Zakspeed is since 1968 active in automobile racing team based in Niederzissen / Eifel. It was founded by Erich Zakowski. Since the 1990s, the son of Peter Zakowski leads the team in international operations in various racing series.
German Racing Championship
In the 1970s and 1980s played with the Zakspeed Ford Models Ford Escort and Capri, the German Racing Championship (DRM ) very successful. Zakspeed won the championship title in the years 1973-1976 and 1981 and was in 1973 and 1974 even more successful than the likewise occurred Ford works team. From the late 1970s, the thoroughbred racing touring car of group 5 were equipped with a self-developed four-cylinder turbo engine. The 1.4-liter variant of the so-called "small" Division to 2000 cc (turbo handicap factor of 1.4 ) made about 400 hp, the later variant with 1.7 liter for the Big Division over 500 PS. With such a super Capri the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring orbited almost as fast as a few years earlier by the first formula
After the rule changes by the FIA in 1982 these vehicles were useless, as in the German Racing Championship from then drove sports cars of the Group C. Zakspeed moved to Ford C100 and put the Capri to 1983 only sporadically.
At the beginning of the 1980s hoped Erich Zakowski, Ford contract to develop a turbo engine for Formula 1 to get. Ultimately, Ford gave the order but to the British subsidiary Cosworth that had the engine ready for the beginning of 1986. Erich Zakowski then decided in the summer of 1983, independently and without financial support from Ford ascend into Formula 1. Zakspeed developed in the following months, a turbo engine according to Formula 1 rules and its own chassis, the prototype was ready for driving in the summer of 1984. The Formula 1 debut took place in 1985. Zakspeed was next Ferrari is the only team that restored the chassis and engine itself.
Chassis designer was the British engineer Paul Brown, for engine development Norbert Kreyer was responsible. Zakspeeds first Formula 1 car, the Zakspeed 841 was developed in the summer of 1984. Due to financial problems the team was not yet in 1984 into Formula 1. The ability to report revealed only in the spring of 1985, after the tobacco company Philip Morris had signed a sponsorship contract with the team. Zakspeed then campaigned for the Philip Morris brand West. A well-founded in April 1985 connection to West lasted until 1989. In races in countries where cigarette advertising was banned, the red- white cars did not appear in the subsequent period to time with the West logo, but with the word "East ", which was held graphically in the style of Western lettering.
At the time, got in as Zakspeed in Formula 1, has been the development of turbocharged engines - including through there dedicated German engine supplier Porsche and BMW - already far advanced, the benefits were significantly increased. The best turbo engines reached in 1985 in the qualifying trim already benefits from more than 1000 hp. Zakspeed came to these high-performance engines quickly behind. The advantage of experience from the former touring car races could not hold and also unable to realize success the team. Notable achievements of the race car and its driver did not materialize. The only two points the team's history the Briton Martin Brundle 1987 Rank 5 in Imola.
For a time, the only Zakspeed Formula 1 racing team, which dealt with a German driver Christian Danner, after 1985 both Stefan Bellof and Manfred Winkelhock were killed in an accident in sports car racing. 1988 and 1989 drove the German Bernd Schneider for Zakspeed in Formula 1
The Formula 1 1989 season represented a major setback for the small team dar. the first time in a long time turbo engines were banned. The development of our own naturally aspirated engine was out of the question for Zakspeed among other reasons of cost and lack of experience with non-turbocharged engines. Instead of an engine by Cosworth, the 1989 used numerous small teams, Zakspeed involved in this season for the constructed by Gustav Brunner Zakspeed 891 exclusively a newly developed eight-cylinder engine from Yamaha. The engine proved to be inefficient and immature; in particular, it lacked the necessary reliability. Zakspeed had no effect on the development of the engine; the team had to use as they were delivered from Japan products. The lack of competitiveness of the engine meant that Zakspeeds driver Bernd Schneider could only qualify for two races; his teammate Aguri Suzuki missed the pre-qualification at each Grand Prix. This was after Zakspeed EuroBrun the worst team of the year 1989.
End of 1989, West announced on the support of the team. Yamaha was ready to supply the team with engines in 1990 for free. Zakspeed then took part in January 1990 with a barely modified 891 chassis to the test at Le Castellet. Again, however, the team hardly got to drive, since the reliability problems of the engine were still; especially defective fuel pumps caused a long service life. After the disappointing results of the test runs, the last sponsors have backed out, so that a renewed commitment in 1990 was not to finance. Zakspeed not signed up then for the new Formula 1 season. Since Zakspeeds competitor Rial Racing no longer took the 1990 World Cup for the first time since 1977, ran off without a German team.
DTM and long-distance race
In the 1990s, Zakspeed took off in the DTM touring car from BMW, Mercedes and Opel. 1998 911 GT1 brought to the starting line in the FIA GT Championship two Porsche.
Peter Zakowski was preempted as a junior racer, inter alia, in the Formula 3 to some successes and took over again victorious at the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring at the BFGoodrich Endurance Championship and the 24-hour race in part, including with a former DTM Mercedes -Benz W 201
As of 1999, much faster than before vehicles were registered in the endurance race at the Nurburgring, after years of relatively unspectacular production-based touring cars were allowed. Peter Zakowski then brought a Chrysler Viper GTS -R at the start, which had built up the French team " ORECA " according to GT2 regulations for the FIA GT Championship. In the 1999 season, the Vipers won superior to all races, after which this purebred Gran Turismo sports car was slowed with the eight- liter V10 from the rules by various measures. By using the Viper race for the fans, and thus also sponsors were interesting; other teams upgraded on well, especially with the variants of the new water-cooled Porsche 996 GT3.
At the 24 -hour race in 2000 had to with much ballast complained " snake " may bend a supported factory Porsche, but at the 24 -hour race in 2001 and 2002, the Viper won again.
2003 Opel also occurred as a factory team and Abt- Audi DTM cars and BMW M3 GTR with a V8. In contrast to these teams were allowed the Chrysler Viper Zakspeed but no tank capacity of 120 liters. Peter Zakowski, who was already often appeared as " rascal " in appearance, first wanted to install a completely removable tank, which would have significantly shortened the time for refueling stops (as opposed to the special high-pressure tank systems at the F1 come in endurance races at the Nürburgring the normal, relatively slow gas pumps for use ).
After this tank swap prohibited for safety or Reglementpassus was changed with respect to the tank installation (which also has consequences for other teams had ), Zakspeed brought the V10 cars now as a "Dodge Viper" at the start, to the special arrangements for the " Chrysler Viper" to get around. Initially, this was indeed accepted in issuing the cars pass, but as the Viper fueled the race more than the allotted 90 liters, penalties were imposed or disqualified the team at the end because of wrong tank size.
In the subsequent 2004 Zakspeed set up a "customer- Viper" in the VLN and the 24- hour race. Drivers were Werner Mohr, Dr. Hans -Peter Huppert low and the two instructors of the Zakspeed Nürburing - racing school Markus Grossmann and Andreas Gülden (also known as " Viper Andy "). However, the car was made after an oil pump defect of the night and reached for a comeback yet the 112th overall. In addition, a modified V8 -Star was used. This piloted the professionals Altfrid Heger, Sascha Bert and Donny Crevel, who reached the 23th place overall at the end.
2005 the maximum engine capacity was (3600 with turbo) limited to 6200 cc. Zakspeed reduced the number of cylinders to eight and sat in the VLN further to the "customer- Viper" with Werner Mohr, Dr. Hans -Peter Huppert low and Markus Grossmann, who lined reinforced by Andreas Gülden also the 24 -hour race in 2005 together. Here, the Viper had an accident, however, difficult at night. Later it turned out that the car was irreparably destroyed. In addition, Zakspeed sat first time in 2005 a viper, which was officially endorsed by Dodge. With the riders Peter Zakowski, Robert Lechner and Sascha Bert the team achieved third place overall behind the two factory BMW.
The year 2006 did not bring much new. The "customer- Viper", which was now the car that finished third overall at the 24 Hours last year, drove the whole VLN season. Here Zakspeed recorded with the third overall in the driver Werner Mohr, Dr. Hans -Peter Huppert - Nieder, Christopher and Dirk Gerhard Riebensahm at the 24 hours the greatest success in the previous customers sports history. Even factory Zakspeed was back at the start. A viper bought ORECA, and also drove this year Peter Zakowski, Sascha Bert and Patrick Huisman. However, the team retired the night after thermal issues and a subsequent transmission failure prematurely.
The year 2007 was a very successful again. The customer Viper started again in the VLN and the 24- hour race. The red factory support Viper GTS -R came in second place overall after a chaotic 24 -hour race with the drivers Duncan Huisman, Tom Coronel, Patrick Simon and Christophe Bouchut; the customer Viper fell out early with engine trouble.
For 2009, Zakspeed had prepared a Viper for new SP9 Regulations, which achieved the fastest lap time in the first VLN race.