Leonhard von Gottorp

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Leonhard Von Gottorp
Nationality Flag of Germany svg.png German
Born 9th January 1941 (died 4th of October 2014, in Shanghai, China)
Hanover, Lower Saxony
Formula One
Debut Season 1967
Latest Season 1976
Current Team N/A
Car Number N/A
Former Teams Cooper, Rob Walker Racing Team, BRM, Fittipaldi
Races 40 (36 starts)
Championships 0
Victories 1
Podiums 2
Points 21
Pole Positions 1
Fastest Laps 0
First Race 1967 French Grand Prix
First Victory 1968 South African Grand Prix
Last Victory 1968 South African Grand Prix
Last Race 1972 Belgian Grand Prix
Best Finish 7th (1968)
F1RWRS
Debut Season 2014
Latest Season 2014
Current Team Tropico Grand Prix
Car Number 30
Former Teams
Races 2 (0 starts)
Championships 0
Victories 0
Podiums 0
Points 0
Pole Positions 0
Fastest Laps 0
First Race 2014 German Grand Prix
First Victory
Last Victory
Last Race 2014 Belgian Grand Prix
Best Finish


Leonhard Von Gottorp (born 9 January 1941 in Hanover, Lower Saxony, died 4 October 2014 in Shanghai, China) was a German racing driver who has raced in Formula One and in F1RWRS. At 73 years of age, he was the oldest driver in the history of the latter series and the oldest driver in any major open-wheel racing series.

Early Life

Being born into the remnants of German royality, the Gottorp family managed to save their wealth from the many changes at the end of WW2. With said wealth, Von Gottorp enjoyed a fine education and started to race in minor series after being invited by a friend of his. In the winter of 1966, Von Gottorp started planning entering a few Formula 1 races in the following year. For that purpose, he bought a used Cooper and prepared to enter F1.

Formula 1 Career

1976

For 1976, von Gottorp signed for Team Fittipaldi partnering the experienced Emerson Fittipaldi. Despite a lack of pace compared to his team-mate, von Gottorp drove carefully in the races to bring his car home, an approach which paid off in South Africa. A fine 6th was the German's reward after Emerson span whilst running further up the field, with the one point vaulting the team out of pre-qualifying. The next four races of the season proved to be less entertaining, although he continued to finish strongly. Two seventh places in the Soviet and British Grand Prix would be the best results from the middle part of the season, the team often frustratingly close to scoring points. A run of four straight retirements beginning in the Netherlands looked to end his season on a low note, but a determined drive to 5th place in the season finale at Fuji in appalling conditions netted von Gottorp, and Fittipaldi, a further two points. von Gottorp finished the season having outscored Emerson Fittipaldi by three points to none, a development no-one had predicted.

1977

Heading into 1977, it was expected that Fittipaldi would retain von Gottorp. In a surprising development, McLaren offered von Gottorp their #12 car, an offer he was glad to accept.

Unfortunately for von Gottorp, this offer was later withdrawn after the British team opted to continue with American driver Tom Sneva. As a result, von Gottorp was sidelined for the first two rounds of the season before an opening at Hesketh Racing appeared before the United States West Grand Prix, where he replaced Belgian driver Patrick Nève. Despite being the fastest Hesketh in Pre-Qualifying, the team failed to proceed to main qualifying on aggregate times, a result that would set the tone for his 1977 season. von Gottorp would go on to leave Hesketh after another failure to pre-qualify at the Italian Grand Prix, with the team failing to pre-qualify in any of the 12 rounds since he had joined the team. At this late stage of the season, von Gottorp would not find another F1 drive before the year was out.

1978

In 1978, Von Gottorp announced he would be joining the Dutch team Boro alongside Italian veteran Vittorio Brambilla.

1989

In 1989, Von Gottorp made an unexpected return to Formula One at the age of 48 by taking part in the season-ending Mexican Grand Prix for the Zakspeed team in their final race weekend before the team left F1. Unfortunately, despite setting a faster time than his much younger team-mate Valentino Nicchi both drivers failed to pre-qualify.

1990

Von Gottorp made a full-time return to the sport in 1990, signing for the newly-formed Life Racing Engines team alongside Bruno Giacomelli.

World Touring Car Masters

1989

In 1989, von Gottorp joined the factory Audiwerke Motorsports team on their WTCM debut alongside fellow debutants Derek Warwick and Altfrid Heger. He piloted the Audi V8 in the B Class division of the championship, taking a pre-qualifying win and a second place in the sprint race at Watkins Glen. He would take several more class wins over the course of the season on his way to fifth overall in class.

F1RWRS Career: 2014

Despite being de facto long-time retired from motor racing with a few unsuccessful appearances in the 2012 Lotus Racing League season as well as a moderately succesful career in F1RGP2C in the ninties, Von Gottorp approached Tropico Grand Prix when the team announced their intention to replace Darren Older Jr.. Using the last bit of his once impressive financial assets and a minor sponsorship deal with internet service provider 1&1, the old German bought the seat and was due to debut at the Belgian Grand Prix. Older left the team on his own terms before the Norisring weekend, joining Scuderia Alitalia. This propelled him in the car a week before his planned debut. He showed that he has not unlearnt driving fast, giving rookie Miko Fäkkinen a hard time in both pratice and pre-qualifying, forcing the Finn to bring up the rear. He followed his impressive debut by using the full extent of his experience in the wet Spa pre-qualifying, pushing the inferior Tropican car to 11th place in one of the best laps of the year, beating his team mate by almost 10 seconds. After that impressive performance, reality struck back and the German driver failed to leave the bottom half of the pre-qualifying grid.

Death

Von Gottorp died on October 4, 2014 in his hotel room, in Shanghai, China, after a maid found him not responding to her knocking. Paramedics suspected that Von Gottorp may have been died due to his old age. A memorial service have been scheduled for him after the race, and the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix was held with a one-minute silence before the start.

Complete Career results

Complete Formula 1 Results

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Points WDC
1976 Copersucar Team Fittipaldi Fittipaldi FD04 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 BRA
Ret
RSA
6
USW
9
ESP
Ret
BEL
8
MON
Ret
SOV
7
FRA
8
GBR
7
GER
Ret
AUT
9
NED
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
JPN
5
3 21st
1977 Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308D/77 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 ARG RSA USW
DNPQ
ESP
DNPQ
BEL
DNPQ
MON
DNPQ
FRA
DNPQ
TUS
DNPQ
SOV
DNPQ
GBR
DNPQ
NED
DNPQ
GER
DNPQ
AUT
DNPQ
ITA
DNPQ
CAN USA JPN 0
1978 Beta Utensili HB Bewaking Alarmsystemen Boro 003 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 ARG
11
RSA
8
USW
19
ESP
17
BEL
14
MON
DNQ
FRA TUS GBR SUI NED GER AUT ITA CAN USA 0
1989 West Zakspeed Racing Zakspeed 891 Yamaha OX88 3.5 V8 BRA SMR MON FRA USA CAN GBR GER HUN SOV POR ITA BEL JPN AUS MEX
DNPQ
0
1990 Life Racing Engines Life L190 Life F35 3.5 W12 USA
DNPQ
BRA
DNPQ
PAC
DNPQ
SMR
DNPQ
MON
DNPQ
CAN
DNPQ
MEX
DNPQ
FRA
DNPQ
GBR
DNPQ
GER
DNPQ
HUN
DNPQ
BEL ITA POR JPN AUS 0

Complete World Touring Car Masters Results

Year Entrant Car Class WDC Pts Class Pts
1989 Audiwerke Motorsports Audi V8 B Flag of Japan svg.png Flag of the United States svg.png Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 svg.png Flag of France svg.png Flag of the Czech Republic svg.png Flag of Italy svg.png Flag of France svg.png Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Flag of Belgium svg.png Flag of Germany svg.png Flag of Australia svg.png 17th 67 5th 245
E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E
FUJ
Ret
FUJ
Ret
WAT
8
WAT
8
KYA
DNQ
KYA
DNQ
PAU
19
PAU
20
BRN
Ret
BRN
23
MNZ
10
MNZ
11
CHA
DNQ
CHA
DNQ
BIR
Ret
BIR
16
SPA
5
SPA
Ret
NUR
Ret
NUR
Ret
BAT
6
1990 Sax Racing Mitsubishi Starion Turbo B Flag of Japan svg.png Flag of the United States svg.png Flag of Nigeria svg.png Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Flag of France svg.png Flag of the Czech Republic svg.png Flag of Italy svg.png Flag of France svg.png Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Flag of Belgium svg.png Flag of Germany svg.png Flag of Australia svg.png 49th 12 19th 30th
E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E
BAT
13

Complete F1RWRS results

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
2014 Tropico Grand Prix Tropico TGP001 Yamaha OX88 TAS AUS BRA MEX USA MON FRA GBR GER
DNPQ
BEL
DNPQ
ITA
DNPQ
MED
DNPQ
NED
DNPQ
MAC
DNPQ
CHN
DNPQ
JPN =26th 0