Jean-Louis Schlesser

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Jean-Louis Schlesser
Jean-Louis Schlesser, 2013.JPG
Schlesser in October 2013
Born (1948-09-12) 12 September 1948 (age 72)
Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityFrance French
Active years1983, 1988
TeamsRAM Racing, Williams
Entries2 (1 start)
Championships0
Wins0
Podiums0
Career points0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1983 French Grand Prix
Last entry1988 Italian Grand Prix

Jean-Louis Schlesser (born 12 September 1948) 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. Jean-Louis attempted two Formula One races five years apart and his best known for his involvement in the 1988 Italian Grand Prix.

Early career[edit]

Schlesser grew up in Morocco before returning to France to study and to complete military service. He began racing in the early 1970s after enrolling at the racing school at Le Mans, starting with numerous rally events. In 1976, he entered Formula Three, alternating between the French and European series for the next six years, and sharing the 1978 French championship with Alain Prost. In 1977 he began racing sports cars, and in 1981 he attempted the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time, placing second with Philippe Streiff and Jacky Haran. He also began racing touring cars in 1980, competing in the French Supertouring Championship. In 1982, he moved from Formula Three to Formula Two, but it was not a success.[1] Nonetheless, he moved into Formula One in 1983, while continuing to race sports cars and touring cars.

Formula One[edit]

Schlesser was working as a test driver for Williams[2] when he gained his first taste of Formula One (F1) in early 1983 when he bought a drive in the RAM team's March-RAM 01-Cosworth. His first race was the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, where he started last of the 13 entrants and finished 6th. One week later, at the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, he was the slowest of the 29 cars in qualifying and thus failed to make the grid. He did not take part in another F1 race for five years, though he continued to test for Williams, and was active in sports car racing.

1988 Italian Grand Prix[edit]

In 1988, Williams called upon Schlesser to deputise for an unwell Nigel Mansell at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. With 26 of the 31 cars allowed to start, Schlesser qualified 22nd, and thus made his Grand Prix début the day before his 40th birthday.

In the race, Schlesser worked his way up to 11th, while Ayrton Senna led from pole position in his McLaren. In the closing stages, the Ferraris of Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto started to catch Senna, and were only a few seconds behind at the start of lap 49, three laps from race end. At that point, Senna came up to lap Schlesser for the second time. Going into the tight Rettifilo chicane at the end of the start-finish straight, Schlesser went wide, expecting the Brazilian driver to pass on the inside, and in the process locked his brakes. Wishing to keep his car on the track, Schlesser turned inside, and his left front wheel hit Senna's right rear. With the rear suspension broken, the McLaren spun and beached itself on a kerb, and the Ferraris secured a one-two finish on home soil, less than a month after Enzo Ferrari's death.[1] The collision also prevented the McLaren team from winning all 16 races of the 1988 season.

Afterwards, Schlesser said that he did not think the collision was his fault.[1] Nonetheless, he made a tearful apology to Senna.[3]

Twenty-five years later, at the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix, McLaren chairman Ron Dennis was reintroduced to Schlesser. Dennis said, "This is the man who ruined my life and our perfect record back in 1988.” Schlesser responded saying that "what happened that day at Monza kept you hungry…"[4]

Touring car and sports car racing[edit]

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, (behind Martin Brundle).[2] before winning the WSC title in 1989 and 1990, on this occasion sharing the title with co-driver Mauro Baldi.[2] His last season in WSC was 1991 during which he raced alongside Michael Schumacher with Sauber-Mercedes. He also won the "Classic Masters" title at the 1994 Race of Champions.

Off-road racing[edit]

Schlesser Buggy, Rally Paris-Dakar, 2005.

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 taking the overall victory in the 1999 and 2000 editions of the Dakar (respectively, Granada-Dakar and Paris-Dakar-Cairo). In the 2001 Dakar he was near victory but penalised one hour for unsportsmanlike conduct after illegally blocking his closest competitor both at the start and during the penultimate stage.[5] He also won the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup from 1998 to 2002 and the 2 WD FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup several times. Schlesser won every edition of the Africa Eco Race from its establishment in 2009 to 2014.[6]

Racing record[edit]

Complete World Sportscar Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Pos. Pts
1977 KWS-Freizeit-Racing-Team 77 Div. 1 Ford Escort Ford 2.0 L4 DAY MUG SIL NÜR
Ret
GLN MOS BRH HOC VAL [N 1]
1979 Jacques Guérin GT
+2.0
Porsche 911SC Porsche 3.0 F6 DAY MUG DIJ
15
SIL
7
NÜR PER GLN [N 2]
Gerard Bleynie BRH
13
VAL
1980 Jacques Guérin GT
+2.0
Porsche 934 Porsche 3.0 F6t DAY BRH
16
MUG
9
MNZ SIL NÜR LMS GLN MOS VAL DIJ [N 2]
1981 Jean Rondeau GTP
3.0
Rondeau M379 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 DAY SEB MUG MNZ RSD SIL NÜR LMS
2
PER DAY GLN 112th 20
KWS Motorsport serT+2.5 Ford Capri Ford 3.0 V8 SPA
Ret
MOS ROA BRH
1982 BASF Cassetten Team GS Sport C Sauber SHS C6 Cosworth DFL 4.0 V8 MNZ SIL NÜR LMS
Ret
SPA MUG FUJ BRH NC 0
1983 John Fitzpatrick Racing C Porsche 956 Porsche Type 935 2.6 F6t MNZ SIL NÜR LMS
10
SPA FUJ KYA 93rd 1
1984 New-Man Joest Racing C1 Porsche 956 Porsche Type 935 2.6 F6t MNZ SIL LMS
Ret
NÜR BRH MOS SPA IMO FUJ KYA SAN NC 0
1985 John Fitzpatrick Racing C1 Porsche 962C Porsche Type 935 2.6 F6t MUG MNZ SIL LMS
DNQ
HOC NC 0
TWR Jaguar Jaguar XJR-6 Jaguar 6.2 V12 MOS
3
SPA
Ret
BRH
Ret
FUJ SHA
1986 TWR Jaguar C1 Jaguar XJR-6 Jaguar 6.5 V12 MNZ
Ret
SIL
7
NOR
17
BRH
4
JER
Ret
NÜR
Ret
SPA
5
FUJ
17
20th 22
Jaguar 6.0 V12 LMS
Ret
1987 Kouros Racing C1 Sauber C9 Mercedes-Benz M117 5.0 V8t JAR JER MNZ SIL LMS NOR BRH NÜR SPA
7
FUJ 47th 4
1988 Team Sauber Mercedes C1 Sauber C9 Mercedes-Benz M117 5.0 V8t JER
1
JAR
2
MNZ
2
SIL
2
LMS BRN
1
BRH
3
NÜR
1
SPA
3
FUJ
5
SAN
1
2nd 208 (259)
1989 Team Sauber Mercedes C1 Sauber C9 Mercedes-Benz M119 5.0 V8t SUZ
1
DIJ
2
JAR
1
BRH
3
NÜR
1
DON
1
SPA
Ret
MEX
1
1st 115 (127)
1990 Team Sauber Mercedes C Mercedes-Benz C9 Mercedes-Benz M119 5.0 V8t SUZ
1
1st 49.5
Mercedes-Benz C11 MNZ
1
SIL
Ret
SPA
8
DIJ
1
NÜR
1
DON
1
CGV
1
MEX
DSQ
1991 Team Sauber Mercedes C2 Mercedes-Benz C11 Mercedes-Benz M119 5.0 V8t SUZ
2
MNZ
3
SIL
4
LMS
Ret
7th 45
C1 Mercedes-Benz C291 Mercedes-Benz M291 3.5 F12 NÜR
Ret
MAG
Ret
MEX
Ret
AUT
5
Source:[7]
Footnotes
  1. ^ In 1976 and 1977 the World Championship was divided into two series that ran simultaneously but separately: The World Sportscar Championship and the World Championship for Makes.
  2. ^ a b No drivers' Championship.

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1981 France Jean Rondeau France Jacky Haran
France Philippe Streiff
Rondeau M379-Ford Cosworth GTP
3.0
340 2nd 1st
1982 Germany BASF Cassetten Team GS Sport Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck
Austria Dieter Quester
Sauber SHS C6-Ford Cosworth C 76 DNF DNF
1983 United States Preston Henn T-Bird Swap Shop
United Kingdom John Fitzpatrick Racing
United States Preston Henn
France Claude Ballot-Léna
Porsche 956 C 327 10th 10th
1984 Germany New-Man Joest Racing Sweden Stefan Johansson
Colombia Mauricio De Narváez
Porsche 956 C1 170 DNF DNF
1985 United Kingdom John Fitzpatrick Racing United Kingdom Kenny Acheson
United Kingdom Dudley Wood
Porsche 962C C1 - DNQ DNQ
1986 United Kingdom Silk Cut Jaguar
United Kingdom Tom Walkinshaw Racing
United Kingdom Derek Warwick
United States Eddie Cheever
Jaguar XJR-6 C1 239 DNF DNF
1989 Germany Team Sauber Mercedes France Jean-Pierre Jabouille
France Alain Cudini
Sauber C9-Mercedes C1 378 5th 5th
1991 Germany Team Sauber Mercedes Germany Jochen Mass
France Alain Ferté
Mercedes-Benz C11 C2 319 DNF DNF
Source:[8]

Complete European Formula Two Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Pos. Pts
1982 Maurer Motorsport Maurer MM82 BMW SIL HOC THR NÜR MUG
14
VAL
Ret
PAU
8
SPA
7
HOC DON
8
MAN
7
PER
14
MIS
Ret
NC 0
Source:[7]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Pts
1983 RAM Automotive Team March RAM March 01 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 BRA USW FRA
DNQ
SMR MON BEL DET CAN GBR GER AUT NED ITA EUR RSA NC 0
1988 Canon Williams Team Williams FW12 Judd CV 3.5 V8 BRA SMR MON MEX CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA
11
POR ESP JPN AUS NC 0
Source:[7]

Complete British Saloon Car Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position – 1973–1990 in class) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap – 1 point awarded ?–1989 in class)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 DC Pts Class
1986 TWR – Herbie Clips Rover Vitesse A SIL THR SIL DON BRH
2
SNE BRH DON SIL 20th 7 7th

Complete Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft results[edit]

(key)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Pos. Pts
1988 AMG Motorenbau GmbH Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 ZOL
1
ZOL
2
HOC
1
HOC
2
NÜR
1
NÜR
2
BRN
1
BRN
2
AVU
1
AVU
2
MFA
1
MFA
2
NÜR
1
NÜR
2
NOR
1
NOR
2
WUN
1
WUN
2
SAL
1
SAL
2
HUN
1
HUN
2
HOC
1

7
HOC
2

10
27th 21

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Jean-Louis Schlesser - Biography". Formula One Rejects. Archived from the original on 21 March 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 341. ISBN 0851127029.
  3. ^ "Who? - Jean-Louis Schlesser". 8W. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  4. ^ David Tremayne (3 September 2013). "RETRO: Miracle at Monza". Racer.com. Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Schlesser penalised after taking lead". 20 January 2001. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Jacky Loomans favori de l'Africa Eco Race" [Jacky Loomans is the Africa Eco Race's favorite] (in French). 25 December 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "Jean-Louis Schlesser – Biography". Motor Sport. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  8. ^ "All Results of Jean-Louis Schlesser". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 11 July 2020.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dany Snobeck
French Touring Car Champion
1985
Succeeded by
Xavier Lapeyre
Preceded by
Martin Brundle
World Sportscar Champion
19891990
With: Mauro Baldi (1990)
Succeeded by
Teo Fabi
Preceded by
Inaugural
Race of Champions
Classic Master

1994
Succeeded by
Marc Duez
Preceded by
Jean-Pierre Fontenay
Dakar Rally
Car Winner

19992000
Succeeded by
Jutta Kleinschmidt