Walter Brun

Full Name:
Walter Anton Brun
Born:
20th October 1942 (Age 77)
Escholzmatt, Lucerne
Nationality:
Swiss
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

This successful businessman is best known in racing circles as a championship-winning sports car entrant and for the failed EuroBrun Formula 1 team. With a fortune earned in the slot machine industry, Walter Brun also raced in sports cars himself after dabbling in local hillclimbs since the mid 1960s.

He made his World Sportscar Championship debut in 1971 when driving an André Wicky Racing Team Porsche 907 at Monza and Le Mans. He finished seventh overall in the latter race with Peter Mattli as his co-driver.

Touring Car success

A mixture of endurance races, the European Touring Car Championship and German sports cars followed but success was limited. He joined Eggenberger’s ETCC team in 1977 and his BMW 320i was third at Mugello and Zolder. A career-best second at Zandvoort a year later, Brun turned owner/driver in 1979 when driving a BMW M1 in the one-make Procar series.

Brun Motorsport

Not only did Brun’s Schnitzer BMW 635 CSi finish third in the 1983 ETCC races at Donington Park, Brno and Osterreichring, but he also formed Brun Motorsport that year to enter a Porsche 956 in the World Sportscar Championship. His team became one of the Porsche stalwarts of the series during the 1980s with drivers such as Oscar Larrauri, Massimo Sigala and Hans-Joachim Stuck starring.

Success and tragedy with Stefan Bellof

Stefan Bellof started two races for the team as he won the 1984 World Sportscar Championship – guesting when the works team (for whom he normally drove) were absent. Those included victory in the Imola 1000Kms with Stuck his co-driver. Bellof also won that year’s German Sportscar Championship for the team. Unfortunately the emerging F1 star was killed at Spa-Francorchamps in 1985 when his Brun Motorsport Porsche 956 collided with Jacky Ickx’s works car at Eau Rouge.

World Championship for Teams

The team rebounded from the tragedy to enjoy its most successful season in 1986. Larrauri, Jesús Pareja and Joël Gouhier finished second in the Le Mans 24 Hours before Larrauri and Pareja’s 962C led a Brun 1-2 at Jerez. Second that day, scoring his best result as a driver, was Walter Brun who was sharing the older 956 with Frank Jelinski. The latter then combined with Thierry Boutsen to win at Spa-Francorchamps as Brun Motorsport clinched the World Championship for Teams. Those victories were Brun’s last as a team owner, although the team was runner-up to Silk Cut Jaguar in the 1987 standings.

Formula 1 with EuroBrun

He made an ill-fated entry into F1 when combining with Paolo Pavanello’s Euroracing organisation to form EuroBrun in 1988. Brun’s long-time team leader Larrauri was joined by reigning Formula 3000 Champion Stefano Modena but the Cosworth-powered EuroBrun ER188 was not competitive and both drivers struggled to qualify.

Two further seasons were even worse – never making it through pre-qualify during 1989 and the underfunded concern folded after the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix. Roberto Moreno had qualified for a couple of races that year but it was a sad waste of the Brazilian’s talent.

Brun continued as a driver until 1991 and fourth in the 1984 Le Mans 24 Hours his best finish in the event. He returned to GTs in 2000 but crashed a Team Goh Chrysler Viper GTS-R at Le Mans after suffering a puncture. He continued to compete from time-to-time into his late-sixties when business commitments allow.