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Formula Ford: start of a successful career

After Goa's departure from karting, he gets into Formula 3 with Schäfer. Here he also races against Lechner, to whom he then introduces his brother Stefan. In 1979, while still in his karting career, the latter got a chance to do his first test race with Formula Ford. In Hockenheim he leaves a lasting impression and starts his real racing career after karting. It is already clear at this stage what an extraordinary driver he is and that he was born for great things.

“This insane vehicle control, the extravagant braking points, the looseness of his actions - just gigantic!“
Walter Lechner, Formula Ford team boss on Stefan’s first race 1979

In 1980, things really take off in parallel to his last year of karting. Walter Lechner, Team boss of Formula Ford, is so enthusiastic about Stefan, that he lets him drive despite limited financial resources. In return for the free drives, the rising star has to deliver all his bonuses and look for sponsors shortly afterwards to pay for the races. This is a difficult issue, but with the help of a friend, he finally gets the support of condom maker Fromm - a very brave choice back in Stefan's day, that Stibbich still laughs about. The main thing is he can drive!

“The act of force to get Stefan from the kart into a real racing car was one of the most beautiful but also difficult tasks. At the end of the 70s in Germany, not every young guy who had won a karting race could just get into a racing car or even an F1 career“.
Walter Lechner

With his daring driving, Stefan notches up 9 wins in this season and wins the Ricoh Cup. 1981 shows, however, that his carefree attitude does not go down well across the board: in this year's championship he comes up against his first major rival, Volker Weidler. In the semi-final on the Siegerland airfield, the two men try to outsmart each other at the start and force each other to jump the gun. This mind game makes Weidler so nervous that he actually drives into a tyre stack and Stefan wins the race without any problems. Although he is accused of jumping the gun, the decision on any penalties is not due until four weeks after the final.

“If I were anxious or afraid, I certainly couldn’t put the foot down“.
Stefan Bellof

If the decision should go against Stefan and he actually has to take penalty minutes, he has to win the final to ultimately achieve overall victory. As expected, the last race is particularly exciting for him. Weidler leads the field throughout the entire race with Stefan close on his heels. Then, on the last bend, Bellof overtakes his rival and wins! Later, he is handed a penalty minute but that does not change anything. Stefan Bellof wins the German Formula Ford title 1981. Gradually, his talent starts to get people talking about him.


Saisonauftackt Formel Ford, Zolder 1980 | © Familie BellofZolder 1980, Startvoraufstellung mit Bruder Goa | © Familie BellofZolder 1980, Startvoraufstellung mit Bruder Goa | © Familie BellofZolder 1980, im Gespräch mit Mechaniker im Fahrerlager | © Familie BellofFlugplatzrennen Mainz/Finthen | © Familie BellofStefan Bellof gebeugt über Freundin Angelika, Goa Bellof stehend dahinter | © Familie BellofStefan Bellof prüft Motor, Bruder Goa im Hintergrund | © Familie Bellof


DateRace trackCategory/ChamiponshipResult
10.11.1979HockenheimFormel Ford 1600 / DMV Renne2.
03.03.1980ZolderFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-PokalA
04.05.1980NürburgringFormel Ford 1600 / Ricoh Cup1.
18.05.1980Mainz-FinthenFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal1.
24.05.1980HockenheimFormel Ford 1600 / Ricoh Cup2.
07.06.1980HockenheimFormel Ford 1600 / Ricoh Cup1.
13.07.1980NürburgringFormel Ford 1600 / Ricoh Cup1.
20.07.1980NürburgringFormel Ford 1600 / Ricoh Cup1.
03.08.1980NürburgringFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal4.
07.09.1980HockenheimFormel Ford 1600 / Ricoh Cup1.
14.09.1980Siegerland FlugplatzFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal1.
20.09.1980HockenheimFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal1.
28.09.1980HockenheimFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-PokalA
12.10.1980ZolderFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Poka4.
22.03.1981ZolderFormel Ford 2000 / Lion TrophyA
29.03.1981Nürburgring 300kmFormel Ford 2000 / Lion TrophyA
29.03.1981Nürburgring 300kmFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-PokalA
12.04.1981NürburgringFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal1.
26.04.1981Hockenheim 100 MeilenFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal1.
17.05.1981Mainz-FinthenFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal1.
24.05.1981HockenheimFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal1.
12.07.1981SalzburgringFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal2.
09.08.1981NürburgringFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal2.
16.08.1981ZandvoortFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal2.
13.09.1981Siegerland FlugplatzFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal9. (1.)
11.10.1981ZolderFormel Ford 1600 / ONS-Pokal1.
01.11.1981Brands HatchFormel Ford 1600 / World Festival6. (Vorlauf)
01.11.1981Brands HatchFormel Ford 1600 / World Festival7. (1/4 Finale)

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