This was Bernd Rosemeyer’s season – his brief but glorious moment at centre stage. No one had arrived so quickly (after just one year in cars) to dominate so impressively. Rosemeyer oozed star quality and his marriage to aviation ace Elly Beinhorn elevated the couple to the front pages of Germany’s newspapers.
Rosemeyer’s year did not begin well however, for he crashed in the Monaco rain and was beaten by the irrepressible Tazio Nuvolari’s Alfa Romeo on the tight confines of Budapest’s Népliget Park. But Rosemeyer scored successive victories in the German, Swiss and Italian GPs to secure the 1936 European Championship for Drivers.
In contrast, Mercedes-Benz endured a horrible year. Rudolf Caracciola beat the Auto Unions of Achille Varzi and Hans Stuck at Monaco but the W25C was no match for its mid-engine rival. Mercedes eventually withdrew at mid-season to regroup and prepare for 1937.
Nuvolari’s Hungarian heroics apart, he travelled to America to beat a mainly local field in the reintroduced Vanderbilt Cup at Long Island’s new Roosevelt Raceway. Second that day was Jean-Pierre Wimille’s Bugatti T59 but outright success for the French marque was restricted to national sports car events. The Automobile Club de la France switched its races to those rules to avoid inevitable defeat to the Germans and Wimille/Raymond Sommer won the French GP with a Bugatti T57G.
NOTE: The Hungarian, French and Donington GPs were non-championship events.