1934-1943

Perhaps the most exciting era of racing ends with history's bloodiest war. hopes of better things to come are vital...motor sport does its bit

Driver: Rudolf Caracciola

A tea party in Britain

There are thousands of motor racing enthusiasts in this country who have never been able to spare the time to see a grand prix race abroad, and it was an excellent idea on the part of Mercedes-Benz to bring over one of the racing cars which have been so successful all over Europe during the past two years, and to exhibit it in their new showroom at Park Lane. The occasion was celebrated by giving a 'tea party' to representatives of the motoring press. Guest of honour was Rudi Caracciola, who had come to London straight from Paris after having received the gold medal of the AIACR, as the most successful racing driver of the year.

During the course of his speech Herr Caracciola referred with pleasure to the splendid reception which had been accorded him in Ireland when he raced in the 1929 TT race, and also at Shelsley Walsh, at which it will be remembered he won the sportscar class. He looked forward to racing in England once again.

Speeds, of course, have risen enormously since those days, he went on to say, but the driver's outlook had not changed much even though the car built under the 750kg Formula is capable of 200mph. Every competent driver calculates his chances before the start and drives accordingly, and thanks to independent springing it is very little harder to hold one's course at a speed of 200mph than it used to be at 130mph in the old days.

At the same time luck must still play a considerable part in the final result. As an example, he dealt with his experiences in this year's Spanish GP:

The starting positions were settled by drawing lots and he had the misfortune to be placed in the last row. None of the drivers looked like giving way, but a mistake on Caracciola's part settled the issue. Confusing the position of the pedals for a moment with those of his 5-litre touring car, he stamped firmly on the accelerator instead of the brake and shot up to the corner at such a speed that the other drivers took fright and let him past

Caracciola still walks with a limp as a result of his accident at Monte Carlo two years ago, but the leg gives no trouble when he is driving. All the same, he was questioned about his rumoured retirement.

"I haven't really thought about it yet," said `Caratsch'. "All I said was that I was now at the zenith of my career, and wondered whether I ought not to drop out before I get on the downgrade. As it is, I look forward to driving again next year." This will bring great satisfaction to his many friends and admirers who were afraid that they had seen him race for the last time.

A charming, smiling and cheerful personality who speaks with a modesty characteristic of one of the world's very best drivers, he must be one of Germany's best ambassadors, and it was with real sincerity that Motor Sport wished him the best of luck in next year's racing season.
November 1935