historicracing

Born on this day (23rd - April)

1851 - 1898


Wilhelm Werner

1874 - 1947


Bob Burman

1884 - 1916


1932


Dick Atkins

1936 - 1966


Larry Rice

1946 - 2009


Mike Smith

1955 - 2014


Mike Ciochetti

1959


Pierluigi Martini

1961


Chris Kneifel

1961


Paul Belmondo

1963


Parnelli Jones Jr

1969


Thiago Marques

1980



Died on this day (23rd - April)

1892 - 1948


1912 - 1950


Dempsey Wilson

1927 - 1971


Alfred Ethelbert Moss

1896 - 1972



Volker Weidler
Volker Weidler
GERMANY

Born
18 / 3 / 1962
Coming from Weinheim, near Mannheim in Germany, Volker started racing in 1982 in the EFDA Euroseries Formula Ford 2000. Graduating to F3 in 1983 he drove well and finished third in the Championship. In 1984 he finished second to Kurt Thiim and, sticking with F3, he won the title in 1985. In 1985 Weidler also made his debut in sports car racing, in a Joest Porsche 956 with Marc Duez and 'John Winter' at the World Championship round at Spa, finishing 6th. In 1986, Weidler had further WSC outings, coming 10th at the Nurburgring with Greek driver Costas Los in a Cosmic Racing March 84G Porsche, and then sharing a Kremer Racing Porsche 962 C with Bruno Giacomelli to 12th at Spa and 4th at Fuji, for 39th place overall with 14 points. But sportscars were not his main focus in 86 as he was driving the Team Marko Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3-16 in the DTM series. Two wins at the Nurburgring and Avus and two fastest laps earned him second overall in the Series. He was very buisy in 86 because apart from his DTM and WSC outings ge also raced in F3000 with a Bromley Motorsport Ralt RT20 Cosworth. Sponsorship came from Rial wheels, but a string of midfield performances and two DNQs did little to impress. 1987 he stayed in sports cars, rejoining Kremer to drive their Porsche 962C. However, after a 4th in the first round at Jarama and a 2nd in round two at Jerez, the season went downhill untill finally running out of petrol, literally, at Fuji. In 1986 Weidler raced with the Onyx team in a March 88B Cosworth in F3000. But it was another dissapointing year. Weidler got his F1 break in 1989 with Gunter Schmid's Rial team alongside Christian Danner. However Weidler was unable to get the out-dated Rial ARC2 Cosworth V8 onto teh grid in 1989. In ten attempts he failed to pre-qualify eight times, failed to qualify once and was excluded once. The exclusion coming at Hockenheim where, not only was he the slowest qualifier, but when he stopped with electrical problems, his mechanics worked on his car on the side of the track, leading to a fine and disqualification. He parted company with Gunter Schmid and went to Japan to drive in Japanese F3000 in a Team Take One Lola T90/50 Mugen. With 15 points he came 6th overall. He also raced in sports cars in the Japanese Sports Prototype Championship in a Porsche 962C with Akihiko Nakaya and Yukihiro Hane. They recorded a 5th at Fuji and 2nd at Suzuka, for 27 points, placing them equal 11th. At the World Sportscar Championship round in Suzuka, Weidler joined Nakaya in a Porsche 962C, crossing the line in 10th. In 1991 Weidler continued to race in both Japanese F3000 and the JSPC. In F3000 H he finished 3rd at Sendai, 3rd at Suzuka twice, and 3rd at Fuji and he took a win at another race at Fuji, for a season total of 25 points and 3rd outright. In the JSPC, driving a Nissan R91CK with Nakaya, they scored three 2nds at Fuji, Suzuka and Sugo to come equal 7th in the Championship on 52 points. At Le Mans that year came his finest moment, he drove with Bertrand Gachot and Johnny Herbert in a Mazda 787B. Powered by a 4-rotor 26B Wankel engine which produced over 700 hp (2622 cc, but rated by the FIA formula at 4708 cc) the won race outright, the only non-piston engine ever to win at Le Mans. This led to a ban on rotary engines at Le Mans the following year, rendering the 787 ineligible. This ban was eventually rescinded. After the race, the winning engine was publicly dismantled for internal examination, which demonstrated that despite 24 hours of extremely hard use it had accumulated very little wear. However this did little to improved Mazda sales at the time. The win was also historic in another way as it marked the first victory for a Japanese manufacturer. There were some major changes at Le Mans in '91, first, two new chicanes were installed on the Mulsanne Straight, breaking the nearly 3-mile long straight into three shorter segments, thus reducing top speeds from over 230mph (370 km/h) to roughly 210mph (338 km/h). This greatly increased the stress and wear on the brakes. Second, the 1991 race was run to a fuel consumption formula. Teams were alocated a specific amount of fuel, which was to be used for the entire event - practice, qualifying and the race itself. This played no small part in the 787B's win. In 1992 Weidler continued racing F3000 in Japan and WSC. At Le Mans he finished 4th with Maurizio Sala all be it 16 laps down. But Volker was then forced into an early retirement from racing due to suffering from tinitus just as his career was taking off again.




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