Almost a century ago, when the motorsport was dominated by wealthy gentlemen drivers and passionate drivers. Who all shared the passion for motorsport and saw it as a hobby instead of a profession. During the Italian Grand Prix of 1922 held at Monza on the 10th of September a new team the Austro-Daimler was one of the entrances. Sadly, the team would not drive a single centimeter during the race. This article is written in memorial of Gregor Kuhn, who sadly lost his life during the weekend.
Austro-Daimler was an Austrian automaker company, with its headquarters in Wiener Neustadt, from 1899 until 1934. During it existence they became a subsidiary of the GDS (German-Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft), today better known as Mercedes Benz. The company was active in the motorsports mostly known for its entry for the Targa Florio, and other races held on the European continent.
For the 1922 season, the company came with a brand new car the Austro-Daimler. However, if you check the starting lists of several races held in 1922 you will see several entries for the Austro-Daimler Sacha. As far as I could find info on it, these are not the same cars. The Sacha’s were presented during the Brooklands Grand Prix held in August 1922 but did not appear since the cars were not completed.
During my investigation for the car, I could not find much information about the Austro-Daimler. For me it is unknown what happened with the cars before they entered for the Italian Grand Prix. It was even hard to find any info representing the car. Probably the car was fitted with a Daimler engine and aerodynamically designed. The car was meant to drive several grand prix, and probably for many years.
The company assigned four cars however only three drivers were assigned, #8 Alfred Neubauer, #21 not assigned, #32 Lambert Pocher and #37 Gregor Kuhn. The number 21 car could be a spare car. There is some confusion about Kuhn’s background. Some suggested he was an Austrian citizen others stated he was a German citizen. Probably Kuhn was a German with Austrian roots.
When Gregor Kuhn went on the track with his Austro-Daimler during the free practice, held a day before the race, he crashed with the car. It is not known what happened with him. Most plausible would be a spin or malfunctioning brakes. He probably died on instant in his car. Because of the accident, the team withdraw themselves from the Italian Grand Prix. The cars would not appear on any track anymore.
Even it is almost a century ago, we should pay our respect for the drivers of these days who didn’t know fear, and did it all for the fun.
requiescat in pace