King of the Rain

Rudolf Caracciola was a legendary figure in Grand Prix racing in the 30s.

Of the 204 races Rudolf Caracciola finished, he claimed 144 victories.

Caracciola won the European Drivers’ Championship, the forerunner to the Formula 1 three times, in 1935, 1937, and 1938.

He set numerous records at the Nürburgring.

Acknowledged as one of the most significant pre-war racing drivers, he was influential in the Silver Arrows’ dominance in the 1930s.

In his early life, he worked as a salesman for Daimler-Benz in Dresden.

He convinced his employers to loan him an out-of-date Mercedes Works car for the 1926 Grand Prix at the Avus circuit, but he stalled at the start of the race.

Leaving him in the last position in the 32-car entry event.

Nevertheless, he raced for three hours in torrential rain without realising he had won the race.

The win earned him the name Regenmeister (Rain Master).

He raced in various disciplines, including the 1931 Mille Miglia, which he won—making him the first non-Italian winner.

In 1938, Mercedes wanted him to beat the land speed record currently held by Auto Union.

A 20-mile distance held on the newly constructed Frankfurt-Darmstadt Autobahn, he clocked almost 270 mph and took the championship from his good friend, Bernd Rosemeyer.

Sadly, Bernd, whilst attempting the same challenge in his Auto Union V16 Streamliner, crashed at 250 mph and died.

German race director Alfred Neubauer said, ‘Fangio is the only one in the absolute world-class category together with Caracciola.

When Lewis Hamilton claimed his seventh World Championship title, he said, ‘Dream the impossible, speak it into existence and never give up!’

Rudolf uttered a very similar quote many years earlier.

Confirming their belief that having a dream and determination are the qualities necessary for outstanding success.

In 1969, ten years after his death, his wife wrote:

‘Rudi will remain unforgotten for a long time – a silver lining in racing drivers’ skies.’