The sad news reached dsc at Road Atlanta last Friday that Erwin
Kremer had passed away after suffering a stroke: he was 67.
Kremer Racing, run by Erwin together with his brother Manfred,
was one of the ever presents in sportscar racing throughout the
1970s, 1980s and 1990s. During this period the brothers gained
a reputation for radical development of their race cars with their
variations on the Porsche 935 and 962 themes, prompting a great
deal of interest (and not a few good results). Perhaps their piece
de resistance on the development front was the 1981 Porsche 917K/81
(right) built to exploit the then group 6 regulations and reviving
a design that had been obsolete for a decade.
Kremer Racing missed only one Le Mans 24 Hours between 1971 and
1999 (usually with a multiple car entry) and during that period
were very regular top 10 performers in a wide variety of (usually
many major international successes were capped in 1979 with a
win at the 24 Hours with their Porsche
Klaus Ludwig and the Whittington Brothers. Kremer Racing also took
third place in 1979 with another of their 935K3s while another
overall podium was scored in 1983 with a Porsche 956 for Philippe
Alliot and Mario and Michael Andretti
There was a win at the Daytona 24 hours too, in 1995, for their
Porsche 962 derived K8 Spyder, a young Marco Werner joining Jurgen
Lassig, Giovanni Lavaggi and Christophe Bouchut to take the top
step of the podium. And there were more podium finishes for the
team at Daytona in both 1980 and in 1977 when Bob Wollek and Reinhold
Joest were on the driving quad that took a fine third place.
And like Joest,
Erwin was far from a one trick pony – as
a driver he took overall honours at yet another 24 hour race, this
time the Spa 24 hours back in 1968. Kremer won in a Porsche 911,
with Willi Kauhsen and Helmut Kelleners: so many famous names.
From almost the turn of this century, Kremer Racing stepped away
from the cut and thrust of contemporary international racing, after
some success with a Lola B98/10 (with Sam Hancock and Jean-Marc
Gounon typically driving) but Erwin could still be found in the
paddock at many a historic meeting, notably in 2003 when the Group
C cars graced Le Mans again as the support race for the main event.
"He was a super-nice man, and his racing seemed to be all
he lived for," says Sam Hancock. "He rescued my career
in 2001 with the drive in the Lola - and kick-started my sportscar
career. You almost expected him to be on the pit wall forever."
All at dsc
would like to offer our deepest sympathies to Erwin’s
family and friends.