Joachim Winkelhock

Joachim Winkelhock

24/10/1960

Smoking Jo Winchelhock drove for AGS in 1989 after taking the German F3 title the year before. Entered seven Grands Prix and failed to pre-qualify all of them. Won the British and German Super Touring championships and won Le Mans for BMW in 1999 with Yannick Dalmas and Pierluigi Martini.

Joachim Winkelhock is the younger brother of the late Manfred Winkelhock. Winkelhock was born in Waiblingen, near Stuttgart. His youngest brother Thomas Winkelhock as well as Manfred's son Markus Winkelhock are racers, too.

Joachim started racing in 1979 in the Renault 5 championship, and in 1981 entered the European Renault 5 series. He first raced in single-seaters in 1982 in Formula Ford 1600 in Germany, but then switched back to touring cars racing  sporadically between 1983 and 1985 mainly in a BMW 323i.

His brother died in 1985 which caused him to take stock and in 1986 he won the minor German Porsche 944 Turbo Cup.

Then in 1987 he returned to single-seaters, driving a Reynard 873 VW for the WTS team in German F3 run by Willy Weber, who later became  Michael Schumacher's agent. He scored 98 points and came 2nd overall behind Bernd Schneider.

In 1987 he also did a few rounds of the European Touring Car Championship in a Wolf Ford Sierra RS500. At Zolder, riving with Jörg van Ommen, they failed to qualify. They then took pole at the Österreichring and finished 2nd, but were disqualified for a valve irregularity. In the last race of the season at Nogaro, sharing with Armin Hahne, he qualified on pole but failed to finish.

In 1988, driving a Reynard 883 VW, Joachim won the title in a close battle with Otto Rensing. He also won the European Cup, at the unsual high age of 28. The next year was less successful, as he tried F1 with the small AGS concern. Failing to pre-qualify on 7 occasions, Winkelhock then linked up with BMW in touring car racing and the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft.

He won the 24 Hours Nürburgring in 1990 and 1991 on BMW M3 entered by Schnitzer Motorsport.

His first title was the 1993 British Touring Car Championship. There, he was also commonly known as Smokin' Jo, for his cigarette habit.

Winkelhock next won was the 1994 Asia-Pacific Touring Car Championship, and in 1995 he won the German Supertouring Championship STW. He also triumphed in the 1995 Spa 24 Hours, and the 1994 and 1998 Macau Grand Prix Guia touring car races. His last success for BMW came at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which he won in 1999 driving the BMW V12 LMR prototype run by Schnitzer Motorsport.

In 2000, he joined Opel in the new Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, and in 2003 he announced his retirement from motor racing at age 43.

He runs his family's Waiblingen-based truck-crane and towing business, occasionally getting personally involved in recovering crashed trucks.

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