Mercedes team as the long time relationship between Neubauer and Caracciola,
a team manager-driver relationship comparable to Colin Chapman - Jim Clark, broke down completely.
On a meeting the following day with Mercedes manager Dr. Kissel and engineer Uhlenhaut,
Caracciola accused the team for favouring Lang, for sabotaging the pit stops.
for filling the tank with 300 litres instead of just the necessary 100 litres during the stop thus making Caracciola's car
heavy, for giving the best engine to Lang, for bad tyres, grid positions and engines during the last seasons etc. etc.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Aachener Anzeiger, Aachen
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Deutsche Sport-Illustrierte, Stuttgart
General-Anzeiger Duisburg, Duisburg
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Solinger Tageblatt, Solingen
The Autocar, London
The Motor, London
Special thanks to:
29 May 1939: B.A.R.C. Whitsun Meeting at Brooklands.|
The handicap races were won by Robin Hanson (ERA), C. K. Mortimer (M.G.), Kenneth Evans (Alfa Romeo),
Arthur Dobson (Delahaye), Tony Rolt (ERA), R. R. C. Walker (Delahaye), Robert Ansell (ERA), G. A. Wooding (Talbot) and Gerald Sumner (M.G.)
XXVII INDIANAPOLIS 500
Indianapolis (USA), 30 May 1939 (Tuesday)
200 laps x 4.02 km (2.5 mi) = 804.67 km (500 mi)
|1||Floyd Roberts||Burd Piston Ring||Wetteroth||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4|
|3||Chet Miller||Boyle||Summers FD||Offenhauser||4.2||S-4|
|4||Ted Horn||Boyle||Miller FD||Miller||4.4||S-8|
|7||Duke Nalon||Belanger||Miller||DNQ - crankshaft|
|8||Joel Thorne||Thorne Engineering||Adams||Sparks||4.4||S-6|
|10||Jimmy Snyder||Thorne Engineering||Adams||Sparks||3.0||S-6|
|14||Frank Wearne||Burd Piston Ring||Wetteroth||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4|
|15||Rex Mays||Thorne Engr||Adams||Sparks||3.0||S-6|
|17||George Bailey||Miller||Miller 4D||Miller||3.0||S-4|
|21||Russ Snowberger||-||Snowberger FD||Miller||4.2||S-4|
|23||George Robson||W. A. Rotary Valve||Wehr||DNQ|
|26||Billy DeVore||Duray - Barbasol||Weil||Duray||3.0||S-4|
|28||George Robson||Deacon Litz||Maserati||Mas||DNQ|
|29||Frank Brisko||National Seal||StevensFD||Brisko||4.4||S-6|
|31||Babe Stapp||Alfa Romeo||Alfa Romeo||Alfa Romeo||3.0||S-8|
|33||Tom Hinnershitz||Kimmel||Miller||Voelkr||DNQ - connecting rod|
|35||Kelly Petillo||Kay Jewelers||Wetteroth||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4|
|36||Doc Williams||Quillen Bros. Refrig||Miller FD||Miller||DNQ|
|37||Ira Hall||Greenfield Service||Nowiak||Studebaker||4.4||S-8|
|38||Harry McQuinn||Elgin Piston Pin||Blume||Brisko||4.4||S-6|
|39||Henry Banks||Cheesman Maserati||Maserati||Maserati||DNQ - crankshaft|
|41||George Barringer||Bill White||Weil||Offenhauser||3.7||S-4|
|42||Al Miller II||Kennedy Tank||Adams||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4|
|44||Emil Andres||Chicago Flash||Stevens||Offenhauser||4.2||S-4|
|45||Louis Meyer||Bowes Seal Fast||Stevens||Bowes Seal||2.9||S-8|
|47||Shorty Cantlon||Auto Service||Stevens||Offenhauser||4.3||S-4|
|49||Mel Hansen||Joel Thorne||Shaw FD||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4|
|51||Tony Willman||Burd Piston Ring||Lencki||Lencki||4.4||S-6|
|54||Cliff Bergere||Offenhauser||Miller FD||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4|
|55||Louis Tomei||Indiana Fur||Buick||DNQ|
|56||Floyd Davis||W R W||Miller||Offenhauser||4.2||S-4|
|58||Louis Tomei||Alfa Romeo||Alfa Romeo||Alfa Romeo||4.3||S-8|
|61||Johnny Seymour||Miller||MillerRE4D||Miller||DNQ - crash|
|62||Tony Gulotta||Burd Piston Ring||Stevens||Lencki||4.4||S-6|
Shaw wins Indy 500 with a Maserati Tipo 8CTF
Situation after 20 laps:|
Snyder, Meyer, Shaw, Horn, Swanson, Mays, C. Miller, Roberts, Bergere; Bailey
Situation after 40 laps:
Shaw, Meyer, Mays, Horn, Snyder, C. Miller, Roberts, Hansen, Bailey; Petillo
Situation after 60 laps:
Shaw, Meyer, Horn, Mays, Snyder, C. Miller, Roberts, Hansen, Petillo, Hepburn
Situation after 80 laps:
Snyder, Mays, C. Miller, Horn, Meyer, Shaw, Roberts, Petillo, Hepburn, Hansen
Situation after 100 laps:
Snyder, Meyer, Shaw, Horn, C. Miller, Mays, Hepburn, Bergere, Hansen, Connor
Situation after 120 laps:
Meyer, Shaw, Horn, Snyder, Bergere, Willman, Petillo , Connor, Stapp, Gulotta
Situation after 140 laps:
Meyer, Shaw, Snyder, Horn, Bergere, Willman, Connor, Stapp, Barringer, Thorne
Situation after 160 laps:
Meyer, Shaw, Snyder, Horn, Bergere, Willman, Connor, Stapp, Barringer, Thorne
Situation after 180 laps:
Meyer, Shaw, Snyder, Bergere, Horn, Connor, Willman, Stapp, Barringer, Thorne
Shaw, Snyder, Bergere, Horn, Stapp, Barringer, Thorne, Rose, Wearne, Devore
|2.||10||Jimmy Snyder||Thorne Engineering||Adams||Sparks||3.0||S-6||200||4h22m35.61s|
|3.||54||Cliff Bergere||Offenhauser||Miller FD||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4||200||4h23m51.40s|
|4.||4||Ted Horn||Boyle||Miller FD||Miller||4.4||S-8||200||4h28m08.82s|
|5.||31||Babe Stapp||Alfa Romeo||Alfa Romeo||Alfa Romeo||3.0||S-8||200||4h29m42.68s|
|6.||41||George Barringer||Bill White||Weil||Offenhauser||3.7||S-4||200||4h30m12.60s|
|7.||8||Joel Thorne||Thorne Engineering||Adams||Sparks||4.4||S-6||200||4h31m42.04s|
|9.||14||Frank Wearne||Burd Piston Ring||Wetteroth||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4||200||4h38m16.65s|
|10.||26||DeVore/Banks||Duray - Barbasol||Weil||Duray||3.0||S-4||200||4h47m43.37s|
|11.||62||Gulotta/McQuinn||Burd Piston Ring||Stevens||Lencki||4.4||S-6||200||4h48m38.01s|
|12.||45||Louis Meyer||Bowes Seal Fast||Stevens||Bowes Seal||2.9||S-8||197||crash|
|14.||51||Tony Willman||Burd Piston Ring||Lencki||Lencki||4.4||S-6||188||fuel pump|
|15.||58||Tomei/Hansen||Alfa Romeo||Alfa Romeo||Alfa Romeo||4.3||S-8||186|
|DNF||15||Rex Mays||Thorne Engr||Adams||Sparks||3.0||S-6||145||piston|
|DNF||35||Kelly Petillo||Kay Jewelers||Wetteroth||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4||141||piston|
|DNF||49||Mel Hansen||Joel Thorne||Shaw FD||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4||113||crash|
|DNF||38||McQuinn/Putnam/Brisko/Robson||Elgin Piston Pin||Blume||Brisko||4.4||S-6||112||ignition|
|DNF||3||Chet Miller||Boyle||Summers FD||Offenhauser||4.2||S-4||109||crash|
|DNF||1||Floyd Roberts||Burd Piston Ring||Wetteroth||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4||106||fatal crash|
|DNF||37||Ira Hall||Greenfield Service||Nowiak||Studebaker||4.4||S-8||89||head gasket|
|DNF||21||Russ Snowberger||-||Snowberger FD||Miller||4.2||S-4||50||radiator|
|DNF||17||George Bailey||Miller||Miller 4D||Miller||3.0||S-4||47||valve|
|DNF||56||Floyd Davis||W R W||Miller||Offenhauser||4.2||S-4||43||suspension|
|DNF||42||Al Miller II||Kennedy Tank||Adams||Offenhauser||4.4||S-4||41||throttle pedal|
|DNF||29||Frank Brisko||National Seal||StevensFD||Brisko||4.4||S-6||38||air pump|
|DNF||44||Emil Andres||Chicago Flash||Stevens||Offenhauser||4.2||S-4||22||plugs|
|DNF||32||Bob Swanson||SMI||Stevens||Sampson||3.0||V-16||19||rear axle|
|DNF||47||Shorty Cantlon||Auto Service||Stevens||Offenhauser||4.3||S-4||15||main bearing|
Fastest lap: Jimmy Snyder in 1m08.83s = 210.4 km/h (130.757 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 185.1 km/h (115.035 mph)
Pole poition speed: 209.4 km/h (130.138 mph)
Donington Park (GB), 10 June 1939 (Saturday)
64 laps x 5.029 km (3.125 mi) = 321.9 km (200.0 mi)
The German and Italain teams refused an invitation and the new E-type ERA became a non starter after engine trouble during practice. Prince Bira in his ERA totally dominated the race, being fastes even if he was on a non stop strategy.
Mays, afraid to push the car in his new status as privateer, was as sure of his second position while Whitehead made it a ERA 1-2-3. Hanson was a late retiremwent after holding 4th position.
The Nuffield Trophy a.k.a. "The British Light Car Classic" was first raced in 1934 as a handicap race. For 1939 the event was changed to a 64 lap scratch race in a move to tempt the new Mercedes voiturettes and the
Italians to take part. A suggestion was made to Mercedes -Benz during the Eifelrennen but the Germans had no time to prepare two cars and were unwilling to send a single one. Also Alfa Romeo made only vague promises
so only Maserati was showing any real interest. The thing was not made better by the fact that the event clashed with Picardie GP and that the continental European privateers selected the latter. |
There was no starting money but the prize money was good.
ERAs dominated the entry list. Former works drivers Mays and Bira had their Zoller blown ERAs, R4D in black and R12C "Hanuman" in new Siamese colors blue and yellow.
ERAs with Murray-Jamieson supercharger included Pollock's gray R2A, Wilson's dark blue R4A, Rolt/Horsfall in Ex-Bira R5B "Remus" now in gray livery, Hanson's red R6B, Ansell's dark blue R9B with red wheels,
Whitehead's black R10B and Aitken's pale blue ex-Tongue R11B.
There were high expectations on seeing the new E-type ERA in action against the European teams. The ERA works team entered the car for their new no 1 driver Arthur Dobson . But the car was not ready developed as works
had recently moved from Bourne to Donington and the team was in crisis. Cook , having already spent £75000 of his own money, had announced that he urgently needed another £8000 to save the team.
Maserati had entered two cars for Villoresi and Rocco but they never appeared as the Italians were unwilling to spend the costs of transporting the cars all the way to England for just a voiturette race. In the end the only
continental entries proved to be Parisian Roger Loyer driving a dark blue ex Herbert Berg Maserati 6CM and Bob Gerard's Riley.
Maclure had a dark blue supercharged Riley with the engine from the famous "White Riley".
Tongue had his new fast Maserati 4CL (1567) while Loyer , Dodson and Hanson had 6CMs. The rest of the field consisted of Hadley's Austin, Brooke's Alta-engined special and Nicolls' MG, while Reg Parnell's mysterious Challenger,
a new ERA-engined car of advanced design, was not ready.
There was a cold wind blowing on Thursday but apart from that the weather was good. Bira proved fastest with a time of 2m21.5s followed by Dobson in a troublesome new Era with 2m25s.
During Friday practice Bira lowered his time to 2m20.4s. He was followed by Mays, Horsfall (in Rolt's ERA), Whitehead, Dobson, Maclure and Tongue (see grid for times). Tongue broke the final drive on his Maserati,
making him a non-starter. A broken oil pump destroyed the engine of the E-type ERA and while a spare was available it had not been run in, so instead of destroying that one as well in the long race, Cook withdrew the works entry.
There were more spectators than in the former years as the cars lined up on the grid according to their fastest practice times.
||* 4 Tongue (Maserati) 2m25.4s DNS ** 3 Dobson (ERA) 2m25.0s DNS|
Rest of grid unknown.
As the flag dropped Mays and Bira were slow off the line and Whitehead stalled totally. It was instead Maclure in the Riley who took the lead followed by Ansell, Aitken, Bira and Mays. Bira and Mays soon moved up to second
and third and that became first and second when Ansell, who had opened up a 10 seconds gap, suddenly retired after only five laps with gearbox trouble. Gone was already Hampshire with a blown piston on his Maserati and Rolt
had made the first of several pit stops because of plug trouble.|
Bira had full control over the race, opening up the gap to Mays by a second a lap. At ten laps Bira was leading with Mays 13 seconds behind followed by Whitehead, who had fought his way up to third, and Ansell.
When passing backmarkers Mays got the gap down to 6 seconds but it was clear that neither Bira nor Mays, who was now without works support and worried about the spare parts situation, was pushing. Following pit signals Bira
easily opened up the gap back to 13s after 20 laps. Whitehead was a further 37s behind. Gone was Nicolls with engine trouble on his M.G. and next to retire was Wilson with a broken gearbox.
By thirty laps Bira was leading by 16s. Hanson had passed Ansell for fourth position. Loyer had overheated his engine and on lap 33 the field lost two further cars as Brooke got gearbox troubles and Rolt, after having made three
pit stops and trying to regain positions by throwing the ERA round the corners, overdid it and crashed.
At 40 laps the order was Bira, Mays (20s behind), Whitehead, Hanson, Ansel, Pollock, Aitken, Dodson, Hadley and Gerard and it remained still the same ten laps later.
On lap 52 Mays was in for a rushed 29s stop, fuel splashing all around the pits during tanking. After the stop his engine started to misfire. It soon became clear too that Bira just like last year had decided to do the race
non-stop and with a lead of 85s Bira started to cruise as did Mays, securing his second position.
On lap 59 Hanson in fourth position had to retire with gearbox problems.
So Bira took a dominant victory from Mays. The only non ERA in the top seven was Dodson's Maserati.
Main sources: Chula Chakrabongse's Blue and Yellow , ERA Gold Portfolio, Venables' Racing Five-Hundreds, Sheldon Vol 4.
11 June 1939: Lang (Mercedes-Benz) wins the Kahlenberg hillclimb in Germany (Austria).
17-18 June 1939: Wimille / Veyron (Bugatti) wins
the Les 24 Heures du Mans race at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France. (Results)
20 June 1939: Emilio Villoresi had a fatal crash while testing an Alfa Romeo 158 at Monza.
25 June 1939: The Bucuresti GP is run 30 laps on a 3050m circuit (91.5 km in total) in Bucharest, Romania. Hans Stuck with an Auto Union C (sic!)
wins the race from local driver Petre Cristea in a 2 L BMW 328 special with aluminium body, owned by Petre Iscu, who finishes three laps behind the winner. Third was Stere Stavarache
(Mercedes-Benz) and fourth Jean Calciau (Bugatti T35).
Stuck's winning time is 49m27s (111.0 km/h) and fastest lap 1m32.2s (119.1 km/h).
(Info supplied by Valentin Raducan).