DTM Classic Cup: Olaf Manthey with the right balance between having fun and being fast
Once a racing driver, always a racing driver! That goes for Olaf Manthey as well. The two-time DTM runner-up (1984 and 1985) can’t deny still having a certain ambition, even at 67. “Given my advanced age, I am a little bit proud indeed,” the driver born in Bonn comments his title win in the DTM Classic Cup, the new race series for historic touring cars, primarily from DTM. He is as fast as ever: Olaf Manthey, also known for his trademark moustache, enjoys every lap, enjoys the fun of racing.
Manthey feels well in the DTM paddock where the DTM Classic Cup is at home. It is a “back to the roots” he really appreciates. After all, he always brought his caravan to the races, also when he raced in DTM. The only exception: his two years with Mercedes. “Then I had to go into the hotel!” Now, he is travelling with his camper again, and with his wife Renate. “She has always come with me since 1978. Nobody knows me without my wife.” The “Schumänner”, as Olaf lovingly calls his teammates Jürgen and Peter, are also travelling with their camper. “We hang out together, we have barbecue together, we laugh a lot, that is fun.”
Olaf Manthey got to know the “Schumänner” during endurance races at the Nürburgring in 2002 as the drivers from the Saarland with their Hyundai shared the pit box with Manthey Racing’s Porsche team. “We got along really well straight away. Back then, it was already a great crew,” Manthey recalls. In 2010, they raced together for the first time in the 24h Classic race at the ‘Ring. In the DTM Classic Cup, Manthey alternated with Jürgen “Adi” and Peter Schumann in the BMW 635 CSi. “They did an absolutely impeccable job,” he praises the brothers’ efforts and emphasises an adage of his racing life: “I don’t get into every car as I still don’t want to get hurt during a race.” Manthey skillfully uses the 340 horsepower of the straight-six. “The 635 is very reliable, really heavy and a bit sluggish and as the tyres are really narrow, you have to handle them really well.” That is where Manthey as a racing driver is needed, he enjoys this challenge.
The season has barely finished, but the three are already looking at next year. The Schumanns are building an additional car. And then, there are the Audi plans, too. During the finale, Manthey already drove Thomas Wandel’s Audi 200 quattro in the second race. With such a car, Manthey established a world speed record (326.4 km/h for 1,000 km) at Nardo in Italy in 1989. Manthey had stored an earlier, similar record car of US star Bobby Unser in a building near his residence in Bad Bodendorf. Then, the flooding catastrophe in the Ahr valley happened on 14 July 2021. The building sank in the floods and so did the legendary Audi. Now, Audi passionate Anton Werner is rebuilding the car and then Manthey wants to race it, again with the right balance between being fast and having fun.