- 2.1 Grand Prix Results
- 2.2 Le Mans results
Childhood and youth
Rolf Stommelen came on July 11, 1943 in Siegen to the world. His parents owned an auto repair shop and a car rental company in Cologne- Suelz on the Berrenrather road. Stommelen initially wanted to be a car mechanic and then make trained as a merchant. The flourishing business of his father promised him a good future. Extracurricular he was considered mediocre, athletic he did not particularly distinguished.
Stommelen completed an apprenticeship as a mechanic at Mercedes. In 1962 his father gave him a used Porsche Super 90, with the Stommelen went to the Nürburgring.
The first successes
After initial successes in uphill races in 1964 in a private Porsche 904 GTS Stommelen took off in 1965 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans part. As a factory driver for Porsche won the 1967 along with Paul Hawkins, the Targa Florio. He also won the overall title in 1968 at the 24 Hours of Daytona. In a mountain race on Roßfeld he crashed hard in 1968. After his recovery Stommelen also drove in single seaters and launched in 1969 at the Grand Prix of Germany with a Lotus 59B Formula 2 on the North Loop of the Nürburgring. Since only relatively few Formula 1 cars were reported for this Grand Prix, entered in the same race in Formula 2 to fill the starting field for the long haul. Stommelens car caught fire shortly before the finish, but he was able to save the car still on the finish line and into the pit, where stood ready firefighters.
Stommelens Formula 1 career began in 1970 he started regularly with a factory Brabham and scored ten World Championship points.; his best finish was third place in the Grand Prix of Austria. The first year was also his best in Formula 1 1971 season with a Surtees TS9 Stommelen denied. Subsequent experiments with the designed by Luigi Colani Eifel Country - E21 March of the Eifel country teams failed due to the unsuitability of the design object.
Accident in Barcelona
Back in the sports car, Stommelen could achieve some success for Alfa Romeo in the World Sportscar Championship. In 1975 he returned with Graham Hill and his Embassy Hill team back into Formula 1. At the Grand Prix of Spain on the dangerous Montjuïc street circuit in Barcelona Stommelen was after 25 rounds and some failures of competitors in, as the rear wing of his Hill GH1 broke. In the resulting accident five spectators and marshals died; Stommelen was seriously injured.
The reigning world champion Emerson Fittipaldi had graduated in protest against the poor security arrangements on the track, such as poorly fortified and lack of guardrails, only the duty of laps in practice and got out after the first round. Previously, the government of General Franco had threatened to confiscate the cars in the paddock later serving as Olympic Stadium, if the event would strike.
After the accident, the race was stopped and Stommelens country man lying Jochen Mass in the lead, thereby came to his only Formula 1 victory. On the Montjuïc circuit never been a Formula 1 Grand Prix took place.
1977 succeeded Stommelen a comeback, he was German racing champion on Porsche 935 In addition, three further overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1979 and second place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Porsche 935/77A team Dick Barbour Racing, he went out in the rain almost single-handedly, as his American team-mate (including the actor Paul Newman) were significantly slower.
Stommelens life ended in a Porsche 935, a special IMSA version of John Fitzpatrick. On April 24, 1983, he crashed at 6- hour race at Riverside in 1983 at the Riverside International Raceway in California deadly. The choice of the starting driver had fallen to Rolf Stommelen, his British partner Derek Bell was waiting in the pits for the driver change. As in 1975 in Barcelona broke the rear wing of Stommelens race car, he lost control of the at this time about 300 km / h the vehicle and crashed into a concrete wall. An hour later, his death was found in the local clinic.
Originally Jochen Mass had been invited by the Fitzpatrick team to Riverside. Mass said from a Stommelen and jumped. His wife, who was at all the races this otherwise remained, this time in Cologne. Stommelen had promised to quit at the end of the racing.
Rolf Stommelen died at the age of 39 and was buried at the Cologne Melatenfriedhof.