Racing is one of the most spontaneous sports we have in the world, and over time, so many legends have been made yet many have been lost too. Today, we give tribute to the lap record of 6:11.13 that was set 30 years ago on 28th of May 1983 by Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956 in training for the 1,000 km of Nurburgring 1983.
Stefan Bellof was a racing driver from German who was killed in an accident involving his Porsche 956 and Jacky Ickx’ Porsche 962C. This was in September 1, 1985, two years after he had set his record. The crash was caught on camera, the camera was in Jacky’s car and since there were no GoPros at the time, this is one of those early crashes that you can actually watch. If you have happened to watch crash racing videos on YouTube, then you are aware of the intensity involved.
Stefan Bellof is one of those racers whose career was short lived; he was nearly becoming the next Formula 1 champion and has often been referred to as Michael Schumacher’s racing idol. The record that Stefan set still stands, and it’s the only lap that was done with an average speed of 200 km/h+. However, this record was not documented, and if you look at the documented records, Michael Vergers has the fastest of 6:48 in a Radical SR8 LM.
Stefan set his in 1983 when racing technology was still stiff and germinating; the one of Michael was set in August 2009 when racing technology had sprouted to a full beam. Despite the success of the Porsche 956 at that time, the race car would soon be abandoned due to fears of fatalities through crashing. This came after Stefan’s crash and in a related incident, Stefan’s racing compatriot Manfred Winkelhock had died in a similar crash this time driving the Porsche 962C at Mosport Park in Canada.
Thirty years and the record is still not beaten, yes indeed, as technology evolves, racing rules have evolved too and moved from stiff to stiffer. But still having maintained a record for over thirty years is quire legendary. This record might never be broken again, remember Stefan drove his Porsche 956 at an average speed of 200km/h+. In today’s racing the race cars through their “stingy” censors will always determine the type of speed at a particular corner and hence making it hard to hit high speeds when cornering. Likewise drivers tend to avoid high speeds at particular sections in fear of penalties that may arise after contact with fellow racers.
Stefan will be remembered not only for setting a lap record on one of the most ruthless circuits on earth, but also for his accelerating career that saw him almost become champion in Formula 1. Ferrari had booked him for the 1986 season before his death; in fact he had a scheduled meeting with Enzo Ferrari prior to his death.
The video below shows the crash as it happened, in what today would have appeared as Stefan’s mistake. His right front end hits Jacky’s rear left leading them both to a spin. Jacky hits the wall while Stefan heads straight for the barriers. Soon, Jacky would walk out safely from the crash unaided but the first aid team spent some 10 minutes trying to extract Stefan from his wreckage. Stefan was pronounced dead at the hospital after suffering from massive internal injuries.
September 1, 2013 will mark his 28th anniversary since his passing away. He died at a young age of only 28 years. May his soul rest in eternal peace.