- October 20, 1942
- Not Active
Walter Brun is a businessman, former racing driver and team owner from Switzerland who left a significant trail in the history of sports car racing.
As a racer, Brun spent most of a career in touring car and sports car races. At Le Mans 24 Hours, his most notable results were a class victory in 1971 and fourth place overall in 1984. As a team owner, Brun reached the peak in 1984 when his team Brun Motorsport won the World Sportscar Championship. From 1988 to 1990, he was also leading the EuroBrun team in Formula 1, never achieving some notable result.
Class victory in the first attempt at Le Mans 24 Hours
Born in October 1942, Walter Brun started his racing career in the mid-1960s, driving a BMW 2002 TI in hillclimb races. In 1970, he made a start in the European Touring Car Championship, driving a BMW 2002 at Nurburgring 6 Hours.
Then, in 1971, he joined Andre Wicky Racing Team to drive a Porsche 907 in sports car events. In June 1971, he made a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans, sharing the #49 car with Peter Mattli. They finished seventh overall and the first in P2.0 class. Brun came one more time to Le Mans with Wicky Racing Team's Porsche 907 in 1972, finishing 18th overall and second in S2.0 class.
A decade with BMW in touring car competitions
In 1972, Brun spent a season in the European Touring Car Championship in a Mazda RX-3. He drove that car at Spa 24 Hours, not finishing the race due to an accident. In 1973, Brun switched to BMW 3.0 CSL, driving for Team Schnitzer, Herbert Müller Racing or Alpina Racing. At Le Mans 24h, he was driving the #58 BMW 3.0 CSL for Wicky Racing Team, not finishing the race.
Brun continued to race with Schnitzer's BMW 3.0 CSL in 1974 and 1975, then switching to Eggenberger's BMW 320 in 1976 and 1977. In 1978, Brun's main competition was the German Racing Championship (DRM) in a BMW 320 Turbo of Team Heidegger.
In 1979, he was driving his own BMW 320 Turbo in the DRM and BMW M1 in the Procar BMW M1 Series. In 1980, he rejoined Team Schnitzer to continue racing in DRM and Procar Series.
Class victory at 1981 Daytona 24 Hours
In 1981, Brun opened a season with his debut at Daytona 24 Hours, driving the #14 BMW M1 for Bavarian Motors International. He was sharing a car with Hans-Joachim Stuck and Alf Gebhardt, finishing sixth overall and the first in GTO class.
In the rest of the season, Brun raced with Schnitzer's BMW 320 Turbo in German Racing Championship but also made few starts in ETCC races.
Brun Motorsport has been founded in 1983
Brun opened a new chapter of a career in 1982 by joining the partnership of Sauber Racing Switzerland and GS-Sport to drive Cosworth-powered Sauber SHS C6 in DRM and FIA World Endurance Championship. With that car, he and Siegfried Müller Jr. also raced at 24 Hours of Le Mans, not finishing the race.
In 1983, Brun took over the operations of GS-Sport and founded his own team, the Brun Motorsport. The Sauber SHS C6 became the Sehcar SH C6 and the team was using it in the World Endurance Championship. Following technical problems with Sehcvar, the team became one of the first Porsche privateers, running a Porsche 956. The first win came in the Interserie race at Most.
Brun himself was also participating in the European Touring Car Championship with Schnitzer's BMW 635 CSi, sharing a car with Hans-Joachim Stuck.
Fourth place overall at 1984 Le Mans 24 Hours
In 1984, Brun Motorsport purchased one more Porsche 956, running car in the WSC and DRM. They won DRM teams' title while Stefan Bellof was DRM champion using both Joest Racing's and Brun Motorsport's cars.
Walter Brun himself raced in the World Championship and sharing a car with Hans-Joachim Stuck and Harald Grohs. Their best result was the third place at Spa 1000 Km. At Le Mans 24h, Brun finished fourth overall in the #9 Porsche 956, sharing a car with Leopold von Bayern and Bob Akin.
In 1984, Brun also participated in the inaugural DTM season, driving BMW 635 CSi for his own team. He started in five races and scored one podium, finishing 13th in the points.
The team lost Stefan Bellof in 1985
For 1985, Walter Brun added a new Porsche 962C to his fleet of two 956s. Brun participated in selected races, including 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he retired because of an accident. He also continued to race with BMW 635 CSi in touring car races, including Spa 24 Hours.
The team has good results in the Interserie, taking five wins and securing the second place for Hans-Joachim Stuck. The season was marred by a tragedy at Spa in September when Stefan Bellof lost a life crashing Brun Motorsport's Porsche 956.
World champions in 1986
For the 1986 sports car season, Brun expanded his team and a result was more than good as they won the World Sportscar Championship title, beating factory teams of Jaguar and Porsche.
Brun Motorsport's crews won at Jerez and Spa. At Le Mans, the team's #17 Porsche 962C finished second while Brun himself didn't finish the race in the #18 car. His partners were Massimo Sigala and Frank Jelinski.
Brun was active in sports car races until 1991
Walter Brun continued to race with his team in the 1987 World Sportscar Championship, proudly wearing the number 1 on his Porsche 962C but without notable results. In the following years, Brun participated in selected races in the World Championship, IMSA Championship, Interserie or Supercup.
The most notable result was the third place overall at Daytona 24 Hours in February 1989, in the #3 Porsche 962C which he was sharing with Hans-Joachim Stuck and Oscar Larrauri. At Le Mans 24h, he recorded two consecutive DNFs in 1989 and 1990.
His last season in the World Sportscar Championship was in 1991 when he finished tenth at Le Mans in the #17 Porsche 962C. At the end of the season, Brun retired from full-time racing, stopping a project of Brun C91 race car and closing the team.
Three seasons in Formula One
One of the reasons of Brun Motorsport's closure were financial problems of the EuroBrun F1 team which Walter Brun founded in 1988. He founded a team together with an Italian Giampaolo Pavanello, a technical expert and owner of Euroracing team. Walter brought money and organisational skills into the partnership.
In the 1988 F1 season, the team was using ER188 chassis with Cosworth 3.5 V8 engine. The drivers were Oscar Larrauri and Stefano Modena. In 1989, there was just one car with Judd 3.5 V8 engine, driven by Gregor Foitek and Oscar Larrauri. In 1990, Roberto Moreno and Claudio Langes were driving two cars. The team withdrew from the championship two rounds before the 1990 season, ending a life after 76 Grand Prix entries and just 21 starts.
Walter Brun returned to racing in 2000
Walter Brun was out of racing for many years, serving as an assistant in different teams (RWS Motorsport, Konrad Motorsport). He decided to return to a cockpit of a race car at the age of 57, in February 2000 at Daytona 24 Hours. He was driving the #46 Dodge Viper GTS-R for Team Viper West, sharing a car with Toni Seiler and Erik Messley. They finished in the seventh place.
Later that year, Brun raced with Chamberlain Racing's Viper in the FIA GT Series and American Le Mans Series. In his return at Le Mans, he was driving Chrysler Viper for Japanese Team Goh, not finishing the race.
Late career with Konrad Motorsport's Saleen
In 2001, Brun joined Konrad Motorsport to race in a Saleen S7-R in selected races, including Le Mans 24h. He retired at Le Mans and scored ELMS GTS class victory at Jarama. Brun stayed with Konrad Motorsport in 2002, driving a Saleen at Sebring (DNF) and Le Mans (DNF).
He retired from racing after that race but it wasn't a definite retirement. Six years later, in July 2009, Brun recorded one-off guest appearance in the ADAC GT Masters, driving Callaway Competition's Chevrolet Corvette at Lausitzring.