Rudolf Carracciola – Driver Profile Page Four
A new formula was drawn up for the 1938 races that limited displacement to 4.5 litres without supercharger and 3 litres with supercharger. Daimler-Benz designed the new W 154 racing car for this “3-litre formula”; it developed a maximum output of 453 hp from its V12 engine. In 1938 Caracciola won the Coppa Acerbo as well as the Swiss Grand Prix. He placed second or third in the Grand Prix of Pau (with Hermann Lang), Tripoli (third), the French Grand Prix (second), the German (with Hermann Lang, second) and Italian Grand Prix (with Manfred von Brauchitsch, third). Now 37, Caracciola won the title of European Champion for the third time and consolidated his reputation as the most successful racing driver of the era.
In the Grand Prix of Tripoli, for which Daimler-Benz specially developed the 1.5-litre voiturette W 165, Caracciola took second place behind Hermann Lang – a double victory for the Silver Arrows. But the premier racing car of the season was the redesigned W 154, with which Caracciola won the German Grand Prix on July 23. In 1939 he was German road racing champion; however, the European title that year was captured by the promising young talent, Lang.
Alice and Rudolf Caracciola lived through the Second World War in their adoptive country Switzerland. Caracciola was intent on racing in America after the war ended. However, in 1946 his car crashed during practice for the Indianapolis 500. In 1952 he actively resumed racing and finished the Mille Miglia in fourth position in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. But a serious accident during the 1952 Grand Prix of Berne put an end to his career for good. Caracciola was dependent on a wheelchair and crutches for a long time afterwards.
In 1956 he was given responsibility for the sale of Daimler-Benz cars to Americans and Britons stationed in continental Europe. Aged just 58, Rudolf Caracciola died in Kassel on September 28, 1959. A monument was unveiled in Remagen to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth in 2001, and the banked curve at the Nürburgring was named after him.
[Source: Mercedes-Benz; Wikipedia]