German F3 champion in 1985 and DTM vice-champion in 1986, Volker Weidler entered F1 in 1980 with the Rial team but the season was a disappointment. His victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1991 was going to revive his career ... but had the opposite effect!
The shrill engine note of the Mazda was popular with spectators, German driver Volker Weidler also enjoyed the Mazda symphony, and not just with a front row seat, he was the conductor of the rotary engine orchestra! Against advice, he made the choice to remove his earplugs to enjoy the newly enriched sound of four variable length intake trumpets. His decision would have serious consequences. The demands of driving the Mazda led Johnny Herbert to dehydration, but it would cause a more insidious evil for his team mate ...
With his resounding victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991, Volker Weidler pursued his career the following year in the prestigious Japanese F3000 series which Tom Kristensen would soon emerge. Victorious twice (Suzuka and Sugo), he was in good position to win the championship when balance problems disturbed his equilibrium. Probably caused by the vibrations of the quad-rotor Mazda, unbearable tinnitus would soon compel the driver to hang up his helmet for good at the tender age of 30 ... A sad epilogue for those who had just achieved the feat of momentarily taking the lead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1992 driving an underperforming Mazda in the face of the Peugeot and Toyota works teams.
P. S: Today, the noise emitted by each car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans can not exceed the threshold of 110 dBA at 15 metres from the track.
|Volker Weidler (centre) with Jacky Ickx on his right) and team mates Bertrand Gachot (behind) and Johnny Herbert (right of Ickx).||Volker Weidler (centre) on the podium of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1991 without Johnny Herbert who was taken ill after the finish.||The fabulous quad-rotor engine of the Mazda 787b|
Photos : Mazda Motor Europe GmbH