That Was The Week That Was – Anniversaries And Milestones From Motorsport’s Past

15th May 2016
Henry Hope-Frost
Legendary Spa 1,000, Panis's Monaco epic and more...

May 16

1971: Emerson Fittipaldi scored his first European Formula 2 Championship win, aboard the Team Bardahl Lotus 69 at Jarama. The Brazilian’s Cosworth FVA-powered car beat the Eifelland March 712M-BMW of Austrian Dieter Quester.

1976: Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni took Ferrari’s second one-two of the season – in the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. Third-place Jacques Laffite’s Ligier-Matra was more than a minute behind.

1982: Silverstone’s 6 Hours, the second round of the World Sportscar Championship, heralded the start of the Group C era. Porsche’s all-new Rothmans-liveried 956 qualified on pole, by more than a second, but was beaten in the fuel-saving race by the still-legal Group 6 Martini Lancia LC1 of Michele Alboreto and Riccardo Patrese.

May 17

1959: Jerry Unser died from the injuries he sustained several days earlier during a crash in practice for the Indianapolis 500. The 26-year-old was the brother of multiple race winners Al and Bobby, and uncle of fellow victor Al Unser Jr.

1963: Italian bike racing ace Luca Cadalora was born. He won the 125cc title in 1986, took back-to-back 250cc crowns in the 250cc class in 1991 and ’92 and went on to win eight Grands Prix in the 500cc ranks – six for Yamaha and two for Honda.

1970: Porsche won the Spa 1,000km, courtesy of Brian Redman and Jo Siffert in the Gulf J.W Automotive 917K. The Anglo-Swiss pair defeated the works Ferrari 512S of Jacky Ickx and John Surtees. Fastest lap went to Pedro Rodriguez in the second Gulf JWA 917K, which retired with a cracked oil pipe. His 3m16.5s lap equated to an average speed of 160mph around the old, eight-mile Spa!

1981: The Belgian GP fell to Carlos Reutemann’s Williams, the Argentinian beating Jacques Laffite’s Ligier-Matra and the Lotus-Ford of Nigel Mansell. Third place meant the Briton stood on a GP podium for the first time – a feat he would repeat a further 58 times over the next 13 years.

May 18

1952: Piero Taruffi took his only World Championship F1 win – for Ferrari in the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten. The Italian had a rather easier run to victory in the opening race of the season than he might otherwise have had as Ferrari team leader Alberto Ascari was away practising for the Indy 500.  Second went to local driver Rudi Fischer in a privately entered Ferrari.

1958: The Lotus team made its F1 debut in the Monaco GP. Rookie racers Graham Hill and Cliff Allison were on driving duty in the two Lotus 12s, Hill retiring with halfshaft failure, Allison last of the finishers in sixth place.

1969: On the same date on which he made his Formula 1 debut, 11 years early, Graham Hill took his 14th and final Grand Prix win – his fifth on the streets of Monaco. Fellow Brit Piers Courage took his best career finish with second in a Brabham.

May 19

1973: Happy birthday Dario Franchitti! The Scot won titles in junior single-seaters in the UK before graduating to the DTM touring car series with Mercedes. A move to America brought him his greatest success, with three Indy 500s victories and four IndyCar drivers’ titles to his name, as well as a win in the Daytona 24 Hours. Now a TV presenter, pundit and commentator, he’s a regular at the three Goodwood meetings.

1991: Jaguar’s final World Sportscar Championship win on home soil came at Silverstone. Teo Fabi and Derek Warwick steered the TWR-run XJR-14 to victory over the Sauber-Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Karl Wendlinger and the second Jaguar driven solo by Martin Brundle.

1996: Ligier racked up its ninth and final Grand Prix win (15 years after its eighth!) when Olivier Panis took an unlikely victory in Monaco – from 14th in the grid. The Frenchman’s Mugen-Honda-powered JS43 climbed to the front of the field in a race of attrition, taking the lead on lap 60 of 75 and holding off David Coulthard’s McLaren-Mercedes to the tune of 4.8s. Third went to Johnny Herbert’s Sauber.

2014: Sir Jack Brabham died at home in Australia, aged 88. Winner of 14 Grands Prix, for Cooper and his eponymous Brabham team between 1959 and 1970, he took three world titles, for Cooper in 1959 and ’60 and again in ’66 – the first and only time a driver has lifted the crown at the wheel of a car bearing his own name. 

May 20

1962: Graham Hill’s first F1 win came in the Dutch GP at Zandvoort. His BRM P57 beat the Lotus of Trevor Taylor by almost half a minute. The race also marked the first time that Jim Clark led a race. The Scot ran up front for 11 laps before suffering clutch trouble and fading to ninth, 10 laps in arrears.  

1973: Jochen Mass took his first European F2 win at the Swedish Kinnekullering circuit. It was the only time the venue appeared on the calendar and Mass took his Surtees TS15 to victory over the John Coombs-run Elf 2 of Patrick Depailler.

1984: The last Grand Prix at the French Dijon circuit was won by Niki Lauda’s McLaren. The Austrian beat Patrick Tambay’s Renault and the Lotus of Nigel Mansell for his second victory of the season.

May 21

1950: The first World Championship-qualifying Monaco GP marked the first appearance of the Ferrari team. The red cars had missed the opening race of the year at Silverstone but entered three 125 V12s for Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi and Raymond Sommer in the principality. Ascari fared best of the trio, taking second behind the winning Alfa Romeo 158 of Juan Manuel Fangio.

1972: Ferrari took its seventh and final Targa Florio victory. The 312PB of Arturo Merzario and Sandro Munari did the honours, leading home the two Autodelta Alfa Romeo T33s of Nanni Galli/Helmut Marko and Andrea de Adamich/Toine Hezemans.

1989: The Dijon round of the World Sportscar Championship resulted in an historic victory for Porsche – its last in the series. The Joest Racing 962C of Frank Jelinski and Bob Wollek defeated the two Sauber-Mercedes C9/88s of Jean-Louis Schlesser/Jochen Mass and Mauro Baldi/Kenny Acheson.

May 22

1960: Maserati’s Tipo 61 ‘Birdcage’ took its first World Sportscar Championship race win when Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss won the Nürburgring 1,000km. Their Camoradi-run machine beat the factory Porsche 718 RS60 of Jo Bonnier and Olivier Gendebien.

1966: The McLaren team made its F1 World Championship debut, when Bruce McLaren entered a single M2B for the Monaco GP. The car qualified 10th but retired after nine laps with an oil leak. The race was won by Jackie Stewart in the BRM P261.

1983: The first Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps for 13 years was run on the new, shorter circuit. The race was won by Alain Prost’s Renault, from Patrick Tambay’s Ferrari and the second Renault of Eddie Cheever. Andrea de Cesaris took his only career fastest lap, aboard the Alfa Romeo.

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    That Was The Week That Was – Anniversaries and Milestones From Motorsport’s Past

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    That Was The Week That Was: Milestones And Anniversaries From Motorsport's Past

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    That Was The Week That Was: Anniversaries and Milestones From Motorsport's Past