Teams Jean-Pierre Alain Jabouille
Races: 55Jean-Pierre Jabouille: Setting the MarkBy Jeremy McMullenPage: 1
Career Points: 21
It is fitting, as Formula One prepares to reintroduce turbocharged engines to the World Championship, to recall the man that earned the very first victory for a turbocharged car in Formula One. It is also fitting to recall the man that was as comfortable penning designs as he was driving them.
Jean-Pierre Jabouille would prove it doesn't matter at what age one starts. What matters is that one starts. Born on the 1st of October in 1942 in Paris, France, Jean-Pierre would be born at the height of German occupation in France. Growing up after the war, other things would occupy Jabouille's mind than motor racing. However, what he would become interested in, what would occupy his mind, and time, would end up being very handy for later on down the road.
Throughout his early years, Jabouille would be interested in art. In fact, he would end up studying art at Sorbonne for a short period of time. This all made sense given he had been born in Paris where art and architecture are in abundance. This love of art would, rather quickly, turn into a love for the mechanical arts, particularly engineering.
At a relatively late age of 22, Jean-Pierre would finally dip his toe in what was the engineer's ultimate playground. At the wheel of his own Alpine road car, Jabouille would line up to take part in the Mont Dore hillclimb. The result would be that Jean-Pierre was hooked on motor racing from that moment on, both from the driving side and the mechanical.
By 1966, Jean-Pierre would be taking part in the Renault 8 Gordini series. This was a relatively new series and would really require those participating to look after and maintain their own cars. This was perfect for the Parisian as he would quickly fall in love with technical things, such as suspension and engines. This passion would turn into something of a business as he would end up not only preparing his own car but, also, that of friend Jacques Laffite.In 1967, Jabouille would move up to French Formula Three driving a Brabham he had purchased with his own money. He would end up battling against other drivers like Francois Cevert. While taking part in the series, Jean-Pierre would continue to maintain his own car and this would be quite impressive as it would lead to a runner-up result behind Cevert. This would be achieved with an ex-factory Matra that Jabouille managed to buy and maintain all on his own.
So not only was Jean-Pierre proving to be a rather talented driver, but he was certainly impressive in his skills as a mechanic and technician. He was truly one of a rare breed that could not only drive, but that could also understand what a car needed in order to go quicker. This technical ability made him invaluable as a test and development driver, and, in 1969, he would be contracted to Alpine to be one of their development drivers. He would continue to take part in Formula 3 at the same time but would actually be a part of the Alpine-Renault team for that season.
|While doing development work for Alpine, Jabouille would take part in Formula 2. This would be a rather long experience in the series as many years would be interrupted with a lack of funds or teams pulling out of the sport altogether. This is what happened with Matra at the end of the 1974 season.|
|1981||JS17||Matra MS81 3.0 V12|
|1980||RE20||Renault-Gordini EF1 1.5 V6t|
|1979||RS10||Renault-Gordini EF1 1.5 V6t|
|1979||RS01||Renault-Gordini EF1 1.5 V6t|
|1978||RS01||Renault-Gordini EF1 1.5 V6t|
|1977||RS01||Renault-Gordini EF1 1.5 V6t|
|1975||Tyrrell 007||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1974||Surtees TS16||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
|1974||FW||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8|
Throughout this long period of time competing in Formula 2 Jean-Pierre would also take part in a number of sportscar races. This was a rather perfect place for the Frenchman to improve his talents as the longer endurance races required his talents as a technically-minded driver.
The first forays into sportscar racing for Jabouille would actually come back in 1966 when he would compete with a Marcos Mini GT in such races as the Monza 1000 Kilometers and the Paris 1000 Kilometers. In 1968, he would take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the very first time. Co-driving with Jean Guichet in an Alpine A220, Jean-Pierre would start the French classic from 18th on the grid. Unfortunately, alternator problems would bring that first race to an early end.
Then, in 1969, the true talent of Jabouille would be put on display for all to see. At Dijon, taking part in a sportscar race with an Alpine, Jabouille would come through to earn his first victory of any kind. It would be that same year that he would be contracted to drive for Alpine. Jabouille's career was starting to climb, although the ascent would be rather slow.Throughout a difficult period of time in which Jabouille would become a mainstay in Formula 2, he would be rather busy taking part in sportscar races. Suffering another early retirement at Le Mans in 1970, Jean-Pierre would help an all-French squad of drivers come away with a 2nd place result in the Tour de France. In that race Jabouille would be driving a Matra MS650 and this would mark the beginning of a relationship between the two that would last until Matra pulled out of racing at the end of 1974.
Besides driving for Matra in certain events, Jabouille would also take part in the European 2-liter Championship Paul Ricard starting in 1971. In that series he would be driving a Lola T212 and would prove to be quite successful. It would start with a 5th place in the first race and then a victory in the second. In that second race Jabouille would partner with a certain Austrian by the name of Helmut Marko.
This would lead to Jabouille participating in the European 2-liter Championship Imola later in 1971. Driving for Abarth Corse, he would come away with a 2nd place in the event. This would be followed up with a 2nd place result at the Tour de France at the wheel of a Ferrari 512 M entered by Escuderia Mantjuich.
Throughout 1972 and 1973 Jean-Pierre would take part in fewer sportscar events and would have some decent results including a couple of top five results. The highlight during the period would undoubtedly come at Le Mans in 1973 when he co-drove with Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and earned a 3rd place overall result at the wheel of a Matra MS670B.
Jabouille would repeat the feat the following year. That time he would partner with Francois Migault in a Matra MS670C. However, following the highlight of Le Mans there would be the news of Matra's departure from motor racing. Therefore, Jabouille would have to look to another manufacturer for which he could compete. He was still a developmental driver for Alpine. Therefore, he and Jean-Claude Guenard would take an Alpine Formula 2 car and would make some changes to it in order to compete in some Formula 2 races. This would result in Jabouille earning a victory. The victory would come at Hockenheim in early June of '74. Driving his own Alpine for Ecurie Elf, Jabouille would manage to hold off Jacques Laffite and Hans Joachim Stuck for the victory.
Elf had been persuaded to fund Jabouille's effort in Formula 2 in 1974 and their faith would be rewarded with the victory at Hockenheim. This would lead Elf to reward Jabouille with greater funding for 1975. Jean-Pierre's abilities as a car builder and engineer would be recognized. Therefore, Jabouille would be encouraged to end his ties with Alpine and would throw his time and energies into building his own Formula 2 cars. This was a huge undertaking and quite a statement as to the Frenchman's abilities in and out of the car.
The effort would be a rewarding one as Jabouille would take his own new car to victory at Magny Cours and Salzburg. In the end, the partnership would be quite successful in its very first year. The partnership would also lead to Jabouille making his Formula One debut.
Actually, Jabouille would make a couple attempts at a debut in Formula One and they would both come in 1974. The Frenchman's star, especially as a technical driver, was really beginning to rise. The strong results at Le Mans were certainly very helpful. Unfortunately, those first couple attempts at Formula One would be not nearly as successful. In fact, in both cases, when he first drove for Frank Williams and then Team Surtees, the result would be that he would fail to qualify.
In 1975, Jabouille would be entered in the French Grand Prix as part of Elf Team Tyrrell. This would be a great opportunity for the Parisian. He had raced against Francois Cevert in the past and this was to be the team in which he was to become the number one driver after Jackie Stewart retired. That all tragically changed at Watkins Glen. However, for Jabouille, it was a great opportunity to show what he could do on the grand Formula One stage.Page: 1 Sources:
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Wikipedia contributors, 'Jean-Pierre Jabouille', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 September 2013, 21:06 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jean-Pierre_Jabouille&oldid=573962048 accessed 26 September 2013