300,000 people had gathered on a rainy and fog swept Nürburgring to see the first major race of the year on German soil, the AVUS race being cancelled as the track was under re-construction. As the cars lined up for the start the fog lifted but the heavy rain continued.
Nuvolari took the start followed by Caracciola coming up from third row of the grid and Rosemeyer. As expected it was rain master Caracciola who soon took the lead after passing the Alfa at the Karussell curve. After two laps Nuvolari charged and took back the lead and soon afterwards Caracciola had to retire with engine failure. The increase of the engine volume to 4.7 litres had weakened the cylinder block. Von Brauchitsch now held third place behind Nuvolari and Rosemeyer. Then the fog came back with dramatic results. Rosemeyer closed in on Nuvolari and passed the Alfa, coming out from Südkehre to the joy of the spectators and continued into Hatzenbach and out of sight in the fog. The fierce race between the Auto Union and the three Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos continued, von Brauchitsch having retired with the same problems as Caracciola.
In places the sight was reduced to 20 - 40 meters and the drivers slowed down, except for Rosemeyer who continued to race at high speed. Nuvolari tried to follow, but could do nothing to Rosemeyer’s extraordinary ability to see through the fog. The Auto Union driver opened up the gap to the Italian by 30 seconds per lap and went on to take a remarkable victory.
Nuvolari led home a good Ferrari 2-3-4, Lang finishing 5th as best Mercedes-Benz driver. The other Auto Unions came home a disappointing 7-8-9. After the race Rosemeyer became known as the “Nebelmeister”.