Klaus Niedzwiedz

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Klaus Niedzwiedz (born February 24, 1951 in Dortmund, Germany) is a former professional race driver and motoring journalist.

Driver[edit]

Team mate Klaus Ludwig's 1981 Group 5 Zakspeed Ford Capri at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, Germany

His greatest success came in the 1980s as a driver for Ford.

Niedzwiedz rose to prominence when driving a Ford Capri for Zakspeed in the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft. The turbocharged 1.4 L engine from the Zakspeed Ford Capri was later enlarged for the 1.7 L "Super Capri". With this 500+ hp car, Niedzwiedz established in 1982 the "eternal lap record" for Group 5 touring car racing at the old 22.8 km Nürburgring with 7:08.59, just 10 seconds slower than the F1 record of 6:58.60 set by Niki Lauda in 1975 (see: Nürburgring lap times).

During the 1982 season, Niedzwiedz also drove in the World Endurance Championship for Zakspeed, in a Ford C100. The Zakspeed-prepared Group C machine was run by the works Ford Germany team with Klaus Ludwig, Manfred Winkelhock and Marc Surer at the wheel, but the car was a midfielder at best, although Jonathan Palmer and Desiré Wilson scored a 4th place overall the 1,000 km of Brands Hatch in 1982. Ford Germany retracted their support and one car was sold to privateers, while the other chassis was evolved by Zakspeed into the C1/4 and the C1/8, making few appearances in international racing, but becoming a front-runner in the German Interserie, where it won the European championship in 1984 with Klaus Niedzwiedz.

In 1982 and 1987, he was the winner at the 24 Hours Nürburgring, in both events with Klaus Ludwig. With a Ford Sierra he was runner-up in the World Touring Car Championship of 1987 and the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft of 1989.

Between 1987 and 1996 Niedzwiedz drove six times in the annual Bathurst 1000 race in Australia driving Ford Sierra RS500's in all but the his last race where he drove a Ford EB Falcon and apart from 1987 when he drove for Eggenberger Motorsport as part of the WTCC, he drove exclusively for Allan Moffat Racing (though the Moffat Sierra's were built by and engineered at Bathurst by none other than Ruedi Eggenberger himself). While he never won the race, he came close with two 2nd placings. His results were 2nd before disqualification in 1987, DNF in 1988 (retiring while leading by over a lap), officially 2nd in 1989 teamed with Frank Biela, 10th in 1990 (after claiming pole on the 6.213 km circuit with a time of 2:13.94, some 1.23 seconds faster than Dick Johnson who qualified his Sierra in second), 19th in 1992 and 10th again in his last race on the mountain in 1996 teamed with Series Production driver Ken Douglas. Despite never winning on The Mountain, Niedzwiedz is generally regarded as one of the better European drivers to have raced at Bathurst.

Niedwiedz ran in two other races in Australia during his career. The 1987 Bob Jane T-Marts 500, which was run a week after the 1987 Bathurst race and was a round of the WTCC. Neidzwiedz and Klaus Ludwig again qualified on pole (Ludwig) as they had at Bathurst, but finished 12th after a troubled run (team mates Steve Soper and Pierre Dieudonné won the race). He also drove for Allan Moffat at the 1990 Sandown 500. On his first look at the 3.1 km Sandown Raceway, Niedzwiedz qualified the Sierra in 5th place before a broken axle on lap 111 of the 161 lap race saw him and Gregg Hansford fail to finish.

In 1998, he won the privateer title in the ADAC German Supertouring car championship (Super Tourenwagen Cup) with an Opel Vectra.

In 2003, he won a VLN race with Porsche 911 GT3 at the Nürburgring

Others events:

Journalist[edit]

Since 1984, he also works as a journalist and TV host in Germany, starting with moderation of Sat.1 magazine Treibstoff. Since 1997, he moderates n-tv Motor.

Tamiya Model[edit]

A 1/24 scale model of the 1979 Ford Capri Zakspeed (model 24014) is represented as the D&W Klaus Niedzwiedz car, and actually comes complete with Niedzwiedz in team uniform.

External links[edit]