Kurt Kuhnke raced motorcycles during the 1930s and he returned to the sport after World War II. His car racing debut in 1951 was with a 500cc Formula 3 Cooper MkIV and he was runner-up in the 1953 West German F3 Championship with the car. A Cooper MkVIII was acquired in 1954 and he continued in the category throughout Europe for the rest of the decade.
Formula 1 hopeful
He finally stepped up to Formula 1 in 1962 when he entered two non-championship events with Wolfgang Seidel’s Lotus 18-Climax. He failed to qualify at Pau and retired at Solitude after his engine broke.
The following season started with another DNQ at Vallelunga for the Rome Grand Prix. When he did make the grid at Solitude his Borgward engine failed on the opening lap. Kuhnke’s entry for the following week’s German GP was accepted but his best qualifying lap on the Nürburgring was over two and a half minutes from pole position – slowest of all and a non-qualifier once more. He raced in the Kanonloppet at Karlskoga but was once again way off the pace.
In an effort to earn the extra start money paid to constructors, Kuhnke entered his Lotus as a BKL (Borgward Kuhnke Lotus) but it would have helped if he had qualified more often.