Rudolf Carracciola – Driver Profile Page Three
His string of successes came to an end in 1936. Although Caracciola opened the season with a victory in Monaco – in poor weather he once again demonstrated that his reputation as “Rainmaster” was entirely justified – the redesigned W 25 with short wheelbase increasingly caused problems. “Caratsch” posted his best results subsequent to Monaco at the Grand Prix of Tunis (winner), Barcelona (second) and Tripoli (fourth). At the German Grand Prix Caracciola and co-pilot Luigi Fagioli could manage only fifth. The star of that season was Bernd Rosemeyer, who won the European championship for Auto Union.
In 1937 Caracciola returned to the pinnacle of European motorsport. The 750 kg formula was extended for another year, and Daimler-Benz developed the new W 125 racing car specifically for this season. In the monoposto Caracciola secured his second European Championship title. His racing successes that season included victories at the German, Swiss and Italian Grand Prix and the Masaryk Grand Prix of Brno. In addition, Caracciola notched up successes in the international Eifel race (second place), the German Hillclimb Grand Prix (third place), in Monaco (second place) and the Donington Grand Prix (second place). He was European Champion and also secured the title of German Road Racing Champion.
In the open-formula Avus race in Berlin on May 30, Mercedes-Benz competed with different vehicle concepts, including three W 25 fitted with aerodynamic fairings. Caracciola won the first race of the competition driving one of these streamlined cars. He married Alice Hoffmann that year.
In January 1938 record-breaking attempts were back on the agenda. Over past years, Caracciola had set several records on autobahns and oval circuits. This time on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt autobahn he attained a speed of 432.7 km/h. To this day it is the highest speed ever attained on a public road. (See Mercedes-Benz W 125 Streamliner – Profile) It was a record marred by tragedy, however, since his friend and rival Bernd Rosemeyer would die in an attempt to break Caracciola’s record in an Auto Union car.