Anyone in Germany that can spell the word „Dragster“ has heard of the „Peter Schoefer Racing Team“. Let’s have a closer look.
Peter and his brothers Wolfgang and Rudi established the team from nothing and with a whole lot of idealism in 1984/85 – but that was not the beginning of Pat’s (what his friends call him) motorsports career. At this time he was in fact already a European Champion, on two wheels! But one thing after the other:1972, Right at the beginning, 18 year old Pat got himself a German B-Licence and competed at small events in the 250cc class with a Kawasaki and a Ducati. 1974, he converted to a used Honda with which he became 5th in the yearly overall standings. 1976, Pat bought two new Yamaha’s (250cm3 and 350cm3) so he could compete in the OMK-trophy. And it payed off for him when he became 3rd in the 250cc and 4th in the 350cc class in the overall standings. That motivated Pat and in 1977 he acquired an international A-licence. Of course now he had to have two racing machines from Helmut Kassner, with the “special tuning” of Pat Schoefer. With this package Pat became runner-up in the European Hill Climbing Championship in 1978 and then in the 1979 season he became the European Hill Climbing Champion in the 250cc class and runner-up in the 350cc class, but a shortage of money, unlucky injuries and missing sponsors ended his motorbike career. In the following raceless phase Pat developed his mechanics skills and discovered his passion for American Muscle Cars. After thoroughly testing a Mustang, a Camaro and a Pontiac Firebird he got ended up with a Corvette (Big Block) with a six pack carb (and of course the special tuning of Pat Schoefer). The big boost followed in 1984 as Pat visited a drag race in Hanau Germany. Short and sweet: in the following Season 1985 he parked a 400hp Plymouth Roadrunner at the Christmas tree – and he was fast to become one of the drivers to go rounds. Pat achieved a personal best of 13.00 seconds in the ET class and with that the PSR Team was born! The word “schneller” (faster) seems to be one of the most important words in the life of the Schoefer Brothers and maybe that is why in 1985 they purchased a nice Christmas present for themselves: the famous Chevy powered Citroen 2CV “Wildente” (wild duck) of Rico Anthes. This wild animal cost 35.000 German Marks (EUR 17.500), had a Small Block with 5.1 Litres, drank high octane fuel and put out 650hp. 1987, the Schoefer Bros. competed the first complete season and after they had converted the engine to nitrous injection it became fun: 3rd in the European Championship with a personal best of 9.4 seconds and 242km/h. After constant improvement of the race car in the season of 1988 the brothers came to a critical point in 1989: due to the constant increase of nitrous oxide (meanwhile the engine was turning at 11.000U/min) the engine damages also increased dramatically through nitrous explosions, you would often see Wolfgang walking through the pits with half a beard or a peculiar red face – and the team required more engine blocks than race slicks that season – but they managed to crack the 9 seconds: personal best 8.9 sec. 245km/h. At the end of the season consequences where drawn and the car was converted to a super charger. The engine was a Chevy 5,0L Small Block (steel) fitted with Brodix heads and an Ed-Pink Blower 6-7 that put out 850hp. Due to the conversion to completely new technology during the race season it naturally came to a massive set-back, where they only became 13th in the European Championship. For 1990 Pat and Wolfgang completely overhauled the engine again. A 6-71 Littlefield Blower was fitted (the engine now put out ca. 1.000hp), the body was made lighter and many original parts changed to glass fibre parts. Progess was made continuously (8.9 sec and 250km/h) and at the end of the year they became 6th in the European Championship – but there it was again – that important word “schneller” (faster). And in 1991 it got fast! The new SUPER-ENGINE!!! Used and in parts – but from S+S Automotive USA. What an Engine! A Chevy 5.0L Small Block full aluminium with Brodix type 11 aluminium heads and a 10-71 Moneyham Blower. Performance ??? – Performance !!! (ca. 1.200hp). At last Pat was winning races or at the least was runner-up. However the „Wildente“ (wild duck) was showing that she was definitely not an endangered species but more a dangerous species: The chassis and body where totally overstrained with this engine. The front wheels where actually only on the ground when the car was staged, and Pat had many wild rides (8.31 sec. and 260km/h and 4th in the European Championship). Increasingly the technology proved to be uncontrollable. Once again the team put their heads together at the end of the season. The Result: Rico Anthes bought back the “Wildente” (today the car is in the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, Germany). The brothers purchased the former Top Alcohol Dragster “Streamliner” from Sweden. The Dragster was rebuilt and fitted with the engine from the “Wildente” according to a conception of the Schoefer Brothers . “Rebuilt” means all in all, an investment of ca. 1.000 working hours. At the first German Championship Event in Alteno Pat ran in the low 8 sec. and ended up 5th. At the following GM event in Györ (Hungary) he again was 5th. Wolfgang made vital progress setting up the clutch – and Pat was becoming more comfortable with the car. At the third event in Györ they were already runner-up of the event and at the next events they were winning every time. Personal best was at 7.6 sec. and top speed at 288km/h. The media started to become aware and even in the NHRA “National Dragster” an article is written about the Schoefer Team. And the result at the end of the season in the European and German Championship of 1992: Champion! After rebuilding the body to their own specification and re-designing the Cockpit the car became even better in 1993: First Competition Dragster over 300km/h (Gross Doelln, Germany 7.24 sec. 306km/h). German Champion and Runner-up in the European Championship. As restitution for the “runner-up” the team gave themselves a little something: in Dwingeloo (NL) Pat ran 4.49 sec. on the 1/8 mile at 250km/h. That was a world record! Unfortunately because it was a show run it could not be recorded as an official record – but it only took 8 months to crack it again. Speaking of “show runs”: Pat has also duelled with a Formula-1 Ferrari (Pat won) and a MIG 29 (3:3 a draw). 1994 Wolfgang decides he wants a computer data recorder. With the analysis he achieved an optimum setting for engine and clutch. The result: In Hockenheim Pat once again hit’s the 300km/h mark (7.17 sec. at 311km/h). In Germany, England, France and Austria the team win race after race. At the end of the year the European and German Champion is Peter Schoefer. In American soap operas they say “to be continued…” 1995 everything carried on nicely: Painted in the colour of the new sponsor MPE, the red Streamliner hammered it’s best times into the asphalt of five European drag strips. Pat becomes “2time European Recordholder AA-Competion Dragster” and put’s up a new best time of 7.084 sec. at 316km/h. These records where still standing at the beginning of the 1997 season. The title European and German Champion are only mentioned here for reasons of completeness. One would think one could continue in this manner – ah yes but once again the word “schneller” (faster). 1996 decided to venture up into the „Top Alcohol“ class. The tube chassis engineered by the Schoefer Brothers and designed by Wolfgang Schoefer was welded together by Peter Lanz in Sweden. The end construction was done at the team workshop in Aich in Germany. And then the Motor was fitted: a Chevy Small Block (didn’t we already have that?) 6.2L aluminium heads, titanium valves and a PSI-Screwblower. All in all 10.000U/min. and 2.000hp to move the 785kg (race ready with driver) rear-engine-dragster. Pat celebrated the new race car accordingly: the team was voted „Rookie of the Year“ in the European Championship. In England the brothers put the dragster in the “Top qualifying” spot, and also due to the overall performance they won the award “Racer of the meet”. Unfortunately two races of the season had to be left out due to time and material problems. The team was 7th in the European Championship (23 Teams participated). If the team had only participated at one more event and a qualifying run would have been sufficient they would have became 4th. But at least the team could boast that with an ET of 6.004 at 359km/h they had the fastest TA/D with a Small Block Engine in Europe. And then came the story with the airfield “Ellermuehle”. At a show event the TAD got out of the groove due to the condition of the track, Pat was lucky but the dragster did not absorb the accident very well. That was of course a huge setback for such a small team, because even a multiple European Championship holder is financially on his own in Germany. But the team managed it and the dragster was completely restored and Peter Lantz from Sweden sent the repaired chassis back with the words “Peter, please don’t crash me again”. In the following two years the team competed at all FIA European Championship Events and was able to put the number 3 on their wing for the season 1998 and 1999. Peter and his team worked hard on what became real in September 1998 – the first 5 second run with a Small Block in Europe. In the 1999 season the team repeatedly experienced problems with the ignition (as it turned out at a later time). After the problem had been recognized, the dragster once again ran it’s 5.99 or 6.00 second runs. Peter Beck (at the time a top fuel driver from Switzerland) called Pat the fastest E.T. driver in Europe. But time and time again tire shake (especially at Santa Pod) forced Pat to abort runs to avoid accidents. With this phenomenon the power on the rear end, especially when launching, is so enormous that the tires deform and begin to build up shake. Yet the launch is exactly the strength of the small block, which is marginally (2 Litres) smaller than the big blocks of it’s opponents. At the end of 1999 the tire company Hoosier introduced new slicks (for the pro classes) on the market, that should withstand tire shake. The team sceptically awaited the first run with these tires and sure enough with these tires the imbalance losses itself within the tire and is not passed on to the chassis. Unfortunately the competing race cars in those days where in the 5.8s to 5.7s on the Quarter-mile and Peter Schoefer and his team exist and convince at FIA events still through their consistency, because the big blocks are not so consistant (why ever). Therefore the car was for sale at the end of the 2000 season. But whoever thought that Pat would now hang up helmet and race suit was mistaken. For 2001 “big plans” where made, which actually was confined to the motor. Whoever knows the Shoefers knows that the word “schneller” (faster) is really one of the most important words in the brothers life. But the year 2001 started with a bitter set-back. On new years eve the teams workshop in Aich was broken into. The damage through team way back but they didn’t let themselves get beaten down! The purchase of the motor was postponed to a future date and the chassis that had not been sold at the end of the 2000 season was converted. The whole year of 2001 the team spent rebuilding the Dragster. At the beginning of 2002 the new engine (BAE) was delivered and after a few test runs in Luckau (Germany) and exhibitions the new dragster was put into competition at Santa Pod, England for the first European Championship Event of the season. This weekend was supposed to be a test weekend, to collect data and to get the driver as well as the team accustomed to the car. But everything worked out so well, that they won the race. The team left the race track as winners and as the pointleaders in the European Championship! A perfect start in the season for a brand new dragster. After a pretty much rained out season and a couple of European records for the team they ended the season as European Champions. Amazing and near to unbelievable! We would given anyone that would have predicted this to happen, a humorous smile. The year 2003 was also a pretty successful year with a new European record and many runs in the finals but only as runner-up in the European Championship. For the 2004 season the dragster received a new paint job and one of a sponsors was a German comic character called “Werner”. So the dragster ran in yellow and black and a legendary new edition of the German “Werner-Race” was organized on the Eurospeedway Lausitz in Germany and the team did some show runs. The racing season was more or less successful: the team was nearly always in the finals, but that so called pinch of luck was missing to end up getting the title, so once again the season was ended as runner-up of the European Championship. The team thought that they could no longer continue like this especially because of the many tire shakes they had in the former year. So the team decided to change the rear end of the dragster as well as the engine configuration for the 2005 season. The parts where ordered in the USA und picked up during their yearly visit. The rebuild followed immediately upon return, but test runs had to wait for quite a while because the race season had not yet begun and it would be a while until it did. The rebuild proved to be a good idea, but due to Wolfgang’s poor health at the time, a couple of defects on the car, bad qualifying runs and many a rained out race day, the team was only 3rd in the European Championship. For 2006 vital changes were made which didn’t actually make the dragster faster but the new design “Bavarian Thunder” was revealed. Team merchandise like t-shirts were changed….to make sure a recognition value was guaranteed! The team was consistent throughout the season and always went rounds, but also in this year it was not quite enough to get the title and once again the team became runner-up of the European Championship. The 2007 season had a couple of surprises. It was a rain season, which meant a couple of events had to be declared a rain-off. Because the team was still fighting with tire shake they did not qualify very well and due to the rain-offs did then not receive many points for the championship. So a decision was made to put a stronger rear end in the dragster, to attempt to get rid of the tire shake. The conversion showed the desired effect, but the team could no longer catch up to the points leader and ended the season as 3rd. The conversion of the rear end also made the dragster ca. 5cm to long for the trailer, the backdoor could not be closed, so a hole had to be cut out. That is why you might think that the PSR trailer has a mailbox on the back, well now you know that is not what it is. Another negative is that the team had now recorded Pat’s first red light, as far as the team can remember. That is why the final run in Hockenheim was lost. Hopefully this was the only slip up of this kind. And then again the word “schneller” came back to mind…that is why the engine was once again completely rebuilt and changed, in order to be right up top of the ladder in the 2008 season. Also a new injector was built in, that was supposed to supply more air to the engine. The test runs in Hungary went very well, and as the team travelled to England full of expectations, where it rained so much that the event was rained off before the team could collect enough data (due to the engine rebuild the old data could not be used to find a base set up). The team won the following race event in Finland and went into the next race in Sweden as pointsleader. In the finals in Sweden the manifold cracked (but the team won anyway). A replacement had to be organized, so the team phoned around and talked to numerous people and found out, that at the present time not one manifold was on the market in the USA. The team’s friends in the USA did however find a solution and the team received the brand new manifold that had already been delivered to Chelsea Clark who personally forwarded it to the Schoefer Team, even though they had not met him up to then. The rest of the season went well and once again after becoming European Champion in 2002 they once again took the title home for the second time. At last years of losing the title by a nose and then at last the dream came true. The 2009 season started out so bad, as 2008 had been sooo good…from the beginning the team once again was battleing tire shake. The first race was a lost cause, that is why the team decided there and then in the pits at the race track in England, that once again the rear end of the dragster had to be changed, because of that the next race in Finland had to be dropped from the teams schedule. The team did manage to get the rear end conversion ready for the race event in Sweden and were very curious if the change would bring the desired success. And did it work – the team qualified with a personal best, although they did loose in the semi finals due to lose of traction. The next race was in Hockenheim and Pat not only set a new track record but he also won the race. Pat also won the last race of the season, and even with the points missing from the race not attended in Finland Pat still managed to become 4th in the Championship. The 2010 season was a year of History for the team. First of all the Peter Schoefer Dragrace Team celebrated 25 years at the event in Hockenheim. Second, the year went down as a material murdering year which was pretty expensive. Third, the team lost early in all races. Fourth, once again rain dominated. And that is why the team was 5th in the Championship. Due to the expensive season of 2010 and because some team members had little time due to their jobs, the 2011 European Championship was only partially competed in by the team (2 events, Tierp (S) and Hockenheim). The team still managed to become 7th in the Championship. The racing history of the team will compete in the 2012 season however once again only partially, more history will be posted after each race under “Race Reports”.
Thank you for reading our team history…
Pat and Team