Jo Schlesser

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Jo Schlesser
Joschlesserportrait.jpg
Born (1928-05-18)18 May 1928
Liouville, Meuse, France
Died 7 July 1968(1968-07-07) (aged 40)
Rouen-Les-Essarts, Seine-Maritime, France
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality France French
Active years 19661968
Teams Matra, Honda
Races 3
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1966 German Grand Prix
Last race 1968 French Grand Prix

Joseph Schlesser (18 May 1928 in Liouville, France – 7 July 1968 at Rouen-Les-Essarts) was a Formula One and sports car racing driver from France. He participated in three World Championship Grands Prix, including the 1968 French Grand Prix in which he was killed. He scored no championship points.

Career[edit]

Schlesser also participated in the 1966 and 1967 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, each time driving a Formula Two spec Matra-Cosworth. In 1966, he finished 10th in the overall classification and third in the Formula Two classification. In 1967, he was forced to retire with a clutch problem after two laps.

A real Formula One opportunity came for Schlesser in 1968 with Honda. The Honda team had completed an experimental air-cooled Formula One car (dubbed the RA302) which was tested by their works driver John Surtees. Surtees pronounced it as not ready for racing, and a potential deathtrap. Undaunted, with the financial help of Honda France, Honda entered it for the French Grand Prix at Rouen-Les-Essarts. Being the local hero, Schlesser was hired to drive it.

Schlesser's magnesium-bodied Honda RA302 crashes and burns during the 1968 French Grand Prix. Schlesser was killed.

After two laps, the car slid wide at the Six Frères corner and crashed sideways into a bank. The magnesium-bodied Honda and 58 laps worth of fuel ignited instantly, leaving Schlesser no chance of survival. As a result, Honda withdrew from Formula One at the end of the 1968 season after Surtees again refused to drive the car at the Italian race of the same year.

Jo Schlesser also raced in NASCAR, finishing 13th in the 1964 Daytona 500.

Legacy[edit]

A friend of Jo Schlesser's, future Formula One constructor Guy Ligier, always gave his cars type numbers beginning with "JS" as a tribute to Schlesser.

His nephew, Jean-Louis Schlesser, later became a successful racing driver, starting one Formula One Grand Prix and winning the Paris Dakar.

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Yr Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 WDC Points
1966 Matra Sports Matra MS5 (F2) Cosworth
Straight-4
MON
BEL
FRA
GBR
NED
GER
10
ITA
USA
MEX
NC 0
1967 Ecurie Ford-France Matra MS5 (F2) Cosworth
Straight-4
RSA
MON
NED
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
Ret
CAN
ITA
USA
MEX
NC 0
1968 Honda Racing (France) Honda RA302 Honda V8 RSA
ESP
MON
BEL
NED
FRA
Ret
GBR
GER
ITA
CAN
USA
MEX
NC 0

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bob Anderson
Formula One fatal accidents
July 7, 1968
Succeeded by
Gerhard Mitter