Formula One veteran, Nurburgring idol and Le Mans hero Hans-Joachim Stuck tells Andrew Frankel who he has admired most in his racing life.
His father, Hans Stuck Sr
“The first has to be my dad,” he says, recalling his father’s career as a works Auto Union driver, multiple grand prix winner and hillclimb champion. “Racing was in my blood from the day I was born.
“Thanks to him I first drove around the Nürburgring when I was 10 years old, with him sitting next to me in his BMW 700. I think the lap took 40 minutes. He was a wonderful, kind man too.”
His mother, Christa Stuck
“She is the most positive person you could ever meet. Her glass is always half full. She came out of the war with not much more than her handbag, but she never looked back.
“She’s 88 now, a day hardly ever goes past when I don’t speak to her and she’s as positive now as she has ever been. It’s no exaggeration to say she has been an inspiration to me for my entire life.”
“Ronnie Peterson was a fabulous, instinctive driver. When you first drive a new race car you take time to find out what it’s like before pushing it.
“Not Ronnie. He’d get in a new car and bam! He’d be quick, really quick on his first lap. We had so much fun together; our driving styles were quite similar and when we were racing against each other it could get really interesting.”
“That man could have done anything he wanted. If he had decided to be prime minister, he’d have been prime minister. If I’d paid a bit more attention to the way he went about motor racing, I’d have achieved rather more than I did.
“People call Alain Prost ‘the Professor,’ but before him came Lauda; he was the first professor of racing.”So I ask him who he admires today, and his answer is not what you might expect.
“The guy who has it all is [BMW WTCC driver] Andy Priaulx. He is the complete racing driver. If I were running a race team, whatever and wherever it was racing, the first person I’d sign would be Andy. He’s super-quick, never makes mistakes and great company too.
“I’m asked quite often to show people who’ve never raced there how to get around the Nürburgring and understandably everyone takes a long time figuring it out. Priaulx just got it straight away.”
“Every time you go there, there’s a new challenge. The circuit changes so much with the weather that it can be different on every lap.”