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Gregor Foitek

27th March 1965 (Age 55)
Most recent race (in database):

Victory in the less-than-competitive 1986 Swiss Formula 3 Championship launched the well-healed Gregor Foitek towards Grand Prix racing. A Formula 1 driver for two seasons, he is best remembered for his role in Johnny Herbert’s Formula 3000 accident in 1988.

Background and early racing career

Karl Foitek raced a variety of sports cars from an Alfa Romeo Giulietta in 1957 to Porsche RSR in 1973 as an amateur and his son followed him into the sport. As well as winning that Swiss title, Gregor Foitek’s family-run Dallara F386-Volkswagen won a German F3 race at Erding in 1986.

He then made his F3000 debut at the end of the season at Járama but retired his Markus Hotz-run Lola T86/50-Cosworth. He had scraped onto the grid for that race and he continued to struggle during 1987. A mid-season switch to GA Motorsport at least allowed Foitek to qualify – including a shock third on the grid at Járama.

He remained with the team for 1988 and continued that form by winning from pole position at Vallelunga. But Foitek’s tactics were raw on occasion and he was roundly criticised for Herbert’s accident when the series visited Brands Hatch in the autumn. Their cars touched at approaching 150mph and Foitek was launched into a sickening barrel-roll. The Swiss driver broke his wrist but Herbert hit the guard rail head-on and suffered career-threatening leg injuries.

Formula 1 with EuroBrun, Brabham and Onyx

Nonetheless, Foitek was seventh in the 1988 FIA F3000 Championship and graduated to F1 in 1989 with a EuroBrun ER188B-Judd. It was a disastrous campaign with the small Swiss/Italian concern. He failed to qualify in 11 attempts and was equally unsuccessful in a one-off for Rial Racing.

Two outings at the start of 1990 with the once-great Brabham team at least yielded Grand Prix starts before he was replaced by David Brabham. He then joined the Swiss-funded Onyx concern and was seventh at Monaco but the team closed its doors after the German GP.

With the end of his F1 hopes, Foitek made selected sports car starts for Kremer Porsche during 1991 and A.J.Foyt’s Champ Car team a year later. That completed Gregor Foitek’s international racing résumé and he then worked for the family’s garage business.