DRIVERS: RUDOLF FISCHER

Name: Rudolf Fischer
Nationality: Switzerland
Date of birth: May 19, 1912 - Stuttgart, Germany
Date of death: December 30, 1976 - Lucerne

Rudi Fischer is a bit of a mystery. Some say he was born in Zurich in 1912 and others reckon that it was in Stuttgart, Germany. Some think he was a restaurateur and others say he ran an electrical business. And no-one knows whether he was in anyway related to Martin Fischer, a Zurich engineer who built some of the country's earliest automobiles under the Turikum and Fischer names.

What we do know is that the bespectacled Fischer first appeared on the racing scene in 1948 - at the age of 36. He was driving a 1946 Simca-Gordini which he had rented from Amedee Gordini in the Grand Prix de Geneve, running the car under the Ecurie Espadon banner. The team reappeared in San Remo in June and in Berne in July and continued to race with the Simca in the course of 1949, sometimes for the factory team but usually with Ecurie Espadon. At Berne in July 1949 he shared a F2 HWM with Stirling Moss.

Fischer started the 1950 season in a car called an SPA-Fiat, which had been designed by engineer Giovanni Savonuzzi. This was not a great success and Fischer switched to an OSCA which was being run by Ecurie Helvetia Corse. Later he did several events with HWM but the cars were no reliable. For 1951 Fischer then decided to do his own thing and ordered a Ferrari 166 Formula 2 car. These were normally fitted with four-cylinder 2-litre engines but Fischer fitted a 2.5-litre V12 so that the car could race in F1. This proved to be a good move as Fischer finished third at Siracusa, sixth at Pau, third at San Remo, second in Bordeaux, sixth at the N¸rburgring and fourth at Zandvoort. He also ran the car in F2 spec and won at Aix-les-Bains (beating Moss) and Angouleme and was second at Erlen and third at AVUS.

Enzo Ferrari sold him a customer version of the new 500 for the 1952 season and Fischer began the year in style with fourth place at Siracuse. Three weeks later Ferrari gave him a factory car for the Valentino GP in Turin and he finished third. He was fourth in the International Trophy at Silverstone and then went to Switzerland where he finished runner-up in the World Championship Swiss GP at Bremgarten. A week after that he won the Eifelrennen F1 race at the Nurburgring and ended a spectacular few weeks with third at Monza in the Grand Prix dell Autodromo. In August he returned to the Nurburgring and was third in the German GP and he ended the year in September with victory in the Avusrennen. And then he quit. He had finished fourth in the World Championship but at 40 he had had enough.

He appeared from time to time in Swiss hillclimb events after that but never reappeared on the international scene. He died at the age of 54 in Luzern, Switzerland.

Print