Joe Buzzetta's lucky win
How must Joe Buzzetta have felt on the podium of the 1000 kilometer race in 1967?
Author: Udo Klinkel - He probably couldn't believe his luck, because he definitely didn't expect it. "One man's bad luck is another man's good fortune"-a saying that perfectly fits what happened at this race. Porsche had brought a large contingent of drivers and vehicles to the Nürburgring, because an overall victory was finally on the cards. And so it happened that Huschke von Hanstein, Porsche's racing director at the time, also gave his American works driver a "drive" at the Nürburgring. Six cars, twelve drivers.
That would have to go with the devil. The math worked out, the fast Chaparral of Phil Hill and Mike Spence dropped out, John Surtees in the Lola T70 had a serious accident, and that cleared the way for Porsche. The only question was which car would come out on top in the end.
Actually, one of the three 2.2-liter 910s was supposed to win the race, but the three 2.0-liter cars were about 10 seconds slower on average. The Porsche with the starting number 17 is in position 7 on the grid. Udo Schütz, who knows the Nürburgring inside out, had posted the second fastest practice time in the 2000cc class.
Unfortunately, the start fails him quite thoroughly, as the car only starts after several attempts. In the meantime, his five colleagues have long since disappeared. Schütz has to contend with the three factory Alfa Romeos on the first lap and is also harassed and overtaken by Hill and Surtees, who also got off to a poor start. Ahead, the five other works Porsches roar through the Eifel woods. And all this in front of a record crowd of supposedly 350,000 spectators.
120,000 tickets were sold, more than ever before. However, it's doubtful that more than 200,000 people managed to sneak in through the woods. Be that as it may, the atmosphere around the Nordschleife is excellent. Five German cars in front, what more could you want. Schütz gradually fights his way to the front, and after 15 laps Joe takes over the number 17 Porsche. At the halfway point, the two have moved up to fourth place.
Of course, the retirements of the Chaparral, the Lola and the long leading Porsche of Jo Siffert and Hans Herrmann were helpful. Thus the Mitter/Bianchi car takes the lead and looks like the sure winner for a long time. To be precise, until the last lap, until the carousel. Because there the front runner stops. Gerhard Mitter has dropped out, the electrics have paralyzed the Porsche. And, hard to believe ...å Gerhard Koch and Joe Buzzetta stop to help get Mitter's Porsche going again.
They don't have to worry about their positions, because the next non-Porsche competitor is a full quarter of an hour behind. But it's no use, the 910 with start number 7 won't budge. Only now do the two helpers get back into their cars and set off on the final kilometers to the finish. There is no three-way photo finish, as requested by race director von Hanstein. There are only two 910s crossing the finish line side by side. And Joe Buzzetta is ahead by a nose and thus enters his name in the list of winners of the 1000 kilometer race.