Theo Helfrich was a Mannheim car dealer who raced as Germany emerged from the motor racing exile imposed after World War II. Deprived of international competition, a healthy Formula 2 scene developed in the country and Helfrich was one of those to acquire a Veritas RS-BMW.
Le Mans with Mercedes-Benz
He was fourth at Avus and third at the Sachsenring during 1951. Second at Dessau at the start of the following season, he was chosen by Mercedes-Benz when it entered the 1952 Le Mans 24 Hours. Helfrich was paired with F2 rival Helmut Niedermayr and their 300SL finished in second position behind team-mates Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess. Germany and Mercedes had returned to the international scene with immediate success.
German Grand Prix
He drove his Veritas RS in the German Grand Prix when the race was organised to F2 rules in 1952 and 1953 – finishing 12th that latter year. Third in the 1953 Avusrennen, Helfrich also drove a 1500cc Borgward sports car that season and finished third in the Rhineland Cup at the Nürburgring.
The World Championship returned to Formula 1 rules in 1954 and Helfrich drove Hans Klenk’s Meteor in that year’s German GP but he retired the outclassed machine when its engine failed after eight laps. That was his only F1 race but he continued to compete in hillclimbs and races with a 500cc Formula 3 Cooper-Norton and 1500cc Porsche 550 Spyder sports car until 1957.