Pedro Rodríguez (racing driver)
18 January 1940|
Mexico City, Mexico
|Died||11 July 1971
Nuremberg, West Germany
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1963 – 1971|
|Teams||Ferrari, Lotus, Cooper, BRM|
|First entry||1963 United States Grand Prix|
|First win||1967 South African Grand Prix|
|Last win||1970 Belgian Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1971 French Grand Prix|
|24 Hours of Le Mans career|
|Participating years||1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971|
SpA Ferrari SEFAC
John Wyer Automotive
|Best finish||1st (1968)|
|Class wins||1 S 5.0 (1968)|
Rodríguez was born in Mexico City, Mexico, the first son of the marriage of Pedro Natalio Rodríguez and Concepción "Conchita" Rodríguez (née de la Vega), and had three brothers, Federico, Ricardo and Alejandro, and a younger sister, Conchita.
He married Angelina (née Dammy), in Mexico since 1961, although he had a girlfriend in England, Glenda Foreman, with whom he lived in Bray on Thames in his latter years, but left no children.
Rodríguez always traveled with a Mexican flag and a record of the national anthem because when he won the 1967 South African GP the organizers did not have the Mexican anthem, and instead played the Mexican hat dance.
Jo Ramírez was a very close friend to both Rodríguez as well as his younger brother Ricardo.
At 18 Rodríguez shared a Ferrari 500 TR at 24 Hours of Le Mans, entered by U.S. importer Luigi Chinetti, with José Behra, brother of Jean Behra, as his co-driver. Rodríguez came back every year to Le Mans, fourteen times in total, and won in 1968, co-driving with Belgian Lucien Bianchi, sharing a Ford GT40 for the JW–Gulf team.
After his brother was killed in a horrific accident while practicing for the Mexican Grand Prix, Rodríguez considered retiring from racing. However, in 1963 he won at Daytona International Speedway and took part in his first Grands Prix for Lotus at Watkins Glen and Magdalena Mixhuca. He competed in Formula One sporadically through 1966 with Ferrari and Lotus.
At the start of the new season of 1967, Rodríguez won in only his ninth Grand Prix, at Kyalami. Cooper manager Roy Salvadori allowed Rodríguez to drive the practice car, over the objections from teammate Jochen Rindt, who had demanded Rodríguez's car, with strong support from Rindt's close friend Jackie Stewart. Rodríguez's smooth, consistent driving earned him victory after Denny Hulme had had a lengthy pit stop and local privateer John Love's Tasman Cooper needed a late fuel stop. Rindt, by contrast, retired the other Cooper-Maserati after 38 laps. Rodríguez drove a controlled season in 1967 as No. 2 to Rindt. Though usually slower than his teammate, he built up experience in the older and heavier T81, while Rindt was given the improved T81B and later the brand new T86[clarification needed] and was also slowed by a mid-season accident. Nevertheless, Rodríguez was only marginally slower than Rindt in the Dutch Grand Prix, also the only other race in the season where the Coopers were competitive.
His performance at Zandvoort earned Rodríguez a better drive with, BRM in 1968. Rodríguez proved himself excellent in the wet at Zandvoort and Rouen where he got his only fastest lap in F1 during the French GP. Lack of power meant he had to settle for second behind Bruce McLaren in Belgian GP at Spa.
The BRM P133 faded through the year from lack of testing time after the death of Mike Spence, who team's owners favoured. Nevertheless, Rodríguez led the Spanish Grand Prix from Chris Amon for 28 laps until he made a mistake and spun off. At the end of the year, despite Rodríguez's good performances, BRM team manager Sir Louis Stanley released Rodríguez to the Parnell BRM privateer team for.
Reentering F1 in the British Grand Prix, Rodríguez matched teammate Amon's pace in practice and led Amon by a whisker in the race. The uncompetitive 312s ran midfield until Rodríguez's car broke and Amon's engine blew for the second race in a row. Given the hopelessness of the 312 V12, the frustration of his drivers, and the slow progress with getting the new flat-12 F1 car ready, Enzo Ferrari would rather have run two Italian drivers for the rest of the season, but the Brambilla brothers, Vittorio and Ernesto, proved too slow. So, Ferrari ran Rodríguez in the last four races of the season, in NART American racing colours for the North American races, but still, effectively, as a Ferrari works team. In the underpowered car, Rodríguez managed a fourth in 1968; sixth in 1964, 1967 and 1970; and seventh in 1965 and 1969; places in his six home races in Mexico, but Ferrari didn't offer him a ride for 1970.
BRM only offered him a ride in 1970 after John Surtees decided to leave to set up his own team at the last minute. For most of 1970, Stanley clearly favoured Jackie Oliver as number one driver, perhaps partly in response to Stewart's opinion of Rodríguez and possibly because of his "old-boys' club" of Englishmen at the team. At Spa, Rodríguez won with his BRM P153 over the new March of Chris Amon by just 1.1 seconds and with an average speed of 149.94 mph (241.31 km/h), then the highest average speed in the history of F1, Jean-Pierre Beltoise got the third place in Matra.
The power of the V12 engines was particularly suited to the fast circuits with few really slow corners, such as Spa, Monza, and to a degree Brands and Nürburgring, and that was usually the case with the BRM, Matra, and Weslake engined cars. A strong drive at St Jovite saw him finish 4th. Only the need to pit in the last laps for fuel at Watkins Glen, robbed him of a victory in the United States Grand Prix, the highest paying event of the year at the time, US$50,000.[clarification needed] The winner was a young man named Emerson Fittipaldi (23), who got the first victory of his career in F1, Reine Wisell from Lotus got the third place in the podium.
The 1971 season could have seen him as a championship contender, with a BRM P160 being prepared by Tony Southgate, and for once BRM did have consistently good engines. The BRM team, however, was overextended, trying to run three, and later four, cars. Pedro challenged Jacky Ickx magnificently in the rain during the Dutch Grand Prix, but just failed to win.
Rodríguez was killed in an Interserie sports car race at Norisring in Nuremberg, West Germany, on 11 July 1971. While he was driving for the lead, a slower car driven by Kurt Hild edged him into the wall and his prototype burst into flames. The Mexican died shortly after he was extracted from the wreck. Rodríguez was at the wheel of a Ferrari 512M of Herbert Müller Racing, his friend and teammate at the Targa Florio in 1971.
Pedro Rodríguez was considered the best driver of his era in the wet, and after many years racing for Ferrari in the World Championship of Makes for sports cars, he signed for JW-Gulf-Porsche in 1970. He became two-time world champion driver in the fearsome Porsche 917 together with his co-driver Leo Kinnunen (the sportscars series was run by teams in shifts). He developed into one of the sport's great all-rounders, racing CanAm, NASCAR, rallies and even becoming North American Ice Racing champion in 1970, invited by the Alaska Sports Car Club from Anchorage, the race was in Sand Lake. In his NASCAR career, Rodríguez earned two top tens, including a 5th in the 1965 World 600. Along with Jo Siffert, he was considered the bravest driver in motorsport, an example of this being the two touching through the then-very narrow and very dangerous Eau Rouge corner in the rain in their 917s at the start of the 1970 1000km of Spa-Francorchamps.
The first hairpin at Daytona International Speedway (the right-hand hairpin) is named the Pedro Rodríguez curve. In 1973 the Mexico City race track Magdalena Mixuhca, where F1, Champ Car, NASCAR and other series race was renamed for him and Ricardo: Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez (Autodrome Brothers Rodríguez).
In July 2006, a bronze plaque was placed at the site of his crash in Nuremberg, a joint effort by Scuderia Rodríguez (the friends and family foundation) and the city authorities. The Scuderia keeps alive the memory of both Rodríguez brothers, serving as register for Rodríguez memorabilia and cars, and certifying them. Its Secretary General, Carlos Jalife, published the Rodríguez brothers' biography in December 2006, with an English translation ready for sale  in United States, Canada, and England which won the Motor Press Guild Book of the Year award in 2009.
Formula One World Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Pedro Rodríguez at Ferrari
|1957||Nassau Trophy||NART||500 TR||Ret.||Solo|
|1957||Governor's Trophy||NART||500 TR||9||Solo|
|1958||24 Hours of Le Mans||NART||500 TR||5||José Behra|
|1958||Governor's Trophy||NART||TR 58||4||Solo|
|1958||Nassau Trophy||NART||TR 58||2||Solo|
|1959||II Circuito del Moral||NART||TR 58||2||Solo|
|1959||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||TR58||Ret.||Paul O'Shea|
|1959||1000 km Daytona||NART||TR58||No started|
|1959||VII Circuito Avándaro||NART||58TR||8||Solo|
|1959||Kiwanis GP Riverside||NART||250 TR||Ret.||Solo|
|1960||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||Dino 196S||Ret.||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1960||Targa Florio||NART||Dino 196S||7/1 Sport-2||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1960||1000 km Nürburgring||NART||Dino 196S||Ret.||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1960||24 Hours of Le Mans||NART||TRI60||Ret.||Ludovico Scarfiotti|
|1960||Nassau Trophy||NART||TR59/60||2||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1961||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||TR59/60||3||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1961||1000 km Nürburgring||NART||TRI/60||2||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1961||24 Hours of Le Mans||NART||TRI/61||Ret.||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1961||I GP Independencia||250 GT Cal||1||Solo|
|1961||GP Canada Sport||NART||TRI/61||2||Solo|
|1961||1000 km Montlhéry||NART||250 GT SWB||1||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1962||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||246 SP||Ret.||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1962||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||Dino 246S||Ret.||Grossman x Connell|
|1962||1000 km Nürburgring||NART||268 SP||2||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1962||24 Hours of Le Mans||SpA Ferrari SEFAC||246 SP||Ret.||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1962||Double 400 Bridgehampton||NART||330 TRI/LM||1||Solo|
|1962||GP Canada Sport||NART||330 TRI/LM||2||Solo|
|1962||1000 km Montlhéry||NART||250 GTO||1||Ricardo Rodríguez|
|1963||Continental 3 Hours of Daytona||NART||250 GTO||1||Solo|
|1963||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||330 TRI/LM||3||Graham Hill|
|1963||24 Hours of Le Mans||NART||330 TRI/LM||Ret.||Roger Penske|
|1963||Governor's Tophy||NART||250 P||2||Solo|
|1963||Nassau Trophy||NART||250 P||2||Solo|
|1964||CC 250 M Daytona||NART||250 LM||Ret.||Solo|
|1964||Continental 2000 km Daytona||NART||250 GTO||1||Phil Hill|
|1964||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||330 P||Ret lap 40||John Fulp|
|12 Hours of Sebring||250 GTO||7||Piper/xGammino|
|1964||24 Hours of Le Mans||NART||330 P||Ret||S. Hudson|
|1964||12 Hours of Reims||NART||250 GTO||11||Nino Vaccarella|
|1964||Player's Quebec||NART||275 P||1||Solo|
|1964||Double 500 Bridgehampton||NART||275 P||2||Solo|
|1964||GP Canada Sport||NART||330 P||1||Solo|
|1964||1000 km Montlhéry||NART||250 GTO||2||Jo Schlesser|
|1964||GT+22 Oakes Field||NART||250 GTO||7/1 class||Solo|
|1964||Nassau Tourist Trophy||NART||250 GTO||6/1 class||Solo|
|1964||Governor's Trophy||NART||330 P||4/1 class||Solo|
|1964||Nassau Thophy||NART||330 GTO||3/2 class||Solo|
|1965||Continental 2000 km Daytona||NART||330 P2||Ret.||John Surtees|
|Continental 2000 km Daytona||NART||275 P||Ret.||Hansgen x|
|1965||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||330 P||Ret.||Graham Hill|
|1965||24 Hours of Le Mans||NART||365 P2||7/1 class||Nino Vacarella|
|1965||12 Hours of Reims||NART||365 P2||1||Jean Guichet|
|1965||Double 500 Bridghampton||NART||250 GTO||2/1 class||Solo|
|1965||GP Canada Sport||NART||365 P2||3||Solo|
|1966||24 Hours of Daytona||NART||365 P2||4||Mario Andretti|
|1966||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||365 P2||Ret.||Mario Andretti|
|1966||1000 km Nürburgring||NART||Dino 206 S||3||Richie Ginther|
|1966||24 Hours of Le Mans||NART||330 P3||Ret.||Richie Ginther|
|1966||200 M Bridgehampton||NART||Dino 206 S||Ret.||Solo|
|1966||200 M Laguna Seca||NART||Dino 206 S||18||Solo|
|1966||Governor's Trophy||NART||275 GTB/C||7/1 class||Solo|
|1966||Nassau Trophy||NART||Dino 206 S||7/1 class||Solo|
|1967||24 Hours of Daytona||NART||412 P||3||Jean Guichet|
|1967||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||206 S||Ret.||Jean Guichet|
|1967||1000 km Monza||NART||412 P||Ret.||Jean Guichet|
|1967||24 Hours of Le Mans||NART||412 P||Ret.||Giancarlo Baghetti|
|1967||12 Hours of Reims||NART||Dino 206 S||Ret.||Jean Guichet|
|1968||24 Hours of Daytona||NART||Dino 206 S||Ret.||Kold|
|1968||Brands Hatch GP||NART||275 ML||5||Pierpoint|
|1969||12 Hours of Sebring||NART||330 P3||Ret.||Parsons|
|1969||6 Hours of Brands Hatch||NART||312 P||4||Chris Amon|
|1969||1000 km Monza||NART||312 P||Ret.||Schetty|
|1969||1000 km Spa||NART||312 P||2||David Piper|
|1969||1000 km Nürburgring||NART||312 P||5||Chris Amon|
|1969||24 Hours of Le Mans||NART||312 P||Ret.||David Piper|
|1969||200 M Bridgehampton||NART||312 P||5||Solo|
|1970||200 M Mid Ohio||NART||512 S||11||Solo|
|1970||200 M Elkhart Lake||NART||512 P||7||Solo|
|1971||200 miles of Norisring||Private||512 M||Died||Solo|
Pedro Rodríguez in Porsche
Pedro Rodríguez in the 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Carlos Eduardo Jalife Villalón (2006). Los Hermanos Rodríguez [The Rodríguez Brothers] (in Spanish). México: Sanborns. pp. 45–46.
- Los Hermanos Rodríguez book, p. 381
- "DOWNFORCE RADIO PITBORED - 30/7/15 (skip to 40min 17sec in)". Downforce Radio. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
- Los Hermanos Rodríguez. 2006, pp. 389 & 395.
- Klaus Ewald .
- Los Hermanos Rodríguez. 2006, p. 503
- Los Hermanos Rodríguez. 2006, p. 521
- Ramírez, Jo. Mi vida en la Fórmula Uno, pp. 95 & 105; Los Hermanos Rodríguez book, pp.489, 490, 573 & 581.
- Book: Los Hermanos Rodríguez. 2006, p. 575
- "NASCAR driving career statistics". Racing Reference. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- "Race – Final Classification" (PDF). Automobile Club de l'Ouest. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- The Brothers Rodríguez book by Carlos Eduardo Jalife-Villalón, August 2007
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pedro Rodríguez (racing driver).|
A. J. Foyt
|Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans