MARCH 27, 2007

Heinz Schiller

Heinz Schiller has died at the age of 77. He raced in just one Grand Prix but was nonetheless a talented Swiss driver, who was often seen alongside Jo Siffert in sports car racing.

From the village of Frauenfeld, not far from Zurich, Schiller made his name as a motorboat racer in the 1950s before deciding to race cars, beginning with Porsche sportscars, notably finishing second in class on the 1957 Mille Miglia. The following year he raced a Porsche RS in the Formula 2 race at Pau and was sixth, indicating that he had talent. It was not until 1962 that Georges Filipinetti, a wealthy Swiss car dealer and landowner, decided to set up Ecurie Nationale Suisse and hired Jo Siffert to drive a Lotus 24. Schiller, who had been racing in hillclimbs in the interim, was taken on to race a Porsche 718. For the German GP Siffert switched to a Lotus 21 and so Schiller was given the chance to drive the BRM V8- engined Lotus 24. In 1963, back in the old Porsche 718, he finished third at Pau, albeit a number of laps behind the Lotuses of Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor.

After that he returned to GT racing, still driving for Filipinetti, and enjoyed some good results including a class win on the Ollon-Villars hillclimb. With a new Porsche 904 in 1964 he and Siffert were partnered once again. Schiller also represented the Porsche factory team on occasion. He later retired and ran a Porsche dealership in Geneva.