Paul Pietsch

Paul Pietsch

20/6/1911

Paul Pietsch competed in hillclinbs, ice racing and Grand Prix. He was offered a drive with Mercedes by Neubauer in 1940 but the war intervened. He won the German Sports Car Championship in 1950 and the Racing Car Championship in 1951. His first wife's affair with Achille Varzi before the war, led to Varzi's morphine addiction.

Paul Pietsch started racing in 1932 when he bough the ex-H.J. von Morgen Bugatti Type 35 and with this car he competed in the hill climb events that were so popular at the time.

At the end of the year he sold the Bugatti and bough a Monza Alfa Romeo and raced it the following year in sports car events. He converted it to single seater configuration and increased the engine size (to 2.6 litres) for the 1934 season. His season was very varied and took in ice racing in Sweden and Norway as well as racing in Grand Prix and hill climbs. His season was marred by a bad crash in which he broke his leg in six places. However he was back behind the wheel before the end of the year winning the Montreaux Caux round of the Swiss Mountain Championship. Prior to his crash he has been approached by Auto Union and at the end of 1934 he tested for them with Rosemeyer and Soenius. As a result he joined Auto Union with Rosemeyer in 1935.

1935 was not a good year. Pietsch could not come to terms with the layout or handling of the rear-engined Auto Union or get along with Willy Walb and he left the team at the end of the year.

He took a year off in 1936 but missed racing so, in 1937; he bought a Maserati from Laszlo Hartmann. Another bad crash destroyed the car and left Pietsch unconscious for two days but otherwise uninjured.

In 1938 he purchased 1500cc Maserati. He had considerable success with this car in Europe and South Africa in 1938 and 1939. For the German Grand Prix in 1939 Pietsch had a new 3-litre Maserati and actually led the race before being sidelined by engine problems necessitating a stop to change plugs. He still managed a fine fifth. He was approached by Neubauer and offered a drive with Mercedes for 1940 but the war intervened.

In 1946, after the war, Pietsch founded the publishing house that owns the respected German motoring magazine Auto Motor und Sport. Still missing racing he returned to the tracks in 1950 winning the German Sports Car Championship that year and the Racing Car Championship the following year.

He retired at the end of the 1952 season to concentrate on this publishing business that now produces 45 titles in German, France, Spain and Switzerland.

His first wife Ilse's affair with the legendary Achille Varzi before the war led to the Italian driver's morphine addiction that he later conquered.

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