Right entry, 50 left, attention, 300 straight ahead full, 100 right, 200 straight ahead, right full. If Christian Geistdörfer had his legendary 'prayer book' in his hand today, and if he sat on the passenger seat to navigate the driver up the last few metres to Michelsburg, it would sound something like that.
But today he drives his own 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2, one of the first G Models with the smooth G50 transmission. It is one of only 238 models in Granite Green Metallic, 231 PS, with sunroof, without air conditioning. “I never looked for this specific colour, but the combination with the interior in Olive Green inspired me," he says. "The Porsche was exported to Rome two months after German delivery and was registered by a hotelier there,” says the 67-year-old, referring to the number plate, which still begins with "Roma". “Once a vehicle has been registered in Italy, the number plate can remain on the car. It not only looks good, it's also great for history.”
Victories with Walter Röhrl
Key word: “history”. Between 1980 and 1984, Walter Röhrl – the race and rally legend for whom Geistdörfer was co-driver – won the Monte Carlo Rally four times, in four different cars; on snow, gravel and asphalt in alternation. Not only because of Röhrl’s inimitable ideal line, but also thanks to their meticulous preparation, the two defeated more powerful rivals, time and again . They were a well-rehearsed team and entrusted each other with their lives. The first Monte victory in 1980 was one of the best experiences of both of their careers.
More than 40 years later things are quieter around Geistdörfer. Well at least you might think so. In 2016 he published his biography 'Walter und ich' [Walter and I]. He doesn't have to prove anything to anyone today. Born in Munich, he seems to be more thoughtful now. Gone are the wild parties where dishes were smashed and chairs thrown around. He has kept his carefree smile, whether he is sitting at the wheel listening to the surging noise of the engine at more than 4,000 rpm – or greeting his buddy Carlo Marcati.
On the last few metres to Michelsburg, the sound of the G Model flattens out a little, walking pace, too much gravel leads the way to this historic building, whose history dates back to the year 995. The year the entire complex was built is given as 1091. Carlo, born and raised in Bruneck, dreamed of living in this castle for a long time. In 1990 he made his move and bought the ruin in western Pustertal, which had been left to decay, and had it reconstructed for 20 years according to strict monument protection regulations. The property manager and former beverage wholesaler lives up there in 1,800 square metres with his cat Luna and a pair of falcons.
Christian Geistdörfer and Carlo Marcati met about 44 years ago at the Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbühel. For seven years, Geistdörfer coordinated the sponsorship activities of the Warsteiner brewery and, as a result, came to Formula One many years ago. There and later in DTM the two worked together time and again. In winter they meet in Kitzbühel, every year. In 2018 Geistdörfer fell so badly while skiing that he slipped 150 metres down the slope, unconscious, demolishing his back and literally burning his face on the snow.
Externally, only a fist-sized spot on his right cheek reminds us of his lucky escape. “I’ve had two accidents so far, in which my life was played out in black and white pictures in front of me," he says. "Both times I saw childhood memories that I had long forgotten. In the skiing accident I was lucky to have been unconscious, so a review of my life didn’t have to pass before me."
A life with three sections
Geistdörfer divides his life into three sections: the world rally champion, the entrepreneur, the person – in that order. As he wrote in his biography about the world rally champion, his second life as an entrepreneur was already well-planned during his time as a co-driver, among other things with the establishment of an event agency.
Christian Geistdörfer is a private person who lives in Malta and Munich, but can still be found at all kinds of car events. If he had to beam himself back to a decade, he would immediately set the time machine for the 1980s. “Back then everything was slower," he says. "Today we read e-mails when we are travelling, are constantly on our smartphones, always available. In the 1980s, the music was great, life was slower and somehow more worth living,” he sums up, without seeming like an everything-was-better-then cynic.
Maybe that’s exactly why he enjoys getting into his 911 in Munich and driving so much, to visit old friends who live in a castle and to visit friends who don’t live in a castle. Around the corner, beyond national borders, just driving, slow and fast in alternation, alone or in pairs, no music, only the Zuffenhausen sound of the 1980s. The way into the future could then read like this in Geistdörfer’s prayer book: straight ahead full, turn around from time to time, remember the beautiful things and then full straight ahead again, here and there beautiful curves.
Text first published in the magazine „Porsche Klassik“, special edition „8 generations 911“
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