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1939 AIACR Grand Prix Season

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1939 AIACR Grand Prix Season
Photo Credit: Daimler AG.
Champion Constructor: None
Putative Constructor: Daimler Mercedes (DE,0,6)
Champion Driver: None
Putative Driver: Hermann Lang (DE,0,1)
Putative Constructor Entry Specification: Model W154, 2.96-liter, twelve-cylinder vee, forged steel engine, DOHC, twin carburetors, twin superchargers, five speed, tube frame, revised aerodynamics for body, independent suspension, 490 horsepower (Max Sailer).

Daimler Mercedes with its superb W154 entry comes away with its third consecutive Grand Prix putative constructors' title in 1939 as the AIACR elects not to declare a drivers' champion due to the invasion of Germany by Nazi Germany in early September. Nazi Germany begins its systematic reign of terror upon populations in Europe and Russia with the first killing of civilians in Poland in September, and Europe girds for another catastrophic continental war that sidelines global motorsport for several years. Despite the wondrous automotive advances by the Germans revealed throughout the thirties, one must remain mindful that such German auto makes as Mercedes and Auto Union received tremendous state subsidies from the Nazi Party not accessible to the other European manufacturers. Earnest motorsport enthusiasts should consider whether said unprecedented state sponsorship, as well as access to unconscionable slave labor and mechanical innovations in the occupied regions, in no small part diminishes the nonpareil German engineering colossus and its indelible impact upon automotive history. Within the gilded bubble that characterizes the automotive Thirties', the German Blitz abruptly ends perhaps the most glorious era of motor racing ever beheld by enthusiasts. British driver John Cobb establishes a world land speed record of 367.91 mph in his Railton Napier at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah USA in August. American Packard introduces the first air-conditioned passenger automobiles in November. Departures: Richard Seaman, 26, b. Chichester, England 1913, d. GP Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps, June.

HeM applies the Putative Model to all racing seasons for two primary purposes: First, to effectively normalize all racing seasons for empirical comparison across the decades, and second, to step clear of series organizers which score season championships primarily out of commercial interest or to attract manufacturer participation. The Putative Model simply scores all seasons in the same fashion as a standard track and field meeting, with the only purpose of tracking what takes place at the finishing stripe If the Putative Champion differs from the nominal Series Champion, please note the (SC) notation below.

Mercedes55     Lang27
Auto Union42     Muller23
Talbot Darracq8     Caracciola20
Sommer Alfa Romeo5     Von Brauchitsch10
Maserati5     Hasse8
Ecurie Schell Delahaye5     Meier8

Noteworthy 1939 Races

1939 VIII Grand Prix de Belgique Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium1939 1939 VIII Grand Prix de Belgique At Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix (507.5 kilometers) in June, the race comes to a German Daimler Benz W154 under Hermann Lang (DE) in very rainy conditions in 3:20:21 (average 94.40 mph), under seventeen seconds ahead of an Auto Union driven by Rudolf Hasse. After stopping for service in wake of a Seaman shunt and holding a two minute lead over the field in the wet with two laps remaining, the Mercedes under Lang begins to sputter on track. Lang realizes that his service did not properly fill his tank and gingerly coasts into his pit as Hasse in his Auto Union races into the lead. Lang encounters considerably difficulty in restarting his motor, requiring a downhill coast to engage his clutch and start the firing cycle, yet in remarkable fashion manages to refire his entry and storm back into contention on the final circuit with a thunderous sprint that overtakes Hasse for an impressive victory. The race claims the life of Richard Seaman, arguably the best driver from Great Britain, who perishes after his race leading Mercedes loses traction at Club, skids off circuit, and slams into a stand of trees on Lap 22. Photo Credit: Attribution Unascertained.