Being There

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Saturday, April 27, 1940

Only a day to go before the race and the Touring coupe had problems with the engine in testing; now it has to be replaced. I have seen Mercedes racing director Alfred Neubauer here in Brescia speaking with Ernst Loof, who seems concerned that the clutches in the BMWs have to be babied because of the increased torque in these BMW race-tuned engines.

Sunday, April 28, 1940

The race began before sunup this morning in Brescia. The 2-liter class started at 6:40, and the cars took off at one-minute intervals. At the end of the first lap, von Hanstein, with Baumer in the Touring coupe’s passenger seat, led by over a minute, almost a minute and a half!

I got a ride down to BMW’s service camp 15 miles away at Castiglione, between Montichiari and Goito, with my Leica in hand. The mechanics had spare wheels, levered jacks and gasoline set up for refueling all three roadsters and two coupes during the race. Rules don’t allow fast-fueling, so BMW mechanics in the courtyard at Castiglione filled the cars by hand, using gas cans and funnels.

What the BMW crew didn’t know is that the rule pertained only to pressurized fueling. More rapid gravity flow from large holding tanks was permitted—and it was used by the Alfas.

The race pace was very fast, and BMW held onto hope of an overall win as the day wore on. If anyone could do it, I kept hearing, it would be Huschke.

I went back to Brescia for the finish. A crowd gathered at the line where the official stood holding the checkered flag, waiting, spectators straining for a better look over the 10-ft. barbed-wire fence between them and the race course.

Also from Issue 95

  • E92 335is Coupe road test
  • F01 750i xDrive road test
  • Not for U.S. F11 5 Series Touring
  • Active Autowerke E90, E92 M3s
  • Hamann X6 Tycoon Evo M
  • Mark David’s E30 325is
  • Jack Croul’s 328 at Mille Miglia
  • BMW NA’s ex-Polak 2002ti racer
  • Bimmerfest 2010
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