81 years ago, in honor of the birthday of King Peter the Second Karadjordjevic, the first and only races of Formula One cars of the time were driven in Kalemegdan. A zoo in the lagoons below Tasmajdan.
It is a great pity that one significant event, which began during World War II in Belgrade, has almost completely fallen into oblivion. And it is significant because on September 3, 1939, the first and only races of Formula One cars of that time were driven in Belgrade.
81 years ago, in honor of King Peter the Second Karadjordjevic's birthday, were held on the track around Kalemegdan the first Belgrade International Automobile and Motorcycle Race. About 75,000 spectators (5,700 of them in the stands) exported five motorcycle and four car races.
In the main race that would in every respect correspond to modern Formula One competitions, there were world aces of that time in the cars of "Mercedes" and "Auto Unions". There were 50 laps on the 2,794 km track.
It was actually the last GP race planned for that competitive season, and since World War II started two days earlier, after the race around Kalemegdan, there was an interruption of the GP competition, which lasted for a full seven years.
The huge noise caused by the first official training (August 31st) almost scared the citizens of Belgrade, but also upset the animals at the nearby Zoo, so that more had to be transferred to the lagoons below Tasmajdan Park.
On that day, Belgrade hosted some of the biggest names of the time, such as Tazio Nuvolari, Manfred von Brauchitsch, Herman Lang ... Unfortunately, because of the threat of war, Robert Mazo and Georges Grignard did not come to Belgrade, but neither did Rudolf Caracciola, who was wounded.
This GP race was won by Tazio Nuvolari, and what a master he was, shows that he arrived in Belgrade just a day before the race and took only one training session.
At the end of the race, the order would be as follows:
1. Tazio Nuvolari (Auto Union) - 130.839 km / h,
2. Manfred von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz) - 130.4 km / h,
3. Herman Paul Miler (Auto Union) - 129.8 mph.
The awards were presented in the building of the Belgrade Autoclub (now the Writers' Club) at 7 French Street (Francuska 7). This race, so significant to Belgrade at the time, is mentioned in all publications related to pre-war motor sport.
The grand jubilee of the Formula One race was to be celebrated in 1999.
The Belgrade Museum of Automobile has just begun preparations to commemorate the 60th anniversary. Among other things, demonstration rides were planned around Kalemegdan 3-4 GP cars, participants of the race in 1939, but the state of war prevented this.
However, so that this historic day is not forgotten, car races were held at the estuary three weekends in a row.