Into the Südlehre…

Ferrari, Nurburgring, klemcoll

In 1950 Germany was allowed to join the FIA and the famous German Grand Prix was held as a non-championship Formula 2 race, limited to two liter engines, unsupercharged. Here, under dark cloud-covered skies, right after the start the field sweeps into the South Curve. Note that the surface shows some signs of winter and perhaps war wear since its last use in the 1930s.

If one stayed left you entered the south circuit of the Nürburgring, but for this race this left would be followed by an immediate 180º right which would take the field back behind the pits and onto the north circuit, known as the Nordschleife. The leading car is a Ferrari 166F2/50 driven by Dorino Serafini who is coming very close to an intrepid photographer standing at the edge of the track. Behind him on the left is a Simca-Gordini driven by Antonio Branca with the other Scuderia Ferrari entry of Alberto Ascari coming right along behind them, followed by the rest of the field. Many of the cars entered for the race were German BMWs, Veritas and BMW-powered AFMs.

Ascari had taken pole easily with a time 10.5 seconds faster than anyone else. He shared the four-car front row with André Simon’s Simca-Gordini 15, Serafini’s Ferrari and prewar driver Paul Pietsch in a sports Maserati A6GCS. Indeed, there were several other prewar Grand Prix drivers in the field, including Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hans Stuck.

Ascari, Ferrari, klemcoll, NurburgringAlthough Branca led around the South Curve, he was soon overtaken by Ascari who went on to lead the entire race to the finish, with Simon’s Simca-Gordini second some 2 minutes and 20 seconds back. As it was, Ascari was lucky because on the 16th and final lap he half-spun coming off the Karussell and damaged his right rear wheel which would not have lasted a full lap. Here, later in the race, Ascari is seen driving through the Hatzenbach section of sweeping rights and lefts at the beginning of the Nordschleife with part of the huge crowd – estimated to exceed 300,000 – visible behind fencing along the side of the road behind him.

Photos by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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  1. Jim sitz · · Reply

    Wonderful image of an historic event,Astonished to see Manfred vonBrauchitsch in the field
    as I thought h was hiding out in East Berlin.!

    Acari team mate Serafini was also a motorcycle ace of Grand Prix stature

    Jim sitz


    1. You are correct. Von Brauchitsch did live in East Germany. I guess they let him out to race!


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