Herbert Muller

Born:
11th May 1940
Menziken, Aargau Canton
Died:
24th May 1981 (Aged 41)
Nurburgring, Rhineland-Palatinate (D), Nurburgring 1000Kms
Nationality:
Swiss
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Herbie Müller was a popular and successful sports car driver who lost his life in an awful accident during the 1981 Nürburgring 1000Kms. This small, crew cut Swiss amateur was an instantly recognisable figure who had been a regular in the World Sportscar Championship since making his debut 20 years earlier. Motor racing was not his primary career for Müller had run the family electroplating company since his father died in 1964.

Early racing career and hillclimb success

He first competed on motorcycles in 1959 but it was in the European Hillclimb Championship that he made his name. His debut in that series was in 1961 and Müller won the GT title two years later with a Porsche Carrera RSK.

The only time he tried Formula 1 came that year when driving compatriot Georges Filipinetti’s Lotus 21-Climax in the non-championship 1963 Pau Grand Prix. He ran third and finished fifth at the beginning of a long-term association with the independent team owner.

World Sportscar Championship

It was with a works Porsche 914 GTS that Müller scored a second hillclimb GT title in 1965 and he campaigned Filipinetti’s Ford GT40 with Willy Mairesse during the 1966 sports car season. Third at Monza, they switched to a Porsche 906 a fortnight later to win the Targa Florio for the privateer team.

Müller was a technical advisor on Steve McQueen’s 1970 film Le Mans before he formed Herbert Müller Racing to run ex-Filipinetti Ferrari 512Ms in the 1971 Interserie. Second at Le Mans when sharing John Wyer’s Porsche 917K with Richard Attwood, the year was marred by Pedro Rodríguez’s death at the Norisring in one of Müller’s Ferraris.

Further success in the Targa Florio

Lucky to escape a fiery accident at the Nürburgring in 1972, Müller rejoined Porsche in 1973 as partner for Gijs van Lennep. They won the Targa Florio and another season together included finishing second in the 1974 Le Mans 24 Hours.

That year also yielded Müller’s first of three successive Interserie titles but he reduced his racing schedule after 1976. He retired altogether in 1980 but could not stay away.

Tragic return to racing

He accepted Siggi Brunn’s offer to share the open Porsche 908/3 in the 1981 Nürburgring 1000Kms. He came across a spinning backmarker at the 100mph Kesselchen turn and Müller took to the grass in avoidance. However, he piled straight into an abandoned Porsche 935 and was killed on impact as the cars were engulfed in flames.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1981 World Endurance Championship 1 0 0 0 0
1980 World Championship of Makes 3 0 0 0 3
1979 World Championship of Makes 1 0 0 0 0
1978 World Championship of Makes
Schiller Racing
5 0 0 0 10
1977 World Championship of Sportscars
Herbert Muller
2 (1) 0 0 0 12
1976 World Championship of Sportscars 4 0 0 0 3
1976 World Championship of Makes
Schiller Racing
2 0 0 0 8
1976 Interserie 1st -
1975 European F2 Championship
Herbert Muller
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1975 World Championship of Makes
H Dannesberger
7 (1) 0 2 0 32
1975 Interserie 1st -
1974 Interserie 1st -
1974 World Championship of Makes
Martini Racing Porsche System
Martini Racing (Porsche)
7 0 3 0 70
1973 World Championship of Makes
Martini Racing (Porsche)
Porsche System Engineering
4 0 1 1 46
1972 World Championship of Makes
Escuderia Montjuich
1 0 0 0 0
1971 International Championship of Makes
Herbert Muller
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
3 0 1 0 10
1970 International Championship of Makes
Ecurie Filipinetti
3 0 0 0 4
1969 International Championship of Makes
Equipe Matra Elf
Joakim Bonnier Racing Team
Ecurie Filipinetti
3 0 1 0 8
1968 International Championship of Makes
Ecurie Filipinetti
1 0 0 0 0
1967 International Championship of Makes
Ecurie Filipinetti
2 0 0 0 3
1966 International Championship of Makes
Ecurie Filipinetti
3 0 2 1 13
1965 International Championship of Makes
Ecurie Filipinetti
1 0 0 0 0
1964 International Championship of Makes
Ecurie Filipinetti
2 0 0 0 1