Had I been a kid in the 1930s, there isn't a doubt in my mind that my hero would have been Bernd Rosemeyer.
He was ferociously quick in the treacherous rear-engined Auto Unions, single-handedly taking on the might of Mercedes, and always, apparently, with high good humour. Spectacular on track, charismatic off it, Rosemeyer had it all.
He was killed in January 1938, in a record attempt on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt autobahn. When the Auto Union went out of control, disturbed by crosswinds, it was travelling at 270mph.