Klaus Ludwig

Full Name:
Klaus Karl Ludwig
Born:
5th October 1949 (Age 69)
Roisdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia
Nationality:
German
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

When comparing his team’s drivers, IMSA team manager Walter Gerber once remarked that "Klaus could have set up a car over a telephone". Ludwig – the Klaus in question – is an endurance racing legend who won the Le Mans 24 Hours and DTM title three times apiece before securing the FIA GT title in what was planned to be his final season in the sport.

Single-seaters and saloons

Ludwig began competing in local events during 1969 and he was soon racing for Ford in the European Touring Car and German Racing Championships. A brief single-seater career floundered in F2 when racing for Willi Kauhsen in 1976 and 1977. That second season promised much for the team had bought championship winning machinery from the departing Elf-Renault team. But it was a disaster with Ludwig finishing no higher than seventh all year.

Sports car success

Endurance racing was his future and Ludwig met that new challenge impressively. That successful sports car career was launched by victory in the 1978 Nürburgring 1000Kms with Gelo Racing’s Porsche 935. It then accelerated when he joined the Kremer Brothers Porsche team a year later.

Ludwig won races in both the German and world championships with Kremer’s Porsche 935-K3 during 1979. Champion in the former, he captured sports car racing’s greatest prize by winning the Le Mans 24 Hours when sharing with the Whittington brothers.

He regained his national title in 1981 driving Zakspeed’s mighty Ford Capri and was a member of Ford’s short-lived sports car team in 1982. It was with Joest Racing’s New Man Porsche 956 that Ludwig wrote his greatest chapters. He won back-to-back Le Mans 24 Hours in 1984 and 1985 by defeating the powerful works Porsche squad.

DTM and FIA GT Champion

IMSA success included victory in the 1988 Sebring 12 Hours for Bayside Motorsports. Ludwig also won that year’s DTM – his Team Grab Ford Sierra RS500 winning five times. A switch to the works AMG Mercedes-Benz line-up for his title defence eventually culminated in further championship success in 1992 and 1994.

Ludwig was part of the AMG team in the 1997 FIA GT Championship – sharing a Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR with Sandro Nannini, Bernd Schneider, Ralf Schumacher and Bernd Mayländer as he won four times to finish fourth in the championship. Ricardo Zonta was his regular co-driver in 1998 and they beat the sister Schneider/Mark Webber car to the title.

That was planned to be his retirement year but Ludwig returned to win the following year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours – his third such success. Third in the 2000 DTM standings, he continued to compete occasionally until 2012.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2000 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
16 (2) 2 7 2
13% win rate
3rd 122
1998 FIA GT Championship
AMG Mercedes
5 3 5 5 1st 77
1997 FIA GT Championship
AMG Mercedes
4 1 4 4 4th 51
1996 International Touring Car Series
Zakspeed
23 (1) 5 7 4
18% win rate
7th 130
1995 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Team Rosberg
12 0 4 2
17% win rate
3rd 80
1995 International Touring Car Series
Team Rosberg
10 0 1 0
0% win rate
14th 21
1994 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
23 0 10 3
14% win rate
1st 222
1993 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
22 0 9 1
5% win rate
4th 171
1992 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
24 4 10 5
21% win rate
1st 228
1991 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
24 0 9 5
21% win rate
2nd 166
1990 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
22 4 4 1
5% win rate
5th 140
1989 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
14 (2) 8 7 5
36% win rate
11th 155
1988 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Bayside Motorsports
1 0 1 1 0
1988 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Grab Motorsport
22 6 8 5
23% win rate
1st 259
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
Porsche
6 1 4 0 6th 145
1987 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Grab Motorsport
1 0 1 1
100% win rate
0
1987 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Bayside Motorsports
1 0 1 1 0
1987 World Touring Car Championship
Eggenberger Motorsport
11 7 4 4
37% win rate
2nd 268
1987 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
3 0 0 0 0
1986 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Grab Motorsport
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
25th 14
1986 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
5 1 2 1 14th 30
1986 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Team Zakspeed USA
1 1 1 1 0
1985 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Ringshausen ABR Motorsport
4 2 3 3
75% win rate
11th 73.5
1985 World Endurance Championship
Joest Racing
Porsche Kremer Racing
5 0 3 1 5th 58
1984 World Endurance Championship
Joest Racing
5 0 2 1 13th 39
1983 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Zakspeed
1 0 1 1 0
1983 World Endurance Championship
Joest Racing
2 0 0 0 0
1982 World Endurance Championship
Ford Motor Company
6 2 0 0 38th 11
1982 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Team Zakspeed Roush
1 1 1 1 0
1981 Deutsche Rennsportmeisterschaft 1st -
1981 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Team Zakspeed Roush
2 0 2 2 0
1981 World Endurance Championship
Ford Motor Company
1 1 0 0 0
1980 World Championship of Makes 1 0 0 0 0
1979 Deutsche Rennsportmeisterschaft 1st -
1979 World Championship of Makes
Whittington Racing
Porsche Kremer Racing
3 0 3 1 50
1978 World Championship of Makes
Georg Loos
7 3 2 1 34
1977 European F2 Championship
Willi Kauhsen Racing Team
KWS Autotechnik
7 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1976 European F2 Championship
Willi Kauhsen Racing Team
7 0 0 0
0% win rate
12th 4
1976 World Championship of Makes 1 0 0 0 0
1975 World Championship of Makes 1 0 0 0 0