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Gotfrid (or Gottfried) Köchert (22 March 1918 – 6 November 1986) was an Austrian former Nazi soldier who went on to become a yacht racer after World War II, and competed in the 1960 Summer Olympics.[1]

Early years[]

Gotfrid (or Gottfried) Köchert, a former Nazi soldier with the Wehrmacht, was among the most famous Austrian racers of the 1950s. Scion of the Viennese jeweler dynasty AE Köchert, he was called the "raging jeweler". Born in Vienna, spent the 1930s in the United States and studied economics at a college in Florida for two years (1936–38). His parents had reportedly sent him to America in an unsuccessful attempt to dampen his relationship with actress and singer Gusti Huber. Just before World War II began in 1939, however, at age 21, he returned to Austria. He would marry Huber during the war. The marriage, which ended in divorce before very long, produced two daughters, Christiana (1939-2004) and actress Bibi (1942-1996), both of whom were raised in the United States by their mother and stepfather, Joseph Besch.[2] Through Bibi, he was a grandfather of Samantha Mathis, also an actress.

The Mille Miglia of 1956 was the first major car race in which Köchert drove a new Porsche 550 he had purchased in Stuttgart. The then-unknown Austrian was the turning point in Rome on the fourth place of the overall standings. Just before Florence, he ended his trip prematurely after clutch damage. He was ranked in tenth place by this time. A few weeks later, he won the Sports Car Grand Prix at the Nürburgring and was the first Austrian victor in a car race following the Second World War—during which, as mentioned above, he had served as a Nazi soldier with the Wehrmacht (after reportedly being drafted).[2]

In 1957 he was again in the Mille Miglia at the start, but victory went to Piero Taruffi. Köchert, who also drove a Ferrari, came in tenth place overall. He was the first Austrian after the Second World War to participate in the 24-hour Le Mans race. With partner Erwin Bauer he drove a Ferrari 500TRC. By the end of 1958, Köchert had had some serious accidents and suffered a mild heart attack, his first. Doctors advised him to abandon racing and he thereafter engaged in sailing. At the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome, he represented Austria in the largest Olympic Yacht class to that date, finishing seventh. At the racetrack he was seen rarely. In 1962 he drove a Ferrari 250 GTO at the 1000 km race at Nürburgring, but could not place it in the front of the field itself. Köchert died in 1986 at his home in Altmünster.[2]

References[]

  1. "G". Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. https://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ko/gotfrid-kochert-1.html. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Gotfrid Köchert (German language Wikipedia); accessed 17 November 2015.

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