Guy Ligier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Guy Ligier
Born (1930-07-12) 12 July 1930 (age 83)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality French
Active years 19661967
Teams privateer Cooper, privateer Brabham
Races 13 (12 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 1
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1966 Monaco Grand Prix
Last race 1967 Mexican Grand Prix

Guy Ligier (born 12 July 1930 in Vichy, Allier) is a French former rugby player and racing driver.

He first made his name as a rugby player in the late 1940s when he was working as a butcher's assistant in his home town of Vichy. An orphan, he was determined to build up a successful business and saved all his money in order to buy a bulldozer and then went into the construction business. When his rugby career ended – after he had played for the French national team – he began racing motorcycles before trying his hand at single-seater racing with a Formula Junior Elva.

Racing[edit]

With motorway construction booming in France, Ligier was able to build a large construction empire and during the period made important friends in local politicians François Mitterrand and Pierre Bérégovoy.

In the late 1960s Guy started racing Porsche sportscars and even raced in F1 with privately entered Cooper-Maserati and Brabham-Repco machinery. Neither was very successful and so in 1968 Ligier decided to form a partnership with Jo Schlesser and the two bought a pair of McLaren Formula 2 cars. Schlesser was killed that year on his F1 debut at the French Grand Prix, at the wheel of the curious air-cooled Honda F1 car, and Ligier decided he had had enough and retired. He decided that he would build racing cars instead and hired Michel Tétu to design the Ligier JS1, a production sportscar (the initials JS were a tribute to Jo Schlesser). The company was built up in sportscar racing but at the end of 1974 Ligier bought the assets of Matra Sports and embarked on a Formula 1 team. This began racing in 1976 with Jacques Laffite driving. The team became highly successful in the early 1980s with Laffite, Patrick Depailler and Didier Pironi driving. In 1981 Ligier's old friend François Mitterrand became President of France and when Ligier ran into trouble in 1983 the President ordered that government-owned companies such as Elf, Gitanes and Loto should supply sponsorship.

Ligier also had preferential treatment when it came to engines, political pressure being applied to Renault to force the company to supply the team, which used Renault engines from 1984 to 1986 and from 1992 to 1994.

The Ligier-Mitterrand-Bérégovoy alliance reached its peak in the early 1990s with the reconstruction of the Magny-Cours racing circuit as a new headquarters for Ligier and as a racing circuit to host the French Grand Prix. President Mitterrand and Prime Minister Bérégovoy backed the idea.

In 1992 Ligier realized that the socialist government would not last forever and sold his team to Cyril de Rouvre. He used the money he gained to corner the market in natural fertilizer in central France and set about building another fortune. Within a few months Mitterrand's Socialist Party was annihilated in the elections and Bérégovoy committed suicide on May 1st 1993.

Ligier also built a successful business building Ligier micro-cars. The Ligier team eventually came into the ownership of former driver Alain Prost and was renamed Prost Grand Prix.

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Yr Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Points
1966 Guy Ligier Cooper T81 Maserati V12 MON
NC
BEL
NC
FRA
NC
GBR
10
NED
9
GER
DNS
ITA
USA
MEX
NC 0
1967 Guy Ligier Cooper T81 Maserati V12 RSA
MON
NED
BEL
10
FRA
NC
19th 1
Brabham BT20 Repco V8 GBR
10
GER
8*
CAN
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
MEX
11

* Ligier finished 8th in the 1967 German Grand Prix, but was awarded the point for 6th place as the two F2 drivers who finished ahead of him on the road were ineligible to score points

References[edit]