Mampe in Formula 1

Mampe in der Formel 1

It is of course well known that Mampe and racing go hand in hand. Especially in combination with the names Zakspeed and AMG Mercedes, with which Mampe caused a stir in the touring car championship. Namely with the Ford Escort and Capri with the Mampe Half and Half branding, which is well known among racing enthusiasts, and the Mercedes 450 SLC tuned by AMG. There is one constant between these two teams and different car manufacturers: the driver, Hans Heyer. 

Hans Heyer, Germany's most successful go-kart pilot of all time ahead of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. The man with the hat, as he is often called because he always has a Tyrolean hat on, is unforgotten in German racing and together with Mampe he wrote Formula 1 history that has never existed before and would no longer be imaginable today. 

The year is 1977 and the Formula 1 German Grand Prix starts at the Hockenheimring. In 1977, the qualifying lasted two days and had a total of 30 drivers take part. 24 drivers were allowed to start in the race, sorted by the fastest lap of the 2 qualifying days. Hans Heyer ended up in 27th place, four tenths of a second behind the 24th place. After all, he finished ahead of Emerson Fittipaldi, a two-time world champion, in qualifying. 

But Heyer had his heart set on competing in Formula 1 at least once and had a daring plan that would go down in Formula 1 history: “I placed my car in a strategic location and waited. The grid girls were go-kart drivers back then and I knew most of them well. I said, “Girls, when you come back from the grid, stand around my car and give me privacy.”»

Then everything happened faster than the officials could see. Two drivers came off the track right at the start of the race and Heyer took advantage of the opportunity. He drove onto the track in the privacy of the grid girls, which was particularly well received by the home fans. Every lap on the start and finish straight, the fans hooted and cheered as the Penske car with the Mampe Elephant drove past. 

Before the race management realizes that there is someone driving there who is not allowed to drive and the black flag is flying, Heyer's gearbox gives up so that he cannot drive any further. However, it is rumored that Heyer also had very good contacts with the race management, so both eyes were turned a blind eye to his 9 rounds of Formula 1. Who knows…

Nowadays an impossibility in the high-security conglomerate of Formula 1. The penalties would be unthinkable, but even back then there was already a GP ban as a punishment. But that didn't bother Heyer much, as he no longer planned to take part in Formula 1 anyway. 

And so it happened that the Mampe Elephant was represented in Formula 1 and sent the German fans into euphoria.

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