Heini Walter

Heini Walter

28/7/1927 - 12/5/2009

Heinrich Walter was a keen amateur who raced Porsche Carrera RSK and 904 GTS models both on the circuits and hill climbs for 20 years between 1947 and 1967. Equally fast in all disciplines, he loved hill climbing more than endurance racing, winning the 1961 European Hill Climb Championship and the Swiss Championship five years in a row between 1957 and 1961.

Heinrich Walter was born in Alpental, Switzerland. He started racing  In 1947, when,  just 3 days before the Dornach - Gempen hill climb, Heini and his father acquired a 20 year old Bugatti 35. With it he took second in class.

He continued to concentrate on hill climbs driving a BMW 328 and a Talbot with considerable success taking a number of class wins and podium finishes in 1953 and 1954.

For 1955 he bought the Merkel-Porsche and drove it in the 1100cc class of the Swiss Mountain Championship. He won all the races and was leading the Championship when it was discovered that the engine was actually 1300cc. Heini was disqualified.

The following year he had a car built for him by Kurt Sauter. Powered by a Porsche 1.5 engine he once again has a good season on the hills with a couple of class wins. In circuit racing he drove an Alfa Romeo in the Nürburgring 1000 Km race, taking a class second and 12th overall, and the Sauter-Porsche in the GP von Berlin at Avus where he failed to finish.

He raced in the Nürburgring 1000 Km race again in 1957 but failed to finish. He bought a Porsche 550 and with it won his first Swiss Sports Car Championship. He also was given his first works drive in the Bergpreis der Schweiz from Tiefenkastel to Lenzerheide with a factory Porsche 550 finishing 3rd in class and 6th overall.

For 1958 Heini bought the ex-Carel Godin de Beaufort Porsche 550 (550-042) and with it won the Swiss Sports Car Championship for the second time. In the European Mountain Championship he finished in 8th place.

He bought a Porsche RSK (718-029) in 1959 and used it to great effect winning the German Rennsportmeisters against the likes of Jo Bonnier and Wolfgang von Trips. In the European Mountain Championship he finished 2nd with Edgar Barth taking the title while at home he took the Swiss Sports Car Championship for the third straight year.

He entered the Monte Carlo rally at the start of 1960 driving a Sunbeam and taking a fine 2nd in class. He then travelled to Argentina to compete in the 1000 km Buenos Aires where he failed to finish. He drove a Sauter-DKW in a number of Formula Junior races as well as an MBM for Ecurie Hoba. He drove his RSK and a Porsche RS 60 (718-042) to win the Sports Car Class of the European Mountain Championship for the first time and the Swiss Sports Car Championship for the fourth year running. He bought his restaurant in Aesh which became very popular with the motor racing fraternity.

1961 saw Walter take the Sports Car Class of the European Mountain Championship for a second time and the Swiss Sports Car Championship again for the fifth time driving the Porsche RS 60.

In 1962 he made his only major appearance in a single-seater driving the Scuderia Filipinetti Porsche 718 Formula 2 car. He qualified on the fourth row along side Baghetti and Phil Hill and finished a respectable 14th in the pouring rain. He was due to race at Le Mans that year but failed to start he was also due to drive the Lotus 24-BRM at Enna but once again did not start.

In 1963, he raced for the Scuderia Filipinetti in the Porsche RS60, which he sold to them and finished 2nd in the European Mountain Championship. Mid 1963 he left the Scuderia Filipinetti. Carlo Abarth offered him a place till end 1963 but Heini Walter preferred to drive Porsches.

He bought a Porsche 904 GTS in 1964, and after a successful start to the season he crashed it in July in the Turkheim Bergrennen. Despite this he still won the GT class of the European Mountain Championship.

He bought a Ferrari 250 (5905) in March 1965 from Scuderia Filipinetti. He raced it in the Preis von Wien Curd Barry Gedenkrennen in April. He wanted to run in the GT class but as the car was not homologated so he drove in the prototype division finishing 4th in class.

He raced it again in the Preis von Tirol at Innsbruck in October, taking a class win.

He then took it the hill climb at St. Ursanne les Rangiers but had an accident. The car was then converted it to Spyder configuration. After another hill climb and the Preis von Tirol at Innsbruck in October, where he took a class win, he had another accident at Wien-Aspern.

After which he had the car converted back to it original body style by Franco Sbarro. He did a couple more hill climbs in 1966 before another accident caused the car to be burnt out. He sold the engine. Then later in 1966 he installed another engine and raced the car in the Coppa Citta d'Enna finishing 5th. In 1966 he also raced in the Targa Florio with Hans Kühnis in a Porsche 906 finishing 5th in class.

In 1967 he also raced the rather strange 250LM (5899). This was another Scuderia Filipinetti car that had been written off by Werner Biedermann while on his way to Engelberg. He sold the remains to Hans Illert who had the chassis shortened and a Porsche Carrera 6 body fitted. The car was called the Illert LM-P and Heini used it twice that year in the hill climbs at St. Ursanne-Les Rangiers and Turckheim-Trois Epis.

In 1967 he raced his Ferrari (5905) in the 1000km Monza, 1000 km Nürburgring and the hill climbs at Turckheim-Trois Epis and St. Ursanne Les Rangiers before selling the car. He also raced a Porsche 910 that year. He drove what turned out to be his last race at Hockenheim in October finishing 2nd overall.

He was due to race a Porsche Carrera 6 in the Nürburgring 1000ks in May the following year but a crash in practice meant the car could not start.

His father died in 1968 and Heini business commitments meant that he no longer had the time to race. A confirmed bachelor, he still owned the restaurant and also by now had a real estate company. He did do the occasional commentary for Swiss television and stayed in contact with his colleagues from his racing days and regularly attended historic race meetings despite being confined to a wheelchair after a sever illness.

He attended a meeting of racing drivers at the Race Inn at Roggwil on April 4 2009. He passed away just over a month later.
 

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