My first race
Ford Escort, Osterreichring, 1979
by Gerhard Berger
In the village where I lived there was a guy who had a Group Five Escort, and after school I always went by the shop and had a look at the car. The guy liked me, but didn’t take me too seriously. I told him my dream was to race, and he said there’s a race in Zeltweg, we can try to get you in. He didn’t say anything about the price. It was like Christmas! I found out afterwards that he knew my parents had a little bit of money, and he was sure that I would destroy the car and he would sell them the wreck. So that was the game…
I didn’t tell my parents anything. Then the day before he told me the price for the race, but I was still at school and I didn’t have any money. But he’d told all his friends that I was going to crash the car and he’d sell it for a super price. So he made me sign, saying how much I’d have to pay if I crashed. I won the race, and I was in every newspaper the next day. There was a big problem at home, and for a year my father cut off my money!
…and my last race
Jaguar E-type, Goodwood, 2005
I didn’t want to go, but Charles March persuaded me at the last minute. In the changing room I met Jochen Mass, Rene Arnoux, Patrick Tambay, Emanuele Pirro… Suddenly I had the whole F1 group together from the past. It was really super fun, but everybody was very serious. We finished second in the race because after the safety car I had a misfire. AC