I started my “motorsport career” at the Isle of Man TT races, my first ever visit to the TT was in 1980. As a visitor and later becoming the German commentator and radio man at the TT (Manx Radio – Radio TT). Here I familiarised myself with the racing industry and started to develop my network in the paddock.
I have always been on bikes (the first one being a Honda 250K3 which eventually was “turned” into a 350, then on to the legendary Yamaha RD350 LC and from there to… yep, being German, a BMW R90S… Daytona Orange, nothing else and not less legendary!) I always enjoyed the racing atmosphere but I learned that if you want to have proper information (for the radio show at the TT) you need a lot of patience. No idea how many hours in total I spend waiting for the right person or moment to come up – but it paid off and people in the TT paddock started to know and trust me. After a decade enjoying my “radio experience” and the TT (still on bikes) I was hired by ARAI, the Japanese crash helmet manufacturer, as German sales representative – including doing some race services for ARAI.
Another 3 years later, after applying for a job posted in the German motorsport press, I joined Shell as Business Development Manager – Motorsport. As Shell “commercialised” certain business segments at the time (one of them being motorsport) my job was to build a global distribution network for the available Shell Racing portfolio – that being various racing fuels, racing lubes, services like racetrack fuel supply and development programs for racing customers. Subsequently (and some years later) we had customers from the Finish Arctic all the way down to New Zealand and we supplied not only teams around the world but racing series like the World Rally Championship (WRC), the German DTM and Top10 series (today that is the ADAC Masters), Ducati in World Super Bikes and Moto GP, the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), the Le Mans 24h race since 2005 and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) right from its start in 2012.
Cooperating technically for many years with the AUDI Le Mans Team (and later with the LMP1 teams of Porsche and Toyota) was a major step into endurance racing and it included travelling around the world with the series and the teams. Since the WEC was introduced, Shell was the sole fuel supplier for the series and it was my responsibility as the project leader to manage the business relationship to the ACO (Automobile Club de l´Ouest) and to participating OEM’s (AUDI, Porsche, Toyota, Aston Martin, Ferrari, BMW, GM) as well as to coordinate the fuel developments and fuel deliveries not only for Le Mans, the WEC and ELMS but also for each individual test no matter where and when!
Having built a global network of contacts was a huge help in achieving a 100% record. Yes, some “close calls” of course (like the 2017 hurricane and flood in Texas, a hurricane in Japan in 2015, ferries being on strike or planned deliveries being delayed due to ships not being on time…) – but we never missed a race!
After 17 years with Shell Motorsport (the only series I never worked in was Formula1!) and with bike number 32 in the garage (this time a Harley Davidson) I left Shell in April 2018 to pursue my motorsport career with my own business, using my experience, my global network and the reputation gained in almost 25 years in the professional motorsport industry.
The Lord is my sheperd
He leadeth me in pastures green
He gave us this day
our daily bread and gasoline
Taken from Mark Knopflers “Baloney Again”