Round 3: Nurburgring 1,000 Kilometers, Nurburgring Nordschleife, May 29th, 1983

This will be the final international race to take place at the Nordschleife, the great 14 mile mountain circuit in West Germany, Nurburg.  Leading drivers want to go down in the history books.  For 1984, the new shortened track will be used.   In qualifying, Stefan Bellof shatters the old lap record, and brings forth a new record of 6:11.83.  He was five and a half seconds quicker than his team car of Jackie Ickx and Jochen Mass.  Jochen couldn’t get within five seconds of Bellof’s time.  1982 Formula 1 World Champion Keke Rosberg is here, to drive, and so is 1968 Nurburgring 1,000 Kilometers winner, Vic Elford.

Unfortunately, for Vic Elford, his Group B BMW M1 did not start the race.  Elford was to have driven the #105 Jurgensen GmbH & Co. KG BMW M1 with team owner Hans Christian Jurgensen, and Edgar Doren.  So, let’s have a look at the top qualifiers.  No surprises at the front.

  1. #2 Bell/Bellof Porsche 956        Rothman’s Porsche
  2. #1 Ickx/Mass Porsche 956        Rothman’s Porsche
  3. #8 Wollek/Johansson Porsche 956        Joest Porsche
  4. #14 Rosberg/Lammers/Palmer Porsche 956        Canon Porsche
  5. #4 Patrese/Alboreto Lancia LC2            Lancia-Martini
  6. #11 Fitzpatrick/Hobbs Porsche 956        John Fitzpatrick Racing
  7. #35 Stuck/Brun Sehcar SH C6 BMW  Brun Motorsport GmbH
  8. #18 Heyer/Lassig/Plankenhorn Porsche 956  Boss Obermaier Racing

That’s your top eight, as the cars wind their way through the amazing Carousel turn.  The track is mostly dry.  In the morning before the race, there was rain, and so there are damp spots on the road.  It is a great shame this circuit will never be used again for prototype sports cars.  Lancia and Joest Porsche elected to use wet weather tires, while Rothman’s Porsche’s strategy early on, calls for slicks.  Go!  Stefan Bellof is the bloke who will become the rabbit, and the pack behind are the hounds pursuing him around the Nordschleife.

Michele Alboreto has the #4 Lancia second, and Bob Wollek in the Joest Porsche is third.  By the time the cars reach the far side of the Nordschleife, Michele Alboreto and Lancia have muscled their way into the lead.  Bob Wollek is harrying Alboreto in second.  There’s a scrap for fourth through seventh, and the Sehcar BMW is seventh right now.  That is the car shared by Hans Stuck and Walter Brun.  Stefan Bellof has made his way to second, while Jacky Ickx makes a move on John Fitzpatrick.  A lap or so into this race, the Nurburgring, the vast majority of the lap of 14 miles, is dry.  So, Stefan Bellof wants to go for it, and he’s making a pass on Bob Wollek.

Bellof does take the lead of the Nurburgring 1,000 Kilometers.  Jochen Mass has also gotten around Bob Wollek for second, and Wollek will ride in third for the time being.  John Fitzpatrick, sharing with David Hobbs, is fourth.  Incidentally, the Fitzpatrick/Hobbs 956 is on Goodyear tires.  It’s a Rothman’s Porsche 1-2 now, however.  Bellof, followed by Mass.  While Bob Wollek and John Fitzpatrick continue to chase each other, we can see that Keke Rosberg has brought the #14 Canon Porsche up to fifth in the overall, and Michele Alboreto has the Lancia running sixth at the moment.

Everyone who started on wets will have to change to slicks.  Rosberg will tour around for another lap before his stop.  But, we do see Fitzpatrick making his stop, and Keke Rosberg has moved into fourth, before he changes drivers and hands over to Jonathan Palmer.  Stefan Bellof and Jochen Mass continue leading this motor race, as we work our way through some of the lapped group B machines.  Bob Wollek is sixth.  Rain is drizzling around the course.  Incidentally, some of the more fascinating Group B entrants around here include the Porsche 930’s, Porsche 924 Carrera GTS’s, Porsche 928, Ford Escort RS, BMW M1’s, Opel Ascona’s, BMW 320s, a Renault 5 Turbo, an Opel Kadett, and an Audi 80 Coupe.

Bellof leads the motor race.  That’s been a familiar phrase so far.  On lap 20, things went pear shaped for Stefan Bellof.  He flies off the road on lap 20 and has a massive accident!  He crashes hard at Pflanzgarten!  Air got underneath the nose of the Porsche 956, and Bellof, flew into the Armco.  Bellof is fine, but, it’s a sad moment as neither he nor co-driver Derek Bell are going to be in contention to win this final Group C contest at the Nurburgring.  Game over.  Not only did Stefan Bellof have a massive wreck, but on the far end of the mountain, Walter Brun also clobbered the Armco, destroying the #35 Sehcar BMW!  Brun and Hans Stuck, also are retirements on the spot.

The red flag is out, to clean up the wreckage, after 25 laps, (350 miles).  Race order is as follows:

  1. #1 Ickx/Mass Porsche 956
  2. #8 Wollek/Johansson Porsche 956
  3. #11 Fitzpatrick/Hobbs Porsche 956
  4. #14 Rosberg/Lammers/Palmer Porsche 956

This is the top four, as we get set to restart the motor race.  The total time run in each race (technically two races in one), will decide the winner of the Nurburgring 1,000 Kilometer race.  Jacky Ickx whistles off into the distance on the restart, and then, he has to make a pit stop.  Keke Rosberg has the Canon Porsche in second, and then comes the Alboreto/Patrese Lancia.  No sooner though, had Jochen Mass taken over Rothman’s Porsche #1, before problems set in.  Broken front suspension on the only surviving Rothman’s Porsche.  Remember, now, Bellof and Bell are out, after Stefan Bellof’s massive wallop into the Armco earlier.

Keke Rosberg leads with car #14, but these blokes were two laps behind in the first stanza of this motor race.  Turbo boost gremlins struck the Joest Porsche of Bob Wollek and Stefan Johansson.  Lancia is up to P2.  Porsche #1 maintains their overall aggregate lead, despite almost losing a lap.  Through the little carousel, it looks like #14 will be on its way to the win.  Yes, indeed. Winner, winner, chicken dinner, for Jochen Mass and Jacky Ickx!  Rothman’s Porsche #1 takes the last Group C win on the Nordschleife!

The final results of the Nurburgring 1,000 Kilometers.

  1. #1 Ickx/Mass Porsche 956        Rothman’s Porsche
  2. #8 Wollek/Johansson Porsche 956  Joest Porsche
  3. #14 Rosberg/Lammers/Palmer Porsche 956  Canon Porsche
  4. #18 Heyer/Plankenhorn/Lassig Porsche 956  Boss Porsche
  5. #51 Laurrari/Sigala Lancia LC1  Sivama Grifone
  6. #11 Fitzpatrick/Hobbs Porsche 956  John Fitzpatrick Racing

Of the 34 starters, 17 finished… roughly half the field.  Stefan Bellof turned in the fastest, record lap, at 6:25.91.

Next up, the grandest race of them all, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Published by

the braking zone

International racing fan for over 20 years. I follow Formula One, Indycars, sports cars, touring cars and other varied forms of racing within and outside the U.S. I am a recent college graduate and have been following the world of car racing since childhood.

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