Two years ago, Marco Werner recounted his experience at the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique in AUTOMOBILSPORT #10. The three-time Le Mans winner had raced a 1974 Ferrari 312 B3, something he thoroughly enjoyed despite ultimately retiring with brake problems. In 2018 Werner was back in action in the Principality in the same historic car – and this time he wasn’t just making up the numbers.
As a kid, I basically grew up at the Nordschleife. When I was just a few weeks old, I visited the ’Ring for the first time, at Meuspath, while my father raced there. Back then you mostly stayed privately in the Eifel. Then, in the 1970s, I went to the German Formula 1 GP with my father, where I got Derek Bell’s autograph in the paddock. He signed my yellow rain jacket, typical for the ’Ring. Afterwards I wore the jacket everywhere, even, to my mother’s despair, to school in the middle of summer. I was so proud of that autograph. Derek is still amused by the story to this day. As an eight-year-old I was fascinated most by Lauda’s Ferrari, and I had childhood dreams. I wanted to drive one of these cars. I wanted to be a race driver. That was my biggest wish. I read every book on Formula 1 I could get my hands on, the Grand Prix Story series by Austrian sports writer Heinz Prüller was always at the top of my Christmas list.
The racing driver dream came true at some point. I have achieved almost everything in long-distance racing, but my F1 ambitions remained unfulfilled. Then, in 2016, I got the opportunity to race at the Grand Prix Historique in Monaco. The car: a 1974 Lauda Ferrari. My greatest childhood dream, with a little delay, was coming true after all. The owner had only recently acquired the car, which had not been used in a long time except for a few demo runs. I didn’t make it to testing, which meant I was supposed to drive the car for the very first time in Monaco. Then, the dream was almost over before it had really begun: it turned out that the 40-year-old engine was disintegrating. We were able to make the start and do a couple of laps, but in the race the brake pedal broke as well and I had to retire prematurely.
Everyone agreed that we needed to return to Monaco in 2018. At Methusalem in Cologne, the Ferrari and Maserati specialists, the Ferrari 312 B3 was overhauled. Mario Linke and his team did the seemingly impossible and breathed new life into the car. Whereas I had been limited to 8,000 revs two years ago, I would now have the full 12,500 at my disposal! The hard work meant I had the same level of performance experienced by Lauda himself. After all, a 12-cylinder engine loves to rev…
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