- March 03, 1947
- August 15, 2001
- Not Active
Otto Stuppacher (1947-2001) was an Austrian racing driver who was most known as one of the Formula 1 rejects, recording three unsuccessful attempts to start in F1 Grand Prix races in 1976.
But, Stuppacher wasn't just unproven F1 driver because he achieved some notable results in other motorsport disciplines, becoming the Austrian hillclimb champion in 1971 and participating in many sports car races. He even raced at Le Mans 24 Hours in 1972.
Starting a career in a Porsche 906
The first record of Stuppacher's appearance in races came from 1969 when he drove Porsche 906 in some national sports car events.
Next year, in April 1969, he participated in Monza's round of the International Championship for Makes, sharing the #57 Porsche 906 with Kurt Rieder. They finished 12th, twenty-one laps behind race winners Jo Siffert and Brian Redman.
Sharing a car with Niki Lauda at Österreichring
In July 1969, Stuppacher participated in the inaugural race at newly opened Österreichring, finishing 8th in a Porsche 906.
Two weeks after an inaugural race at Österreichring, the International Championship round took place at the same track. In that race, Stuppacher was sharing the #25 Bosch Racing Porsche 910 with Niki Lauda, finishing in 21st place.
Winning a couple of races in a Porsche 910
Later in the season, Stuppacher himself was driving a Porsche 910 for Bosch Racing Team in national sports car races, even taking a class victory at Preis von Tirol in Innsbruck.
The Bosch Racing Team was satisfied with Stuppacher's performance and the young Austrian had been retained to drive a Porsche 910 in the 1970 European Sportscar Championship and some other competitions. He won one race in the Czech Republic at Terlicko circuit.
Austrian hillclimb champion in a Porsche 908 Spyder
In 1971, Stuppacher continued to race with Bosch Racing Team in different competitions, driving a Porsche 908/2. His sportscar results weren't good but he achieved the success of a career in hillclimb races, winning the Austrian Mountain Championship in his private Porsche 908 Spyder he purchased from Niki Lauda.
Le Mans 24h debut in 1972
In 1972, the International Championship became the World Championship for Makes. Stuppacher stayed with Bosch Racing Team, driving a Porsche 908/2 in four rounds. At Monza 1000 Kilometers, his co-driver was Helmut Marko but they failed to start the race because of engine failure.
In June 1972, Stuppacher made a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was sharing the #58 Porsche 908/2 with Walter Roser. Starting 21st on the grid, Stuppacher crashed after two hours. In one championship round, at Zeltweg 1000 Kilometers, Stuppacher was driving an Abarth 2000 for Bosch, not finishing the race.
Out of racing for two years, returning in 1975
At the end of 1972, at the age of just 25, Stuppacher temporarily retired from racing. He was out of racing for two years, returning to race tracks in 1975.
He entered Zeltweg's round of the World Championship for Makes, driving the #33 Lola T294-Cosworth for Roger Heavens Racing. His co-driver was Herve LeGuellec.
Stuppacher was refused to start at 1976 Austrian Grand Prix
In 1976, Stuppacher's Formula One adventure started. The Austrian ÖASC Racing Team purchased Tyrrell 007 and March 761 F1 cars, planning to run two cars for Otto Stuppacher and Karl Oppitzhauser at Austrian Grand Prix in August at Österreichring.
Both drivers were refused to enter the event due to their lack of experience. They petitioned the other teams for support but two unknown Austrians didn't get enough support and their attempt failed.
What a bizarre breakdown at Monza
Four weeks later, Stuppacher appeared at Monza in the #39 Tyrrell 007, trying to qualify for the Italian Grand Prix. He was the slowest qualifier among 29 drivers. There were twenty-six places on the grid so Stuppacher left Monza and returned to Austria immediately after Saturday's qualifying session.
But, on Sunday, three drivers (James Hunt, Jochen Mass and John Watson) were penalized due to fuel irregularities and Stuppacher was allowed to start the race. Unfortunately for him, he was already in Austria and he missed an opportunity for his Formula 1 debut.
Two catastrophic qualifying attempts in Canada and US
In October, Stuppacher and the team traveled to North America, planning to participate both in the Canadian Grand Prix and US Grand Prix. Their attempts ended in qualifying.
At Mosport Park, Stuppacher was 12.695 seconds slower than polesitter James Hunt and seven seconds slower than second-slowest driver Chris Amon. At Watkins Glen, Stuppacher's lap time at the wet track was 27.448 seconds slower than James Hunt's time. With that qualifying attempt, Stuppacher's racing career came to an end.
There are no records if he raced after October 1976 except his short stint in the Afa Romeo Alfasud European Cup in 1981. Twenty-five years after his last F1 attempt, in October 2001, he was found dead in his apartment in Vienna.
Photos: Technisches Museum Wien,