Gerd Körber: A Legend Says Farewell
It is a career like no other. One characterised by a longevity rarely seen in motorsport, in any discipline.
A young and timid Gerd Körber turned up at the Nurburgring in 1987 aiming to make a name for himself on the international stage.
This mission was undoubtedly accomplished as he collected three titles with the 1991 Class C title and the pair of Super Race Truck championships in 2002 and 2003.
It has been a stellar career and one that was celebrated at Nurburgring this year as the paddock commemorated 30 years of accomplishments in one of racing’s toughest competitions.
“You know, throughout my career I have always tried to compete at the front,” said Körber after announcing his retirement at the end of the 2017 season.
“But the one constant through these long times has been the people; the mechanics, the engineers, the people who make the lunch, the people who run the races, whatever. We love the machinery, we love the trucks, but it is the people who make it special for us. We are a community, yes we race hard and there are bust ups and problems sometimes but overall we race because we love it and we should not forget this fact ever.”
Körber has been a hero to so many in his time at the pinnacle of truck racing but he has fond memories of his racing exploits from the very start after he attended a long forgotten race which proved to be a monumentally defining time.
“1986 was the first time when we were at the Nürburgring as spectators at the Truck Grand Prix,” says the trucking legend.
“The weather was nice, we saw a lot of spectators and my father, who at that time ran a transport company, said: ‘why don’t we try truck racing.’
“Then, in 1987, we started with a nearly standard MAN. In my first year I got a lot of podiums and that allowed me to get sponsors, so since the beginning of my career I never paid for racing. We had a good marketing situation. My company grew around truck racing and 10 years later we were building chassis for DAF, for MAN and more, just like McLaren used to do for Mercedes-Benz,”
It’s easy to imagine that with 30 years of racing under his belt, the man himself struggles a bit when asked to pick one memory from the Nürburgring that he considers the most special.
“I have a lot of memories. It’s the home race and the most precious one for German drivers. All the sponsors are there and they want to see you on top of the podium.”
“I always raced to make it to the top step. Of course you can’t always be there but when you are you really appreciate it. I will have the best memories of my life in truck racing. It has been fantastic.”