Zakspeed (German pronunciation: [ˈtsakspiːt]) is a motor racing team from Germany, founded in 1968 by Erich Zakowski and after that run by his son Peter Zakowski. It is based in Niederzissen, Rhineland-Palatinate, around 25 kilometres (16 mi) from the Nürburgring circuit.

Germany Zakspeed
Zakspeed logo
Founder(s)Erich Zakowski
Team principal(s)Peter Zakowski
Current seriesADAC GT Masters
Former seriesSuperleague Formula
V8Star Series
German Formula Three Championship
Current driversGermany Sebastian Asch
Germany Luca Ludwig
2002 V8Star Series season
2003 V8Star Series season
2008 Superleague Formula season
2003 V8Star Series season (Lamy)
2008 Superleague Formula season (Rigon)

1973 to 1981: Saloon and sports car racing

Klaus Ludwig drove the Roush-Zakspeed Ford Mustang Turbo during the 1981 and 1982 Camel GT race seasons.

In the late 1970s, Zakspeed was the official Ford team in the German Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) series, a predecessor of the current DTM. The company constructed and entered an FIA Group 2 Escort and the Group 5 Capri, based on the MKIII production model. During this period, the Zakspeed team achieved a number of victories including the overall championship in 1981 with driver Klaus Ludwig.

In the early 1980s, Zakspeed also prepared a Mustang for Ford USA's Special Vehicle Operations to race in the domestic IMSA Camel GT series. The Mustang chassis was based on the Group 5 Capri.

1982 to 1989: Endurance cars and F1

Germany Zakspeed
Full nameZakspeed Racing
BaseNiederzissen, Germany
Team principal(s)Jean-Luc Lagardère
Founder(s)Erich Zakowski
Noted staffPaul Brown
Chris Murphy
Heinz Zollner
Gustav Brunner
Noted driversUnited Kingdom Jonathan Palmer
Germany Christian Danner
United Kingdom Martin Brundle
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani
Germany Bernd Schneider
Formula One World Championship career
First entry1985 Portuguese Grand Prix
Races entered74
0 (best finish: 10th, 1987)
Race victories0 (best finish: 5th, 1987 San Marino Grand Prix)
Pole positions0 (best grid position: 13th, 1987 Mexican Grand Prix)
Fastest laps0
Final entry1989 Australian Grand Prix

In 1982, Zakspeed ran the works Ford C100 Group C effort in conjunction with the factory. The Zakspeed-prepared machine was run by the works Ford Germany team with Klaus Ludwig, Manfred Winkelhock and Marc Surer at the wheel, but the car was a midfielder at best, although Jonathan Palmer and Desiré Wilson scored a 4th place overall the 1000 km of Brands Hatch in 1982. Ford Germany retracted their support and one car was sold to privateers, while the other chassis was evolved by Zakspeed into the C1/4 and the C1/8, making few appearances in international racing, but becoming a front-runner in the German Interserie, where it won the championship in 1984 with Klaus Niedzwiedz.

The engine was the basis for their Formula One entry from 1985 to 1988. In spite of the team's engineering expertise, Zakspeed never managed to create a competitive chassis/engine package. Their first car, the 184, debuted in 1985, one year after the original plan, and was already outdated. Even with drivers such as the first Formula 3000 champion Christian Danner and ex-Tyrrell driver Martin Brundle, their best result (and only points finish) was a 5th place in the 1987 San Marino Grand Prix, thanks to Brundle.

For their final season, in 1989, they had to use Yamaha engines as turbos were banned. The Japanese engine was unreliable and drivers Bernd Schneider (former German Formula 3 champion) and the rookie Aguri Suzuki struggled to pre-qualify the car. Schneider only qualified the car twice and retired both times, while Suzuki never got past pre-qualifying. In the end, Zakspeed were notable for building their own chassis and engine, something only Ferrari did at that time, but with no competitive showings in five years, the team left Formula One and returned to touring cars, where they had once been at the top of the game.

1990s and beyond: Return to sports and touring cars

After withdrawing from F1, they ran Mercedes 190E and Opel Calibra cars in the 1990s Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft and the short-lived ITC series, now managed by Peter Zakowski who had taken over from his father after his Formula 3 career. His career as a driver did not lead him into F1, but he was quick around the old Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in endurance races, winning the 24 Hours Nürburgring several times.

In 1998, Zakspeed entered two Porsche 911 GT1 in the FIA GT Championship, where French Team Oreca dominated the GT2-class with their heavily modified Chrysler Viper GTS-Rs. One of these Vipers was purchased by Zakspeed to be entered on the Nürburgring VLN series to take advantage of the new, less restrictive rules for the 1999 season. Zakowski and his teammate dominated the 1999 season, winning every race, before the rules were altered for 2000 and the Porsche 996 GT3 showed up. The team won the 24 Hours Nürburgring again in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, against factory competition, they were disqualified due to a dispute over fuel tank size.

A company related to Zakspeed, Nitec, built the NASCAR-like V8-powered tube frame prototype cars of the V8Star Series Championship series which ran from 2001 to 2003. These identical cars used bodies modelled after road cars from Jaguar, BMW, Opel, Lexus and others. Zakspeed itself won in 2003 with Pedro Lamy in a Jaguar-bodied car.

In 2001, the Zakspeed team also made a brief return to single-seaters with a foray into CART racing in the US in partnership with the long-established Forsythe Championship Racing. Nobody from Zakspeed came over to the U.S. and Forsythe ended the partnership.

In 2006, the Zakspeed team returned to the FIA GT Championship with the Saleen S7-R. Currently, the company also runs a racing school operating at the Nürburgring circuit.

Superleague Formula

In 2008, Zakspeed managed the Superleague Formula cars of Borussia Dortmund and Beijing Guoan, with the latter taking the overall title from such clubs as PSV Eindhoven, Liverpool F.C. and A.C. Milan. Dortmund took one win in the season and Beijing took three on the way to the title with driver Davide Rigon.

In 2009, Zakspeed managed Sporting CP (who won a race with Pedro Petiz) and R.S.C. Anderlecht.



1981 Group 5 Zakspeed Ford Capri at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, Germany


Company founder Erich Zakowski (right) and Martin Schanche pictured at the British Rallycross GP 1983 at Brands Hatch

Dodge Viper Team Zakspeed

Zakspeed Dodge Viper GTS-R in the 24h, 2007

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Points WCC
United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Ret Ret 11 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret
West Germany Christian Danner Ret Ret
United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Ret Ret Ret 12 13 Ret 8 Ret 9 Ret 10 Ret Ret 12 10 9
Netherlands Huub Rothengatter Ret DNQ Ret 12 DNS Ret Ret Ret Ret 8 Ret Ret DNS Ret
1987 861
United Kingdom Martin Brundle Ret 5 Ret 7 Ret Ret NC NC Ret DSQ Ret Ret 11 Ret Ret Ret
West Germany Christian Danner 9 7 Ret EX 8 Ret Ret Ret Ret 9 9 Ret Ret Ret Ret 7
West Germany Bernd Schneider DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ 12 DNQ 13 Ret DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani DNQ Ret Ret 15 14 DNQ EX DNQ 14 DNQ Ret Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret

External links

1987 Portuguese Grand Prix

The 1987 Portuguese Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Estoril on 20 September 1987. It was the twelfth round of the 1987 Formula One season. It was the 16th Portuguese Grand Prix and the fourth to be held at Estoril. The race was held over 70 laps of the 4.35-kilometre (2.7 mi) circuit for a race distance of 304.5 kilometres (189.2 mi).

The race was won by the reigning world champion, Frenchman Alain Prost driving a McLaren MP4/3. Prost finished 20 seconds ahead of Austrian driver Gerhard Berger driving a Ferrari F1/87. Nelson Piquet finished third driving a Williams FW11B. The win was Prost's 28th Grand Prix victory, eclipsing Jackie Stewart's all-time record. He also tied former McLaren teammate Niki Lauda's record with his 54th podium finish.

The race was marred by a multi-car collision on the opening lap. Piquet and Michele Alboreto (Ferrari F1/87) collided at the start with Derek Warwick (Arrows A10), Satoru Nakajima (Lotus 99T), Martin Brundle (Zakspeed 871), Christian Danner (Zakspeed 871), Philippe Alliot (Lola LC87), René Arnoux (Ligier JS29C) and Adrián Campos (Minardi M186) were all involved in the ensuing accident. Only Danner was unable to restart as the Zakspeed team had only one usable car which went to Brundle.

With Piquet finishing third ahead of both Mansell and Senna, Piquet expanded his championship points lead to 18 points over Senna and 24 over Mansell.

1987 Spanish Grand Prix

The 1987 Spanish Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Jerez on 27 September 1987. It was the thirteenth round of the 1987 Formula One season. It was the 29th Spanish Grand Prix and the second to be held at Jerez. The race was held over 72 laps of the 4.22-kilometre (2.62 mi) circuit for a race distance of 304 kilometres (189 mi).

The race was won by British driver Nigel Mansell, driving a Williams-Honda. It was Mansell's fifth victory of 1987 and the eighth for the Williams team, securing them their second consecutive Constructors' Championship and fourth in all. Frenchman Alain Prost finished second in a McLaren-TAG, some 22 seconds behind Mansell, with Swedish teammate Stefan Johansson third. Mansell's teammate and Drivers' Championship rival, Nelson Piquet, finished fourth. Prost broke Niki Lauda's record with his 55th podium at this race.

The win moved Mansell ahead of Ayrton Senna, who finished fifth in his Lotus-Honda, into second place in the Drivers' Championship, albeit 18 points behind Piquet with three races remaining.

Martin Brundle, who finished 11th in his Zakspeed, described his drive as "the time I got out the car thinking no human could have done [any] better".

Aguri Suzuki

Aguri Suzuki (鈴木 亜久里, Suzuki Aguri, born 8 September 1960) is a Japanese former racing driver. He participated in 88 Formula One Grands Prix, and his most notable achievement in racing was 3rd place at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuki then became involved in team ownership, with interests firstly in the Japanese Formula Nippon Championship and the IRL in partnership with Mexican racer Adrian Fernandez. Most notably however, he was the owner of the Super Aguri F1 team, which participated in Formula One from 2006 to 2008. He then went on to form Team Aguri, which raced in Formula E from 2014 to 2016.

Bernd Schneider (racing driver)

Bernd Schneider (born 20 July 1964 in St. Ingbert) is a racing driver from Germany. He is a five-time Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters champion, and a Mercedes Brand Ambassador.

Christian Danner

Christian Danner (born 4 April 1958 in Munich) is a former racing driver from Germany.

Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft

Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (translated as German Racing Championship) or simply DRM as it was known, was a touring car and Sportscar racing series. It is regarded as a predecessor of the current DTM as Germany's top national series.

Erich Zakowski

Erich Zakowski (born 25 November 1934 in East Prussia) is a German master mechanic, and the founder and longtime head of the Zakspeed racing team.

After the Second World War, Zakowski fled from Prussia with his mother and four siblings initially to Dortmund then Hamburg and finally the family settled in Niederzissen. Zakowski graduated in Andernach as an apprentice auto mechanic, and passed his master exam. He founded his own garage in Niederzissen, which was the location of the Zakspeed racing operation, starting in 1968. In 1968, under the name "Zakowski Niederzissen tuning", he started using a Ford Escort for the Eifel race on the Nürburgring.

In the 1970s and 1980s, under the direction of Erich Zakowski, Zakspeed established itself in various racing series, (especially in sports car racing). Zakspeed entered the Formula 1 series in 1985. In 1990, after five years of racing, Zakowski retired active leadership of the team and handed it to his son Peter.

Huub Rothengatter

Hubertus (Huub) Rothengatter (born 8 October 1954) is a former racing driver from the Netherlands. He participated in 30 Formula One (F1) Grands Prix, debuting on 17 June 1984. He scored no championship points. He drove for Spirit, Osella and Zakspeed, and his drives all either started or became available midseason. He tried to get Dutch sponsors in various ways, such as by putting a one-page advertisement in De Telegraaf newspaper. Reputedly, when Niki Lauda was asked about him, he referred to him as "rattengott" – literally "God of the rats".

Rothengatter, unlike a lot of fringe drivers who waited for phone calls from F1 teams that never came, was highly successful in attracting personal sponsorship which allowed him to 'buy' his place in the low budget teams, bringing in much needed money to them and allowing him to drive F1 when he otherwise would most likely have missed out.

Rothengatter later entered into Formula One management, as a manager for Dutch driver Jos Verstappen.

Jonathan Palmer

Jonathan Charles Palmer (born 7 November 1956) is a British businessman and former Formula One racing driver. Before opting for a career in motor racing, Palmer trained as a physician at London’s Guys Hospital. He also worked as a junior physician at Cuckfield and Brighton hospitals.

He is currently the majority shareholder and Chief Executive of MotorSport Vision (MSV), a company that runs six UK motorsport circuits, the world-renowned PalmerSport corporate driving event at Bedford Autodrome and several racing championships including British Superbikes and BRDC British F3.Palmer’s success in turning around the fortunes of many of the country’s best-loved race circuits has earned him recognition from leading industry publications, winning the 2018 ‘MotorSport Hero’ prize at the Autocar Awards , as well as being inducted into the Motor Sport Magazine Hall of Fame the same year. Palmer also received the 'Outstanding Contribution of the Year' Award at the Professional Motorsport World Expo and was named the most important person in British motorsport by Motorsport News in November 2018 .

Prior to his business life, Palmer was active in Formula One between 1983 and 1989, and drove for Tyrrell, Williams, RAM, and Zakspeed. He won 14 Championship points from 83 starts. He also raced a Group C Porsche in sports car events between 1983 and 1990, most notably winning the 1984 1000 km of Brands Hatch with co-driver Jan Lammers and taking second place at the 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-drivers James Weaver and Richard Lloyd.

Palmer helped develop the McLaren F1 road car, and drove one to a new speed record for production cars.

Klaus Niedzwiedz

Klaus Niedzwiedz (born February 24, 1951 in Dortmund, Germany) is a former professional race driver and motoring journalist.

Kurt Thiim

Kurt Thiim (born 3 August 1956 in Vojens) is a Danish race car driver. After his karting career he raced in single-seaters from 1978 to 1984 before moving to the DTM.

He won the championship in his debut year in 1986 driving a Rover Vitesse, and raced an Alfa Romeo 75 in 1987. Despite not winning a second title, he remained one of the series' top drivers for the next decade as a Mercedes-Benz driver. He joined the AMG team in 1988, then Zakspeed in 1992, and returned to AMG in 1996, resulting runner-up in 1992, third in 1990, fourth in 1989 and 1995, fifth in 1994, and sixth in 1993. He collected 19 wins during his DTM career.

After the series was discontinued after 1996, he raced in several other touring car categories, including the German Supertouring Championship and the Danish Touring Car Championship, where he won a title in 2002.

He is the father of racing driver Nicki Thiim.

Martin Brundle

Martin John Brundle (born 1 June 1959) is a British former racing driver, best known as a Formula One driver and as a commentator for ITV Sport from 1997 to 2008, the BBC from 2009 to 2011, and Sky Sports since 2012.Brundle contested the 1983 British Formula Three Championship, finishing a close second to Ayrton Senna, and the two progressed to Formula One the next year. Brundle failed to win a race at the top level of single seater racing, though continued to find success in other series. He was the 1988 World Sportscar Champion with Silk Cut Jaguar, with a record points score; and won the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans race for Jaguar Cars in a Jaguar XJR-12.

Piercarlo Ghinzani

Piercarlo Ghinzani (born 16 January 1952 in Riviera d'Adda, Lombardy) is a former racing driver from Italy. He currently manages his own racing team, Team Ghinzani, which was created in 1992 and is currently involved in several Formula Three championships.

R.S.C. Anderlecht (Superleague Formula team)

R.S.C. Anderlecht Superleague Formula team is the racing team of R.S.C. Anderlecht, a football team that competes in Belgium in the Belgian First Division. The R.S.C. Anderlecht racing team competes in the Superleague Formula. It was operated in 2008 by Team Astromega and will be operated by former Formula One team Zakspeed during the 2009 season.

Zakspeed 841

The Zakspeed 841 was the first Formula One car built and raced by the German Zakspeed team for the 1985 season. Lead driver was British driver Jonathan Palmer with Formula 3000 driver Christian Danner from Germany joining the team later in the season. The 841 was designed by Paul Brown.

Zakspeed 861

The Zakspeed 861 was a Formula One car designed by Paul Brown for the Zakspeed team and was used in both the 1986 and 1987 seasons. In 1986 its drivers were Jonathan Palmer and Huub Rothengatter. The team never employed a test driver as they simply couldn't afford one despite sponsorship from German tobacco brand West. The lack of money also meant that the engine on the car, Zakspeed's own 4 cylinder 1500/4 turbo engine which were rated at about 850 bhp (634 kW; 862 PS) for the season, were also short on power and development compared to those at the front of the grid (Honda, Renault, BMW, TAG-Porsche and Ferrari). The team used Goodyear tyres.

Zakspeed 871

The Zakspeed 871 was a Formula One car designed by Chris Murphy and Heinz Zollner and raced by Zakspeed in the 1987 Formula One season. The car was powered by the team's own 1.5 litre, 1500/4 straight 4 turbo engine, which was rated at about 820 bhp (611 kW; 831 PS) for the season. Martin Brundle had moved after 3 years at Tyrrell to be Zakspeed's lead driver, in a virtual driver swap with Jonathan Palmer, who had left Zakspeed after two seasons to drive for Tyrrell. Brundle was joined by former Formula 3000 champion Christian Danner, who had moved from Arrows.

After using the 861 for the first race in Brazil, the 871 made its debut in Brundle's hands at the San Marino Grand Prix where he qualified 15th and scored 2 points for finishing 5th. This happened to be the only time that Zakspeed would ever score a point during their time in Formula One.

The 871 was replaced for the 1988 season by the team's last ever turbo car, the Zakspeed 881 which would be again powered by the team's own turbocharged engine.

The team's main sponsor was German tobacco company West.

Zakspeed 881

The Zakspeed 881 was a Formula One car designed by Chris Murphy and Heinz Zollner and raced by Zakspeed in the 1988 Formula One season. The car was the last to be powered by the team's own 1.5 litre straight 4 turbo engine, the 1500/4. The car was driven by veteran Piercarlo Ghinzani and West German F1 rookie Bernd Schneider.

The 881 was a development of the team's 1987 car, the 871, and was a largely unsuccessful car in the last year for turbos in Formula One. Both Ghinzani and Schneider, who replaced 1987 drivers Martin Brundle and Christian Danner, struggled all season to qualify the car even against the slower atmospheric cars. A glaring example of this was at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. At the fastest circuit on the calendar that should have suited the turbo powered cars, both Ghinzani and Schneider failed to qualify, the Zakspeeds being the only turbo cars not to do so. The 881 was also unreliable, often blowing either the engine or the turbo many times over a race weekend. Neither Zakspeed driver scored a point in 1988, which meant the team was forced to pre-qualify in 1989.

The 881 was the last F1 car in which Zakspeed used their own engines which were rated at about 640 bhp (477 kW; 649 PS) for the season. While this made the engine one of the most powerful in the field, being only about 10 bhp shy of both the Honda and Ferrari V6 engines, and around the same as the other straight 4 turbo in the field, the Megatrons used by Arrows, that is where the similarities ended. Honda powered McLaren to 15 wins and 15 pole positions during the season, with the other win and pole going to Ferrari. Ghinzani failed to qualify on seven occasions while Schneider failed to qualify ten times. Something that did not help the team's cause was the weight of the car. The 881 weighed in at 560 kg (1,230 lb), this was around 20 kg (44 lb) heavier than the McLaren MP4/4, Ferrari F1/87/88C and the Honda powered Lotus 100T.

Bernd Schneider recorded the team's best finish for the year when he finished 12th in his and the team's home race in Germany at Hockenheim. The German rookie had to wait until Round 4 in Mexico to qualify for his first race. There at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the high altitude of Mexico City where the thinner air gave the turbos a massive power advantage over their atmospheric rivals (the 'atmos' lost a reported 25% of their power at altitude while the turbos lost around 5%), Schneider qualified in an encouraging 15th place and ran well early on the edge of the top 10 until retiring with engine failure on lap 16.

The 881's replacement, the Zakspeed 891, would be powered by a Yamaha V8 engine.

Zakspeed 891

The Zakspeed 891 was a Formula One car for the 1989 season run by the German Zakspeed team. Its drivers were German Bernd Schneider in his second year with the team and F1 rookie Aguri Suzuki from Japan. The car was powered by F1 newcomer Yamaha who had produced the OX88 V8 engine for exclusive use by Zakspeed in Formula One.

Due to neither Schneider nor his 1988 team mate Piercarlo Ghinzani scoring any points in the 881, the team was forced into pre-qualifying in order to be able to try to qualify for a race. While Schneider was able to qualify his car 25th for the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix, it would prove to be a false hope with the German only able to pre-qualify and qualify once more, at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuki never made it past pre-qualifying at any of the 16 rounds during the season.

Most of this was attributed to what was found to be a very underpowered Yamaha engine. Late in the season following another double failure to pre-qualify at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Yamaha OX88 V8 was reported to be producing only 560 bhp (418 kW; 568 PS). This compared badly to the base 620 bhp (462 kW; 629 PS) of the customer Ford Cosworth and Judd V8s and the Lamborghini V12 being used by most of the other teams. It was also unfavorable in comparison to the 650 bhp (485 kW; 659 PS) - 700 bhp (522 kW; 710 PS) bhp of the top four engines, the V10's of Honda (McLaren) and Renault (Williams), the Ferrari V12, and the Ford V8 (Benetton). This made Schneider qualifying 21st for the following race in Japan all the more impressive.

The 891 was the last Formula One car to be produced by Zakspeed as the team pulled out of Grand Prix racing following the 1989 season. Yamaha also pulled out of Formula One at the end of the year, but would return with the Brabham team in 1991.

Germany Zakspeed
2019 season


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