The Story Behind Grand Prix’s Biggest Starting Grid

#31 – Erwin Bauer — Veritas ‘Großmutter’ – BMW
Grid: 33rd / Race: Retired (1 lap / Engine)

(Source: Private Collection)
Born: 17th July 1912
Stuttgart, Germany
Died: 3rd June 1958
Cologne, Germany
Appearances: 1   (1953 German GP)


Bauer was an experienced driver from Stuttgart who had driven a Bugatti in 1937.

As a mechanic for Mercedes-Benz he was invited for test drives in 1938, but never got given one of the Silver Arrows for a race. After the war it became quiet around him for a while, but he was often mentioned as an important person in the beginnings of Hans Herrmann’s career.

When Herrmann was contracted by Porsche to drive in the 1953 Mille Miglia, Bauer was his co-driver and he was probably also involved in the deal with Hans Klenk to give Herrmann some racing experience in Klenk’s Formula 2 stable. When Klenk was injured in an accident testing for Mercedes in the middle of the 1953, Herrmann was promoted in the team to drive Klenk’s Veritas Meteor in the German Grand Prix, so Bauer could make his return to the tracks as a driver in the old Veritas Special which had been prepared for Herrmann. In the race the car did not last long, but from then on Bauer would be seen more frequently behind the wheel of a competition car, like at the Eifelrennen in 1954, where in the 1.5 litre sports car class he became the first German to drive a Lotus in a race.

He met a tragic end in 1958 in Austrian Gotfried Köchert’s Ferrari in the Nürburgring 1000 km when he did not see the chequered flag, carried on in full speed and crashed into the trees.

1953 German Grand Prix, Erwin Bauer (Source: Archive Footage)

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