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Rolf Stommelen – a driver for all circumstances

Porsche 910/8 Bergspyder
Mont Ventoux, 18 June 1967 – Rolf Stommelen won this hillclimb driving a Porsche 910/8 Bergspyder

Rolf Stommelen was one of Germany’s leading racing drivers for over a decade and if as the title (above) of his biography implies, he could drive anything anywhere, this was largely true. Although his Formula 1 career with mediocre teams was patchy, in production cars he was reliably top class. But it was with Porsches that Stommelen was at his best, from amateur wins in his 904 GTS to victory at the Targa Florio and 3rd at Le Mans as a member of the all-conquering Porsche works team. After a spell at Alfa Romeo, he drove private or works supported 935s and 936s almost exclusively for the remainder of his career, becoming German sports car champion in 1977, adding three more Daytona 24 hour trophies to his shelf and all but winning Le Mans in 1979. A real Nürburgring specialist, the undemonstrative Stommelen was a great favourite of the German crowds.

Porsche 904 GTS
DARM Solitude, 18 July 1965 – Stommelen finished second in the #6 Porsche 904 GTS in the GT Class 1300cc to 2500cc

A black and white family photograph from around 1950 and shows a little family group against a drab urban backdrop. In the centre in short trousers and blazer is a curly haired boy, clearly Rolf Stommelen. But the picture is deceptive: the two older children either side of him are cousins and the adults are his aunt and uncle. Rolf was an only child and this family shot is seemingly the only one his biographer could find of his early life.

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