Richard Seaman

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John Richard Beattie "Dick" Seaman (born February 3 1913 in Chichester, Sussex, England - died June 25 1939 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium), was the greatest pre-war Grand Prix driver from Britain and famously drove for the Mercedes Benz team from 1937-1939 in the W125 car having been personally selected by Adolf Hitler.

He was born into a wealthy family and developed an enthusiasm for motoring in his childhood. After studying at Cambridge University, 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 at Bremgarten at his first attempt. He won other small races and eventually Mercedes team chief Alfred Neubauer invited him for a trial at the Nurburgring. In 1937 he signed for Mercedes Benz against the wishes of his mother, who did not want him to drive for a Nazi team. He had a solid start to his career with Mercedes in 1937, but he excelled in the 1938 season - he won the 1938 German Grand Prix 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 mothers' wishes.

He died at only 26 years old, some hours after crashing his car into a tree during the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps during a wet race on lap 22, it is thought he was using a line through a corner that was only normally used in the dry. 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.'