1000 km Zeltweg

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The 1000 km Zeltweg (originally known as the 500 km Zeltweg) was an endurance sports car event held near Zeltweg, Austria. Originally based at the Zeltweg Airfield, the race moved to the Österreichring where it continued to be a regular event in the World Sportscar Championship.

History[edit]

The Zeltweg Airfield circuit used from 1966 to 1968
The Österreichring, used from 1969 to 1976
The A1-Ring, used from 1997 to 2001

In 1963, Formula One held its first exhibition event at the Zeltweg Airfield, located in Styria. The airfield had been modified in 1958 to allow it to be used for motorsports, using the runway and taxiways for straights. Following the successful event, the Austrian Grand Prix joined the Formula One calendar for the 1964 season. However complaints from drivers about the poor surface led to the FIA abandoning the circuit before a 1965 event could be held. Left without a major event, the organizers turned to the World Sportscar Championship and offered a 500 km event to take place starting in 1966. This event proved more successful due to the ability of the sportscars to handle the bumpy surface better than a Formula One car.

In 1969, due to demands once again from racers for a better circuit, the Österreichring was built in the mountains less than a mile from Zeltweg Airfield. Once the new circuit was completed, the sports car event moved to its permanent home. Due to the freshness of the track, the organizers expanded the event to a 1000 km endurance. The smoothness of the new racing surface allowed for greater reliability and greater ease in achieving the longer distance. The high-speed nature of the layout also allowed for quick races, with some events running under five hours. However with rule changes in the evolved World Championship of Makes in 1976, the event became limited to a maximum of six hours due to the decrease in overall speed of the competitors.

The 1976 event also became the final 1000 km race at the Österreichring. A second Austrian race was added to the separate World Sportscar Championship, held at the smaller Salzburgring. Due to safety concerns and a shrinking schedule, the Österreichring was dropped from the 1977 season, leaving the Salzburgring one final event before it too was abandoned, marking the final Austrian event in the World Sportscar Championship.

Following the rebuilding of the Österreichring into the new A1-Ring in 1997, the FIA GT Championship briefly resurrected the sportscar endurance race in a modified form. A four hour event was run in 1997 covering nearly 700 km, followed by 500 km races in 1998, 2000, and 2001. The FIA chose not to return to the circuit after the 2001 event, and the A1-Ring was eventually partially torn down in 2004, until it was rebuilt as Red Bull Ring in 2011.

Winners[edit]

Year Drivers Team Car Time
Zeltweg Airfield
1966 Germany Gerhard Mitter
Germany Hans Herrmann
Germany Porsche System Porsche 906 3:07:52:550
1967 Australia Paul Hawkins Australia Paul Hawkins Ford GT40 Mk.II 3:15:54.530
1968 Switzerland Jo Siffert Germany Porsche System Engineering Porsche 908 2:55:17.790
Österreichring
1969 Switzerland Jo Siffert
Germany Kurt Ahrens, Jr.
Germany Freiherr von Wendt Porsche 917 5:23:36.980
1970 Switzerland Jo Siffert
United Kingdom Brian Redman
United Kingdom J.W. Automotive Porsche 917K 5:08:04:670
1971 Mexico Pedro Rodríguez
United Kingdom Richard Attwood
United Kingdom J.W. Automotive Porsche 917K 5:04:26.100
1972 Belgium Jacky Ickx
United Kingdom Brian Redman
Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Ferrari 312PB 4:58:46.280
1973 France Henri Pescarolo
France Gérard Larrousse
France Equipe Matra-Simca Matra-Simca MS670B 4:48:57.800
1974 France Henri Pescarolo
France Gérard Larrousse
France Equipe Gitanes Matra-Simca MS670C 4:51:20.270
1975 France Henri Pescarolo
United Kingdom Derek Bell
Germany Willi Kauhsen Racing Team Alfa Romeo T33/TT/12 3:34:50.550
1976 Austria Dieter Quester
Sweden Gunnar Nilsson
Germany Schnitzer BMW BMW 3.0 CSL 6:00:16.400
A1-Ring
1997 Germany Klaus Ludwig
Germany Bernd Mayländer
Germany AMG-Mercedes Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR 4:00:55.816
1998 Germany Klaus Ludwig
Brazil Ricardo Zonta
Germany AMG-Mercedes Mercedes-Benz CLK LM 2:47:34.975
2000 Netherlands Mike Hezemans
Netherlands Tom Coronel
Netherlands Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R 3:00:01.811
2001 Netherlands Peter Kox
Sweden Rickard Rydell
United Kingdom Prodrive Allstars Ferrari 550-GTS Maranello 3:00:09.952

† - The 1975 event was scheduled for 1000 km, but was stopped after 600 km due to heavy rain.

External links[edit]