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Tasman Legends: Vern Schuppan

Vern Schuppan won the Rothmans International Series Formula 5000 series, driving a Lola T332 and placed second in the 1976 Australian Grand Prix driving an Elfin MR8. In 1978 he was runner up in the Rothmans International Series.

Originally from from Whyalla, South Australia. He drove in various categories, but arguably most of his success was as a sports car driver and was heavily associated with Porsche till the end of his career.

His sports car career, particularly at the Le Mans 24 Hours flourished, firstly as a long term member of the Mirage team and later as a member of Porsche’s official factory squad. After coming close to victory many times, a win finally arrived in 1983.

Schuppan participated in 13 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, mostly for Ensign and Surtees, making his debut on May 12, 1974. He failed to score any championship points during his sporadic six year career.

In 1971 Schuppan won the British Formula Atlantic Championship and this led to a test drive with BRM.

In 1972 whilst BRM’s test driver he tried unsuccessfully to qualify for the 1972 Belgian Grand Prix. However Schuppan had some good non-championship race finishes with a fourth in the Victory Race and a fifth in the International Gold Cup. In 1973 he finished ninth in the BRDC International Trophy in a BRM.

Schuppan competed in three Indianapolis 500 races (1976, 1979, 1981), with a best result of third in 1981 driving a McLaren-Ford. He won the 1974 and 1976 Macau Grand Prix races, dominating the 1974 by four laps.

He was the 1983 Japanese Sports-Prototype Champion, and followed his 1976 5th place finish, 1975 3rd place finish and 1977 & 1982 2nd place finishes of the 24 hours of Le Mans by winning in 1983 driving a Porsche 956 with Al Holbert and Hurley Haywood. In 1984 he finished 6th at Le Mans with former Formula One World Champion Alan Jones. He had a number of other podium finishes in the World Sports Car Championship. These include a second in the 1973 & 1982 Spa 1000km, third in the 1983 & 1984 Fuji 1000km and a third in the 1985 Selangor 800km races. Schuppan also placed third in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship in 1984, 1985 and 1986.

With Japanese backing, he also produced a road going evolution of the Porsche 962 called the Schuppan 962CR. At the then price of 195 million yen (1.5 million USD) only six were built.

Via : Wikipedia

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