Kurt Ahrens (Junior)

Kurt Karl-Heinrich Ahrens (Junior) was born near Hanover, Germany in April 1940. His father, Kurt Senior, was a well known speedway champion. In 1958, Kurt joined his father in Cooper Nortons. Son beat father at Kiel in May and Leipzig in June but Senior turned the tables at Wismar on the 22nd and Kurt could only manage seventh at Sachsenring in August.

For 1959, the last year of Formula 3 in East Germany, Junior started with a fourth at Halle Saale in April (dad winning), then wins at Bernau in May and Dresden in July and a DNF at Magdeburg. At Sachsenring on 30th August he took second to Curt Lincoln then finished the year with a win at Bautzen on 13th September. With three wins to his father's two and the remainder going to Kurt Kuhnke and Curt Lincoln, Junior would have won the Championship had there been one.

Magdeburg, August 1958 and on his way to second at Sachsenring, August 1959. Photo courtesy Guenter Geyler

Kurt rose to prominence in 1961 when he won the German Formula Junior title. He repeated the success in 1963 after the 1962 season was spoiled by a ban. This incident occurred when a German journalist and former driver Richard von Frankenberg publicly charged a number of drivers with having employed 1450cc engines. This could be done by substituting the Ford Anglia crankshaft for that of the Ford Consul to achieve a longer stroke. Von Frankemberg used the times of  Ahrens and others to substantiate his accusations. As a consequence, Kurt Ahrens was disqualified for six months together with Gerhard Mitter. Von Frankenberg also accused, without proof, the works Lotus of Arundell and Rees of the same trick.

Colin Chapman made a bet with him of £1000 that Arundell would be able to match the times of the GP in Monza in the same car with checked capacity. Von Frankenberg accepted and Arundell undertook a solo re run, duly beating his original time. Von Frankenberg never forgave Chapman for publicly embarrassing him and the episode has gone down in Lotus folklore.

Kurt senior retired from the sport in 1963 and two years later Kurt Junior acquired a Brabham Formula 2 car and began to make his mark at international level. He also took part in touring car events at the wheel of a Fiat and in the course of the next few years he raced in Formula 2, taking part in three German Grand Prix in the F2 class. In 1968 he drove a third works Brabham at the German event. In 1969 Kurt joined the Porsche factory team and shared victory with Jo Siffert in the Austrian 1000 event. The following year he partnered Vic Elford to victory in the Nürburgring 1000.

 

 

A lovely shot of Kurt's Porsche taking air at the Nürburgring in 1970

 

 

 

Kurt retired in 1971 to concentrate on building up the family's car dealership and a scrap metal business but still takes an interest in historic racing.

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