Herbert Müller was one of the most successful and versatile sports car pilots of the 60's and 70's.
Born in Rainach, Switzerland, he started his career on two wheels, as many of his collegues did. That was in 1959. Two years later he changed to Formula 3, driving one of the 500 cc Cooper-Nortons mainly in hillclimbs.
In the following years he collected quite a lot of success at the wheel of several Porsche sports and GT cars competing in the European Hillclimb Championship. In 1963 his long cooperation with Scuderia Filipinetti commenced when he made his debut in Formula 1 at the Pau Grand Prix. His Lotus 24 finished in 5th place, but Filipinetti decided to concentrate his efforts on sports cars, which put an end to Müller's Formula 1 career.
In 1966 Müller won his first big race: together with Willy Mairesse the Swiss won the Targa Florio driving a privately owned Porsche 906. The same year saw him winning the Nürburgring 500 KM race as well. Sicily's narrow roads and the Nürburgring were to be the scenes of many more excellent drives, even if they did not produce countable results.
1971 was a blow for him, when Pedro Rodriguez was killed at the wheel of one of Müller's Ferrari 512s at the Norisring. Müller himself was lucky to escape the same fate when he managed to free himself from his burning Ferrari at the Nürburgring Interserie race. Still Müller remained faithful to his sport and in 1973 he won his second Targa Florio, when he and Gijs van Lennep drove their Porsche Carrera RSR to victory of the last ever Sicilian classic, before the event was changed into a rally of minor importance.
1974 turned into his most successful season: As already a year before, Müller and van Lennep dominated the group 5 class of the Manufacturer's World Championship. Driving a Carrera RSR again the pair scored no less than 7 class victories, second place overall in Le Mans being the most outstanding result of the season. Moreover Müller won the Interserie title driving a Porsche 917.
By winning the 1975 and 76 titles as well he made it three in a row. From 1977 onwards Müller only occasionally drives in some sportscar races, but due to the private character of these outings there were only midfield placings.
Müller retired in 1980, but made a special comeback on the 24th of May 1981 driving the private Porsche 908 of his old friend Siegfried Brunn in the ADAC 1000 km-Rennen race at the Nürburgring.
On the first lap Bobby Rahal clipped another car and spun on a fast right-hander at the Kesselchen section of the track. The Porsche came to rest against the guard rails just a few meters from the edge of the track with its tanks still filled with fuel.
Then, on the seventeenth lap, Karl-Josef Römer lost control of his Porsche 930 on the approach to the same turn where Rahal had his accident and spun, hitting the guard rail. Müller, who was following, tried to take evasive action swerving to the left, however his car, running on the dirty part of the track hit Rahal’s Porsche. The fuel cell of the 935 ruptured and both cars were engulfed in an enormous ball of fire. Müller’s 908 bounced back to the center of the track, whist a river of flames crossed the road. The fuel on Müller’s car also ignited, and he perished in the burning wreckage. It took three additional laps for the race to be stopped, and then finally abandoned. All that remained were the burnt, scorched remains of Mullers car. Motorsport lost one of his most likeable and finest drivers.