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Rolf Stommelen
Stommelen, Rolf am 1972-07-07.jpg
Nationality Germany German
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 1969- 1976, 1978
Teams Brabham, Surtees, March, Lola, Hill, Arrows, Eifelland
Races 63 (54 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 1
Career points 14
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1970 South African Grand Prix
Last race 1978 Canadian Grand Prix

Rolf Johann Stommelen[1] (11 July 1943 - 24 April 1983) was a racing driver from Siegen, Germany. He participated in 63 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, achieving one podium, and scored a total of 14 championship points. He also participated in several non-Championship Formula One races.

Stommelen driving for Brabham at the 1976 German Grand Prix.
Stommelen driving a Porsche in 1977.

One of the best Sports Car Endurance race car drivers of the '60s and '70s, Stommelen won the 24 Hours of Daytona 4 times; in 1968, 1978, 1980 and 1982. He won the pole position for the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Porsche 917 a year after finishing third in a Porsche 908. In this year, he became the first man to reach speeds exceeding 350 km/h on the Mulsanne Straight in his Porsche 917 LH. In 1970, he made his Formula One debut with Brabham with sponsorship obtained from the German magazine "Auto Motor und Sport" and raced both sportscars (Alfa Romeo and Porsche works teams) and Formula 1 throughout the 1970s.

Unfortunately, he would play a role in the end of the Spanish Grand Prix's tenure at Montjuich Park in Barcelona when he crashed there in the 1975 race after the rear wing of his Embassy-Hill- Lola broke, resulting in the deaths of five spectators.

After his recovery, Rolf returned to sports car racing, winning races for Alfa Romeo and also winning the 24 Hours of Daytona three times and nearly winning the 24 hours of Le Mans with Dick Barbour and actor Paul Newman as co-drivers in 1979 in a Porsche 935, only to be set back by a 23 minute long pit stop caused by a stuck wheel nut. The Team would not have come so far, if Rolf had not been constantly 25 seconds faster than his team mates per lap.

In his early years, he was successful in hillclimbing and at the notorious Targa Florio.

He also competed in one NASCAR Grand National series event in 1971 at Talladega Superspeedway in a former Holman-Moody Ford which Mario Andretti used to win the 1967 Daytona 500, which was rebuilt as a Mercury Cyclone, with Jake Elder as crew chief. That car eventually was sold to independent driver Darrell Waltrip to use a year later in his Winston Cup Series debut in 1972, starting a career which led to Waltrip's International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction in April 2005.

In the late 1970s, he raced Porsche GTs, winning the German championship Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft in 1977 for the Gelo Racing Team. A master at the vicious Nurburgring, he was a constant winner of races held there.

Rolf was killed in a vicious crash during an IMSA Camel GT event at Riverside International Raceway on 24 April 1983 after the rear wing of his Porsche 935 broke. With this, the racing world lost one of its most likable and talented drivers.

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
1969 Roy Winkelmann Racing Ltd Lotus 59B F2 Ford Straight-4 RSA
ESP
MON
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
8
ITA
CAN
USA
MEX
NC 0
1970 Auto Motor Und Sport Brabham BT33 Cosworth V8 RSA
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
DNQ
BEL
5
NED
DNQ
FRA
7
GBR
DNS
GER
5
AUT
3
ITA
5
CAN
Ret
USA
12
MEX
Ret
11th 10
1971 Auto Motor Und Sport-Eifelland Team Surtees Surtees TS7 Cosworth V8 RSA
12
20th 3
Surtees TS9 ESP
Ret
MON
6
NED
DSQ
FRA
11
GBR
5
GER
10
AUT
7
ITA
DNS
CAN
Ret
USA
1972 Team Eifelland Caravans Eifelland Type 21 Cosworth V8 ARG
RSA
13
ESP
Ret
MON
10
BEL
11
FRA
16
GBR
10
GER
Ret
AUT
15
ITA
CAN
USA
NC 0
1973 Ceramica Pagnossin Team MRD Brabham BT42 Cosworth V8 ARG
BRA
RSA
ESP
BEL
MON
SWE
FRA
GBR
NED
GER
11
AUT
Ret
ITA
12
CAN
12
USA
NC 0
1974 Embassy Racing Lola T370 Cosworth V8 ARG
BRA
RSA
ESP
BEL
MON
SWE
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
11
USA
12
NC 0
1975 Embassy Racing Lola T370 Cosworth V8 ARG
13
BRA
14
NC 0
Lola T371 RSA
7
Hill GH1 ESP
Ret
MON
BEL
SWE
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
AUT
16
ITA
Ret
USA
1976 Martini Racing Brabham BT45 Alfa Romeo Flat-12 BRA
RSA
USW
ESP
BEL
MON
SWE
FRA
GBR
GER
6
AUT
ITA
Ret
CAN
USA
JPN
20th 1
Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308D Cosworth V8 NED
12
1978 Arrows Racing Team Arrows FA1 Cosworth V8 ARG
BRA
RSA
9
USW
9
MON
Ret
BEL
Ret
ESP
14
SWE
14
FRA
15
GBR
DNQ
GER
DSQ
NC 0
Arrows A1 AUT
DNPQ
NED
DNPQ
ITA
DNPQ
USA
16
CAN
DNQ

References

  1. ^ FIA Year Book of Automobile Sport 1979. Patrick Stephens Ltd.. white p. 43. ISBN 0850593204.  
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