The 24 Hours Museum is currently celebrating the anniversary of the 1967 Formula One Grand Prix, the only one to have taken place in Le Mans, on the Bugatti track. In this fourth part of a series of articles to accompany the exhibition we salute some of the drivers who raced that Grand Prix and also took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Mike Hawthorn (1929-1959), British style and Italian flair - The Briton first contested the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1953 with Jaguar. He was part of their winning team in 1955 and finished sixth in 1956. In 1958, he became the first British driver to win the Formula One world championship, with Ferrari, having won three Grand Prix with the Italian manufacturer. Hawthorn was easy to spot at the wheel. He always sported a bow tie! The world championship was the pinnacle of his career and he retired immediately afterwards, only to his lose his life in a car accident a few months later, on 22 January 1959.
Jochen Rindt (1942-1970), triumph and tragedy - In 1965, having made a spectacular recovery following technicial hitches early in the race, Rindt and Masten Gregory took Ferrari’s last outright win to date at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After two more attempts with Ford and Porsche in 1966 and 1967, Rindt triumphed in Formula One for the first time in 1969. He went on to dominate Formula One the following year, swiping no less than five victories, but was killed in an accident at the Italian Grand Prix. His lead in the championship was such that he won the trophy posthumously.
Jacky Ickx, Ferrari and the 24 Hours - In the mid sixties, Enzo Ferrari snapped up young prodigy Jacky Ickx. In 1968, the Belgian claimed his first Grand Prix win with the Italian marque at Rouen-les-Essarts. The following year he triumphed at Le Mans 24 Hours with the Ford GT40. Although Ickx only raced for Ferrari once at Le Mans, in 1970 (DNF), his records in the French endurance marathon and in Formula One are astonishingly similar. He won six Le Mans and eight Grands Prix, six with Ferrari.
Didier Pironi (1952-1987), from Renault to Ferrari - Winner of the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans with Renault-Alpine teamed with Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Didier Pironi won his first Grand Prix with Ligier in 1980, before transferring to Ferrari. With two victories under his belt, he was cruising towards a world championship title when a terrible accident during the rain-drenched practice sessions for the German Grand Prix put an end to his Formula One career. Having turned to offshore powerboat racing, Pironi was killed in an accident off the Isle of Wight on 23 August 1987.
Michele Alboreto (1956-2001) - Michele Alboreto is the last driver to date to have won a Grand Prix and the the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a feat he achieved in 1997. He drove for the Ferrari Formula One team from 1984 to 1988 and played a part in three of the team’s five victories over that period. His Le Mans record falls neatly into two distinct chapters. From 1981 to 1983 he drove a Lancia. Alboreto returned to Le Mans in 1996, racing for Reinhold Joest. The following year he won the race, alongside Stefan Johansson and Tom Kristensen. He played a part in the early Audi era, with a fourth place in 1999 and third in 2000. However, he never won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the German marque. A month after his last international win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Alboreto was killed during a private test session at the German circuit of Lauzitsring.
The story of the sixteen drivers who won both Le Mans 24 Hours and a Formula One Grand Prix continues. Read the following instalments to find out more.
If you missed the beginning of the series, catch up here:
Photo (Copyright ACO Archives): Italian driver Michele Alboreto is the last to have won both Le Mans and a Grand Prix (1997) and also the last Italian to date to have won a Formula One race with Ferrari - the 1985 German Grand Prix.