A few weeks ago we found ourself on the way to Freilassing in Bavaria. The goal? Schnitzer Motorsport. Just a day earlier than that, we were collecting the first signatures from the protagonists of the 1970-1975 European Touring Car Championships for a special edition of our book covering that period of tin-top racing. We met with Günther Huber, Thomas Ammerschläger, Paul Rosche, Jochen Neerpasch, Herbert Schnitzer, and John Fiztpatrick. The latter then joint us on our way to Schnitzer HQ, and along the way we talked about different stages of his racing life. He looked back at his time at Schnitzer with the racing coupé, at Kremer with the Porsche 935, his racing in the USA – and all the friends he had made, and sometimes painfully lost, along the way.
Even more heartfelt was the greeting between Fitzpatrick and his old mates. They may not have seen each other for years, but from the first second it was clear that didn't matter. Fitzpatrick and Herbert Schnitzer chuckled about the good old days, while standing in front of the freshly restored BMW M1 Turbo that Hans-Joachim Stuck raced in the German Racing Championship in 1981 – against Fitzpatrick's 935 K3. More on the restoration of the M1 can be found starting on Page 46.
Speaking of old mates, Jochen Neerpasch caught up with one at the Goodwood Revival. Before his time as a successful motor racing mastermind (think of his time as the racing boss at Ford between 1968 and 1972, BMW between 1972 and 1980, and Mercedes-Benz between 1988 and 1991), Neerpasch was pretty handy behind the wheel himself. At Goodwood this year, he came face-to-face with the Shelby Cobra Daytone Coupé that he raced in the World Championship for Makes, and shared his thoughts of that time with us (from Page 102): “Nothing was planned at Shelby back then, but it was the uncertainty of it all that made it such an adventure. You never knew what would happen next. You just arrived at a race track, jumped in the car, and drove.” Later in life, at Ford, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, he used that experience to make sure structure and planning prepared the way for success, and made “motor racing a unity between man and machine”.
At this point it has to be said that we are absolutely delighted with the lovely way that the 'old heroes' of the sport help us with our work. It is obvious that, like us, they enjoy bringing the stories of the past alive for you, our dear readers. Without their help, we couldn't be able to do half as good a job as we do. And that's why we want to extend a big thanks to all involved.
And those are just a few of the old 'companions' that tell their stories over the next 143 pages.
With that we wish you a very happy new year, and as always, happy reading.
Publishing house: Sportfahrer Verlag
Format: 210 x 297 Millimeter
More information: www.automobilsport-magazine.com.au