On July 22nd, 1894 twenty one assorted vehicles rumbled out of Paris on their way to Rouen. A year later a race was held from Paris to Bordeaux and back to Paris. The winner was Emile Levassor with his Panhard et Levasor who covered the 1,200 kilometers in 48 hours.
The first motor competition had begun.
Rudolf Caracciola. B January 30, 1901 at Remagen, Germany.
D September 28, 1959.
Caracciola born in Remagen, Germany to a Hotelier Italian family, was a champion racer in Europe in the Grand Prix motor racing era.
Nicknamed “The Ringmeister” for his success in rainy conditions especially at Nurburgring. Caracciola’s legend grew from his very first race, the 1926 German Grand Prix (Grosser Preis Von Deutschland) at the Avus circuit, in Berlin. Caracciola, at the time a 25 year-old weekend racer and salesman for Daimler-Benz, won the event in a factory sports car he borrowed for the weekend. He made history in 1931 after becoming the first non-italian driver to win the famous Mille Miglia.
He went on to win the driving championship three times between 1934 y 1938 even in the light of devastating injuries and the death of his wife in an avalanche.
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) and fellow countryman Bernd Rosemeyer (Auto Union) battled for supremacy year after year during the “Silver Arrow” era of motor racing (1934-1938).
After spending World War II in exile in Lugano, Switzerland, Caracciola returned to the track in 1946. Tony Hulman invited Caracciola to compete in the 1946 Indy 500, for which Caracciola was schedule to drive a pre-war Mercedes Benz W165, but the car did not clear customs in Switzerland. Car owner Joel Thorne then invited Caracciola to compete in a Thorne Engineering car.
Caracciola crashed violently in the Speedway’s Turn 2 during practice after -it is believed- he was struck in the face by a bird. He suffered a concussion and skul fracture.
Hulman and his wife, the late Mary Fendrich Hulman, invited Caracciola and his wife, Alice, to be their guest in Terre Haute, Indiana, while Caracciola recuperated. Their friendships remained strong until Caracciola’s death of a bone disease in 1959.
In 1968, Alice presented the Hulman’s with the trophy collection. More than 100 pieces of Caracciola collection remain on display at the Indianapolis Speedway Museum.
In 1998, Rudolf Caracciola was elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
|Tazio Nuvolari||Ain Diab, Morocco||A.C.|
|Achille Varzi||Albi, France.||Adler.|
|Alberto Ascari||Avus, Germany||Alfa Romeo|
|Alfonso de Portago||Bari, Italy||Arnolt-Bristol|
|Bernd Rosemeyer||Belgrade, Yugoslavia||Aston Martin|
|Briggs Cunningham||Berne, Swiss||Auto Union|
|Carel Godin de Beaufort||Brno-Masaryk, Czch||Bentley|
|Dan Gurney||Budapest, Hungary||B.R.M.|
|Eliska Junkova||Caen, France||Bugatti|
|Enzo Ferrari||Clermont-Ferrand, (F)||Cisitalia|
|Eugenio Castellotti||Goodwood, U.K.||Connaught|
|Felice Bonetto||Indianapolis, USA||Corvette SS|
|Hans von Stuck||Le Mans, France||Chaparral|
|Jean Behra||Mille Miglia, Italy||Eagle-Weslake|
|Joakim Bonnier||Modena, Italy||E.R.A.|
|Juan M. Fangio||Monte Carlo, Monaco||Ferrari|
|Luigi Musso||Monthlery, France||Fiat|
|Luiggi Villoresi||Monza, Italy||Jaguar|
|Manfred von Brauchitsch||Nurburgring, Germany||Kurtis|
|Maurice Trintignant||Oporto, Portugal||Lago-Talbot|
|Mike Hawthorn||Panamericana, Mexico||Lancia|
|Olivier Gendebien||Pescara, Italy||Lancia-Ferrari|
|Peter Collins||Reims, France||Le Monstre|
|Phil Hill||Rouen, France||Lister|
|Piero Taruffi||Sebring, USA.||Maserati|
|Prince Bira||Silverstone, U.K.||Mercedes Benz|
|Richard Seaman||Spa-Francorcham, (B)||O.S.C.A.|
|Rodger Ward||Targa Florio, Italy||Panhard|
|Rudolf Caracciola||Tripoli, Lybia||Porsche|
|Stirling Moss||Vanderbilt Cup, USA||Simca|
|Wolfgang von Trips||Zaandvort, Holland||Vanwall|