25 – 1936 Eifelrennen


A series taken from the 162-page Motor Sport special 100 Greatest Grands Prix (other specials are available here).

It had been 12 months since Rudi Caracciola wagged a finger, the established ace considering his young rival to be in over his head: but for a missed shift entering the home straight, Bernd Rosemeyer would have won the 1935 Eifelrennen, too… 

Caracciola was correct in that Rosemeyer’s maiden season would prove to be a curate’s egg. Despite topping it off with a victory at Brno in Czechoslovakia, Bernd had much to learn. Where Caracciola erred – and how possibly could he have known? – was that Rosemeyer was a genius: a natural, ideal for an ‘unnatural’ car. This he demonstrated at a Nürburgring wrapped in an unsafe blanket of fog.

Caracciola and Tazio Nuvolari, the era’s two finest, led the early wet stages of this 10-lapper, with Rosemeyer, who had endured a difficult start to the season, keeping a watching brief: Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Auto Union.

Caracciola soon retired and Nuvolari took the lead. The Alfa had 60bhp less than the chasing Auto Union but handled better – and was driven by the superstar who had pulled off a sensational victory in the previous season’s German GP at the same circuit.

All the more astonishing, therefore, that Rosemeyer, apparently unconcerned by the diminishing visibility – down to 20 metres in places – should sweep ahead and boom into the gloom. He lapped half a minute faster than his rival from thereon to win by more than two minutes. The 300,000 crowd could scarcely believe its eyes. Rosemeyer trusted his implicitly. PF

About 100 Greatest Grands Prix | From the editor Damien Smith
The Grand Prix motor races we can never forget…

This was a special one-off magazine, dedicated to our love of Grand Prix racing and produced by the same team that brings you Motor Sport each month.

It seemed a good idea: whittle down 107 years of racing history to come up with 100 GPs that could be considered the ‘greatest’ – then rank them in meritocratic order. By week three, the old grey matter was beginning to ache…

Defining greatness was the first task. There were the obvious races – the wheel-to-wheel duels, the comeback classics. But there were also individual performances of supreme dominance, races that might not necessarily have been the most exciting to witness. Greatness goes way beyond thrill-a-minute, we decided.

Choosing which races should make the list was hard enough; ranking the top 100 in some sort of order was even tougher, especially when it came to the crunch: which should be number one? We never did agree unanimously on the ‘greatest’, but if the magazine was to be finished a decision had to be taken. And that’s what I’m here for!

Will you agree with our choice and order? Probably not. But if steam begins to issue from your ears, take a deep breath. In any exercise such as this, there is no definitive list – because there can’t be. Our top 100 is based on opinion, nothing more, designed to be a bit of fun and to spark good-natured debate among fans of the world’s greatest sport.

You can download 100 Greatest Grands Prix in PDF form in the Motor Sport app.

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