Christian Danner

Born:
4th April 1958 (Age 61)
Munich, Bavaria
Nationality:
German
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

A product of BMW’s search for young talent in the 1980s, Christian Danner looked too tall for single-seaters and early Formula 2 performances did not bode well. However, this affable Bavarian persevered to become the first German to win an international single-seater championship since the 1930s and graduate to Grand Prix racing.

Early racing career

The son of an automotive engineer who specialised in road safety, Danner raced in Renault Five Turbos for three accident-prone years from 1977 while he completed mechanical engineering studies. He then drove Manfred Cassani’s BMW M1 in the German Racing Championship and selected Procar events during 1980.

Danner’s performances attracted the attention of BMW Motorsport Director Dieter Stappert. He was placed with the works March-BMW team for the 1981 European Formula 2 Championship despite his lack of previous single-seater experience.

Unimpressive early on, Danner’s results eventually improved and he finished second at Hockenheim in 1983 and Thruxton a year later. His 1983 pole position on the old Nürburgring was his most noteworthy achievement in the category as he learned his trade.

Formula 3000 champion and F1 with Zakspeed

But just as Danner’s form improved, F2’s demise meant BMW withdrew its support. With just £65,000 in sponsorship, he entered the 1985 Formula 3000 with BS Automotive’s March 85B-Cosworth. Danner won four times to secure the inaugural title at the final round. He also started two GPs for Zakspeed that year when deputising for the injured Jonathan Palmer.

Difficult Formula 1 career

Three of the next four seasons were spent with the likes of Osella and Arrows among F1’s also-rans. His Rial ARC2-Ford survived a Phoenix heat wave for Danner to finish in a career-best fourth in the 1989 United States GP. But he only qualified once more before both team and driver were quietly consigned to F1 history by season close.

Danner then raced in Japanese F3000, German 2-litre touring cars and the Champ Car World Series. His five years in the latter included seventh position at Miami in 1995 with the Project Indy team he part-owned. Successful in both the Spa and Nürburgring 24-hour races during 1992, he won in DTM with Horst Schübel’s Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI in 1993 and 1995.

Since retiring from racing, Danner has worked as RTL’s F1 television commentator and finished on the podium at the 2006 Qatar and Silverstone races in the short-lived GP Masters series for veterans.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2006 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
2 1 2 0
0% win rate
0
2005 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
2005 F3000 Italia
Durango Formula
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
23rd 1
1997 PPG CART World Series
Payton-Coyne Racing
Dale Coyne Racing
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
29th 1
1996 International Touring Car Series
Alfa Corse
24 (2) 2 2 0
0% win rate
15th 48
1995 PPG Indycar World Series
Project Indy
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
25th 6
1995 International Touring Car Series
Schubel Engineering
9 (1) 1 1 1
12% win rate
13th 22
1995 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Schubel Engineering
14 0 2 1
8% win rate
9th 48
1994 PPG Indycar World Series
Project Indy
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
29th 2
1994 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Schubel Engineering
23 0 3 0
0% win rate
9th 88
1993 PPG Indycar World Series
Euromotorsport
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
30th 2
1993 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Schubel Engineering
22 2 8 1
5% win rate
5th 161
1992 PPG Indycar World Series
Euromotorsport
8 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1991 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
MM Diebels Team
15 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
21st 6
1990 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
BMW Team Schnitzer
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1989 F1 World Championship
Rial Racing
4 (9) 0 0 0
0% win rate
21st 3
1989 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Linder
6 0 0 0
0% win rate
21st 46
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Mussato Action Car
1 0 0 0 0
1988 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
BMW Alpina
22 0 3 2
10% win rate
11th 152
1987 F1 World Championship
West Zakspeed Racing
15 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1987 World Touring Car Championship
Linder
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1986 F1 World Championship
Barclay Arrows BMW
Osella Squadra Corse
15 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 1
1986 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Kouros Racing
1 0 0 0 0
1985 F1 World Championship
West Zakspeed Racing
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1985 FIA European F3000 Championship
BS Automotive
11 2 7 4
37% win rate
1st 51 (52)
1985 World Endurance Championship
Kreepy Krauly Racing
5 0 0 0 54th 7
1984 European F2 Championship
BS Automotive
11 1 4 0
0% win rate
5th 23
1984 World Endurance Championship
GTi Engineering
1 0 0 0 0
1983 European F2 Championship
Onyx Race Engineering
12 1 3 0
0% win rate
5th 21
1982 European F2 Championship
March Engineering
12 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
13th 6
1981 European F2 Championship
March Engineering
12 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 2
1981 World Endurance Championship
RSM Marko
3 0 0 0 182nd 15
1980 European F2 Championship
Uher Cassani Racing Team
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1980 BMW M1 Procar
Manfred Cassani
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
17th 12