Portrait of Johannes Scheid: The Lord of the Ring

Portrait of Johannes Scheid
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J ohannes Scheid is one of those people who keep getting up . Stand up to say something, stand up to carry on and stand up to live a dream. For Scheid, motorsport is that dream. And at the same time it is precisely this sport that repeatedly makes him have to get up in the first place.

Like in October 2009 at the end of the season of the BFGoodrich endurance championship. He sits in the pits with a dark blue BMW sweater. The dirt under his fingernails still tells of his last night shift. He worked in his hobby room - as he lovingly calls his workshop. Until the BMW M3 with the nickname Eifelblitz was finished at race eight after the serious accident in free practice. The way he always pulls one thing through. Even if afterwards he feels as if the entire starting field of the endurance championship has rolled over him.

In vain. The master of the Eifelblitz does not follow the race from his usual box number 6, but sits in the Manthey Racing lounge. Despite the reading glasses on his nose and his I-Phone in his hand, he looks like a racing mechanic with an oil-smeared face in the classy P1 disco between the VIP guests and the fluffy carpet. He was supposed to be standing by the pit wall with the stopwatch. But even though Scheid transformed the M3 from a scrap heap into an operational racing car at the last minute, he has to watch. His drivers did not expect that he would make the impossible possible - and planned their weekend without the Eifelblitz. 'Everyone asks what's going on, I could put a sign on myself,' jokes Scheid in the cheerful Eifel dialect.

Scheid is known around the ring as a sore thumb

Everyone at the Ring knows the 60-year-old. Even if he cannot start, he is always drawn to the Nordschleife. When he longs for his second love next to his wife Heidi, he simply looks out of his living room window in Kottenborn over to the Schwedenkreuz. The Nürburgring and Scheid are something like Susi and Trolch, Bonnie and Clyde or Batman and Robin. They are inseparable. Already at the age of 15, the then motor vehicle apprentice sucked in the curves of the Nordschleife, like others of his age cigarettes.

Even then, as a little steppe, he dreamed of being celebrated as a racing driver on this legendary track . Scheid took hisDream in your own hands. Even if indirectly. 'At the beginning we had no idea about motorsport,' says Scheid and laughs out loud. First he gained experience as a race director in slalom sport. Then he'd had enough of just standing beside the track. He wanted to race himself. It all started with an NSU TT in 1969. At that time, Scheid took part in slaloms and orientation drives. He celebrated his first major success with a class win in an Opel Ascona at the popular 36-hour race in 1971.

Scheid will remember the 36-hour race for a long time

He will also probably never forget the 36-hour race, which was converted into a 7-hour race shortly after the oil crisis. On the Wippermann section, a Beetle drove up the embankment in front of Scheid's BMW 2002 ti during practice. He flung back and hit Scheid on the roof. 'I hadn't expected that any more,' says the Eifler amused today. A few meters further he gets out of the car. 'I thought a grenade had hit.' The BMW 2002 ti is badly damaged, but the team is preparing the car for the race. 'They all called it a banana, it was so crooked.'

But Scheid also got something in the accident. Broken glass adorn his face. Scheid drove anyway. With broken ribs. The result: class victory. But not the sweet moment of triumph, but the care of the other drivers, which is rarely found today, was the culmination. 'The window was broken. Several drivers came up to me and offered me their full face helmet because I only had a jet helmet. That would have pulled right. That was a really nice gesture.'

Scheid is co-founder of the long distance championship

Scheid's further career is mainly shaped by the establishment of the long distance championship in 1977, in which he himself participated. He starts for Autobianchi and Willi Martini, occasionally changes to a Fiat 127, drives hill climbs, and then ends up at BMW. From 1990 he entered a BMW M3 E30 and won the endurance championship in 1994 and 1995 and the 24 hour race in 1996. A year later he was unbeatable again; with Sabine Schmitz, Peter Zakowski and Hans Jürgen Tiemann, he was the first to cross the finish line after 24 hours in a BMW M3 E36. The following year, he and Schmitz won the endurance cup again.

The BMW M3 E46 GTS has been part of the inventory in the hobby room since 2001. Just as the BMW M3 is an integral part of the hobby room, Johannes Scheid is part of the inventory of his home town of Kottenborn and the Nürburgring. Nobody cares anymore when Scheid rattles through the streets in the middle of the night to test something. Even when Scheid went through the village 40 years ago with a list of signatures and voted for the foundation of theMotorsport clubs Adenau rallied, they were all on his side. Once Scheid has set his mind on something, he makes it happen - with all his Eifel charm.

Scheid is a driver representative in the BFGoodrich Endurance Championship

He often benefits from his role as driver representative in the endurance championship. 'I always express my opinion openly and honestly and sometimes I offend', says Scheid. 'But for me it's always about the general public.' One advantage: he knows them all. A walk with him through the pit lane would probably take hours. Whether Hans-Joachim Stuck or Sabine Schmitz - the names that were already on his car are numerous. He stopped driving himself last year, but is the team manager. His shoulders and arms twitched more and more. 'But I would not rule out that I will drive again', adds Scheid with his broadest grin.

His wife Heidi, however, will be happy that she now has less to wash. Because Scheid always insisted on a snow-white driver's suit. But he never thought of the dramas in his wife's laundry room when he screwed it up. As team boss, the man with the mustache is not only lying under the car, but is also looking for sponsors and preparing the BMW M3 - a real all-rounder. Even in the 24-hour race, you only catch him yawning in very weak moments. He's the only one on the team who stays up 24 hours. 'The boys come up and say, how are you going to take it?' Says Scheid proudly.

The Eifelblitz is the fans' favorite

But he is not only sure of the admiration of his team members. It is the fans who make the BMW something special. They adore the car with the nickname Eifelblitz, which was created by a drawing by Sabine Schmitz. Hardly anyone else has so much cult status in the endurance championship. 'It happened that in the evening two crates of beer suddenly appeared in front of the workshop because a fan really wanted to help,' says Scheid. 'Sometimes you cry.' Sometimes they just shake his hand. After that there is a 10 euro note inside.

Most of the honor is paid to this soberly blue heap of tin, the Scheid family themselves. As the workhorse Scheid a few years ago, the scent of cookies and coffee once again during the Christmas season was able to resist successfully and spent day and night in its hobby room, the Eifelblitz quickly got its own Christmas tree from the family on the roof. Daughter Daniela and wife Heidi have been supporting Scheid since he started out in motorsport. As it should be for a real family team, everyone lends a hand before a race weekend. The terms catering or lounge do not exist in Scheid's motorsport cosmos. 'Only after the race do I want to go to the pens and my steak there'says the head of the family.

Scheid wants to continue until the bitter end

At the racetrack, Mama Heidi provides the whole team with her delicacies . She has learned the rare profession of 'cook botin drain valve'. Because when it burns again, she drives to Munich to get the missing parts. 'And where do you let the air out when things don't go well?' Scheid. 'With her.' It has been going on for 40 years now. And Johannes Scheid is certain that it will continue 'until the bitter end'. Probably until he simply can no longer. Even then he doesn't sit down, but maybe buzzing around as a spectator in the paddock of his beloved Nürburgring and reminding others how it works with getting up for a dream.


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