Vern Schuppan bigraphy, stories - Australian racing driver

Vern Schuppan : biography

19 March 1943 -

Vernon "Vern" Schuppan (born 19 March 1943 in Whyalla, South Australia) is a retired Australian motor racing driver. Schuppan drove in various categories, participating in Formula One, the Indianapolis 500 and most successfully in sports car racing. Schuppan's biggest career victory was with the factory backed Rothmans Porsche team when he partnered Americans Hurley Haywood and Al Holbert to win the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Other categories

Schuppan competed in three Indianapolis 500 races. These were 1976 (where he won the Rookie of the Year award), 1979 and 1981, with a best result of third in 1981 driving a McLaren-Ford. In all, he started 32 CART and USAC Championship races. He won the 1974 and 1976 Macau Grand Prix races, dominating the 1974 race by four laps. He also won the 1971 British Formula Atlantic Championship 1971 British Formula Atlantic Results, Retrieved 27 October 2011 and the Singapore Grand Prix in 1973 and was second in 1972 and also second in the Malaysian Grand Prix in 1972. He raced Formula 5000 in Europe between 1974-1975 European F5000 races, Retrieved 27 October 2011 and in North America 1974-1976 US F5000 races, Retrieved 27 October 2011 with some success.

In his home country Australia, Schuppan won the 1976 Rothmans International Series run for Formula 5000 cars, driving a Lola T332-Chevrolet. He placed second in the 1976 Australian Grand Prix at Sandown Park in Melbourne driving an Elfin MR8 Chevrolet, only half a second behind winner John Goss (Matich A53-Repco Holden). He was also runner up in the 1978 Rothmans International Series, driving an Elfin MR8-Chevrolet for the factory run Ansett Team Elfin.

When Schuppan was regularly returning home to Australia to race he was also a popular choice as a co-driver for top touring car teams such as Allan Moffat Racing, Dick Johnson Racing and the Peter Brock run Holden Dealer Team in the Sandown 400 and Bathurst 1000 races in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His best finish at Bathurst was a fifth place with Dick Johnson in 1978 driving a Ford XC Falcon. Allan Moffat and Schuppan started on pole and were leading the 1976 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 when their XB Falcon GT Hardtop retired with engine failure in lap 87.

Sports cars

Schuppan has had a very successful sports car career, winning the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans for Porsche's official factory team with Al Holbert and Hurley Haywood in a Rothmans Porsche 956 and finishing second in 1977 and 1982 and third in 1975. In 1983 Schuppan won the Japanese Sports-Prototype Championship. In 1984 he finished sixth at Le Mans with former Formula One World Champion Alan Jones and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier in a Kremer Racing Porsche 956 (his factory backed Rothmans team boycotted the event). He had a number of other podium finishes in the World Sports Car Championship, including second in the 1973 and 1982 Spa 1000 km, third in the 1983 and 1984 Fuji 1000 km and third in the 1985 Selangor 800 km race. Schuppan also placed third in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship in 1984, 1985 and 1986.

Early career and Formula One

After a successful karting career, Schuppan went to Great Britain to participate in the British Formula Atlantic Championship, which he won, leading to a test with BRM. As BRM's test driver he tried to qualify for the 1972 Belgian Grand Prix, but he did not start the race because Helmut Marko drove his car. He did compete in some non-championship races with BRM. In 1974 Schuppan went to Team Ensign, debuting again in the Belgian Grand Prix where he finished in 15th position. In Monaco he retired on lap four because of an accident. Schuppan was disqualified in both Sweden and the Netherlands; in Sweden because he started illegally from 26th place on the grid and in Holland for receiving a tyre change outside of the pits. Schuppan failed to qualify in France or Britain. He retired in Germany on lap four because of gearbox problems. In 1975 he raced in one race in Sweden for Embassy Racing With Graham Hill team, retiring from the race with transmission problems. In 1977 Schuppan raced for Surtees, finishing 12th in Britain and a career best seventh in Germany. He finished 16th in Austria, but failed to qualify for his final Formula One race in Holland.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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