Wolfgang von Trips (1928 - 1961) filled more than 250,000 people with enthusiasm at the Nürburgring, when he was the first German to ride up in the premier class of the formula 1 racing team of Ferrari in 1960.
Trips did his first races in a used Porsche 356 and quickly discovered that the prize money was an opportunity to pay both the entry fees for the races as well as the costs of permanent repairs. At the beginning, championship titles were a minor matter. But that should change soon. From a scientific journal, he learned that after winning a few races in the German Championship of GT cars up to 1600 cc he was first in the first place - under the pseudonym "Axel Linther". Trips used this pseudonym because he concealed his racing driver career to his parents. Especially his mother was constantly worried about him.
Porsche’s racing director Huschke von Hanstein helped trips to his first international race as a co pilot in the Mille Miglia race in 1954. Two years later Trips became internationally successful driving the Porsche 550 Spyder together with Hans Herrmann at Sebring / USA, as well as the ADAC 1000 km race at the Nürburgring and the 24-hour race at Le Mans. He was by far the overall winner of The Grand Prix of Berlin on the AVUS where Trips drove the absolutely fastest lap of all car classes.
Even though Trips drove almost all the races for Porsche in 1956, he had no contract as a works-driver. Officially, there was not even a Porsche racing team until 1957/1958. But Trips felt comfortable with Porsche and remained faithful to the brand. Even as he did his first racing season for Enzo Ferrari in 1957, he always kept the option to ride races in a Porsche.
To him as a racing driver, sportsmanship was the number one rule. That was the reason why he let the old champion and Ferrari colleague Piero Taruffi win at the Mille Miglia in 1957 as Taruffi has had technical problems with his car and Trips could have easily passed him. Trips knew that the 51-year-old Taruffi, being at the end of his career, had never won the Mille Migliag. And so Trips stopped the overtaking maneuver and remained behind Taruffi for the last 200 kilometers.
In early 1960 Trips founded the first racing driver’s club in Germany, the Scuderia Colonia. The aim was to assist young drivers in this club in the preparation of vehicles for racing events as well as providing technical assistance along the track and representing them before authorities and legislators in order to legitimate the interests of racing drivers.
Trips, as founding member and vice president of the German Sport driver circuit (DSK), he was very much concerned about the young talents but also about driving safety. As an instructor at driver-training courses Trips attempted to teach the participants the "spirit of sporting fairness, which is called consideration in everyday traffic" and to train them dangerous situations, so that they could react properly.
At the end of 1959, Trips started building cars together with Valerio Colotti in Modena for the newly founded Formula Junior racing class: the TCA (Trips-Colotti-Auto Union) with a DKW three-cylinder two-stroke engine and the design of the Ferrari coachbuilders Fantuzzi. Two of these master pieces are in the exhibition.
From 1960 Trips drove for Ferrari in Formula 1 and Formula 2. At the Grand Prix of Syracuse, a Formula 2 race, he finally won his first Grand Prix. This was the first Grand Prix victory of Germans after 1939. On the Solitude near Stuttgart, trips won his second Formula 2 driving victory in a tactically clever race. With Hans Herrmann who was driving the Porsche 718/2 - it is displayed in the Automuseum PROTOTYP - he fought a thrilling duel until the superior performance of his Ferrari played out on the last lap and thus putting him first over the finish line. At the end of the season, Trips finally placed himself in the sixth place of the Formula 1 ranking, right behind world champion Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Stirling Moss, Innes Ireland and his team-mate Phil Hill.
Even when Porsche in 1961 rode the Formula 1 with the modified 718/2 Trips opted for Ferrari. The Grand Prix of the Netherlands in 1961 on the dune circuit of Zandvoort was a glorious race for Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips, who led from the start and held on to this throughout the race. It was the first Formula 1 Grand Prix victory of a German racing driver since the introduction of Formula 1 in 1950. With cheers and ovations Trips was expected by the spectators at the finishing line. The Formula 1 World Championship title moved within reach.
At the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on September 10th in 1961, to the day five years after Enzo Ferrari had taken Trips as the first German into his team, Trips had the chance to win the Formula 1 World championship. But the race ended tragically. When steering into the 180°-curve called “Curvetta” of the fast Monza course, Trips' Ferrari collided with the Lotus of Jim Clark and hurled into the crowd on the edge of the track. Eleven spectators died, as well as the "Knight of the racetrack" Graf Berghe von Trips.
The exhibition not only shows vehicles and exhibits from its own possession but permanent loans of the "Graf Berghe von Trips'schen Sport Stiftung zu Burg Hemmersbach" as well and is dedicated both to the career of this extraordinary German racing driver and to the multifaceted personality of Trips.Back