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Mercedes-AMG’s F1 boss wants to set a ‘Ring record in a Porsche
Toto Wolff has “unfinished business” with the world’s least forgiving racing circuit
Toto Wolff is the head of Mercedes-AMG’s Formula 1 team. He’s steered them to five consecutive constructors’ titles, and driver titles for Lewis Hamilton (4) and Nico Rosberg (1). Turns out, he’s a massive petrolhead in his own right.
So much so, he wants to head to the Nürburgring in a Porsche 911 and set a record lap time. Before we get to that, you need to understand the depth of the man’s car history, because it runs deep.
Toto Wolff’s first ever car was a Volkswagen Beetle. “It had about 50 horsepower,” he tells TopGear.com at Petronas’s tech centre in Italy (at the launch of the new Syntium range). “It was very reliable, and it never broke down, because it was too slow to break down”. Indeed, Wolff had to break it himself in order to move up the ladder.
The next rung of which was a rather lovely Volkswagen Golf GTI 16v. The good MkII one. “I really worked hard to get that car,” he says. “Then I pimped it up, put black rims on it, leather seats inside and sold it,” he said. That afforded him the money to trade up to a crashed VW G60 (they’re incredibly rare), which he went on to repair.
“It never went straight,” he laughs. “But it looked spectacular.” He traded in the G60 for a Seat racing car because he started racing in the Seat Ibiza Cup. And here’s the thing – he used that as a daily driver. “I used it as my road car, because I couldn’t afford any other car. So I bought it, raced it, and drove it [on the road].
“It had just one seat and a rollcage inside. People looked at me as if I was mad!” Mad? Certainly not. Committed, definitely.
He then went up to a rally Golf G60, and then a Lancia Delta Integrale after that, and then he “stopped racing, and started to work so I could afford other cars”. Hence why the car after the Integrale was a 993 Porsche 911 4S. “This is how it continued for a while,” he says.
At the moment he’s running a Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, because “I like SUVs”. But he’s also running something a bit cooler than a GLE 63 – a G63 AMG. “The old generation. I love that car,” he tells TG. “It’s the most iconic SUV chassis that you can have, with this super big engine in there. It’s just a superb car.
“Whoever thinks it’s a pointless car hasn’t got the point of the emotions around the car. It’s just fantastic,” he adds. Unsurprisingly, he’s also got an AMG supercar – the AMG GT R. The big fat 577bhp wide-arched V8 GT R. We ask if it’s in green. He shakes his head. “I’ve got it in silver because I like the carbon parts – they look good on the silver.”
We’re getting to the fast side of his car history then, which brings us onto his ultimate quest: the Nürburgring. “I have unfinished business with the Nordschleife,” he tells TG very solemnly. “The new GT3 Porsche, on the Nordschleife… that’s me. I might do that.”
He points to his 2009 effort to set a new lap time in a then 911 GT3 car. “I tried to beat the record in a Porsche, and I had a 7m 03s lap. On the following lap, it would have been a 6m 45s lap time, but I had a puncture.
“And this is why I have unfinished business with that track,” he adds. Toto Wolff then, might have steered Mercedes-AMG into multiple F1 world titles, but can he steer himself in a Porsche and into the ‘Ring record books? Watch this space…