Rudolf Caracciola is the most successful motor racing driver of the pre-war era.

Rudolf Caracciola was not, as one might think, an Italian chef, but a true Rhinelander and the most successful motor racing driver of the pre-war era.

Born in Remagen on the Rhine in 1901, his racing-enthusiastic parents enabled him to obtain his driving licence at the age of 15 with a special permit. Caracciola initially raced motorbikes and then became a works driver for Fafnir Automobilwerke.
From 1923, he drove for Mercedes as a works driver.

In 1927, he won the inaugural race of the newly built Nürburgring in the legendary Mercedes 540 SSK.

He was the first non-Italian to win the Mille Miglia in 1931, although he received hardly any factory support from Mercedes due to the global economic crisis. In Monaco, he suffered a serious hip injury in an accident in an Alfa Romeo, from which he recovered only slowly.

On 28 January 1938, he clocked 432.7 km/h for the flying kilometre and 432.0 km/h for the flying mile, the fastest speeds ever driven on public roads. Caracciola was regarded as a fast and safe driver, especially in the rain, which earned him the nickname "rain champion". He became European Champion 3 times, won the German Grand Prix 6 times, was European Hillclimb Champion 3 times and won the Grand Prix of other nations 9 times (Italy (2), France, Switzerland (3), Belgium, Spain, Monaco).

Rudolf Caracciola died of a liver disease in Kassel on 28 September 1959. His grave is in the Lugano-Castagnola cemetery.


Serie: Berühmte Rheinländer

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