4. Stefan Bellof
Remember that time when Senna nearly won in the wet at Monaco in a Toleman but the race was red flagged? Well if the race had continued he wouldn’t have won. Because Stefan Bellof was behind him and was faster.
He was ear marked to be moving to Ferrari in 1986, every racing driver’s dream. Ask Martin Brundle or any number of his team mates from his Sports Car racing days, they all thought he was the quickest ever. He won the Norisring trophy in 1983, and he won the DRM (pre-cursor to the DTM) in 1984 and the World Endurance Championship that year too. He was a young Michael Schumacher’s idol. Bellof was to be king, sure to become a World Champion, sure to win Le Mans with the mighty Rothmans Porsches.
He perished at Eau Rouge during the Spa 1000km in 1985, while attempting to overtake Jacky Ickx. His was the second German death in a Porsche in recent weeks, after Manfred Winkelhock’s at the previous race.
Stefan Bellof en route to third at a rain-shortened Monaco Grand Prix in 1984.
Everybody remembers Senna’s charge at Prost being nullified due to the red flag but fewer remember that closing in on Senna was Belgian superstar Stefan Bellof.
Bellof never won a Grand Prix, and never got his chance to prove his might for Ferrari, as he was killed during the 1985 edition of the 1000km of Spa, before he had a chance to attend a scheduled meeting with Enzo Ferrari to discuss a contract offer. Formula One and motorsport lost one of its brightest young stars, but as they say the stars that shine brightest…
Stefan Bellof at Hockenheim in 1985.
Considered by some to be one of the mightiest talents to have ever raced in Formula One, he died in 1985 before a rumoured deal with Ferrari could go through for ‘86. He showed huge potential, having had won the German DRM (a precursor to the DTM) and the World Endurance Championship in 1984. He died competing at Spa-Francorchamps in a privateer Porsche 956.