Really, there’s no such thing as having petrol in the veins or ‘Porsche DNA’ – but some people are so closely linked to a brand that one might wonder. Take the Lieb family: where the father takes care of the servicing while the son wins at Le Mans.
Weissach is first mentioned in official records in the year 1100 and again in 1254 – but the municipality only became famous in the 20th century when Porsche built a test track there. Today, the site serves as the development, design and test centre for production and racing cars and accommodates 4,000 employees.
Pfaffenhausen in Lower Allgäu is even older. The town can be traced right back to the eighth century. A quiet and tranquil place, with a lot of agriculture and some manufacturing, it is also Porsche country. Or, to be more precise, RUF country, because it was here that Alois Ruf senior opened a filling station and workshop in 1939. A BMW dealership was added in the mid 1950s, just at the time when BMW was hovering between the Isetta and large eight-cylinder cars. Ruf’s son, also named Alois, fell in love with the Porsche brand as a young boy and since 1981 he has produced modified versions of the cars under his own name, selling them all over the world. However, far fewer employees work for him on construction, maintenance and restoration of the Porsche vehicles. The country roads and nearby motorway act as his test track – as do race circuits all over the world.
Hans-Peter Lieb works as a workshop foreman for Alois Ruf here in the Allgäu region. “I too am dyed-in-the wool Porsche,” he says. “I started at Porsche as an apprentice. I first worked in the workshop in Werk 1, and then in the road testing department, before going to technical college to qualify as a master mechanic. But Porsche then had a hiring freeze, which meant that I accepted an offer from Uwe Gemballa and worked on the high-end tuner’s vehicles for two years. Many of his vehicles were based on Porsche cars, and their modified engines were supplied by Alois Ruf.”
In 1988, this contact led to an offer from Ruf, who was looking for an experienced master mechanic. As a result, the family moved to Pfaffenhausen with their then eight-year-old son, Marc. Here, the boy became increasingly fascinated by cars, having sat in a kart for the first time at the age of five: “I started driving a car for the first time in the workshop yard – and I sat behind the wheel of a Porsche for the first time here after many trips in the passenger seat,” says Lieb junior.
The family always had a great interest in motorsport. Lieb senior also dreamt of becoming a racing driver, “but the money was never there for that. And who knows whether I would have been really fast?” he says. It was therefore a happy coincidence that his son was interested in motorsport. “He was always very quick, and we enjoyed quite a lot of success in karting,” remembers the proud father. In 1994, then aged 14, Marc finished second in the ADAC Junior Kart Championship, and “we thought then about whether and where we wanted to race, because money was still tight”. The decision to race in Renault Formula 1800 was made in 1996. After finishing second in the championship in 1997, he made the leap to Renault Formula 2000 in 1998.