TeamsMotor-Presse-Verlag: 1952 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
Rarely does an individual get to make a career of something he or she loves. Even rarer still is the opportunity to do it for all of one's life. There is a time and a season for everything. Those who find themselves doing what they love to do will also find it hard to step away from it when it's time to do so. In the case of Paul Pietsch, he would step away from motor racing, but he would step away all that far.
Paul Pietsch was born in June of 1911 in Freiburg in Breisgau. His family made its way in the real world by offering others a break for their's one stein-full at a time. This enabled Pietsch to be able to purchase a Bugatti Type 35 chassis in 1932. The Bugatti was already out-of-date. Therefore, in 1934, Paul would purchase an Alfa Romeo Monza. He would use the car efficiently as he would score a couple of victories at ice races in Norway and Sweden. He would also fare quite well in the Avusrennen and the Eifelrennen. In fact, he would be the top privateer in the Eifelrennen when he finished 4th.
Pietsch's going showings earned the attention of both Mercedes and Auto Union. After testing sessions with Auto Union, Pietsch would choose to drive for the team in 1935. The decision to race for Auto Union would end up being cursed in a couple of ways. Proving the grass isn't always greener on the other side, Pietsch would lose his drive and his wife during his time with Auto Union.
Upon leaving Auto Union, Pietsch would leave racing for a short time, but would again make his presence known in 1937 and 1938. He would come back to race in the voiturette class and would end up gaining some level of retribution when he was able to take a Maserati and would lead the silver cars in the German Grand Prix in 1939. This was upsetting to the Nazi officials at a time of great pride in its powerful grand prix cars. Pietsch wouldn't end up winning the race though. After spinning and dealing with an ignition problem, Paul would finish 3rd. This was still an incredible and vindicating result for Pietsch as a privateer against the giant silver car teams.
Pietsch's life, like many, would be interrupted by the Second World War. It was widely believed that his best years were lost to the war. In spite of the interruption, Pietsch was back to racing by 1950.
Germany was in a sad state of affairs after the conclusion of the war. The nation lay in ruin, and its currency was worth practically nothing. The racing scene was looking quite thin as the major manufacturers focused on rebuilding. However, there were a number of smaller manufacturers popping up developing their own race cars. Taking from his passion for racing, and the entrepreneurial motor companies appearing amidst the ruin, Pietsch was inspired to do something that had to do with what his passion was. This gave birth to Pietsch's other passion. In 1946, Pietsch would help start Das Auto magazine and Motor Presse Verlag publishing company. This would develop into a full production magazine, and by the time he returned to racing in 1950, Pietsch's Auto Motor und Sport was already a well known magazine.
Although he had already become a successful magazine publisher, Pietsch wasn't quite ready to step away from racing just yet. In the Formula One World Championship's first year, Pietsch was there with a privately-owned Maserati 4CLT/48. The Italian Grand Prix was his one and only race of the 1950 World Championship and he would retire from the race.
Then, in 1951, Alfa Romeo would come calling on the driver. Pietsch was always known for his abilities at difficult circuits such as the Nurburgring. During the Eifelrennen Formula 2 race, Pietsch would manage to win in a Veritas Meteor despite much of the car falling apart. This would lead to him being offered a ride by Alfa Romeo for the German Grand Prix. After qualifying 7th, Pietsch would run as high as 5th before suffering a big accident.
After Paul's accident during the German Grand Prix, it had seemed Paul's time taking part in the World Championship had come to an end. But in 1952, it seemed the World Championship wanted Paul to take part in yet one more race before leaving racing altogether.
Alfa Romeo was in financial trouble when Pietsch drove for them at the German Grand Prix. Because of the costs associated with Formula One, Alfa Romeo would decide to walk away from grand prix racing. There was little, to no, competition for Ferrari. Adding to the lack of competition was the ever-increasing costs of competition. This was chasing competitors out of the series. Something needed to be done. The decision to run according to Formula 2 guidelines by the governing-body and the race organizers would allow Pietsch an opportunity to take part in just one more World Championship grand prix.
Travel for Germans, even German racers was greatly restricted after the end of World War II. It wouldn't be until 1950 that the restrictions were lifted a degree or two. However, the financial state of Germany was such that the restrictions didn't really matter all that much since many of the talented German racers couldn't afford to race outside their own country anyway. Pietsch could afford to travel a bit more than some, but he had already become focused on his publishing business by this point, and so, would still just compete in races around Germany.
Because Pietsch had already found his other 'niche', Pietsch wouldn't take part in a major motor race in 1952 until the 25th of May. The race was the 16th Internationales ADAC Eifelrennen held at the Nurburgring. But first, he would head to England for a special race.
The Eifelrennen would not be Pietsch's first race of the season. He had earned an invitation to take part in the Silverstone International Champions race a couple of weeks before the Eifelrennen. The race consisted of drivers from different countries competing against each other in similar Jaguar XK120s.
In the race, Stirling Moss would take the victory. He would finish eleven seconds in front of Emmanuel de Graffenried. Despite competing against some competitors that had barely entered puberty, let alone driving, while he was battling names like Achille Varzi, Bernd Rosemeyer, Rudolf Caracciola and Tazio Nuvolari, Pietsch would prove he still had the talent to hang with the youngsters, as well as, the capability to still pull out a surprise. He would end up finishing the race 3rd.
Pietsch would leave England and would head back to his native Germany. Upon returning home, he would pack up his car and would head to Nurburg, Germany. Pietsch would come to the Nurburgring with a Veritas Meteor entered under his own name. In practice he would be impressive despite driving a fragile car. The race would prove just how fragile the car really was.
While Stirling Moss and Rudolf Fischer were battling it out at the front of the field with new race cars, Pietsch would find himself back with his fellow Germans languishing with aged designs stretched to their limits and still being asked for more. Very quickly, Pietsch would receive a reply from his car. After just 1 lap, the engine would let go in Pietsch's Veritas thereby ending his race.
The field for the Eifelrennen would include some international drivers like Stirling Moss, Rudolf Fischer and Duncan Hamilton. As a sign of how fragile the state of German grand prix racing truly was at the time, everyone that would fail to finish the race, which would be eleven of sixteen, were German. Only one would finish the race. The blessed one to make it the entire distance would be Toni Ulmen.
Fischer and Moss would battle during the early part of the 7 lap race. Then, Fischer would manage to pull away in the lead. Despite being a gentleman racer, Fischer would prove his talent. He wouldn't merely pull out an advantage of a second or two over Moss. When Fischer crossed the finish line as the race winner, he would do so with a lead of forty-one seconds over Moss. At a circuit 14 miles long, to be minutes down wasn't all that surprising. Therefore, it wasn't all that surprising when Ken Wharton finished in 3rd, but down over two minutes.
Pietsch would not have a glorious repeat triumph in the Eifelrennen in 1952. Instead, he would be concerned with having a car capable of making an entire race distance. He had always been fast, but Germany's current lineup of cars had more of a problem with endurance than speed.
After the Eifelrennen, Pietsch would go back and concentrate on his work with Motor Presse Verlag and would forget about racing until the next time the Nurburgring would host a Formula 2 race.
On the 3rd of August, Paul Pietsch would arrive in Nurburg, Germany once again. He would arrive for what would be his third World Championship and second German Grand Prix. He would arrive at the race with a Veritas Meteor, but he would be entered under a different name. Officially, the German Grand Prix of 1952 would be the first time Motor Presse Verlag would ever take part in a round of the World Championship.
The race was important on a couple of levels. First of all, it was the second round of the West German Formula 2 Championship. Secondly, it was the sixth round of the World Championship. In the case of Pietsch, he had moved on to his magazine and publishing business, but he was always open to another opportunity to spoil the party like he had for most of the German Grand Prix back in 1939.
The party Pietsch could spoil in 1952 would be Alberto Ascari's victory lap. He had won three-straight races and was on the verge of winning the title with two races still to go after Germany. A victory at the German Grand Prix would ensure his World Championship crown.
In practice, it would become apparent right away that Pietsch, and just about every one else, would need some kind of miracle to disrupt Ascari en route to his first World Championship. The season prior, the Formula One cars were turning in lap times of nine minutes and fifty-five seconds, at the very fastest. Ascari would go on to show why Formula 2 Ferrari 500 had been unbeaten in any of the World Championship rounds. During practice, Ascari would turn, as his fastest lap, a time of ten minutes and four seconds. This was only nine seconds slower than his own pole time the season before! Giuseppe Farina, the 1950 World Champion and Ferrari teammate to Ascari, would end up in 2nd place on the starting after recording a time only seven seconds slower than his own qualifying effort the year prior. Back in May, during the Eifelrennen, some of the fastest laps turned were barely under eleven minutes. Even at that pace the German entries struggled.
As it did with the Eifelrennen, the German Grand Prix took place on the 14 mile long Nordschleife. This was a fierce-some purpose-built circuit situated in the Eifel mountains. Ever-changing, both as a circuit and in reference to the weather, the Nordschleife was a circuit with danger lurking around every corner. Infamous the world over, the picturesque setting carefully hid the demon that would later be called the 'Green Hell'.
Pietsch was always known for being fast. While his cars may not have been able to always handle the pace he wanted to travel, it could not be said that Pietsch wouldn't give him one hundred percent when behind the wheel of any car. Despite having a car really only capable of continually turning laps around the circuit at around eleven minutes, Pietsch would push hard in practice. Paul would end up turning in a rather impressive lap time of ten minutes and fifty-six seconds. While fifty-two seconds slower than Ascari, the time would be good enough for him to start from the outside of the three-wide second row. Overall, he would start the 18 lap race from the 7th place position on the grid.
If the sixth round would fare anything like what the sports car race would before the grand prix cars took to the circuit then Pietsch had good reason for some confidence given his 7th place starting position.
Before the German Grand Prix would begin the Nordschleife would play host to the Grand Prix of the Nurburgring, which was the third round of the German Sportscar Championship.
The event would give the quarter of a million people a glimpse of Pietsch's former glory. Pietsch would start the race from the pole with his Veritas RS. The racing was close. However, over the course of the race, Paul would hold off a charging Hans-Hugo Hartmann by almost three seconds to take the victory.
The German Sportscar Championship race would end up glory for Pietsch. He hoped he could play something of the spoiler in the World Championship race later in the day. It would be his race that would be spoiled instead.
The German Grand Prix would get underway with the sound of roaring engines and squealing tires. Ascari would shoot into the lead and would head the pack through the first of many twists and turns.
Being at the head of the field, Ascari would have an advantage. With the field bunched up behind the leader, the risk of mistakes and accidents increased immensely. Being pressured from behind, and wanting to push forward himself, Trintignant would make a mistake and would crash out of the race before the first lap had even been completed. This was incredibly disappointing considering Maurice had started from the front row in 3rd place.
Unlike the Eifelrennen, some international cars were dropping out of the event even before the first race had been completed. The first ones out of the race were the Italian Gino Bianco and the Frenchman Maurice Trintignant. The third one out of the race would be Felice Bonetto. He would end up out of the race as the result of being disqualified for receiving outside assistance after spinning on the first lap. The spin had taken place right in front of Hans Klenk and Marcel Balsa, but they would manage to make it through.
Though, officially, the first-three out of the race would be international drivers, it wasn't as if the German drivers manage to escape without problems themselves. In fact, out of the eight that would drop out before completing a single lap, three of them would be German drivers. Another two hadn't even started the race due to problems found beforehand.
One of the three Germans to drop out without having completed a single lap obviously hadn't learned his lesson from the Eifelrennen. The second entry out of the Eifelrennen was Paul Pietsch. The hard-charging German had done well in practice, but it had done harm to his car for the race. Then, at the start of the race, Pietsch was on it immediately. This led to his engine letting go. Well, even before finishing the first lap of the German Grand Prix, Pietsch was out of the running. He had pushed his car hard in practice and had earned an incredible 7th place starting position. Unfortunately, the gearbox had gone through enough and decided to fail on him. Instead of taking part in a race that would last the better part of three hours, Pietsch's last World Championship grand prix would last a matter of minutes. Motor Presse Verlag's only foray into the World Championship would last less than ten minutes. This would be one of the shortest appearances in World Championship history by any team.
Though Pietsch was out, the race was far from over. In fact, it hadn't even really begun when he dropped out of the running. Well, technically the race hadn't really gotten started yet. What the quarter of a million spectators would witness was an Alberto Ascari exhibition for about two hours and forty-five minutes.
Ascari had pulled out the lead right from the very start. Once in the lead of the race, he began to draw away from the rest of the field. This was helped by the battle between his fellow Ferrari teammates, Giuseppe Farina and Piero Taruffi, for 2nd place. This helped to hold up others behind them. Not that Ascari was really worried about anybody behind his teammates.
Over the next two plus hours all the spectators would witness was a parade headed by Ascari. With every passing minute, he would stretch out his advantage. The increase in his advantage would become very apparent due to the length of the circuit. From one lap to the next, the gap between himself and Farina, who had managed to win the battle with Taruffi for 2nd, would lengthen considerably. It wouldn't be a matter of a second or two each lap. Each lap the gap would increase by many seconds.
Standing in one position over the course of the 18 lap race, another thing would become abundantly clear: the rapid rate of attrition. Every lap the numbers would be reduced until there were large gaps of time between cars passing by. But one car that would continue to speed past was the red car with the yellow and black prancing horse emblem of Alberto Ascari's Ferrari 500.
By the time Ascari was beginning his 10th lap, eighteen competitors would be out of the race. The most recent retirement from the race would be one of his main threats. Robert Manzon had started on the front row in the 4th place position. He hadn't been able to keep up with Ascari at all, but he still posed a threat. That was, until the 9th of the race. While lapping as best he could, the wheel would fall off Manzon's Gordini T16. He would head off the course and crash the car, thereby ending his race.
While Ascari would be without yet another competitor when Manzon would lose his wheel, Alberto would go ahead and exert his dominance even more. Ascari's 10th lap would be his best. He would lap the circuit less than a second slower than his pole time of ten minutes and four seconds. This was amazing and surprising considering he had little competition even left in the race, plus he still had eight long laps still remaining before the end. Yet, he would continue to lap quickly.
Pietsch had proven to be a very fast driver, but his speed had the reputation of coming back to bite him. Less than a half hour remaining in the race, it seemed there was the potential for the same thing to happen to Ascari. He had been so adamant about wanting to win the World Championship that he had been pushing his Ferrari quite hard all throughout the race. But with two laps remaining, all was not well with the car. Finishing, without doing something to help out the car, seemed less and less of a possibility. Ascari's hand was virtually forced. If he wanted to finish, let alone have a chance at winning the championship at the German Grand Prix, he had to stop and have the car checked and repaired. He would do that.
While sitting in the car waiting, every seconds seemed like an eternity. Because of the time taken in the pits, his lead, which seemed like an eternity, disappeared. Farina would go through into the lead of the race. The same thing had happened at the Monza Grand Prix back in early June. But there would be one important difference.
Back at the Monza Grand Prix in June, Ascari had been far up the road. It seemed victory was a foregone conclusion. Farina ran a steady, but considerably slower pace. Trouble would strike Ascari in the second heat and the lead and the overall victory would be handed to Farina.
It seemed the same thing was about to happen at the German Grand Prix, but there would end up being one very important difference between the two races: Alberto Ascari wasn't out of the race. While comfortably in the lead, and on the last lap of the race, Farina was not aware of the Juggernaut headed his way.
Despite an ailing car, Ascari would rejoin the race. He had less than ten minutes to catch and pass his Ferrari, and former World Champion, teammate. Amazingly, Farina would end up making things a little easier for Ascari. Perhaps believing the same events as had happened at the Monza Grand Prix just transpired, Farina would not increase his pace. Instead, he would find a slightly slower and more assured pace in order to make it around the circuit on the final lap. It was as if he had a huge lead and only needed to finish in order to take the victory. The problem was his large lead was being reduced hand-over-fist.
Caught totally by surprise, Farina would be passed by Ascari. The ailing Ferrari 500 wouldn't just hold together over the course of the final lap. It would not only allow Ascari to catch and pass Farina, it would also allow him to gap him by fourteen seconds when Ascari crossed the line to take the win.
The quarter of a million spectators had come expecting to see a race. Unfortunately, they would just have to wait two hours and forty-five minutes to see one. Then, what they saw was exciting for only just a few minutes before it went back to what it had been for all that time beforehand.
After battling with Farina throughout the early stages of the race, Taruffi would fade quite dramatically. Despite being behind the wheel of the same car, Taruffi would end up being lapped by Ascari before the end of the race. Taruffi would finish 4th.
Finishing in 3rd would be a relative surprise. Rudolf Fischer, the victor of the Eifelrennen back in May, would end up coming up to finish the race 3rd. Fischer was under little pressure from Taruffi. Therefore, the restaurant owner would settle into a comfortable pace and would finish the race a little over seven minutes behind Alberto.
After three World Championship races, Pietsch had three retirements. This was truly surprising for someone that had proven to be faster than Bernd Rosemeyer during the test drive for Auto Union back in the late 1930s.
Despite being a champion racer in the past, Pietsch was finding Germany's racing present to be filled with nothing but failure. Nothing was more of an example of the contrast than the Ferrari 500 driven by Ascari and many of the German chassis driven by many talented Germans, particularly Paul Pietsch. Like Pietsch, Ascari was a hard-charging driver. Yet, despite being ill, the Ferrari 500 would manage to hold on to finish the race, whereas, the German cars would just fail. This wouldn't inspire confidence, only pessimism. Many German racers would take part in races just wondering when the car would fail. For a true racer like Pietsch, having to back off to ensure the car's longevity was something very difficult.
While the German Grand Prix was the one and only time Motor Presse Verlag would enter a car in the World Championship, it would not be the last time it would enter a car for a grand prix.
Four weeks after the failed effort at the German Grand Prix, Pietsch would arrive in Wegberg, Germany and would enter his Veritas Meteor under the Motor Presse Verlag name for the 5th DMV Grenzlandringrennen.
The Grenzlandringrennen was the third round of the West German Championship. The race took place on the mysterious Grenzlandring, which surrounds the small villages of Wegberg and Beeck, and is situated only about twenty miles from the Belgium border.
The Grenzlandring is the kind of thing of which conspiracies are made. Built by Nazi Germany during the early part of World War II, this 'outer belt' surrounds only small villages that had little to no purpose, apparently, during the war. It is the only such feature to be found around lightly populated areas in all of Germany. In addition, the road was paved with concrete instead of asphalt. Whatever its real purpose, it would become one of the fastest tracks in the world and in all history with average speeds, in 1952, touching 130 mph.
Before taking part in the Formula 2 race, Pietsch would take part in the Grenzlandring Sportscar race. The race would offer Pietsch going into the Formula 2 race as he would start the race from the pole and would go on to finish the race 2nd behind Hans-Hugo Hartmann by eight seconds. Once again, like the sportscar race leading up to the German Grand Prix, Pietsch, the former grand prix star, would earn a good result in a sports car race.
The front row for the 12 lap Formula 2 race featured Toni Ulmen in his hooded Veritas RS and Kurt Adolff in another RS. Pietsch would start a little further back in his Veritas Meteor.
Although Grenzlandring was the third round of the West German Championship, the field would again include some foreigners. However, unlike either race at the Nurburgring, it would be the foreign entries that would all fall out of the race. Of course, having cars still running at the end of the event was more of the trick.
The ultra-high speed nature of the circuit was serving to sift the field. Car after car was falling out of the race. Unfortunately, none of the retirees would have as tragic an end as Helmut Niedermayr's exit from the race.
After blasting down the extremely long Rheydter-Gerade straight, Niedermayr would then enter the Roermonder Kurve at a high rate of speed. In spite of being a curve, drivers would just feather it as they would walk their cars around the curve. Tragically, Niedermayr would lose control of his car and would plow into a group of spectators. Travelling with such velocity, Niedermayr would end up killing five instantly and another nine would perish later due to injuries sustain. Though mostly unhurt, Niedermayr would suffer from the effects of having been an accomplice to the deaths of so many.
Most unfortunate was the fact the race still was not over. Despite the dark shadow that hung over the circuit as a result of the deaths, the race would carry on to completion. While the events had been tragic, Pietsch was pleased the race continued only from the standpoint that he was still in the race.
Only five cars still remained in the race after Niedermayr's tragic departure from the race. None of the five remaining were foreign entries. Out front of them all was Ulmen in his Veritas RS and its streamlined hood covering the cockpit.
After turning the fastest lap of the race with an average lap speed in excess of 132 mph, Ulmen would cruise to the victory by eighteen seconds over Hans Klenk. A minute and twenty-four seconds separated Klenk in 2nd place and the 3rd place finisher, which was Josef Peters.
The final car running on the circuit at the end of the race would be Paul Pietsch. Ulmen's best lap during the race was two minutes and thirty-one seconds. Pietsch would cross the line in 5th place behind Ulmen by two minutes and twenty-seven seconds. Therefore, just about six or seven seconds further up the road was Pietsch. This would be how close he came to going a lap down over the course of the 12 lap race.
Being a lap down didn't really matter. What mattered was the fact he had managed to finish a race. Making it to the end was of far greater importance than how far back he was at the end.
Pietsch's result was of little consequence compared to the tragic event that took place during the race. When the race was over, the Grenzlandring was over. From 1952 on, no motor race would ever be held on the public road course ever again. Over time, it would just slip out of mind and only vaguely recalled from memory. It returned to its place of mystery once again.
While Grenzlandring was forever done hosting races, Pietsch still had one more race on his calendar before his season was done. Making it to the end of the season was Pietsch's main goal. However, he was being proactive in trying to provide himself with the best possible result.
After Grenzlandring, Pietsch would not take part in any other race, not even the Italian Grand Prix, which was the first World Championship race in which he had ever started. No, Pietsch would not be really seen for close to a month because he was preparing his latest car for a very important race.
The Grenzlandring race featured Toni Ulmen in a Veritas RS with a streamlined hood over the cockpit. This was meant to provide greater aerodynamic efficiency and top speed. The final round of the West German Championship would take place at a track similar to Grenzlandring. The final race was the Avusrennen and it was held on the special Avus Circuit in western Berlin.
Essentially, the circuit was comprised of two long straights utilizing the Avus highway in the British sector of divided Berlin. The circuit was out and back. At the southwestern edge of the circuit was a hairpin turn that looped back around onto the portion of highway that headed northeast. At the northeast end was what became dubbed 'The Wall of Death'. The Nordkurve, or 'North Curve', was a banked curve made of bricks. It too served as a loop back around the the southwest bound portion of the circuit. Its infamous nickname resulted from the fact the banked turn featured no retaining wall or fencing to held keep the cars actually on the track surface. Therefore, should a drive get distracted for a mere moment heading into the corner it was entirely possible for the car to fly over the top of the curve and drop into trees on the other side.
While the 'Wall of Death' was dangerous enough for its lack of border protection, the brick paving also made it rather dangerous as well. The bumpy brick paving would cause the cars to bounce going through the corner and could lead to some rather unwanted scenarios. Pietsch would find himself amidst one of those unwanted scenarios with his new car.
Just as he had the year before, Pietsch arrived for the 8th running of the Internationales Avusrennen with an incredibly streamlined car. Built around his Veritas Meteor, the Veritas Meteor/SL (SL standing for 'Streamlined') wouldn't just have an aerodynamic coupe hood like what Ulmen had at Grenzlandring. Pietsch's car had been specially built for Avus in every way. The car featured sculpted and flowing bodywork resembling a sports car more than a Formula 2 grand prix car. Each of the wheels consisted of shroud attached to the outside to provide better aerodynamic efficiency. In addition, the bodywork would sweep up and would be incorporated into a coupe style hood that covered the cockpit. Sitting inside the car it was obvious the new aerodynamically flowing bodywork merely rested on top of the framing of the Veritas Meteor.
Pietsch would need every bit of help he could get as the field would include a few international drivers. Unlike the year before when it was a bit of lie that the Avusrennen would have Ferrari in attendance, the 1952 running of the race would feature a couple of international entries with very good cars. Among the international drivers was the Eifelrennen winner and the 3rd place finisher at the German Grand Prix, Rudolf Fischer. Fischer came to the race with his Ferrari 500. The Ferrari 500 had proven unbeatable at every round of the World Championship, with the exception of the Indianapolis 500.
In practice, Pietsch's new streamlined Meteor was able to keep up with Fischer's Ferrari. To be as fast he was, Pietsch had to travel along the ragged edge of the car's capabilities. To be as fast as the car needed to be, Pietsch had to have a rather unstable car. Unfortunately, instability only needed the slightest disruptions and things could go very bad very quickly. In practice, Pietsch would come to realize just how little was needed before it all went bad.
While rounding the 'Wall of Death', a small bump would upset the Meteor. While fighting to maintain control, the car would turn sideways and head toward the infield. The car would hit a ditch and would flip end over end until thankfully coming to a rest right-side up.
Everyone asks for signs in order to let them know when it is time to take certain steps or to do something, especially like walking away from something. Pietsch, after flipping end over end some three times, had received his sign. He had managed to escape with his life. It was time for him to accept the blessing God had given him by protecting his life and move on.
Pietsch would accept the event as his sign to step away, which he would do. He would end up out of the Avusrennen and out of competitive motor racing for the rest of his life.
The absence of Pietsch's streamlined Meteor left Fischer without too much competition. Over the course of the 25 lap race around the 5.13 mile circuit, Fischer would absolutely dominate. Turning laps with an average speed greater than 115 mph, Fischer would go on to lap the field en route to victory. Hans Klenk would end up a distant 2nd in his Veritas Meteor. Klenk would end up embroiled in a battle with Fritz Riess that came down to very end. The two would round the Nordkurve nose-to-tail. Klenk would end up beating Riess by only seven-tenths of a second.
The wrecked streamlined Meteor personified the later stages of Pietsch's career. At one time, Pietsch was one of Germany's gleaming hopes for the future. Throughout the early part of his career he proved fast and very capable, even capable of upsetting the best in the world. However, while the speed would still be there, toward the end, he had to drive on the raged edge to truly be competitive. In this position, the smallest failure or disruption would come and end what looked to be very promising. This was not entirely the fault of Pietsch. He was incredible in a car. The problem, often, rested with the cars Pietsch had available at the time.
After retiring from racing, Pietsch would focus on covering the new automobiles and technology that would make many endurance races seem more like sprints. He would witness the reliability of modern grand prix cars, where gearboxes and engines last many races and tend to fail quite infrequently.
As of 2011, Pietsch is the only remaining driver of the Auto Union team of the late 1930s. He and his family still own twenty-five percent of Motor Presse Stuttgart, which is Europe's largest pusblisher of specialty magazines that include Auto und Sport, Flight Review, Men's Health, Motorcycle and Mountain Bike magazines.
Paul Pietsch's passion wasn't the home brew. However, he understood finding and making a career out of what one's passion may be. Pietsch would, and is living his passion. While not remembered as one of the Auto Union legends, when he walked (thankfully) away from racing, the fullness of his legend would come to fruition. As a result of Pietsch living his passion behind the wheel and the editor's desk, many passions within the lives of others were and are able to be birthed, and that will certainly be Paul Pietsch's legend.