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Wolfgang Seidel

4th July 1926
Dresden, Saxony
1st March 1987 (Aged 60)
Munich, Bavaria, heart attack
Most recent race (in database):

An amateur driver for a decade or so, Wolfgang Seidel started 10 Grands Prix before his racing career ended amid controversy. Normally an also ran, his proudest moment was victory in the 1959 Targa Florio.

Early racing career

Seidel drove Toni Ulmen’s Veritas RS in a minor Formula 2 race during 1952 and he entered his own car in Germany’s major races a year later. Eighth in the 1953 Eifelrennen, Seidel finished a distant 16th in the German GP itself. He fared better in the Nürburgring 1000Kms four weeks later when fifth with Josef Peters.

He ventured abroad in 1955 and finished fifth at Le Mans when sharing an Ecurie Belge Porsche 550 RS Spyder with Olivier Gendebien. Endurance racing certainly allowed the German more chance of success and his Ferrari was second in the Reims 12 Hours and third in Venezuela during 1957.

Grand Prix privateer

That steady form continued at the start of 1958 with Seidel sharing the third placed Porsche 718 RSK with Harry Schell at Sebring. He also started a couple of GPs that year with Scuderia Centro Sud’s Maserati 250F and he drove Rob Walker’s F2 Cooper in Germany but Seidel retired on all three occasions.

He continued to race in F2 under the Scuderia Colonia banner in 1959 but his greatest success came in sports cars that year when he and Edgar Barth won the Targa Florio with a Porsche 718 RSK.

German Grand Prix controversy

Ninth was his best result in 10 GP starts, achieved in the 1960 Italian GP when invited to enter his F2 Cooper T45-Climax after the British teams withdrew. His stuttering Formula 1 career came to an end in acrimonious circumstances after the 1962 German GP.

He entered a Lotus 24-BRM but regulations for the race decreed that all competitors had to complete at least five laps in practice. His Lotus broke down after just four and Seidel was not allowed to start. Furious, he criticised race organisers the AvD in a newspaper and was banned from racing for the rest of the year as a consequence.

That did not stop him from making a final appearance in that year’s non-championship Mexican GP but it effectively ended his 10-year hobby. He ran a garage in Düsseldorf in later years and died after a heart attack in 1987.