Manfred Schurti (born 24 December 1941 in Lustenau, Austria) is a former Liechtenstein touring and prototype racing car driver mainly known for racing factory-entered Martini Racing Porsches in the 1970s as a supporting driver.
He was born on Christmas Eve in Austria, but his parents moved after the war to the nearby small principality of Liechtenstein.
A mechanic by trade who became leader of the national motor vehicle inspection authority (Motorfahrzeugkontrolle MFK), Schurti began with moto cross and wanted to switch to motorcycle racing. Baron von Falz-Fein denied support for a two-wheel effort, but offered a ride in a Formula Vee, where a group of Austrians including Niki Lauda supported each other with slipstreaming. Schurti managed to keep up with them, winning his first race in 1969 in Hockenheim, and then the 1970 World championship. In 1972, with Hilti support, he won the Formel Super Vau Castrol Trophy series and the International Castrol GTX Trophy, and was elected Sportsman of the year in Liechtenstein.
His entry in Formula 2 was expensive but the car was not competitive. In 1976, after testing a similar Williams-F1 in Goodwood, the 34-year-old switched to touring car and sportscar racing, like the German Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft series, where he won three events. In 1980 he competed in the BMW M1 Procar Championship, winning once, on the AVUS in Berlin. Peter Sauber made him a good offer to race sportscars, but the 39-year-old, who witnessed fatal crashes, decided to retire from pro racing.
Le Mans results
Schurti entered the 1974 24 Hours of Le Mans with a factory Martini Racing Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Turbo prototype which caught fire while the other car finished second overall. In 1975, when Porsche was absent developing the 911-based Porsche 935 and the Porsche 936 sports car for 1976, he finished 5th in a regular 911 Carrera RSR together with four other drivers.
Schurti was a test driver for Porsche, which in 1976 competed in two separate World Championships. With main drivers Jacky Ickx, Jochen Mass, and Rolf Stommelen also busy in F1, Schurti and Jürgen Barth substituted or raced backup cars.
He backed up the factory Le Mans entry with the 935 in 1976, finishing 4th. He returned in 1977 and 1978 in the factory 935, and in 1979, when the factory was absent, with a private 935, while another private 935 won. He also supported the factory entries of Porsche 924 variants from 1980 to 1982.
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