Hermann Braun

Apr 30, 2017

Born 18 December 1874 in Cannstatt
Date of death unknown

Hermann Braun was a motorsport pioneer: he was among the first racing drivers to compete for Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. It is difficult to reconstruct his life in detail, as only scant information is available. Braun supposedly joined Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft as a technician in the 1890s. This field of work generally also involved driving automobiles. As this mode of transport was still in its infancy, this required an in-depth technical knowledge of how the vehicles worked. DMG’s Cannstatt-born master technician showed his mettle not only as Emil Jellinek’s chauffeur and mechanic, but also in competitions, as a co-driver and later as a racing driver in his own right.

In the Nice–La Turbie hill climb during Nice Week at the end of March 1900 (26 to 30 March 1900), Braun was fortunate to survive two accidents unscathed. DMG works driver Wilhelm Bauer died when curious spectators forced him to undertake an evasive manoeuvre in his Daimler 23 HP “Phoenix”, causing him to collide with a perimeter wall. His co-driver, Hermann Braun survived – once again. A few days before, he had overturned in the second car entered in the competition while at the wheel in the Esterel mountains on the Nice–Draguignan–Nice long-distance race. The accident remained without any serious consequences for him.

After this tragic and unsatisfactory experience, Jellinek persuaded DMG to develop a totally new vehicle in the guise of the Mercedes 35 HP. This vehicle dominated the 1901 Nice Week and went down in history as the first modern automobile. In 1903 Hermann Braun entered the history books in Nice Week when he attained a speed of 116.9 km/h at the wheel of a Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP in the record-breaking attempts on the Promenade des Anglais – � the highest speed ever attained in Nice by a vehicle powered by a combustion engine up to this time. In September of the same year he won the Semmering race staged by the Austrian Automobile Club – a prestigious triumph which he repeated three more times in succession.

He nevertheless failed to gain admission to the Gordon Bennett race in Ireland in 1903 in spite of his successes: the German Automobile Club which was responsible for admissions rejected former mechanic Braun on account of his social rank. Following an accident while training for the Kaiserpreis race in 1907, Braun ended his racing career.