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Ostracised from international motorsport immediately after World War II, the sport in Germany recovered in isolation but with surprising speed. With BMW 328 engines in ready supply, Formula 2 was flourishing in 1949 when Toni Ulmen bought a Veritas Meteor.
His season could not have started better – he won the opening encounter at Hockenheim by beating Alex von Falkenhausen’s AFM by a scant 0.7 seconds. Ulmen proved almost unbeatable that season with another five victories.
German nationals were allowed to race abroad with the country readmitted to the FIA in 1950. Ulmen finished third at Erlen in Switzerland with only the works Ferraris of Luigi Villoresi and Roberto Vallone ahead. He dominated the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring against a local field but mechanical trouble on the last lap dropped him behind Fritz Riess.
The Nürburgring also played host to the German Grand Prix for the first time since 1939 that year. It was a non-championship F2 race but it attracted stars from across Europe. Alberto Ascari scored a dominant win for Ferrari with only the Gordinis of André Simon and Maurice Trintignant on the same lap. A fine fourth was Ulmen’s Veritas.
World Championship Grands Prix
The world championship adopted F2 rules in 1952 and Ulmen started both the Swiss and German GPs – finishing eighth at the Nürburgring. He also raced in non-championship events at Silverstone and Monza but victory came at the Grenzlandring – a flat-out race around a ring-road. However, it was an unhappy day as Helmut Niedermayr crashed into the crowd killing 13 spectators.
Now 47 years old, Ulmen retired from racing after making two World Sportscar Championship starts in 1953. He shared Hermann Roosdorp’s Jaguar C-type in the Spa 24 hours and in the Nürburgring 1000Kms – finishing third in the Belgian classic.
He then concentrated on running his car dealership in Düsseldorf.