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Joseph Schlesser (18 May 1928 – 7 July 1968) was a French Formula One and sports car racing driver. He participated in three World Championship Grands Prix, including the 1968 French Grand Prix in which he was killed. He scored no championship points. He was the uncle of Jean-Louis Schlesser who himself became a Formula One driver in the 1980s.

Jo Schlesser
Joschlesserportrait.jpg
Born(1928-05-18)18 May 1928
Liouville, Meuse, France
Died7 July 1968(1968-07-07) (aged 40)
Rouen-Les-Essarts, Seine-Maritime, France
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityFrance French
Active years19661968
TeamsMatra, Honda
Entries3
Championships0
Wins0
Podiums0
Career points0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1966 German Grand Prix
Last entry1968 French Grand Prix

Contents

Early careerEdit

Schlesser began his motor sport career in 1952, when he rallied a Panhard before, in 1954, trying the then popular French class of racing known as Monomill.[1] His career was then interrupted for three years whilst he was working in Mozambique[1] but he returned to Europe in 1957 when he finished second in the Rome–Liège–Rome Rally in a Mercedes.[1] He then raced a Ferrari 250 GT but without much success until 1960 when he finished second in class at the Nürburgring 1000 km and second overall at Rouen.[1] He also raced a Cooper in Formula Two in 1960 but only achieved a sixth place at Syracuse.[1] In 1961 his season was cut short by an accident at Le Mans but he returned in 1962 with a Formula Junior Brabham.[1]

In 1964 Schlesser moved to the new one-litre Formula Two and became a highly regarded competitor in European Formula Two in the pre-European Formula Two Championship era.[1] In 1966 he joined the works Matra Formula Two team and continued with the same team as Ford France in 1967. In 1968 he joined his close friend Guy Ligier to race McLarens.[1]

Jo Schlesser also raced in NASCAR, finishing 13th in the 1964 Daytona 500.

Formula OneEdit

Schlesser participated in the 1966 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring with a Formula Two (F2) specification Matra MS5-BRM 1.0 litre and again in 1967 at the same venue with an F2 Matra MS5-Cosworth 1.6 litre.[2] In 1966, he finished 10th in the overall classification and third in the Formula Two classification. In 1967, he was forced to retire with a clutch problem after two laps.

A real Formula One opportunity came for Schlesser in 1968 with Honda. The Honda team had completed an experimental air-cooled Formula One car (the RA302) which was tested by their works driver John Surtees. Surtees pronounced it as not ready for racing, and a potential deathtrap. Undaunted, with the financial help of Honda France, Honda entered it for the French Grand Prix at Rouen. Being the local hero, Schlesser was hired to drive it.

DeathEdit

 
Schlesser's magnesium-bodied Honda RA302 crashes and burns during the 1968 French Grand Prix. Schlesser was killed.

After two laps, the car slid wide at the Six Frères corner and crashed sideways into a bank. The magnesium-bodied Honda and 58 laps' worth of fuel ignited instantly, leaving Schlesser no chance of survival. As a result, Honda withdrew from Formula One at the end of the 1968 season after Surtees again refused to drive the car at the Italian race of the same year.

LegacyEdit

A friend of Jo Schlesser's, future Formula One constructor Guy Ligier, always gave his cars type numbers beginning with "JS" as a tribute to Schlesser.

His nephew, Jean-Louis Schlesser, later became a successful racing driver, starting one Formula One Grand Prix and winning the Paris–Dakar Rally.

Racing recordEdit

24 Hours of Le Mans resultsEdit

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1957   Automobiles D. B.   Jean-Claude Vidilles DB HBR-Panhard S750 126 DNF DNF
1960   North American Racing Team   Bill Sturgis Ferrari 250 GT California GT
3.0
253 DNF DNF
1963   David Brown Racing Dept.   William Kimberly Aston Martin DP214 P
+3.0
139 DNF DNF
1964   Ford Motor Company   Richard Attwood Ford GT40 Mk.I P
5.0
58 DNF DNF
1965   Ford France S.A.   Allen Grant AC Cobra Daytona Coupé-Ford GT
5.0
111 DNF DNF
1966   Matra Sport   Alan Rees Matra MS620-BRM P
2.0
100 DNF DNF
1967   Ford France S.A.   Guy Ligier Ford Mk IIB P
+5.0
183 DNF DNF
Source:[3]

NASCAREdit

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Grand National SeriesEdit

NASCAR Grand National Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 NGNC Pts Ref
1964 Bondy Long 77 Ford CON AUG JSP SVH RSD DAY DAY
9
DAY
13
RCH BRI GPS BGS ATL AWS HBO PIF CLB NWS MAR SVH DAR LGY HCY SBO CLT GPS ASH ATL CON NSV CHT BIR VAL PIF DAY ODS OBS BRR ISP GLN LIN BRI NSV MBS AWS DTS ONA CLB BGS STR DAR HCY RCH ODS HBO MAR SVH NWS CLT HAR AUG JAC NA 0 [4]
Daytona 500Edit
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
1964 Bondy Long Ford 18 13

Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 WDC Pts
1966 Matra Sports Matra MS5 F2 Ford Cosworth SCA 1.0 L4 MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER
10
ITA USA MEX NC 0
1967 Écurie Ford-France Matra MS5 F2 Ford Cosworth FVA 1.6 L4 RSA MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER
Ret
CAN ITA USA MEX NC 0
1968 Honda France Honda RA302 Honda RA302E 3.0 V8 RSA ESP MON BEL NED FRA
Ret
GBR GER ITA CAN USA MEX NC 0
Source:[5]

Non-championship Formula One resultsEdit

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
1961 Equipe Lausanne Cooper T51 Climax FPF 1.5 L4 LOM GLV PAU
7
BRX
DNQ
VIE AIN SYR NAP LON SIL SOL KAN DAN MOD
Inter-Autocourse FLG
8
OUL LEW VAL RAN NAT RSA
1962 Equipe Lausanne Cooper T51 Climax FPF 1.5 L4 CAP BRX LOM LAV GLV PAU
10
AIN INT NAP MAL CLP RMS SOL KAN MED DAN OUL MEX RAN NAT
1963 Inter-Autocourse Brabham BT2 Ford 105E 1.5 L4 LOM GLV PAU
Ret
IMO
4
SYR AIN INT ROM SOL KAN
Jo Schlesser MED
11
AUT OUL RAN
1965 John Willment Automobiles Lola T55 F2 Ford Cosworth SCA 1.0 L4 ROC
DSQ
SYR SMT INT MED RAN
1967 Écurie Ford-France Matra MS5 F2 Ford Cosworth FVA 1.6 L4 ROC SPR INT SYR
DNS
OUL
4
ESP
5
Source:[6]

Complete European Formula Two Championship resultsEdit

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pos. Pts
1967 Ford France Matra MS5 Ford SNE SIL NÜR HOC TUL JAR ZAN
Ret
PER
4
BRH
3
VAL 8th 13
1968 Ecurie Inter-Sport McLaren M4A Ford HOC
6
THR
Ret
JAR
8
PAL
5
TUL ZAN PER HOC VAL 11th 5
Source:[7]

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 341. ISBN 0851127029.
  2. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 340. ISBN 0851127029.
  3. ^ "All Results of Jo Schlesser". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  4. ^ "Jo Schlesser – 1964 NASCAR Grand National Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  5. ^ "Jo Schlesser - Involvement". StatsF1. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  6. ^ "Jo Schlesser - Involvement Non World Championship". StatsF1. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  7. ^ "Jo Schlesser – Biography". MotorSportMagazine. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
Preceded by
Bob Anderson
Formula One fatal accidents
7 July 1968
Succeeded by
Gerhard Mitter