The Willi Kauhsen Racing Team was a German motor racing team in the Inter- Series, the World Sportscar Championship, Formula 2 and briefly with their own vehicles went 1972-1979 even in Formula 1 at the start.

  • 3.1 The acquisition of the car by Kojima
  • 3.2 A private car
  • 3.3 The 1979 season 3.3.1 The first application
  • 3.3.2 Two inserts in the Formula 1 World Championship
  • 3.3.3 survival of Kauhsen cars
  • 4.1 victories in the World Sportscar Championship

The beginnings

The founder of the racing team was the German Freight Forwarders Willibert " Willi" Kauhsen from Eschweiler near Aachen. Willi took Kauhsen 1963-1974 regularly as a driver of touring and sports car racing part and scored some successes.

1965 Willi Kauhsen won the European Touring Car Championship on Abarth 1000 TC. Later he moved into the sports car class, where it was mostly cars from Porsche.

In the late 1960s, Willi Kauhsen was a fixture in long distance races. As one of his best performances he later described his use at the Marathon de La Route, which took place at the Nurburgring from 21 to 24 August 1968. In this 84 -hour race, which went over a distance of 10,000 kilometers Willi Kauhsen stood as factory driver for Porsche. Along with Herbert Linge and Dieter Glemser he moved a 170 hp Porsche 911 S. The trio Kauhsen / Toys / Glemser took the overall victory. In the same year Kauhsen won jointly with Erwin Kremer and Helmut Kelleners the 24 - hour race at Spa-Francorchamps. 1970 finally took Willi Kauhsen together with Gérard Larrousse in a Porsche 917 long tail for the Martini Racing Team 's 24-hour race at Le Mans part. Kauhsen and Larrousse were overall second behind Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood, who drove the short-tail version of the Porsche 917.

In 1972, Kauhsen starting your own racing team. The Willi Kauhsen Racing Team first met in 1972 in the Inter series. Driver was Willi Kauhsen itself; at this time put the team one a 1,000- hp Porsche 917 Turbo. In the first year Willi Kauhsen won the race in Imola, reaching four second places. In 1973 he won the first two races of the Inter series at the Nurburgring and Imola, 1974, he won at Silverstone.

In the 1975 season continued Willi Kauhsen least three Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 a in the prototype World Championship. The team had to a certain extent work status. Drivers were Jacky Ickx, Arturo Merzario, Derek Bell, Henri Pescarolo and Jacques Laffite. Kauhsens team won the league title after a few successful missions.

Kauhsen in the formula 2

1976 Willi Kauhsen decided on a change in the single-seater racing. It should first be 2 tackled the formula; A few years later there was a rise in the Formula 1.


The first use of teams in Formula 2 was in season 1976. Kauhsen recognized as a customer team by March two live 762er. Drivers were regularly Ingo Hoffmann and Klaus Ludwig, bearing in individual events other drivers were reported. When Rhine Cup on the Hockenheimring Jochen Mass drove to the site of Klaus Ludwig, the Gran Premio Mediterraneo in Enna, however Arturo Merzario and Klaus Ludwig were reported. Both drivers did not go there, however, at the start.

The team had no experience in single-seater racing, so in the first year you had to use a lot of energy on learning the corresponding features. Accordingly, results could only be achieved in the area of the central panel; Podiums and victories did not exist.


Willi Kauhsen blamed mainly the vehicles of March for the mediocre performance. Therefore, he sought for the second Formula 2 season by making better use of equipment. Here he fell on the car of the team Elf Switzerland, one of Jean Sage guided and supported by the Swiss subsidiary of the oil company Elf Aquitaine racing team. The at that time still called Ecurie Elf team had used their own cars in the 1974 Formula 2 Championship, which. Jean- Pierre Jabouille, the driver of the team, had been designed with the participation of Renault Alpine In 1976 Jean -Pierre Jabouille with this car, which now Jabouille J2 was said that the European Formula 2 Championship. Since Jabouille 1977 moved into Formula 1, were his Formula 2 cars for sale. Willi Kauhsen took over the vehicles then for his own Formula 2 team and gave them the name " Kauhsen " or " Kauhsen -Renault ".

As the first driver Michel Leclère was reported, who knew the car already from the previous years. Next to him, Klaus Ludwig was called, which, however, not throughout the season went, but his cockpit temporarily to Vittorio Brambilla, José Dolhem, Mario da Silva and Alain Prost had to give.

Although the driver usually brought high talent, Willi Kauhsens expectations were disappointed. Although Michel Leclère reached at the first race of the season at Silverstone pole position, but he fell in the race with engine failure. After that, no more countable results were achieved. The only exception was a third place Brambillas in Misano. Alain Prost, which already at that time clung to the call of the boy wonder, reached at any rate in his two appearances for the team no top positions. In Nogaro he was 10, he left in Estoril. The other drivers were not successful.

During the season the cars were noticeably worse. Observers attributed this consistently attributed that the technician first names in Kauhsens workshop many changes to the car without having examined the effectiveness of the modifications sufficiently before. At the end of the 1977 season, Willi Kauhsen decided to withdraw from Formula 2 Another use of French in the meantime heavily modified cars did not seem to make sense. Instead, the rise has been prepared in Formula 1.

Kauhsen brought one of the Jabouille cars at the last race of the Japanese Formula 2 Championship in 1977 with Keke Rosberg at the start. Rosberg achieved nothing; he already dropped out in the second round after an engine failure. Kauhsen sold the car to the Japan-based German driver Nico Nicole, whose team Nicole Racing reported it in 1978 to three rounds of the Japanese Formula 2 Championship. Once Gianfranco Brancatelli drove the car twice Nicole itself only Brancatelli reached a finish. 1979 reported Nico Nicole a car with the type designation Niki NK2; there is evidence that it was this was a further revision of the Jabouille cars.

Kauhsen in Formula 1

The acquisition of the car by Kojima

Initially considered Kauhsen, 1978 to enter into Formula 1. As in the time remaining not own chassis was to develop, he planned the acquisition of a foreign car. The choice fell on the Japanese Kojima KE009, a car that had been reported to the Japanese Grand Prix in 1977 by Kojima Engineering for Noritake Takahara and of Kojima's Heros Racing customer team for Kazuyoshi Hoshino. Both cars had taken care of in this race for attention. Hoshino had to qualify for a surprising eleventh starting position and Takahara was gone in 19th place in the race. Takahara fell in the race after a collision with Hans Binder at Surtees from, Hoshino, however, was able to save his 11th place finish.

These results were for Kauhsen reason to opt for a takeover of the Kojima - cars and their regular use by Willi Kauhsen Racing Team. In the spring of 1978, the negotiations were well advanced, and even advertising photos with Willi Kauhsen have been made, which had taken place in a Kojima cockpit. The driver's choice was unclear. Some sources say that Kauhsen already at that time had close contacts with Gianfranco Brancatelli; the Italians should be at least once been with Willi Kauhsen in Japan. According to other information Willi Kauhsen took the then young Keke Rosberg to Japan, is said to have made ​​a functional test at Fuji Speedway.

Finally, the negotiations failed with Kojima. The reason for this is usually stated, Kauhsen did not have the necessary funds to transport the cars and the material from Japan to Europe.

Having your own car

Then decided Kauhsen to develop a completely separate car for the 1979 Formula 1 season.

Lack of own infrastructure had largely to rely on external help Kauhsen this. He had the professors Hans Gerhard, Carl Eduard Cramer and hunters hired by the University of Applied Sciences Aachen, to conduct aerodynamic studies for its own Formula 1 car in late 1977. The studies were completed in the spring of 1978, about the time when the acquisition of Kojima project failed. The team was supplemented by the aerodynamics Kapitzka Klaus, who had previously worked at Ford in Cologne, as well as through the chassis designer Kurt Chabek who worked directly for the Willi Kauhsen Racing Team. Chabek was the only one of them, of their own experiences with the construction of Formula One racing car had: He had been working in 1977 for the German racing car manufacturers TOJ.

Chabek developed the concept for Kauhsens Formula 1 car in the summer of 1978. Model was the Lotus 78, the most mature Wing -Car and the most successful car of the Formula 1 season 1978. Kauhsen The dimensions of certain Chabek by measured the current Formula 1 car in photographs. From the data thus found he made a mean value, which should be the basis for the Kauhsen.

The powerplant of the Cosworth DFV eight-cylinder was set early. Although Willi Kauhsen had first attempted in view of the common past to get twelve-cylinder Alfa Romeo, as they have already been used at Brabham. In 1978, Alfa Romeo, however, had already decided on its own Formula 1 project, so there is no capacity for the equipment of other teams were free in Italy.

In the fall of 1978, three mechanics and engineers Chabek and Kapitzka in Kauhsens factory worked. They succeeded, in September 1978 the first prototype, the WK -001 finish. It was a very compact car that had an outstanding aerodynamic solution: The rear wing was sitting in front of the rear axle and was associated with the side skirts with wide columns. In the side skirts also the cooler as well as some additional tanks that could not be accommodated at other places were. Thus, the ground effect was adversely affected. Niki Lauda commented on the unusual car with the words: "Your solution can not walk. If they would, then all others would be idiots. "

As of November 1978, the WK001 was tested several times. The first private test drives took Gianfranco Brancatelli, later the Austrian Harald Ertl rose in the Kauhsen and damaged the car in an accident significantly. Then took Kauhsen part in the official FOCA test at Le Castellet, which took place in early December 1978. They were conducted by Patrick Neve, a Belgian racing driver who was driving a used 1977 March for the newly formed team of Frank Williams and had good links with Belgian sponsors such as Marlboro Belgium, the brewery Belle -Vue and the company Kinley. Neve reached only bad times with the white painted Kauhsen; he was, at best, six seconds behind the fastest cars, the cars Ligier.

During the first half of the year four more vehicles were built that differed significantly from each other in part:

  • The car WK002 WK003 and manufactured in January and February 1979 corresponded roughly to the WK001, but contained in detail, various modifications.
  • The model WK004 was completed in March 1979. The first cars had a front wing. The unusual design of the rear wing was omitted; Instead, the rear wing was now - as with other cars usual - positioned behind the rear axle. However, it maintained that the ground effect was disturbed by the housed in the sidepods cooler, exhaust manifolds and tanks.
  • The WK005 built in April 1979 was again significantly different. The car was significantly longer. The change in length made ​​it finally, to remove the interfering components from the side boxes. Thus, the WK005 was now a real Wing -Car.

The season 1979

Willi Kauhsen had planned to contest the entire 1979 season with his Formula 1 team. For the first race in Argentina, which was to take place in January 1979, the team has not approached, however. It lacked much of the financial resources. So Willi Kauhsen had failed to timely pay required by the FISA Einschreibesumme. In addition, the team was not able to make the existing car ready for use. In this regard, Neve announced on his meantime with Kauhsen contract.

In January 1979, Kauhsen was able to secure the support of some German sponsors. With the resources of the prefabricated house company Kaiser and the car lender Shor he could pay the registration fee, after which his team was at the start of the European season, that is, the fifth race of the World Cup, admitted.

The first use

After a few test runs in February 1979 in Le Castellet with Gianfranco Brancatelli took place in early April 1979, the first practical use. However, it was not a race, which was held as part of the Formula 1 World Championship. Rather, the Willi Kauhsen Racing team to race in the Aurora series reported in April 1979 on the Belgian Zolder. This race was part of a British Championship, in which a series of disused Formula 1 cars were moved by young drivers. Basically was the Aurora series of young talent in motor racing. For Kauhsen it was an attempt at a dress rehearsal without being exposed to the seriousness of the Formula 1 World Championship.

Kauhsen appeared with the model WK004. As a driver, Gianfranco Brancatelli was reported. He qualified for the eighth place, but retired from the race in the second round, so that the expected gain in experience could not be realized.

Two inserts in the Formula 1 World Championship

. His debut in the World Championship was the Willi Kauhsen Racing Team at the Grand Prix of Spain in late April 1979 emergency vehicle was compared to the Aurora race again changed WK004; of all new WK005 was intended as a replacement car. The training was unexpectedly: The WK004 could not be started, hence the untested WK005 for use had to be prepared. In the second round of training dissolved without cause of the fire extinguisher WK005, the car had to be parked and marshals were also added foam. Brancatelli was last qualifying and had a residue of 8.7 seconds later pole time of Jacques Laffite Ligier on to. After these events, parted the designer Kurt Chabek the team Kauhsen.

At the following race, the Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit Zolder, Kauhsen announced his team again. Use car was the WK005. In the first session, the clutch broke. The mechanic repaired the defective part at the nearby home workshop. After the repaired joint had been reinstalled, another part was defective in their environment. Since Kauhsen had no replacement car at the track, the team had to finish the workout early.

Willi Kauhsen ended his Formula 1 adventure. Other race participations did not exist. Willi Kauhsen described his Formula 1 afterwards as "the greatest disappointment of my life ."

Continued existence of Kauhsen cars

In early summer 1979 Kauhsen sold his car and its infrastructure to Arturo Merzario, who ran a private racing team in Italy. Merzario built around the WK005 and called the car Merzario A4. So his team stepped up to the end of the season for some Formula 1 race without being able to even qualify only once. The car driver was Arturo Merzario itself Gianfranco Brancatelli should likewise go for Merzarios team in the short term, but yet he did not put the converted Kauhsen one.

The unusual rear wing of the first Kauhsen models was copied in 1979 by the Italian engineer " Dydo " Monguzzi who built a Formula 1 car of the brand DYWA in his home workshop in-house.


Victories in the World Sportscar Championship