MarkusWinkelhock is a professional racing driver from Germany who throughout his career competed in the various competitions.
Early years in various Formula competitions
He was born in Stuttgart on 13th of June 1980, as a son of former racer Manfred who was killed in a crash when Markus was five years old. As a teenager, Winkelhock has competed in the various junior Formula competitions. In 1998, he was a vice-champion in Formula Konig while in the following year Markus finished 4th in Formula Renault Germany, with two wins in his books. Driving in Formula Renault Eurocup in 2000, Winkelhock managed to win one race to finish 6th in the championship.
In the following two years, Winkelhock drove for Mucke Motorsport in the German Formula 3 championship. During the season of 2001, Markus scored three race wins to finish 5th overall while in 2002 he took 7th position in the championship after he has scored only one win. Markus stayed with Mucke Motorsport in 2003 but now has competed in Formula 3 Euroseries. After he won two races that year, Winkelhock at the end of the season took 4th place in the Drivers’ championship.
Short spell in DTM and return to single-seaters
After graduating in open-wheel racing, Winkelhock in 2004 switched to touring cars, entering the DTM series. Driving a Team Persson’s Mercedes, Markus failed to impress. In 10 races he couldn’t score a point, so he finished 19th in his first full-time year in the most popular German racing series.
Markus Winkelhock, 2005 World Series by Renault
Somewhat disappointed, he returned to single-seaters in 2005. As a driver of a Draco Multiracing USA in the World Series by Renault, he had one of his best years so far. He won three out of 17 races that year and finished 3rd in the final standings. Unfortunately, one of the moments which were best remembered from 2005 were two crashes in Monaco . one during qualifying and one in the first lap of the race.
Winkelhock tiptoed to Formula 1
The year of 2006 has begun with a lot of optimism for Winkelhock after he has been named a test and reserve driver of Midland F1 Team. Markus had a chance to show what he has in for Friday tests and signed a new contract with the team, now under the name Spyker F1, for the 2007 campaign.
Markus Winkelhock, Midland F1 Team
Winkelhock entered only one race in his Formula 1 career
That year he drove his sole Formula 1 Grand Prix. Winkelhock replaced Christijan Albers for the European Grand Prix. He had to start the race from the last position but in the last moment, he was called from the team to switch to intermediate tyres. Heavy rain forced rest of the grid to pit early what allowed Winkelhock to take a lead. His advantage was 33 seconds when the safety car was deployed and after the restart, his team made a wrong tactical decision and finally he was forced to retire on lap 15 after car’s failure.
Video - Markus Winkelhock driving Toyota M16 at Hungaroring
Unsuccessful return to DTM
Spyker team decided not to retain services of the German driver for the rest of the season, opting to sign Japanese Sakon Yamamoto. During the rest of the season, Winkelhock returned to DTM, he drove seven races but again couldn’t win a single point.
Markus Winkelhock, 2008 DTM
Finally, in 2008 Markus earned some points in DTM. Driving for Team Rosberg, the Stuttgarter won six points and took 11th place overall. The things slightly improved in 2009 when Winkelhock scored 11 points out of 10 races to finish 10th in the championship while in his last year in DTM, Markus had 7 points on his account what was enough only for the 12th place.
GT1 World Championship was well suited for Markus
Starting from 2011 Winkelhock has competed in GT1 World Championship. Driving a Lamborghini for All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport alongside the team boss Marc Basseng, it looked like Markus finally found a competition which is well suited for him. In his first year, he earned three wins and was 5th at the end of the season.
Markus with Marc Basseng
Winkelhock obviously enjoyed a new engagement and it was seen in 2012. The team switched to Mercedes for the GT1 World Championship what proved to be a good decision. Winkelhock and Basseng won only one race, but they had nine more podium finishes and they became a series’ champions, taking a crown in the very close season, by only one point ahead of Hexis Racing and Vita4One Racing Team.
Two wins at Nurburgring 24 Hours
In 2012, driving Team Phoenx's Audi R8 LMS alongside Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase and Frank Stippler, Winkelhock won the 24 Hours of Nürburgring for the first time, while two years later he repeated a success with same team and the same car, but this time sharing a seat with Haase, René Rast and Christian Mamerow.
Christopher Haase, Christian Mamerow, Rene Rast and Winkelhock celebreate winning NUrburgring 24h
Solid results in Blancpain Series
GT1 World Championship ceased before the start of 2013 season but the new competition was formed under the umbrella of SRO. Winkelhock signed with well-known Phoenix Racing team to compete in the Blancpain Endurance Series, but his first year wasn’t brilliant after he finished 23rd with 12 points.
Markus had a lot of success with Audi
In 2014, Winkelhock drove both Sprint and Endurance series of Blancpain. Interestingly, in Endurance cup, he entered only one race and won it, while in Sprint series he drove full-season, collected 32 points and finished 11th overall. Further improvement followed in 2015 when Markus took 9th position in Blancpain Sprint Series with 48 points, but in Endurance failed to finish any of five races he has entered.
For the season of 2016, Winkelhock decided to have more duties. He continued with his commitments with PhoenixRacing in Blancpain but with the same team, he also debuted in ADAC GT Masters.