Willy Mairesse (1 October 1928 – 2 September 1969) was a Formula One and sports-car driver from Belgium. He participated in 13 World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 19 June 1960. He achieved one podium and scored a total of seven championship points. He committed suicide in a hotel room in Ostend after a crash at the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans forced an end to his career.
|Born||1 October 1928|
|Died||2 September 1969(aged 40)|
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1960–1963, 1965|
|Teams||Ferrari, ENB, Lotus, Scuderia Centro Sud|
|Entries||13 (12 starts)|
|First entry||1960 Belgian Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1965 Belgian Grand Prix|
Peter Revson once described the intensity of Mairesse before a race at Spa, Belgium. Revson looked into his car and saw Mairesse's "furrowed" face, beetled brows, and eyes which were almost tilted and their colour changed. "It was almost like looking at the devil."
Sports car driverEdit
Mairesse won first place in the marathon rally Liege-Rome-Liege in 1956. Mairesse secured third place in the Grand Prix of Monza in June 1959. Driving a Ferrari, he placed behind Alfonso Thiele and Carlo Mario Abate, both also in Ferraris. Mairesse and Mike Parkes of England finished second to Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien at the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans. Driving a Ferrari, Mairesse and Parkes also eclipsed the previous Le Mans record, covering 2,758.66 miles. In the 1963 12 Hours of Sebring Mairesse and Nino Vacarella placed second after Ludovico Scarfiotti and John Surtees. Both teams drove Ferraris. Surtees and Mairesse won the 1000 km of the Nurburgring driving a Ferrari 250P. Thereafter, Surtees and Mairesse led for the 15 hours of the first 18 hours of the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans before the car caught fire while Mairesse was driving. Mairesse escaped injury. Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini won on the French circuit where Christian Heins had a fatal accident. Mairesse and Surtees retired after a motor fire. A young German Red Cross worker was killed in August 1963 when the wheel of a Ferrari driven by Mairesse came off as his car overturned. Guenther Schneider, 19, was hit by a flying wheel during the running of the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring and died. Mairesse was triumphant in the 1964 Grand Prix of Angola, run at Luanda. His average speed was 80.78 miles per hour. Mairesse piloted a Ferrari 250 LM to first place in the 500 km sportscar race of Spa in May 1965. He completed the race in 2 hours, 29 minutes, and 45.7 seconds. He achieved an average speed of 126.29.[clarification needed] Mairesse and Jean Beurlys of France finished third at the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ferrari 275 GTB winning the GT category in its debut at Le Mans, while Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt won the race. In April 1966 Surtees and Parkes won the 1,000 kilometer Monza Auto Race. Mairesse and Herbert Mueller of Switzerland came in third in a Ford sports car, two laps behind. In May Mairesse and Mueller drove to victory in the Targa Florio, driving a Porsche Carrera 6. Rain caused considerable attrition as only thirteen of seventy starters finished the race. Mairesse and Beurlys again drove a Ferrari to third place in the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans. This event was won by the American team of Dan Gurney and A. J. Foyt.
Mairesse was third in the Grand Prix of Europe, 1960 Italian Grand Prix. This was the penultimate race of the 1960 Formula One World Championship. Run at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Phil Hill was victorious, with Richie Ginther second, and Mairesse third, a lap down. Mairesse qualified fifth for the 1962 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. The pole was won by Graham Hill in a BRM. During the event Mairesse and the Lotus of Trevor Taylor dueled for more than an hour, passing and repassing a number of times each lap. Mairesse was cheered heartily by an enthusiastic partisan crowd. The two cars came together at more than 100 miles per hour in the long, sweeping, left-hand Blanchimont turn. Mairesse's car went off to the left, careening into a hillside behind a ditch, and caught fire after flipping over. He was thrown out of his Ferrari and his shoes and the legs of his trousers were torn off. He was conscious, despite numerous scrapes, cuts, and burns. Mairesse was loaded into an ambulance and transported to a hospital, where he was reported to be in good spirits and without any serious injuries. Taylor and Mairesse made contact earlier in the season at the Grand Prix of Brussels. In a race in which only twelve of twenty-one starters finished, Mairesse came in fourth in the 1962 Italian Grand Prix. He was only a car length ahead of Giancarlo Baghetti.
Out of Formula One in 1963, Phil Hill predicted a rough future for the Ferrari team. He said there was too much competition between Mairesse and Surtees. Specifically, he commented "they will harry each other so much that they will force each other to make mistakes". Mairesse's car crashed during the 1963 German Grand Prix. The Ferrari turned over multiple times after swerving off the track. He was rushed to the hospital with a broken arm. His teammate, Surtees, won the race, with Jim Clark second in a Lotus.
Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)
|1960||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari Dino 246||Ferrari V6||ARG||MON||500||NED||BEL
|1961||Equipe Nationale Belge||Lotus 18||Climax
|Team Lotus||Lotus 21||FRA
|Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 156||Ferrari V6||GER
|1962||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 156||Ferrari V6||NED||MON
|1963||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 156||Ferrari V6||MON
|1965||Scuderia Centro Sud||BRM P57||BRM V8||RSA||MON||BEL
Non-Championship Formula One resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1961||Equipe Nationale Belge||Emeryson Mk2||Maserati L4||LOM||GLV||PAU||BRX
|1962||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 156||Ferrari V6||CAP||BRX
|1963||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari 156||Ferrari V6||LOM||GLV||PAU||IMO
- "Willy Mairesse | Motor Sport Magazine Database". Motor Sport Magazine. 12 June 2017.
- "Drivers: Willy Mairesse". Retrieved 3 June 2009.
- "What Makes Peter Revson Race". Parade Magazine. 12 March 1972. p. 103.
- "Liège-Rome-Liège 1956". Ewrc results. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
- "2 Drivers Killed In Monza Crash". The New York Times. 29 June 1959. p. 37.
- "Ferrari Wins at Le Mans". Evening Standard. Uniontown, Pennsylvania. 12 June 1961. p. 14.
- "Red Italian Cars Blast Race Field". News Journal. Mansfield, Ohio. 24 March 1963. p. 29.
- "Ferraris Mop-Up at Le Mans, Monopolize First Six Spots". Bennington Banner. 17 June 1963. p. 6.
- "Boy, 19, Dies of Injuries Suffered at Grand Prix". The New York Times. 7 August 1963. p. 30.
- "Angola Victor". Mansfield News Journal. 30 November 1964. p. 15.
- "Belgium Driver Wins Grand Prix of Spa". Mansfield News Journal. 17 May 1965. p. 10.
- "Ford Challenges Collapses at Le Mans". Pacific Stars and Stripes. 22 June 1965. p. 11.
- "Surtees Comes Back at Monza". Pacific Stars and Stripes. 27 April 1966. p. 20.
- "Leader Crash, Porsche Wins". Syracuse Herald Journal. 9 May 1966. p. 18.
- "Le Mans Is Won By Foyt". Brownsville Herald. 12 June 1967. p. 7.
- "Hill, Driving a Ferrari, Scores By Lap in Grand Prix of Europe". The New York Times. 5 September 1960. p. 20.
- "Graham Hill Sets Pace in Grand Prix Trial". The New York Times. 17 June 1962. p. 158.
- "Clark First With Lotus in Belgian Grand". The New York Times. 18 June 1962. p. 34.
- "Graham Hill Wins At Monza". The New York Times. 17 September 1962. p. 60.
- "Even Clark Rates Clark Highly". The New York Times. 26 May 1963. p. 168.
- "Surtees Is Victor In German Race". The New York Times. 5 August 1963. p. 44.