Alfred Neubauer

Alfred Neubauer, Mercedes-Benz racing manager. 1891 -1980Alfred Neubauer was born on March 29, 1891 in Neutitschein (near Moravska Ostrava in the present day Czech Republic). His career started in the rank of an Officer of Automobiles in the Austrian Army. Following he began his work at the Daimler plants in Vienna as a manager of the Automobile Test Department.

With a vehicle named “Sascha” (developed by Ferdinand Porsche), Neubauer was making some important experience as a motor racing driver for Austro Daimler in the year 1919.

Together with Ferdinand Porsche he went in 1923 to the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft where he led the new Local Test Center. Neubauer was keen to proof himself as a racing driver. But now he was under no illusion that there were far more talented drivers than him around and he realized that his true ability lay in smoothing their path to success. He was aware of the loneliness the driver suffered out on the racetrack. This was what inspired him to devise a system involving flags and signal boards to transmit the tactical information to the drivers. At the “Solitude Racing” in 1927 he invented the position of the Racing Team Manager for the first time.

Mercedes 24/100/140 hp touring car, 1925.  Alfred Neubauer at the wheel. (Neubauer came second in this car in the category for touring cars over 5 litres in the International Klausenpass Mountain Race (for touring cars), on 22 August 1925).

Mercedes 24/100/140 hp touring car, 1925. Alfred Neubauer at the wheel. (Neubauer came second in this car in the category for touring cars over 5 litres in the International Klausenpass Mountain Race (for touring cars), on 22 August 1925).

From 1934 to 1939 Alfred Neubauer led the Mercedes Silver Arrows for a numerous grand prix victories and speed records. The last race in 1939 took place in Tripolis. This was no doubt the most surprising success Daimler-Benz and Neubauer achieved with a very new Mercedes-Benz W 165, in a new capacity class (1,5-litre) and against an astonished competition (Maserati and Alfa Romeo) on their home ground. The W 165 Silver Arrows of Mercedes-Benz won the race (first and second place) in an impressive way. This was totally unexpected, and Neubauer – stood by smiling.

Eifel race at the Nürburgring, June 7, 1931. The winner Rudolf Caracciola (starting number 5) with a Mercedes-Benz SSKL. On the right. Racing Director Alfred Neubauer.

Eifel race at the Nürburgring, June 7, 1931. The winner Rudolf Caracciola (starting number 5) with a Mercedes-Benz SSKL. On the right. Racing Director Alfred Neubauer.

The second world war imposed a brake on racing activities of Daimler-Benz. In April 1946 Neubauer was recalled by managing director William Haspel to a job in workshop organization at the parent plant in Untertürkheim. One day in 1950 Haspel came to see Neubauer with a proposal: “Would you be interested in setting up a new Race Department?!!”Alfred Neubauer, Mercedes-Benz Racing Director. 1891 -1980

It was the beginning of the return of Mercedes-Benz to motor racing. In 1952 the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (gullwing) became the most successful sports car in the three-litre class. A short time later, Mercedes-Benz staged a successful comeback in formula racing too and in 1954 and 1955 the racing team of Daimler-Benz won the World Racing Championships.

German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring, July 23, 1939. From the left: Hermann Lang, racing director Alfred Neubauer and Rudolf Caracciola, who was to win the race.

German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring, July 23, 1939. From the left: Hermann Lang, racing director Alfred Neubauer and Rudolf Caracciola, who was to win the race.

The disaster at Le Mans in 1955 put an end to motor sport activities of Daimler-Benz and this also was an end of Alfred Neubauer’s successful mission.

9th February 1939. Record runs on the Reichsautobahn Dessau - Bitterfeld. Alfred Neubauer, with knickers pants,  Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Hanns Geier, left of him,  The vehicle is the 12-cylinder W 154 record car (designed for standing start).

9th February 1939. Record runs on the Reichsautobahn Dessau – Bitterfeld. Alfred Neubauer, with knickers pants, Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Hanns Geier, left of him, The vehicle is the 12-cylinder W 154 record car (designed for standing start).

With numerous publications he devoted himself to the racing history and served the marque another seven years, maintaining and promoting its tradition.

Mercedes director of motorsport Alfred Neubauer (centre of picture) and senior engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut (extreme left) congratulate Jenkinson (left) and Moss (right) after their victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia

Mercedes director of motorsport Alfred Neubauer (centre of picture) and senior engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut (extreme left) congratulate Jenkinson (left) and Moss (right) after their victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia

Alfred Neubauer – the legendary motor race organizer of Daimler-Benz died on August 21, 1980.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email