Gerhard Mitter

Gerhard Mitter

30/8/1935 - 1/8/1969

Mitter was Porsche works driver from 1965. He won of the European hillclimb championship three times in 1966, '67 and '68. Killed practicing for the 1969 German Grand Prix.

Racing driver from Leonberg, near Stuttgart, and raced for the Porsche works team from 1965 Mitter was an allround driving talent.

He felt at home in single seaters as well as in sports cars. His greatest successes though came in the two-seaters of the Zuffenhausen sportscar marque. His 1962 season was spoiled by a ban. This incident occured when a German journalist and former driver Richard von Frankenberg publicly charged a number of drivers with having employed 1450cc engines. This could be done by substituting the Ford Anglia crankshaft for that of the Ford Consul to achieve a longer stroke. Von Frankemberg used the times of Ahrens and others to substantiate his accusations. As a consequence, Gerhard Mitter was disqualified for six months together with Kurt Ahrens.

His Formula 1 debut came in one of Carel de Beaufort's Ecurie Maarsbergen four-cylinder Porsches in the 1963 Dutch Grand Prix and thereafter he had four guest drives in his home Grand Prix at Nurburgring.

He won the European hillclimb championship three times in 1966, '67 and '68, making him famous in his home country, although he participated in many big international events before that, for example in the German Grand Prix of 1965, competing in a works Lotus offered to him by Colin Chapman, after Mitter performed so well in the same race a year before driving an old Formula 1 Porsche, when he finished fourth. Mitter gained single seater experience from many Formula junior races, where he proved to be the most successful German driver.

There was a new Formula 2 in 1964 and Mitter, who was a professional engineer, built his own engine to compete in the new formula. But unfortunately it never reached a competitive race level. Still Mitter did Formula 2 races now and then, for instance the Eifelrennen 1967 in a Brabham-Cosworth BT23. It was at the Nurburgring that he was killed practicing for the 1969 German Grand Prix. His Formula 2 BMW crashed heavily at Flugplatz following a suspected front suspension failure. BMW, intending to field its Formula 2 cars in the Grand Prix (Mitter was due to drive), withdrew immediately and his good friend Hans Herrmann also left his Lotus F2 in the paddock garage.

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