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Louis Krages, more commonly known by his pseudonym John Winter, (12 August 1949 in Bremen – 11 January 2001 in Atlanta, Georgia) was a German racing driver and businessman.

He used the pseudonym to prevent his family, mainly his mother, from learning about his "hobby".

As John Winter, he has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1985 with a Porsche 956 of Joest Racing, with Klaus Ludwig and Paolo Barilla. Winter drove a single stint in the early hours of Sunday in support of his teammates. After the success and the publicity involved, his alter ego was revealed to his family when, the next day, his mother picked up a newspaper, with a picture of Louis in the rostrum.

Winter spent many seasons competing in the German Interserie series, usually racing privately entered Porsches, taking the title in 1986. Winter was also a regular entrant at Le Mans, competing 10 times at the race. Apart from his victory, his best finish was third in a Joest Racing Porsche 962 in 1988. He would also win the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1991 for Joest in the same car and also drove in the IMSA GTP until 1993 when the series ended, making the car obsolete.

In 1994, Winter would along with the team defect to DTM, driving a Opel Calibra, it was at Round 10, Race 1 at AVUS, he was involved in fiery accident, in which his car disintegrated in a fireball. For the following year, driving a privateer Mercedes-Benz C-Class, he reverted back to his real name, which he competed throughout the season and which was also was his last.

Krages soon sold off his business and emigrated to Atlanta where he started up a toy business.[1]

In 2001, suffering from problems in his business and from depression, he committed suicide by shooting himself, [2] at his home.


  1. ^
  2. ^ - John Winter

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Klaus Ludwig
Henri Pescarolo
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1985 with:
Klaus Ludwig
Paolo Barilla
Succeeded by
Derek Bell
Hans-Joachim Stuck
Al Holbert


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