1956: Venezuelan ace Johnny Cecotto is born. The former 350cc Motorcycle World Champion and 500cc race winner went on to compete in Formula 2, F1 and, latterly, touring cars. He was reunited with a March-BMW F2 racer at the Festival of Speed in 2015 (any excuse to show a picture of that!). Happy 60th birthday Johnny!
1976: Forty years ago today James Hunt claims pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix in his first outing for McLaren. The race is won by Ferrari’s reigning World Champion Niki Lauda.
1975: It’s a day of firsts at Interlagos, as local hero Carlos Pace claims his maiden GP win for Brabham. Goodwood regular Jochen Mass secures his first career podium, for McLaren, while Jean-Pierre Jarier and Shadow rack up their first fastest laps.
1975: Chris Amon gives the Chevrolet V8-engined Talon MR1 F5000 its only Tasman Series win with victory at Teretonga Park. The Kiwi’s seventh and final win comes six years after securing the 1969 title for Ferrari.
1934: American racing hero George Follmer is born. The Arizona ace would win the 1972 Can-Am title for Porsche, finish third in the 1973 Spanish GP for Shadow, his only podium finish, and then take third at Le Mans, aged 52, in the Stars & Stripes Joest Racing Porsche 956 in 1986.
1977: Sandro Munari becomes the first driver to win the Monte Carlo Rally three times in a row. The Italian’s Lancia Stratos defeats the Fiat 131 Abarth of former Monte winner Jean-Claude Andruet.
1950: Jody Scheckter, F1 World Champion with Ferrari in 1979, is born. The South African competed in 111 GPs, winning 10 for Tyrrell, Wolf and Ferrari, and beat team-mate Gilles Villeneuve to the title in the 312T4.
1981: Frenchman Jean Ragnotti takes a popular Monte Carlo Rally win in his Renault 5 Turbo. It’s Ragnotti’s first victory at WRC level and betters his runner-up spot in the 1979 event.
1966: Finn JJ Lehto is born. After racing in F1 for Onyx, Scuderia Italia, Sauber and Benetton, he famously gave McLaren a debut win at Le Mans, guiding the F1 GTR to victory in 1995 with Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya.
1971: Briton Jackie Oliver completes his sportscar racing triple crown by adding victory in the Daytona 24 Hours to his Sebring and Le Mans wins of ’69. Sharing a JWA Gulf Porsche 917 with Pedro Rodriguez, he beats two Ferraris, the NART 512S of Ronnie Bucknum and Tony Adamowicz and the 512M of Mark Donohue and David Hobbs.