Grossglockner Mountain Grand Prix History
The first Grossglockner mountain race took place in 1935. The route was covered only once and immediately rated, the winner being Mario Tadini in an Alfa Romeo. The next two events were held there in 1938 and 1939, and in the “Mountain Grand Prix” the drivers were required to absolve two runs of the pass road. The event was seen as Europe’s longest and most difficult mountain race. The initial plan was to include the complete, almost 38-kilometre long stretch of the high alpine road from Fusch to Franz-Josefs-Höhe, including two tunnels. However, the route was eventually shortened to around 15 kilometres.
Mercedes-Benz first took part in 1938, with Hermann Lang and Manfred von Brauchitsch driving W 125 cars. In adverse weather with fog and rain they achieved 2nd and 3rd place behind Hans Stuck driving an Auto Union. The following year, Hermann Lang emerged the winner of the Grossglockner race, ahead of Hans Stuck and Hermann Paul Müller in Auto Union cars. This brought him the title of “Mountain Champion” six weeks after having already won the Vienna mountain race. Manfred von Brauchitsch had bad luck owing to the changeable weather: on his very first run he encountered a bank of fog in his Silver Arrow and came fourth. In the Grossglockner race the W 125 cars entered by the Mercedes-Benz racing team competed in their mountain racing versions for the first time, with a modified cooling system and lower final drive ratio.