Zolder Apr 21st 2007
World Series by Renault
Dr Helmut Marko, posing with Carlos Ghys.
Dr. Helmut Marko (born April 27, 1943 in Graz) is a former Formula One driver from Austria.
As friend of Jochen Rindt, he entered racing, and eventually participated in 9 Grands Prix, debuting on 15 August 1971 for the BRM team. He scored no F1 championship points.
However, he had more success in endurance racing, winning the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving a Martini-Porsche 917K with Gijs van Lennep. During that year, they set a new overall distance record which is still unbeaten.
Despite being concerned about the lack of safety at the Targa Florio, he drove the fastest laps the mountains of Sicily in order to catch up several minutes, eventually losing by a mere seconds. On 21 May 1972, Helmut Marko set the all-time race lap record of the 720km event in an Alfa Romeo 33 (race car) at 33'41 min, at an average of 128,253 km/h.
A few weeks later on 2 July, during the 1972 French Grand Prix, a stone thrown from the car ahead, due to "cutting the corners" at the Charade Circuit which had no curbs at the time, hit Marko in the eye as his visor got pierced. The injury damaged his eye, leaving him partially blind, ending his racing career.
Marko is also a barrister, and opened two hotels near Graz after his racing career ended. Later, he returned to motorsports to become a manager for Gerhard Berger and Karl Wendlinger, before running his own Formula 3 and Formula 3000 team, RSM Marko.
During 2007, Marko was in charge of the Red Bull driver training program.