Swiss Championship 1963
Schweizer Meisterschaft

After a quiet year in 1962, the Rennwagen class was buoyed by three new cars for 1963. Charles Vögele had the newest and most impressive, a brand new Intercontinental Brabham BT4 with a 2.5-litre (or maybe 2.7-litre) Climax FPF engine, and won the Rennwagen class at the Payerne Slalom. Just six seconds behind him was Walter Habegger's latest car, a Lotus 20 fitted with a 1500cc Ford engine. The third of the new cars appeared at Sierre-Montana-Crans in June, a 1961 lowline Cooper 'T53' fitted with a 3.5-litre Buick V8 engine and driven by Lucien Balsiger. These two combinations of Formula Junior car with larger Ford engine and ex-F1 car with American V8 were proving popular across the world, leading to Formula B and A respectively in the US in 1965 and subsequently to Formula Atlantic and Formula 5000 in England.

Also new to the Rennwagen class were Rudolf Hediger, driving the ex-Harry Zweifel Cooper T45-Ferrari; Georges Gachnang, who won Sierre-Montana-Crans in the ex-F1 Cegga now fitted with a 2-litre Maserati engine; and André Wicky in his F1 specification Cooper "VR".

Charles Vögele won the Rennwagen category of the Schweizer Meisterschaft narrowly from Habegger. Third was the impressive Willi Franz who had won the Dübendorf (Zürich) Salom in a Formula Junior Cooper T59. Hediger was the only other Rennwagen competitor to complete the seven events necessary to qualify.

In the Sportwagen class, Harry Zweifel had his elderly Lotus 19 with 2.9-litre Maserati engine, Kurt Rost and Karl Foitek both had newer Lotus 23s equipped with the latest 1600cc Lotus-Ford twin-cam engines, and Ed Zeller had one of the rare Brabham BT5s. Foitek was champion but neither Zweifel nor Rost completed the requisite seven events and Zeller's car arrived too late in the season.

The races

07 Apr 1963 > Montlhéry

12 May 1963 > Payerne

26 May 1963 > Dübendorf (Zürich)

16 Jun 1963 > Sierre-Montana-Crans

30 Jun 1963 > Côte de St Ursanne - Les Rangiers at St Ursanne-Les Rangiers

25 Aug 1963 > Ollon-Villars

01 Sep 1963 > Marchairuz

22 Sep 1963 > Mitholz-Kandersteg

13 Oct 1963 > Monza

1963 Swiss Championship (Rennwagen) table

1Charles Vögele2.5-litre Brabham BT4 - Climax FPF 4697.656 pts 
2Walter Habegger1.5-litre Lotus 20 - Ford696.239 pts 
3Willy Franz1.1-litre Cooper FJ Mk III 'T59'677.762 pts 
4Rudolf Hediger2.5-litre Cooper Mk III 'T45' - Ferrari Testa Rossa649.413 pts 

Championship table from Automobil Revue 21 Nov 1963 p9.

The terms

In the broader context of the whole website, the terms "hill climb" will be used to cover Les course du cote in France, Bergrennen in Germany and Switzerland as well as the gentler sport of hillclimbing in England. However, within the Swiss Championship, the term Bergrennen will often be used.

Bergrennen = Mountain race

Bergprüfung or Bergpruefung = mountain trial

Schweizer Meisterschaft = Swiss Championship

Rundstreckrennen = circuit racing

Rennwagen = racing cars

Tagessieger = Winner (best time)