TeamsHans Herrmann: 1953 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
It takes the right ingredients and correct ratios to make bread and any other pastry. The same could be said of just about any other career, but especially in motor racing. Although there is the driver and the car, there are many, many parts of a car and of a driver that have to be functioning properly for there to be success. On top of it all, there needs to be the right team of engineers and mechanics to help the car and driver come together to make something truly special. Hans Herrmann was quite aware of the necessity for the right ingredients and correct ratios, but it certainly would do him any good as a baker and confectioner.
Born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1928, Herrmann grew up the son of husband and wife that owned two cafes. As was the usual practice, Hans would learn the family trade and would earn a scholarship as a baker and confectioner. However, there was another influence in Herrmann's life.
Born in Stuttgart, Herrmann grew up not too far away from the Mercedes manufacturing facility. And by the time Hans was ten years old, the mighty 'Silver Arrows' were in their prime. The Silver Arrows of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union captured the imagination of a people and a nation in which national pride was truly reaching a feverish pitch.
In spite of it all, Herrmann would go on to work with his parents as a baker and confectioner during World War II. This would be quite important for as the war dragged on, more an more youth were being drafted into the military and sent to either the eastern or western fronts. However, since Hans worked as a baker he would be excused from military service.
Once the war was over, and Europe began its process of rebuilding, Hans would end up taking over his parents' cafes. But like certain ingredients where just a little goes a long way, Herrmann's interest in motor racing was beginning to grow. Soon, that little spark would ignite into a full-blown passion. And after purchasing a BMW 328 off the black market, Herrmann was hooked. He had to start racing.
In 1951, Herrmann began his racing career as a privateer in a number of rally events. Very quickly it became clear this baker had some incredible talent behind the wheel of a race car. This would be confirmed by his first class win in 1952. With that, Herrmann's career would take off.
In 1952, Herrmann would prove many detractors wrong when he started the sportscar Grand Prix of Nurburgring from the pole in a Porsche 356. As a result of this performance, and others, would be Hans would be offered the job as one of Porsche's works drivers. And as he headed into the 1953 season, and after really just two years of racing experience, Herrmann would take the job as a factory driver for Porsche. Becoming part of Porsche, Hans would find himself at some of the most famous sportscar races in the world during the year. But he wouldn't just take part in sportscar races. In 1953, Herrmann would also embark upon his single-seater career as well.
As Hans looked to a single-seater career as well as one in sportscars, he would quickly find himself to be at something of a disadvantage. The days of the Silver Arrows were gone. The major manufacturers, in their rebuilding after the war, had to look at their involvement in racing from the standpoint of which would have the greatest return on investment for themselves as a manufacturer. This would lead Mercedes and Porsche to focus more on sportscars because the technology used in those cars more-directly translated into road-going public cars available for purchase. As a result, grand prix racing initially would take a back-seat. Most all of the grand prix manufacturers in Germany at the time were small manufacturing facilities dedicated to making grand prix cars that could also double for sports cars. Unfortunately, while Porsche and Mercedes were making the newest sports cars, the German grand prix drivers would be forced to settle with chassis that were years old and unreliable.
These facts would also affect the races in which German racers would be able to take part in. While the sports car manufacturers, like Mercedes and Porsche, were heading to big races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the suffering grand prix program in West and East Germany would force drivers to use Formula 2 level cars. Therefore, most all of the grand prix drivers wouldn't even be able to take part in their own home grand prix until the regulations changed in 1952 because of the exorbitant costs and little competition within Formula One.
However, in 1953, Herrmann would have an opportunity to take part in his first World Championship race. Unfortunately, that race wouldn't take place until early August. It wouldn't really matter all that much, however, as Herrmann would be quite busy.
While the rest of his German grand prix compatriots would be stuck behind their nation's borders, Herrmann, in only just his second full year of racing, would be on his way to Italy to take part in the Mille Miglia, the one thousand mile race covering almost all of Italy.
During that race, the rather inexperienced racer, paired with Erwin Bauer, would go on to finish 30th overall. This was a tremendous result considering there were many other talented drivers, with more experience, that would finish far worse in the race.
Throughout Herrmann's limited racing experience, he had only taken part in sportscar races, rallies and even some hillclimbs. However, on the 31st of May, he would be busy preparing to take part in his first Formula 2 grand prix. He would be in Nurburg, Germany for a couple of races. He would be there to take part in the sportscar Eifelrennen, but also, to take part in the 17th Internationales ADAC Eifelrennen for single-seater grand prix cars.
In the sportscar race, Herrmann would take his Porsche 356 1500S and would look absolutely impressive. He would go on to show whey Porsche hired him as a factory driver. In a field of Porsche 356s, Herrmann would end up coming out on top. Such talent would make the excitement all the greater when he prepared to go up against not only other German racers, but also, some very talented foreign entries as well.
Being from Stuttgart, Herrmann was quite familiar with the exploits of the Silver Arrows at the famed Nurburgring. Drivers like Rudolf Caracciola , Bernd Rosemeyer and Tazio Nuvolari were known as Ringmeisters and seemed to dominate the demanding circuit.
Measuring a little more than 14 miles in length the Nurburgring's Nordschleife certainly wasn't an easy circuit to tame. Filled with numerous elevation changes, blind corners and a seemingly never-ending array of a mixture of the two, the circuit was very demanding and difficult to get right. However, it was very easy to get wrong. Despite being hated by many, the circuit would still become one of the most iconic circuits in all the world. This, and the fact it was the site for the German Grand Prix, would be why there was more than one foreign entry in the field for the Eifelrennen that year.
The list of entrants would include Stirling Moss, Emmanuel de Graffenried, Paul Frere, Peter Collins and a couple of other foreign entries. One of the foreign teams would have a German driver behind the wheel. The Ecurie Espadon team was the returning champion. Although Rudolf Fischer would retire from racing and would look after the running of the team, he would still have a capable driver in Kurt Adolff behind the wheel.
In practice, Adolff would look good at the wheel of the Ferrari 500. He would cause things to look good for the team after he posted what would be the fastest time. Ecurie Espadon would have the pole for the second time in a row. The rest of the front row would look like this: the Belgian Paul Frere would line up 2nd in his HWM-Alta. Hans Klenk would be positioned in 3rd with his Veritas-Meteor. Stirling Moss would complete the front row starting 4th in his Cooper-Alta Special.
Herrmann would enter the race with the ever-popular Veritas RS. And although the car was a rather aged Man o' war, and Herrmann had no experience in a Formula 2 grand prix race, the two would still look rather impressive in practice. He would end up setting the 11th fastest time and would start on the third row alongside Emmanuel de Graffenried and Peter Collins.
If the Nurburgring wasn't difficult enough as it was, the race would see another challenge thrown the way of the drivers. Rain would be falling all over the circuit. This would make the already demanding circuit an absolute nightmare for many. The presence of the rain would help expose those that were good from those that were great. It also would expose any weaknesses inherent with the cars.
At the start, Adolff would get off the line first and would lead the field heading around on the first of seven laps. However, Adolff wouldn't get the best start. That honor would go to de Graffenried. Starting from the third row of the grid, de Graffenried would manage to jump all the way up to 2nd place behind Adolff at the start of the race. Peter Collins would also make an incredible start from the third row and would also be up near the front of the field right from the very start.
Twenty-two cars eased their way off the line and through the never-ending corners on the first lap. All of the excitement leading up to Herrmann's first Eifelrennen in grand prix cars would be quickly dashed when he would join a group of cars out of the race rather early on. In fact, four would end up falling out on the first lap of the race, and there would be a couple more to follow.
Adolff certainly didn't seem at home in the wet. Emmanuel de Graffenried would quickly get by and into the lead. Paul Frere also would put Adolff under fire for 2nd place. It wouldn't ease up after Frere either as Peter Collins was there lurking as well.
Being out early on in the race, Herrmann had the opportunity to watch some of the most talented drivers in the world battle it out on one of the toughest circuits ever devised. In the wet conditions, de Graffenried continued to look impressive. He would go on to turn the fastest lap of the race with a time of eleven minutes and twenty-four seconds. This meant, even in the rain, he was averaging more than 70 mph. Yet, though de Graffenried was fast he would have company.
Adolff just couldn't hold off Paul Frere either. From Belgium, Frere was used to the weather in the Ardennes, and therefore, seemed quite at home in the wet. This would help him quickly shuffle by Adolff and take up the chase of de Graffenried and the lead. Adolff continued to slip back as Collins would also get by into 3rd place.
Over the course of the last couple of laps of the race, the most intriguing battle on the circuit would be the one at the very head of the field between de Graffenried and Frere. Emmanuel continued to hold onto the top spot, but Frere was so close that all it would take was the slightest mistake and Frere would come through into the lead.
In spite of Frere's best efforts, de Graffenried wouldn't give him the opportunity. Emmanuel wouldn't put a wheel wrong at any point in the race. He would end up holding on to win the race by just a little more than a second and a half over Frere. This would truly be a close finish considering the type of circuit it was and the weather conditions at the time. It would be even more impressive when Collins would come across the line in 3rd place just fifteen seconds further behind Frere.
Herrmann's debut in grand prix racing hadn't quite gone as well as some of the sports car races in which he had taken part. However, Herrmann had already faced adversity and seemed more than capable of letting go and moving on to the next event.
Herrmann's next event wouldn't be a grand prix race. Co-driving a Porsche 550 Coupe with Helmut Glockler, Herrmann's next race would be in France and it would be the tough 24 Hours of Le Mans on the 14th and 15th of June.
Sixty cars would start the French classic. Herrmann's and Glockler's main competition, other than the event itself, would come in the form of another Porsche 550 that would have Richard von Frankenberg and Paul Frere at the wheel.
Just a couple of weeks earlier, Herrmann had watched Frere finish 2nd in the rain at the Nurburgring. In June, Herrmann would again witness Frere earn another incredible results. Frere and von Frankenberg would take their Porsche 550 to an overall 15th place finish and a victory in class. Herrmann and Glockler would be right there behind to finish in 16th overall and 2nd in class.
The surprising result at Le Mans would be a nice way for Herrmann to fill his time in between grand prix races. Then, mid-way through July, Herrmann would prepare to take part in his second Formula 2 grand prix race.
On the 12th of July, Herrmann would be in the divided city of Berlin making final preparations for his next non-championship grand prix race. It was the 9th Internationales Avusrennen and, as its name suggests, the race would take place on the long, straight stretches of the Avus circuit.
Avus was one of Herrmann's favorite circuits in all of Germany. Originally started in 1913, construction of the incredibly long 12 mile original circuit would be halted a number of times. During World War I, construction of the circuit would be carried out by Russian prisoners. When it was finally finished in 1921 it was one of, if not the, fastest circuit in the world.
Essentially two long straights fed by two banked tear-drop-shaped curves, the Avus circuit would see average speeds of more than 150 mph by the mid-1930s. But a circuit such as it was certainly wasn't safe by any stretch of the imagination and it would take the death of Bernd Rosemeyer for things to change. Unfortunately, World War II would interrupt the racing at the circuit.
When the world emerged from the Second World War, Avus had been changed. Not only did it serve as a route between Charlottenburg and Nikolassee, but the length had also changed. It had been shortened from 12 miles to 5.14 miles. And instead of the banked Sudkurve a tight hairpin turn on the south end would be used in its place. The Nordkurve and its 'Wall of Death' would remain, however.
As with the Eifelrennen, the Avusrennen would draw its fair share of foreign entries. Lured by the speed, the faster and newer cars from Italy and England would make an immediate impact on the starting grid.
The Belgian team, Ecurie Francorchamps, would bring their Ferrari 500 to the race. Driven by team founder Jacques Swaters, the car would go on to set the fastest time in practice and take the pole. The rest of the front row would be occupied by British entries. Alan Brown would start 2nd in a Cooper-Bristol T23. Rodney Nuckey, also driving a Cooper-Bristol T23, would start 3rd. In all, twenty-six would start the race.
The race was set for 25 laps. The field would roar away with Swaters holding onto the lead. Over the course of the first lap, a number of strong competitors would find their hopes dashed. Both Alan Brown and Kurt Adolff would crash out of the race during the very first lap of the race. On top of their retirements, Nuckey wasn't able to maintain the pace of Swaters and others at the front and would also slip down the running order over time. This meant only Swaters remained at the front. All of the other front row starters were out of the running for the victory.
This would open the door to a number of fast German racers, including Herrmann. Hans Klenk would take the most advantage of the situation. He and Theo Helfrich would be right up there trying to give chase of Swaters. Helfrich would help his cause by setting the fastest lap of the race, but it was seemingly futile. While Helfrich had to put it all out there just to turn the fastest lap of the race, Swaters seemed to be able to turn laps nearly as fast each and every time around. This just helped the Belgian slip further away into the distance.
Herrmann would soon haul in Nuckey. Nuckey certainly wouldn't be able to turn out the pace he had during practice. Herrmann, running consistently, would be able to get by Nuckey and would do his best to give chase of Helfrich and Klenk a little further up the road.
Attrition continued to strike at the field. The pace would also play a part in the proceedings. A number of cars fell out of the running before even five laps would be completed. Even more would follow. Before the race would be over, there would be twelve that would retire from the race before reaching the end.
Just nine cars were still running as Swaters headed around on the final lap of the race. Only the top three remained on the lead lap, and while that was actually true, it wouldn't be even that close. Over the last couple of laps of the race, Swaters had managed to put Herrmann a lap down and could see Helfrich and Klenk in the distance. He knew the race was his as long as he made no mistakes. Therefore, Swaters certainly slowed down during the last couple of laps. This would be true because as Klenk and Helfrich headed out on their final lap, Swaters was just coming off the steep banking toward the finish line.
Swaters would complete the race distance in one hour, five minutes and three seconds. En route to the victory, Swaters would average 117 mph and would have a margin of two minutes and forty-two seconds over Hans Klenk at the finish. Theo Helfrich would follow. He would come around the banking and across the line a further fourteen seconds behind in 3rd place. It was obvious Swaters slowed over the last couple of laps since Helfrich's fastest lap time was just two minutes and thirty-one seconds.
While Swaters obviously slowed over the final couple of laps, he wouldn't slow before he put Herrmann a lap down. However, being a lap down was certainly better than what had happened during the Eifelrennen. This time, Herrmann would finish the race in 4th place.
Herrmann's talent was beginning to become obvious. When he had a car capable of reaching the end of a race his pace was such that he was easily able to run inside the top five and strong even amongst talented foreign drivers.
Avus had been good to Herrmann. He hadn't just come to take part in the Avusrennen grand prix race. He was also there to take part in the second round of the German Sportscar Championship.
Herrmann had won the first round of the championship which had taken place at the Nurburgring. At Avus he wouldn't be able to take the win, but he still had an incredible run. It seemed Herrmann was to chase Hans Klenk all throughout the weekend, for during the sportscar race, as during the grand prix, he would be behind Klenk vying for position. Unfortunately for Herrmann, Klenk would be too strong and would take the victory. However, Herrmann would follow up the victory at the Nurburgring with a very respectable 2nd place. He was still right in the thick of the battle for the championship.
Three weeks after the race at Avus, Herrmann was headed back to the Nurburgring. He had a date with destiny. While he was on his way to take part in the third round of the German Sportscar Championship, he was also on his way there to take part in his first-ever round of the World Championship. It was the German Grand Prix, and the best teams and drivers from the world would be there.
While the World Championship was certainly something special, a great opportunity afforded by the decision to run according to Formula 2 regulations, Herrmann still had a little matter of the German Sportscar Championship in which to contend.
At the wheel of his 1.5-liter Porsche 550 once again, Herrmann would go on to dominate the Rheinland Nurburgring race. He would go on to earn his second victory of the season and would enjoy a margin of more than twenty-six seconds over Karl-Gunther Bechem in 2nd. Herrmann would have more than a minute in hand over Theo Helfrich who would finish in 3rd place.
It was fairly certain to see the talent Herrmann possessed behind the wheel of a race car. One of those that would recognize and embrace the talent was the one Herrmann chased around the Avus circuit three weeks earlier, Hans Klenk. In recognition of his talent, Klenk would decide against entering the German Grand Prix. Instead, he would give his car Herrmann to use in his first-ever World Championship race.
At its core, the car was a Veritas-Meteor. However, Klenk had made a few revisions to its design. One of the most obvious was the Ferrari 166-like grille sported right on the nose of the car. Though reworked, the car would come in handy for Herrmann.
Herrmann's first World Championship race was to be something special, but it was still a rather relaxing moment for him. However, for Scuderia Ferrari and the factory Maserati team, there was not the ease of emotions. Alberto Ascari was on the verge of yet another World Championship. He already had earned four victories, but there still were enough races left that drivers, like the young Mike Hawthorn, could make a run to challenge Ascari's reign.
Since Hawthorn and Giuseppe Farina were teammates, Ascari was on the absolute edge almost from the very start of practice. It would all culminate in him turning an incredible lap of nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds to take the pole. He was going for the win in order to block all challengers; it was obvious.
Ascari's biggest challengers would join him on the front row. The season had been rather disappointing for Juan Manuel Fangio, but he had been fast time after time. He would start the German Grand Prix beside Ascari in 2nd place. Giuseppe Farina would put another Ferrari on the front row with a 3rd place starting spot. And, Mike Hawthorn would keep the pressure on by starting the race 4th.
Not under so much pressure, Herrmann would look to be as fast as possible in practice just to get an idea as to the difference in pace from the German machines to the cars from Italy and other European nations. What would happen is Herrmann would show just how much promise he possessed.
Over the course of practice, he would prove to be the fastest German in the field. He would also be faster than many of the other foreign drivers in the field as well. While all of the Germans in the field would find an eleven minute lap nearly impossible to break, Herrmann would do it, by two-tenths of a second. This would earn him a 14th starting spot on the grid, which would be the outside of the fourth row.
Among the rest of the Germans, the one to start the closest to Herrmann would be Willi Heeks. He would start directly behind Hans one row back. His best time around the circuit was some eighteen seconds slower.
On a sunny, dry day, thirty-four cars would line up on the grid in preparation of the 18 lap German Grand Prix. After his performance in practice, Herrmann was relaxed heading into the race. He really had nothing to lose. He knew he couldn't keep up with the Ferraris and the Maseratis, but he knew he was fast enough to stay in front of a number of others. He also knew he had the pace in hand to slow if he needed to in order to make it all the way to the end. He would have an advantage heading into the race, however. Compared to some of the foreign entries in the field, he had more time going around the demanding and difficult Nurburgring than many of the others, and this was true despite his overall lack of experience.
As the green flag flew, and the race got underway, Fangio would get the best start and would have the lead. Behind him, the field would carefully snake its way through the first couple of turns. While they would be careful, they would still be jockeying for positions. There would be a couple of German racers, Ernst Loof and Hans Stuck, that wouldn't make it off the grid before they would retire with mechanical failures of some kind.
Herrmann would make his way away from the grid and would be quickly embroiled in a battle with those who started right around him, as well as, with some of those that qualified behind him. Jacques Swaters had started the race from a couple rows back but had a Ferrari 500 at his disposal. This was a car that was a little too difficult for Herrmann to hold off over the course of the 18 laps.
Hans did his best to settle into a pace. As he came around to complete his first World Championship lap, he would begin to receive some help. Both Maurice Trintignant and Roy Salvadori had qualified better than Herrmann. However, after just one lap, both were out of the race. This helped Hans move up the running order without having to even fight.
Ascari would end up taking over the lead of the race before the end of the first lap. In fact, by the time Ascari crossed the line to complete the first lap he had already built up a lead of about ten seconds over Fangio who was coming under fire from Hawthorn.
A good fight would develop between Fangio and Hawthorn. Reminiscent of their fight at the French Grand Prix earlier in the year, the two would trade position. This was about the most interesting action on the track as Ascari continued to increase his lead and the Germans in the field continued to seemingly streak backward.
Herrmann continued to be helped out by attrition. The French Equipe Gordini team would be totally eliminated before eight laps would be complete. The engine would let go in Harry Schell's car while gearbox problems would sideline Jean Behra. Both of these drivers had also started the race ahead of Herrmann. Attrition was sweeping through the field. By the time the race was eight laps old twelve cars would be eliminated from the field.
Trouble was everywhere. It was like landmines; no one was safe. Not even the front-runners. Despite having a lead of nearly a minute, trouble would catch up to Ascari's Ferrari. One of the wheels would break on the car which would force the Italian to slow his pace in an effort just to get back to the pits. This would hand the lead over to Hawthorn and Fangio, who were being closely followed by Farina.
Ascari would make it back to the pits and would lose a lot of time waiting upon repairs to be made. However, he would receive some relief from his friend and teammate Luigi Villoresi. Villoresi would end up coming into the pits and would hand his car over to Ascari so that he wouldn't lose any more time.
Back into the fray, Ascari would drive like a madman while a lap down. Each and every lap he seemed to push the car further and further beyond the limits of what was possible. Quickly he would be lapping around his qualifying pace. Then, on the 12th lap, he would set an incredible lap time that would truly stagger the imagination. His time would be four seconds faster than his best qualifying effort and it would be within a half a second of his best time while driving a Formula One car back in 1951! This was truly astonishing. But was Farina, who now had the lead, in trouble?
If Ascari could keep the kind of pace he had been turning up over the remaining laps be may have been able to pull back onto the lead lap, and if any of the others had any trouble, he may have been right back in it. However, with just three laps remaining, it would be Ascari that would run into trouble, again.
Smoke would be seen streaming out from under the engine cowling. Soon, it would get worse and it would cause Ascari to retire from the race. It had been one of the most impressive performances ever seen, but it would not mean a thing. He would have to wait and see what happened in order to find out whether he would earn the World Championship right then and there.
Ascari's retirement opened the door for Herrmann as well. It enabled him to move up one more place, which, by this time, was up inside the top ten. But Herrmann couldn't really relax too much over the last couple of laps. He had Louis Rosier behind him in another Ferrari 500.
Giuseppe Farina was known for his smooth driving style. This style would be important for Farina with Fangio following along in 2nd place. He would need to feel comfortable while also being fast. And he would be both.
Ascari's incredible lap would see him average more than 85 mph over the course of the 14 miles. Farina would average nearly 84 mph throughout the entire 18 laps and would cruise to victory covering the 255 miles in three hours, two minutes and twenty-five seconds. Even over the great Juan Manuel Fangio, Farina would hold a margin of more than a minute. Mike Hawthorn, who did lead a few laps of the race, would be unable to match Farina's pace over the whole of the race and would end up in 3rd about a minute and forty-five seconds behind.
In spite of failing to finish, Ascari would end up World Champion for the second time and for the second year in a row. The dominance of him and the Ferrari 500 was truly something special and would not be eclipsed for decades.
Hans Herrmann would go on to show he was a rising star for Germany when he would take Hans Klenk's Klenk-Veritas-Meteor and would cross the line to finish in 9th place. He would finish behind Villoresi in Ascari's repaired Ferrari and would finish ahead of Louis Rosier by more than a minute. The drive was truly impressive considering the strength of the cars and the teams present at the race. The next-highest finishing German would end up being Theo Helfrich who would finish two laps down in 12th place.
The performance had been truly incredible by Herrmann. In just his first World Championship race, and against the best drivers, teams and cars in the world, he stood the test and came out the other side looking really good. It was obvious Herrmann's racing career was really about to skyrocket.
Thinking about his career in grand prix racing would need to wait. Herrmann was on the verge on winning the German Sportscar Championship in the 1.5-liter category. One week after his impressive performances in the third round of the German Sportscar Championship and the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, Herrmann would be in Schauinsland, West Germany for the Internationaler Bergrekord. It was a hillclimb that counted as the fourth, and final, round of the German Sportscar Championship.
Facing a number of Borgwards, OSCAs and other German 'self-built' cars, or Eigenbaus, Herrmann would go on to take his Porsche 550 to victory in the 1.5-liter category. Once again, Karl-Gunther Bechem would finish in 2nd place while Hans Stuck finished 3rd.
Over the last two rounds of the series Herrmann had two victories. His 2nd place scored at Avus would end up giving him more than enough to take the championship in just his second season of full-time racing!
Although he had won the German Sportscar Championship, and his first experience in the World Championship was over, the season was not. He still had a couple of races remaining in which he would take part, and both were sportscar races.
August would be a very busy month for Herrmann and he would make a couple of trips to the Nurburgring during that time as well. On the 30th of the month, he had American Jack McAfee would partner together in a Maserati A6GCS/53 in order to tackle the ADAC Nurburgring 1000 Kilometers. Herrmann would also be listed as a driver for, but would never drive, a Glockler Nr.5 along with Richard Trenkel and Walter Schluter. At the end of the race, he would wish he had driven the Glockler.
Driving the 2.0-liter, six-cylinder Maserati, Herrmann and McAfee would look good but would not manage to finish the race. And failed oil line would take them right out of contention. However, Trenkel and Schluter would power their way to a 4th place finish in the Glockler Nr. 5.
The final race of the season for Herrmann would be perhaps the most grueling. On the 23rd of November, Herrmann would be part of the Porsche works team and it would travel across the Atlantic Ocean to Mexico. The team was on its way to take part in the very difficult Carrera Panamericana. The weather was hot and the race, incredibly dangerous.
Over the course of the arduous event scores of cars would end up crashed off the side of the road along the route. Felice Bonetto, the former Ferrari driver and Maserati driver during the World Championship season that year, would lose his life in a crash during the event.
Because of the length of the event, margins between cars wouldn't really be measured in seconds, but in minutes and hours. Dressed in the usual silver color, Herrmann's Germany Porsche 550 would also be adorned with a little bit of yellow. But no livery scheme would help the car make it to the finish. During the race, the steering arm would break in the car and would lead to Herrmann crashing out of the race. Nonetheless, the sleek shape of the 550, and its performance in the hands of Herrmann and Karl Kling would cause Porsche to become popular with the American audience.
The most popular car that day would be the Lancia D24 Pininfarina driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and Gino Bronzoni. The two would combine to take the victory by a margin of nearly eight minutes over another Lancia D24 Pininfarina driven by Piero Taruffi and Luigi Maggio.
Although the season wouldn't end on a high note, Herrmann's career was certainly ascending. He had reason to look forward to the 1954 season. Porsche's sportscar program was enabling him to be successful each and every time out, and his performance in the German Grand Prix would end up catching the attention of one Alfred Neubauer.
Going into the 1954 season, Herrmann would find himself in perhaps the best position possible for a young driver. He was to continue driving in sportscar races for Porsche, but he would also have his services hired by Neubauer and Mercedes-Benz. He would become one of the factory drivers for the manufacturer's new grand prix program that was set to come on the scene. Low and behold, this former baker from Stuttgart had all of the necessary ingredients for a truly remarkable career in motor racing.