|Born||12 September 1948|
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1983, 1988|
|Teams||RAM Racing, Williams|
|Races||2 (1 start)|
|First race||1983 French Grand Prix|
|Last race||1988 Italian Grand Prix|
Jean-Louis Schlesser (born 12 September 1948 in Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle) is a French racing driver with experience in circuit racing and cross-country rallying. He is known for his wins of many different competitions. He is the nephew of Jo Schlesser, a former Formula One driver.
Junior formulae and Formula One 
Schlesser grew up in Morocco before returning to France to study and complete military service. He began racing in various paved-track events and shared the French Formula Three Championship with Alain Prost in 1978, then aged 30. In 1981 he participated in the European Formula Three Championship and also placed second in the Le Mans 24 Hours. He moved to Formula Two in 1982, and had his first attempt at Formula One in the 1983 French Grand Prix, where he drove a RAM-Cosworth, but failed to qualify. One week before the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, Schlesser had driven the RAM to a 6th place finish in the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.
1988 Italian Grand Prix 
Schlesser finally made his debut (and sole outing) in a World Championship Formula One race at the 1988 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, as a substitute for Nigel Mansell in the Williams-Judd squad. The race was memorable for McLaren driver Ayrton Senna, with just two laps remaining and thus far leading the race, colliding with Schlesser at the Rettifilo left-right chicane.
According to media reports and the driver's own recollection, as the two cars approached the chicane's braking zone, Schlesser saw Senna coming and expected the McLaren to pass on the inside, so he went wide right on the first left bend. The Brazilian duly pulled alongside, but, at that moment, Schlesser ran out of room and, wishing to keep his Williams on the track, turned sharp left to make the corner. Senna was busy straight-lining the chicane, but in doing so his rear right wheel clipped Schlesser's front left. The McLaren spun, and beached itself on a kerb.
Senna was forced to retire from the race, allowing the Ferraris of Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto to finish first and second places, respectively, a few weeks after Enzo Ferrari's death. This was the only race in the 1988 season not won by the dominant McLaren-Honda cars.
Touring car and sports car racing 
The mid-1980s saw Schlesser perform in touring cars and sports cars, winning the French Touring Car Championship in 1985 with a TWR Rover Vitesse, as well as driving the works TWR Jaguars in the World Sportscar Championship. In 1986 he raced in the British Touring Car Championship, again in a TWR Rover Vitesse.
In 1988, he joined the Sauber-Mercedes squad full-time, winning the German Supercup and finishing the World Sportscar Championship in second place, before winning the WSC title in 1989 and 1990, on this occasion sharing the title with co-driver Mauro Baldi. His last season in WSC was 1991 during which he raced alongside Michael Schumacher in the Sauber-Mercedes outfit. He also won the "Classic Masters" title at the 1994 Race of Champions.
Off-road racing 
After a first outing in 1984, Schlesser began to compete regularly in the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1989. In 1992 he began to build his own dune buggies to compete in the Dakar and other desert marathons and European bajas. His first buggy, the Porsche-powered Schlesser Original, debuted in 1992 in the Baja Portugal 1000, which Schlesser won outright, beating the works Citroën cars with a two wheel drive vehicle and without a navigator by his side.
He went on to several 2WD class and overall wins the following years, before finally achieving his objective of conquering the overall victory in the 1999 and 2000 editions of the Dakar (respectively, Granada-Dakar and Paris-Dakar-Cairo). He also won the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup from 1998 to 2002.
Racing record 
Complete European Formula Two Championship results 
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1982||Maurer Motorsport||Maurer MM82||BMW||SIL
Complete Formula One World Championship results 
|1983||RAM Automotive Team March||March-RAM 01||Cosworth V8||BRA
|1988||Canon Williams Team||Williams FW12||Judd V8||BRA
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|French Touring Car Champion
|World Sportscar Champion
1990: with Mauro Baldi
|Race of Champions