The following is an excerpt from the new book: “Niki Lauda: His Competition History,” by Jon Saltinstall. The hardcover book contains 375 pages and 500 photos and is available for pre-order from The RACER Store. Click here for more information.
Sudwest Pokal, Solitude-Rennen
Hockenheim, 5 July 1970, Formula 3
McNamara Mk3B (007/70) #11
Qualifying 11th; Result 5th
The fastest 30 drivers from the large entry were able to take the start after two practice sessions, the first of which was so wet that no drivers could find suitable gear ratios to use.
As usual at Hockenheim, the start and the first lap of this 25-lap were frantic but Lauda, having qualified on the outside of the fifth row, was soon making up places in a very competitive field. After two laps he was among the 10-car leading group and then after five laps he found himself in a private duel with Ulf Svensson’s Brabham that lasted for the rest of the race.
With a lap to go, Svensson towed past Lauda for seventh place but on the final lap they came across David Purley’s slow-moving Brabham, its engine having expired while running second. Lauda used the moment to squeeze by Svensson and beat him to fifth place by just 0.2 second, albeit nearly a minute adrift of the winner.
Nurburgring Six Hours
12 July 1970, Group 2
BMW 1602 (with Rene Herzog) #61
Result: Retired (distributor)
Lauda had intended to make his first racing appearance in Britain for the third round of the Interserie at Croft but instead took up the offer of a paid seat with the Alpina BMW team in the more prestigious Nurburgring Six Hours the same weekend.
Originally the Alpina team had planned to pair Paul Bergner and Rene Herzog in a 1602 model in its bid for the 1,600cc Division 2 crown against 93 other hopefuls, but after a series of breakages in practice Bergner switched to a private 2002Ti and Lauda was installed in his place. The race was run at record speed and was dominated by works Alfa Romeos after the failure of all the best BMWs, that of Lauda/Herzog included. After a fairly nondescript run, their engine expired before half distance due to distributor failure and they posted the race’s 37th retirement. Coincidentally, the sister Alpina entry of Lauda’s Formula 3 racing buddy, Gerold Pankl, stopped on the same lap with a broken engine mounting.