This weekend is seeing a number of former stars in the cars – as well as some drivers who are still far from hanging up their helmets. Hubert Haupt, who is celebrating two special anniversaries this year, belongs to the latter group. His racing career began 30 years ago in karting, plus the former DTM driver celebrated his 50th birthday in April. However, he’s far from thinking about quitting – and why should he? He just mounted the podium as the runner-up in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring with the Mercedes AMG team Black Falcon and repeated this podium success at the most recent VLN round. At the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix he’s returning to his racing roots. In the race of the Touring Car Classics, he’s driving the Audi V8 quattro in which he competed in the DTM in 1991 as a young factory driver of the Ingolstadt-based brand. In addition, he’s on the grid of the DTM Revival in a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR.
The DTM car from 1991 now belongs to its former driver: Haupt initially lost sight of the V8 quattro after his two years with Audi (1991 to 1992). But “15 years later, I found it again in the United States. When the owner got older and no longer wanted to drive it he offered it to me.” Naturally, the racer from Munich accepted and, after careful restoration, parked this metallic piece of his personal biography in his garage. “Compared to a modern GT3 car, this is a totally different world. But you quickly get used to it again and it’s also good fun. You feel this car in a totally different way. There’s more drift and more steering work.” But the races themselves were different too. “Back then, there was no carbon fibre used in the touring cars, so you could have close contact with your colleagues now and then without the whole car blowing up in your face. Those were great days with more than 40 cars on the grid.” A similarly large field is assembled in the Touring Car Classics as well – even though, naturally, the performance differences between the various historic car classes are greater. Even so, Haupt is sure: “It’s going to be a really thrilling race.”
Quantum leaps: from the RSR to the DTM quattro to the modern GT3
The race in the DRM Porsche represents another step backwards in history. Haupt’s Carrera RSR is from 1974 and “compared to it, the DTM quattro is already a real racing car.” The 45-year-old GT,” says the seasoned racing driver, “is softer and also completely different in terms of braking and shifting. The leap to the 1991 DTM car is indeed awesome and the one from it to today’s GT3 is huge once more. In the past you weren’t able to drive a racing car at the limit for 24 hours straight. Today you have to – and it’s no problem for the cars.”
RSR – a childhood dream
Nevertheless, the three-litre RSR from the DRM was always a dream for Haupt. “A few years ago, this car practically crossed my path,” he relates. “We worked on it for a long time until it ran well. It’s fun to drive it, plus the car has a nice history with many races under its belt.” It originally belonged to Eugen Kiemele with whom he contested many German championship rounds. Consequently, he treats the Porsche with all due respect – as of course all the drivers in the field do. “On the race track, we all are considerate of each other,” he says, describing the racers’ good manners. “Nobody wants to crash into someone else’s car. Of course, the performance differences in the field are great – also in terms of the drivers’ racing experience. This has to be taken into account. But when I have a clear lap, I like taking the RSR to the limit.”
“Those who have goals have success”
Haupt switched to endurance racing, in which he’s still active today, only a few years after his DTM days. That was in 1999 when he won the 24 Hours of Daytone in a Porsche 993 GT2. The ALMS and FIA GT followed. However, practically ‘on the side’ he continued to pursue his career outside racing. In his mid-twenties, he started his own real estate business and today runs a sizable company with 80 employees. Asked if his racing experience was helpful in this respect, Haupt just thinks for a moment before answering “Yes.” “As a sportsman you’re able to focus on your work,” he’s convinced. “Concentrating on goals and working towards achieving them is something you learn in sports. And you need goals if you want to be successful.”