The Race for the Pork Cutlets… The end of June 1980 was a busy time at Dick Barbour Racing. We had just run at Le Mans with two Porsche 935 cars, chassis 009 00030 and 000 0023. Car 000 0023 was a brand-new Kremer K3 that had just been picked up the week before in Germany. Chassis 000 0009 sat in the paddock as a spare/parts car the whole week in France, as it had run the Nürburgring 1000km at the end of May, where it had won Group 5 and finished second overall.
Chassis 000 0023 finished fifth overall at Le Mans and won the IMSA class. Although it led at the halfway point overall, during the night it developed a chronic misfire, and eventually lost a cylinder, but did manage to finish. Unfortunately, 009 0030 dropped out with engine failure.
While the vast majority of the crew and cars went home from France, three of us, Jerry Woods, myself and Bruce Anderson, went directly to Kremer in Cologne to quickly prepare chassis 000 0009 for the Norisring race the following week. As I recall, the plan was, we were trying to win the Porsche Cup for John Fitzpatrick (as well as the IMSA championship), so we were doing as many races as we could, to get points. Norisring back then was a huge event in Nuremberg Germany. It was part of the Deutsche Rennsportmeisterschaft (German Racing Championship) or DRM as it was known. It was a relatively short flat track that ran through the remnants of the old Nazi stadium of 1936. Crowds were usually huge, over 100,000 so it promised to be an exciting event.
We put in some late hours at Kremer on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and left late Thursday afternoon in Kremer’s old spare truck. The Kremer car, sponsored by Jaegermeister and to be driven by Jochen Mass, had left early on Thursday but we left later and did not arrive in Nuremberg until after midnight. As we were to determine a few months later, we had picked up an automatic camera speeding ticket somewhere near Frankfurt. Erwin Kremer called Jerry said, “Hey you got a ticket, they (the German police) are coming after me.” Somehow, Kremer managed to get out of it, claiming (correctly) that he had leased the truck for the weekend to Dick Barbour Racing in California, and that the German police should go after the Americans for the money. By then of course we were long gone and disclaimed all knowledge of anything…
It was early on Friday while unloading, that the first issues arose. The Dick Barbour team in IMSA was sponsored by SACHS (the Fitzpatrick car). SACHS in the German series also sponsored the Zakspeed Capri Turbo, which ran in Rennsportmeisterschaft category 2 and was driven by Harald Ertl. Naturally SACHS wanted both SACHS-sponsored cars under one tent, but Erwin Kremer would not have it. Both the Kremer K3s had to be under one tent, his. He did not want Zakspeed to see any of his ‘secrets.’ This was ok with us, as we did not know anyone at Zakspeed, but knew all the Kremer guys, as they had built our car! So the Jaegermeister and SACHS K3s sat in the Kremer tent, and directly across from us sat the Zakspeed cars (Category 1 and 2 cars). The SACHS people probably were not happy, but put up with it in good spirits.
Friday was practice, and proved uneventful and John wanted a bunch of changes to the car to adapt to the short circuit. We travelled the paddock and visited the Porsche truck and the Bosch truck/bus just to introduce ourselves in case we needed to pick up any parts over the weekend from them. The Bosch guys were welcoming but surprised an American team would bother to run this race. They did not fancy our chances against the best German teams like Kremer, Joest and Loos. We said, “Oh no, we are here to win, we have the best driver – John Fitzpatrick.” They kind of laughed and said, “Tell you what, if you guys win, we will cook you pork cutlets after the race (as they had a nice little food area and grilles set up for themselves and the Bosch guests). If we lost we had to provide them some team T-shirts, so the bet was on.
Qualifying went reasonably well on Saturday, and we were third behind Bob Wollek in the Loos car and Rolf Stommelen in the Joest car. The race format was to be a two-heat event run on aggregate time. Both short heats were about 50 minutes with no pit stops, but there would be an intermission when cars could be refuelled and tyres changed. Bob Garretson, our team manager and driver in one of our other cars in IMSA, had showed up late Saturday to help out on race day. At the start of heat 1, there was kind of light misting rain, so everyone started on rain or intermediate tyres, but conditions were sketchy. As they passed at the start and blasted down to the notorious Norisring first turn, a 180-degree hairpin, somehow under braking, Wollek and Stommelen got tangled up with each other and crashed off. John luckily avoided the melee, being on the inside in third place, and came around after the first lap with a large lead. As conditions dried, John ran off the laps and won the first heat handily. As I recall, Jochen Mass had to pit with a flat tyre or with some other issue, so was well back. Wollek was out with broken suspension, and Stommelen, although he continued, had some other issue as the result of the crash and was also well back. There was a short 10 minute break between heats, so we put on slick tyres and refuelled to prepare for heat 2, as conditions had now dried out completely. Heat 2 went off without difficulty for us and John won that heat also. Having won both heats he was the overall winner ahead of Volkert Merl in the second Joest car and Edgar Doren. Rolf Stommelen managed to get back to tenth. Neither Jochen Mass nor Bob Wollek finished. Unknown to us at this time, Volkert Merl would drive with us, in our car in three weeks time at the Watkins Glen 6-hour event upcoming.
Since Dick Barbour racing was based in California, and the entry form said USA, they played the US National Anthem in front of 125,000 Germans in the old Stadium! That was quite an experience.
After the ceremonies, John, went off to the interview room. I got elected to drive the car back to the paddock tent, as the paddock was quite a distance away. The Kremer car had already been hauled away, and Jochen Mass, who was still there decided he needed a ride back to the tent. I asked him if he wanted to drive, he said, “Oh no, you drive through all these people, I will sit in the front on the floor,” so that was what we did, I drove Jochen back to the truck. Erwin and Manfred Kremer were ecstatic, as a Kremer K3 had won the race ahead of the Joest and Loos cars, so that was all that mattered to them.
After a little celebration, only one thing remained, our little trip to the Bosch bus to collect on the bet! The four of us walked up, and noticed the Bosch guys had already packed up. We said, “Hey, you owe us some pork cutlets!” The head man smiled and said yes, you are correct, we never thought it would happen, you guys winning. He called to the bus driver and said, “Hey, unload all the grilles and food, I have to cook some pork cutlets.” We enjoyed the cutlets and some beers with our new friends from Bosch. We had won the race for the cutlets, and enjoyed the good German beer at the Norisring stadium. A great event!
That night we drove back in the direction of Cologne with Kremer’s guys and they dropped us off at the Frankfurt airport. The race winning car would go immediately on the airplane to Florida for the next IMSA race, the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona. But that is another story.
Written by: Martin Raffauf
Photos by: Porsche & Bruce Anderson