I was very interested in the article in the March issue, concerning Ian Ashley, although more poignant memories were brought back to me when he mentioned Helmuth Koinigg’s tragic death during the 1974 US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.
There is no doubt that Koinigg was an extremely talented driver, whose single-seater career was blighted by a severe lack of funds. He shone brilliantly in the European SuperVee races, but was also quick in saloons (notably BMWs) and, more famously, in the works Martini Porsche Turbo. Had he survived that accident in America, there is no doubt he would have become a well-known name — perhaps not in Formula 1 but definitely in sports cars. He could well have been racing Porsche 956s and 962s in later years along with the likes of Ickx, Bell and Ludwig.
Koinigg’s death was both tragic and totally avoidable. The shambolic maintenance of the steel guard rails at the track was his nemesis in the most brutal and bloody way possible. Almost 40 years on, the passing of Helmuth Koinigg is still remembered with sadness by myself and probably by many others as well. His short career surely deserves an article in your magazine.
Jonathan Blackwell, Dadford, Bucks