Hans Heyer (born 16 March 1943) is a German racing driver who mainly raced touring cars, being popular with the fans for his rather funny style. He is better known for actions and antics during his only start in Formula One at the 1977 German Grand Prix.

Very unusual for his Western German origin, Heyer's sign is his so-called Tirolerhut, a hat from Tyrol or Bavaria which would fit better to drivers from these Alpine regions, like Hans-Joachim Stuck or Niki Lauda.

Early life

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, which is near the Nürburgring. He later started an apprenticeship with Daimler-Benz as a mechanic which was completed in 1962.[1]

Racing career


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.[1]


Hans Heyer driving a Ford Capri at the Nürburgring in 1973.

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 third reserve driver, meaning that he would get the chance to race if three drivers dropped out. But since Frank Williams chose not to prepare his driver Patrick Nève, who was the first reserve, for the race, and since de Villota, who was the second reserve, had a last-moment engine failure before the race, Heyer had effectively became the first reserve driver.[2] Because of the crash and commotion on the starting grid at the start of the race, Heyer chose to start the race anyway, slipping out of the pits and joining the pack.[2] Only when his gearbox failed after 9 laps[3] was it realised that Heyer should not have been competing, whereupon he was disqualified.[dubious ][citation needed] He never attempted another race in Formula One. He is the only driver to be credited with a DNQ (did not qualify), DNF (did not finish), and DSQ (disqualified) in the same race,[4] technically being banned from 5 Formula One races afterwards (which effectively became a lifetime ban because he had no intention to compete any further in Formula One).[2]

Heyer driving a Ford Escort in 1974.


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.[5] 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.

Heyer won the 12 Hours of Sebring race in 1984 driving alongside Stefan Johansson and Mauricio de Narvaez in a Porsche 935.[6]

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 Eddy Joosen, 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 Nürburgring Truck Grand Prix in 1992. Heyer returned to the same track in 1994 to compete in the Nürburgring 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 Nürburgring 500 km race in 1997.[1]


In 2004, Volkswagen director Kris Nissen found out about the number and invited Hans Heyer to drive his 1000th race in the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup at the Norisring against youngsters.[5]

Personal life

His son Kenneth Heyer is also a racing driver, currently involved in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for MANN-FILTER HTP Motorsport.

Racing record

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1972 Germany Team Schnitzer Motul Switzerland René Herzog BMW 2800CS T
1973 Germany Ford Motorwerke United Kingdom Gerry Birrell Ford Capri RS T
Germany Ford Motorwerke Germany Dieter Glemser
United Kingdom John Fitzpatrick
Ford Capri RS T
1974 Germany Samson Kremer Racing Switzerland Paul Keller
Germany Erwin Kremer
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR GT 65 DNF DNF
1976 Germany Porsche Kremer Racing Mexico Juan Carlos Bolaños
Mexico Eduardo Lopez Negrete
Mexico Billy Sprowls
Porsche 935 Gr.5 272 DNF DNF
1977 Germany Gelo Racing Team Netherlands Toine Hezemans
Australia Tim Schenken
Porsche 935 Gr.5 15 DNF DNF
Germany Gelo Racing Team Netherlands Toine Hezemans
Australia Tim Schenken
Porsche 935 Gr.5 269 DNF DNF
1979 Germany Gelo Racing Sportswear Intl Liechtenstein Manfred Schurti Porsche 935 Gr.5
1980 Italy Scuderia Lancia Corse France Bernard Darniche
Italy Teo Fabi
Lancia Beta Monte Carlo Gr.5 6 DNF DNF
1981 Italy Martini Racing Italy Riccardo Patrese
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani
Lancia Beta Monte Carlo Gr.5 186 DNF DNF
1982 Italy Martini Racing Italy Riccardo Patrese
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani
Lancia LC1 Gr.6 152 DNF DNF
1983 Italy Martini Racing Italy Michele Alboreto
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani
Lancia LC2 C 121 DNF DNF
1984 Italy Martini Racing Italy Paolo Barilla
Italy Mauro Baldi
Lancia LC2 C1 275 DNF DNF
1986 United Kingdom Silk Cut Jaguar United Kingdom Brian Redman
United States Hurley Haywood
Jaguar XJR-6 C1 53 DNF DNF

Complete European Formula Two Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pos Pts
1976 Team Warsteiner Eurorace Toj F201 BMW HOC

Complete Formula One results


Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
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.


  1. ^ a b c "Hans Heyer – Full Biography". f1rejects.com. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Грушко, Алексей (5 January 2022). "Ганс Хайер, или неоднозначный курьёз Ф1" (in Russian). Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  3. ^ "1977 German Grand Prix race report". motorsportmagazine.com. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  4. ^ Strange but true: F1's weirdest and most amazing records
  5. ^ a b "Polo Cup: Hans Heyer feiert 1000. Rennjubiläum im Polo" (in German). Motorsport 2000. 18 June 2004. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  6. ^ Associated Press (25 March 1984). "Heyer, Johanson win Sebring 12 hours race". Star-News. p. 4D.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by European Touring Car Championship champion
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft Champion
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft Champion
Succeeded by