Possibly one of the best drivers to never race in Formula One. Unlike Hans-Joachim Stuck, Rolf Stommelen, Harald Ertl, Hans Heyer and Jochen Mass, Klaus, Ludwig never raced single seaters. He is called König Ludwig for his success with touring cars and in sports car racing.
Klaus Ludwig was born in Bonn, Germany, in the 1970s, Ludwig drove Ford in the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft, winning in 1979 with a Kremer-Porsche 935. With this car, based on the then 15 year old Porsche 911 road car design, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall in the wet, an unprecedented and never repeated win against the faster pure sports car racing prototypes.
In the 1980s, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans consecutively for Joest Racing on their #7 Porsche 956. Considering Le Mans and sportcars too dangerous after the deaths of Manfred Winkelhock und Stefan Bellof, he moved to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM), to become champion in 1988 on a Ford Sierra Cosworth. Ludwig also represented IMSA in the 1986 International Race of Champions, finishing 8th.
He repeated the success at Mercedes-Benz in 1992 and 1994, before moving back to sports cars racing with them in 1997 to become the 1998 FIA GT world champion. He retired as the series did not continue in 1999.
Soon, he returned in June 1999, to win the 24 Hours Nürburgring on the Nordschleife with a Zakspeed Viper, for the third time overall.
When the DTM resumed as Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters in 2000, he came back, winning at the Sachsenring, at the age of 50 years, to retire once again - from professional racedriving.
Ludwig returned as a "hobby pilot" to the Nürburgring Nordschleife when having the opportunity to drive a high power vehicle. The years 2004 and 2005 saw him enter the 24 Hours Nürburgring with Uwe Alzen on the Jürgen Alzen Porsche 996 GT2 Bi-Turbo. With a normally aspirated Porsche 997 GT3 of the Alzen brothers, Ludwig plus Christian Abt managed to beat the old distance record in the 2006 edition of the 24h, yet finished only second, 1 lap behind the winners.
Ludwig works also as a TV commentator for DTM races.
- Winner 24 Hours of Le Mans: 1979, 1984, 1985
- Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft champion 1979, 1981
- Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft champion 1988, 1992, 1994
- FIA GT World Champion 1998