Richard Seaman

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Dick Seaman
Nationality British
Born (1913-02-04)4 February 1913
Chichester, United Kingdom
Died 25 June 1939(1939-06-25) (aged 26)
Spa, Belgium
European Championship
Years active 1936-1939
Teams Scuderia Torino (1936)
Mercedes-Benz (1937-1939)
Starts 7
Wins 1
Poles 1
Fastest laps 2

Richard John Beattie "Dick" Seaman (4 February 1913 in Chichester, Sussex, England – 25 June 1939 at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium), was one of the greatest pre-war Grand Prix drivers from Britain.

He famously drove for the Mercedes-Benz team from 1937-1939 in the Mercedes-Benz W154 car, winning the 1938 German Grand Prix.

Life[edit]

Seaman was born into a wealthy family and developed an enthusiasm for motoring in his childhood, and initially lived at Kentwell Hall, Long Melford in Suffolk. After studying at Rugby School and Trinity College, Cambridge,[1] in 1934 he resolved to become a racing driver and took his MG car to the European mainland to gain experience. He won the Voiturette race of the Swiss Grand Prix event at Bremgarten at his first attempt. He won other small races for English Racing Automobiles (ERA) and eventually Mercedes team chief Alfred Neubauer invited him for a trial at the Nürburgring. Both Silver Arrows teams used to have at least one foreign driver, if available.

In 1937 he signed for Mercedes-Benz against the wishes of his mother, who did not want him to drive for a "Nazi" team. Having a solid start to his career with Mercedes in 1937, he excelled in the 1938 season - he won the 1938 German Grand Prix, giving the Nazi salute on the podium and becoming one of the favourite drivers of Hitler,[2] and came second in the 1938 Swiss Grand Prix. In December 1938 he married Erica Popp, the daughter of the director of BMW, again against his mother's wishes.

Seaman's grave in Putney Vale Cemetery, London

Leading the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps during a wet race, he crashed his car into a tree during lap 22. It caught fire instantly with an unconscious Seaman inside. It is thought he was using a line through a corner that was only normally used in the dry. He died some hours after as a result of his burns, at just 26 years of age; it was Mercedes' only fatality during that time. On his death bed he remarked to the Mercedes chief engineer, "I was going too fast for the conditions - it was entirely my own fault. I am sorry".[2]

After Seaman's death, Mercedes-Benz dealerships worldwide were ordered to display his photograph in their windows. Richard Seaman was buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in London.

Results[edit]

Publications[edit]

  • Dick Seaman, George Monkhouse, Doug Nye: "Dick and George: The Seaman Monkhouse Letters 1936-39", Palawan Press 2002, SBN 0952300990
  • 'Dick Seaman Racing Motorist' by Prince Chula of Thailand, First Published 1941, G T Foulis & Co Ltd London

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Obituary: Mr Richard Seaman". The Times. 1939-06-27. p. 16. 
  2. ^ a b Glancey, Johnathan. "The master race". Guardian newspaper (Observer Sport Monthly), 1 September 2002. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/story/0,6903,782811,00.html

External links[edit]