Hans Stuck von Villiez (1900-1978) was a German racing driver who was mostly active before the World War II, scoring many wins in Grand Prix races and building an impressive career in hillclimb racing which earned him a nick name 'Bergkönig' (King of the Mountains). After the war, he participated in five F1 Grand Prix events between 1951 and 1953.
Hans Stuck was the first-generation racer in a family. His son Hans-Joachim (born 1951) also had an impressive racing career, followed by his sons Johannes (born 1986) and Ferdinand (born 1991).
Soldier, student, racer
Hans Stuck von Villiez was born on December 27, 1900, in Warsaw, Poland, to a family of Swiss ancestry. The original family name was Stucki but it was changed to sound more German. They moved to Germany and Hans grew up there and raced under the German flag most of his career. Stuck served in the artillery at the Western front during the World War 1, while after the war he studied agriculture and engineering. A couple of years later, in 1922, he began to race.
Hans Stuck was the triple European hill climb champion
King of the mountains with three championship titles
Stuck won several hill-climb events over the years, and in 1927, he became the factory driver of Austro-Daimler and continued his successful hill-climb racing career. The same year, he also debuted in circuit racing, competing in the German Grand Prix. When Austro-Daimler left racing in 1931, Johan had to find a new engagement.
Video : 1931 German Grand Prix
Hans spent two years driving for Mercedes-Benz and had considerable success. In 1933, his acquaintance with Adolf Hitler helped him to become involved in the Auto Union project. The new car with the rear mounted engine, designed by Porsche, was a masterpiece of that time and almost unbeatable, especially in the open road and hill-climb races. Stuck used his previous experience to become even more successful and immediately became a kind of superstar after winning the first of three European hill climb championship titles.
Hans Stuck at the 1934 Kesselbergrennen
Success in the circuit racing
Stuck was also very successful in circuit racing. In 1934, he won the German, Czechoslovakian, and Swiss Grand Prix, while finishing second in the Italian Grand Prix, as well in Eifelrennen. The following year was also quite successful after Hans won the Italian Grand Prix and defended his European hill climb title.
Starting from 1936, Stuck’s form was on the downfall. Numerous accidents and injuries slowed down his progress. Hans sporadically managed to grab a podium finish but those results were below his reputation. Finally, in 1938, Stuck was fired from the Auto Union team but was resigned later in the year, with the help of his Nazi friends, in the moment when many other drivers were injured. Luckily, Stuck was able to find his old form and won his third European Hillclimb title.
Hans Stuck before the race, Auto Union Type C
Post war career
After the World War 2, German drivers were banned from racing until 1950. However, Stuck managed to find his bearings by obtaining Austrian citizenship, although the results were relatively poor regardless. He raced in Formula 2 with his own team and also enrolled several starts in the Formula 1 World Championship from 1951 to 1953, again failing to impress.
At the age of 60, Stuck won his last title by becoming the German hill climb champion driving a BMW, and soon after he decided to finally retire. He also worked as an instructor at Nurburgring and supervised the career of his son Hans-Joachim. Hans Stuck, who lived fast on and off the track, was an easy-going guy from a wealthy family, and who married three times, died on 7th of February, 1978.