The Story Behind Grand Prix’s Biggest Starting Grid

#30 – Ernst Loof — Veritas Nürburgring RS2 – Meteor
Grid: 31st / Race: Retired (0 laps / Fuel Pump)

(Source: Revs)
Born: 4th July 1907
Neindorf, Germany
Died: 3rd July 1956
Bonn, Germany
Appearances: 1   (1953 German GP)

Biography

Yes, Mr. Veritas himself in one of his sports models(!) in a Formula 2 race – or better at the start of it, as in the race he drove about two metres before breaking down! And even if this perhaps makes him the driver with the shortest World Championship “career” of all, we should in fact regard Loof as a ‘pur-sang’ racer.

In the early thirties, he had been one of the top motorcycle racers and four-times German champion for Imperia. When the Auto Union company he worked for closed down, he moved to BMW, where he became responsible for the preparation and maintenance of the factory cars, helping them in their legendary win at Brescia in 1940. When the BMW company became ‘inoperative’ after the war Loof went independent, converting second-hand BMWs into racing machines.

In 1947, he partnered with other former BMW employees – namely Lorenz Dietrich – to set up what would immediately become Germany’s most successful production company of sports and race cars, the ‘Veritas’. The first cars were rather continued developments of the BMW designs from the war, but soon the company started development on their own engine, which would be installed in a whole range of Veritas models, from Sedans, Coupes, Cabriolets to competition Roadsters and also in their Formula 2 ‘Meteor’ monopostos. This, more or less, broke the company’s financial neck in 1950, but Loof managed to salvage some parts and machinery to continue on a much smaller level from a workshop based at the Nürburgring. His garage known as ‘Veritas-Nürburging’ would soon become something like a holy place for the community of German drivers with Loof being the guru.

Completely obsessive over racing cars and engines, he would tune-up everything his followers brought to him. One of his most faithful supporters was Paul Pietsch, who had started over his post-war career in Veritas cars and achieved some respectable success. When Pietsch gave up racing at the end of 1952, it was announced that for the next season, a new team – the “Ecurie Nürburgring” – would be set up with tyre engineer Jupp Goffarth from the German Englebert company as team director and Kurt Adolff and Willi Heeks as drivers. For them, Loof would produce a new development stage of the ‘Meteor’ Formula 2 car, de-facto a semi-works team. However, at the start of the season Adolff grabbed the opportunity to drive one of the all-conquering Tipo 500 Ferraris, so in Formula 2 it was only Heeks who appeared with his Meteor at the Eifelrennen.

By that time Loof’s ‘Veritas-Nürburgring’ company was already deep in financial trouble again, having been unable to get civilian car production really running. Only a couple of days before the German Grand Prix it was to read in the press, that it had gone into liquidation and its assets would be taken over by BMW until the end of August. So, what could have been Loof’s intention to appear in what was essentially a sports model alongside Heeks’s proper Formula 2 car for this final race? Was it to show a great final? A last desperate effort to attract a new investor? Just some sort of advertising to sell the car? Or just an occasion to gain some starting money? Perhaps we will never find out…

1953 German Grand Prix, Ernst Loof (Source: Revs)

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