Ecurie Bonnier

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Ecurie Bonnier
Full name Sweden Switzerland Ecurie Bonnier /
Joakim Bonnier Racing Team /
Anglo-Suisse Racing Team /
Ecurie Suisse
Founder(s) Sweden Joakim Bonnier
Noted drivers Sweden Joakim Bonnier
Austria Helmut Marko
United States Harry Schell
United States Phil Hill
Italy Giulio Cabianca
Germany Hans Herrmann
Formula One World Championship career
Debut 1957 British Grand Prix
Races competed 45
Constructors Maserati
Cooper
Brabham
McLaren
Honda
Lotus
Final race 1971 United States Grand Prix

Ecurie Bonnier, Ecurie Suisse, Joakim Bonnier Racing Team and Anglo-Suisse Racing Team were names used by Swedish racing driver Joakim Bonnier to enter his own cars in Formula One, Formula Two and sports car racing between 1957 and his death in 1972. Commonly the vehicles were entered for Bonnier himself, but he also provided cars for a number of other drivers during the period.

Formula One[edit]

Jo Bonnier began entering cars in Formula One under his own name in 1957, first with a Maserati 250F,[1] without much success, recording only two non-points scoring finishes from his six World Championship entries in 1957 and 1958. However, with strong performances in other races Bonnier attracted the attention of more established teams, and over the next seven years principally drove for the works BRM and Porsche teams, and Rob Walker's highly organised privateer outfit.

The Anglo-Suisse Racing Team Cooper-Maserati T81, used from 1966 to 1968.

Bonnier returned to entering his own team in 1966, under the name Anglo-Suisse Racing to reflect his residency in Switzerland at the time. His principal mount that year was a Cooper-Maserati T81, painted in Swiss racing red and white, but he also fielded a Brabham at times. The year started promisingly at the season-opening non-Championship 1966 BRDC International Trophy at the Silverstone Circuit, with Bonnier qualifying the Cooper in sixth place and finishing a strong third,[2] but the rest of the season brought little joy. Anglo-Suisse Racing's first Championship points would only come at the season-closing 1966 Mexican Grand Prix, from sixth place. During the year Anglo-Suisse also ran a Cooper-BRM T82, also painted red and white, for Swiss driver Jo Siffert in European Formula Two races.

Bonnier continued to enter the Cooper during 1967, but under the Joakim Bonnier Racing Team banner. The season was marginally more productive than the previous year, with Bonnier scoring Championship points in Germany and the US. In 1968 Bonnier started the season with the aging Cooper, but this was rapidly replaced by the unique, ex-works McLaren-BRM M5A for the majority of that year's races. At the final race of the season, the 1968 Mexican Grand Prix, Honda offered Bonnier the use of a spare RA301 when the McLaren's BRM engine failed during practice.[2] It was with the Honda that Bonnier scored his eponymous team's best World Championship result: fifth.

At the end of 1968 Bonnier himself decided to step back from Formula One competition and concentrate on his sports car commitments. He continued to make occasional appearances, however. In 1969 the new Ecurie Bonnier name appeared alongside Team Lotus's co-entered Lotus 63 experimental four-wheel drive car at the 1969 British Grand Prix, and with a conventional Lotus 49B at the next race in Germany. Bonnier retired without scoring points on both occasions. In 1970 and 1971 Ecurie Bonnier raced with a McLaren M7C. Bonnier made tentative steps to act as an entrant for other drivers in 1971, entering young Austrian Helmut Marko for the 1971 German Grand Prix. However, he quit before the race because the team was so badly organised, leaving Bonnier to drive in his stead. Having failed to even qualify at some races, Bonnier decided to quit Formula One for good at the end of 1971.

Complete World Championship Formula One results[edit]

(key) (Results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap; † indicates shared drive.)

Year Chassis Engine(s) Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
1957 ARG MON 500 FRA GBR GER PSC ITA
Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 P Sweden Joakim Bonnier Ret
1958 ARG MON NED 500 BEL FRA GBR GER POR ITA MOR
Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 P Sweden Joakim Bonnier Ret 10 9 Ret Ret
United States Harry Schell 6
United States Phil Hill 7
Italy Giulio Cabianca Ret
Germany Hans Herrmann Ret 9
1966 MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX
Cooper T81 Maserati 9/F1 3.0 V12 D
F
Sweden Joakim Bonnier NC Ret 7 Ret Ret NC 6
Brabham BT22 Climax FPF 2.8 L4 NC
Brabham BT7 Climax FWMV 2.0 V8 Ret
1967 RSA MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER CAN ITA USA MEX
Cooper T81 Maserati 9/F1 3.0 V12 F Sweden Joakim Bonnier Ret Ret Ret 5 8 Ret 6 10
1968 RSA ESP MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER ITA CAN USA MEX
Cooper T81 Maserati 9/F1 3.0 V12 G Sweden Joakim Bonnier Ret
McLaren M5A BRM P142 3.0 V12 DNQ Ret 8 Ret 6 Ret NC
Honda RA301 Honda RA301E 3.0 V12 5
1969 RSA ESP MON NED FRA GBR GER ITA CAN USA MEX
Lotus 63 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F Sweden Joakim Bonnier Ret
Lotus 49B Ret
1970 RSA ESP MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA CAN USA MEX
McLaren M7C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G Sweden Joakim Bonnier DNQ Ret
1971 RSA ESP MON NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA CAN USA
McLaren M7C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G Sweden Joakim Bonnier Ret DNQ DNS 10 16
Austria Helmut Marko DNS

Formula Two[edit]

Jo Bonnier first entered Formula Two cars in 1966, for the Swiss driver Jo Siffert who drove a Cooper-BRM T82. The first race of the season was scheduled for Oulton Park but although practice was held the race was cancelled because of snow on the track. Siffert was 15th in practice, almost seven seconds behind the fastest man Jim Clark. At Goodwood Siffert finished in a fine seventh position. Siffert didn't start in Pau because he had crashed in practice and the team was not able to repair the car before the race. At Reims Bonnier drove the Cooper to ninth position, two laps down on race winner Jack Brabham. At Rouen Jo retired from the race during the fifth lap. Sten Axelsson finished ninth in the Kanonloppet. At the Keimola-Ring Max Johansson finished in 12th position. Giancarlo Baghetti drove the Cooper at the Autodrome de Linas-Montlhery where he retired on lap seven after an electrical failure.

In 1971 Ecurie Bonnier also entered cars in Formula Two, for the young and talented driver Helmut Marko. In the first race of the season at Hockenheim Marko wasn't classified because he failed to finish in both heats. Ecurie Bonnier skipped Thruxton and it was back at the Nürburgring where Marko finished in eighth position, but was awarded one point because of a rule preventing Formula One drivers who score points in Formula One from taking points in the European Formula Two championship as well. In Jarama Marko again failed to finish because his car's differential broke. Ecurie Bonnier would not enter a car again until the last race of the season in Vallelunga. Helmut Marko had left the team so Bonnier drove the car and finished in 12th position, three laps down on race winner Mike Beuttler.

Complete European Formula Two results[edit]

(key) (Results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap; † indicates shared drive.)

Year Chassis Engine(s) Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
1971 Lola T240 Cosworth FVA HOC THR NÜR JAR PAL ROU MAN TUL ALB VAL VAL
Austria Helmut Marko Ret 8 Ret
Sweden Joakim Bonnier 12

Sports car racing[edit]

It was with sports cars that Jo Bonnier first became involved in motor racing, entering Alfa Romeo saloons and sports cars in various Scandinavian rally, ice racing and circuit championships during the early 1950s. He stepped up to true racing sports cars with various Maserati two-seaters, including his own Maserati 150S. In common with his single seater career, the majority of Bonnier's sports car entries during the first half of the 1960s were with works or established privateer teams, and it wasn't until the latter years of that decade that he began to enter his own cars once again.

For 1968 Bonnier purchased a McLaren M6B for use in the North American Can-Am series, and an ex-John Surtees Lola T70 Mk3 GT for use in European races. Both were finished in the Ecurie Bonnier/Ecurie Suisse Swedish racing yellow, but retained vestiges of the previous year's Anglo-Suisse identity with longitudinal white and red stripes along their centre line. Results with the McLaren were generally disappointing, with Ecurie Suisse's best result being third place against mainly local opposition at the Can-Am series' non-Championship 200 mile race at the Fuji Speedway in Japan. The Lola proved more competitive, however, and Bonnier took top ten places at two of the four World Sportscar Championship (WSC) races that he contested in 1968, finished in second in the Players Trophy race at Silverstone, and won both the Anderstorp and Norisring 200 km races. For 1969 Ecurie Suisse upgraded to the new Lola Mk3B specification car, in keeping with the newly introduced FIA sports car rules. With this car Bonnier finished fifth in the 1969 1000 km Spa race, and he took two second place finishes in the 1969 British RAC Sports Car Championship.

For 1970 Ecurie Suisse took a new route. Rather than just fielding large capacity sports cars such as the McLaren and Lola T70s, the team decided to concentrate on the 2,000 cc (122 cu in) class. Retaining the Ecurie Suisse yellow livery, but running under the Ecurie Bonnier moniker, the little Lola T210 provided excellent results, with Bonnier taking class wins in the Salzburgring, Anderstorp, Hockenheim and Enna rounds of the European Sportscar Championship (ESC), in addition to second places at Paul Ricard and Spa. This secured the series title for the, by now veteran, Swede. In 1971 Ecurie Bonnier switched entirely to the smaller capacity cars, fielding an updated, T212-specification Lola for Italian driver Mario Casoni. Bonnier himself drove a similar car entered by Scuderia Filipinetti.

In 1972 Ecurie Bonnier decided to expand and upgrade their stable, with brand new three litre Lola-Cosworth T280 cars for Bonnier and new team mates Reine Wisell, Gérard Larrousse and Chris Craft in the WSC, alongside the year old Filipinetti/Bonnier T212s for a number of junior drivers. The team also ran T290 Lolas in the ESC, for Jorge de Bagration, Claude Swietlik, Roland Heiler and others. While the T280s chassis was a proven unit, the Cosworth DFV engine had been designed with Formula One racing in mind and frequently failed to complete the longer distances required of sports car racing. Sadly for Bonnier and his team, the Swede's long driving career was to come to an end at the wheel of one of his own cars. For the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans race Bonnier was sharing a T280 with Larrousse and Gijs van Lennep. Things were going well, with Bonnier's car leading briefly and setting fastest lap before transmission troubles, but in attempting to lap the Ferrari Daytona of Florian Vetsch Bonnier instead ran into the back of the slower car. The Lola was sent spinning into the trees and Bonnier was killed instantly. Ecurie Bonnier limped on into the 1973 season – with the team's new T292 Lolas sporting sponsorship backing from Portuguese property investment company BIP and piloted by a number of Portuguese drivers, including Carlos Gaspar and Jorge Pinhol—but at the end of the season Ecurie Bonnier was wound up for good.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Photos of Jo Bonnier's cars". Racing Sports Cars. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Diepraam, Mattijs (Summer 2001). "The start of the 3-litre era". 8W. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 

External links[edit]