Today’s post is the last of the present series of Group 5 Lotus racing cars, featuring the unique Lotus Europa Turbo driven by Austrian Harald Ertl.
(Photographer / Copyright Holder Unknown, photo will be credited or removed by request.)
Harald Ertl was a motoring journalist and broadcaster and considered a ‘gentleman’ racer who in the late 1970’s reached Formula One where he raced with the Hesketh, Ensign and ATS teams.
Harald much more successful driving saloon / sedan cars being crowned Deutsche Rennsport Meister (German Racing Champion) in 1978 driving a BMW 320 Turbo.
In 1979 Harald was contracted to drive a Ford Capri for Zakspeed Racing and during this time it appears he took on the Lotus Europa Turbo project on his own initiative.
Unlike the Group 5 Ark Racing Lotus Elan and Morfe Racing Esprit of Richard Jenvey Harald’s Europa used a chassis from a TOJ sports car to which was attached a small piece of a Lotus Europa chassis in order to comply with the Group 5 unlimited lightening of the original chassis rule.
Harald fitted a Zakspeed Turbo motor sourced from the Zakspeed Capri programme and the semblance of a Lotus Europa body on steroids.
The Europa Turbo’s first race was the 1979 Nurburgring 1000 kms where the car entered by Zakspeed Racing qualified 19th a distant third in class and failed to finish after electrical problems.
The Europa started at least 4 more races in 1979 with Harald scoring a best 6th place finish in an Interserie race at Hockenheim where the car is probably seen in the photo above.
Mario Ketterer, entered by the Immo Klein Racing team, drove the Europa Turbo at its last ‘in period’ appearance in the DRM Nurburgring Super Sprint. Mario qualified 6th, Ertl was on pole, failed to finish. This unique car has been seen competing in historic events in recent years.
After scoring several class victories driving his Zakspeed Ford Capri in 1979 and 1980 Harald Ertl was killed in a plane crash piloted by his brother in law in 1982 aged 33.
Thanks for joining me on this “Harald’s TOJ” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !