21. The Auto union and Tazio’s coming back to race


Monza, 11 settembre 1938. Nuvolari su Auto Union D dominatore assoluto del GP d'Italia.

In 1938 the season opened with a new formula for Gran Prix cars (3000 cm3 limit powered for boasted engine, and 4500 for the sucked-up ones) but the arrangement did not change at all: the Alfa Romeo had on the track the new 308 (2991cm3, 8C compressor, 295CV, 260KpH) but the Mercedes Benz replied with the W154 (2962 cm3, 12C compressor, 468CV, 300 KpH).
During practice for the Grand Prix of Pau the Alfa Romeo caught fire.
Tazio was bruised and suffered a few slight burns on his face, arms and legs.
He was more than anything severely shocked and had a long hard think.
He decided to retirefrom racing, but soon he rethought his decision.
He then left for a trip to the Unites States: he went to Indianapolis where he tried – wearing shirt and tie, and a borrowed helmet – a couple of single seaters without any satisfaction.
On his return to Europe he signed with Auto Union. They were looking for a pilot who yook the place of the young ace Bernard Rosemeyer, died on January 28th while attempting a record on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt motorway.
After three test drives, he drove the rear engined silver single seater Tipo D to two memorable victories: the Italian Grand prix in Monza and, two weeks later, the Grand Prix at Donington where he threw the Englishmen into ecstasies.