Walter Brun (1987)

Born : October 20 1942

Biography Walter Brun

Walter Brun was born in Luzern (Switzerland). Despite not being allowed, he drove cars from his very childhood. Brun once told in an interview he started driving a tractor at the age of 8. He drove to school with it, and at the age of 12, he drove a car and parked it near the police office to attend school. 

Speed limits on public roads were unknown. So Brun tried to drive fast. So fast that his neighbours asked him to go race on a track, instead of using the public roads. And so he did. In 1963, Walter Brun started in his first race in a Cortina-Lotus.

Walter Brun BMW 2800 CS
Walter Brun in a BMW 2800 CS during a rally in 1968

Before becoming a professional racer, Walter Brun worked as a clerk with the Swiss Post. Later he started selling slot machines and jukeboxes.Walter Brun was one of the most popular privateer drivers on the German and Swiss racing scene until 1982.  He drove for Schnitzer and the Freiburg GS Racing Team, among others.

Brun Motorsport

In 1982, however, the company ran out of steam financially. Walter Brun took over the racing team, and “Brun Motorsport” was born. After the disastrous attempt to qualify for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1983, Brun bought a Porsche 956. The start of a unique success story. As early as 1984, there was a victory in a world championship race for the first time in Imola, Hans-Joachim Stuck won, teaming up with Stefan Bellof. A year later, however, came the darkest hour, when Bellof died in a Porsche  Spa.

Sports Car World Champion

Brun Motorsport Porsche 962C at the Spa 1000km

The team picked itself up again, and in 1986 Brun-Motorsport achieved its greatest triumph, becoming sports car world champion ahead of the Porsche and Jaguar factory teams. The victory at the 1000km of Spa with Frank Jelinski and Thierry Boutsen was particularly emotional one year after Bellof’s death.

Team Brun Motorsport

But also Walti Brun himself contributed as a driver with important points to the sensational success. In addition, well-known names such as Gerhard Berger, Leopold von Bayern, Manuel Reuter, Oscar Larrauri, and Harald Grohs took to the wheel of Porsche cars with the distinctive Brun sticker on the windshield.

Formula 1, the beginning of the end

The beginning of the end began in 1988, when Brun decided to enter Formula 1. The venture was a sporting and financial disaster. All the sponsors pushed for Formula 1 after that. A sheik from the United Arab Emirates wanted to pay 38 million U.S. dollars.

The EuroBrun ER188 driven by Stefano Modena
The EuroBrun ER188 driven by Stefano Modena

Ferdinand Piech promised an Audi engine back then. But when the team didn’t get it, the Arabs didn’t want to pay. At the end of 1991, it was over, Brun had nothing more than a rather large pile of debts.

Brun had to sell almost everything he had. In 2000, Brun took up racing again in some races in the ALMS. In  2002 he retired from racing except for 1 race in 2009. Now lives in Kastanienbaum in Switzerland, and still has motorsport and business interests, including a restaurant. Walter is a keen jazz fan and still plays saxophone for a band in Switzerland. 

Pictures courtesy unknown