Hans Heyer (born 16 March 1943) is a German racing driver who mainly raced touring cars. He started the 1977 German Grand Prix despite not qualifying for the race. After retiring with a mechanical failure, he was disqualified.
Heyer was born in Mönchengladbach, Germany to parents who ran a bitumen and a concrete mixing company. Heyer developed his passion for motor racing and engineering when he was at boarding school at Adenau. He later started an apprenticeship with Daimler-Benz as a mechanic which was completed in 1962.
Living close to the Netherlands and not yet allowed to race in Germany at the age of 16, he started his career there in 1959 with karts and won the 1962 Dutch Championship in the 100cc category which he followed up by winning the 125cc class in 1963. In an attempt to race in his native Germany, he initially encountered problems with his racing license but managed to compete in the Formula K class in 1965 finishing 3rd in the next two years and backed up with the German and European Formula K titles in 1968 to 1971 driving in a Taifun/BM. Heyer also raced in France by competing in the Brignoles 24 Hour Classic in 1969 to 1971 winning twice and finished 2nd in 1970.
For many years, Heyer was associated with Zakspeed, racing their Group 2 Ford Escorts in the European Touring Car Championship (champion 1974) and the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (champion 1975 and 1976). Heyer attempted two European F2 races in 1976, finishing sixth at the first Hockenheim race. He failed to qualify for the second Hockenheim race and made no further attempts in F2.
In his single attempt at Formula One, he entered the 1977 German Grand Prix on 31 July 1977 with the second Penske car of the new German team ATS. With little experience in single seaters and a bad car, he did not qualify. He was the first reserve, meaning that he would get the chance to race if another driver dropped out; however, Heyer chose to start the race anyway, slipping out of the pits and joining the pack without the officials realising. Only when his gearbox failed after 10 laps was it realised that Heyer should not have been competing, whereupon he was disqualified. He never attempted another race in a single-seat car.
In 1980 he won the DRM again, this time for Lancia in a Group 5 Lancia Monte Carlo Turbo, a car he also helped develop. He crashed his 480 hp car badly at the Norisring in Nuremberg, rolling several times. Heyer switched to continuations cooling when control of the water supply failed when the brake light switch failed which had not worked resulting in the left front brake caliper failing which destroyed the tyre rod and a burst affected the front left tyre. He escaped unhurt, but returned immediately to the wreck to recover his famous hat. In the following medical exam, the doctor was said to have been more nervous than Hans was.
During the years that the Spa 24 Hours was run as part of the European Touring Car Championship and the inaugural World Touring Car Championship (1982–1988), Heyer won the race three times in succession. He won in 1982 driving a BMW 528i with Armin Hahne and , 1983 in a BMW 635 CSi with Hahne and Thierry Tassin, and finally in 1984 driving a TWR Jaguar XJS with Tom Walkinshaw and Win Percy. Heyer retired in 1989 after 999 races in 30 years.
Between 1990 and 1991 Heyer worked at his family concrete works business but came out of retirement to test Mercedes-Benz's truck racing vehicles and competed in the Nurburgring Truck Grand Prix in 1992. Heyer returned to the same track in 1994 to compete in the Nurburgring 24 Hours alongside Heiner Weiss, Rainer Braun driving a BMW M3 and returned to compete in the same race in 1995 albeit in a BMW veterans 'Dream Team'. Heyer also competed in the Nurburgring 500 km race in 1997.
Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results
Complete European Formula Two Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1976||Team Warsteiner Eurorace||Toj F201||BMW||HOC
Complete Formula One results
|1977||ATS Racing Team||Penske PC4||Cosworth V8||ARG||BRA||RSA||USW||ESP||MON||BEL||SWE||FRA||GBR||GER
‡ Started illegally after failing to qualify and did not finish.
- "Hans Heyer – Full Biography". f1rejects.com. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Polo Cup: Hans Heyer feiert 1000. Rennjubiläum im Polo" (in German). Motorsport 2000. 18 June 2004. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- Associated Press (25 March 1984). "Heyer, Johanson win Sebring 12 hours race". Star-News. p. 4D.
| European Touring Car Championship champion
| Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft Champion
| Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft Champion