Liebe zu Ihm - Love for the Porsche

Liebe zu Ihm - Love for the Porsche

Tribute to Heini Walter

Heini (Heinrich) Walter was born in Alpental (Switzerland) july 28 1927.

When Heini was 2 years old, his parents moved to Aesch near Basel, and he lived there the rest of his life. His parents had a garage and after he learnt the job of mechanic (cars and motorcycles) at Hess (Basel) for 2 years, he started working in the parental workshop. Since his parents had a taxi company too, Heini had to drive a lot too, and so he started to develop his own driving techniques.

It was Heini's father who motivated him to start racing. Only 3 days for the ACS-Section mountain race , Heini and his father bought a 2liter Bugatti for 12000 Swiss Francs. He choose the Bugatti above a Alfa Romeo since the Bugatti was 20 years old, exactly the age of Heini. In his first race, he gained 2nd place.

In 1955 Heini Walter bought the Merkel-Porsche and drove it in the 1100ccm class , and won all races. Shortly before he would win the Swiss Mountain Championship, during a technical inspection, it was discovered that the engine was a 1300 ccm. Heini was disqualified. Later he told that that was the greatest disappointment he ever had in his life.

Despite the disappointment, in 1956 Heini continued racing and he decided to have a car built at the famous race pilot and bodybuilder Kurt Sauter. Engine was a overhauled Porsche 1500 engine. No major races were won with this car, and Heini had a severe crash with it at the mountain races in St. Ursanne - Les Rangiers.

In 1957 he bought a Porsche 550 , probably 550-010, and it was with this car that Heini Walter won his first Swiss Sports-car Championship. In the Swiss Mountain Championship race , heading from Tiefenkastel to Lenzerheide, Porsche had him drive a factory race car for the first time.

In 1958 Heini bought the Carel Godin de Beaufort Porsche 550 (550-042) and won the Swiss Sportscar Championship again. In the European Mountain Championship he finished at the 8th place.

1959 was the most successful year of Heini Walter, after he bought a Porsche RSK (718-029). He won the German Rennsportmeisters and kept great pilots as Joakim Bonnier and Wolfgang von Trips behind. In the European Mountain Championship Edgar Barth gained overall victory, and Heini Walter finished 2nd. That same year he became for the 3rd time Swiss Sports-car Championship.

1960 and 1961 were the years Heini Walter won the European Mountain Championship and the Swiss Sports-car Championship in a Porsche RSK and Porsche RS 60 (718-042). He raced in a few Formel Junior races, with a Sauter-DKW and for the Ecurie Hoba in a MBM. As a co-pilot Heini raced rallies too , achieving a 7th place in the Rally of Monte-Carlo in a works Sunbeam. 1960 was the year Heini bought a restaurant in Aesh, which soon became a gathering place for motor-sport enthusiasts.

At the 1962 German Grand-Prix, Walter raced a 4cylinder Porsche F1 for the Scuderia Filipinetti. He started the race at the 4th row and in bad weather conditions he finished 14th. In 1963, he raced for the Scuderia Filipinetti in the Porsche RS60, which he sold to them and finished 2nd in the European Mountain Championship. Mid 1963 he left the Scuderia Filipinetti. Carlo Abarth offered him a place till end 1963 but Heini Walter preferred to drive Porsches.

In 1964, after the presentation of the Porsche 904 GTS, Heini Walter bought one of these cars (904-033 ?). Mid year he crashed the car at the Turkheim Bergrennen and he had to buy another Porsche 904 GTS. Despite the accident, he achieved 1st place in the GT class of the European Mountain Championship.

1965 Heini had the opportunity to buy a Ferrari 250LM to drive it in the GT-Class. However, the car couldn't get a homologation since there weren't enough build so he competed in the prototyp class. After a crash , he cut the roof of the car, and created a one-off Ferrari 250LM Spyder. In 1966 Walter drove both a Porsche Carrera 6 and the Ferrari. In 1967 he bought a Porsche 910 in which he achieved some minor race victories Oktober 1st 1967 Heini drove his last race at the Hockenheim ring, and finished 2nd.

In 1968 he wanted to drive the 1000km of the Nurburgring , but he had a crash during the training sessions so he couldn't start the race.

After the death of his father in 1968, Heini continued the parental company. He still owned his restaurant, and started a business in real-estate too, which meant he had to retire from racing. From time to time, he was asked by the Swiss Television to comment races. Despite a severe illness and being forced to a wheelchair, Heini Walter enjoyed visits a lot and he celebrated his 80th birthday with a big party.

April 4 2009 was his last public appearance as he attended a race-pilot gathering at Roggwill Race-Inn. Heini Walter deceased May 12 2009.

Text : Tim Havermans
Pictures : Porsche / Liebe zu Ihm / Wilfried Geerts

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