Zakspeed is a
motor racingteam from Germany, founded in 1968 by Erich Zakowski. Their home town of Niederzissenis located not far away from the Nürburgringrace track.
1973 to 1981: Saloon and sports car racing
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 2Escort 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(car shown right).
1982 to 1989: Endurance cars and F1
Their turbocharged engine from the Capri was later enlarged and used in the
World Endurance Championshipfrom 1982 onwards in the Ford C100, as a substitute for the original Cosworth of the works car. The Zakspeed-prepared machine was run by the works Ford Germany team with Klaus Ludwig, Manfred Winkelhockand Marc Surerat the wheel, but the car was a midfielder at best, although Jonathan Palmerand Desiré Wilsonscored a 4th place overall the 1000 km of Brands Hatchin 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 Oneentry 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 Their first car, the 184, debuted in 1985, one year after the original plan, and was already outdated.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 3000champion Christian Dannerand 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 3champion) and the rookie Aguri Suzukistruggled to pre-qualify the car. In the end, Zakspeed were notable for building their own chassis and engine, something only Ferraridid 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 Calibracars in the 1990s Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaftand the short-lived ITC series, now managed by Peter Zakowskiwho had taken over from his father after his Formula 3career. His career as a driver did not lead him into the F1, but he was quick around the old Nürburgring Nordschleifecircuit in endurance races, winning the 24 Hours Nürburgringseveral times.
In 1998, Zakspeed entered two
Porsche 911 GT1in the FIA GT Championship, where French Team Orecadominated 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 VLNseries to take advantage of the new, less restrictive rules for the 1999 season. Zakowski and his teammate dominated the season, winning every race, before the rules were changed. The team has also 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 frameprototype cars of the V8STARChampionship series which ran from 2001 to 2003. These identical cars used bodies modelled after road cars from Jaguar, BMW, Opel, Lexusand others. Zakspeed itself won in 2003 with Pedro Lamyin a Jaguar-bodied car.
In 2001, the Zakspeed team also made a brief return to single-seaters with a foray into
CARTracing 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.
Starting in 2008 Zakspeed will manage and run the
Superleague Formulacars for Borussia Dortmundand the Beijing Guoan Football Club
During September 2006 Peter Zakowski filed for bankruptcy at the bankruptcy court in
Bitburg(Eifel). A related article appeared in the German sportscar magazine " sport auto", issue 01/2007. Whether or not this will have an impact on the racing team is currently not clear. Additionally, the 2006 Saleenthat raced in Fia GT1 category was offered for leasing in several motorsport related magazines.For 2007 the racing team originally planned to race 3 Mosler MT900 in FIA GT3 category. This failed due to a missing homologation through the FIA for this car.
Complete World Championship Formula One results
() (results in bold indicate pole position)
* [http://www.zakspeed.de Zakspeed Website]
* [http://www.mcz.com/f1/team/zakspeed.htm Zakspeed Formula One History and Team Record]
* [http://www.geocities.com/zakcapriturbo/index.html Profile of the highly successful Zakspeed-built Group 5 racing Capri]
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Look at other dictionaries:
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