Ernst Klodwig

Ernst Klodwig

23/5/1903 - 15/4/1973

Ernst Klodwig was an East German racing driver. He raced his rear engined special in nation F2 with some success. He made two German Grand Prix appearances in the West, 1952 and 1953, and has the distinction of being the first person to race a rear engined car in the World Championship.

Born in Aschersleben in what became East Germany, Ernst Klodwig started racing in Formula 2 in his 'Eigenbau' (special) BMW in 1950 at Dessau. His car was different as it had the engine in the back, a layout pioneered by Auto Union pre-war. His car was called the Heck-BMW, 'Heck' meaning 'rear' in German and it was to become the first rear engine car to compete in an F1 race.

A consistent finisher he was one of the best East German drivers and one of the very few who competed in the Formula One World Championship.

In the East German Formula Two Championship in 1951, competing against the likes of Rudi Krause, Paul Geifzu and Edgar Barth, he was a regular top three finisher. He finished second at Halle-Salle and Dresden, third place at Leipzig and another race at Halle-Salle and fourth at the Sachsenring.

He continued in his national F2 series in 1952 as well as contesting the German Grand Prix which, due to a change in regulations was run to Formula 2 specs. He qualified on the back of the grid and circulated at a modest pace to finish 12th, 4 laps behind the winner (in a race of just 18 laps) and unclassified.

1953 saw much of the same. In East German F2 he had a number of podium finishes and once again entered the German Grand Prix. Qualifying last he was still running at the finish in 15th, three laps down and once again unclassified.

By 1954 and with Ernst in his 50s, he retired. He had finished on the podium 8 times but never won a race. He died in Hamburg a month short of his 70th birthday.

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