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Hans Stuck

Full Name:
Hans Stuck von Villiez
27th December 1900
Warsaw, Masovian (PL)
9th February 1978 (Aged 77)
Grainau, Bavaria
Most recent race (in database):

When the 6ft 2in tall Hans Stuck finally retired in 1963 he had been competing for almost 40 years. Best known as the "King of the Mountains" for his hillclimbing prowess, he was briefly Grand Prix racing’s leading driver when he became the first man to tame the powerful rear-engine Auto Union in 1934.

Background and early racing career

Born in Warsaw while his parents were visiting on business, he served in the German artillery during World War I. His long competition career began in 1924 when hillclimbing a Dürkopp. Local success was swiftly achieved and Stuck borrowed a car from Austro-Daimler in 1926 but broke his leg after rolling at Freiburg.

Stuck was a works Austro-Daimler driver from 1927 and he remained with the marque for the next four seasons. 1929 German Mountain Championship, he took the European title a year later and included success at La Turbie in 1929 and Shelsley Walsh in 1930 among foreign victories.

His circuit racing career also started during the late 1920s. He retired from the 1927 German and 1930 Monaco GPs and joined Mercedes-Benz for 1931. He won on the streets of Lwów in Poland and was named 1932 European Mountain Champion for sports cars.

Grand Prix for Auto Union

When the newly elected Adolf Hitler, who Stuck had first met in 1925, decided to fund two German GP teams for the 1934 season, Stuck was chosen to lead the new Auto Union concern. The Dr Ferdinand Porsche-designed car was a radical machine with its V16 engine mounted behind the driver.

It was difficult to handle but Stuck became a national hero with victory in the German GP and he scored further GP wins in Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. He also finished a fine second at Monza despite badly burnt feet. Another four victories in hillclimbs secured that European title and confirmed the leading driver of 1934.

That was the zenith of his GP career. 1935 started with a fire at Tripoli and 180mph puncture during the Avusrennen but he won the Italian GP at Monza. He remained with Auto Union for the rest of the decade but did not win another GP. The success in hillclimbs continued with Stuck again winning at Shelsley in 1936 and at La Turbie for four years in a row from 1936 to 1939.

He took an Auto Union to Rio de Janeiro in 1937 although the tight confines and twisty roads of the Gávea circuit (that included a stretch along a barely protected cliff face) did not suit the car. Carlo Pintacuda’s more nimble Alfa Romeo beat the silver machine by four seconds. Stuck won a minor race at Bucharest in 1939 shortly before racing was suspended due to the war in Europe.

Post-war racing career

With Germany banned from racing after World War II, Stuck took an Austrian passport and re-entered immediately with a Cisitalia. He drove Alex von Falkenhausen’s Formula 2 AFM during the early 1950s and that included three world championship GPs for the marque in 1952 and 1953.

Stuck later drove for Porsche and then joined BMW in 1957. He won a 12-hour touring car at Hockenheim and was German Hillclimb Champion again in 1960 – the latter achieved with a small BMW 700 RS Coupé. Stuck finally retired from the sport he had graced for so long in 1963.

Married for a second time to tennis star Paula von Reznicek in 1932, the couple were harassed while the Nazi party was in power due to her Jewish grandfather. They divorced in 1948 and Stuck married for a third time later that year. Hans-Joachim Stuck was born in 1951 and he later also enjoyed a distinguished career in racing.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1953 F1 World Championship
Hans Stuck
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
1952 F1 World Championship
Alex von Falkenhausen Motorenbau
Ecurie Espadon
1 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1939 European Championship
Auto Union
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
1938 European Championship
Auto Union
3 0 1 0
0% win rate
1937 European Championship
Auto Union
5 0 1 0
0% win rate
1936 European Championship
Auto Union
4 0 3 0
0% win rate
1935 European Championship
Auto Union
4 0 2 1
25% win rate