erdFocuFStBorn : January 18 1941

Biography Ernst Kraus

Ernst Kraus was born in Zwickau,  a smaller city in Sachsen, part of what would later become Eastern Germany. At the age of 4, he moves to Oberpfalz where his stepfather runs a factory. The drivers of the lorries secretly teach Kraus how to drive a car. Even before Kraus learned to read and write, he cruised in his parent’s Mercedes 170 and Mercedes 230 over the mountain roads in Bayern. However, these early car adventures were put on hold when he was stopped by the German police while driving.

First steps in racing

Ernst Kraus later went to a boarding school, so which meant he could not train his driving skills until the age of 18. After his father died, the family moved to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. At the age of 21 Kraus was caught by the racing virus after he went to an F1 race in Zandvoort, the Netherlands.  In his BMW 700 Coupe, he entered a race course from the Scuderia Hanseat on the Nürburgring.  Even though he had no experience at all in racing, let alone on ‘the Green Hell’, he was by far the fastest of his class.  This result encouraged Kraus, even more, to continue racing. 

Ernst Kraus and Porsche

In his first years as a racer, Kraus continued racing in BMW, but not with lots of success. It was only in the 2nd half of 1966 that Kraus managed to buy the fastest BMW available at the time. That seemed to be a good decision.  He won the Junior Trophy at a race in Zandvoort. This allowed him to continue his race career. Then he  sold the BMW and acquired a lightweight Porsche 911S with a regular engine. Just some thousand kilometers later, an engine change was done and the regular engine was replaced with a 207-hp race engine.  This led to a victory run in his first race at the Hockenheim ring with the new engine.

1969 Hockenheim ernst kraus porsche 910
1969 Hockenheim Ernst Kraus porsche 910 – (c) Porsche AG

In 1968 Kraus drove his first 1000 Km race at the Nürburgring and finished 2nd, sharing the wheel with Dieter Basche. At the end of the 1968 season, Dieter Kraus sold the Porsche 911 and bought a Porsche 910 from Karl von Wendt. A 2nd place in the 1000 km of Austria, behind Helmut Marko, was the best result. Remarkable to know is that Kraus even left Niki Lauda behind in that race.

Focus on studies

Racing is not essential in the following years as Ernst Krause went back to school and puts his focus on his studies.  In 1970 Ernst Kraus shares the wheel of a Porsche 910 with french driver and team owner Christian Poirot at the Le Mans 24H. In the half of the race, they had to abandon with engine failure while driving in 10th position.

For the 1971 motorsport season, Ernst Kraus buys a Porsche 908-2, with the intention to drive the European races of the Manufacturers World championship. After some preparing races, Ernst Kraus enters the Porsche 908-02 in the 1000 km at the Nürburgring together with Dieter Basche to finish 7th.  From then on, Ernst Kraus focuses more on the Interseries, which is in the 2nd season at the time. In the first Interseries race of Ernst Kraus, he finishes in the middle of the field. The race was won by Leo Kinnunen in the Porsche 917 Spyder.

Ernst Kraus Porsche 917-10 Nurburgring
Ernst Kraus Porsche 917-10 Nürburgring

Soon after that race, Kraus ordered a Porsche 917 Spyder himself at the factory. Without even knowing the car, he entered the 1st race of the 1972 Interseries season at the Nürburgring, with a 7th place as a result. Unfortunately, the Porsche 917 Spyder was totaled in its 4th race. He managed to rent the AAW Porsche 917 Spyder that Leo Kinnunen drove in the 1971 season. When that car retired, Ernst Kraus switched to a Porsche 917-10. In its inaugural race, Ernst Kraus has a very good start, driving in 3rd position after the Porsche 917-10 of Willy Kauhsen, and the McLaren M20 of Kelleners.  Other competitors Ernst Kraus has to cope with in the Interseries are, among others, Georg Loos and George Follmer

After his career

In 1975 Ernst Kraus stops his career as a private racer, after over 100 races in a Porsche. Every once and a while, Ernst Kraus enters as a guest in a race car, mainly in BMW. His focus is now on his career as a businessman in the region of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.