12/5/1924 - 11/8/2007
Paul Thiel was a famous East German racing driver who built his own racing car in the period just after WWII. Paul Thiel died 15 years ago, he was 83 , He would have been 98.
He built his special whilst working at the Wartburg factory which had previously been occupied by BMW. With it he finished second in the sports car class at the Kyffhäuser hillclimb in 1952 and was signed up by the EMW factory team in 1953.
At the Dresden-Hellerau-Rennen F2 race on 13th June 1954 he finished second behind Rudolf Krause, setting the fastest lap during the race with the works EMW-BMW. At the Sachsenring in August he took his first F2 win along with fastest lap with Krause finishing second. Going into the last race of the East German Formula 2 Championship at Bernau in September, Krause was leading on 19 points with Thiel in second on 12. Thiel was running fourth while Krause had dropped out early. Thiel was thus on course to take the Championship. However on the 10th lap Richard Trenkel lost control of his Porsche, which was competing in the sports car race that was run simultaniously, and crashed killing three race officials. The race was stopped and the results were declared with the order after nine laps. Having only completed nine laps the race did not count towards the championship and, with too few races, no F2 title could be awarded. Thus Krause finished at the top of the points table but with no Championship.
For 1955 Thiel switched to sports car racing with a works EMW R3/55. He missed the first two rounds but finished third at Halle-Saale-Schleife in round three in an EMW 1-2-3. He followed this with a second at the Sachsenring in August behind Edgar Barth in another EMW.
In 1956 EMW changed its name to AWE (Automobil-Werk-Eisenach), after complaints from BMW. Thiel and Binner drove a works car at the Nürburgring 1000Km race but retired with engine problems. A trip to Italy followed but was beset with problems. In the end the Thiel / Binner car failed to qualify. Thiel finished fourth in the German Grand Prix support race but the high cost of competition had taken it's toll and the East German government pulled the plug and closed down the Rennkollektiv.