Wolfgang von Trips PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 09:17

Wolfgang von TripsWolfgang Alexander Albert Eduard Maximilian Reichsgraf Berghe von Trips

Born: 4 May 1928, Cologne, Germany.

Died: 10 September 1961, Monza, Italy

Age: 33

Cause of death: Thrown from speeding race car.

Notable because: Aristocratic race enthusiast who, just a few laps away from becoming Germany's first F1 world champion didn't survive his car taking flight after crashing into Jim Clark's car at Monza, with 14 spectators dying in the crash.

 

Wolfgang Alexander Albert Eduard Maximilian Reichsgraf Berghe von Trips  was a German racing driver. He was the son of a noble Rhineland family.

He participated in 29 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 2 September 1956. He won two races, secured one pole position, achieved six podiums, and scored a total of 56 championship points.

He sustained a concussion when he spun off track at the Nürburgring during trial runs for a sports car race held in May 1957. His Ferrari was destroyed. It was the only one of its marque to be entered in the Grand Turismo car class of more than 1600 cc. von Trips was forced out of a Royal Automobile Club Grand Prix at Silverstone, in July 1958, when his Ferrari came into the pits on the 60th lap with no oil. The following August he was 5th at Porto in the 1958 Portuguese Grand Prix. Won by Stirling Moss in a Vanwall, von Trips completed 49 laps and was one lap behind at the finish. Moss was more than five minutes ahead of Mike Hawthorn, who finished 2nd in a Ferrari

In July 1960 von Trips was victorious in a Formula Two event in a Ferrari, with a newly introduced engine in the rear. The race was in Stuttgart and was called the Solitude Formula Two Grand Prix. It was a 20-lap event with the winner averaging 102.21 m.ph. over 142 miles. He won the Targa Florio, 10-lap 448 mile race, in May 1961. Von Trips achieved an average speed of 64.26 mph in his Ferrari with Olivier Gendebien of Belgium. as his co-driver. vo[von+trips.jpg]n Trips and Phil Hill traded the lead at Spa, Belgium during the 1961 Belgian Grand Prix, in June 1961. Hill led most of the way before a crowd of 100,000 people.

Ferraris captured the first four places at the race conclusion with von Trips finishing second. The Formula One World Championship driver competition at this juncture in 1961 was led by Hill with 19 points followed by von Trips with 18.

1961 was the best season of Von Trips’ career, as he finally showed his potential. He got 4th in Monaco, followed by his first ever victory at the Dutch Grand Prix (the only race in F1 history where everyone finished and nobody pitted). He followed that up with a second position in Belgium, before retiring in France thanks to an engine failure. Another win then followed at Great Britain, and then a second place at Germany. At this point, Von Trips only needed one third place in any of the next two races to win the world championships. This was despite him handing over the lead to Phil Hill twice, who his team thought was more likely to take the title. But, events at Monza changed all that.

Here, Wolfgang took his first ever pole position. This put him well on course for victory and the championship. But, on Lap 2 approaching the Parabolica, he tangled with Jim Clark’s Lotus, spearing his car into the spectators, killing 14 people and Von Trips himself. The race was not stopped, and so Phil Hill took the win, and the championship with it. This was the last ever time that Formula 1 visited the full 10km Monza circuit layout.

For the final race at Watkins Glen, Ferrari decided not to compete, in repect for Von Trips, and the fact that they had already completely dominated the season, so there was nothing to compete for. Hill won the championship by a single point, but after such a tragic event at Monza, many people remember this season for what could have been for Wolfgang.

The 1961 Italian Grand Prix on 10 September could have been the culmination of von Trips' career, as a third place would have been sufficient to secure the Formula One World Drivers Championship that year. At the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, his Ferrari collided with Jim Clark's Lotus. His car became airborne and crashed into a side barrier, fatally throwing von Trips from the car, and killing fifteen spectators.

Clark described the accident, saying:

"Von Trips and I were racing along the straightaway and were nearing one of the banked curves, the one on the southern end. We were about 100 metres from the beginning of the curve. Von Trips was running close to the inside of the track. I was closely following him, keeping near the outside. At one point Von Trips shifted sideways so that my front wheels collided with his back wheels. It was the fatal moment. Von Trips' car spun twice and went into the guardrail along the inside of the track. Then it bounced back, struck my own car and bounced down into the crowd".

Von Trips was on course to become the first German to win the Formula One World Championship. In 1961 von Trips established a go-kart race track in Kerpen, Germany. The track was later leased by Rolf Schumacher, whose sons, Michael and Ralf, made their first laps there.

The belief that Wolfgang von Trips would not have been spared from his fate, when a plane he was scheduled to fly to the USA crashed over Scotland, is an urban myth. However, he seemed to be jinxed at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, where he crashed cars in the 1956 Italian Grand Prix and the 1958 Italian Grand Prix, and was injured in both events.

 

Wolfgang von Trips: German Ferrari Formula One Driver

Author: Robert Grey Reynolds Jr.

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Editorial Review: Baron Wolfgang von Trips was a German nobleman who traded his Rhineland castle for a career in Formula One and sports car racing. He competed at Le Mans, Sebring, and Grand Prix Circuits throughout Europe. Poised to win the World Championship of Formula One drivers in 1961, he had only one race remaining before a champion would be crowned. He needed to finish in third place or better at Monza the site of the Italian Grand Prix. My e-book was researched from Life magazines, news clippings, along with newer volumes that have been compiled on the German race driver.


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While travelling through this delightful book, we may wonder why we feel so strangely drawn toward this incredibly sensitive, unique character. The answer should be obvious: because somewhere, deep in all of us, a Herr Faustini breathes.

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Despite the fact that we never learn much about Herr Faustini’s past, as we open the book and find ourselves plunged into his day-to-day existence, he strikes us, right off the bat, as somehow familiar, as someone we recognize. […] Wolfgang Hermann’s book tells the story of a man who sets out to unlearn his fears, working up a proper sweat while doing so. Faustini is the prototype of a lovable anti-hero, whose life, dictated by his compulsions, is unintentionally funny. Herr Faustini Takes a Trip focuses on a man who can never quite escape his own skin, yet in the end, he is not the same person he once was.
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 12:15
 

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