Rudolf "Karratsch" Caracciola (full name Otto Wilhelm Rudolf Caracciola , born January 30, 1901 in Remagen , † September 28, 1959 in Kassel ) was a German automobile racing driver and before the Second World War the most successful driver in Europe .
Caracciola was the son of the hotelier and wine wholesaler Otto Maximilian Caracciola (1866-1915) and his wife Mathilde nee Preutz (1867-1937). Caracciola's parents gave their son the opportunity to try driving a Mercedes 16/45 . At the age of 15 he was allowed to get his driver's license with a special permit.
After completing school at the "Institut Kalkuhl" boys' school (today Ernst-Kalkuhl-Gymnasium ) in Oberkassel , Caracciola initially worked as a trainee at Berlin-Anhaltische Maschinenbau AG in Cologne and then switched to sales at the Aachen-based automobile manufacturer Fafnir . His racing career of more than 30 years began on the motorcycle. In 1922 he won the motorcycle race “Around Cologne” and, as a works driver for Fafnir, took fourth place in the Berlin AVUS race . After the victory in a small ego car in Berlin's Grunewald Stadium that followed soon after , Caracciola applied to Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) and got involved as a racing driver in the era of supercharged vehicles. In 1923 he drove his first race as a works driver in the Mercedes 6/25/40 hp supercharged sports car in Baden-Baden and scored eleven more victories in the same year.
In 1926 Rudolf Caracciola married Charlotte Liesen. In the same year he surprisingly won the first German Grand Prix at the Berlin AVUS in a Mercedes 2-liter 8-cylinder racing car “Monza” under adverse weather conditions .
In the following year he won the first car race on the newly built and, according to his statement, “heavy heavy” Nürburgring . A few years later he was the first to deliberately drive the narrow left-hand bend Karussell there using the ditch on the inside, which enabled significantly higher speeds. This trench was originally created only for draining rainwater. The carousel was then attached as a steep curve using concrete slabs, making it a regular part of the slope. This famous corner on the Nordschleife was renamed the Caracciola carousel in 2001 on the occasion of his 100th birthday .
Caracciola won almost exclusively in a Mercedes-Benz in numerous Grand Prix races and sports car races. In 1931 he was the first non-Italian to win the Mille Miglia 1931 in Italy in an SSKL with his co-driver Wilhelm Sebastian , although he could hardly be supported by Mercedes-Benz due to the global economic crisis and thus for the 1000-mile race on public roads couldn't train. Neither were there enough mechanics or material available for the necessary stops. In order to continue racing, he had to sign up for Alfa Romeo in 1932 . In an accident at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1933 , he suffered severe hip injuries.
In February 1934, his wife Charlotte was killed in an avalanche accident in Switzerland, the couple's new adopted home.
During the famous Silver Arrow era (1934–1939) he was three times European champion , comparable to today's Formula 1 world championship title. His most important competitors during this time, along with Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hermann Lang in their own team, were the Auto Union drivers Hans Stuck and Bernd Rosemeyer . Caracciola set numerous world speed records on the newly completed highways (for example on the Dessau race track ). On January 28, 1938, he drove a Mercedes-Benz W 125 432.7 km / h for the flying kilometer and 432.0 km / h for the flying mile, the fastest speeds on public roads for almost 80 years. Especially in the rain, Caracciola was seen as a faster and safer driver, which earned him the name “rain master”.
Caracciola, who met Hitler on the occasion of a vehicle handover in 1931, joined the NSKK after 1933 , where he achieved the rank of Obersturmführer . The hotelier's son spent the war at his home in Switzerland. After long resistance from the Bern Federal Prosecutor's Office and the associated investigations, he received the Swiss citizenship applied for in October 1946 in 1949 .
In 1946 Caracciola wanted to start in Indianapolis , but had an accident during training when a bird hit his face under the open helmet, which was then still protected by simple glasses. In 1952 he attempted a comeback in the Mille Miglia in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL , where he finished fourth.
In 1952 he had a serious accident on the 13th lap of a sports car race on the Swiss Bremgarten circuit near Bern and suffered a triple fracture of his left lower leg. As a result, he had to end his racing career for good.
- On May 6, 2008, Rudolf Caracciola was inducted into the Hall of Fame of German Sports .
- During the anniversary event of the Nürburgring Classic on June 16, 2017, a bust of Rudolf Caracciola was unveiled on the driveway from the old paddock of the Nürburgring .
- An extensive collection of Caracciola's trophies is on display in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum .
- There is a monument in his honor in Remagen. In addition, a place was named after him.
- 1935 - European Grand Prix Champion in a Mercedes-Benz W 25
- 1937 - European Grand Prix Champion in a Mercedes-Benz W 125
- 1938 - European Grand Prix Champion in a Mercedes-Benz W 154
|Grand Prix of Germany||1926 , 1928 , 1931 , 1932 , 1937 , 1939|
|Italian Grand Prix||1934 , 1937|
|French Grand Prix||1935|
|Swiss Grand Prix||1935 , 1937 , 1938|
|Belgian Grand Prix||1935|
|Spanish Grand Prix||1935|
|Monaco Grand Prix||1936|
|European mountain champion||1930, 1931, 1932|
Pre-war Grand Prix results
|1931||R. Caracciola (private)||Mercedes-Benz SSKL||22nd||27.|
Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 "Monza" /
Alfa Romeo Tipo B / P3
|1933||Alfa Romeo||Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 "Monza"||-|
|1934||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz W 25||-|
|1935||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz W 25||17th||European champion|
|1936||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz W 25 short||22nd||6th|
|1937||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz W 125||13||European champion|
|1938||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz W 154||8th||European champion|
|1939||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz W 154||17th||3.|
|green||Classified, covered more than 75% of the race distance||4th|
|blue||not entitled to points, covered between 50% and 75% of the race distance||5|
|violet||not eligible for points, covered between 25% and 50% of the race distance||6th|
|red||not eligible for points, covered less than 25% of the race distance||7th|
|White||DNS||did not start|
|DNA||did not arrive|
|other||P / bold||Pole position|
|SR / italic||Fastest race lap|
|DNF||Race not finished (did not finish)|
Le Mans results
|1930||Rudolf Caracciola||Mercedes-Benz SSK||Christian Werner||failure||battery|
- Racing fever. Director: Josef Mühlbauer, Germany 1955.
- Caracciola - The Eternal Hunt for Victory. Director: Philip Selkirk, 97 min. Germany 2009.
- Hitler's racing battles - How the Silver Arrows learned to win. Director: Eberhard Reuß, 45 min., Germany 2009.
- Magical Moments - The Hour of the Silver Arrows. Director: Saskia Weisheit, 10 episodes, 519 min., Germany 2013 ( short version on YouTube ).
(in chronological order)
- Robert Volz: Reich manual of the German society . The handbook of personalities in words and pictures. Volume 1: A-K. German business publisher, Berlin 1930, .
- Rudolf Caracciola: Seconds Between Life and Death. In: Victor Witte (Ed.): Men look death in the face. Factual reports. Drei Masken Verlag, Berlin 1935, pp. 82–98.
- Rudolf Caracciola: Caracciola, the "man without nerves" tells. Bertelsmann, Gütersloh 1937, .
- Rudolf Caracciola, Oskar Weller: Race-victory records! A car book. 21st edition. Union, Stuttgart 1938, .
- Rudolf Caracciola: My life as a racing driver. German publishing house, Berlin 1939, .
- Rudolf Caracciola: My world. Limes Verlag, Wiesbaden 1958, .
- Eberhard Reuss: Hitler's racing battles. The silver arrows under the swastika. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-351-02625-0 .
- Günther Molter: Rudolf "Caratsch" Caracciola - exceptional racing driver and ice-cold tactician. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-613-03095-4 .
- Literature by and about Rudolf Caracciola in the catalog of the German National Library
- Official website of Rudolf Caracciola
- Biography of Rudolf Caracciola . In: Kulturgut-Mobilitaet.de
- Biography of Rudolf Caracciola . In: Media.Daimler.com
- Biography of Rudolf Caracciola . In: GrandPrixHistory.org (English)
- Andrea Rönz: Rudolf Caracciola . In: Internet portal Rheinische Geschichte
- The Caracciola family in Remagen . In: Remagen.de
- Rudolf Caracciola in the Internet Movie Database (English)
- Mercedes-Benz Passion: A Mercedes-Benz record for almost eternity . Retrieved February 17, 2018.
- Andreas Förster: He just wanted to race. In: Berliner Zeitung. January 29, 2011.
- 75 years ago - July 11, 1926. Rudolf Caracciola wins the first German Grand Prix. (No longer available online.) Www.landeshauptarchiv.de, archived from the original on April 2, 2015 ; Retrieved July 10, 2011 .
- Knerger.de: The grave of Rudolf Caracciola
- Rudolf Caracciola. In: Hall-of-Fame-Sport.de. Retrieved August 15, 2019 .
- Ceremonial unveiling of the Caracciola bust. In: NBR-Classic.com. August 15, 2017. Retrieved August 15, 2019 .
- Daniel Reinhard: What the Indianapolis 500 has to do with the Klausen race. In: Zwischengas.com. May 19, 2011, accessed August 15, 2019 .
- Rudolf Caracciola collection of trophies. In: FirstSuperSpeedway.com. Retrieved August 15, 2019 .
- The Caracciola family in Remagen. In: Remagen.de. Retrieved August 15, 2019 .
- Beate Andres: Tempo. In: WDR.de. January 22, 2019, accessed August 14, 2019 .
- Rennfieber (1955). In: Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved August 15, 2019 .
- Official website for the film Caracciola - The Eternal Hunt for Victory
- Caracciola - The Eternal Hunt for Victory. In: Autobuchkritik.de. Retrieved August 15, 2019 .
- Hitler's racing battles - How the Silver Arrows learned to win. In: Programm.ARD.de. October 6, 2012, accessed August 14, 2019 .
- Magical Moments - The Hour of the Silver Arrows. In: Fernsehserien.de. Retrieved August 15, 2019 .
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Karratsch (nickname)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German automobile racing driver|
|DATE OF BIRTH||January 30, 1901|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Remagen|
|DATE OF DEATH||September 28, 1959|
|Place of death||kassel|