Everyone, little that he likes the automotive world, knows him. He is one of the best rally drivers in history. In addition, it is currently still linked to cars through various brands. That is why we wanted to gather a series of anecdotes and curiosities of Walter Röhrl: these are the ones that have caught our attention the most. That you enjoy them.
The death of his brother
His brother was killed in a car accident. That is why his father decided that his professional career would have nothing to do with driving, much less with racing. What he wanted was to prevent the same tragedy from happening to him as his brother. Yet it was in his genes.
From very early on, his job was detached from cars. He began studying commerce in Regensburg, his hometown, and even ended up working for the local bishop. He later proved to be gifted at sports until he went on to win a local ski championship. In addition, he spent his free time playing table tennis.
Video: Walter Röhrl at the controls of the Porsche 953 on ice and snow
Right after trying other jobs, he got his driver’s license. He started working as a driver, covering some 120,000 km a year, which gave him a great deal of experience behind the wheel. And it was in 1968 when he was first put at the controls of a rally car.
His first car
One of Walter Röhrl’s anecdotes and curiosities that stands out the most is the purchase of his first own car. It was the same one his brother had and the one he recommended to him when he was 10 years old: a Porsche. Specifically, a 356. Although Walter’s was the one with a cabriolet body.
Love for Porsche
It was there that he became truly passionate about the Stuttgart firm. He bought that car with only 20 years after a lot of time saving and then he had several (test) Porsche 911s. He achieved such good results in competition with his own car that he ended up racing in the Fiat Abarth rally team.
His first car … rally
Walter Röhrl’s first rally car was a Fiat. It was a Fiat 850 Coupé with standard tires and a power of 47 hp. He did not get great results with him, but he showed the talent he had as a pilot. When asked about it, he said that driving a race car was a lot like skiing.
At the height of his rallying career, he was very active in the development of one of the most technological vehicles ever developed by Porsche for its time: the 959. A supercar ahead of its time that would mark an era.
A defining phrase
“Good rally drivers have dead flies on the side windows.” This is one of the great pearls that Walter Röhrl has left us throughout his career, it shows that he liked to go sideways in more than one curve. He released her after getting fed up with not being able to succeed with the Opels and continue his career with his Porsche and a Fiat 131 Abarth.
Driver, not actor
But the above was not the only phrase for Walter Röhrl’s story. And it is that when the Rothmans cigarette brand sponsored its racing team in the early 1980s, the German refused to record a promotional video of the company. “I was hired as a driver, not as an actor,” he snapped.
Walter Röhrl and the seven generations of the Porsche 911 Turbo
Drive for passion
There was a time when his teammate, Gerhard Berger, traveled to the different countries where competitions were held by plane. Röhrl was driving, even saying that if he did not cross half of Europe asking for directions he would have ended up being a hermit given his pressing shyness.