Otto Hieronimus

 In Drivers

Otto Hieronimus was born in Cologne on 26 July, 1879. He completed an internship at Benz & Cie. between 1896 and 1898 in Mannheim and then attended an engineering school in Hildburghausen for further training. He then moved to Vienna and became one of the most successful racing drivers in his new homeland. In the first half of the 1900s he was extremely successful in Mercedes racing cars. For example, in 1903 he won the Nice – La Turbie hillclimb race, in 1904 in the Exelberg race held near Vienna in a “Spitzwagen” with a 60 hp Mercedes engine, and the following year in the Bleichröder race, which was held as part of the first Herkomer – competition.

In 1907 Otto Hieronimus was hired as design chief and works driver by Laurin & Klement in Bohemia. Hieronimous achieved a class win, fifth place overall, in the St. Petersburg-Moscow road race in 1908, then he drove the car at Brooklands, and set new speed record for his class in a flying kilometre race in Neukirchner-Alle, at an average speed of 115.385 km/h (71.7 mi/h). In 1910 three Laurin & Klement cars won the prestigious Team Prize in the Alpine Trial, driven by Count Alexander Kolowrat, Otto Hieronimus and Count Paul Draskovich.  The trio of drivers were the same also in the second edition of the Alpine Trial in 1911, when Laurin & Klement finished runner-up in the Team competition, behind Austro-Daimler. Later in 1911 Otto Hieronimus competed in European hillclimbs, winning the Zbraslav-Jíloviště near Prague, and the Trieste-Opicina in Italy.

From 1911 Hieronimus designed the Hiero aircraft engines, which were built by Laurin & Klement and were named after him.

As the technical director of the ÖWG, which was later renamed Steyr-Werke, he had a fatal accident at the Ries race on May 8, 1922 – a few weeks after one of his greatest successes, winning the 3-liter category at the Targa Florio in a Steyr 12/ 40 hp.


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