Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips

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Wolfgang von Trips
Nationality Flag of Germany German
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1956 – 1961
TeamsFerrari, Porsche, Scuderia Centro Sud
Races29 (27 starts)
Championships0
Wins2
Podiums6
Career points56
Pole positions1
Fastest laps0
First race1956 British Grand Prix
First win1961 Dutch Grand Prix
Last win1961 British Grand Prix
Last race1961 Italian Grand Prix

Wolfgang Alexander Albert Eduard Maximilian Reichsgraf Berghe von Trips (May 4, 1928 - September 10, 1961) was a German racing driver. He was the son of a noble Rhineland family.[1]

Formula One and sports car driver

Von Trips was born in Cologne, Germany.

He participated in 29 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on September 2, 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.[2] 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.[3] The following August he was 5th at Oporto 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[4]

A statue of Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips in Kerpen, Germany

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.[5] 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.[6] von 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.[7]

Death in Italy

The 1961 Italian Grand Prix on September 10 would 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.[8]

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.[1]

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.[1]

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Points
1956 Scuderia Ferrari Lancia-Ferrari D50 Ferrari V8 ARG
MON
500
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
ITA
DNS
NC 0
1957 Scuderia Ferrari Lancia-Ferrari D50A Ferrari V8 ARG
6 *
14th 4
Ferrari 801 MON
Ret †
500
FRA
GBR
GER
PES
ITA
3
1958 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari V6 ARG
MON
Ret
NED
500
BEL
FRA
3
GBR
Ret
GER
4
POR
5
ITA
Ret
MOR
11th 9
1959 Dr Ing hcf Porsche KG Porsche 718 F2 Porsche Flat-4 MON
Ret
500
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
DNS
POR
ITA
NC 0
Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari V6 USA
6
1960 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari V6 ARG
5
MON
8
500
NED
5
BEL
Ret
FRA
11
GBR
6
POR
4
7th 10
Ferrari
Dino 246P F2
ITA
5
Scuderia Centro Sud Cooper T51 Maserati
Straight-4
USA
9
1961 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156 Ferrari V6 MON
4
NED
1
BEL
2
FRA
Ret
GBR
1
GER
2
ITA
Ret
USA
2nd 33
* Indicates shared drive with Cesare Perdisa and Peter Collins
† Indicates shared drive with Mike Hawthorn
Preceded by
Giulio Cabianca
Formula One fatal accidents
Sept. 10, 1961
Succeeded by
Ricardo Rodríguez

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Von Trips, 11 Monza Fans Killed; Hill Wins", Los Angeles Times, September 11, 1961, Page C1.
  2. German Driver Injured In Sports Car Trials, New York Times, May 26, 1957, Page S3.
  3. Moss Forced Out In English Race, New York Times, July 20, 1958, Page S9.
  4. Moss Wins Portugal's Grand Prix, New York Times, August 25, 1958, Page A15.
  5. "Von Trips's Victory In Stuttgart", The Times, July 25, 1960, Page 5.
  6. "Von Trips Sets Up New Record", The Times, May 1, 1961, Page 4.
  7. "Hill Captures Belgium Prix; Ginther Third", Los Angeles Times, June 19, 1961, Page C5.
  8. "Motorsport Memorial". http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=612. 

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Flag of Germany Georg Thoma
German Sportsman of the Year
1961
Succeeded by
Flag of Germany Gerhard Hetz