Pau (F), 1 March 1936
100 laps x 2.769.6 km (1.721 mi) = 277.0 km (172.1 mi)


2Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8DNA - stopped by Mussolini
4Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaseratiV8 RI4.8V-8
6Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8
8Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8DNA - stopped by Mussolini
10"Raph"B. de las CasasAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
12Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8
14Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8
16Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8DNA - stopped by Mussolini
18Robert BrunetR. BrunetMaserati8CM3.0S-8
20José de VillapadiernaScuderia VillapadiernaAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
22Mlle. "Hellé Nice"Mlle. "Hellé Nice"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
24Charles MartinC. MartinAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
26Jean DelormeJ. DelormeBugattiT512.3S-8

Etancelin wins as the Italians boycott the race

by Leif Snellman
The Ferrari team was stopped from racing by an order from Mussolini. That left 10 cars in the race of which only four reached the finish but it still turned out to be an exciting race. Wimille dominated the first 29 laps with his works Bugatti before having to retire. For the next 45 laps the race was a close duel between Etancelin (Maserati) and Sommer (Alfa Romeo), the drivers swapping positions while Martin (Alfa Romeo) and Lehoux (Bugatti) followed closely. Lehoux and Martin made pit stops and Sommer had to retire leaving Etancelin, whose car suffered a problem during the last laps, to struggle to a victory.
Since the Automobil Club de France had announced that the Grand Prix del'ACF would be raced as a sports car event in 1936, several other French race organizers had followed the example. The summer Grand Prix season started on 1 March with the Pau Grand Prix, organized as usual by the Automobile Club Basco Béarnais (ACBB), as one of the few remaining French races featuring Grand Prix cars. Due to the short circuit the grid was restricted to 12 cars. The race had increased in length from 80 laps in 1935 to 100 laps. With the assistance of the city, the track was improved, especially at Parc Beaumont where the road was flattened, and in the curve of the stands where it was raised by 40 cm.
Scuderia Ferrari had entered three cars, two Alfa Romeo 8C-35 for Tazio Nuvolari and Antonio Brivio and an Alfa Romeo Tipo B with Dubonnet independent suspension for their new driver Giuseppe Farina.
      Scuderia Ferrari had sold eight of their nine 1935 Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 cars to independent drivers and three of them appeared at Spa. British driver Charles Martin entered a green coloured Tipo B (#50003), Raymond Sommer raced a Tipo B that had initially been bought by Nuvolari (#50004) and Spanish nobleman José de Villapadierna entered a yellow coloured Tipo B (#50007). All three cars were of the old cart-sprung type. Count Raphaël Béthenod raced his older blue Tipo B (#5006) under the pseudonym "Raph".
      The Bugatti factory team entered a T59 for Jean-Pierre Wimille.
      For 1936 Scuderia Subalpina had changed its name to Scuderia Torino. The team was not able to prepare their Maserati V8 RI (#4501) for Etancelin in time but Etancelin had bought his own V8 RI (#4503) on 19 February and now entered the blue painted car for the race as an independent driver. Also the ERA works team was not able to supply Marcel Lehoux with a 2 litre car but Lehoux entered his old Bugatti T51 (#51144) instead. Motor Sport claimed it was the same car with which Varzi had won at Monaco 1933 after an epic struggle with Nuvolari (Note 1).
      Robert Brunet had bought the blue Maserati 8 CM (#3015) that he had raced for Nelly Braillard during 1935. The car had been modified with a new suspension, gearbox and radiator grille. Mlle. Hellé Nice raced her old Alfa Romeo Monza painted in two shades of blue.
      Due to the war in Abyssinia the League of Nations had decided on trade sanctions on Italy. However, Secretary of the Fascist Party, Achille Starace, had announced that Italian drivers could start abroad without problems. The Ferrari team was already on its way to France when it was stopped at San Ludovico at the Italian-French border and ordered to return to Modena. No Italian team should race in France until after a meeting of the League of Nations on 10 March where a decision regarding a possible tightening of the sanctions against Italy would be made.
      At the same time the race organizers got a telegram from Giuseppe Furmanik, who was president of Sporting Commission of the Reale Automobile Club d'Italia.
      "Due to order from a superior authority our participation is revoked - Regrets - Furmanik".
      That left only nine cars to make up the grid four days before the race so reserve Jean Delorme, racing a Bugatti T51 was added to make it ten entries.
Most riders arrived to Pau on Thursday to make the necessary preparations for the training. When Etancelin, who came from Bologna, passed Arles his touring car burst in flames and was destroyed. Etancelin finally arrived to Pau late on Thursday evening in a borrowed car.
      Practice sessions were held on Friday and Saturday afternoons and both practices were run in rather stormy and rainy weather conditions. Wimille's experience of Pau was restricted to some 1933 practice sessions on a slightly different circuit configuration, but he soon became familiar with the circuit and put in the fastest lap of Thursday with a time of 1m59s followed by Lehoux (2m01s) and Etancelin (2m02s). Sommer did only five laps due to mechanical trouble and Raph had to stop after two laps with a faulty carburettor float. Brunet had an oil leak on his Maserati and Hellé-Nice had not yet arrived.
      During Saturday practice Wimille managed to improve his time by a second to 1m58s. Sommer and Etancelin were 2 seconds slower than him. Brunet skidded into a kerb and broke a wheel. Hellé Nice arrived late and only managed to do three or four slow laps before the end of practice.
      Even with the improved circuit Wimille's pace was five seconds slower than Nuvolari's pole time back in 1935. The slow times were partly due to the bad weather conditions.

Wimille (Bugatti)1m59s1m58s
Sommer (Alfa Romeo)2m06s2m00s
Etancelin (Maserati)2m02s2m00s
Martin (Alfa Romeo)2m03s2m01s
Lehoux (Bugatti)2m01s2m01s
Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)2m11s2m03s
Brunet (Maserati)-2m11s
"Raph" (Alfa Romeo)-2m16s
Sunday morning was rainy as well but at noon the rain stopped and by the time the race was about to begin the circuit had mostly dried out. The cars lined up on the grid according to their practice times for the 2 p.m. start.
Pole Position

Alfa Romeo




Alfa Romeo




Alfa Romeo




Alfa Romeo






Alfa Romeo

The director of the race, Charles Faroux, dropped the flag and the ten cars were on their way with Sommer making the best start followed by Wimille, Martin and Villapadierna. Sommer did not hold on to the lead for long as Wimille shot past him almost immediately. Wimille did the first lap in 1m57s and held a lead of some 100 meters over Sommer and Martin. Then there was a longer gap to Villapadierna, Etancelin, Lehoux, Brunet, Hellé Nice, Raph and Delorme. Wimille did the second lap in 1m55s. That proved to be the fastest lap time of the race. The gap had increased to 150 meters to Sommer and 400 meters to Villapadierna. Raph made a short pit stop. Brunet and Hellé Nice were already struggling to keep the pace of the others. After the third lap Hellé Nice returned to the pits by foot. A faulty connecting rod on the Monza had put an end to her race. After 5 laps Wimille had already increased his lead to 28 seconds. The race order looked like this:
1. Wimille (Bugatti)9m42s
2. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)10m10s
3. Martin (Alfa Romeo)10m11s
4. Etancelin (Maserati)10m19s
5. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)10m23s
6. Lehoux (Bugatti)10m23s
7. Brunet (Maserati)11m04s
8. Delorme (Bugatti)11m21s
9. "Raph" (Alfa Romeo)

On the sixth lap Lehoux passed Villapadierna for fifth position. Etancelin was closing in on Sommer and Martin, who were fighting for second position. Wimille continued to totally dominate the race and after seven laps he had already lapped Delorme. After 8 laps he had a 39 seconds lead over Sommer and after 10 laps he was already 46 seconds in front of him. The situation after 10 laps:
1. Wimille (Bugatti)19m28s
2. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)20m14s
3. Martin (Alfa Romeo)20m16s
4. Etancelin (Maserati)20m20s
5. Lehoux (Bugatti)20m28s
6. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)20m43s
7. Brunet (Maserati)22m10s
8. Delorme (Bugatti)
9. "Raph" (Alfa Romeo)

On the eleventh lap, Etancelin, who by now had got used to his new Maserati, started to push. He passed Martin for third position and on the next lap he passed Sommer as well for second. Behind the trio Lehoux was closing in. Raph had given up the race due to a carburettor trouble on his Alfa Romeo.
      Wimille was in a class of his own but luckily for the spectators Etancelin and Sommer had a good fight for second position with Etancelin unable to shake off the Alfa Romeo driver. Martin and Lehoux were close behind them. After 20 laps Wimille had lapped sixth positioned Villapadierna and led Etancelin in second position by over a minute. But there was only 10 seconds between the following four cars. The order after 20 laps was like this:
1. Wimille (Bugatti)39m10s
2. Etancelin (Maserati)40m18s
3. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)40m19s
4. Martin (Alfa Romeo)40m22s
5. Lehoux (Bugatti)40m28s
6. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)- 1 lap
7. Brunet (Maserati)-2 laps
8. Delorme (Bugatti)

On the 21st lap Wimille increased his lead by another 3 seconds. Lehoux passed Martin on the 22nd lap for fourth position ending up immediately behind Sommer. On a less twisty circuit the old Bugatti would of course have had no chance against a monoposto Alfa Romeo. Brunet retired to the pits. He had found that one brake drum had been buckled already at the Saturday crash and now made it impossible to continue. So there were seven drivers left and of them Delorme had lost several laps.
      On lap 29 there was a dramatic change in the race as Wimille retired his Bugatti to the pit. The mechanical brake linkage had disintegrated and it was not possibility to repair it. After having dominated the event totally Wimille was out of the race. The changed situation thus looked like this after 30 laps:
1. Etancelin (Maserati)1h00m16s
2. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)1h00m18s
3. Lehoux (Bugatti)1h00m20s
4. Martin (Alfa Romeo)1h00m21s
5. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)- 1 lap
6. Delorme (Bugatti)- 6 laps

Wimille's retirement shook up the race as there were now four drivers with a chance to win. Sommer pushed Etancelin hard and on the 35th lap he found a way past at the Parc Beaumont sector to lead the race after 35 laps. Sommer, Etancelin and Lehoux continued close together with a slight gap to Martin. Villapadierna made a pit stop losing another lap to the leader. The race order after 40 laps:
1. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)1h20m24s
2. Etancelin (Maserati)1h20m26s
3. Lehoux (Bugatti)1h20m29s
4. Martin (Alfa Romeo)1h20m33s
5. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)- 2 laps
6. Delorme (Bugatti)

Sommer made 45 laps in 1h30m23s. Etancelin was one second behind, Lehoux three seconds behind Etancelin and Martin four seconds behind Lehoux. On the 46th lap Lehoux got some gravel thrown up by another car in his face. He went wide and up on the pavement and because of that suffered a burst tyre. Martin took over third position, some 12 seconds behind Sommer and Etancelin while Lehoux slowly continued to the pits for a tyre change. Lehoux lost more than a minute on the stop and returned to the race almost lapped just some 10 seconds in front of leading Sommer. At half distance Etancelin was still following Sommer closely trying to find a gap to retake the lead. Martin spun and his engine stopped but while still travelling backwards downhill he changed to reverse gear and managed to restart the engine losing only 13s to the leading duo while Lehoux now was 1m47s behind. At half distance the order was:
1. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)1h40m25s
2. Etancelin (Maserati)1h40m26s
3. Martin (Alfa Romeo)1h40m39s
4. Lehoux (Bugatti)1h42m12s
5. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)- 3 laps

Delorme retired with a broken valve leaving five competitors. Martin managed to close in on Sommer and Etancelin. Lehoux had managed to pull in on the leader by half a second a lap but was still far behind the trio. The order after 60 laps was:
1. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)2h00m29s
2. Etancelin (Maserati)2h00m32s
3. Martin (Alfa Romeo)2h00m36s
4. Lehoux (Bugatti)2h02m11s
5. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)- 3 laps

On the 61st lap Martin stopped for refuelling and returned to the race after a 41s stop without losing his third position. The race up front continued as both drivers had made laps around 2 minutes for most part of the race. On the 66th lap Sommer went wide but managed to keep control of the Alfa Romeo only just missing a telegraph pole. Etancelin was now back at the front but even when doing a 1m57s lap he was unable to open up a decent gap to Sommer. Further back Lehoux was doing his best to close the gap to Martin. On lap 70 with five drivers remaining in the race the situation looked like this
1. Etancelin (Maserati)2h20m22s
2. Sommer (Alfa Romeo2h20m27s
3. Martin (Alfa Romeo)2h20m31s
4. Lehoux (Bugatti)2h22m07s
5. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)- 3 laps

On the 75th lap Sommer went past Etancelin again as the latter made a mistake and went wide losing some seconds. But a moment later at Parc Beaumont Sommer while lapping Villapadierna went wide up on the pavement and the Alfa Romeo came to a stop with a broken rear axle. Only four drivers now remained in the race, leader Etancelin, second placed Martin, third placed Lehoux and Villapadierna fourth several laps behind. The order after 80 laps was:
1. Etancelin (Maserati)2h41m02s
2. Martin (Alfa Romeo)2h41m40s
3. Lehoux (Bugatti)2h42m13s
4. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)- 3 laps

With a decent distance between the drivers most of the excitement of the race seemed to have been gone. The drivers were just doing their best to make it to the flag. The eighty-five laps were completed by Etancelin in 2h53m30s with Martin 38s behind him and with Lehoux a further 33s behind. During the next laps Etancelin went a little bit faster than Martin and after 90 laps the gap was 41 seconds:
1. Etancelin (Maserati)3h01m18s
2. Martin (Alfa Romeo)3h01m59s
3. Lehoux (Bugatti)3h02m37s
4. Villapadierna (Alfa Romeo)- 3 laps

But then the race once again got wide open as Etancelin had a fuel leak on the Maserati and was slowing down by doing lap times around 2m06s for the next five laps. Etancelin then slowed down further making the last five laps with 2m08s medium lap times. After the 98th lap the gap between Etancelin and Martin was just 28 seconds and at the beginning of the last lap 22 seconds. Etancelin hold on to take the flag as the winner giving the V8 RI what proved to be its only Victory. Martin followed 13.4 seconds behind him with Lehoux a distant third. Villapadierna still racing tried to do the last three laps but had to stop as the spectators invaded the circuit.



1.4Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaseratiV8 RI4.8V-81003h22m26.6s
2.24Charles MartinC. MartinAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-81003h22m40.0s+ 13.4s
3.12Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-81003h23m58.0s+ 1m31.4s
4.20José de VillapadiernaScuderia VillapadiernaAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-897
DNF14Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-875rear axle
DNF26Jean DelormeJ. DelormeBugattiT512.3S-850valve
DNF6Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-829brakes
DNF18Robert BrunetR. BrunetMaserati8CM3.0S-818+brakes
DNF10"Raph"B. de las CasasAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-84?carburettor
DNF22Mlle "Hellé Nice"Mlle "Hellé Nice"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-83connecting rod
Fastest lap: Jean-Pierre Wimille (Bugatti) on lap 2 in 1m55s = 86.7 km/h (53.9 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 82.1 km/h (51.0)
Pole position lap speed: 84.5 km/h (52.5 mph)
Weather: sunny, drying up after rain.
In retrospect:
L'Express du Midi published times and speeds for every five laps except for the 75th. It shows that the timekeepers made an excellent job as all speeds, except for laps 70 & 80, were correct down to the third decimal making it easy to confirm the times and remove a few printing errors. (Published speeds in the 1930s were hardly ever correct down to the third decimal.)

LapTotal timeLast 5 lapsLeader

1. Bugatti expert Michael Müller has told me that it might very well be the same car despite the fact that #51143 usually has been considered to be Varzi's 1933 Monaco car while #51144 was the car owned by Lehoux. As #51144 was not delivered to Lehoux until June 1933 it is quite possible that the Bugatti works team used #51144 at the 1933 Monaco Grand Prix for Varzi when their T59 was not yet ready. If so, Lehoux had #51143 temporarily on loan for that race. That would also explain why Varzi became a non starter when the T59 still was not ready for the 1933 Grand Prix del'ACF as the #51144 was no longer available for the works team.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Il Littoriale, Roma
La Stampa, Torino
L'Écho de Paris, Paris
L'Express du Midi
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
Motor Sport, London
Also: Pierre Darmendrail Grand Prix de Pau
Special thanks to:
Michael Müller

Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)Carlsson (Bugatti)


Gjersjøen (N), 8 March 1936
20 laps x 3 km (1.86 mi) = 60 km? (37.3 mi)


Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
Helmer CarlssonH. CarlssonBugattiT35C2.0S-8
Per Viktor WidengrenP.V. WidengrenAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
Ivar LindhI. LindhBugattiT37A1.5S-4
Knut Gustav SundstedtK-G. SundstedtBugattiT35B2.3S-8

A home victory for Bjørnstad

by Leif Snellman
Due to the weather the race was run almost a month late and the racing class proved to be very small with just five participants. An duel between the Alfa Romeo Monza drivers Bjørnstad and Widengren was expected but when Widengren had to retire after four laps most of the excitment of the race disappeared. However the Norwegian spectators were able to see Bjørnstad take the victory at his home race.
For the fourth year in a row Kunglig Norsk Automobilklub (KNA) planned to move the race away from Gjersjøen, this time to Semsvannet near Asker, SW of Oslo. But even here the ice quality was bad and finally the race was moved back to Gjersjøen and held almost a month later than usually.
The entry list in the race class was very small with just five competitors. Eugen Bjørnstad and Per Victor Widengren raced their Alfa Romeo Monzas. Helmer Carlsson his old 1929 Targa Florio winning old Bugatti T35C (#4928), Knut Gustav Sundstedt the ex-Chiron Bugatti T35B (#4922) and Ivar Lind Bugatti T37A.
After a 15 km race for standard crs won by Arvid Johansen in a Chrysler and a 30 km race for sports cars won by Finnish driver Alexi Patama in a Ford had been completed the five race cars finally were pushed to their grid positions and sent off.
Grid not available

Yet again it became a fierce fight between Widengren and Bjørnstad but on the 4th lap the Swedish driver was off. He was unable to continue due to a broken gas pedal and that meant the end of the excitement as Bjørnstad could dominate the rest of the race over Carlsson who had to make a pit stop for a new wheel beacause of a a puncture. So the Norwegian spectators were finally able to see Bjørnstad take a home victory.



1.Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-82034m39.5s
2.Helmer CarlssonH. CarlssonBugattiT35C2.0S-82038m36.5s?+ 3m57.0s
DNFPer Viktor WidengrenP.V. WidengrenAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-84throttle
DNFIvar LindhI. LindhBugattiT37A1.5S-4engine
DNFKnut Gustav SundstedtK-G. SundstedtBugattiT35B2.3S-8engine
Fastest lap: Per Viktor Widengren (Alfa Romeo) in lap 4 in 1m38.2s = 110.0 km/h (68.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 103.9 km/h (64.5 mph)
Weather: good, slightly overcast.

Main source used for this article:
Bertheau, Hvoslef, Grimsmo: Bilsport i Norge - fra hastighetsløpene 1912 - 1957

Star March 1936: Achille Varzi went to hospital to finally have his troublesome appendix removed.
Star 14 March 1936: The B.A.R.C. Opening Meeting was held at Brooklands.
Handicap races were won by Charles Follet (Alvis 2.7 litre), Miss Summers (Marendaz Special 2 litre), A. C. Kelway (Bugatti), A. M. Leitch (Bugatti 1.5 litre), D. L. Briault (Alta 1.1 litre), A. Baron (Bugatti 1.5 litre) and A. Ashton-Rigby (M.G. 1.1 litre).
Star 14-19 March 1936: Auto Union tests the new car at Monza. On 16 March Bernd Rosemeyer is fit enough from his illness for his first tests.
Star Late March 1936: Mercedes-Benz tests at Monza as well. A pheasant is hit by Rudolf Caracciola's car, bending the radiator and touching the windscreen.
Star 29 March 1936: The GP Terminal race is held in Poços de Caldas, Brazil:
50 laps x 4 km = 200 km, 18 starters
1. Arthur Nachimento Jr.Ford spl. 3.6L2h31m
2. Domingos LopesHudson spl. 3.5L
3. Vicente HugoFord spl. 3.6L
4. Olyntho PereiraFord spl. 3.6L
5. Nicolau CroviniChrysler Imperial 5.3L
6. C. Marques PortoFord spl. 3.6L
Star 30 March 1936: J. H. Fagan (MG Magnette) wins the 60 lap Australian Tourist Trophy at Phillip Island with a time of 3h06m15s.
Star 4 April 1936: Richard Seaman (Maserati 8CM 2.7 litre) wins the British Empire Trophy handicap race at Donington Park, England.
Star 5 April 1936: The Mille Miglia sports car race is held on public roads in Italy:
1606 km (998 miles), 69 starters
1. A. Brivio / C. OngaroAlfa Romeo 2900A13h07m51s
2. G. Farina / S. MeazzaAlfa Romeo 2900A13h08m23s
3. C. Pintacuda / A. StefaniAlfa Romeo 2900A13h44m17s
4. C. Biondetti / CerasaAlfa Romeo 2900B13h59m21s
5. O. Tenni / G. BertocchiMaserati 4CS 1.5L14h18m40s
6. E. Bianco / M. BoccaliMaserati 4CS 1.1L14h55m10s
Star 9 April 1936: Hans Stuck (Auto Union) wins the La Turbie hillclimb in France.


(Voiturette 1500cc)

Circuit de Monaco (MC), 11 April 1936 (Saturday)
50 laps x 3.180 km (1.976 mi) = 159.0 km (98.8 mi)


42Bobby KohlrauschB. KohlrauschMGR0.7S-4DNS - crash on warm-up lap
44Frederick McEvoyF. McEvoyMaserati4CM1.5S-4
46Louis VilleneuveL. VilleneuveBugattiT51A1.5S-8
48Henri DurandH. DurandMaserati4CM1.5S-4
50Maurice MestivierM. MestivierAmilcarMC01.3S-4
52Jean TrevouxJ. TrevouxERAB1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
54Raymond MaysEnglish Racing Automobiles Ltd.ERAB1.5S-6
56Earl HoweEnglish Racing Automobiles Ltd.ERAB1.5S-6
58Marcel LehouxEnglish Racing Automobiles Ltd.ERAB1.5S-6
60Patrick FairfieldP. FairfieldERAA1.5S-6
62Richard SeamanR. SeamanDelage15S81.5S-8DNA - car not ready
64Alexander CormackA. CormackAlta52S1.5S-4
66Gino RovereOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
68Omobono TenniOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
70Goffredo ZehenderOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
72Ettore BiancoE. BiancoMaserati4CM1.5S-4
74Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
76Nicholas EmbiricosN. EmbiricosERAA1.5S-6
78"B Bira"Prince ChulaERAB1.5S-6
80Christian KautzC. KautzMaserati4CM1.5S-4
82Hans RüeschH. RüeschMaserati4CS1.5S-6

Bira takes his first victory

by Leif Snellman
For the first Monaco voiturette race Maserati and ERA entered three cars each and among other cars a further six Maseratis and three ERAs took part in the race. Howe (ERA) held an early lead before being passed by Tenni (Maserati). A multiple crash on the third lap mixed up the field. The works ERAs suffered from ignition problems and Fairfield and Mays, both in ERAs, were disqualified for push starts. Tenni had a convincing lead over Prince Bira until he suffered brake problems and crashed. Bira took the victory followed by Lehoux and Embiricos, all three racing ERAs.
With the success of the Monaco Grand Prix the International Sporting Club of Monte Carlo decided to include a voiturette race as well for 1936. Called the Coupe de Prince Rainier it was to be run on Saturday for 50 laps, half the distance of the Grand Prix.
Originally the organizers had intended to invite just three cars from each country but they soon found it impractical.
      The ERA works team entered three cars for Raymond Mays (R4B), Marcel Lehoux (R3B) and Earl Howe (R8B), the latter semi independent car in Howe's usual dark blue colours while the two proper works cars were green. Mays' car had the new Zoller supercharger delivering 20% extra power at the top of the range but having poor output at low rpms.
      Of the other ERA drivers Patrick Fairfield (R4A), Prince Bira (R2B "Romulus") and Greece driver Nicholas Embiricos (R2A) raced as independents while Jean Trevoux (R1A) did not appear. There had been doubts whether Bira could race as he had injured his eye at the British Empire Trophy at Donington a week earlier. A stone split his goggles and sent glass into the eye. Several pieces of glass were removed at the emergency station as also at the hospital at Derby, where a doctor inserted drops of a pain killing drug that possibly might have made the eye unusable for driving for a week. Later Bira visited an eminent eye specialist in London where the eye was washed. Fortunately only the white part of the eye had been injured and Bira was able to see well again before reaching Monaco.
      Richard Seaman had bought Earl Howe's 1927 Delage for £1500 but the car was still in progress of rebuilding by Giulio Ramponi so Seaman never appeared at Monaco.
      The Maserati works team entered three cars with Gino Rovere, the new President and major financial supporter of Maserati, racing the new 6CM with torsion bar independent front suspension. Omobono Tenni and Goffredo Zehender raced the team's 4CMs. Independent 4CM drivers included Frederick McEvoy, Henri Durand, Ettore Bianco, Luigi Villoresi and Christian Kautz. Hans Rüesch raced his rebuilt red-white Maserati 4CS with Dubonnet type independent suspension and Auto Union inspired body and radiator cowling.
      British driver Alexander Cormack raced a 1496cc Alta. French driver Louis Villeneuve entered a Bugatti T51A and his fellow countryman Maurice Mestivier a 1096cc Amilcar while German driver Bobby Kohlrausch raced a little 746cc MG.
Practice took place on Thursday and Friday, 9th and 10th April, from 5.45 to 7.45 a.m. with the first hour reserved for the voiturettes and the second hour for the Grand Prix cars.
      It was raining on Thursday. Tenni was first out and already on the first lap he went wide and slammed into the sandbags, fortunately without damaging the car.
      Apart from Earl Howe, Zehender and Lehoux the circuit was unknown to the drivers. On the other hand Lehoux was unfamiliar with the ERA and lost control crashing against the sandbags. He had less luck than Tenni and the car was damaged enough so that Lehoux missed the rest of the practice as well as Friday practice.
      Not surprisingly Zehender proved to be the fastest driver on Thursday:
Zehender (Maserati)2m16s
Kautz (Maserati)2m20s
Fairfield (ERA)2m21s
Lehoux (ERA)2m22s
Mays (ERA)2m23s
Tenni (Maserati)2m23s
Bira (ERA)2m23s
Rovere (Maserati)2m26s
McEvoy (Maserati)2m27s
Embiricos (ERA)2m29s
Rüesch (Maserati)2m29s
Mestivier (Amilcar)2m37s
Villeneuve (Bugatti)2m40s
Durand (Maserati)2m44s

Kohlrausch, Earl Howe, Cormack, Villoresi and Bianco did not take part in the first practice session. After one hour of training the voiturettes cleared the field to give room for the Grand Prix cars at which time the rain started to fall heavier.

On Friday the weather conditions had improved significantly with the sun shining and the drivers were able to do a decent qualifying session for the grid positions. Earl Howe proved to be fastest with the ERA setting a time of 2m04s followed by Tenni with a time of 2m06s. Four drivers set an equal time of 2m07s and their grid positions were decided by ballot with Mays having the best luck getting a position in the first row followed by Bianco and Zehender, who broke the clutch on the works Maserati during practice, while Bira found himself back in the third row. The full results of the second practice can be seen on the grid.
Race day came with overcast and rather cold weather with a fresh breeze blowing from the sea but at least it was not raining as the voiturettes moved to the grid for the 3 p.m. start. Unfortunately the race suffered from a lack of spectators, most preferring to watch the main race on Monday instead, a decision probably many would regret.
      Rovere had originally decided not to race but changed his mind at the last minute. Kohlrausch wrecked his MG in a collision while driving on the streets on the way to the grid so there were only 18 competitors in the race.
Pole Position












L Villoresi


"B Bira"























* Kohlrausch (MG) 2m14s DNS

Charles Faroux, editor of l'Auto, was the starter and when the dropped the Monaco flag Howe made the best start to grab the lead followed by Mays and Tenni. Tenni passed Mays during the first lap so at the end of the lap the race order was Howe, Tenni, Mays, Zehender, Villoresi, Bianco, Fairfield and Bira, the top eight cars all close together.
      On the second lap the race order remained the same but Howe and Tenni started to pull away from the rest of the field. Lehoux, still trying to get familiar with the ERA, went wide several times touching the palisades in the corners but getting away with it.
      On the third lap there was an incident in the Casino Corner at the top of the hill that was quite decisive for the results, but as most reporters were located near the pits and missed it all together and with no TV cameras back then the details of the incident remain very much a mystery. Possibly Zehender or Villoresi went into a skid and then Bianco behind them spun. Anyway Fairfield crashed into Bianco bending a rear wheel on his ERA while Bira right behind Fairfield went up on the pavement and found a way past. Cormack in his Alta came successfully past as well but Lehoux and Kautz had to stop stalling their engines. Lehoux was soon push started while Fairfield lost valuable time as he was unable to communicate in French. As the push starts were needed to clear the track it was considered a "force majeure" event so no one was disqualified. However after Fairfield had changed a wheel in the pit it was noted that the starting handle had been bent right under the car in the crash. So the mechanics had to push start the car which was against the rules and Fairfield was disqualified even if he continued racing unaware of the rule.
      The race order after three laps was Howe, Tenni, Mays, Bira, Villoresi and Embiricos. On the fourth lap Tenni passed Howe for the lead. At the end of the lap Mays had to stop to change spark plugs. Due to carburetion problems the ERA refused to start with the handle and after having tried everything the mechanics in desperation push started the car so Mays found himself in the same situation as Fairfield. On the same lap Zehender retired his Maserati to the pits due to a broken accelerator.
      After 5 laps Tenni was leading Howe by 8 seconds with Bira a further 9.3 seconds behind:
1.Tenni (Maserati)10m52.2s
2.Howe (ERA)11m00.2s
3.Bira (ERA)11m09.5s
4.Villoresi (Maserati)11m16.9s
5.Embiricos (ERA)11m47.9s
6.Rüesch (Maserati)11m58.9s
7.Durand (Maserati)11m59.8s
8.Cormack (Alta)12m14.2s
9.McEvoy (Maserati)12m18.0s
10.Rovere (Maserati)12m21.7s
11.Mestivier (Amilcar)12m33.2s
12.Bianco (Maserati)12m35.5s
13.Villeneuve (Bugatti)12m43.1s
14.Lehoux (ERA)12m50.0s
15.Fairfield (ERA)14m32.4s
16.Kautz (Maserati)14m44.4s

After 6 laps Howe had to make a 2 ½ minute stop to change spark plugs, handling over second position to Bira. However, Tenni in the lead was in his own class every lap opening up the gap further. Villoresi was also going strongly and passed Bira for second position. Greece driver Embiricos held on to fourth position, but Rüesch had to see Durand pass him for fifth. Further down Lehoux had come to grips with the ERA and had advanced from 14th to 8th.
      After 10 laps Tenni was leading by 25 s over Villoresi with Bira just 1.3s further behind in third position:
1.Tenni (Maserati)21m49.3s
2.Villoresi (Maserati)22m14.7s
3.Bira (ERA)22m16.0s
4.Embiricos (ERA)23m12.4s
5.Durand (Maserati)23m44.5s
6.Rüesch (Maserati)23m47.8s
7.Rovere (Maserati)23m52.2s
8.Lehoux (ERA)24m12.1s
9.McEvoy (Maserati)24m12.9s
10.Cormack (Alta)24m18.3s
11.Villeneuve (Bugatti)25m22.6s
12.Howe (ERA)25m31.1s
13.Fairfield (ERA)25m59.5s
14.Bianco (Maserati)26m06.8s
15.Kautz (Maserati)26m10.6s
16.Mays (ERA)30m21.5s

On the 11th lap Villoresi had to stop to change the spark plugs giving over second position to Bira. He then had to stop once more losing four minutes in total.
      Lehoux continued making up for lost time and passed Rovere as well as Rüesch, who obviously was having trouble as he was soon afterwards passed by Rovere as well. Meanwhile the sun had appeared over the race where Tenni in the lead continued at a furious pace.
      The Monaco circuit took it usual tolls. Mestivier had to stop his Amilcar to change a wheel. The radiator was boiling releasing most of its water and Mestivier gave up soon afterwards. Villeneuve's Bugatti was overheating too. Bianco retired his Maserati due to failed oil pressure. Durand in fifth position stopped for fifteen seconds at his pit and then returned for one more lap before retiring with a broken gear lever.
      After 20 laps Tenni held a 41.3 seconds lead over Bira who had been speeding up, holding an equal pace as the leader:
1.Tenni (Maserati)44m04.0s
2.Bira (ERA)44m45.3s
3.Embiricos (ERA)46m01.2s
4.Lehoux (ERA)46m50.1s
5.Rovere (Maserati)46m59.7s
6.Rüesch (Maserati)47m09.8s
7.Cormack (Alta)47m59.1s
8.Howe (ERA)48m09.8s
9.Fairfield (ERA)48m41.5s
10.Kautz (Maserati)48m49.8s
11.McEvoy (Maserati)49m09.0s
12.Villeneuve (Bugatti)

The race order stayed more or less the same to the middle of the race. Villeneuve retired because of a broken oil pipe. Rovere now showed what the new 6-cylinder Maserati was able to do and passed both Lehoux and Embiricos setting the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2m08s. Howe was trying hard to make up for lost time but the engine of his ERA was suffering from misfire. Cormack retired his Alta due to a broken connecting rod or crankshaft.
      After 30 laps Tenni, who started to suffer from brake problems, was leading Bira by 42.8s with Rovere third a further 38.8s behind:
1.Tenni (Maserati)1h06m14.0s
2.Bira (ERA)1h06m56.8s
3.Rovere (Maserati)1h07m35.6s
4.Embiricos (ERA)1h08m32.1s
5.Lehoux (ERA)1h09m05.2s
6.Rüesch (Maserati)1h09m59.9s
7.Howe (ERA)1h10m34.4s
8.Fairfield (ERA)1h10m53.8s
9.Kautz (Maserati)1h10m54.2s
10.McEvoy (Maserati)1h12m01.1s

Rovere stopped and handed over the car to Zehender. Bira started to close in and Tenni got a signal to speed up. However, around lap 34 with fading brakes he overdid it and spun in the Gasometre, crashing into the sandbags. Bira passed for the lead while Tenni had to retire the Maserati a few laps later driving slowly to the pit with a damaged steering
      Earl Howe had to make another pit stop to change plugs dropping to 9th behind Fairfield and Kautz. Lehoux was up to speed again and passed first Zehender and then Embiricos for second position. The race order after 40 laps looked like this:
1.Bira (ERA)1h28m49.2s
2.Lehoux (ERA)1h30m57.0s
3.Embiricos (ERA)1h31m02.4s
4.Zehender (Maserati)1h31m30.0s
5.Rüesch (Maserati)1h32m32.4s
6.Fairfield (ERA)1h32m45.0s
7.Kautz (Maserati)1h32m55.2s
8.McEvoy (Maserati)1h34m37.6s
9.Howe (ERA)1h35m03.9s
10.Villoresi (Maserati)1h40m14.2s

The scoreboard had continued to give odd results throughout the race and the French spectators went wild seeing Lehoux racing just in front of Bira. In fact Bira was almost a lap in front of Lehoux and cruising towards the finish.
      On the 43th lap Zehender's Maserati blew a piston and he stopped at the foot of the ramp of Sainte-Devote after having left a long trail of oil on the street. Rüesch spun on the oil but was able to continue while McEvoy was less lucky and crashed into a wall stalling the engine and damaging the fuel tank. Soon afterwards Rüesch retired as well.
      With all three Maserati works cars retired the Maserati team started to cheer for Bira in his fight against the ERA works car and supplied lap time information to Bira's team.
      Bira took the chequered flag to take the first victory of his career, winning possibly the most prestigious voiturette race of the year only 392 days after making his race debut in a Riley Imp at Brooklands. Lehoux finished second as the only other driver to do all 50 laps while Embiricos was third a lap down. After finishing the race Fairfield and Mays were told they had been disqualified for being push started so Kautz was listed as fourth in the results followed by Howe and Villoresi.
      The cup was handed to Prince Bira by Prince Rainier's sister Princess Antoinette. (Prince Rainier himself was 12 years old back then and was staying at a preparatory school in England.)

While the decision to drive up on the pavement had been the key to the victory Bira had made an excellent effort and his ERA was well prepared and unlike the works ERA suffered no ignition problems during the race.



1.78"B Bira"Prince ChulaERAB1.5501h51m51.3s 
2.58Marcel LehouxEnglish Racing Automobiles Ltd.ERAB1.5S-6501h53m56.3s+ 2m05.0s
3.76Nicholas EmbiricosN. EmbiricosERAA1.5S-6491h52m13.9s 
DSQ60Patrick FairfieldP. FairfieldERAA1.5S-649disqualified, push start
4.80Christian KautzC. KautzMaserati4CM1.5S-4491h53m32.8s 
5.56Earl HoweEnglish Racing Automobiles Ltd.ERAB1.5S-6481h53m25.9s 
6.74Luigi VilloresiL. VilloresiMaserati4CM1.5S-4461h52m04.0s 
DSQ54Raymond MaysEnglish Racing Automobiles Ltd.ERAB1.5S-646disqualified, push start
DNF82Hans RüeschH. RüeschMaserati4CS1.5S-643crash damage 
DNF44Frederick McEvoyF. McEvoyMaserati4CM1.5S-443crash 
DNF66G Rovere/G ZehenderOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-643piston 
DNF68Omobono TenniOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CM1.5S-436steering 
DNF64Alexander CormackA. CormackAlta52S1.5S-435?crankhaft 
DNF46Louis VilleneuveL. VilleneuveBugattiT51A1.5S-825mechanical 
DNF48Henri DurandH. DurandMaserati4CM1.5S-417mechanical 
DNF50Maurice MestivierM. MestivierAmilcarMC01.316engine 
DNF72Ettore BiancoE. BiancoMaserati4CM1.5S-416oil pressure 
DNF70Goffredo ZehenderOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CM1.5S-44accelerator 
Fastest lap: Gino Rovere (Maserati) in 2m08s = 89.4 km/h (55.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 85.3 km/h (53.0 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 92.3 km/h (57.4 mph)
Weather: Overcast, rather cold.

Primary sources researched for this article:
L'Auto, Paris
IL Littoriale, Bologna
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Motor Sport, London
Prince Chula Road Racing 1936
John Lloyd The Story of E.R.A.



Circuit de Monaco (MC), 13 April 1936 (Monday)
100 laps x 3.180 km (1.976 mi) = 318.0 km (19.6 mi)


2Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
3Ernst von DeliusAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16DNS - reserve, crash in practice
4Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
6Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
8Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW25K4.7S-8
9T-carDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW254.3S-8DNS, T-car
10Louis ChironDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW25K4.7S-8
12Luigi FagioliDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW254.3S-8
14Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW254.3S-8
16Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8
16TJean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT59/505.0S-8DNS - T-car
18"Williams"Automobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8
20Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaseratiV8 RI4.8V-8
22Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8
24Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
26Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
28Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
30Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
32Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia TorinoMaseratiV8 RI4.8V-8
34László HartmannL. HartmannMaseratiV8 RI4.8S-8DNA - did not appear
36Eugenio SienaScuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-6
38Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-6
40Giulio AyminiC. F. TrossiMonaco-Trossi4.016*DNA - car not ready

Regenmeister Caracciola wins the wet Monaco Grand Prix

by Hans Etzrodt
The entire race was held under almost steady rain showers on a very wet circuit. As a result, the winner's average speed of only 83.2 km/h was less than the 84.8 km/h of the first race in 1929. On the first lap, Tadini (Alfa Romeo) scattered oil around the entire circuit, causing a multiple pile-up at the chicane, affecting five drivers. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) passed the leader Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) on lap ten, to lead by a few seconds. Both were mastering the wet circuit, and were followed with a gap of 40 seconds by the third placed Varzi (Auto Union) after 10 laps and 68 seconds after 20 laps. When the rain increased again on lap 28, Caracciola passed Nuvolari and built a 15 second lead within 3 laps, 53 seconds by lap 40, and 81 seconds by lap 50. Caracciola never stopped while everyone else stopped at least once. Varzi finished second with his teammate Stuck third, followed by Nuvolari and Brivio with Farina co-driving the Alfa Romeo. Wimille (Bugatti) finished sixth, leading Sommer (Alfa Romeo), Ghersi (Maserati) and Williams (Bugatti). Chiron, Farina, Brivio and von Brauchitsch retired at the second lap chicane crash site while Fagioli spun and stalled on lap 9 when a chicane course worker accidentally threw sand in his face. Rosemeyer who had held third place on lap two, crashed his Auto Union on lap 13 but was unhurt and neither were any of the other drivers.
The Monaco Grand Prix was held on Easter Monday, April 13 for the eighth time. As usual, the race was over 100 laps of the 3.18 km circuit, a total of 318 km. It was the first big race of the year which counted towards the European Championship and the entry was the best that Monaco had ever seen, although limited to 20 cars. For the first time a race for small cars up to 1500 cc was held on the Saturday before the main event, racing for the Coupe du Prince Rainier, over 50 laps, a total of 159 km. Unlike the previous seven races, since its existence, the Grand Prix de Monaco was held in pouring rain. The flooded track made driving on this already difficult circuit more demanding. The wet weather in fact favored the slower cars so that the suspense before the race grew immensely.
Daimler-Benz arrived with five cars. The 1935 European Champion Rudolf Caracciola and Louis Chiron had been assigned the latest clean looking, short wheelbase 1936 Mercedes-Benz W25K. These cars were lower and shorter than the 1935 cars, with the exhaust pipe down at ground level below the rear axle and fitted with new 4.74-liter ME25 engines, delivering 453 hp. Luigi Fagioli and Manfred von Brauchitsch both drove earlier interim long wheelbase 1935 W25 models with high placed exhaust pipe and 4.31-liter M25C engines of 402 hp. The new Mercedes reserve driver, Hermann Lang practiced with an interim 1936 Mercedes-Benz W25 training car.
      Auto Union entered the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time arriving with four cars for Hans Stuck, Achille Varzi, Bernd Rosemeyer and a training car for reserve driver, Ernst von Delius. The 16-cylinder engines had been further enlarged for 1936 from 5-liter to a 6-liter capacity, now producing 520 hp at 5000 rpm.
      Scuderia Ferrari appeared with four 8C-35 Alfa Romeo's with 3.8-liter 330 hp engines, which had been introduced at the previous year's Italian Grand Prix, for Tazio Nuvolari (1932 winner), Antonio Brivio, Giuseppe Farina and Mario Tadini his first time here. Carlo Pintacuda acted as the reserve driver. Raymond Sommer also drove an Alfa Romeo but his own old 3.2-liter Type B, which was an independent entry.
      During practice a monoposto Bugatti showed up for the first time, a long tail T59 GP car with streamlined radiator cowling, an oil cooler below and a new Type 50B, 4.7-liter 370 hp engine. Jean-Pierre Wimille preferred the proven older 3.3-liter 240 hp T59 Bugatti for the race and "Williams", the 1929 winner, drove a similar car.
      Count Felice Trossi's front-wheel-drive Trossi Special failed to make its promised appearance, as the car was not yet ready. The car was fitted with a 4.0-liter Zoller-twin-supercharged radial 16-cylinder two-stroke air-cooled engine, producing 250 hp at 6,000 rpm. Trossi, had resigned from the Scuderia Ferrari, and now drove a Maserati V8 RI, which had been destined for Laszlo Hartmann who did not appear. Trossi was entered by Scuderia Torino together with Pietro Ghersi and Eugenio Siena who drove the older 6C-34 Maseratis with 3.7-liter 270 hp engines. Philippe Etancelin, winner at Pau six weeks earlier arrived with the latest Maserati V8 RI model with a 4.8-liter 320 hp engine.
Thursday, the first practice day, began at 5:45 AM until 7:45 AM with the first hour limited to the 1500 cc cars, which were introduced for the first time this year. Nobody in Monte Carlo needed an alarm clock this morning. Heavy rain showers slowed the cars down and Zehender with the Maserati set the fastest time in 2m16s.
      At 6:45 AM the Grand Prix cars entered the circuit at which time the rain started to fall heavier. Stuck and Rosemeyer were fastest in the Auto Unions and completed laps in 2m09s equivalent to 88.744 km/h. They were followed by Caracciola and Chiron in the new low Mercedes-Benz cars doing laps in 2m10s, a time also achieved by Farina in the Alfa Romeo. Varzi, Brauchitsch, Trossi and Brivio lapped in 2m13s. The other drivers were even slower. Wimille and Williams arrived late with their Bugatti racecars and only did a few laps. Wimille's best time was 2m17s and Williams 2m28s. Siena and Ghersi were present but their Maseratis had so far not arrived. Nuvolari was not yet present due to his son Giorgio being sick. The first withdrawals were announced. Hartmann did not appear and Trossi's radial-engined car, which was due to be driven by Aymini, was not going to start because of a broken supercharger.
      After Thursday morning's practice, Stuck, Wimille and Sommer had driven to nearby Nice to contest the 6.3 km Turbie Hill climb. Stuck with the Auto Union Training car won in 3m39.8s, ahead of Wimille (Bugatti) in 3m43.4s and Sommer (Alfa Romeo) in 3m53.2s. Here are Thursday's Monaco practice times and the number of laps driven:
Stuck (Auto Union)2m09s - 17 laps
Rosemeyer (Auto Union)2m09s - 20
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2m10s - 19
Chiron (Mercedes-Benz)2m10s - 19
Farina (Alfa Romeo)2m10s - 18
Varzi (Auto Union)2m12s - 19
Brivio (Alfa Romeo)2m13s - 14
Trossi (Maserati)2m13s - 12
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)2m13s - 19
Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)2m17s - 13
Wimille (Bugatti)2m17s - 5
Sommer (Alfa Romeo)2m18s - 13
Tadini (Alfa Romeo)2m22s - 12
Etancelin (Maserati)2m23s - 13
Williams (Bugatti)2m28s - 8

Friday practice again began at 5:45 AM until 7:45 AM but this time with a cloudless sky and a bone-dry race course. The small cars started first and the fastest driver was Earl Howe in an ERA in 2m04s, equal to 92 km/h average speed.
      After the first hour the Grand Prix cars took to the track. There was a busy time with practically all the drivers practicing, putting in some good times on a dry course. The fastest laps were produced by Caracciola and Farina in 1m56s, which was faster than the existing lap record of Fagioli in 1m58.4s. Altogether there were seven drivers who beat Fagioli's old record. Etancelin encountered fuel supply problems with his new Maserati, in which he had won at Pau and was only able to fix his car after practice. Pintacuda, the assigned Scuderia Ferrari reserve driver, also drove a few laps. Friday's best practice times and the number of laps driven were as follows:
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1m56s - 17 laps
Farina (Alfa Romeo)1m56s - 17
Varzi (Auto Union)1m57s - 20
Stuck (Auto Union)1m57s - 9
Chiron (Mercedes-Benz)1m57s - 17
Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1m58s - 13
Brivio (Alfa Romeo)1m58s - 13
Trossi (Maserati)1m59s - 10
Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)1m59s - 14
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)2m00s - 19
Tadini (Alfa Romeo)2m00s - 18
Wimille (Bugatti)2m02s - 11
Williams (Bugatti)2m05s - 22
Pintacuda (Alfa Romeo)2m05s - 4
Etancelin (Maserati)2m14s - 5

Saturday practice for the Grand Prix cars took place from 1:30 to 2:30 PM, prior to the race for 1.5-liter cars later in the afternoon. During the beautiful but windy weather with blue skies all the top drivers improved their times once again. Stuck was the fastest Auto Union driver with 1m54.3s. Caracciola improved upon that with a time of 1m54s. Nuvolari, who was troubled by the condition of his very sick 17-year old son Giorgio, practiced for the first time and placed his Alfa on the first row of the grid with 1m53.7s. Next Chiron in the second Mercedes-Benz improved that with a time of 1m53.2s, at an average of 101.131 km/h. The new Mercedes reserve driver Hermann Lang had also done some good practice times in the interim 1936 Mercedes-Benz W25 training car. The Auto Union reserve driver Ernst von Delius practiced on Saturday and hit the sand bags at the exit of the chicane at the Quai de Plaisance. His Auto Union turned over and landed on its back. Delius received light head injuries and was taken by motor boat to a waiting ambulance at another harbor pier, then driven to hospital. Nuvolari, who had been following the German very closely, could not avoid Delius way and ran into the Auto Union, breaking the starting handle of the Alfa Romeo. The best practice times of Saturday were:
Chiron (Mercedes-Benz)1m53.2s
Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1m53.7s
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1m54.0s
Stuck (Auto Union)1m54.3s
Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1m55.2s
Varzi (Auto Union)1m56.1s
Wimille (Bugatti)1m56.6s
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)1m56.7s
Farina (Alfa Romeo)1m57.0s
Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)1m57.4s
Tadini (Alfa Romeo)2m00.2s
Brivio (Alfa Romeo)2m02.2s
Sommer (Alfa Romeo)2m03.3s
Etancelin (Maserati)2m04.0s
Trossi (Maserati)2m04.1s
Williams (Bugatti)2m08.4s
Ghersi (Maserati)2m08.7s
Siena (Maserati)2m11.2s

Easter Sunday was rest day with a bright blue sky, but on Easter Monday, shortly after 1:00 PM the starting grid was formed in pouring rain. Chiron, in his first race for Mercedes, had made the fastest practice time in 1m53.2s and qualified on pole. With all 18 cars on the grid, a mechanic noticed that Brivio's Alfa Romeo was leaking a lot of oil, so in a big rush the driver was transferred to Tadini's Alfa, No. 28, while the unfortunate Tadini was forced into Brivio's stricken car, No. 26. This change is reflected in this final lineup below.
Pole Position



Alfa Romeo




Auto Union


Auto Union




Auto Union


Alfa Romeo






Alfa Romeo




Alfa Romeo




Alfa Romeo







* Swapped cars

The clouds were still low but the rain had momentarily stopped at the fall of the flag at 1:30 p.m. Caracciola had the best start and pulled slightly ahead of the red Alfa but a few seconds later Nuvolari caught up with the Mercedes by late braking for the apex of the first corner and edged into the lead ahead of Caracciola, followed by Chiron and Stuck already 15 to 20 meters behind, as they went up the hill to the Casino. The Auto Unions of Stuck and Rosemeyer in the second row were joined by Varzi's hard accelerating Auto Union from row three. At the very wet level sections, where the water did not drain off as quickly, the cars trailed large fountains of water on a soaking wet circuit, making visibility difficult for the drivers. The last car to leave the starting grid was Tadini in Brivio's Alfa Romeo, leaving a trail of oil all around the circuit. When he slowed at the entrance to the Chicane his car lost even more oil, which proved to be the undoing of several drivers that were to follow. The stricken Alfa of Tadini eventually stopped in the pits at the end of its first lap and retired.
      The question of why the Scuderia Ferrari carried out the Brivio/Tadini driver exchange at the last moment in full awareness of a serious leak before the start had not been answered. The start of this Alfa Romeo seemed irresponsible towards all other drivers because not only did this car cause a mass crash but it could also have caused serious or even fatal injuries. A decision on this issue had never been disclosed by the international racing court of justice. AAZ reported that Tadini was told to do one slow lap in order not to lose the starting money. By spilling his oil, this lap cost the race of five other drivers and Daimler-Benz alone lost three of their cars.
      After the exciting start, Nuvolari was not the first who arrived at the harbor but the loud screaming silver Mercedes of Caracciola who was first to exit the tunnel during the first lap, very closely followed by the red Alfa of Nuvolari. Both had already pulled away from the rest at an incredibly exciting pace and accelerated up the hill to the Casino, Nuvolari just two or three meters behind. Next arrived the field led by Chiron and Rosemeyer with a gap to Varzi, Fagioli, Stuck, Farina, Brivio, Brauchitsch, and the rest.
      On their second lap, Caracciola and Nuvolari both lapped the crawling, oil-losing Alfa of Tadini before he lost more oil at the entrance to the chicane at the Quai de Plaisance. The wet road glistened in the rain and the following drivers could not differentiate between the shiny oil and the reflecting pools of water. When Chiron arrived, he hit the slippery oil before the chicane and slid straight through the barrier into the sandbags with very minor damage to the front of his car. Rosemeyer who followed very close behind the Mercedes went through without a problem, as did Varzi, Fagioli and Stuck. But the next car, Farina's Alfa, crashed head-on into the barrier next to Chiron's stranded car and then Brivio in Tadini's car drove into the right of the barrier, but re-joined the race later on. Brauchitsch, who arrived next, buried his Mercedes' nose in the tail of Farina's Alfa with the chicane now almost blocked. Trossi in the Maserati came to a stop in the middle of the broken down barrier without damaging his car, lost time and re-joined the race. On the next lap Rosemeyer had a dangerous looking spin exiting the chicane but hit nothing. Finally, Siena's Maserati arrived at the chicane where he stopped and retired his car. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. Chiron's Mercedes was actually drivable but could not be restarted.
      Caracciola had pulled away from Nuvolari, Rosemeyer, Varzi, Stuck and Fagioli. In the following laps, Nuvolari came ever closer to Caracciola until they battled for first place to the excitement of the many Italians present whose only hope was their daring Nuvolari. It was obvious that the Italian made up ground with his rapid passes through the semi-blocked chicane, which was busy with circuit workers while Caracciola passed this area more cautiously. During this exciting melee it took the course workers some laps to remove the damaged cars, while others were trying to remove the oil puddle with gasoline to dissolve the oil, also scattering and spreading sand.
      On lap six, Rosemeyer stopped at his pit because the engine ran too high on deceleration. His mechanic, Ludwig Sebastian, made a carburetor adjustment but the stop had taken 40 seconds and elevated Varzi into third position followed by Stuck. In the following laps, Rosemeyer made up a lot of time attempting to catch the leaders. Fagioli, who had made a good start from tenth place and worked himself up to sixth position, received 'speed up' signals from team manager Neubauer. The Italian then made up ground on the Auto Unions but on lap nine, Fagioli skidded into the wall at the chicane's exit and retired the third Mercedes. It was not entirely his fault. As he had passed the clean-up activity at the Chicane, an inattentive course worker who was sprinkling the oil spill with sand, accidentally threw a handful in Fagioli's face causing the Italian to lose control, spin and stall the car.
      During the tenth lap, Nuvolari caught up with Caracciola going up the hill towards the Casino. The Italian was anxious to get out of the German's spray, and the next time they passed the grandstand, the excitement of the crowd was indescribable because Nuvolari was in the lead with Caracciola right behind him causing great jubilation amongst the many Italians; "Il passato!" filled the air. After the retirements of Tadini, Chiron, Farina, von Brauchitsch, Siena and Fagioli, the field was severely reduced to 12 cars on lap 10 when the order was as follows:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)25m04.8s
2.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)25m06.3s
3.Varzi (Auto Union)25m45.2s
4.Stuck (Auto Union)
5.Rosemeyer (Auto Union)
6.Wimille (Bugatti)
7.Brivio (Alfa Romeo)
8.Trossi (Maserati)
9.Sommer (Alfa Romeo)
10.Ghersi (Maserati)
11.Etancelin (Maserati)
12.Williams (Bugatti)

On lap 12, Brivio stopped his Alfa Romeo, which actually was Tadini's number 28, for his teammate Farina to take over. On lap 13, while trying to catch up with the leaders going up the hill, Rosemeyer skidded sideways in the Massenet turn before the Casino gardens, jumped the curb and the Auto Union slid backwards into the stone balustrade where the car's tail punched a hole through but stopped before plunging down the cliff. Rosemeyer picked up a vase-shaped stone baluster broken off by his car and returned to the pits, grinning with this latest trophy.
      The order on lap 14 was: Nuvolari, Caracciola, Varzi, Stuck and Wimille followed by the already lapped cars of Trossi, Farina/Brivio, Sommer, Etancelin and the others. The next laps were a demonstration by two Giants doing battle. Nuvolari in the lead, sliding through the corners, his head down and elbows out, closely followed by the German who could not keep up any longer and let Nuvolari pull away, by about one second per lap. The German's cornering technique was to go into the corner very fast but to accelerate later because even that way he slid dangerously through the corner. Nuvolari took the corners in a narrower angle than their curvature suggested, thus visualizing the path of the sliding car. It was interesting to see that Farina took the corners in the same style.
      Nuvolari was evidently in his element as he pulled away and by lap 18, he led Caracciola by a few seconds while the gap to Varzi's Auto Union in third place was over one minute with Stuck close behind. Nuvolari was the first driver to get down to a lap of 2m20s. Both Auto Unions were relatively slow through the turns and started to accelerate only after the car had straightened itself after the corner. They displayed a restrained cornering technique, the cause being most likely the heavy rear part of the car. The Varzi and Stuck duo of Auto Unions turned their laps regularly like Siamese twins. At the end of 20 laps Nuvolari led at 77.957 km/h average speed with the field in the following order:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)48m57.0s
2.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)49m01.2s
3.Varzi (Auto Union)50m09.2s
4.Stuck (Auto Union)50m12.0s
5.Wimille (Bugatti)51m10.2s
6.Trossi (Maserati)51m49.9s- 1 lap
7.Farina/Brivio (Alfa Romeo)52m08.6s- 1 lap
8.Sommer (Alfa Romeo)52m30.5s- 1 lap
9.Ghersi (Maserati)54m16.7s- 2 laps
10.Williams (Bugatti)
11.Etancelin (Maserati)

After 20 laps Nuvolari's lead to Caracciola shrunk to just three seconds on lap 25. Nuvolari battled desperately, but unrelentingly Caracciola drew closer. When the slight rain changed into a downpour on lap 27, the German passed Nuvolari at the Gasometer hairpin after he had just established a new fastest lap of 2m19s. Caracciola now put the hammer down, determined to pull away and put some distance between himself and Nuvolari under the worst conditions. Each lap he drove faster as he became more familiar with the difficult sections of the slippery circuit. During some laps, it was clearly visible in one corner how Caracciola started to accelerate always a few yards earlier and that way increased his advantage. A few laps later Stuck, who had been behind Varzi for all those laps, passed him and pulled away. Farina gained steadily and by lap 30 was in sixth place behind Wimille's Bugatti. While Trossi retired his Maserati on lap 29 with a broken distributor drive, Etancelin was struggling in eighth place. After 30 laps Caracciola led at 78.997 km/h average speed with the field in the order below.
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h12m27.5s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h12m42.7s
3.Varzi (Auto Union)1h14m09.3s
4.Stuck (Auto Union)1h14m13.8s
5.Wimille (Bugatti)1h15m47.1s- 1 lap
6.Farina/Brivio (Alfa Romeo)1h16m42.1s- 1 lap
7.Sommer (Alfa Romeo)1h17m42.6s- 1 lap
8.Etancelin (Maserati)- 2 laps
9.Williams (Bugatti)- 2 laps
10.Ghersi (Maserati)- 2 laps

On lap 37, Etancelin hit a curb and bent a wheel, simultaneously splitting his fuel tank. In no time he ran out of fuel after his Maserati had lost most of it and then he stopped at the pits to retire. The field was now reduced by half prior to mid-race. At the end of 40 laps Caracciola led at an average speed of 79.666 km/h with the field in this order:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h35m48.0s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h36m40.8s
3.Stuck (Auto Union)1h37m46.1s
4.Varzi (Auto Union)1h37m55.6s
5.Wimille (Bugatti)1h40m07.0s- 1 lap
6.Farina/Brivio (Alfa Romeo)1h41m25.0s- 1 lap
7.Sommer (Alfa Romeo)- 1 lap
8.Ghersi (Maserati)- 4 laps
9.Williams (Bugatti)- 4 laps

By now, the circuit had been washed clean by the unrelenting rain and the road had lost its slipperiness of the beginning so that lap speeds came down. Caracciola lowered the fastest lap to 2m16s at 84.176 km/h average speed, which was equaled by Stuck. The gap between Nuvolari in second place and Stuck diminished continuously. Varzi drove a few record laps to catch Stuck, a fast one in 2m15s and then one in 2m14.4s at 85.178 km/h. Despite Varzi's record laps, he only made up 3 seconds on Stuck between laps 40 and 50. By half distance, Caracciola led at an average speed of 80.494 km/h. He was over half a lap ahead of Nuvolari by 1m21.5s, Stuck by 2m01.8s, followed by Varzi and the rest in the following order after 50 laps:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h58m31.1s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h59m52.6s
3.Stuck (Auto Union)2h00m32.9s
4.Varzi (Auto Union)2h00m38.3s
5.Wimille (Bugatti)2h03m47.6s- 1 lap
6.Farina/Brivio (Alfa Romeo)- 2 laps
7.Sommer (Alfa Romeo)- 2 laps
8.Ghersi (Maserati)- 5 laps
9.Williams (Bugatti)- 6 laps

The two Auto Unions were now under pressure from the approaching Caracciola who was just 100 meters behind, yet a pass by the Mercedes did not happen. Both, Stuck and Varzi raised their pace and on lap 56 Stuck had caught up with Nuvolari. Stuck eliminated a deficit of 40 seconds in only 6 laps. On the following lap Stuck passed the red Alfa, who in turn stopped on lap 58 for 15 seconds to refuel because his car had become too light at the back. By the time Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo rejoined the battle, Varzi had advanced to third place and Nuvolari was put down one lap by Caracciola. Varzi, who had been fairly close to Stuck throughout the race, was now 15 seconds behind. At the end of 60 laps the German led at 81.127 km/h average speed. Only he, Stuck and Varzi were on the same lap, all others had fallen behind in this order:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2h21m06.7s
2.Stuck (Auto Union)2h22m48.2s
3.Varzi (Auto Union)2h23m03.5s
4.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2h23m52.0s- 1 lap
5.Wimille (Bugatti)- 1 lap
6.Farina/Brivio (Alfa Romeo)- 2 laps
7.Sommer (Alfa Romeo)
8.Ghersi (Maserati)
9.Williams (Bugatti)

During the last third of the race, lap speeds came down again because Stuck had raised his pace and actually drove slightly faster than the leader Caracciola. In the course of six laps, Stuck improved the so far best time on no less than on three occasions. Then Varzi also increased his pace and in brief intervals drove two new fastest laps. With a lead of well over a minute, Caracciola had no need to drive at the limit and presumably Neubauer kept him informed of the gap to Stuck. At the end of 70 laps Caracciola led at 81.773 km/h average speed when the order of the field was:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2h43m19.8s
2.Stuck (Auto Union)2h44m56.6s
3.Varzi (Auto Union)unknown
4.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2h46m33.2s- 1 lap
5.Wimille (Bugatti)2h49m36.5s- 2 laps
6.Farina/Brivio (Alfa Romeo)2h51m01.0s- 3 laps
7.Sommer (Alfa Romeo)
8.Ghersi (Maserati)
9.Williams (Bugatti)

When Stuck began to slow down for fear that his fuel would not last the distance, Varzi drove faster, gaining about two seconds per lap and drove a new fastest lap of 2m10s on lap 76. During one lap, Varzi was sideways from the tunnel exit to near the chicane, straightening the car with the accelerator. At the end of 80 laps Caracciola led at 82.475 km/h average speed:
1.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)3h05m04.5s
2.Stuck (Auto Union)3h06m39.2s
3.Varzi (Auto Union)3h06m43.5s
4.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)3h08m20s- 1 lap
5.Wimille (Bugatti)3h12m21s- 3 laps
6.Farina/Brivio (Alfa Romeo)3h13m04.5s- 3 laps
7.Sommer (Alfa Romeo)- ? laps
8.Ghersi (Maserati) - 8 laps
9.Williams (Bugatti)- 11 laps

On lap 83, Varzi overtook Stuck in one corner. But before that, Varzi had repeatedly, for several laps, been given signs by his pit crew to stop for fuel, which he ignored. Varzi's failure to obey his pit signals did not get team approval and the following day he was to be lectured by Dr. Karl Feuereisen, team manager of Auto Union. It was not quite clear why Varzi had passed Stuck who stopped on lap 83 for an 18 second spurt of fuel when he was put a lap down by Caracciola. After his pit stop, Stuck went much faster trying to catch up with Varzi. Some laps later Varzi also pulled into the pits to take on fuel but he remained in second place. In his chase after Varzi, Stuck established the fastest lap of the race on lap 98 in 2m07.4s at 89.859 km/h. Near the end, Caracciola slowed down before he took the flag after 3m49m20.4s at 83.195 km/h average speed. He received tremendous applause at the finish, demonstrating again that he was the 'Regenmeister' rain-master in his non-stop race. His advantage over Varzi at the finish was 1m49.1s, almost a complete lap while Stuck finished one second behind but was a lap down, unable to unlap himself. As long as Nuvolari's car had been heavy with fuel, he had shown his mastery in the rain, equal to or better than Caracciola, but as his fuel tank emptied and the rear end lightened, handling and traction were not as good as at the beginning on the slippery course. Wimille had lost fifth place when he had to stop at his pits to have his brakes adjusted.



1.8Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW25K4.7S-81003h49m20.4s
2.4Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-161003h51m09.5s+ 1m48.9s
3.2Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16993h49m21.2s
4.24Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8993h49m54.6s
5.28*A. Brivio / G. FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8973h49m56.9s
6.16Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8973h51m14.9s
7.22Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8943h51m17.4s
8.38Pietro GhersiScuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-6873h50m06.8s
9.18"Williams"Automobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8843h50m46.8s
DNF20Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaseratiV8 RI4.8V-836split fuel tank
DNF32Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia TorinoMaseratiV8 RI4.8V-828distributor drive
DNF6Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-1612crash
DNF12Luigi FagioliDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW254.3S-88crash
DNF36Eugenio SienaScuderia TorinoMaserati6C-343.7S-61mechanical
DNF14Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW254.3S-81crash
DNF30Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-81crash
DNF10Louis ChironDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW25K4.7S-81crash
DNF26*Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8-oil leak
Note: * = #28 was Tadini's car driven by Brivio, later also by Farina and #26 was Brivio's car driven by Tadini.

Fastest lap: Hans Stuck (Auto Union) on lap 98 in 2m07.4s = 89.9 km/h (55.8 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 83.2 km/h (51.7 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 101.1 km/h (62.8 mph)
Weather: Itermittent rain showers.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
AZ-Motorwelt, Brno
La Stampa, Torino
L'Éclaireur de Nice
Le Petit Niçois, Nice
MOTOR, Berlin
Motor Post, Berlin
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Special thanks to:
Robert Dick
Wolfgang Thierack

Star 13/18 April 1936: Due to rain the B.A.R.C. Easter Meeting at Brooklands was moved from 13th to 18th April. Handicap races were won by Mr & Mrs G. Briggs (Riley 1.1 litre), E. Pacey (Pacey-Hassan 4.5 litre), W. Couper (Talbot 3.4 litre), V. Derrington (Salmson 1.1 litre), Hector Dobbs (Riley 2.0 litre), J. Smith (M.G. 1.1 litre) & Denis Scribbans (E.R.A. 1.5 litre).
Star 2 May 1936: "B Bira" (ERA 1.5L) wins the JCC International Trophy handicap race at Brooklands, England.


© 2019 Leif Snellman, Felix Muelas - Last updated: 09.08.2019