Jochen Mass

Jochen Mass

30/9/1946

Jochen Mass participated in 112 grands prix, debuting on July 14, 1973. He won one GP race, the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix. After leaving Formula One, he enjoyed great success in sports car racing.

Jochen Mass was born in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. He stated racing in 1968 with an Alfa Romeo Giulia winning both the races he enterd. He thus decided to continue into 1969 racing an alfa Romeo 1600 GTA. He was the only driver to challenge Dieter Glemser who won the German Touring Car Championsip and this led to an invitation from Ford to test an Escort at Zandvoort.

He was given a contract with Ford for 1970 to drive in the European Hillclimb Championship and saloon ar races. After doing 36 races and hillclimbs in 1969 he only did two races and eight hillclimbs in 1970 driving a 2.4 litre Capri.

In 1971 he had his first single seater outing in a friends Formula Super Vee. He won at the Nurburgring and was then told by Jochen Neerpasch of Ford that he had bough an F3 Brabham BT35 for him to drive and he was to go to England in August to pick it up. He imediately established a reputation as a hard charger who was, on occasions, slightly over exuberant. Late in the year he was given a release by Ford to made his Formula 2 debut in a works March. He also had a number of outings in a Ford Escort with John Fitzpatrick

In 1972 he took the European Touring Car Championship, winning rounds at Spa, Zandvoort, Silverstone and Jarama. He also teamed up with Hans-Joachim Stuck to drive a Ford Capri RS2600 to victory at the Spa 24 Hours endurance race in Belgium.

In 1973, Mass signed for the Surtees Formula 2 team. Winning at Kinnekulle and Hockenheim, he finished second in the championship standings and  earned a Grand Prix debut at Silverstone. Unfortunately he got caught up in Jody Scheckter's multiple shunt, but he was back in action in the German GP, taking seventh place.

With a full season of F1 with Surtees in 1974, Jochen started the year with fourth in the Medici GP in Brasilia and second in the International Trophy race. However once the Grand Prix season got under way things began to go wrong. A string of mechanical failures came to a head when his superb drive in the German GP was ended by another engine failure. It was too much for Mass and he followed Pace's example and quit the Team. He joined Yardley McLaren for the final two races of the season and was offered a drive in place of the retiring Denny Hulme for 1975. Affectionately nicknamed 'Hermann the German' by the McLaren Team, he became an excellent number two to Fittipaldi, winning the famous accident-shortened "half points" Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona after the race was flagged to a halt following Rolf Stommelen's accident in the Hill GH1 which killed four spectators, and impressing at both Paul Ricard and Watkins Glen.

The German's role as number two in the team continued for the next two years as James Hunt joined the team. Jochen was unlucky not to win the 1976 German GP. Having gambled to run on slicks, he was on course for the victory when Lauda's accident stopped the race early. He provided the team with plenty of top-six finishes.

In 1977 he won a couple of Formula 2 races at Hockenheim and the Nurburgring driving a March. He also began his long and successful sports car partnership with Jacky Ickx, winning three rounds of the World Championship of Makes in the Martini Racing Porsche.

In 1978 he joined ATS but the season was disappointing and a testing accident at Silverstone ended with Mass suffering a broken knee and thigh.

Joining Arrows in 1979 he drove well despite being in an inferior car. At Monaco he was running third until brake problems intervened. He stayed with Arrows for 1980 and once again proved a consistent performer. His best finish was second in the Spanish GP, which then lost it's championship status.

In 1981 Mass concentrated on sports car and Group 5 racing before an unhappy return to the Grand Prix arena with the RAM team in 1982.

Disillusioned, Mass turned to sports car racing full-time. With Rothmans Porsche before briefly switching to IMSA. He then raced for Brun Porsche and in 1987 he joined Sauber, which eventually became the works Mercedes-Benz team. 

Among his many victories were the 1985 Circuito del Mugello 1000 km race in Italy driving a Porsche 962C and in 1987, partnered with Bobby Rahal, the 1987 12 Hours of Sebring race. In 1989, he won the most prestigious endurance race of all, the 24 hours of Le Mans, with the Sauber-entered Mercedes-Benz.

In 1992 Mass moved into a team management role in the German touring car championship, but continued to enjoy his racing, mainly in GT cars. Throughout the nineties Jochen was a regular in the Grand Prix paddock, where his irreverent sense of humour was a commodity often in short supply.

Jochen Mass now drives the Mercedes-Benz museum's historic cars. In the 2004 Mille Miglia, he drove the original Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR that Stirling Moss had driven to victory in the 1955 race. To raise money for charity, the passenger seat next to him was auctioned off to the highest bidder.


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