Johnny Servoz-Gavin

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Johnny Servoz-Gavin
Born (1942-01-18)18 January 1942
Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France
Died 29 May 2006(2006-05-29) (aged 64)
Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality France French
Active years 19671970
Teams Matra, Cooper, Tyrrell
Races 13 (12 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 1
Career points 9
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1967 Monaco Grand Prix
Last race 1970 Monaco Grand Prix

Georges-Francis "Johnny" Servoz-Gavin (born 18 January 1942 in Grenoble, France – died on 29 May 2006 at the same place)[1] was a motor racing driver in both sportscars and single seaters.

He participated in 13 Formula One World Championship Grand Prix between 1967 and 1970, failing to qualify in one. He achieved one podium, and scored a total of nine championship points. He drove for the Tyrrell Formula One team, mainly as Jackie Stewart's teammate.

Early life[edit]

Servoz-Gavin was born in Grenoble, a city in the foothills of the Alps. As a teenager he worked as a ski instructor, during which time he became known as "Johnny".[1]

Career[edit]

Lower formulae[edit]

Servoz-Gavin's early work included developing sports cars for Matra.[2] After initially competing in rallying, Servoz-Gavin moved to single-seater racing. He had attended the racing drivers' school at the Magny-Cours circuit in the centre of France, and in 1965 season he entered the French Formula Three Championship in a private Brabham BT18.[2] By the late 1960s, Servoz-Gavin was a rising star, following in the footsteps of Jacky Ickx and Jean-Pierre Beltoise. He became French Formula Three Champion in 1966 driving a works Matra MS5, and in 1969 he won the European Formula Two Championship.[1]

Formula One[edit]

His Formula Three racing performances won Servoz-Gavin the attention of Matra, resulting in his moving into Formula One.[2] His best season was 1968, particularly the 1968 Italian Grand Prix in which he finished second and scored six points, driving a Matra. He also impressed at the Monaco Grand Prix, entering as Jackie Stewart's stand-in, starting from the front row of the grid,[1] and leading from Graham Hill at the start, until his race ended early after clipping a barrier and breaking a driveshaft in a similar incident to the one that resulted in the death of Lorenzo Bandini in the Monaco Grand Prix the previous year.[1] Next year, he also scored a sixth place in the 1969 Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park, which secured him a place in history as the only driver ever to score a world championship point with a four-wheel-driven Formula One car, the Matra MS84.

Servoz-Gavin suffered an eye injury in an off-road event in the winter of 1969–70, and had been worrying that his eyesight had been damaged.[1] Driving a March 701, he finished fifth (yet last) in the 1970 Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama. Then after hitting a barrier again, and failing to qualify for the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix he decided to retire.[1]

Other motorsport interests[edit]

In 1969, Servoz-Gavin participated in Matra endurance events, co-driving with Pedro Rodríguez.[2]

Later life[edit]

A man of good looks and high society, he was among a number of Formula One drivers rumoured to be the unknown driver in Claude Lelouch's 1977 short footage film C'était un rendez-vous, although Lelouch claimed to have driven the car himself.[3][4]

After his racing career was over, Servoz-Gavin lived on a houseboat and suffered serious burns when a gas bottle exploded on his boat in 1982.[3] He died in May 2006 as the result of a pulmonary embolism, following a period of ill health. He was 64 years old.[2]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Yr Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 WDC Points
1967 Matra Sports Matra MS7 (F2) Cosworth Straight-4 RSA
MON
Ret
NED
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
CAN
ITA
USA
MEX
NC 0
1968 Matra International Matra MS10 Cosworth V8 RSA
ESP
MON
Ret
BEL
NED
GBR
GER
ITA
2
CAN
Ret
USA
MEX
Ret
13th 6
Cooper Car Company Cooper T86B BRM V12 FRA
Ret
1969 Matra International Matra MS7 (F2) Cosworth Straight-4 RSA
ESP
MON
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
Ret
ITA
17th 1
Matra MS84 Cosworth V8 CAN
6
USA
NC
MEX
8
1970 Tyrrell Racing Organisation March 701 Cosworth V8 RSA
Ret
ESP
5
MON
DNQ
BEL
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
AUT
ITA
CAN
USA
MEX
20th 2
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jean-Pierre Beltoise
French Formula Three
Champion

1966
Succeeded by
Henri Pescarolo
Preceded by
Jean-Pierre Beltoise
European Formula Two
Champion

1969
Succeeded by
Clay Regazzoni

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Henry, Alan (26 July 2006). "Johnny Servoz-Gavin". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e McDonough, Ed (2010). Matra Sports Cars: MS620, 630, 650, 660 & 670 - 1966 to 1974. p13: Veloce Publishing Limited. 
  3. ^ a b "Johnny Servoz-Gavin". gp.com. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Behind the Scenes of Lelouch's Rendezvous". The Motoring Enthusiast. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2012.