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Farina (Alfa Romeo) Biondetti (Alfa Romeo) Wakefield (Maserati)

VI PRIX DE BERNE
(Voiturette 1500cc)


Lang (Mercedes-Benz)Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)

VI GROSSER PREIS DER SCHWEIZ

Bremgarten - Bern (CH), 20 August 1939
2 Heats of 20 laps x 7.280 km (4.52 mi) = 145.6 km (90.47 mi)
Final: 30 laps x 7.280 km (4.52 mi) = 218.4 km (135.71 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Grand Prix Class:                  
2Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12
4Hermann MüllerAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12
6Tazio NuvolariAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12
8Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12
10Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12
12Hans Hugo HartmannDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12
14Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12
16Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12
18Robert MazaudEcurie Bleue DelahayeDelahaye135S3.6S-6
20Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoTipo 3083.0S-8DNA - did not appear
22Luigi ChinettiEcurie Lucy O'Reilly SchellDelahaye4.5V-12DNA - did not appear
24Max ChristenM. ChristenMaserati26B2.0S-8
26XEcurie Lucy O'Reilly SchellDelahaye4.5V-12DNA - did not appear
28René DreyfusEcurie Lucy O'Reilly SchellMaserati8CTF3.0S-8
30"Raph"Ecurie Lucy O'Reilly SchellMaserati8CTF3.0S-8DNS - broken piston
32Kenneth EvansK. EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.0S-8
72Emmanuel de GraffenriedBaron de GraffenriedMaserati6C-343.0S-6
 
 
Voiturette Class up to 1500 cc:
40Paul PietschP. PietschMaserati6CM1.5S-46CM with 4CM motor
42Heinz DipperSüddeutsche RenngemeinschaftMaserati6CM1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
44Leonhard JoaSüddeutsche RenngemeinschaftMaserati6CM1.5S-46CM with 4CM motor
46Marc HorvilleurM. HorvilleurMaserati4CM1.5S-4
48Robert AnsellR. AnsellERAB1.5S-6
50Allen PollockA. PollockERAA1.5S-6
52Tony RoltA. RoltERAB1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
54John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati4CL1.5S-4
56Guido BarbieriG. BarbieriMaserati6CM1.5S-6
58Ettore BiancoE. BiancoMaserati4CL1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
60Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati4CL1.5S-4
62Emilio RomanoE. RomanoMaserati1.5DNA - did not appear
64Giuseppe FarinaAlfa CorseAlfa Romeo1581.5S-8
66Clemente BiondettiAlfa CorseAlfa Romeo1581.5S-8
68Arialdo RuggeriScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati6CM1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
70Piero TaruffiScuderia AmbrosianaMaserati&CM1.5S-4DNA - did not appear



Lang wins the Swiss Grand Prix - a Mercedes hattrick

by Hans Etzrodt and Leif Snellman
At the sixth Swiss Grand Prix 23 starters were present: eight German cars, 13 from Italy, one from France and two from England. The 1½ -liter cars were admitted to run with the 3-liter Grand Prix cars, split into two heat races over 20 laps with a 30-lap Final held on the fast road circuit. The Alfa Romeos of Farina and Biondetti won Heat 1 followed by the Maserati of Wakefield, Rocco, Pietsch and Ansel's ERA. Heat 2 ended with a Mercedes hattrick of Lang, Caracciola and Brauchitsch followed by the Auto Union of Nuvolari, Hartmann (Mercedes), Stuck, Müller, Hasse in Auto Unions, Dreyfus (Maserati), Evans (Alfa Romeo), Graffenried (Maserati), Mazaud (Delahaye) and Christen (Maserati).
      In the Final the 11 Grand Prix cars and 6 Voiturettes ran together on a wet slippery track. At the end of the 1st lap Lang emerged in the lead with a five second gap to the little red Alfetta of Farina, an unexpected fact which set off enormous excitement to the shocked crowd. Next in line were Caracciola, Nuvolari, Brauchitsch, Hasse and Biondetti. When it stopped raining, the track began do dry and the pace of all cars went up instantly. On the 7th lap Caracciola at last passed Farina's Alfetta, and when Brauchitsch followed two laps later, the three Mercedes were in the lead followed by the red Alfetta, then the Auto Unions of Müller, Nuvolari, Stuck, Hasse and Biondetti's Alfetta. On the 16th lap Müller, who had been delayed at the start, at long last passed Farina's Alfetta. Step by step the Italian driver fell behind. After 20 laps Caracciola from 12 secs. closed in on Lang to only 6½ secs. on the 26th lap, but Lang was not to be caught. The intense high-speed battle between these two racing giants excited the spectators around the course. On the 30th round Lang drove a record lap which was crucial to beat Caracciola by just 3.1 seconds at the finish line. Brauchitsch in third place made it another Mercedes hattrick. Müller was fourth followed by Nuvolari, Hartmann and Farina in 7th place, then Dreyfus, Biondetti and Stuck 10th, who had to push by hand his broken Auto Union from the Forsthaus turn 800 meters to the finish to be qualified.
The Swiss Grand Prix was held for the sixth time on the same 7.280 km long circuit which had been used in the preceding five years. For 1939 the Swiss organizers wondered how to attract the Italians to enter the Swiss Grand Prix and finally came upon a unique solution. The race was run in two 20-lap heats over 145.6 km, one for 1500 Voiturettes and one for Grand Prix cars, with the best from each heat going into a combined 30-lap Final over 218.4 km. The Swiss Grand Prix was held for the first time in 1934 on the Bremgarten circuit, leading clockwise over regular asphalt traffic roads eight to twelve meter wide. One half led along the outer border of the large Bremgarten Forest and the other half cut through the middle of the stately and lofty forest. Along the course, which was in excellent condition, were 13 marshalling posts equipped with telephones. The circuit was fast and interesting and despite seeming easy, it was difficult with a track surface of good grip. Passing another car was not easy on most of the track where the road was only eight meter wide. Since 1935 the event had been elevated to Grande Épreuve status.
      Special significance was given to this event which was the last of the four Grande Épreuves counting toward the 1939 European Championship. After the first three races in Belgium, France and Germany, Müller held first place with 8 points followed by Lang 13, Caracciola, Brauchitsch and Nuvolari each 14. Only Müller or Lang would become European Champion after the Swiss Grand Prix.
Entries:
From the 17 Grand Prix entries listed only 13 appeared for the start. The German teams came in force to the last major Grand Prix of the year. Auto Union with team manager Dr. Karl Otto Feuereissen and Engineer Eberan von Eberhorst entered four type D cars powered by 3-liter, V-12-cylinder engines, now also with two-stage supercharging but only for Hans Stuck, Tazio Nuvolari and H.P. Müller, while Rudolf Hasse's car had single supercharging. They were without Georg Meier who was in hospital after being injured in a crash at the Swedish motorcycle GP at Malmö. Ulrich Bigalke was their reserve driver.
      Daimler-Benz Team Manager Alfred Neubauer with Technical Director Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Director Max Sailer, himself a race driver in 1914, were present with five Mercedes-Benz W 154 cars with this year's new 3-liter, V-12-cylinder engine, also with new two-stage supercharging for Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hermann Lang the main drivers. The junior driver Brendel had been injured the Saturday before at Nürburgring tests, so Hans Hugo Hartmann would drive the fourth car, less powerful as only with single supercharging. The fifth car was for practice.
      Ecurie Lucy O'Reilly Shell managed by Madame Schell from Paris, arrived with their new two ex-works Maserati 8CTF cars for René Dreyfus and "Raph". Independent entries came from Robert Mazaud who drove a 2-seat Delahaye 135S with 3.6-liter, S-6 engine not supercharged, while the Swiss Baron Emmanuel de Graffenried entered his 6C-34 Maserati. There was one independent Alfa Romeo tipo B/P3 entered by British Kenneth Evans and the Swiss Max Christen entered his 26B Maserati.
      From 16 Voiturette entries, only 10 would start. Alfa Corse managed the Alfa Romeo team with two red type 158, 1.5-liter 8-cylinder Alfetta cars for Giuseppe Farina and Clemente Biondetti, Süddeutsche Renngemeinschaft entered only Leonard Joa with 1500 cc Maserati 6CM/4CM. Independent Maserati entries came from Paul Pietsch with an ex-works 1500 Maserati 6CM/4CM. Marcel Horvilleur also had a 4CM, John Wakefield a 4CL, Guido Barbieri a 6CM and Giovanni Rocco a 4CL. Lastly there were two of last year's British ERA for Robert Ansell and Allen Pollack.
Practice:
August 17 - Thursday was the first practice for Grand Prix cars from 4:45 until 5:45 in the afternoon during excellent weather. This first practice was for the drivers to get acquainted with the circuit, adjust gear ratios, and make other adjustments to brakes and tires. Hermann Lang made the fastest lap with the Mercedes but as a result Lang's engine broke down with interior noises and a new Motor had to be brought by truck from Stuttgart. Some of the fastest times were recorded, shown below.
Thursday times
Lang (Mercedes-Benz)2m39.8s
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)2m43.8s
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2m46.6s
Müller (Auto Union)2m47.3s
Nuvolari (Auto Union)2m47.7s - 2m47.9s
Farina (Alfa Romeo Alfetta)2m45.2s
Wakefield (1500 Maserati)2m51.1s - 2m51.6s
Pietsch (1500 Maserati)2m54.1s - 2m54.2s
Rocco (1500 Maserati)3m02.9s
Joa (1500 Maserati)3m37.0s
August 18 - Friday's practice took place at the same times as on Thursday during warm and dry summer weather. Practice was more serious and lap times improved, as now the recorded lap times counted for positions on the starting grid. Lang was again the fastest driver but drove the practice car while the mechanics installed a new motor into his assigned race car. The published times were as follows:
Friday times
Lang (Mercedes-Benz)2m35.2s
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)2m36.5s - 2m36.6s
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2m36.5s - 2m36.6s
Stuck (Auto Union)2m38.7s - 2m40.7s
Müller (Auto Union)2m38.7s - 2m39.6s
Nuvolari (Auto Union)2m39.3s
Hartmann (Mercedes-Benz)2m40.9s
Bäumer (Mercedes-Benz)2m40.9s
Farina (1500 Alfa Romeo Alfetta)2m47.8s - 2m51.1s
Hasse (Auto Union)2m48.0s
Pietsch (1500 Maserati)2m50.1s
Dreyfus (3.0 Maserati)2m50.5s
Wakefield (1500 Maserati)2m50.9s - 2m52.9s
Rocco (1500 Maserati)2m54.1s
Evans (3.0 Alfa Romeo P3)3m04.1s
Raph (3.0 Maserati)3m17.4s
Christen (2.0 Maserati)3m19.9s
Pollock (1500 ERA)3m05.7s
Joa (1500 Maserati)3m15.6s
Horvilleur (1500 Maserati)3m45.0s
August 19 - Saturday practice was from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. on a dry circuit. All drivers were again present except Pietsch who did not practice. Lang was once more the fastest driver and made a new lap record in 2m33.2s at 171.07 km/h average speed. After a few very fast laps he stopped at the pits and explained to Neubauer that the chassis of the practice car was laying much calmer in the turns and for that reason he wanted the new engine installed into the practice car. Only after long arguments within the team his mechanics had a busy weekend to remove the new engine from his race car and placed into Lang's practice car, also repainting the race numbers but the car could not be tested before the race. Raph experienced piston damage in his Maserati, which could not be repaired in time for the start.
Saturday times
Lang (Mercedes-Benz)2m33.2s - 2m33.3s - 2m34.5s
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2m34.3s - 2m35.6s
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)2m34.3s
Stuck (Auto Union)2m35.8s
Nuvolari (Auto Union)2m36.2s
Müller (Auto Union)2m39.9s
Hartmann (Mercedes-Benz)2m43.0s - 2m43.1s
Hasse (Auto Union)2m45.8s
Farina (1500 Alfa Romeo)2m45.8s
Biondetti (1500 Alfa Romeo)2m46.3s - 2m53.6s
Rocco (1500 Maserati)2m48.1s
Dreyfus (3.0 Maserati)2m49.8s - 2m51.7s
Raph (3.0 Maserati)2m49.8s - 2m51.8s
Pollock (1500 ERA)3m05.5s
Ansell (1500 ERA)3m18.0s
Horvilleur (1500 Maserati)3m34.7s
Barbieri (1500 Maserati)3m45.3s
Heat 1:
The races before the final Grand Prix took place in front of 45,000 spectators with wonderful weather. Racing started at 9:40 a.m. with the National Prize of Bremgarten for sports- and race cars over 102 km, which was won after 14 laps by Graffenried (3.0 Maserati) after 44m43.7s at 133.7 km/h.
      At 11:00 a.m. started the first Heat for the 1500 cars. From the 16 Voiturette entries only 10 appeared for the start as the British driver Rolt was held back due to military service and Taruffi was busy as leader of the 6-day Gilera team in Salzburg, while Bianco, Romano, Ruggeri and Gollin did not appear for unknown reasons. The Voiturettes were to race over 20 laps or 145.6 km and lined up as follows:
Pole Position
40
Pietsch

Maserati
2m50.1s

60
Rocco

Maserati
2m48.1s

64
Farina

Alfa Romeo
2m45.2s

66
Biondetti

Alfa Romeo
2m46.3s

64
Wakefield

Maserati
2m50.9s

48
Ansell

ERA
3m18.0s

44
Joa

Maserati
3m15.6s

50
Pollock

ERA
3m05.5s

56
Barbieri

Maserati
3m45.3s

46
Horvilleur

Maserati
3m34.7s



The first Heat started shortly after 11:00 a.m. when Farina shot straight into the lead followed by Rocco, Pietsch, Wakefield, and Biondetti. In gaps followed Joa, Pollock and further behind Ansell and Barbieri. Horvilleur could not keep up with the leaders. The standing start lap beat the old 1500 cc lap record set by Arthur Dobson. Pietsch had bad luck when he lost his goggles early at the beginning and so was very much impeded. After the first lap Horvilleur retired his Maserati with engine damage. Barbieri stopped several times at the pits with gearshift problems which was the cause of his retirement on lap three. On the 3rd lap Farina created a new 1500 lap record in 2m46.5 at 158.356 km/h. After a poor start, Biondetti moved up to third place on the 4th lap passing Pietsch in front of the stands. On lap five he passed Rocco for second place. The old ERAs were hopelessly outclassed. After the 6th lap Farina started lapping the slower cars. At mid-race Farina held the lead with the times of the leading group in the following order after 10 laps:
1.Farina (Alfa Romeo)28m07.8s
2.Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)28m35.1s
3.Rocco (Maserati)28m49.5s
4.Wakefield (Maserati)28m50.6s
5.Pietsch (Maserati)30m02.2s

Wakefield passed Rocco for third place on lap 11. Pollock retired with engine damage at Kiesgrube on lap 17 but was qualified eighth. The British ERA cars had no say in this Italian family matter. Farina won the Heat and thereby also the 'Prix de Berne.' The two Alfa Romeo of Farina and Biondetti finished ahead of Wakefield in third place. Only these three drivers plus Rocco, Pietsch and Ansell advanced to the final.

Heat 1 results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.64Giuseppe FarinaAlfa CorseAlfa Romeo1581.5S-82056m28.0s
2.66Clemente BiondettiAlfa CorseAlfa Romeo1581.5S-82057m05.0s+ 37.0s
3.54John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati4CL1.5S-42057m36.9s+ 1m08.9s
4.60Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati4CL1.5S-42058m14.9s+ 1m46.9s
5.40Paul PietschP. PietschMaserati6CM1.5S-41958m05.9s
6.48Robert AnsellR. AnsellERAB1.5S-61959m21.5s
7.44Leonhard JoaSüddeutsche RenngemeinschaftMaserati6CM1.5S-41858m05.9s
8.50Allen PollockA. PollockERAA1.5S-61654m01.7s - engine
DNF56Guido BarbieriG. BarbieriMaserati6CM1.5S-63gearshift
DNF46Marc HorvilleurM. HorvilleurMaserati4CM1.5S-41engine
Fastest lap: Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo) on lap 3 in 2m46.5s = 157.4 km/h (97.8 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 154.7 km/h (96.1 mph)
Pole position speed: 158.6 km/h (98.6 mph)
Weather: overcast and dry.

Heat 2:
After a lunch break between 12 and 2:00 p.m., the second heat for Grand Prix cars was to start at 2:10 p.m. The non-starters included Chinetti and X (Delahaye), Sommer (Alfa Romeo), Raph (Maserati) was withdrawn due to a piston damage. The 13 cars lined up on the starting grid according to the practice laps reached on Friday and Saturday.
Pole Position
14
Caracciola

Mercedes-Benz
2m35.6s

10
Brauchitsch

Mercedes-Benz
2m34.3s

16
Lang

Mercedes-Benz
2m33.3s

6
Nuvolari

Auto Union
2m36.2s

8
Stuck

Auto Union
2m35.8s

12
Hartmann

Mercedes-Benz
2m40.9s

4
Müller

Auto Union
2m39.6s

2
Hasse

Auto Union
2m38.8s

28
Dreyfus

Maserati
2m49.8s

18
Mazaud

Delahaye
?

32
Evans

Alfa Romeo
3m04.1s

72
Graffenried

Maserati
?

24
Christen

Maserati
3m19.5s



At the 2:15 p.m. start Lang shot immediately to the front ahead of Caracciola and Brauchitsch, followed by Nuvolari, Stuck and Müller, the latter had a delayed start, in fact he had not fixed the steering wheel when the flag dropped. Lang finished the first lap in 2m54.8s. After the third lap, he had 100-meter advantage to Caracciola and Brauchitsch, with the same gap followed Stuck, Nuvolari and Müller in the Auto Unions. Nuvolari passed Stuck on the 4th lap to hunt down Brauchitsch in third place. The Swiss Christen retired on the 5th lap due to a brake defect. After five laps Lang was leading Caracciola by 200-meter, closely followed by Brauchitsch, Nuvolari und Stuck, then after about a 300-meter gap came Müller, Hartmann and Hasse. Dr. Feuereissen had ordered Müller not to risk anything in the second heat in view of saving his chances for the European Championship battle in the Final. On the 6th lap Nuvolari passed Brauchitsch for third place while Lang lapped Mazaud in last position. On the 9th lap Lang drove a record lap in 2m37.1s at 166.8 km/h average speed. At mid-race he held first place with the leading group in the following order of after 10 laps:
1.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)26m57.7s
2.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)27m07.2s
3.Nuvolari (Auto Union)27m13.7s
4.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)27m14.9s
5.Stuck (Auto Union)27m35.9s
6.Hartmann (Mercedes-Benz)
7.Müller (Auto Union)
8.Hasse (Auto Union)

On the 11th round Lang lapped Dreyfus, so that only the German drivers were now on the same lap. On the 12th lap Brauchitsch regained third position. At the end of the 15th lap a piece of Stuck's left rear tire cover flew off just as he passed the grand stand. He had to drive an entire lap with the shredded tire at moderate speed and as a result lost his fifth place to Hartmann. A quick tire change in 20 seconds enabled Stuck to still finish sixth. Stuck was also lapped by Lang, like before Hasse and Müller. Nuvolari experienced the same tire mishap on the last lap but still finished fourth ahead of Hartmann's Mercedes. On lap 20 Caracciola made a great effort to catch Lang and made the fastest lap of the race in 2m36.0s when it began to rain.

Heat 2 results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.16Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-122053m40.0s
2.14Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-122053m44.8s+ 4.8s
3.10Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-122054m10.7s+ 30.7s
4.6Tazio NuvolariAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-122054m20.5s+ 40.5s
5.12Hans Hugo HartmannDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-122055m33.1s+ 2m53.1s
6.8Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-121954m04.7s
7.4Hermann MüllerAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-121954m32.7s
8.2Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-121954m34.7s
9.28René DreyfusEcurie Lucy O'Reilly SchellMaserati8CTF3.0S-81956m28.2s
10.32Kenneth EvansK. EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.0S-81855m10.7s
11.72Emmanuel de GraffenriedBaron de GraffenriedMaserati6C-343.0S-61856m43.1s
12.18Robert MazaudEcurie Bleue DelahayeDelahaye135S3.6S-61756m29.3s
DNF24Max ChristenM. ChristenMaserati26B2.0S-84brakes
Fastest lap: Rudolf Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) on lap 20 in 2m36.0s = 168.0 km/h (104.4 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 162.8 km/h (101.1 mph)
Pole position speed: 171.0 km/h (106.2 mph)
Weather: overcast and dry.

Final:
After the second heat it started to trickle and then to pour, so it was raining during the break. The regulations allowed in the break before the final to fit rain tires, otherwise wheel changes between Heat and Final were not allowed. Then the regulation was cancelled that did not allow to refuel during the break. In other respects, the cars stood under strict control, so that no handwork could be done on them. When it started to rain, this created a new situation which was especially difficult for Auto Union. Based on the practice results they had used 19-inch wheels, in the hope by doing so they would somewhat preserve the engine. But this calculation was the not correct, because on Stuck's and Nuvolari's cars flew the tire protectors off. They quickly fitted 22-inch wheels only for Stuck and Nuvolari as they did not have enough 22-inch tires, so Müller and Hasse had to start with 19-inch wheels.
      After only half an hour the cars lined up on the grid for the Final, with the sun shining through the drizzle. 11 Grand Prix cars and 6 Voiturettes qualified to start in the Final over 30 laps. The order of the start line-up was by the times made in the Heat races with the two slowest cars in the last row, including Graffenried, winner of the Bremgarten race.
Pole Position
10
Brauchitsch

Mercedes-Benz
54m10.7s

14
Caracciola

Mercedes-Benz
53m44.8s

16
Lang

Mercedes-Benz
53m40.0s

12
Hartmann

Mercedes-Benz
55m33.1s

6
Nuvolari

Auto Union
54m20.5s

66
Biondetti

Alfa Romeo
57m05.0s

8
Stuck

Auto Union
54m04.7s/19 laps

64
Farina

Alfa Romeo
56m28.0s

2
Hasse

Auto Union
54m34.7s/19 laps

4
Müller

Auto Union
54m32.7s/19 laps

28
Dreyfus

Maserati
56m28.2s/19 laps

60
Rocco

Maserati
58m14,9s

54
Wakefield

Maserati
57m36.9s

49
Ansell

Maserati
59m21.5s/19 laps

40
Pietsch

Maserati
58m05.9s/19 laps

72
Graffenried

Maserati
45m43.7s/14 laps

32
Evans

Alfa Romeo
55m10.7s/18 laps



The starting signal was given by lowering the red Swiss flag with the white cross at the 3:40 p.m. when it had stopped raining but the track was wet. With ear-splitting-thunder the wild pack of 17 cars shot away, Lang took the immediate lead just ahead of Brauchitsch and Caracciola with Farina's red Alfa lined up right behind Lang. Müller's engine had not started when the flag fell and three mechanics helped him on the grid. The field was already out of sight when at last it fired up. Müller stepped on the accelerator so hard that the car spun around twice on the slippery cobbled pavement. Graffenried's car also started a few seconds late.
      After the 1st lap Lang emerged in the lead with a five second gap to the red Alfetta of Farina, closely hunted by Caracciola. Nuvolari was fourth, followed by Brauchitsch, Hasse, Biondetti, Pietsch, Stuck and Rocco. Müller pressed forward after his delayed start and was already in 11th place, ahead of Hartmann, Dreyfus and Wakefield. After the 2nd lap Lang had increased the gap to his followers. The field spread itself visibly into length and was split up into several groups. Caracciola just kept a short distance behind Farina in front of him, while Brauchitsch was close to Nuvolari and Müller had distanced himself from Hartmann. After the 2nd lap Rocco stopped at the pits and his Maserati was pushed behind the fence. It then stopped raining and when the circuit began do dry, the pace of all cars went up immediately. Before the 4th lap, Pietsch had stopped at the Kiesgrube and retired with engine trouble. On the 4th lap, Lang who drove incredibly fast, lapped the last car of Graffenried.
      After five laps Lang was 10.7 seconds ahead of the amazing Farina, who was two seconds in front of Caracciola. Müller had been storming forward and after six laps passed Hasse. On the next lap Müller passed Nuvolari to gain fourth place. On the 7th lap Caracciola finally passed Farina's Alfetta. Two laps later Brauchitsch also passed the red Alfa Romeo, so the three Mercedes were in the lead going into the 10th lap. At this time there were still 15 cars in the race after Rocco and Pietsch had retired. The Mercedes team dominated he race in the following order after 10 laps:
1.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)29m48.5s
2.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)30m02.1s
3.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)30m20.0s
4.Farina (Alfa Romeo)30m24.5s
5.Müller (Auto Union)30m57.9s
6.Nuvolari (Auto Union)
7.Hasse (Auto Union)
8.Stuck (Auto Union)
9.Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)
10.Hartmann (Mercedes-Benz)

On lap 13 Stuck passed his teammate Hasse. By mid-race the sun appeared from behind the clouds, the racetrack had dried up. After mid-race, Lang was leading Caracciola by 13 seconds while the order was the same as on lap 10 after 15 laps:
1.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)43m53s
2.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)44m06s
3.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)44m28s
4.Farina (Alfa Romeo)45m02s
5.Müller (Auto Union)45m14s
6.Nuvolari (Auto Union
7.Stuck (Auto Union)
8.Hasse (Auto Union)
9.Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)
10.Hartmann (Mercedes-Benz)

On the 16th lap Müller passed Farina's Alfa Romeo. Step by step the Alfetta driver fell behind. But Farina's surprising drive in second place early in the race showed a fantastic performance by driver and car. On 18th lap Nuvolari also passed the Alfetta for fifth place. The second Alfetta, driven by Biondetti held a steady ninth place. On the 20th lap the Auto Union of Hasse headed slowly to the pits, due to an oil pipe damage where he climbed out and the car was pushed behind the pits. The Mercedes team controlled the race pace with the following order after 20 laps:
1.Lang (Mercedes-Benz)57m47.0s
2.Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)57m58.9s
3.Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)58m26.3s
4.Müller (Auto Union)59m20.2s
5.Nuvolari (Auto Union)59m35.4s
6.Farina (Alfa Romeo)
7.Stuck (Auto Union)
8.Biondetti (Alfa Romeo)
9.Hartmann (Mercedes-Benz)
10.Dreyfus (Maserati)

On the 21st lap Hartmann in the fourth Mercedes passed the Alfetta of Biondetti, who also had to also give way to Dreyfus' Maserati. On the same lap Graffenried had to stop at his pit for fuel. His car had to be push-started and stopped after 20 meters. At this time Caracciola started his attack, using all his skills to reduce the 12 second gap to Lang. On the 26th lap Stuck passed Farina for sixth place. From one lap to the next Caracciola came ever closer, eventually only six seconds. The uncertainty of the outcome of this battle for the lead between these two top drivers was breath-taking. Neubauer signed to Lang to slow the pace, but as it was obvious that Caracciola was not going to stop the chase, Lang's wife placed herself near Neubauer and urged Lang to speed up again. With four laps to go the gap was down to six seconds.
      On the 28th lap Stuck did not appear at the grandstand because just past the Forsthaus turn his engine burst. Stuck pushed his car with hand for about 800 meters on the straight finishing stretch where it was possible to push the heavy car in front of him all the way to the finish line. Besides the time loss, he lost two laps but qualified his car as finisher, so three Auto Unions finished the race. For this wonderful sporting performance Hans Stuck received nearly as much applause as the winner Lang.
      When the last lap started, Lang's margin to Caracciola was just two seconds. Both drivers were running on the limit. Lang made the very fast lap in 2m38.4s, the fastest lap of the race, to take the victory 3.1 secs in front of Caracciola. Brauchitsch made it into a Mercedes 1-2-3 with Müller and Nuvolari being 4th and 5th after a disappointing performance. Farina made a fantastic race to finish seventh as best Voiturette driver, beating Dreyfus' 3-liter Maserati and Stuck's Auto Union. Farina won the 1500 category and received tremendous welcome from the crowds at the finish.
      The winners received their victory wreaths and were celebrated with the sounds of their national anthems by the public which had flooded the track. Now the question was asked, who would become the European Champion? Müller or Lang?

Final results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.16Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12301h24m47.6s
2.14Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12301h24m50.7s+ 3.1s
3.10Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12301h25m57.5s+ 1m09.9s
4.4Hermann MüllerAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12301h27m01.3s+ 2m13.7s
5.6Tazio NuvolariAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12301h27m08.6s+ 2m25.0s
6.12Hans Hugo HartmannDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12291h25m00.1s
7.64Giuseppe FarinaAlfa CorseAlfa Romeo1581.5S-8291h26m21.6s 
8.28René DreyfusEcurie Lucy O'Reilly SchellMaserati8CTF3.0S-8281h25m13.7s
9.66Clemente BiondettiAlfa CorseAlfa Romeo1581.5S-8281h25m40.6s 
10.8Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12281h25m44.6s
11.32Kenneth EvansK EvansAlfa RomeoTipo B3.0S-8271h27m38.6s
12.54John WakefieldJ. WakefieldMaserati4CL1.5S-4261h26m02.2s 
13.48Robert AnsellR. AnsellERAB1.5S-6251h25m23.6s 
DNF72Emmanuel de GraffenriedBaron de GraffenriedMaserati6C-343.0S-621engine
DNF2Rudolf HasseAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-1220oil pipe
DNF40Paul PietschP. PietschMaserati6CM1.5S-43engine 
DNF60Giovanni RoccoG. RoccoMaserati4CL1.5S-42  
Fastest lap: Hermann Lang (Mercedes-Benz) on lap 30 in 2m38.4s = 165.5 km/h (102.8 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 154.5 km/h (96.0 mph)
Weather: wet road, dry at end.

In retrospect:
The final classification of the 1939 European Championship - this is unofficial.
a) Maximum point system
DriverCarBFDCHTotal
Lang(Mercedes-Benz)10111022
Müller(Auto Union)1106421
Caracciola(Mercedes-Benz)1110618
Brauchitsch(Mercedes-Benz)511512
Nuvolari(Auto Union)11136
b) Minimum point system
Müller(Auto Union)512412
Lang(Mercedes-Benz)157114
Caracciola(Mercedes-Benz)671216
Brauchitsch(Mercedes-Benz)356317
Nuvolari(Auto Union)474419

In December 1939, Adolf Hühnlein, Head of the German ONS and Korpsführer of the NSKK elected Hermann Lang as the 1939 European Champion with 23 points. This declaration exposed the arrogance of Hühnlein who had no permission to do so, only the International Body of the AIACR in Paris had such authority. He manipulated the Minimum point system to his preferences, see below.

DriverCarBFDCHECPauEifelBelgradeONS
Lang(Mercedes-Benz)15711411723
Von Brauchitsch(Mercedes-Benz)35631724225
Müller(Auto Union)51241284327
Nuvolari(Auto Union)47441982130
Caracciola(Mercedes-Benz)67121663833

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
Der Bund, Bern
Der Neue Tag, Köln
Deutsche Sport-Illustrierte, München
Essener Anzeiger, Essen
Freiburger Zeitung, Freiburg
Il LITTORIALE, Roma
Kölnische-Zeitung, Köln
L'Auto, Paris
Motor-Post, Berlin
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Neue Züricher Nachrichten, Zürich
Neue Züricher Zeitung, Zürich
Solinger Tageblatt, Solingen
The Motor, London
Westfälische Landeszeitung, Dortmund
Special thanks to:
Adam Ferrington
Hugo Boecker



Stapp (Boyle)Barringer (Weil)Durant (Schoof's)

MILWAUKEE 100 Mile
(AAA National Championship)

Wisconsin State Fair Park Speedway, 27 August 1939
100 laps x 1.609 km (1.0 mi) = 160.9 km (100.0 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarEngine

2Babe StappBoyleOffenhauserS-4
4Ted HornRiverside TireMillerMiller
6Duke NalonBurd Piston RingOffenhauserS-4
8Joel ThorneThorne EngineeringAdamsSparks
15Rex MaysOffenhauserOffenhauserS-4
16Mauri RoseBurd Piston RingShawOffenhauserS-4
18George ConnorMarksAdamsMiller
19Floyd DavisWest Allis AutoWetterothOffenhauserS-4
21Russ SnowbergerMiller D-XSnowbergerMiller
23George RobsonMarionMiller
26Frank McGurkConzeOffenhauserS-4
28Louis DurantSchoof's
37Lou "Spider" WebbGreenfield ServiceNowiakStudebaker
38Frank BriskoElgin Piston PinBlumeBrisko
41George BarringerBill WhiteWeilMiller
44Emil AndresRiverside TireStevensOffenhauserS-4
47Shorty CantlonAssociated Ent.StevensOffenhauserS-4
Billy DeVoreDNQ/DNA?
Sam HanksDNQ/DNA?
Al PutnamDNQ/DNA?
Milt MarionDNQ/DNA?
Harold RobsonDNQ/DNA?
Charley PetersonDNQ/DNA?
Johnny SawyerDNQ/DNA?



Connor dominates, Mays stars, but Stapp wins in the end

Connor held the lead for the first 81 laps. he was followed by Andres and Stapp. Mays was an early retirement but then took over Thorne's car and started the chase on the leading group. Near the end of the race Stapp lead from Mays as first Andres and then Connor retired. When Mays also had to retire Stapp won easily followed by Barringer and Durant.
The Milwaukee 100 Mile race was one of three AAA national Indycar Championship races during 1939 with Indianapolis 500 and Syracuse being the other two. As the 1938-39 AAA race formula was the same as the GP formula (274.59 ci normally aspirated or 183.06 ci supercharged), the race is included here. 23 entries were to fight for the 18 positions in the grid. The qualifying took place at noon with the race starting at 2.30 p.m. the same day. The $7,500 price purse was to be divided between the top 14 drivers with $2,200 going to the race winner.
Entries:
California was strongly represented in the entry list with drivers including Babe Stapp, Joel Thorne, Mauri Rose and Frank McGurk from Los Angeles, Rex Mays and Louis Durant from Glenadale, George Robson from Alhambra and Lou "Spider" Webb from Huntigton Park.
      Duke Nalon, Frank Brisko and Emil Andres were from Chicago and Floyd Davis from Springfield, Illinois. Russ Snowberger and George Barringer came from Indianapolis and George Connor from Gary, Indiana. Shorty Cantlon came from Detroit, Michigan and Ted Horn, finally, was from Hawthorne, New Jersey. Indy winner Wilbur Shaw was not present but six of the other top ten drivers of the Indy 500 where there (including Billy Devore that did not make it into the race).
Qualifying:
The time trials took place at noon on race day. Andres proved to be fastest during qualifying taking the pole with a speed of 88.582 mph.
Race:
The interest in the race was so huge that the 30,000 tickets were sold out before the race started. Hundreds of fans were left outside as the ticket windows were closed.
Pole Position
44
Andres

40.46s

18
Connor

41.26s

15
Mays

41.44s

2
Stapp

42.19s

16
Rose

42.19s

19
Davis

42.20s

38
Brisko

42.21s

47
Cantlon

42.21s

21
Snowberger

42.36s

8
Thorne

?

6
Nalon

42.45s

4
Horn

42.48s

41
Barringer

42.54s

23
Robson

43.12s

28
Durant

43.46s

26
McGurk

44.11s

37
Webb

44.46s



Connor took over the lead on the first lap and then held on to it for the first 81 laps. First out of the race was Rex Mays with engine trouble on the ninth lap. But soon afterwards Mays was back in the race, having taking over Joel Thorne's car on lap 14. Mays returned 2 1/2 laps behind the leader. Mays then set out in wild pursuit of the rest of the field. On lap 21 Frank McGurk had to call it a day. Mays caught leader Connor on the 41st lap and unlapped himself. Andres was second and Stapp third. On the same lap Shorty Cantlon retired from fifth position. Favourite Ted Horn was the next one to retire and on lap 60 Stapp took over second position as pole man Andres retired. Stapp had done a steady drive so far but was notable to push Connor.
      Then with less than 1/4 of the race remaining things really began to happen. Both Mauri Rose in third position and and Floyd Davis in fourth position disappeared from the race soon after each other, and on the 82nd lap Connor, who had built up a half a lap lead, suddenly retired with clutch trouble and Stapp took over the lead. Mays now found himself in second position and on the lead lap some 3/4 of a mile behind the new leader. Barringer was third and Durant fourth. Mays was closing in on the leader but with eight laps to go the strain was too much for the engine. A connecting rod went through the crank case and Mays, skilfully keeping the car under control, had to retire for the second time of the day. With Stapp now in a secure one lap lead attention turned to the fight for second position between Barringer and Durant. On the 98th lap Durant was able to take over second position on the front straight but Barringer retook it on the back straight and then held it to the flag with Durant, less than a second behind, finishing third.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.2Babe StappBoyleOffenhauserS-41001h11m43.60s
2.41George BarringerBill WhiteWeilMiller1001h12m46.56s+ 1m02.96s
3.28Louis DurantSchoof's1001h12m47.39s+ 1m03.79s
4.21Russ SnowbergerMiller D-XSnowbergerMiller99
5.23George RobsonMarionMiller99
6.6Duke NalonBurd Piston RingOffenhauserS-499
7.37Lou "Spider" WebbGreenfield ServiceNowiakStudebaker98
8.38Frank BriskoElgin Piston PinBlumeBrisko98
DNF8Joel Thorne/Rex MaysThorne EngineeringAdamsSparks92engine/oil line
DNF18George ConnorMarksAdamsMiller82clutch shaft
DNF19Floyd DavisWest Allis AutoWetterothOffenhauserS-480throttle/oil line?
DNF16Mauri RoseBurd Piston RingShawOffenhauserS-476clutch/drive shaft?
DNF44Emil AndresRiverside TireStevensOffenhauserS-460air pump
DNF4Ted HornRiverside TireMillerMiller55two flat tyres
DNF47Shorty CantlonAssociated Ent.StevensOffenhauserS-441engine
DNF26Frank McGurkConzeOffenhauserS-421connecting rod
DNF15Rex MaysOffenhauserOffenhauserS-48wrist pin
Fastest lap: ?
Winner's medium speed: (134.62 km/h) 83.651 mph
Pole position speed: (142.495 km/h) 88.582 mph
Weather:



Source: The Milwaukee Sentinel.
With special thanks to Richard A. Salomon.



Stapp (Boyle)Barringer (Weil)Durant (Schoof's)

SYRACUSE 100 Mile
(AAA National Championship)

New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, 2 September 1939 (Saturday)
100 laps x 1.609 km (1.0 mi) = 160.9 km (100.0 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarEngine

2Babe StappBoyleOffenhauserS-4
3George ConnorBurd Piston Ring
4Ted HornRiverside TireMillerMiller
6Duke NalonBurd Piston RingOffenhauserS-4
15Rex MaysOffenhauserOffenhauserS-4
16Mauri RoseBurd Piston RingShawOffenhauserS-4
17Lou WebbBrommeMillerDNQ
18George ConnorMarks MillerMillerMillerDNQ - conn rod
19Floyd DavisPetilloWetterothOffenhauserS-4
23George RobsonMarionOffenhauserS-4
26Frank McGurkConzeOffenhauserS-4
27Billy DeVoreBrommeMillerDNQ
28Deacon LitzLitzMaseratiMaseratiDNQ,
29Louis DurantSchoof's
37Al PutnamGreenfield ServiceNowiakStudebakerDNQ
38Frank BriskoElgin Piston PinBlumeBrisko
41George BarringerBill WhiteWeilOffenhauserS-4
44Emil AndresRiverside TiresStevensOffenhauserS-4
47Shorty CantlonAuto ServicesStevensOffenhauserS-4



Rose wins after Mays crashes

Mays held the lead followed by Nalon, Connor and Stapp. Mays crashed hard, Nalon and Stapp retired with engine trouble. Rose came through to take the lead and dominate the latter part of the race.
The Syracuse 100 Mile race was the third and last AAA national Indycar Championship race during 1939 with Indianapolis 500 and Milwaukee being the other two. As the 1938-39 AAA race formula was the same as the GP formula (274.59 ci normaly aspirated or 183.06 ci supercharged), the race is included here.
Entries:
The entry list was very similar to Milwaukee. Of those who had qualified for Milwaukee only Joel Thorne and Russ Snowberger failed to turn up for Syracuse. The only new face in the list was Deacon Litz while Billy DeVore and Al Putnam, who both had failed to qualify for Milwakee, had a new try.
Qualifying:
The time trials took place the day before the race (Friday) with Mays taking the pole position.
Race:
The race started on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Pole Position
15
Mays

40.04s
6
Nalon


3
Connor


4
Horn


16
Rose


2
Stapp


19
Davis


26
McGurk


23
Robson


41
Barringer


38
Brisko


47
Cantlon


29
Durant


44
Andres




In the early part of the race Mays held the lead followed by Nalon, Connor and Stapp. One fourth into the race Mays was firmly in the lead with Nalon and Connor trying their best to keep up with the pace. Rose had passed Stapp for fourth. On the 29th lap Mays, who was trying to lap the entire field, lost control and crashed hard into the North Turn concrete wall. The race pace was slowed down, all drivers holding to their positions and forbidden to close the gaps while work was done on removing Mays from the wreck. Luckily Mays escaped from the crash without any serious injuries. After the Offenhouser wreck had been towed to the pits the race was restarted with Nalon now leading followed by Connor and Rose.
      Nalon's time at halfway through the race was 39m04.92s corresponding to a good 76.76 mph regardless of the earlier "Safety Car" situation. Rose passed Connor for second position and started to close in on the leader. Stapp was in fourth position with Horn fifth. On lap 55 Rose took over the lead as Nalon pitted and retired with engine troubles. At 65 laps Rose had opened up a half lap gap to Connor with Stapp in third position, almost a lap behind the leader. On lap 63 Stapp was forced to retire and Horn was now up to third. Five laps later it was Robson's turn to retire with engine problems. At 3/4 distance Rose caught second positioned Connor and put him a lap down. Rose's time at 75 laps was 59m38.72s corresponding to 75.45 mph so the pace of the race had actually slowed down. In the end Rose took it easy and Horn was able to unlap himself (i.e. from two laps down to one lap down) on lap 85. Rose took the flag from Connor and Horn. Mays also got a fair share of the ovations as he walked out from the hospital unit and waved to the spectators from the grandstand.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarEngineLapsTime/Status

1.16Mauri RoseBurd Piston RingShawOffenhauserS-41001h20m06.48s
2.3George ConnorBurd Piston Ring100
3.4Ted HornRiverside TireMillerMiller100
4.19Floyd DavisPetilloWetterothOffenhauserS-4100
5.41George BarringerBill WhiteWeilOffenhauserS-4100
6.38Frank BriskoElgin Piston PinBlumeBrisko100
7.29Louis DurantSchoof's99
8.47Shorty CantlonAuto ServicesStevensOffenhauserS-499
9.44Emil AndresRiverside TiresStevensOffenhauserS-498
DNF23George RobsonMarionOffenhauserS-468engine
DNF2Babe StappBoyleOffenhauserS-463engine
DNF6Duke NalonBurd Piston RingOffenhauserS-455engine
DNF15Rex MaysOffenhauserOffenhauserS-429crashed, overturned
DNF26Frank McGurkConzeOffenhauserS-420?
Fastest lap: ?
Winner's medium speed: 120.54 km/h (74.899 mph)
Pole position speed: 89.910 mph
Weather:



Source: "The Syracuse Herald Journal"
With special thanks to Richard A. Salomon



Nuvolari (Auto Union)von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)Müller (Auto Union)

I BEOGRAD CITY PARK RACE/BEOGRAD GP

Kalemegdan Park - Beograd (YU), 3 September 1939
50 laps x 2.794 km (1.736 mi) = 139.70 km (86.8 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Hermann LangDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12
4Tazio NuvolariAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12
6Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12
8Hermann Paul MüllerAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12
10Sandor WilheimS. WilheimMaserati8CM3.0S-8DNA - did not appear
12Boško MilenkovićB. MilenkovićBugattiT35C2.0S-8



Nuvolari wins Auto Union's final Grand Prix race.

by Hans Etzrodt and Leif Snellman
The Belgrade City Race in Yugoslavia's capital took place while WW II had already started. Nuvolari with his Auto Union won the brief 139 km battle between only five cars over this short city circuit. Von Brauchitsch took the lead right at the start only to lose it to Müller's Auto Union after a spin on lap 16. When Müller encountered tire problems on lap 30, Nuvolari gained the lead, never to lose it again. Lang retired due to an eye injury on the 6th lap, when a stone smashed his goggles. Such was the pace of the 50-lap race that three other drivers beat Brauchitsch's fastest practice time. Nuvolari won after 104 minutes, Brauchitsch 2nd, 8 secs. back and Müller 3rd, 31 secs. behind. The cause for the tire problems may have been the strong grip on the small cobblestones in conjunction with the cars jumping high over the bumps. The Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz cars had been evenly matched.
The international political atmosphere was extremely tense. A heavily armored Nazi Germany had seized Austria on 12 March of 1938, followed half a year later, on 3. October by the occupation of Czechoslovakia. Gasoline had been rationed in Germany in early August of 1939. Per car, only five liters of fuel were issued at a fuel stop. The stress and uncertainty of the times were felt even at the Swiss Grand Prix, two weeks prior to the Belgrade race. Headlines in the newspapers raised the fear of a looming war. Then, early morning of September 1, German troops marched into Poland, starting World War II. Two days later, when the Belgrade race was run, both Britain and France were at war with Germany.
      The Belgrade City Race was held for the second time in Belgrade. In 1938 it was opened as a national event and now it took place with international participation. Surprisingly the Belgrade event was newly added to the 1939 international sporting calendar, where it was only mentioned in brief for the first time on 14. July in the AUTOMOBIL-UND-MOTORRAD-ZEITUNG (Wien). The section Belgrade of the Royal Yugoslavian Automobile Club had planned a large automobile race and invited the European elite to take part. According to a September 1st report in the German Mettmanner Zeitung, the Yugoslavian organizer was strongly supported by the German NSKK organization with NSKK-Obersturmführer Dienemann, the assigned caretaker for the German teams by the Korpsführer. Dienemann, also a member of the German ONS as well as international timekeepers Schäfer and Krüger were part of race management.
      The International Belgrade City Race was held in honor of the birthday of the young King Peter II. The 2.794 km road circuit, at the Save and Danube River junction in the center of the Yugoslavian capital, encircled a little mountain, crowned by the huge old Turkish fortress Kalemegdan. The course went counter clockwise, had eight left hand turns, one fast right kink and no straight worth mentioning to do passing maneuvers. For the most part, the cobblestone streets were narrow and bumpy, causing the cars to briefly lift off the ground and jump through the air but also the wide avenues in the city park. The drivers also had to cope with tram lines on this short circuit, a bit longer than Pau but shorter than Monaco. The race had an ambience to Monte Carlo or also like the race at Pau. The 50-lap race with only five cars at the start lasted just over one hour and gave the impression of a demonstration run instead a Grand Prix. A Yugoslavian Grand Prix it was not.
Entries:
Travel was not easy in these times of political tension and uncertainty. Somehow the German teams made it to Yugoslavia, a three-day trip from Germany over Vienna and Budapest to Belgrade. Mercedes-Benz arrived with only two cars and a large tanker truck filled with fuel. Team manager Alfred Neubauer was accompanied by Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Walter Bäumer as reserve. According to Neubauer, Rudolf Caracciola did not race because his leg had become worse again. Rudi also planned to drive only at the most important grand prix races in the future. Auto Union had H.P. Müller, Tazio Nuvolari, Hans Stuck and Ulrich Bigalke as reserve driver. Why they needed four drivers for two cars had probably something to do with the uncertainty of these times. The only local entry came from Austrian Boško Milenković with a 2.0-liter Bugatti T35C from 1925 (Ex-Count Zichy) as described by Erwin Tragatsch.
      According to Stefan Brägger's account on the Maserati #3015, Sandor Wilheim from Hungary entered this 8CM Maserati but did not appear. Earlier Wilheim had been team manager of Festetics' lineup and was Hartmann's mechanic. He bought the Maserati between 1938 and 39, which was raced at the Galyatetö climb (Matra Hills) on June 25, 1939 with Ernö Festetics the winner.
Practice:
August 31 - Thursday was the first practice from 4 until 6 p.m. in the afternoon during warm weather. Due to the political uncertainty, the atmosphere in Belgrade was very tense. This first practice was for the drivers to get acquainted with the circuit, adjust gear ratios, and make other adjustments to brakes and tires. The roads were in good condition but the stone pavement included several waves. Lang drove the Mercedes-Benz 189438/8, did 19 laps, the fastest in 1m16.2s. Brauchitsch's best time with car 189445/15 was 1m17.3s after 17 laps. Both cars were equipped with the altered fuel supply system introduced at the Swiss Grand Prix, to eliminate plug and piston ring problems they were plagued with in France and Germany. Auto Union had Müller practicing, as Nuvolari had not yet arrived. Müller's fastest out of 16 laps was 1m18.3s with car 76011. Rumors about German troops at the Polish border and possible war persisted all evening. Some of the recorded times are shown below.
Thursday times
Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1m16.2s - 1m17s
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)1m17.3s - 1m17.7s
Müller (Auto Union)1m18.3s - 1m22.1s
September 1 - Friday was second practice from 4 until 6 p.m. The following morning, the fears turned to reality. The Belgrade newspapers sold special editions: "Germany at war with Poland." In all this excitement, a lot of foreign visitors left the hotels for their home destinations. The German teams were now undecided whether to race or immediately drive back to Germany. NSKK-Obersturmführer Dienemann, the assigned caretaker by the Korpsführer for the German racing teams, which were advised to remain in Belgrade. The organizers asked them to stay. Declining to start would have been a great financial loss for the promoter. The two-hour practice started again at 4 PM. Lang improved his time to 1m15.4s - 1m15.2s at 131.8 km/h after 10 laps, whereas von Brauchitsch's best out of 10 laps was 1m16.1s at 129.6 km/h. Müller practiced again with car 76011, the fastest time of 1m18.2s - with 76010 1m17s = 129.2 km/h. He pitted after 13 laps because oil and water temperatures were at 105 degrees Celsius instead the 95 desired. Air and ground temperatures were 30 and 40 degrees respectively. Müller did another seven laps without the front hood, resulting in a faster time of 1m17.2s. However, the temperatures remained the same. Since Nuvolari had not yet shown up, reserve driver Bigalke took out the second car, 76010, his best time was 1m37.0s. After five laps, he returned to the pits with fuel feed problems. Since a quick check revealed nothing, Müller drove the car for nine laps, his fastest at 1m16.8s. The German preferred car 76010, with the stronger roller-bearing engine revving at 7200 rpm. It had been destined for Nuvolari, but since the Italian's arrival was still uncertain, the car was now assigned to Müller. Later, after changing the final drive ratio on his five-speed transaxle, Müller was able to use third gear only, for the entire circuit.
Friday times
Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1m15.4s - 1m15.2s
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)1m16.1s - 1m18.4s
Müller (Auto Union 76011)1m18.2s
Müller (Auto Union 76010)1m16.8s - 1m17s
Bigalke (Auto Union76010)1m37.0s
September 2 - Saturday afternoon was third practice. Saturday morning, Nuvolari and Stuck finally arrived in the capital with the same train. Since Auto Union had only two cars, the faster practice time was to decide between Stuck and Müller to start next to Nuvolari. After some discussion, Stuck was asked to abstain from practice and the race. The reasoning was, that Müller, with 45 laps already well familiarized with the circuit, would try anything to outdo Stuck's time. Stuck on the other hand, would have requested an equal number of laps to approach Müller's best time. Therefore, the engine would already have been stressed with higher rpm's during practice and this was not acceptable.
      At 12:00 noon, the promoters had allowed a special practice session for Nuvolari. At the end of ten laps, his best time with car 76011 was 1m20.2s. After another six laps he was down to 1m17.2s. At the official practice between 4:00 and 6:00 PM, lap times tumbled further. Brauchitsch did 1m14.2s and Lang could only improve to 1m15.0s. He promptly wanted to go out again to beat von Brauchitsch's time, but Neubauer objected, since Lang already occupied the front row. Within another six laps, Nuvolari bettered his time to 1m16.3s. His car had the weaker plain bearing engine, revving only at 6800 rpm. He then took his Auto Union out again for two five lap stints, to scrub in two sets of tires. Müller got stranded with fuel feed problems, after having done six laps. Practice was interrupted to tow the Auto Union back to the pits. After the faulty carburetor was repaired, Müller did another seven laps and lowered his time to 1m15.2s.
Saturday times
Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)1m14.2s
Lang (Mercedes-Benz)1m15.0s
Müller (Auto Union 76011)1m15.2s
Nuvolari (Auto Union 76010)1m16.3s
Race:
The 50,000 spectators, aware that Germany had attacked Poland two days ago, knew since this Sunday morning, that Great Britain and France in support of Poland, were at war with Germany. The helpless German teams felt not inclined to race. After all, Alfred Neubauer returned from the German embassy with the news that they were going to race. In the meantime, three races for motorcycles and four for sports cars were run since the morning, with the grand prix car battle crowning the day's events in the late afternoon. The five cars lined up as follows:
Pole Position
2
Lang

Mercedes-Benz
1m15.0s

6
Brauchitsch

Mercedes-Benz
1m14.2s

8
Müller

Auto Union
1m15.2s

4
Nuvolari

Auto Union
1m16.3s

12
Milenković

Bugatti




At the 4:45 p.m. start Lang intended to be very quick but had rear-wheel shatter, enabling von Brauchitsch to shoot into the lead. A furious Lang tried to pass, only to be pushed onto the pavement. For the first six laps the order remained with Brauchitsch ahead of Lang, Nuvolari, Müller and Milenković. Brauchitsch was driving very wild, with Lang glued to his tail, looking for a chance to pass. Neubauer waved his house-flag, but Manfred maintained his wild style.
      On lap 6 Brauchitsch had taken one of the corners too fast, his car slid to the road edge and his rear wheels threw up a burst of little stones. One stone shattered the wind-screen of Lang's Mercedes and both glasses of his goggles. Lang, momentarily blinded by the impact, drove instantly along the right side, to make space when passed by Müller and Nuvolari, who now hunted after the leading Brauchitsch. Lang then moved his car slowly to the pits with a bleeding eye. Dr. Gläser, the German team doctor, pulled the glass splinters out of both eyes. Bäumer, in the meantime, was ordered into Lang's car, which had fallen back two laps. So, on lap 8 Bäumer, who had not practiced on this circuit and did not know the track, pulled out of the pits just after Brauchitsch had passed but directly ahead of the two Auto Unions, evidently to hold them back. On lap 8 Bäumer drove Lang's car against a popular tree, damaging the car to be retired. Fortunately, the driver was not injured. As the car was already two laps behind, it only completed six laps. Brauchitsch was still driving spectacular and needlessly going ever faster, led Müller, who had gone by Nuvolari.
      On lap 15, Brauchitsch raised his pace and established a new lap record in 1m14.0s, faster than his practice lap. On lap 16, when Brauchitsch was 13.8 seconds ahead of Müller with Nuvolari glued to his tail, he took a right-hand uphill turn too fast, spun his car around and stalled the engine. The car faced the wrong way and by letting his car roll downhill in the wrong direction, he was able to re-start. This was a rules violation, a maneuver not noticed by any of the officials. The moment Brauchitsch reached a wider road, he turned his car around and at that moment the Auto Union tandem of Müller and Nuvolari arrived in hot pursuit. Both drivers avoided a collision with the Mercedes, performing exceptional run-around maneuvers.
      Müller was now the new leader from lap 16 to 30, five seconds ahead of Nuvolari and eight of Brauchitsch. On lap 22 Müller equaled Brauchitsch's lap record of 1m14.0s at 134.6 km/h.
      On lap 30, when Müller had a large portion of the left rear tire breaker fly away, he lost much time to drive at reduced speed to the pits. From lap 30 to 36 Nuvolari was now the new leader, five seconds ahead of Brauchitsch. With no obstructions ahead, Nuvolari equaled the lap record set by Brauchitsch, who had to stop on lap 36 with shattered rear tires. Now Nuvolari increased his advantage to 50 seconds, until he also had to stop on lap 39 for new tires. After refueling and changing tires in only 26 seconds, the mechanics push-started the Auto Union instead of using a portable starter. This was an obvious rule violation and Mercedes-Benz team manager, Neubauer, wanted to protest. But Wilhelm Sebastian from Auto Union, pointed to von Brauchitsch's illegal maneuver before. Nuvolari rejoined 8 seconds ahead of Brauchitsch and kept his lead, always six to eight seconds ahead of the Mercedes.
      On the last ten laps the excited spectators witnessed a breathtaking final battle between Nuvolari and Brauchitsch who hunted down the Italian. The Mercedes progressively came closer to the Auto Union but only up to eight seconds. In addition to the German cars, the Bugatti of Milenković was of no importance and was lapped numerous times. After just 64 minutes it was all over, with Nuvolari 7.6 seconds clear of von Brauchitsch and 30.6 seconds ahead of Müller. Milenković, driving 19 laps behind, was flagged off. Storming jubilation erupted, cheering the three drivers for their spectacular fight to the finish. The Prince Regent, Paul, presented Nuvolari with the cup of the young King Peter II, on his birthday. The Belgrade Time newspaper reported that Nuvolari also received 15,000 dinars in cash and a golden plaque. Von Brauchitsch received a silver snuffbox from the President of the Belgrade municipality, 10,000 dinars and a silver cup in the shape of a rider. H.P. Müller was presented with a silver cup from the Marshall of the Court. It was to be Auto Union's last grand prix victory and the last grand prix for the 3-liter supercharged formula, which carried on until after the war in 1946. The Belgrade City Race had concluded the era of The Golden Thirties.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.4Tazio NuvolariAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12501h04m03.8s
2.6Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-12501h04m11.4s+ 7.6s
3.8Hermann MüllerAuto Union AGAuto UnionD3.0V-12501h04m34.4s+ 31.6s
4.12Boško MilenkovićB. MilenkovićBugattiT35C2.0S-8311h04m27.2s
DNF2H. Lang / W. BäumerDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW 1543.0V-126crash by Bäumer
Fastest lap: Müller & Nuvolari (Auto Union) and v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz) all in 1m14.0s = 135.9 km/h (84.5 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 130.8 km/h (81.3 mph)
Pole position speed: 135.6 km/h (84.2 mph)
Weather: warm, sunny.
In retrospect:
Contemporary newspapers and magazines like 'Motor und Sport' as well as books by Herzog, Kirchberg, Tragatsch and others refer to this race as the 'Belgrade City Park Race' or 'Belgrade City Race'. Therefore, this event will not be accepted as the Yugoslavian Grand Prix, as labeled in some publications.

According to Mercedes-Benz team manager Alfred Neubauer, Brauchitsch attempted to quit and fly to Switzerland on Saturday morning. Only quick-witted action by Neubauer prevented this from happening, when he pulled the escapee off the plane. Chris Nixon wrote: "According to Alfred Neubauer, when he heard the news [that England declared war on Germany] on the radio, von Brauchitsch phoned the airport and booked himself a flight out of Belgrade, asking Hermann Lang to tell Neubauer that he had gone home, Lang ruined Don Alfredo's breakfast in doing so for the latter abandoned his meal and took a taxi to the airport. Von Brauchitsch was sitting in the plane, waiting for take-off, when a furious Neubauer stormed aboard and demanded to know what the hell he thought he was doing! Without waiting for an answer, Don Alfredo grabbed Manfred's baggage and virtually marched him off the plane. Mercedes was in Belgrade to race and race they would - and that meant von Brauchitsch. Only when they were back in the airport did Neubauer notice that Manfred's plane was bound not for Germany, but Switzerland!"

For the return trip Neubauer organized a caravan of all the German trucks. Off they went trying to reach the German border. With rumor that all fuel would be confiscated in Hungary, the caravan instead chose to take some dirty country road through Slovenia, Croatia, and the mountains of Slovenia into Austria. To see through the dust, the trucks had to leave a one-kilometer gap between each other. Finally reaching the factory gates, the trucks were confiscated by the German army. The great teams were no more.

Louis Sugahara in Mercedes-Benz, publ. 1997, (translated): "As there were no Italian makes and only few locals in old 5-L Bugatti participating, the Yugoslavian GP was primarily a German demonstration. Possibly the race took place only through pressure by the National Socialists, to demonstrate in Eastern Europe the might of Germany. Perhaps for that reason refused many journalists to acknowledge it as official GP-race."

Primary sources researched for this article:
Automobil-Und-Motorrad-Zeitung, Wien
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
Deutsche Sport-Illustrierte, München
Kölnische Zeitung, Köln
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Politica, Belgrad
Solinger-Tageblatt, Solingen
The Motor, London
Time, Belgrad
Volks-Zeitung, Wien
Westfälische-Landeszeitung, Dortmund
Special thanks to:
Hugo Boecker
Richard Armstrong
Vladislav Shaikhnurov



de Teffé (Maserati) - looking for picturesB. Lopes (Alfa Romeo) - looking for picturesAvellar (Ford V8) - looking for pictures

II CIRCUITO DE GÁVEA NACIONAL

Gávea - Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 29 October 1939
20 laps x 11.16 km (6.335 mi) = 223.2 km (138.7 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Arthur Nascimento JúniorA. Nascimento Jr.Alfa Romeo8C-353.8
4Amaral JúniorAmaral JúniorFordSpecial3.6V-8*
6"Chico" LandiF. LandiAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2
8Manuol de TefféM. de TefféMaserati6CM1.5
10Oldemar da Silva RamosO. da Silva RamosAlfa Romeo8C 23002.3
12Luiz Tavares de MoraesL. de MoraesMaserati8CM3.3
14Rubem AbrunhosaR. AbrunhosaBugatti-StudebakerSpecial4.1
16Júlio de MoraesJ. de MoraesWandererSpecial2.6
18Geraldo AvellarG. AvellarFordSpecial3.6V-8
20José dos Santos SoeiroJ. dos SantosFiatSpecial1.5
22Quirino LandiQ. LandiAlfa RomeoMonza2.3
24Ângelo GonçalvesÂ. GonçalvesFordSpecial3.6V-8
26Domingos LopesD. LopesBugattiT37A1.5
28José BernardoJ. BernardoFordSpecial3.6V-8
30Cirio BurliniDNA
32Luigi "Gino" BiancoL. BiancoBugatti-ChryslerSpecial5.3
34José ChicelliJ. ChicelliLanciaSpecial2.5
36Abilio de Jesus MonteiroDNA
36Luís TeixeiraL. TeixeiraFordSpecial3.6V-8
38Manoel de SouzaM. de SouzaAlfa Romeo1.7DNS?
40Diogo da Costa e SilvaD. da CostaWillysSpecial2.2
42Benedicto LopesB. LopesAlfa RomeoMonza2.3
44Americo Marques GonçalvesDNA
46Jeronymo B. MonteiroDNA
48Antonio BotelhoDNA
50Francisco CredentinoF. CredentinoMaserati8CM3.2S-8*
52Newton TeixeiraN. TeixeiraAlfa Romeo6C 17501.8

De Teffe wins at Rio with his voiturette Maserati

Under Construction
Entries:

     
Practice:
Race:

Pole Position
42
B Lopes

Alfa Romeo
7m58.8s

8
de Teffe

Maserati
7m58.1s

2
Nascimento

Alfa Romeo
7m42.9s

6
F Landi

Alfa Romeo
7m41.6s

22
Q Landi

Alfa Romeo
8m34.7

10
da Silva Ramos

Alfa Romeo
8m29.7s

14
Abrunhosa

Bugatti
8m20.0s

26
D Lopes

Bugatti
8m04.7s

50?
Credentino

Maserati
9m10.0s

12
Tavares Moraes

Maserati
8m53.8s

18
Avellar

Ford
8m38.8s

20
Santos Soeiro

Ford
8m36.7s

24
Gonçalves

Ford


16
de Moraes

Wanderer
9m56.1s

34
Chicelli

Lancia
9m39.6s

40
da Costa e Silva

Willys
9m27.8s

28
Bernardo

Ford

4
Amaral Júnior

Maserati

32
Bianco

Bugatti

36
Teixeira

Ford

38
de Souza?

Alfa Romeo


52
Teixeira

Alfa Romeo





Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTime/Status

1.8Manoel de TefféM. de TefféMaserati6CM1.5S-6202h44m06.8s
2.42Benedicto LopesB. LopesAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8202h46m36.5s+ 2m29.7s
3.18Geraldo AvellarG. AvellarFordSpecial3.6V-8202h50m11.3s+ 6m04.5s
4.4Amaral JúniorA. JúniorFordSpecial3.6V-8202h51m04.9s+ 6m58.1s
5.20José dos Santos SoeiroJ. dos Santos SoeiroFiatSpecial1.5202h51h38.4s+ 7m31.6s
6.24Ângelo GonçalvesÂ. GonçalvesFordSpecial3.6V-8202h51m39.8s+ 7m33.0s
7.6"Chico" LandiF. LandiAlfa Romeo8C 23003.2S-820
8.26Domingos LopezD. LopezBugattiT37A1.5S-420
9.16Júlio de MoraesJ. de MoraesWandererSpecial2.6 20  
10.28José BernardoJ. BernardoFordSpecial3.6V-820  
11.50Francisco CredentinoF. CredentinoMaserati8CM3.219mechanical
DNF14Rubem AbrunhosaR. AbrunhosaBugatti-StudebakerSpecial4.112damage 
DNF40Diogo da Costa e SilvaD. da Costa e SilvaWillysSpecial2.2 11  
DNF22Quirino LandiQ. LandiAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-810engine
DNF12Luiz Tavares de MoraesL. Tavares de MoraesMaserati8CM3.310fire
DNF2Arthur Nascimento JúniorA. Nascimento JúniorAlfa Romeo8C-353.85differnential
DNF32Luigi "Gino" BiancoL. BiancoBugatti-ChryslerSpecial5.3 5  
DNF36Luis TeixeiraL TeixeiraFordSpecial3.6V-85  
DNF10Oldemar da Silva RamosO. da Silva RamosAlfa Romeo8C 23002.3S-84
DNF34José ChichelliJ. ChichelliLanciaSpecial2.5 1  
DNF52Newton TeixeiraN. TeixeiraAlfa Romeo6C 17501.8S-60accident
?38Manoel de SouzaM. de SouzaAlfa Romeo1.7 
Fastest lap: Arthur Nascimento Júnior (Alfa Romeo) on lap 1 in 7m48.2s
Winner's medium speed: 81.6 km/h (50.7 mph)
Pole position speed: 87.0 km/h (54.1 mph)
Weather:

In retrospect:

Primary sources researched for this article:
Jornal do Brasil
O Globo
A Noite, Rio de Janeiro
Also:
http://www.luik.com.br/index.php/corridas/69-a-temporada-de-1939
Special thanks to:
Napoleão Ribeiro
Annibal Affonso Magalhães da Silva
Vladislav Shaikhnurov



Star 10 December 1939: Was the intended day for the first Bangkok Grand Prix, a 60 laps race on a 2 mile track for
1500 cc Voiturettes. Planned by B. Bira the preliminary entry list consisted of:
SommerMaserati
GérardMaserati
"Raph"Maserati
PietschMaserati
AitkenERA
MaclureRiley
MaysERA
HerkuleynsMG
LuraniMaserati
TaruffiMaserati
de GraffenriedMaserati
"B Bira"ERA

The cars needed to be shipped in October. For obvious reasons the race was never held.
(Info supplied by Rudiger de Jonghe)




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