His list of success and accolades in motorsport is lengthy, but one thing that doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of Walter Rohrl is music, and more specifically a music video. Yet here we are, in 2022 and with the successful German rally driver centre stage in a video that was released last month, entitled ‘The TF Song’.
This isn’t the first time the worlds of motorsport and music have collided. Who could forget 1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve’s attempts at a music career when he released Private Paradise, which Autosport went to great pains to listen to.
Perhaps thankfully, Rohrl’s participation in this video doesn’t actually have him singing so we’re none the wiser as to his acoustic qualities. The five-minute-plus video has been released by band, the Heizer Monkeys, and is an attempt at promoting safety at the Nurburgring’s Nordschleife during public days, or the ‘TF’ season.
The plot of the video follows ‘The Chosen One’ as he wishes to tackle the famous German circuit but requires guidance and training. Think Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, just without lightsabers or the killing of younglings.
Ring-based YouTuber Misha Charoudin’s alter ego – Boosted Boris – spots the protagonist and sends him to Rohrl for training, which basically involves running up snowy hills and washing a car.
Rohrl’s performance throughout is generally a case of him looking like a disapproving grandparent, with hands in pockets and a disgruntled shake of the head thrown in here and there until ‘The Chosen One’ is ready. And even then, he doesn’t crack a smile.
The 75-year-old isn’t the only motorsport figure to feature in the music video, with renowned Porsche team boss Olaf Manthey hard to miss in a marshal’s orange jacket, and there’s even a cameo from former Lamborghini works driver and FIA GT1 World Championship race winner Stefan Rosina.
The Heizer Monkeys themselves are also a race team, with drummer Leo Willert the reigning Porsche Challenge Middle East champion. Lead singer Joey Kotrie, who raced a 911 GT3 Cup at the Le Mans Classic, says the video is a means of trying to generate respect for the Nurburgring.
“I loved the ’Ring from the first stroll around the car park during a TF day, but I really had no clue,” he said. “More specifically, I had no clue about what I didn’t know, and that of course can be dangerous.
“The ’Ring is such a magical place, the people are so warm, and on a busy Saturday during TF there can sometimes be almost a carnival vibe. But driving fast can be dangerous.
“If people have serious crashes on the ’Ring or even worse on the local roads, there’s a risk of bad consequences, not just for the people in the cars, but for TF itself. TF is allowed to happen only because people respect the danger.”
Photo by: Heizer Monkeys
As for the song itself, it’s nothing to write home about, not being particularly catchy or memorable in this writer’s opinion. With that being said, proceeds from the song will go to VLN race drivers’ charity EiFelkind which has been helping disabled children in the region for more than a decade, and now is aiding Ukrainian refugees. Certainly not a bad thing, and neither is the participation of Rohrl if it can help generate improved awareness and safety at the Nurburgring.
And who knows, maybe he will be remembered as much for his brief music career as he was for his rallying.