In The Beginning

Al Lager’s mechanical aptitiude came honestly – his father was the lead mechanic for the Assistant Curator at the Smithsonian National Museum, and was the lead test pilot for B-24s at Ford Willow Run.  Al, determined to do some completely different from his father, would gradually work himself into the world of cars, flying around race tracks across the country and continent.

History of Al Lager Engines

Sherman Lager working on an engine.

History of Al Lager Engines

Al Lager doing a pre-race check.

In high school, Al was a fence-hanger like everyone else and would watch Mark Donohue and Roger Penske in sports car races in D.C. not knowing that one day he would befriend and would be racing alongside these stars.  Then he did know, however, that he would settle for nothing less than a fast and furious life full of travel, race cars, and trophies.

After the War

Al returned to Colorado after a stint in Vietnam to be reacquainted with his Speedster he bought while he was in the service.  It was then too that he first went to driving school in Aspen and started working for Eichhorn’s as a mechanic.  In 1973, Al approached Bob Hagestad of Hagestad Porsche (now Prestige Porsche) who had just bought the current Carrera RSR and pitched Bob to let him build the car and be the crew chief.  Those RSRs were essentially turn-key race cars right from the factory, and Al knew that, with his experience and expertise, this was the move that could put him in the elite crowd of Porsche crew chiefs in the country.  In the 1970s, Al went on to being one of maybe 5 mechanics that could put you in a top-5 car.

History of Al Lager Engines
History of Al Lager Engines

Al taking a lap around the course.

In the winner circle.

History of Al Lager Engines
History of Al Lager Engines

Al won races at Watkins Glen (1975), Championship of Makes (1976), Sebring (1977), and Daytona (1977).  In all of the endurance races, his cars never finished less than fourth overall.  Moving from the fences to the front line, Al ended up racing cars with and against the very same people he was watching and idolizing in his youth.

Year after year, Al and his race cars crossed the finish line in the top ranks.  Here is what one such year – 1977 – looked like: