Carlo Felice Trossi (Maserati)
30 Carlo Felice Trossi
Officine A Maserati
Maserati 6CM
B. Bira (ERA)
18 B. Bira
B. Bira
Eugen Bjřrnstad (ERA)
50 Eugen Bjřrnstad
E. Bjørnstad

(Voiturette 1500cc)

Posillipo - Napoli (I), 25 April 1937
30 laps x 4.1 km (2.55 mi) = 123 km ( 76.4 mi)


2Georges FilippinettiEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CS1.5S-6
4Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6
6Pino BaruffiGruppo VoltaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
8Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
10Mario ColiniScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-4
12Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
14Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
16Ciro BasadonnaEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
18"B Bira""B Bira"ERAB1.5S-6
20Luciano UboldiL. UboldiMaserati6CM1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
22Nicholas EmbiricosN. EmbiricosERAA1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
24Emmanuel de GraffenriedScuderia MaremmanaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
26Enrico GessnerE. GessnerMaserati4CM1.5S-4
28Ettore BiancoOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
30Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
32Franco CorteseOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
34Agostino ProsperiScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-4
36Antonino GenuardiA. GenuardiFiatBalilla1.1S-4
38Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
40Harry HerkuleynsH. HerkuleynsMGK3 Magnette1.1S-6
42Roger ChambardR. ChambardBugattiT39A1.5S-8
44Giovanni LuraniScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
46Mario MoradeiEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CS1.5S-4
48Henry LeuzingerEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-4
50Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadERAA1.5S-6

Maserati strikes back

by Leif Snellman
In the voiturette race fifteen Maseratis challenged three ERAs. Cortese took the lead followed by Trossi, Bira (ERA) and Bianco. Bira was soon second and took the lead on lap five when Cortese had to make a pit stop. But on the next lap Trossi passed Bira and once in the lead the Maserati driver started to pull away to take the victory with Bira finishing second. There was a fight for third place between Bianco, Tongue and Bjørnstad, the Norwegian ERA driver being finally able to take the flag in third position.
A week after Turin there was a new Italian event on the spectacular and very tough Posillipo course at Naples. There were several uphill and downhill sections on the winding route that even went over a deep ravine. Narrow Monaco like sections between houses were intermixed with stunning panoramic sections. On this twisty track the nimble Maserati 6CM with its independent suspension was expected to be superior to the ERA.
Not unexpected the entry list looked quite similar to the one of Turin with 14 of the entries appearing on both lists. Of the ERA drivers Bira again raced R2B "Romulus", Eugen Bjřrnstad raced his R1A and Reggie Tongue R11B. Genuardi's little Fiat Balilla was again present and Chambard turned up with his Bugatti 37A. They were challenged by a horde of no less than 15 Maseratis, including three works 6CMs for Bianco, Trossi and Cortese. Luigi Villoresi entered his 6CM (#1541) and Giovanni Rocco was another 6CM entry (#1540) (Note 1). Dutch driver Harry Herkuleyns with a MG Magnette completed the entry list.
Spectators had free entry to the Friday practice. All drivers had not arrived yet but some took the opportunity to learn the track. Tongue (ERA) proved to be fastest with a time of 2m40s with Bjřrnstad second fastest, putting in laps between 2m41s and 2m43s. Villoresi and Cortese did a 2m45s lap each and Lurani 2m47s.
      Final practice sessions were scheduled for 14:00 and 16:00 on Saturday. The Maserati 6CMs proved to be fastest taking the top five positions in the grid with Trossi's 2m25.8s good enough for pole position. They were followed in the list by the three ERAs, Bira being the fastest ERA driver with a time of 2m30.6s. Four cylinder Maseratis and took the following ten positions while the three "odd" entries had to be content with the last row of the grid.
The voiturette race was run before the major class and started at 10 am. The grid looked like this (Note the position of the pole man in the middle of first row):
Pole Position






L Villoresi








" B Bira"






de Graffenried






















(Note 2)

The Italian Crown Princess (Marie José of Belgium) lifted the flag too early and then left the cars standing on the grid for some two minutes to overheat before she finally dropped the flag. Maserati driver Bianco took the start closely followed by his team-mate Cortese, who took over the lead during the first lap. They were followed by Trossi, Bira, Luigi Villoresi and Bjørnstad. At the end of the first lap Chambard had to make a pit stop because of a puncture. Bianco, who was still suffering from his eye injuries in Turin a week earlier, dropped to fourth on the second lap as also Trossi and Bira passed him. At the end of the second lap Cortese led with Trossi right behind him and Bira a bit behind.
      Bira soon caught and passed Trossi for second and then took the lead on the fifth lap when Cortese had to make a pit stop to change plugs and to fix a problematic gearbox. But on the next lap Trossi attacked Bira and took the lead from the Siamese. Once in the lead the Maserati started to pull away from the ERA. Several drivers had already retired, Filippinetti with carburettor problems, Herkuleyns with a broken oil pump, Rocco with broken goggles and an oilleaking car and Genuardi with a broken oil pipe. On lap 8 Villoresi also had to retire with carburettor problems.
      Situation after 8 laps:
1. Trossi (Maserati)20m10.4s
2. "Bira" (ERA)20m14.2s
3. Bianco (Maserati)20m33.8s
4. Bjørnstad (ERA)20m38.8s
5. Tongue (ERA)20m46.6s
6. Prosperi (Maserati)20m59.0s
7. de Graffenried (Maserati)21m28.6s
8. Gessner (Maserati)21m32.8s
9. Lurani (Maserati)21m59.4s
10. Moradei (Maserati)22m26.6s
11. Baruffi (Maserati)22m28.0s
12. Basadonna (Maserati)22m43.4s
13. Colini (Maserati)22m50.0s
14. Chambard (Bugatti)25m19.8s
15. Leuzinger (Maserati)27m36.2s

Trossi continued to open up the gap making the fastest lap of the race on lap 8. There was now a fight for third position between Bianco and Bjørnstad. Prosperi was up to fifth as Tongue was struggling with spark plug problems. Cortese and Colini had now also retired. Bjørnstad finally found a way past Bianco on lap 15.
      Order after 15 laps:
1. Trossi (Maserati)37m23.4s
2. "Bira" (ERA)37m46.4s
3. Bjørnstad (ERA)38m21.6s
4. Bianco (Maserati)38m21.8s
5. Prosperi (Maserati)38m45.4s
6. de Graffenried (Maserati)39m49.2s
7. Tongue (ERA)39m52.4s
8. Gessner (Maserati)40m18.0s
9. Baruffi (Maserati)41m03.6s
10. Lurani (Maserati)41m04.4s
11. Moradei (Maserati)41m41.0s
12. Basadonna (Maserati)41m58.6s
13. Chambard (Bugatti)45m11.0s
14. Leuzinger (Maserati)46m48.8s

Then on lap 18 the Norwegian spun and dropped down to fourth again. But it took Bjørnstad just two laps to catch Bianco, who clearly was in trouble, and once again pass him. The order at 2/3 distance:
1. Trossi (Maserati)49m46.4s
2. "Bira" (ERA)50m16.4s
3. Bjørnstad (ERA)50m57.2s
4. Bianco (Maserati)50m58.2s
5. Prosperi (Maserati)51m35.0s

On the 24th lap the pain in the eyes became too much for Bianco. He gave up and handled over the car to Belmondo, who returned the Maserati into the race in fifth position behind Prosperi. Situation after 25 laps:
1. Trossi (Maserati)1hm02m13.4s
2. "Bira" (ERA)1h02m56.0s
3. Bjørnstad (ERA)1h03m27.2s
4. Prosperi (Maserati)1h04m00.4s
5. Belmondo (Maserati)1h04m22.2s
6. de Graffenried (Maserati)1h05m36.4s
7. Tongue (ERA)1h06m21.4s
8. Gessner (Maserati)1h06m51.6s
9. Lurani (Maserati)1h08m31.4s
10. Moradei (Maserati)1h09m23.6s
11. Basadonna (Maserati)1h09m23.6s
12. Chambard (Bugatti)1h13m06.4s
13. Leuzinger (Maserati)1h14m15.4s

The order remained unchanged to the end with Trossi winning by a minute over Bira and with Bjørnstad, driving the last laps with badly cut tyres, finishing in 3rd position another half minute behind.



1.30Carlo Felice TrossiOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6301h14m41.4s
2.18"B Bira""B Bira"ERAB1.5S-6301h15m40.6s+ 59.2s
3.50Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadERAA1.5S-6301h16m10.6s+ 1m29.2s
4.34Agostino ProsperiScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-4301h16m45.0s+ 2m03.6s
5.28E. Bianco/V. BelmondoOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-629
6.24Emmanuel de GraffenriedScuderia MaremmanaMaserati4CM1.5S-429
7.4Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-629
8.26Enrico GessnerE. GessnerMaserati4CM1.5S-428
9.44Giovanni LuraniScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-628
10.46Mario MoradeiEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-428
11.16Ciro BasadonnaEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-427
12.42Roger ChambardR. ChambardBugattiT39A1.5S-826
13.48Henry LeuzingerEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CM1.5S-426
DNF6Pino BaruffiGruppo VoltaMaserati4CM1.5S-416mechanical
DNF10Mario ColiniScuderia ImperoMaserati4CM1.5S-413steering
DNF32Franco CorteseOfficine A MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-611gearbox
DNF8Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-68carburettor
DNF40Harry HerkuleynsH. HerkuleynsMGK3 Magnette1.1S-67oil pump
DNF36Antonino GenuardiA. GenuardiFiatBalilla1.1S-47oil pipe
DNF12Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-67oil pipe
DNF2Georges FilippinettiEcurie HelvetiaMaserati4CS1.5S-63fuel starvation
Fastest lap: Carlo Felice Trossi (Maserati) on lap 8 in 2m26.4s = 108.2 km/h (62.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 98.8 km/h (61.4 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 101.2 km/h (62.9 mph)
Weather: sunny and fine

Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo)
56 Giuseppe Farina
Scuderia Ferrari
Alfa Romeo 12C-36
Clemente Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)
66 Clemente Biondetti
Scuderia Ferrari
Alfa Romeo 12C-36
Emilio Villoresi (Alfa Romeo)
68 Emilio Villoresi
Scuderia Ferrari
Alfa Romeo 2900A


Posillipo - Napoli (I), 25 April 1937
50 laps x 4.1 km (2.55 mi) = 205.0 km (127.4 mi)


52Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
54"Ventidue""Ventidue"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
56Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
58Carlo Pes di VillamarinaScuderia MaremmanaMaserati6C-343.7S-6DNA
60Eugenio SienaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
62Martin WaltherM. WaltherBugattiT35B2.3S-8
64Carlos ArzaniC. ArzaniAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-8
66Clemente BiondettiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
68Emilio VilloresiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo2900A2.9S-8
70Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6C-343.7S-6
72Adolfo MandirolaEcurie DarbellayMaseratiV8 RI4.7V-8
74Ernő FesteticsGraf FesteticsMaserati8CM3.0S-8
76Giacomo de RhamScuderia MaremmanaAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8DNA
78"Nicola Sarubbi"C. GazzabiniAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8DNS
78Carlo GazzabiniC. GazzabiniAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8replacing Sarubbi
80László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati6C-34 3.7S-6

Scuderia Ferrari demonstration run

by Leif Snellman
Four Alfa Romeos entered by Scuderia Ferrari turned up for the Naples race. Argentine Carlos Arzani made a guest appearance. The entry list also included some older Alfa Romeos and Maseratis and a single Bugatti. The race turned out to be another demonstration run for the Ferrari team with Farina winning from Biondetti with Emilio Villoresi third in a stripped sports Alfa.
Scuderia Ferrari entered four cars. Farina and Biondetti raced 12C-36s. Carlos Arzani, who had come from Argentina to buy an 8C-35, raced the new car for before taking the car back to South America. However, according to the official Scuderia Ferrari race book for 1937 he was not entered by Scuderia Ferrari. (Note 3) Siena raced another 8C-35 while Emilio Villoresi had a stripped 2900A sports car. Old Alfa Romeo "Monzas" were entered by Magistri, "Sarubbi" and Wild, the latter under the pseudonym "Ventidue" (lucky number twenty-two). Di Villamarina and de Rham were entered under the name Scuderia Maremmana, the former in a Maserati 6C-34 and the latter in an Alfa Romeo Monza, but they never turned up. Other Maserati entries were Soffietti (6C-34) and Hungarian László Hartmann (6C-34 according to "Il Littoriale", 8CM according to Sheldon). Count Festetics had a Maserati 8CM and Mandirola a V8 RI. And finally there was Swiss driver Walther with a white-red painted Bugatti T35B (#4956).
There were practice sessions on Friday and Saturday (see the voiturette race). Several drivers took part in the Friday session including Hartmann, "Ventidue" and some of the Ferrari drivers but any time worth mentioning were not set. On Saturday the grid positions were decided, Scuderia Ferrari expectedly took the top five positions with Farina fastest.
About an hour after the finish of the voiturette race it was time for the Grand Prix cars, which were lined up in the following grid:
Pole Position

Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo

E Villoresi

Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo




Alfa Romeo




Alfa Romeo





(Note 4)

At 27 minutes past noon the princess dropped the flag and the cars were on their way with Farina leading and with Arzani following closely behind. Then followed Biondetti, Gazzabini, Soffietti and the rest. On the third lap Biondetti went past Arzani and settled down in second position.
      After five laps the order was as follows:
1. Farina12m34.2s
2. Biondetti13m04.4s (sic)
3. Arzani13m03.1s
4. Siena13m03.8s
5. E. Villoresi13m14.2s

The race went on with Farina effortlessly opening up a gap to Biondetti. Emilio Villoresi passed Siena and Arzani for third position and there he would remain until the end of the race.
      At lap 10 the situation was:
1. Farina25m14.2s
2. Biondetti25m45.4s
3. E. Villoresi26m01.4s
4. Arzani26m02.6s
5. Siena26m15.8s
6. Gazzabini26m37.4s
7. Hartmann26m57.6s
8. Magistri27m00.2s
9. Walter27m15.8s
10. "Ventidue"27m55.4s
11. Festetics28m48.0s
12. Mandirola28m53.0s
13. Soffietti29m44.6s

Villoresi made a fast stop to change a spark plug. After 13 laps Count Festetics had to retire because of carburettor problems in his Maserati and on the next lap Soffietti's Maserati was the next car out of the race with a broken differential. Siena has now caught Arzani and the duo started a fight for fourth position. Farina put in the fastest lap of the race on lap 21 with a time of 2m24.4s. On the 24th lap "Ventidue" overturned his Monza in a corner. Luckily the driver escaped without injuries.
      The situation at half distance:
1. Farina1h02m34.6s
2. Biondetti1h03m45.2s
3. E. Villoresi1h04m03.4s
4. Arzani1h04m09.4s
5. Siena1h04m14.2s
6. Gazzabini1h05m49.6s
7. Magistri1h06m34.4s
8. Hartmann1h07m07s
9. Walter1h08m14.8s
10. Mandirola1h11m53.4s

Siena had for the moment lost a little ground to the Italio-Argentine, but would soon catch him again. After 30 laps the gap between them was down to just 0.8 seconds and the duel would then go on all the way to the chequered flag. Farina had let Biondetti close in a bit but around lap 32 he started to drive faster again.
      Situation after 35 laps:
1. Farina1h27m30.8s
2. Biondetti1h28m37.8s
3. E. Villoresi1h29m08.2s
4. Arzani1h29m29.4s
5. Siena1h29m31.6s

With five laps to go Farina slowed down the pace a bit but was still able to take a comfortable victory over 100 seconds before Biondetti with Villoresi another 39 seconds behind. Those three were the only one to make the total distance, the rest being flagged in.



1.56Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12502h04m28.8s
2.66Clemente BiondettiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12502h06m11.0s+ 1m42.2s
3.68Emilio VilloresiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo2900A2.9S-8502h06m50.4s+ 2m21.6s
4.64Carlos ArzaniC. ArzaniAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-849
5.60Eugenio SienaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C-353.8S-849
6.78C. Gazzabini/"N. Sarubbi"C. GazzabiniAlfa RomeoMonza2.348
7.52Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.348
8.80László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati6C-343.7S-646
9.62Martin WaltherM. WaltherBugattiT35BS-846
10.72Adolfo MandirolaEcurie DarbellayMaseratiV8 RI44
DNF54"Ventidue""Ventidue"Alfa RomeoMonza2.324crash
DNF70Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6C-343.7S-614differential
DNF74Ernő FesteticsGraf FesteticsMaserati8CM3.0S-813engine
Fastest lap: Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo) on lap 21 in 2m24.4s = 102.2 km/h (63.5 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 98.8 km/h (61.4 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 102.4 km/h (63.6 mph)
Weather: sunny and fine

1. To sort out which driver belonged to which team in these voiturette races is more or less impossible unless one can find official entry lists. Many of the teams were not teams in the modern sense, rather loose organizations that a driver joined for a race or two bringing his own car with him, or two or more drivers who joined forces for administrative reasons. For this race "Il Littoriale" lists three Scuderia Ambrosiana drivers, Lurani, Villoresi and Cortese, while Sheldon has Cortese listed as a works driver and Villoresi as an independent. Sheldon also has Filippinetti and de Graffenried listed as independent drivers while Automobil-Revue has them racing for Ecurie Darbellay & Ecurie Helvétie and Alessandro Silva has told me de Graffenried in fact in this event raced under the Scuderia Maremmana banner.

2. First three rows of grid reconstructed by Otto Grabe from film. The rest of the grid is mostly a guess.

3. With thanks to Nathan Beehl.

4. Grid reconstructed by Shipp Dena from picture.

Star 28-29 April 1937: Daimler-Benz and Auto Union conducted a second test session at AVUS. Mercedes used a 1936 GP car and a new streamliner with the 5.58 litre V-12 engine. Auto Union came with a streamliner that had the present GP chassis and engine but the fully enveloping body. These three cars put in many laps over the next two days doing aerodynamic tests and finding out about handling, tires and fuel. The tests were supervised by the technical directors Sailer from Mercedes-Benz and Werner from Auto Union. It was realized, that the fastest and safest way through the North Turn was in the middle of the track where a rather high speed could be reached and one had the possibility to correct the car if needed. On the first day Caracciola bettered Hans Stuck's 1935 lap record from 260.5 km to 267 km/h, followed by a 268 km/h lap by von Brauchitsch. Next day Bernd Rosemeyer raised the in-official record to 281.09 km/h by doing a lap in 4:07.
      The tyres caused the main problem, with the wear highest on the left rear. The latest 24" tyres from Continental, made of synthetic Buna-rubber only surviving four laps at top speed by von Brauchitsch.

B. Bira (Maserati)
2 B. Bira
Prince Chula of Siami
Maserati 8CM
Teddy Rayson (Maserati)
15 Teddy Rayson
E. Rayson
Maserati 4CM
Antony Powys-Lybbe (ERA)
21 Antony Powys-Lybbe
A. Powys-Lybbe
Alfa Romeo Monza


Brooklands (GB), 1 May 1937 (Saturday)
100 laps x 3.648 km (2.267 mi) = 364.8 km (226.7 mi)


1500cc Class:
1Bill HumphreysB. HumphreysMG0.7S-4DNA - rear axle
2"B Bira""B Bira"Delage19261.5S-8DNA - car not ready
3Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-6
4Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-6
5Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-6
6Denis ScribbansD. ScribbansERAB1.5S-6
7Peter WalkerP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6
7Peter WhiteheadP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-6DNS - alternative driver
8Earl HoweH. W. CookERAB1.5S-6
9Raymond MaysH. W. CookERAC1.5S-6
10Patrick FairfieldH. W. CookERAC1.5S-6DNS - brake problems
11Andrew LeitchHon P. AitkenMaseratiDNA - did not appear
12Peter AitkenHon P. AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-6
14Robin HansonMrs. M. E. Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-6
15Teddy RaysonE. RaysonMaserati4CM1.5S-4
16Mrs Gwenda HawkesMrs G. HawkesDerby-Maserati1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
17"Jack" BartlettJ. BartlettAlta1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
18Philip JuckerP. JuckerAlta1.5S-42.0?
18Alan SinclairP. JuckerAlta1.5S-4DNS - alternative driver

Class over 1500 cc:
19Charlie DodsonF. W. DixonDixon-RileySpecial2.0S-4
20Cyril Mervyn WhiteC. Mervyn WhiteBugattiT512.3S-8
21Antony Powys-LybbeA. Powys-LybbeAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
22Anthony HamiltonA. HamiltonAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
23Walter WilkinsonR. C. FlemingAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
24Christopher StanilandC. StanilandAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
25Charles BrackenburyC. E. C. MartinAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
26Kenneth EvansK. EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
26"Bill" EverittK. EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8DNS - alternative driver
27"B Bira"Prince Chula of SiamMaserati8CM3.0S-8
28Francis AshbyA. F. AshbyAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8
29Austin DobsonHon P. AitkenAlfa RomeoBimotore5.82*S-8
29Austin DobsonHon P. AitkenMaseratiDNS - alternative car

Bira wins, Howe crashes

by Leif Snellman
GP cars and voiturettes raced together on the new Campbell road racing course at Brooklands. Bira took the lead with his Maserati and held it until lap 19 when he was passed by Earl Howe's ERA. The magnificent duel between these two continued until lap 26 when Howe overturned his car and suffered a bad head wound and several internal injuries. Bira just managed to miss the wrecked ERA and went on to win the GP class while Rayson was victorius in the voiturette class. Practically all the ERAs struck trouble.
This was to be the inaugural race on the new Campbell road racing course at Brooklands. The new course that was planned from an idea by Malcolm Campbell was Brooklands' answer to Donington Park and the new Crystal Palace. The cars over 1.5 litre and the voiturette class raced together for 100 laps.
The entry list was long and included no less than eight Alfa Romeos. A Bi-motore owned by Dobson/Aitken. Four Tipo B monopostos to be raced by Ashby (green colored #50006), Brackenbury (Charlie Martin's green colored #50003), Evans (#50005) and Staniland (#5003) and three old "Monzas" for Hamilton, Powys-Lybbe and Wilkinson.
      Bira entered the rebuilt ex-Seaman Delage but the car was not ready yet so he finally raced the ex-Whitney Straight Maserati (#3011) instead. Mervyn White raced a Bugatti T51 (#51121 ex-Earl Howe, Dobson).
      Among the voiturettes were seven ERAs: Connell (R6B), Dobson (R7B), Scribbans (R9B), Walker (R10B), Tongue (R11B), Mays (R4C) and Howe (R8B), the last two works entries. The third works entry for Fairfield (R12C) was withdrawn after the car was found to have a problem with the new hydraulic brakes that was impossible to fix.
      Rayson had his old 1933/34 Maserati 4CM. Jucker entered a new Alta with independent suspension.
On the twisty track the voiturette cars of Peter Walker and Earl Howe proved fastest during qualifying. Leitch had considered driving the Bimotore but after having seen Austin Dobson doing some frightening laps in it, Leitch decided to call it a day. Connell had gearbox troubles with the ERA but was able to make repairs in time for the race and Tongue had to change a piston in the engine of his ERA.
Saturday came with fine warm weather but still the crowd was not that numerous. The 22 cars lined up for the 14:30 start in front of the new concrete pits in this order:
Pole Position

Alfa Romeo





A Dobson

Alfa Romeo



"B Bira"



Alfa Romeo

A Dobson



Alfa Romeo








Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo

de Belleroche

Alfa Romeo


Mervyn White



Dixon Spl.






Alfa Romeo





* 2 "B Bira" (Delage) 2:07.0 DNS

Walker took the lead followed by Howe and Bira while Aitken stalled his Maserati and it was pushed away from the grid to be started elsewhere. Bira took over the lead on the first lap with his Maserati followed by Howe in his green ERA, Walker in a black ERA, Mays in the works ERA and Dobson in the Bimotore. Walker soon lost the contact with the front group after his engine stopped. Mays had again brake problems with his car. Walker retired after eight laps on the Aerodrome Road with broken gearbox and Charlie Dodson came in with a bad overheating, spraying hot water over the spectators on the pit roof stand. Dodson and Dixon started in a hurry to cut away the radiator cowling.
      Bira held the lead during the first nineteen laps with Earl Howe on his tail but then Howe, who was doing an inspired race on his 53rd birthday (!) took over the lead and during the next laps the spectators were able to see a magnificent performance. By driving to the limit the ERA voiturette driver was keeping the lead from a car with twice the engine volume. The duel went faster and faster but on lap 25 Howe's birthday ended in tragedy as the veteran driver struck an earth bank on the Vickers bridge. The ERA leapt up, the front hit a palisade, the car then bounced to the other side of the track and overturned, putting the left side wheels up in the air. Howe fell out and suffered a bad head wound and injuries to arm, shoulder and ribs.
      Bira just managed to pass the wrecked ERA to the right to take the overall lead from Austin Dobson while Rayson in third position took over the lead in the voiturette class. Six laps later the main clutch on Dobson's Bimotore broke and the big car came to a halt. That put Rayson in second place with the old green Maserati and Brackenbury fourth in Charlie Martin's P3 Alfa. Mays stopped and gave over the troublesome car to Fairfield.
      Then it was time for the cars to make their pit stops for fuel. The pit stops went mostly smoothly without incidents. Four ERAs made their stops at the same time to the joy of the spectators. Staniland was momentarily up in third position before he too had to stop and then he fell back with brake problems. Arthur Dobson had a cup of tea (very British!) while his mechanics were changing front brake shoes on the troublesome ERA. He returned to the race but the car was no better and he came in several times before finally retiring. During the stops Duller took over Ashby's Alfa Romeo and Hamilton took over from de Belleroche.
      Bira kept on controlling the race. Rayson was still second after having made a good pit stop on lap 57 and Powys-Lybbe in an old green "Monza" was now up to third followed by Duller and Scribbans. It was certainly not ERA's day as Tongue had engine trouble and Connell had had so much problems with the carburettor that he was many laps behind. The gruelling Campbell track had certainly taken its toll. All around the track there were cars with misfiring engines and brake trouble. Aiken, Fleming, Staniland, all had to retire. On lap 70 Evans parked the Alfa at hill Bend without brakes and with broken transmission. But up front Bira went on lap after lap both driver and car doing the perfect job. Bira finally made his stop on lap 65, Bira's team doing a specially good job to give their driver an even bigger lead.
      Bira took the flag over 2 1/2 minutes in front of Rayson, who took a fine surprise victory in the voiturette class, while the old Maserati with Powys-Lybbe came far behind in third position. A few laps from finish Ashby's Alfa Romeo, raced by Duller, had to stop on the Railway Straight with engine trouble and Scribbans passed to finish unexpectedly fourth, the best of the ERA drivers that day. The single works ERA driven by Mays/Fairfield finished a disappointing 7th, 8 laps behind.



1.2"B Bira"Prince Chula of SiamMaserati8CM3.0S-81003h16m52.6s
2.15Teddy RaysonE. RaysonMaserati4CM1.5S-41003h19m29.4s+ 2m36.8s
3.21Antony Powys-LybbeA. Powys-LybbeAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81003h24m53.8s+ 8m01.2s
4.6Denis ScribbansD. ScribbansERAB1.5S-61003h27m07.0s+ 10m14.4s
5.25Charles BrackenburyC. E. C. MartinAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-899
6.5Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-698
DNFF. Ashby / J. DullerA. F. AshbyAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-896engine
7.9R. Mays/P. FairfieldH W CookERAC1.5S-692
8.20Cyril Mervyn WhiteC. Mervyn WhiteBugattiT512.3S-891
9.14Robin HansonMrs. M. E. Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-691
DNF24Christopher StanilandC. StanilandAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-879brakes/cluch
DNF23W. Wilkinson/R. FlemingR. C. FlemingAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-874gearbox
DNF26Kenneth EvansK EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-870transmission
(10)4Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-669
DNF12Peter AitkenP. AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-648fuel feed
DNF22de Belleroche/A.HamiltonA. HamiltonAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-844engine
DNF18Philip JuckerP. JuckerAltaS-443supercharger
DNF3Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-632brakes
DNF29Austin DobsonHon P. AitkenAlfa RomeoBimotore5.82*S-831transmission
DNF8Earl HoweH. W. CookERAB1.5S-625crash
DNF19Charlie DodsonF. W. DixonDixon-RileySpecial2.0S-411clutch
DNF7Peter WalkerP. WhiteheadERAB1.5S-68gearbox
Fastest lap: Earl Howe & Raymond Mays (ERA) in 1m53.0s = 116.2 km/h (72.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 111.2 km/h (69.1 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 117.1 km/h (72.7 mph)
Weather: sunny, warm

Teddy Rayson (Maserati)
15 Teddy Rayson
E. Rayson
Maserati 4CM
Denis Scribbans (ERA)
6 Denis Scribbans
D. Scribbans
Reggie Tongue (ERA)
5 Reggie Tongue
R. Tongue


Results (1500cc Class)


1.15Teddy RaysonE. RaysonMaserati4CM1.5S-41003h19m24.4s
2.6Denis ScribbansD. ScribbansERAB1.5S-61003h27m07.0s+ 8m03.3s
3.5Reggie TongueR. TongueERAB1.5S-698
4.9R. Mays/P. FairfieldH W CookERAB1.5S-692
5.14Robin HansonMrs M E Hall-SmithMaserati6CM1.5S-691
(6)4Ian ConnellI. ConnellERAB1.5S-661NC
DNF12Peter AitkenPeter AitkenMaserati6CM1.5S-648fuel feed
DNF18Philip JuckerP. JuckerAltaS-443supercharger
DNF3Arthur DobsonA. C. DobsonERAB1.5S-632brakes
DNF8Earl HoweEarl HoweERAB1.5S-625crash
DNF7Peter WalkerP WHiteheadERAB1.5S-68gearbox
Fastest lap: Earl Howe & Raymond Mays (ERA) in 1m53.0s = 116.2 km/h (72.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 109.8 km/h (68.2 mph)

Primary sources researched for this article:
The Autocar, London
Motor Sport, London
The Times, London
Chula Chakrabongse: "Road Star Hat Trick"
Special thanks to:
Vladislav Shaikhnurov

Star 2 May 1937: Count Lurani (Alfa Romeo 6C 2.3L) wins the 240 km Il Circuito dell'Agro Pontino race from Count Dusmet and Bruno Mussolini (il Duce's son), both also in Alfas.
Star 2 May 1937: AGACI spring meeting at Montlhéry. Jacques Seylar (Delahaye) wins the Criterium de Tourisme, Joseph Paul (Delahaye) the Coupe de Printemps and Hans Rüesch (Alfa Romeo) the Coup de Vitesse.

Hermann Lang (Maserati)
2 Hermann Lang
Daimler-Benz AG
Mercedes-Benz W125
Bernd Rosemeyer (ERA)
16 Bernd Rosemeyer
Auto Union AG
Auto Union C
Ernst von Delius (ERA)
22 Ernst von Delius
Auto Union AG
Auto Union C


Autodromo di Mellaha - Tripoli (I), 9 May 1937
40 laps x 13.1 km (8.14 mi) = 524 km (325.6 mi)


750 kg GP Class:
2Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8
4Richard SeamanDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8
6Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
8László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati8CM3.0S-8
10Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6C-343.7S-6
12Luigi FagioliAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
14Raymond Sommerprivate/Scuderia Ferrari?Alfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
16Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
18Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
20Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8
22Ernst von DeliusAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
24Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
26Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8
28Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
30Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
34Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12
36Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
38Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16
58Ettore BiancoOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8CM3.0S-8
1500cc Class:
32Pietro GhersiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
40René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
42Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
44Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoTalbot1.5S-8
46Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
48Luciano UboldiGruppo VoltaMaserati6CM1.5S-6
50Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
52Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6
54Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriMaserati4CM1.5S-4
56Vittorio BelmondoOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6
60Francesco SeveriF. SeveriMaserati6CM1.5S-6

A new star from Untertürkheim

by Leif Snellman
Among the Grand Prix cars the Germans were in a class of their own. Tyre wear proved to be a decisive factor. The Auto Union drivers decided to race flat out and had to make many pit stops to change wheels while the Mercedes- Benz drivers tried to save their tyres. Caracciola, Stuck, Fagioli, von Brauchitsch, Rosemeyer and Lang all had their turn in the lead but Stuck and Fagioli fell back with tyre wear while Caracciola and Seaman slowed down due to sand in the engine. Von Brauchitsch retired and Rosemeyer had a slow pit stop, leaving Lang, who drove faultlessly, with the deserved victory followed by four Auto Unions. Nuvolari in an Alfa had retired early.
      Ten Maseratis met Castelbarco's Talbot in the voiturette class which raced simultaneously with the Grand Prix cars. The Maserati works cars were in a class of their own, where Dreyfus showed his experience to win from his teammate Cortese. The rest the field finished far behind.
The first major Grand Prix of the year, known as "The Race of the Millions", was the fast Tripoli GP with really large sums as prize money due to its state lottery that had sold four million lottery tickets for 12 Lire each in Italy and its colonies. Some time before the event 30 winning tickets were selected and the ticket holders were invited to Tripoli.
      The event was no longer raced to formula Libre but followed the international 750 kg formula with 1.5 litre voiturettes filling up the grid for the necessary 30 entries needed for the lottery. Interest in the race was huge both in Italy and Germany.Tours were organized to the event so that the main stands became sold out months before and new temporary stands had to be built. No expense was spared to make the track the most modern and well equipped in the world. New innovations included a traffic light system for the most dangerous places along the track, not unlike the one used nowadays in Formula 1. Also, the start was done by red/amber/green lights. Timing with 1/100s accuracy was possible by an electric system that used photo cells.

      It might be of interest to see what the teams were able to earn in this event known for its substantial prizes. The amounts in the GP class were 30,000, 20,000, 12,000, 10,000, 8,000, 6,000, 5,000, 4,000, 3,000 & 2,000 Lire for top ten finishers, 1,500 Lire for other finishers, 1,200 Lire for having completed the first five laps within 20 minutes of the leader and 800 Lire for having completed the first two laps within 8 minutes of the leader. Also 3,000 Lire was given for the fastest lap and 2,000 Lire each for leaders at 10, 20 and 30 laps. Prizes in the voiturette class were 10,000, 7,500, 5,000, 3,500 and 2,500 Lire for top five. Also 1,000, 500 and 350 Lire were given to the top three on every five laps from lap 5 to 35 (1,000 Lire = approx $53 or Ł10.16s6d back then). The participants also received a share of the earnings from the lottery.
It was the debut of the 1937 model Mercedes-Benz. Four of the new W125s were entered for the race plus one 1936 model as practice car. Seaman, who drove his first race for Mercedes-Benz, sat for the first time in a racing car since his crash at the 1937 Monza tests on 1 April in the 1936 GP car and his knee was still swollen. Auto Union entered five cars and drivers for the event and Scuderia Ferrari no less than six Alfa Romeos, including one for Raymond Sommer. All Alfas were obviously of the 12 cylinder type. Nuvolari's engine had been specially boosted, probably at the expense of reliability. Besides these three teams there were independent GP class entries by Hartmann, Soffietti, and Bianco racing Maseratis and Magistri with an Alfa Romeo Monza.
      To the 19 GP cars were added 11 voiturettes to complete a 30-car field needed for the lottery. It was a mix of old and new Maseratis including works cars for Ghersi and Dreyfus plus Count Castelbarco's rebuilt 1926 Talbot (Platé special). The organizers had invited prince Bira to race his ERA but he was committed to the Coronation of George VI on 12th May. Note that race numbers seem to indicate that Ghersi initially was meant to race in the GP class and Bianco in the voiturette class.
      The German teams came over the St. Gotthard Pass and continued by train to Naples, where the cars were loaded onto the 5,413 ton combined passenger and cargo ship "Citta di Palermo" for the 30 hour journey across the Mediterranean to Tripoli. The Italian dignitaries and drivers arrived on the 25,661 ton "Conte Grande" and there was another liner bringing German spectators to Tripoli. The weather was quite bad at the Mediterranean and Elly Rosemeyer, who flew with her husband from Rome in her "Taifun" plane, considered doing an emergency landing "at least ten times". Flying via Catania and Tunis they finally arrived safely at Tripoli. Drivers and official guests stayed at Hotel Uaddan, considered to be the best hotel the teams encountered during the racing season. Built in 1935 and named "a jewel of modern African architecture", it overlooked the bay and included a swimming pool, a casino and a 500 seat theatre. But Lang claims that fine sand entered everywhere into the hotel room and that his wife Lydia had big problems with flies.
      Due to the ship schedules the teams arrived on Sunday, a week before the race, and thus had a few spare days before practice began. Neubauer organized tours and told spectacular (and probably highly imaginable) stories about the places and their history and culture, while the Rosemeyers and Stucks had a big water-war on the hotel's swimming pool.
The Tripoli track consisted of a series of high speed turns that put a lot of strain on the tyres. For this race and for the upcoming AVUS race Continental had produced thin treaded tyres for 24´ size rear wheels and 22' front wheels. As the German cars reached 280 km/h on the straights, tyre wear was expected to be high.
      Thursday's first official practice started at 14:17. The Mercedes drivers tried to save their own cars as much as possible and used the spare car extensively. Rosemeyer in the Auto Union was fastest with a time of 3m30s followed by Lang doing a 3m32s, Caracciola and Stuck with 3m37s. After a short interval the second practice session followed with Stuck being fastest, just 3/100 faster than Caracciola, both going under Varzi's 1936 lap record of 3h27.4s.
      The results of Thursday practice looked like this:
Rosemeyer3m30.48sL. Villoresi4m37.20s
von Brauchitsch3m31.96sBelmondo4m37.78s
von Delius3m36.21sCastelbatco5m08.00s

The last practice started off at 14:00 on Friday in a gloomy mood as reports about the fate of the zeppelin Hindenburg were coming in (Note 1). Stuck established the fastest time of 3m19.0s (235.4 km/h) followed by Caracciola and Rosemeyer. Seaman went out with the practice car but it broke down at the far side of the track and was unable to return to the pits, missing the session. Nuvolari was able to do just a 3m33.44s. His Alfa Romeo was running on 11 cylinders but he was still a good 10 seconds faster than any of the other Ferrari drivers. Nuvolari then announced that he did not think he would start but after a lot of arguments finally decided to have a try after all.
      The practice times are shown on the grid below.
On Sunday morning there were fears that a sand storm, locally known as a "Gibli" would interfere with the race, but the wind calmed down during the day and for the first time in days it became really sunny and hot. Just before the start when the drivers already were on the grid that was secured by "Ascari" troopers and impossible to reach by outsiders, a blindfolded boy picked car numbers from a container. The lottery ticket numbers he took out of another container and one by one the combinations were announced. Then it was time for Air Marshal Balbo, accompanied by the race marshal and a few official guests, to greet the drivers. Finally at 3 p.m. everything was ready for the race itself. The sun was shining over a blue sky and the track temperature was well over 40° C. Marshal Balbo was to wave the flag but officially the race started with coloured light signals. The grid looked like this:
Pole Position

Auto Union




Auto Union


Auto Union



von Delius

Auto Union




Alfa Romeo


Auto Union




Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo



L Villoresi





Alfa Romeo



L Hartmann













Alfa Romeo









* Set on Thursday

(Note 2)

Two minutes before the start the red light was turned on. Thirty seconds before the start the light turned to amber and as Marshal Balbo waved the flag the light changed to green. Caracciola and Rosemeyer had the best starts. Hasse, on the other hand, had a bad start as he nearly stalled and immediately lost some 15 seconds. The cars of Lang and von Delius slightly touched. Seaman behind them had to break and Nuvolari just managed to squeeze by him.
      At the end of the first lap Caracciola was leading with Rosemeyer close behind. Then after a short gap followed Stuck, von Brauchitsch, Lang, Fagioli, Seaman, von Delius, Farina, Hasse, Sommer, Brivio, Tadini and Trossi. Caracciola had made the standing lap in 3m46.6s corresponding to 208.12 km/h. On the very first lap spectator favourite Nuvolari had to make a 1m20s pit stop to change spark plugs.
      During the windy morning a lot of sand had blown onto the track and during the first laps of the race the air was so filled with desert sand that the drivers felt like driving in a fog. Ghersi was leading the voiturette class followed by Villoresi, Cortese and Dreyfus, who had been slow at the start.
      On the second lap Stuck passed Rosemeyer and both were then furiously attacking Caracciola. On the third lap they both passed Caracciola's Mercedes to give Auto Union a double lead. Caracciola had made the third lap in 3m31.60s while Stuck had made it in 3m25.73s on race conditions and almost full tanks! Stuck's stunning third lap proved to be the fastest lap of the day.
      The Mercedes team had planned to do the race on a two stops strategy, the drivers watching their tyres. The Auto Union team seems to have underestimated either the tyre wear or the cruise speed of the new Mercedes W125, because they let the drivers run flat out and were immediately in trouble. After four laps Stuck came in for new tyres after having thrown a tread and he dropped to eighth. Rosemeyer held the lead for just one lap as he pitted at the end of lap 5 for the same reason as Stuck. Fagioli had passed his former mechanic Lang for fourth position.
      Situation after five laps:
1. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)17m59.60s / 17m59.06s (Note 3)
2. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)18m02.74s
3. von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)18m05.45s
4. Fagioli (Auto Union)18m05.79s
5. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)18m07.46s
6. von Delius (Auto Union)
7. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)
8. Stuck (Auto Union)
9. Hasse (Auto Union)
10. Farina (Alfa Romeo)
11. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)
12. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)
13. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)

In the voiturette class Ghersi was still leading but Dreyfus was now second after having passed Villoresi and Cortese. Meanwhile Nuvolari was in for more repairs before he definitely retired after six laps. It's claimed that the Mantuan seemed relieved that the race with the troublesome car and unrealistic expectations from the Italian fans was over.
      Caracciola was again in the lead. Fagioli passed von Brauchitsch and closed in on his former team mate Caracciola, who despite the orders to save the tyres could not resist answering the challenge. It was a fierce but short fight. Fagioli managed to take over the lead but immediately thereafter his left rear wheel lost its tread and at the end of lap seven he had to come in for a tyre change. On the same lap Stuck already made a second pit stop for tyres. Like Fagioli it was the left rear wheel that caused the problem.
      Caracciola was once again back in the lead. He was followed by Lang, who from close distance had watched the Caracciola-Fagioli duel. Von Brauchitsch was third, followed by von Delius, Seaman, Rosemeyer, Hasse and Stuck. Farina was now leading the group of Alfa Romeos after Nuvolari's retirement but they were totally outclassed by the German cars.
      On the eighth lap it was von Brauchitsch's turn to charge, re-passing Lang and then overhauling Caracciola for the lead. The high speed again cost the driver dearly as he had to stop for tyres after he had lost the entire tread of a tyre in front of the main grandstand, with bits of rubber flying high in the air. In the voiturette class Dreyfus continued to close in on Ghersi and passed him on the ninth lap after which Ghersi made a brief pit stop and dropped behind Villoresi and Cortese.
      The order at ten laps:
1. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)36m06.69s
2. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)36m07.97s
3. von Delius (Auto Union)36m24.31s
4. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)36m34.47s
5. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)37m19.69s / 37m19.53s
6. von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)37m24.78s
7. Stuck (Auto Union)37m47.85s
8. Hasse (Auto Union)37m52.17s
9. Fagioli (Auto Union)
10. Farina (Alfa Romeo)38m25s
11. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)38m45s
12. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)39m05s
13. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)39m13s
14. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)40m56s
-   -   -
1.Dreyfus (Maserati)44m11.20s
2.Villoresi (Maserati)45m03.32s
3.Cortese (Maserati)45m16s
4.Severi (Maserati)45m49s
5.Ghersi (Maserati)45m54s
6.Dusio (Maserati)48m20s

Now it was time for Seaman and von Delius, who had had a good fight with each other, swapping positions, to make their first pit stops. On lap 14 Caracciola also found himself in tyre trouble and made his pit stop leaving the lead to Lang. At the end of the fifteenth lap, Lang then made his stop, the only German driver to make it according to the planned schedule.
      The situation after fifteen laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)54m44.33s
2. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)54m59.60s
3. von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)55m19.55s / 55m12.55s
4. Stuck (Auto Union)55m29.03s
5. Fagioli (Auto Union)55m37.10s
6. von Delius (Auto Union)55m59s
7. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)56m09s
8. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)56m16s
9. Hasse (Auto Union)56m18s
10. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)59m07s
11. Farina (Alfa Romeo)59m21s
12. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)59m41s
13. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)1h00m43s
14. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)1h01m13s

Rosemeyer was now back in the lead. Von Brauchitsch and Fagioli followed him while Stuck made yet another stop, dropping to ninth. After his pit stop, Caracciola had problems with sand in the supercharger and started to lose the contact with the leaders.
      At 18 laps Rosemeyer held an 18 second lead over von Brauchitsch with Fagioli another 21seconds behind followed closely by Lang, Seaman, von Delius, Caracciola, Hasse, Stuck, Farina, Sommer, Brivio, Tadini and Trossi.
      Not surprisingly, the leading trio, who had been racing flat out, got tyre problems again and both von Brauchitsch and Fagioli made their second pit stops at the end of the 18th lap. That meant that Lang was back again in second position. Rosemeyer nearly lost his Auto Union on the straight when he was hit in the head by a bit of tread from a tire, but he managed to keep the car on the track. Hasse had also made a pit stop and at the end of the 19th lap Rosemeyer was in for his half distance stop for fuel and tyres and Lang took the lead but Rosemeyer was soon back up in second position.
      Dreyfus now had almost a minute lead in the voiturette class and was followed by Villoresi, Cortese, Severi, Ghersi and Dusio.
      Order after 20 laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1h13m42.53s / 1h14m05.30s (Note 4)
2. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h14m09.99s
3. von Delius (Auto Union)1h14m12.72s
4. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)1h14m14.17s/1h14m14.11s
5. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h14m17.36/1h14m17.58
-   -   -
1. Dreyfus (Maserati)1h30m19s
2. Cortese (Maserati)1h33.21s
3. Villoresi (Maserati)1h33m31s
4. Severi (Maserati)1h40m11s

Von Brauchitsch parked his Mercedes after 21 laps after a stone had split the radiator. His was the only of the German entries to retire that day. All pre-made plans had been thrown into the wind and in the German pits people were struggling to keep up with all the tyre changes. An old rule restricting the pit crew to two mechanics working during a stop remained from the 1920s Tripoli races, where speeds had not been so high and only a few tyre changes were necessary, and that now made things even harder.
      Von Delius made his second stop (Note 5) and dropped to 7th while Stuck and Fagioli were once again charging up through the field. Then Stuck did his fourth pit stop. Caracciola and Seaman also made their second stops. The team did a fast job and Caracciola was away again after 43 seconds and Seaman after 44 seconds. But all was not well with Caracciola's Mercedes as sand had entered the supercharger and was destroying the engine.
      Meanwhile up front Lang and Rosemeyer were keeping a high pace, Rosemeyer putting in a 3m31.2s lap and Lang answering with a 3m29.2s.
      Situation at 25 laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1h31m47. (Note 4)
2. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h31m57.96s
3. Stuck (Auto Union)1h32m26.28s
4. Fagioli (Auto Union)1h32m54.69s
5. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)1h33m29.14s
6. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h33m31s
7. von Delius (Auto Union)1h34m10s
8. Hasse (Auto Union)1h35m08s
9. Farina (Alfa Romeo)1h37m16s
10. Brivio (Alfa Romeo)1h39m29s
11. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)1h40m20s
12. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)1h40m56s

Between laps 25 and 30 Stuck and Fagioli pitted once again. The order was Lang, Rosemeyer, Caracciola and Seaman. According to "Motor und Sport" Rosemeyer took the lead on lap 27. (Note 6) Lang was shocked to see Rosemeyer go past him, but after seeing Neubauer keeping a "1" sign and the red-black Mercedes flag horizontally to indicate Lang should keep his current speed, he realized he was still in the lead and that Rosemeyer had only un-lapped himself. According to Lang the Mercedes time keeper (Alice Hoffman?) had made a mistake and the team believed for a while Rosemeyer to be two laps behind instead of one. In fact, as we can see, that explanation was wrong by one lap and Lang had all reasons to be worried as Rosemeyer indeed had taken over the lead!
      On lap 28 Trossi retired his Alfa Romeo. On that lap it was also time for Rosemeyer's last stop. The driver came in with his hand raised to indicate he was in tyre trouble again. Then there was panic in the Auto Union pit. The tanking equipment was either malfunctioning or had run out of fuel. Elly Rosemeyer claims that the pit stop took a miserable 1m45s and also that she held herself well clear so that she did not need to hear her husband's curses.
      Lang was now leading by a good margin. Seaman was second in his first race for Mercedes but he was starting to struggle with sand in the supercharger as was Caracciola in third position. At lap 30 it was time for Lang's second and final stop. According to Lang he saw only smiling faces in the pit and Neubauer looked like he wanted to give him a hug already. Again the Mercedes team worked fast to have Lang's car ready in 44 seconds.
      Intermediate results for 30 laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1h50m21.63s
2. Seaman (Mercedes-Benz)1h51m40.29s
3. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h51m50.94s
4. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)1h51m59.21s
5. Stuck (Auto Union)1h52m08.82s
6. von Delius (Auto Union)1h52m29.65s
7. Fagioli (Auto Union)1h53m07.63s
8. Hasse (Auto Union)1h53m41.79s
9. Farina (Alfa Romeo)1h57m46s

Dreyfus continued to dominate the voiturette class. Cortese and Dusio followed while Villorese was slowing down and Ghersi had run out of fuel.
      Between laps 30 and 35 Stuck made his sixth stop, Hasse his third, Fagioli possibly his fourth and Seaman probably made his third stop.
      Lang was still cruising as ordered, saving the car. Obviously Neubauer tried to keep Lang's speed down so that the inexperienced driver would not make any silly mistakes, believing that Rosemeyer was too far behind to be a threat. In Nixon's "Silver Arrows" Lang explained that receiving the orders to hold his speed, and unaware of where Caracciola exactly was, he had some worries that he was becoming a victim of team orders.
      Seaman and Caracciola fell back behind Rosemeyer, who took over second position at 35 laps and started to reduce Lang's advantage. Von Delius also found a way past the two slowly going Mercedes drivers to take third position. Lang's lap times during this part of the race are not known but as Rosemeyer's medium lap time for laps 30-35 was 3m38.6s and considering that he had lost about a minute to Lang during the pit stops, Lang's laps might have been somewhere around 3m42s as the difference between Lang and Rosemeyer was 45s with five laps to go.
      Situation at 35 laps:
1. Lang (Mercedes-Benz)2h09m27s
2. Rosemeyer (Auto Union)2h10m12s
3. von Delius (Auto Union)2h10m23s
4. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2h10m32s
5. Stuck (Auto Union)2h11m01s

Down the field there was a tough fight for fifth place. Caracciola had been forced to let also Stuck past but as Fagioli tried to follow, the Mercedes driver blocked his former team mate from passing.
      Von Delius seems to have done a fast stop near the end of the race without losing position. Rosemeyer did a brave effort and during the last five laps Rosemeyer pulled in 35 seconds on Lang, but the latter speeded up a bit during the last laps to take the victory by a margin of less than 10 seconds. He was followed to the flag by four Auto Unions, his two struggling team mates, and Hasse's Auto Union.
      Farina led home the remaining four Scuderia Ferrari Alfas in 9th to 12th positions. After having dominated two minor races earlier in the season, the team had now been totally humiliated by the German competition on this fast track.
      Dreyfus in the works Maserati took the victory in the voiturette class followed by Cortese and Severi. The voiturette drivers had had a hard job during the race, looking in their mirrors, to keep the road clear for the Grand Prix cars. Sadly, with the race reports naturally concentrating on the Grand Prix, it is hard to find details about what really took place among the voiturettes.
      Right at the end of the race a furious Fagioli had finally forced his way past Caracciola. After the race the Auto Union driver rushed to the Mercedes pit and flung a wheel hammer at Caracciola, fortunately missing his head by an inch. Fagioli was then dragged away before he could continue the attack (Note 7).
      Auto Union mechanics had changed 35 tyres during the race, Stuck alone had done seven pit stops including two to change front wheels, Fagioli had done four, von Delius three and Hasse two. The Mercedes drivers had done two stops each except for Seaman who had done three. This was Lang's first victory and also the first for the Mercedes-Benz W125, winning first time out.
      Lang was brought to the main stand where he received an Arabic handmade silver trophy from Air Marshal Balbo. On his way back to the pit Lang was approached by a person who shouted in Italian language and when realizing Lang did not understand what he said kissed the driver several times. It was the lottery winner who was so overcome that he had to clutch Lang around the neck to support himself.
      When it was time for the winner's party Hermann and Lydia Lang had locked themselves up in their hotel room. This was a black tie event in the governor's palace, organized by Air Marshal Balbo, and the Langs, being poor, had no fitting clothes. Neubauer, understanding what was the problem, finally forced them out of their room explaining that the winner must always accept the prizes, no matter the circumstances. Lang, who was a shy person, thought that "this was much more embarrassing than if we had gone at the right time, as everybody was waiting and all eyes were upon us." Anyway, the party turned out to be a very joyful event that Lang describes in detail in his biography.
      Then the teams had to wait until Tuesday for the ship to bring them back to Italy.



1.2Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8402h27m57.67s
2.16Bernd RosemeyerAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h28m07.32s+ 9.65s
3.22Ernst von DeliusAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h29m11.85s+ 1m14.18s
4.38Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h29m39.59s+ 1m41.92s
5.12Luigi FagioliAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h29m42.58s+ 1m44.91s
6.20Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8402h29m53.02s+ 1m55.35s
7.4Richard SeamanDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-8402h32m07.55s+ 4m09.88s
8.6Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionC6.0V-16402h33m16.66s+ 4m18.99s
9.30Giuseppe FarinaScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12392h32m49.16s
10.34Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12392h34m22.55s
11.14Raymond Sommerprivate/Scuderia Ferrari?Alfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12392h34m33.??s
12.24Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-12372h34m43.62s
13.8László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati8CM3.0S-8352h36m33.57s
14.40René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6342h33m55.78s
15.10Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati6C-343.7S-6342h36m34.64s
16.42Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6342h36m51.34s
17.60Francesco SeveriF. SeveriMaserati6CM1.5S-6302h33m31.62s
18.46Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6292h32m55.83s
DNF18Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-1228
19.52Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6272h42m32.67s
DNF26Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW1255.7S-821radiator
DNF32Pietro GhersiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-617
DNF36Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa Romeo4CM1.5S-414
DNF54Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriMaserati4CM1.5S-410
DNF56Vittorio BelmondoOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-69
DNF50Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-68
DNF28Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo12C-364.1V-126engine
DNF48Luciano UboldiGruppo VoltaMaserati6CM1.5S-65
DNF58Ettore BiancoOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8CM3.0S-83
DNF44Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoTalbot1.5S-82
Fastest lap: Hans Stuck (Auto Union) on lap 3 in 3m25.73s = 229.2 km/h (142.4 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 212.5 km/h (132.0 mph) (Note 8)
Pole position lap speed: 235.9 km/h (146.6 mph)
Weather: sunny, hot

René Dreyfus (Maserati)
40 René Dreyfus
Officine A. Maserati
Maserati 6CM
Franco Cortese (Maserati)
42 Franco Cortese
Scuderia Ambrosiana
Maserati 6CM
Francesco Severi (Maserati)
60 Francesco Severi
F. Severi
Maserati 6CM


Results (1500cc Class)


1.40René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-6342h33m55.78s
2.42Franco CorteseScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6342h36m51.34s+ 2m55.56s
3.60Francesco SeveriF. SeveriMaserati6CM1.5S-6302h33m31.62s
4.46Luigi VilloresiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-6292h32m55.83s
5.52Piero DusioScuderia TorinoMaserati6CM1.5S-6272h42m32.67s
DNF32Pietro GhersiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-617
DNF54Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriMaserati4CM1.5S-410
DNF56Vittorio BelmondoOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati6CM1.5S-69
DNF50Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati6CM1.5S-68
DNF48Luciano UboldiGruppo VoltaMaserati6CM1.5S-65
DNF44Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoTalbot1.5S-82
Fastest lap: Pietro Ghersi (Maserati) in 4m16.36s = 184.0 km/h (114.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 173.6 km/h (107.9 mph)
Pole position (Villoresi) lap speed: 186.3 km/h (115.7 mph)

In retrospect:
4,514,798.90 Lire (some $240,000 or Ł49,000 in 1937 corresponding to some $3.6 million nowadays), that's what lottery ticket V-04846, bought for 12 Lire by a butcher from Piacenza, proved to be worth. But according to Lang the money did not bring luck for the winner, who closed his butcher shop and lost huge sums on gambling before finally ending up poor and insane. Second prize was some1.8 million Lire and third to fifth prizes, a bit over 900,000, 450,000 and 225,000 Lire.

1. The zeppelin LZ-129 "Hindenburg" had crashed at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937 killing 35 out of 97 passengers and crew members and one man on the ground.

2. Grid order and results by Hans Etzrodt using information from "Grand Prix TRIPOLI 1925-1940" by Valerio Moretti and "Grand Premio di Tripoli" by Alberto Radaelli.

3. When two times are given the source of the first one is "Il littoriale" and the second one "Automobil Revue"

4. Here the difference in times is significant. To find out which one is the correct is hard. Using the first time Lang would have needed to do the next five laps at 3m25s per lap. Using the second time gives five 3m20s laps. In both cases it would need lap times faster than the fastest lap of the day. So Lang's time for 25 laps given by "Il littoriale" has been proved wrong. "Il littoriale" gives 1h30m47s for 25 laps and the given medium speed 216.425 km/h. Using a 13.1 km track length that speed corresponds to the time mentioned so it is not a simple printing error, but rather an error in the press release. Sadly "Automobile Revue" doesn't give the 25 lap time for Lang. But assuming the correct time was 1h31m47s instead things look better as it would give Lang 12s more time for each lap. 3m32s laps fits well together with the fact Lang had made a 3m29.19s lap around this time according to "Automobile Revue" so that could indicate that the 1h14m05.30s for 20 laps might be the correct one.

5. Up till the half way point the race has been quite straightforward to follow from old reports but then all the race reports seem to get lost somehow and it is not any longer possible to find out on which lap many of the pit stops and other events took place. Also the different accounts often contradict each other. But by analyzing the intermediate times one can get a rough idea of what might have taken place. The doubtful numbers given of course make the analysis harder.

6. Here is a further proof that the assumpion (see note 4) that Lang's time at 25 laps was 1h31m47s is correct, as it means Rosemeyer had been just 11s behind Lang two laps before the pass while 1h30m47s would have put Rosemeyer 1m11s behind Lang. It also fits with Lang's biography even if Lang puts the event after the second pit stop.

7. According to Neubauer Fagioli did apologize - in 1952 to be exact, just 8 days before his fatal crash - but I'm a little bit suspicions about that part of the story as it all fits together a bit too well, just as typical "Neubauer stories" use to do.

8. The official speed 216.315 km/h, repeted over and over again in books, is simply wrong and that by a huge margin! Using three decimals the "correct" speed would be 212.488 km/h.


© 2024 Leif Snellman, Felix Muelas, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 27.01.2024