Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hannelore Werner

Hannelore Werner in 1969

Hannelore raced in single-seaters, touring and sportscars in Germany in the 1960s and early 1970s, although her most notable results were achieved in a single-seater. She was born in 1942, and initially trained as a dental technician.
Despite having her own career outside motorsport, she had the advantage of starting her racing whilst still very young. Her first race was in 1960, a saloon race, driving a DKW. During the early part of her career, she often drove DKW models. This seems to have included a one-make trophy for DKW and Auto Union cars, the “Silberschildrennen” at the Nürburgring. Despite crashing during the race, she was fifth overall, in an Auto Union 1000.
Her first big touring car race was the Nürburgring 500km in 1963. Her car was a little DKW Junior, shared with Manfred Roesner. They did not finish. 
The same pairing drove an Auto Union Junior in the 1964 Nürburgring 500km, but again, could not finish. Hannelore, driving a 796cc DKW F11 with a driver called Fischer, was 24th in the Nürburgring 6 Hours.
With Roesner, she tackled both of the big Nürburgring saloon races again in 1965, in DKW cars, They were 23rd in the 500km, in the Junior, and did not finish the 6 Hours, in an F11. That year, Hannelore made her first big overseas racing trip, to the UK, for another round of the European Touring Car Challenge, at Snetterton. Driving the F11 with Wolf-Dieter Mantzel, she was 16th in the 500km race, second in the T850 class for small cars.
Away from the bigger races, and driving solo, she was a regular presence in the German touring car championship of the time, the DTRM. Her usual finishing spot, in 1965, was second in the class for 700-850cc cars, in the F11.
In 1966, she switched over to single-seater racing, in Formula Vee 1300. She made an impression immediately, in Germany at least. In 1967, she was part of Caltex’s “Coupe de Charme” for female Formula Vee drivers, but missed out to Jenny Birrell. The same year, she drove in the German Grand Prix support race for Formula Vee, at the Nürburgring. She was driving for IGFA Racing, but she, and her three team-mates, got caught up in an accident.
Saloon racing had not been forgotten: Hannelore teamed up with Wilfried Oetelshoven for the Nürburgring 6 Hours in 1966, driving an F11. They did not finish.
Also in 1967, she was recruited by the new Mahag Olympic Formula Vee team. She won at least one race that year, at Zolder. She stayed with the team for two seasons, and remained competitive. She was largely feared and respected by her male opponents, as well as her female rivals in the Coupe de Charme. She travelled around Europe in order to race, and also went over to the USA, to take part in a Formula Vee race at Daytona, with Jenny Birrell and other Coupe de Charme regulars. In Germany, she raced in a second German Grand Prix support race, at the Nürburgring. However, she was a disappointing twelfth.
Making up for this, she won the 1969 equivalent of the Nürburgring 24 Hours with Rüdiger Faltz. This event was run more like a long-distance trial, in that period, but she won it nevertheless, in a BMW 2002 Ti, run by the Alpina team. This was one of a few races she did for the BMW Alpina team that year, although she did not finish the Spa 24 Hours or the Nürburgring 6 Hours.
The year before, in 1968, she had had her first taste of sportscar racing, driving a Porsche 911 in the Spa 1000km. She and Willy Zanders were 15th overall. This was not something she pursued much further.
Her association with BMW carried through to other areas of motorsport, too. In 1970, she drove a BMW 2002 Ti in the Monte Carlo Rally, and was 31st, with Oda Dencker-Andersen as navigator. They joined forces again in 1971, in a similar car, and were 17th.
During 1970, Hannelore really started to expand her motorsport horizons. As well as her BMW rallying adventures, she was picked up by Ford of Germany for long-distance touring car races, in a Capri. Dieter Glemser was one of her team-mates, although they drove sister cars, rather than together. Although the Nürburgring 1000km and Grand Prix support races, as well as the Salzburg ETCC race, ended in DNFs, she was a strong second in the Monza 4 Hours, driving with Manfred Mohr. Her usual team-mate was Yvette Fontaine.
At about the same time, Hannelore picked up some significant sponsorship from the Eifelland caravan company, whose directors were keen to support her in taking her single-seater career further. Her first big single-seater event was a round of the French Formula 3 championship, at Magny-Cours, in July. She drove a March 703, and did not finish. The 703 was swapped for a 702 shortly afterwards. This car was used in the Mantorp Park F2 Trophy, in Sweden, and the Preis von Baden-Württemburg und Hessen. Hannelore did not finish either of those races in the classification, either. However, at the start of August, Eifelland entered her into the Nürburgring Grand Prix support race, and she was a fine second, defeated only by the 702 of Xavier Perrot. The car was not the most competitive on most circuits, but it obviously worked here.
In 1971, the team continued with March machinery for Hannelore, competing mainly in Formula Two, although team-mate Rolf Stommelen had a stronger Brabham BT30. Her first race of the year was a long-haul trip to Colombia, for the Bogotá Grand Prix. The race, in two parts, was won by Stommelen. Hannelore was not classified in her 702. In her new 712M, it was a similar story at the Speed International Trophy at Mallory Park, although Rolf Stommelen was otherwise occupied. She finished the Jim Clark Memorial Trophy, at Hockenheim, in eleventh, just behind team-mate Hermann Unold. The ADAC-Eifelrennen gave her a fifteenth place.
She did not qualify in Madrid, the fourth round of the European F2 championship, but was then ninth in the Lotteria di Monza Grand Prix, having qualified as part of the Formula 5000 class. This was followed by a DNQ at Rouen-les-Essarts, and a DNF at Imola. A second attempt at the Mantorp Trophy gave her a twelfth place, but a second go at the Preis von Baden-Württemburg led to a disqualification, after she cut a chicane. The Crystal Palace Spring Bank Holiday F2 race, in May, had seen Hannelore collide with a stationary Graham Hill. He was not seriously hurt, but it was rather embarrassing publicity for Hannelore.
Away from Formula Two, a guest spot in the Shell Super Oil British Formula Three championship, at Silverstone, ended in engine failure. Her car was a March 713S. She tried to qualify for the Paul Ricard, Mallory Park and Brands Hatch rounds, but could not manage it. Touring cars had been put to one side for the time being. All in all, it was rather an up-and-and-down year, with much experience gained, but a lot of frustration.
Judging by the entry lists, Hannelore expected to have another full season in European Formula Two, driving both a March and a Brabham BT38, but she did not end up taking her place in most of her predicted events. The only significant F2 race she actually drove in, was the Rhein-Pokalrennen at Hockenheim. She was thirteenth, in the Eifelland team’s own car, based on a March 722. A similar car, based on the 721, was raced by Rolf Stommelen in Formula One that year, without great success. The team was apparently set up to allow Stommelen to compete in Formula One, but there is a hint of an interesting “what if?” story here.
Hannelore married Günther Hennerici, one of the owners of Eifelland, about then, and retired from active motorsport competition, in order to start a family. After her three children were born, she pursued business interests of her own, including a guesthouse.
(Image from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannelore_Werner)

No comments:

Post a Comment