It's one of the best-known heists in motorsport history. Formula 1 aficionados are well aware that Hans Heyer somehow started the 1977 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim despite failing to qualify. But few know exactly how he pulled it off.
I counted myself among the ill-informed, even though I'd talked in length to the legendary tin-top driver about his caper. The problem for me 10 or so years back when I came to writing about his escapades was that Heyer's story didn't quite tally with those of another participant in the strange affair, nor contemporary press reports. There seemed to be discrepancies in the tales of how Heyer illegally - and quite blatantly - snuck out onto the track to claim an unlikely place in F1 history.
Now I finally understand, and I have Motorsport Images to thank. A trawl through this massive photographic resource under the guidance of archivist Kathy Ager gave me a new insight into how Heyer started his home grand prix aboard an ATS Penske more than 40 years ago. One photograph unearthed within the archive's LAT Images collection shows how he did it, and another why he was able to do it.