The Klausen Race, otherwise known as the “Hill Climb Grand Prix of Switzerland”, is a true classic among hill climbing events. It attracted the best racing drivers to Central Switzerland Alps between 1922 and 1934 and was one of the ten races to form the first European Hill Climb Championship in 1930. On the 21.5-km gravel road that led from Linthal to the top of the Klausen Pass, racecars had to negotiate 156 serpentine curves and an elevation of 1,237 meters along the way. Spectators from all over the world arrived to watch the spectacle directly from the side of the road. Anyone who conquered the hair-raising Klausen Pass as a victor was among the greatest racing drivers back then.
A fine troop of leading racecars and drivers got together here in August 1932. There were works entries from Auto Union, Maserati, Mercedes Benz and Alfa Romeo. Independent entries were placed by people like Burggaller, Steinweg, Zanelli, Rey, Chambost, Strazza, Tuffanelli, Maag, Stuber, Ruesch, Sojka and Hans Kessler. Among the English drivers besides Penn Hughes were H. C. Hamilton, driving a Magnette for the Whitney Straight Syndicate, Cormack with his supercharged Alta, and Miss Ellison with her Bugatti.
Like the adventurous racing drivers, the Klausen spectators were a hardy lot, who were prepared for the worst. There was noise of rushing water everywhere, and all streams were being flooded to the brim with swirling brown water. It made people wonder what if a torrent burst its banks. Even in August, heavy snowfall was still a possibility. There was also the Kilchenstoek, a mountain where boulders and rocks rumble down the hillside continually, albeit in fine weather. In winter time, the Klausen pass was closed because of avalanche danger, especially between Linthal and Urnerboden, where the bumpy road opened up to the view of a 5-km long plateau on one side and a granite wall on the other.
1932 was a spectacular year at the Klausen Hill Climb race. The sports car went up first on August 7. A good climb was made by Tazio Nuvolari with an Alfa Romeo 8C in the 3,000 cc class, but the first place went to Hans Stuck on the Mercedes-Benz SSKL. In the race car class (unlimited), Bugatti pitted its three-time winner Louis Chiron and Achille Varzi on the Bugatti T53 against Rudolf Caracciola in an Alfa-Romeo P3 monoposto with start number #95. The Bugatti pilots ended chasing Caracciola all the way from behind, but to no avail. Caracciola carried the day and set a new record time for 15m50s. Two years later, competing at the Klausen race for Mercedes-Benz in 1934, he would improve his record to 15m 22s.