GRR

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

07th November 2016
Henry Hope-Frost
Epic Can-Am footage, Senna's last win and more...

November 7

1956: Jonathan Palmer was born. The British Formula 3 Champion (1981) and European F2 title winner (1983) made his F1 debut at the end of ’83 for Williams. He went on to contest 82 Grands Prix with RAM, Zakspeed and Tyrrell, taking a best finish of fourth in the 1987 Australian GP. He also won two rounds of the World Sportscar Championship in a Porsche. After retiring from the cockpit, he concentrated on his successful track-day business and would soon acquire British circuits Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Oulton Park and Snetterton.

1993: Ayrton Senna took his 41st and last GP win on the streets of Adelaide for McLaren. His long-time nemesis Alain Prost finished second for Williams in his last race before retirement. Also bowing out that day was Riccardo Patrese, whose 256 GP-starts record would stand for 15 years.

1999: Tommi Mäkinen took a record fourth World Rally Championship drivers’ title after finishing third in Rally Australia for Mitsubishi. The event was won by Subaru ace Richard Burns, the Scot beating the Toyota Corolla WRC of Spaniard Carlos Sainz by 11 seconds.

November 8

1933: British single-seater ace Peter Arundell was born. The most successful Formula Junior racer in the category’s history, he made his F1 debut for Lotus in 1964 and finished third in his first two races – in Monaco and Holland. Arundell was team-mate to Jim Clark in the Lotus team and was overshadowed by the great Scot. He died in June 2009, aged 75.

1985: American all-rounder Masten Gregory died after a heart attack in Italy, aged just 53. He raced in 38 GPs aboard Maserati, Cooper, Behra-Porsche, Lotus and BRM machinery, with a best finish of second in Portugal in 1959. He’s best known for sharing the 1965 Le Mans-winning Ferrari 250 LM with Jochen Rindt – a result that remains Ferrari’s last win in the French classic.

November 9

1953: Scottish sportscar and British Touring Car Championship star David Leslie was born. The former single-seater racer (he won the 1980 British Formula Atlantic title) took nine BTCC wins for Vauxhall, Honda and Nissan during the 1990s, having been successful in the Group C2 class of the World Sportscar Championship. He died in a light-aircraft crash in 2008, aged 54. 

1969: The final round of the Can-Am Championship in Texas was won by Bruce McLaren in his eponymous M8B. It would be the Kiwi’s ninth and final win in the North American series for Group 7 sportscars; he was killed testing at Goodwood ahead of the start of the 1970 season. 

1974: Matra took its 15th and last World Sportscar Championship win in the Kyalami 6 Hours, courtesy of Gérard Larrousse and Henri Pescarolo, The French pair defeated the sister MS670C of Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Jean-Pierre Jarier for their fourth win of the year.

2003: Petter Solberg clinched the World Rally Championship title with his second consecutive win for Subaru on Rally Great Britain, now sponsored by host nation Wales. The Norwegian took 13 stage wins from a possible 18 to take victory over Citroën’s Sébastien Loeb by 43 seconds. Third went to Solberg’s team-mate Tommi Mäkinen in his 139th and final appearance in the series.

November 10

1939: Touring car veteran Allan Moffat was born. The Canadian-born racer made his name in the Australian Touring Car Championship, taking four drivers’ titles – three for Ford and one for Mazda. He also took four victories in the blue-riband Bathurst 1000km – all for the Blue Oval.

1965: Irishman Eddie Irvine was born. He began his F1 career with Jordan in 1993 and joined Ferrari for 1996, alongside Michael Schumacher. He scored four wins for the Scuderia in 1999 and came close to the drivers’ title, admittedly after Schumacher had missed much of the second half of the season after breaking his leg at Silverstone. He saw out his F1 career with the ill-fated Jaguar team between 2000-2002.

1975: Estonian rally star Markko Martin was born. He contested 84 WRC events, winning five of them in an M-Sport Ford Focus RS WRC in 2003-’04. He retired after an accident on the 2005 Wales Rally GB in which his Peugeot co-driver Michael Park was killed.

November 11

1926: The first woman to contest a World Championship Grand Prix, Italian Maria Teresa de Filippis, was born. She tackled three races in 1958 – in Belgium, Portugal and Italy – aboard a Maserati 250F and retired soon after to raise a family. She died, aged 89, in January this year.

1937: Italian F1 winner Vittorio Brambilla was born. The ‘Monza Gorilla’ took part in 74 GPs, for March, Surtees and Alfa Romeo, famously winning the rain-lashed Austrian GP in 1975 and crashing as he crossed the finish line. He died in May 2001, aged 63.

1967: Brazilian racer Gil de Ferran was born. He won the British F3 title for Paul Stewart Racing in 1992 and raced for two years in F3000, winning three races for PSR. He then moved to America and enjoyed a hugely successful career in IndyCar. He won the drivers’ title twice for Penske, in 2000 and 2001, and triumphed in the big one, the Indy 500, in 2003.

November 12

1943: The first World Rally Champion, Swede Björn Waldegaard, was born. He contested 95 WRC events between 1973 and 1992, winning 16 of them for Lancia, Ford, Mercedes and Toyota. He died in August 2014, aged 70. 

1995: The 11th and final World Championship Australian GP to be held on the streets of Adelaide resulted in one of the biggest winning margins in F1 history. Damon Hill took victory for Williams, beating the Ligier of Olivier Panis by two laps. The Arrows of Gianni Morbidelli finished third. 

November 13

1945: Japanese racer Masahiro Hasemi was born. He contested one GP – his home event at Fuji in 1976, which was best known as the title decider between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. According to some sources he set the fastest lap of the race in his Kojima-Cosworth, en route to 11th and last of the classified finishers, although officially Jacques Laffite is credited with the record. 

1966: John Surtees made sure of the inaugural Can-Am title by winning the season-closing Stardust Grand Prix in Las Vegas in his self-run Lola T70 Spyder. The 1964 F1 World Champion beat the McLaren M1B of Bruce McLaren and fellow Lola driver Dan Gurney.

1982: Ayrton Senna made a winning debut in Formula 3 in a non-championship race at Thruxton. The Brazilian FF2000 champion used the event as a warm-up for 1983, during which he would take 12 wins from the 20 rounds, and the title, in a West Surrey Racing Ralt-Toyota. 

1988: The final GP for turbocharged cars (until 2014, anyway) took place in Australia and was won by Alain Prost in the dominant McLaren-Honda MP4/4. The Frenchman beat his team-mate Ayrton Senna, who’d won the title in the previous race in Japan, by more than half a minute. Third went to the Lotus-Honda of Nelson Piquet.

1991: The first WRC-qualifying Catalunya Rally was won by German Toyota driver Armin Schwarz. His Celica GT-4 defeated the Lancia Delta Integrale of World Champion Juha Kankkunen by 1m33s and François Delecour’s Ford Sierra Bosworth 4x4. 

1994: Nigel Mansell took his 31st and final GP win – for Williams in Australia. Behind the Englishman, the title was decided in Michael Schumacher’s favour when the Benetton driver collided with Damon Hill’s Williams. Second eventually went to Gerhard Berger’s Ferrari, with Martin Brundle securing third in his final drive for McLaren. 

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