Franz Konrad is a veteran racing driver from Austria, an owner of Konrad Motorsport and a former race car designer. Konrad's racing career started in 1973 and he is still active, most recently competing with his team at 24 Hours of Nürburgring in May 2018.
Early in a career, in 1983, he was German Formula 3 champion. Later he became successful sports car racer, gaining some success in world's greatst endurance races. He was second at 1990 Le Mans 24 Hours in a Jaguar XJR-12. In 1993, he won 24 Hours of Nürburgring in his own Porsche 911 Carrera. In 1998, he was GT2 class winner at 24 Hours of Daytona in Konrad Motorsport's Porsche 911 GT2.
Late start of a career
Born in June 1951 in Graz, Franz Konrad was interested in cars and motorsport since his childhood but began to compete relatively late, in 1973. Next year, he debuted in the DRM - German Racing Championship, driving his own Porsche 914/6. His first notable result was the 6th place in 1976 European GT Championship, in the year when he founded his Konrad Motorsport team.
In the following two years, Konrad continued to race in the DRM with Porsche 935, but scored relatively modest results. The Austrian also raced in various Formula racing championships and Procar BMW M1 Series but without too much success.
German Formula 3 champion in 1983
The next good result he has scored was the 3rd position in the German Formula 3 in 1980. In the following season Konrad finished as the series runner-up to Frank Jelinski. Franz scored 10 podiums out of 11 races that year. After finishing 5th in the 1982 German F3, Franz finally won the series title in 1983 after winning 3 out of 8 races.
In a meantime, Konrad tested himself in the European Formula 2 Championship, as well as in the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the Kremer Racing’s Porsche 956. Interestingly, Konrad stayed in single-seaters racing until the end of 1985 but at the same time he became more involved in the sports car endurance racing events.
Le Mans 24h runner-up in 1990
The second half of the 1980s and early 1990s probably were the peak of Konrad’s racing career. In 1987 he was 4th at Le Mans 24h, driving the Leytonhouse/Kremer Racing Porsche alongside the South African drivers Wayne Taylor and George Fouche. The same year he also set a lap record at the Nurburgring 24 hours driving a Porsche 935.
Konrad continuously raced all around the globe in various categories and also worked on developing its own car. After finishing 3rd in the German Interseries in 1989, Franz in the following year scored his best result at Le Mans 24h. Driving a factory-backed Jaguar with Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace, he finished 2nd in the race.
Nurburgring 24 hours winner and Porsche Carrera Cup champion
In 1991, Franz Konrad revealed the Konrad KM-011, a Group C sportscar with Lamborghini engine. With that car he competed in the Sportscar World Championship but without success. The following success was a victory at Nurburgring 24 hours in 1993 when he was driving Porsche 911 Carrera. The same year Conrad finished 3rd at 24 Hours of Spa, as well as in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany.
After that, Konrad achieved a lot of success on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. He twice won Mil Milhas race in Brazil. In 1995 Franz scored a class win at 12 Hours of Sebring and was 2nd in the GT2 class of BPR GT Series. Two years later, the Graz-born raced became Porsche Carrera Cup champion and again triumphed at Sebring, and also finished 3rd at 24 Hours of Daytona. In 1998, Konrad won the GT2 class at Daytona and again became Porsche Carrera Cup champion.
Konrad conquered Daytona and Sebring
In 1999, Konrad raced with a moderate success in various classes of the American Le Mans Series, as well as in the FIA GT World Championship and Porsche Carrera Cup. In 2001, he was the vice-champion in GTS Championship of the ALMS with wins at Sebring and Laguna Seca driving the Konrad Saleen S7R. With the same car, Franz that year finished 2nd in the GTS class at Le Mans 24h.
Before retiring from full-time racing at the end of 2004, Konrad scored many notable results in the American Le Mans Series and FIA GT World Championship.
He never retired from racing completely, focusing on running his own team and occasionally racing in different competitions.