Record updated 10-Mar-08
German racing driver who raced in the German Grand Prix in 1952 and 1953. Had some success with BMW and Borgward in sports cars. He retired in 1954 after crashing heavily in the Carrera Panamericana.
Karl-Günther Bechem was a German amateur who sometimes drove under the 'nom de volant' of Bernd Nacke as his family were not keen on him racing.
He drove a BMW 328 into a sensational second place in the sports car race of the 1950 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
In 1951 he bought the ex-Bossong Holbein-BMW HH48. He raced at Hockenheim and took part in the Norisring race but the following year, 1953, entered it into the German Grand Prix racing under his alias. Bechem had previously concentrated on sports car racing, but with the Formula 2 race at the Nurburgring becoming a World Championship event, he was keen to become a Grand Prix driver. He started the race from the back row of the grid and retired on the sixth lap with engine problems. Bechem then took the old car to the high-speed Avus track, where it again broke down. He then sold the car to Per-Gunnar Wahlberg, who crashed fatally in it in 1956 at Solvalla Travbana in Sweden.
In 1953, now using his real name, he became involved with Borgward and the 1500 cc Rennsports, scoring a third place and class win in the Nurburgring 1000 Km sharing with Theo Helfrich.
Bechem took one of Alex von Falkenhausen's AFM 50 Sport-BMWs to the IX Internationales AvD Avusrennen Formula 2 race where it broke down. He then entered the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, again braking down, this time after just 2 laps.
In 1953 he tested for Mercedes at the Nürburgring with a 300SL but stayed with Borgward.
Bechem won the Eifel mountain meeting at the Nurburgring in May 1954 driving for Borgward and, at the end of the season, went to Mexico for the 2000 mile Carrera Panamericana. After a good start where Gunther initially led, he had an off. This dropped him back but worse was to come when he crashed heavily at the end of the fourth stage. The car was destroyed and Bechem was seriously injured. Altough he made a complete recovery, he never raced again.