The Group 5 regulations running from 1976 until 1982 were a time for both heroic cars and heroic drivers, characterized by huge power, light weight and wild looks, Group 5 caught the imagination of the masses of spectators it attracted and is still hugely popular at classic events. Porsche 935, Ferrari 512BBLM, Lancia Beta Montecarlo, the mighty BMW M1 Procar are just a few names from this epic era of half GT half Prototype racing.
DRM or Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft was Germany’s peak motorsport series at the time, attracting large fields of Group 5 cars, even more so then the ‘World Championschip of Makes’ for which they were originally intended. The 1980 season saw a shock move for the series champion and star driver of 1979: Klaus Ludwig. Moving from Porsche with which he won the championship to Zakspeed-Ford. A new Zakspeed Capri Turbo was built specifically for him. Unlike earlier developments of the Capri Turbo, this car was built to compete in the over 2-liter Division 1 of the DRM championschip. Allowing the turbocharged 1400cc 4cylinder to be bored out to 1700cc and fitted with an even larger turbocharger, increasing power from an already serious 450 to 580HP at 9000RPM. While this was less than the dominant Porsche 935’s, it was the Capri’s almost anorexic 810KG that made it a far more potent machine in the corners and under acceleration. This very light weight was made possible by the highly advanced construction that Zakspeed employed to build this thoroughbred race car, while a 935 still maintained some of the original 911 chassis in its construction, the Capri Turbo was a completely custom designed aluminium tube frame to which a mixed Fibreglass and Kevlar body was fitted. Absolutely extreme in its original form, for 1980 an even wilder body was devised, with a full width rear wing and even more aggressive front air-dam the car was by far the most technologically advanced on the grid.
This revolutionary aero package however, proved to be the cars downfall. Not through its lack of effectiveness, quite to the contrary Ludwig won the first 2 races of the seasons handily, giving Porsche a bloody nose in the process. Porsche was not in the least amused and began procedure to ban the aero that had made the car so effective. Erich Zakowski’s response: “We don’t need it, we’ll win without as well.” Words that proved prophetic, as the Zakspeed Capri sans wings but with Ludwig behind the wheel won 6 more rounds of the 1980 DRM championship. The exclusion from the first 2 rounds due to the ‘Illegal’ Aero being the only thing holding them back from a dominant championship win.