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1923 German GP


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#1 Marcor

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 23:40

In October 1922 some newspapers announced that the German GP, organised by the AC of Germany, would take place at the Grünewald autodrome* on May 10th, 1923.
The distance = 500 km (25 laps).
Race opened to the German-built cars (or from German-allied or Neutral Countries) , two-seaters, 2 L capacity, minimum weight 560 kg.

Early March 1923, the AC of Germany had already received 13 entries:
1 from Opel, planned driver = Jörns;
3 from Neckarsulmer Fahrzeugwerke AG (NSU), no driver quoted;
3 from Benz & Cie (Benz): planned drivers = Franz Hörner, Willy Walb, Karl Kappler (new cars, elongated-shaped, which would be later known as Tropfenrennwagen);
3 from Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (Mercedes): planned drivers = Lautenschlager, Salzer and Otto Merz, planned cars = same models as at Indianapolis;
3 from Fahrzeugfabrik AG, Darmstadt (Fafag): no driver quoted.

Late March 1923
Fiat asked two entries for Nazzaro and Bordino.

After, no news. What happened ? Why was the race cancelled ?

* Grünewald Autodrome = AVUS.

Sources: Neptune, Le Matin newspapers (from Anvers, Antwerpen, Belgium).

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#2 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 10:00

German GP, on the Grunewaldbahn, was planned for Sep 24, 1922: 25 laps = 500 km; 3-liter formula & 2-liter formula together AAZ (A), No. 17/18, pg. 28. - The event was cancelled because of the general economical situation and the strikes. AAZ (A) 1922, No. 43/44, pg. 29.

The event was then planned for May 10, 1923 with the 3-liter formula cars dropped and only 2-liter formula cars allowed. Unchanged was the rule that besides German manufacturers also manufacturers or drivers of those countries were allowed to participate, where German makes were allowed to participate during 1922. Each manufacturer could enter up to five cars.
AAZ (A) 1923, No. 3, pg. 23 - No. 5, pg. 25 - No. 7, pg. 6 - No. 8, pg. 25: Event cancelled because Benz and Mercedes both cancelled because of the general economical situation and thus the AvD cancelled the event.

#3 Michael Müller

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 10:46

Did not found much about this planned 1st German Grand Prix, except some short sentences in an article by B. von Lengerke in "Der Motorwagen" issue 17/1923.
Quote 1:
"Als die grossen deutschen Automobilfabriken ihre Meldungen für den Grossen Preis von Deutschland zurückzogen, wurde von der Automobil-Industrie als Grund füe diese Massnahme die Notlage angeführt, in die die Industrie durch die Ruhrbesetzung und die damals bestehende Marktbesserung gekommen sei."
Quote 2:
"Sie (Daimler - MM) hätten sich bei einer anderen Rennpolitik, die weniger geschäftlich als technisch eingestellt war, diese Niederlage (Indianapolis - MM) sparen und den Grossen Preis von Deutschland, wo sie mit 5 Wagen gegen 2 FIAT auf einer ihnen jederzeit zur Verfügung stehenden Strecke hätten starten können, sehr wohl fahren und gewinnen können.
Wir haben in Deutschland eine permanente Rennstrecke (AVUS - MM), die allen Fabriken jederzeit offen steht, wir haben eine ernste Zerreissprobe über eine Strecke, die mehr als halb so lang ist, wie die heute im Auslande üblichen, schon zweimal ohne Erfolg ausgeschrieben. Wir hören und sehen aber immer wieder, dass die deutsche Automobil-Industrie kleinere Rennen und Tourenwagen-Konkurrenzen den ernsten, klassischen Prüfungen vorzieht, die natürlich teurer und schwerer zu gewinnen sind."

He is complaining about the withdrawal of the German automobile factories from the German GP due to the economic crisis and the occupation of the Ruhrgebiet by France. Wether this withdrawal had in fact economic reasons, or whether it was a political sign, is not expressly stated. Lengerke believes the withdrawal of Daimler had economic reasons, they entered their cars for Indianapolis instead, with the hope for large price money in foreign currency (we should not forget, 1923 was the height of inflation in Germany), and also as PR activity for future exports to the US.

The other German entries in my opinion had been uncompetitive from the beginning. Opel had a 2 litre racing car, but without s/c and based on a production engine. The same for NSU, only some years later they introduced their 6/60 race model, which also had 1500 cc only. FAFAG was a small factory only which built a nice 976 cc voiturette, but a real GP car was pure wishful thinking. The only semi-competitive car was the Benz RH, not supercharged, but the DOHC engine had sound 90 hp, it was light and had a good roadholding.

So besides the 2 FIAT the only serious contender was Mercedes, and they opted for Indy instead. The other German entrants either withdraw because they realized they had no chance, or because potential plans for building a GP car had to be dropped for financial reasons. Or the organizer scrapped the event after the withdraw of Mercedes.

Lengerke also wrote that this was the 2nd time that an international race has been planned for the AVUS without success. Interesting, indeed!


PS: just saw Hans' posting about 1922, didn't knew this.