The Nürburgring is well known for hosting races for grand prix cars, sports cars and big touring cars. A number of entries from those categories took part in the fourth Nürburgring Classic in late May. From DTM cars to Can-Am cars to Group C prototypes to 1990s Formula 1 cars, spectators were treated to a variety of hardware.
But it wasn’t all about big cars at the ’Ring. Seven- ty-seven cars took part in the ‘Kampf der Zwerge’ (‘Battle of the Dwarfs’) competition for under-1,300 cc touring cars from the 1960s and 1970s. These cars have put on spectacular racing at the ’Ring in the past, whether it be as part of the European Touring Car Championship, the six-hour races or on the support card for the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The series, founded in 1992, features numerous entries from Fiat and Abarth, NSU and Autobianchi, a variety of Mini Coopers, and rarer cars from Alpine, Simca and Lada.
Among the 77 cars on the grid was Leo Kröner’s Fiat Abarth 1000 TCR, chassis number 210 1762. Before joining the Kampf der Zwerge series, the car had only raced at the Nürburgring once. That was because it was mostly used in Switzerland.
The car was built in 1970 by the Abarth company in Turin. The ‘naked’ bodyshell, i. e. the basis of the Abarth TCR, was obtained directly from Fiat. After completion, the car was delivered and imported into Switzerland on 1 April 1971. At the end of 1973, it was raced in the Swiss championship by a young Walter Baltisser. The championship consisted of hillclimbs, slaloms and circuit races (in surrounding countries). Baltisser competed in the under-1,000 cc special touring car class and enjoyed success immediately. At the end of the season, he was third in the Groups 2 and 4 class behind Harry Blumer (Porsche) and Ruedi Blumer (Ford Escort). In 1975 Baltisser switched to sports cars, and he became Swiss champion in 1977. At the time, Swiss magazine Powerslide reported that Baltisser had ‘risen to prominence this year mainly due to his exploits with the Abarth’…
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