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Paul Pietsch 1911 - 2012


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#1 JoBo

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 16:14

On May 31 2012 Paul Pietsch, the ex-Bugatti-, Alfa Romeo and Maserati driver, passed away.

http://www.driver.de..._56989694/index

R.I.P.

JoBo

Edited by JoBo, 06 June 2012 - 16:15.


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#2 hamsterace

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 16:37

On May 31 2012 Paul Pietsch, the ex-Bugatti-, Alfa Romeo and Maserati driver, passed away.

http://www.driver.de..._56989694/index

R.I.P.

JoBo

How very sad, although there can be few complaints at his having reached a remarkable 101 years of age. To my knowledge he was the only member of the Club des Anciens Pilotes to reach the milestone of 100 - perhaps someone better informed than I could confirm this?

It has indeed been a very sad few weeks, with the passing of Les Leston, Carroll Shelby, Roy Salvadori and now Herr Pietsch - not to mention Ted Cutting from the world of engineering/ design.

As a relative youngster (37) compared to them all, I sadly never had the pleasure of seeing them in their competitive careers. However, I was fortunate enough to meet the first three mentioned - and was struck by their sheer class. I merely hope that the superstars of today learn to conduct themselves with as much humility, dignity and good humour in due course.

Thank you, gentlemen.

#3 Option1

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 16:55

Well said hamsterace. RIP Herr Pietsch.

Neil

#4 kayemod

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 17:05

On May 31 2012 Paul Pietsch, the ex-Bugatti-, Alfa Romeo and Maserati driver, passed away.


Let's not forget his brief and not particularly successful period with Auto Union.


#5 Gabrci

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 18:12

How very sad, although there can be few complaints at his having reached a remarkable 101 years of age. To my knowledge he was the only member of the Club des Anciens Pilotes to reach the milestone of 100 - perhaps someone better informed than I could confirm this?


I must admit I hadn't known he was a member of the CIAPGP, but indeed he was the first and so far only Grand Prix driver to reach this remarkable age. RIP, Herr Pietsch.

Edited by Gabrci, 06 June 2012 - 18:12.


#6 Tim Murray

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 18:36

I'd have said he was the second centenarian Grand Prix driver, following Ernst Henne. Very sad but not unexpected news. RIP Paul Pietsch.

#7 D-Type

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 18:42

What sad news. I believe he was the last surviving prewar grand prix driver

#8 David M. Kane

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 19:06

I believe he was the founder of the magazine "Das Auto". RIP Paul.

#9 jj2728

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 19:13

RIP

#10 Gabrci

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 19:17

I'd have said he was the second centenarian Grand Prix driver, following Ernst Henne. Very sad but not unexpected news. RIP Paul Pietsch.


I'm sorry I completely forgot about him - did he only race in sportscar Grand Prix, or in single-seater races as well?

I think Heinz Brendel is still with us, isn't he? If so, he is I believe the last remaining pre-war Grand Prix driver.

#11 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 19:41

The founder of Das Auto indeed, but not only that, it's a whole era of racing that's gone in one go here. It's best not to remember him for his 3 World Championship Grand Prix starts, but for his peformances pre-war in Grand Prix and for his performances in sportscars throughout his career. Then he left a wonderful legacy for German motorsport with his publishing.

What pleases me is that he was able to properly enjoy his 100th birthday. One month short of 101 is a magnificent age to reach, but losing 5 Grand Prix drivers in 3 weeks is a pretty tough run of form. At this rate, we won't have any 50's drivers left soon.

RIP, Paul.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Louis Gerard start a Grand Prix, as that would be 3 who made it over 100.

#12 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 19:44

Also, I will be interested to see if Pietsch's death means any shedding of light on whether Robert Lacaze is still alive. This would make Lacaze the oldest, but I'm not convinced he's still alive. If not, it's the indefatigable Robert Manzon and the even more indefatigable John Fitch.

Edited by Richard Jenkins, 06 June 2012 - 21:07.


#13 Tim Murray

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 20:03

I'm sorry I completely forgot about him - did he only race in sportscar Grand Prix, or in single-seater races as well?

Henne raced three times for Mercedes-Benz in 1934 (Coppa Acerbo, Italian GP and Masaryk GP) and was reserve driver at other races.

#14 Tim Murray

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 20:18

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Louis Gerard start a Grand Prix, as that would be 3 who made it over 100.

Yes indeed - 1939 Belgian GP (6th) and a few lesser races.

#15 Rob G

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 00:31

I think Heinz Brendel is still with us, isn't he? If so, he is I believe the last remaining pre-war Grand Prix driver.

And, if so, he'd be older than La Caze and Manzon by a little over two years.

#16 Leif Snellman

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 11:31

Working at his mother's brewery did not interest the young German Paul Pietsch. He prefered cars and in 1932 at an age of 20 he bought von Morgen's Bugatti T35 and started racing. The next year he changed to a Alfa Romeo Monza. The car was later rebuilt to a 2.6 litre monoposto. In 1934 he went ice racing in Sweden and Norway and also took part in the Finnish GP. He then had a bad crash at a mountain climb race and broke his leg. He was approached by both Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union for the 1935 season. He participated in the Auto Union test drives at Nürburgring and proved to be the fastest of the participants and got a contract for 1935 . But the Auto Union proved hard to drive and the season wasn't too successful for Pietsch. He did not get on well with team manager Willy Walb and then in September Pietsch had to divorce his wife Ilse who had fallen in love with Achille Varzi, a situation that further poisoned the season. The story can be found in Alfred Neubauer's book "Männer, Frauen und Motoren" (a.k.a "Speed was my Life") where Pietsch is called "Peter Paulsen". Pietsch left GP racing in 1936 and concentrated on business instead. In 1937 he was back in Laszlo Hartmann's troublesome old Maserati 6C-34. He was not even allowed to start in the Monaco GP as the car as usual was leaking oil. Pietsch finally destroyed the car at the Masaryk GP at Brno. In 1938-39 he raced Maserati voiturettes both as works driver and as privateer. At the 1939 German GP he raced the works Maserati 8CTF, leading the race and finishing third. Pietsch was asked to join Mercedes-Benz for 1940 but it would take until 1950 before he raced again. Racing Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Veritas Meteor, Pietsch started in three GP championship races without receiving any points before retiring from driving and concentrating on publishing instead. In 1946 Paul Pietsch and a friend started a magazine "Das Auto" and later he became a major publisher of motor and racing books and magazines ("Auto Motor und Sport", "Motorbuch Verlag" etc.). Pietsch died at his home in Karlsruhe on 30 May 2012, three weeks before his 101st birthday.

R. I. P.

Edited by Leif Snellman, 07 June 2012 - 11:47.


#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 12:59

Sad losses like this are something we have to, unfortunately, accept as life goes on...

After all, a large number on this forum are people who started following racing in the fifties and sixties. That makes fifty and sixty years ago we began following the sport, and we were not all babes when we did so. We cannot expect people often older than our parents to simply keep on going, can we?

So in our reflection on the deeds of some of these people, it's worthwhile considering what they have given us. Pietsch has certainly contributed with his publishing and energy devoted to bringing the enthusiast information needed to understand this complex sport.

That there are possibly other centenarians out there who competed prior to the war is also heartening...

#18 irvine99

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 16:36

RIP Paul

#19 ensign14

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 17:13

At the 1939 German GP he raced the works Maserati 8CTF, leading the race and finishing third.

Just want to highlight this. It's one of the all time great drives, and one of the most overlooked.

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#20 Hugo Boecker

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 07:26

Just want to highlight this. It's one of the all time great drives, and one of the most overlooked.

and one of the great what ifs...
Pietsch was offered a Mercedes for the year 1940, at least Tripoli, by Neubauer. But Mercedes did not enter. He was also asked by Neubauer for the 1952 sports car comeback. But due to his commitments with Das Auto he resigned the offer.

#21 cpbell

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:13

Just want to highlight this. It's one of the all time great drives, and one of the most overlooked.


I've often thought the same thing myself.

#22 ReWind

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 15:15

I think Heinz Brendel is still with us, isn't he? If so, he is I believe the last remaining pre-war Grand Prix driver.

No, he isn’t.
According to respected Swiss magazine „Automobil Revue“ (issue No. 51 from 14 December 1989, p. 67) Heinz Brendel died as long ago as 01 December 1989. He was 74 years old when he passed away in his home town Frankfurt am Main.


#23 Gabrci

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 16:35

No, he isn’t.
According to respected Swiss magazine „Automobil Revue“ (issue No. 51 from 14 December 1989, p. 67) Heinz Brendel died as long ago as 01 December 1989. He was 74 years old when he passed away in his home town Frankfurt am Main.


Wow, did he really? I think the whole racing world has missed this, we had all thought he was still with us hadn't we?

#24 Tuboscocca

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 19:12

No, he isn’t.
According to respected Swiss magazine „Automobil Revue“ (issue No. 51 from 14 December 1989, p. 67) Heinz Brendel died as long ago as 01 December 1989. He was 74 years old when he passed away in his home town Frankfurt am Main.



Reinhard

in the latest Autosport (YES Saturday!!) is an obit on Pietsch..at the end Brendel is mentioned as the last surviver with 97 years...

Confused!!

Michael

#25 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 19:29

Well, if Autombil Revue were wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. In the fog of war in 1940-41 they published obituaries for both Tony Rolt and Whitney Straight. Motor Sport did the same for 'Schorsch' Meier. AR published a correction about Straight, but I haven't traced any for Rolt and Meier!

#26 ReWind

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 19:44

in the latest Autosport (YES Saturday!!) is an obit on Pietsch..at the end Brendel is mentioned as the last surviver with 97 years...

That prompted my Google search... and led me to the AR article.


#27 Tuboscocca

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 09:13

That prompted my Google search... and led me to the AR article.



OK the other way round...

Michael