A Remembrance of Ludwig Heimrath

TO BEGIN, I will quote from the obituary by Norris MacDonald in the Toronto Star: “Ludwig Heimrath, Canada’s first national driving champion and the first Canadian to race in Formula 1, has died at age 86 of pancreatic cancer. Known as a fierce competitor, he frightened friends and foes alike with his my-way-or-the-highway determination to win at almost any cost.”

Coincidentally, around the time of his passing, I was looking through my old race programs. It appears I have kept most of the programs from the races I have attended. On the Mondays following the race I would often cut out the story from the newspaper. Here is a quote from The Globe and Mail of Aug. 20, 1979: “Scarborough’s Ludwig Heimrath, last year’s champion in the series, didn’t even complete a lap. He pulled his Porsche 935 off the track in protest. He was upset with the way racer William Maier of Hayward, California, conducted himself [on] the pace lap. Heimrath said that Maier cut him off twice. Heimrath said…‘It gets to a certain stage where you say it’s not worth it. I’ve got too much money involved in my car to afford to smash it up. So I decided, in protest, to pull my car off the track.’ Maier, after finishing the race, left the area immediately and was not available for comment.”

Ludwig Heimrath was one of the pre-eminent Canadian racecar drivers and was especially fond of Porsches. Born in 1934, he started racing motorcycles in Germany in 1952. He immigrated to Canada in 1956. He raced in the first race at Mosport in 1961. He won the Canadian Sports Car Championship in its first year, 1961, in a Porsche 718 RS 60. He raced a Formula 1 Porsche for the factory in a non-championship race in Pau, France, making him the first Canadian to race in F1. As mentioned in the January Provinz, he won the 1977 Trans Am after diligently pursuing it all the way to the Paris motor-racing ruling body. He was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2000. He was planning to vintage-race this summer.

In the February issue of Provinz we had two short articles about meeting him. Dan Proudfoot, whose tribute follows, was able to show the magazine to him when he visited in February. Heimrath loved them. </>

Photo by Paul H. Gulde

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