Tue 10 Oct 2023

Scheider dedicates ‘emotional’ first win to late father

After stepping out of the car following his brilliant maiden victory in the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Cape Town last Sunday (8 October), Timo Scheider was visibly emotional, his thoughts with somebody who had been by his side throughout his career but who sadly was no longer there.

Prior to travelling to South Africa, Scheider had made 45 appearances at the international pinnacle of the sport – yielding three rostrum results. While two times a DTM champion and a winner of both the Spa and Nürburgring 24-hour races – as well as a podium-finisher in-class at Le Mans – he had yet to scale quite the same heights in rallycross.

At Killarney International Raceway, however – for the first time in World RX history – the entire field took to the track in equal equipment in the shape of the all-electric ZEROID X1. The smart money was on Johan Kristoffersson – who had won in the car at Mettet in Belgium back in the summer – or perhaps Kevin Hansen, who had more experience than anybody else in similar machinery from his junior days in the dual-surface discipline.

Few observers gave much of a prayer to Scheider or ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport – the only team in the paddock with no prior running with the ZEROID X1. The German driver and team, they predicted, would likely struggle. They were wrong.

“I didn’t expect anything like this going to South Africa,” the 44-year-old confessed. “I hoped it could be a chance for us, because we know we don’t have the most competitive RX1e car, but we had no idea about the ZEROID X1 – we were the only team that hadn’t driven it or had chance to work with it beforehand. We had to figure everything out on-site.

“The level of competition in World RX is really high, with so many professional drivers and teams in the field and it’s super-challenging to beat them. I couldn’t believe we got it together so quickly last weekend. It was always my aim to win in rallycross, because I wanted to show everybody that I’m not just a successful circuit racer, I’m also capable of doing well in off-road competition. I’d been hunting it for quite a while...”

The first person he thought of after crossing the finish line in Cape Town was his father, Wolfgang Scheider, who passed away last November, the day before Timo’s birthday.

“I’ve had such strong support from my parents since I was small,” he explained. “Prior to beginning with karting, I used to be a BMX racer. That’s how everything started. When I was nine, my parents said it would be either a motocross bike or a go-kart. They decided that four wheels were safer than two, which is why I got a go-kart and from that moment on, they have supported me every single day.

“We weren’t rich by any means. My dad was always very sensible with money and used to say you only spend what you have – if you don’t have it, you don’t spend it. It was quite difficult initially because we didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents worked hard and put everything they had into my career and never applied any pressure – it has always been driven by passion and enjoyment.

“We won the German Karting Championship, then I moved up to Formula Renault and won my first title in car racing and then I finished runner-up in German Formula 3, with one of my brothers supporting me as chief mechanic. My family have always been with me in the background at race events, and I know my dad was watching from above last weekend. He had always been hoping for the day when I could prove myself in a different category as well.”

For Scheider, it is very clear that family comes first, so it is fitting that the next generation is now also taking to the grid, with his older son, Loris, following in Timo’s wheeltracks – albeit after an initial false start..

“He began karting and was pretty quick, but at a certain point, I couldn’t join him at a race weekend because I was also racing, and he said, ‘dad, if you can’t be there with me, I’d rather spend time with my friends’,” the Lahnstein native revealed. “While I knew he had potential, I appreciated his honesty and totally accepted his decision.

“Then, when he turned 16 or 17 and got his road licence, suddenly he came to me and asked if he could race something! Right now, he’s totally into Supermoto – he bought a bike and does some freestyle stuff – but one of my targets sooner or later is to share a car with him in an endurance race or even compete against each other in something. That would be very cool...”

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