Stefan Bellof

Date of birth : November 29 1957
Deceased : September 1 1985

Biography Stefan Bellof

Stefan Bellof was born on 20 November 1957 in Giessen a city in Central Germany. Like many racing drivers, he started in kart racing before graduating into car races. In 1980, he won the German FF1600 championship before moving into the German F3 series.

European F2 championship

In 1982, Bellof moved into international racing when he started driving in the European F2 championship with Willy Maurer’s team and the backing of BMW. His first two races in F2 resulted in victories at Silverstone and Thruxton. This early success brought him to the notice of the international F1 and Sportscar teams.

Porsche

In 1983, Porsche recruited him into their Sportscar team to drive alongside Jochen Mass, Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell. Partnering Derek Bell in his second race for the team, Stefan took the top place on the podium at Silverstone. The next race, at the Nurburgring, he crashed his Porsche 956, fortunately he emerged from this crash unhurt. At the time, he was in the lead and had set a new lap record at 6:25.91. This record still stands. During qualifying for the event, he set an unofficial lap record of 6:11.13. Later in the year, he won races at the Fuji and Kyalami circuits.

Tyrell F1 Team

In October 1983, Bellof tested for the McLaren F1 team but he signed with the Tyrrell team in March 1984. His contract with Tyrrell gave them the option to sign him for the next three seasons. His early results included a sixth at the Belgium Grand Prix followed by a fifth at Imola. At Monaco, he was in third place and gaining on Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, in first and second positions, when officials halted the race owing to adverse weather conditions. Unfortunately, during the latter part of the season Tyrrell and the FIA were in dispute over Tyrrell’s use of normally aspirated engines in their cars. Because of this dispute, Tyrrell cars did not compete in the last three races of the season.

During 1984, Bellof also drove for Porsche in the World Sportscar championships. He won six of the eleven races to become World Sportscar champion.

Tyrrell took up the option to sign the young German for the 1985 season. Bellof and his manager Willy Maurer argued that, as Tyrrell had not run in the last three races of 1984, they had broken contract with Bellof and he should be free to sign with another team if he wished from 1986 onwards. This dispute led Tyrrell to suspend Bellof from the first race of the season in Brazil but he resumed racing at the Portugal Grand Prix where he finished in sixth place. Throughout the season, his consistent driving led many to believe he was a World Champion in the making.

Bellof continued to drive in Sportscars joining the Brun Motorsport team for the 1985 season. On 1 September 1985, at the Sportscar meeting held at the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium, Bellof’s Porsche 965 collided with the car driven by Jacky Ickx. Bellof didn’t survice the injuries he suffered from this crash.