A former teammate to a certain Sebastian Vettel in Formula BMW back in 2004, this Duisburg native joined forces with another famous Sébastien
this year in the World Touring Car Cup – nine-time World Rally Champion S.Loeb in this instance – to claim his maiden series win. Indeed, since his switch from single seater racing to tin tops for 2007, Benjamin Leuchter has tasted class victory at the Nurburgirng 24 Hours (twice), is a former VLN class title winner in both 2014 and 2018, and even claimed the overall TCE win at the Hankook 24H DUBAI on his maiden series outing. Turns out that win was a little too close for comfort though…
“Yeah, my name is Benjamin Leuchter. Or Benny, as I’m mainly called.”
Age? You can lie about that if you want…
Where and when was your first ever car race, and how old were you?
“It was at the age of 16 and it was a Formula BMW race at Hockenheim.”
What is the best moment of your racing career so far?
“Winning my first World Touring Car Cup race in Germany was really special. It was at home and at the Nürburgring, and it was Sébastien Loeb Racing. You can’t get much better than that!”
Which is your favourite circuit and why?
“It’s the Nürburgring Nordschleife, because it’s the most terrific and difficult track in the world! I also like…to be honest, I’ve never driven there and only watched on-board videos, but I’d love to try Mount Panorama at Bathurst. It’s a nice track and I hope one day TCR cars will be invited to race there.”
Describe the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a motor race …
“[Laughs] Dubai 2018, the TCE class win. 800 metres after we crossed the finish line, the car suffered a gearbox failure! It was unbelievable! Can you imagine if it had been any earlier?!”*
*Benjamin took his maiden 24H SERIES win at the first time of asking in Dubai alongside Luca Engstler, Jean Karl Vernay and Florian Thoma in the Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Describe your helmet design to us, and what it signifies…
“I used to drive with a plain white helmet, but this, with my commitments in the WTCR, I made a special design using the GTI DNA from Volkswagen mixed with the colours of Max Kruse Racing [with whom] I’m racing in the VLN. I also have the Nürburgring on the top. My whole life is connected to this track. What I’ve done in motorsport and what I’ve reached in motorsport, I started everything there. I’m very thankful because I learned a lot on this track that I can now transmit it to other tracks around the world. When you’re fast at the Nordschleife, you can be fast anywhere.”
What is your greatest strength?
“[Pause]…I’m really focused on my job, and I think I’m very experienced at setting up the car. Every car.”
If Hollywood made a movie about you, who would play you and why?
“That’s a difficult question! I’m not so deep in the film scene…[pause]…he’s a funny guy but I can’t remember his name…[another pause]…Kevin Hart?”*
*Hey, if Yannick Mettler and Tomáš Enge chose Steve McQueen, we guess anything is possible!
What would you like to achieve before retiring?
“I really would like a start at Le Mans. This would be nice! And for sure I would like to be on the podium in the overall standings in the WTCR.”
Tell us a random fact about yourself that your fans might not know…
“I’m very open, and share a lot on social media, so I’m not sure what there is…[pause]…ah, I love to work on racing cars. I love the technical side of things and the detail involved. For me, if you’ve done something with your hands and you can see what you’ve done, it’s very satisfying.”
Finally, what do you enjoy most about competing in the 24H SERIES?
“I really like the challenge of a 24-hour race itself but what I really like is that CREVENTIC is doing 24-hour races at sprint racing tracks. For sure, the whole event itself – the people, the organisers – is like a family. Everyone welcomes you with big open arms. I’ve only done two now but [the paddock] feels very warm and welcoming. I like that a lot. Plans are on-going and, fingers crossed, going forward, we’ll see Benny Leuchter in the series again.”