Div: KW Supercup organizer Fritz Gebhardt: “Breaking new life in Group C with KW Supercup!”
Last weekend the second race of the KW Group Supercup took place at the TT Circuit Assen. The initiator of this new historic racing series is the German Fritz Gebhardt, who has built up an enormous CV in motorsport with his company Gebhart Fördertechnik. Like your journalist got into motorsports around the late 1970s.
Left Marco Werner and right Fritz Gebhardt. The man with a lifelong passion for motorsport.
Text and photos: Willem J. Staat
Archive Willem J. Staat
Supercup organizer Fritz Gebhardt “Reviving Group C with KW Supercup!”
He has grown older. As technicians stroll back and forth, Fritz watches from a distance. I wonder if he still recognizes me. That question does not remain unanswered for long, as Fritz directly introduces me to former Group C racer Costas Los in the pitlane, who also happens to be present in Assen. It’s been almost thirty years since I last saw both. Motorsport was and still is for many years the great passion of the now 67-year-old Gebhardt, who started the motorsport adventure together with his brother Günther in the late 1970s.
Hockenheim 1980 Formula Super Vee. In front Juha Varjosari, John Nielsen, behind Arie Luyendijk and Günther Gebhardt. Arie and Günther were eternal competitors in that class.
Günther was active as a driver in Formula Super Vee, Formula 3 and Formula 2, while Fritz took on the organizational role in the team. The name Gebhardt Motorsport became a household name in sports car racing, especially in the eighties and nineties. Participation in Würth Supercup, Deutsche Sportwagen Meisterschaft, Interserie and even WEC. It was all on the agenda for the Gebhardt family.
Zandvoort 1981 Günther Gebhardt in action with Ralt RT Mercedes.
Fritz Gebhardt: “We first started with the Super Vee in the late seventies. Then we switched to Formula 3 and raced the first Ralt RT3 Mercedes in 1981. Then it became Formula 2, but at the end of 1982 we also decided to build our to start our own Gebhardt C2 The car made its debut at the Norisring in 1983, and before that we had F2 drivers Cliff Hansen (USA) and Kennerth Persson (S) on contract, Formula 2 was intended.
In 1982 switched to Formula 2.
Why did you start with this Supercup?
Fritz Gebhardt: “In the past I have repeatedly called on Peter Auto for a Group C event for Germany. However, this proved impossible for the German fans, so I decided to take the bull by the horns and recreate Group C on a historic level.” There appeared to be sufficient interest in the opening game at Hockenheim earlier in the season.
The beautiful C88 Gebhardt Audi was rebuilt and is now racing with Marco Werner in the KW Group C Supercup.
Why did you decide to come to Assen?
Fritz Gebhardt: “In Hockenheim I was approached by Lee van Dam. He was very disappointed that he had lost the DTM and was looking for an alternative with spectacular cars. It is of course a shame that a number of cars already broke down on Friday. Also, the overlap with Goodwood doesn’t help this weekend either. We will look at the media’s assessments and reactions in the short term. Next year we will definitely return to this historic track with more cars. The British drivers want to join, but Brexit has ruined a lot. It makes no financial sense for them to travel to mainland Europe with a team. Too many financial barriers. Normally, Michael Lyons would have just raced with us this weekend. It will probably be a series consisting of three games in the future. Hockenheim, Assen and possibly the Red Bull Ring, with whom we are also in negotiations.”
The very first Gebhardt JCO2 debuted at the Norisring in 1983. A beautiful futuristic design and way ahead of its time.
After the debut of the JC02, an exciting time followed with the successor 842?
Fritz Gebhardt: “Yes, we would love to drive the ADA Engineering car here. This car competed in the 1985 Le Mans 24H and finished 16th. We completely restored the car, but unfortunately there were problems with the cylinders that made us come here. . .. could not start Bill Harris, our chief mechanic rebuilt the car. The car ran in 1990 in the IMSA series and among other things at Daytona and is equipped with a 4 cylinder Audi engine. Also the C88-Audi that Marco Werner now drives was rebuilt by him.”
Participation in the FIA WEC in 1985 in the FIA WEC with Walter Lechner (here at the wheel) Günther Gebhardt and the Czech Miroslav Adamek with JC 843.
The Gebhardt C901 was one of your last modern projects?
Fritz Gebhardt: “That’s right, the car was designed by Austrian Johann Knapp, who soon after went to work on various projects in Russia. We never heard from him again after that.” Fritz swallows for a moment… “There is a fear that he and his family are……” There was a moment of silence.
Spectacular duels in the Würth Supercup in the same period. Here Rudi Seher with JC853 in action.