Tag Archives: Laffite

RIP JP B – Peugeot 309 Gti Turbo Cup

Born on April 26th 1937 Jean Pierre Beltoise was part of a cohort of French drivers that emerged in the 1960’s that included Johnny Servous Gavin, Gerrard Larrousse, Henri Pescarolo and brother in law Francois Cevert.

JP B’s started racing motor cycles winning 11 national titles in three years, he raced Motor Morini, Kreider and Bultaco machines in a handful of world championship events from 1962 to 1964 finishing a best 3rd on a 50 cc Kreider in the 1964 French Grand Prix.

In 1963 Jean Pierre started racing Djet sports cars for René Bonnet. After Bonnet sold out to Matra he raced a succession of Formula 3 and Formula 2 Matra open wheelers with sufficient success that led to his Grand Prix debut in the 1966 German Grand Prix with a Formula 2 Matra in which he finished 8th overall and first in the Formula 2 class.

In 1968 JP B was contracted to drive for the French Matra Sports team but did not race a proper Formula One Spec car until the Spanish Grand Prix when he was drafted in to drive Jackie Stewart’s Cosworth powered Matra MS10 for Ken Tyrrell’s Matra International team.

At Monaco he raced the Matra V12 powered Matra MS 11 for the first time but retired with broken suspension, at the Dutch GP he finished a season high second behind Stewart.

Matra Sport withdrew form F1 at the end of 1968 to focus their efforts on getting Ken Tyrrells Matra International Team Matra MS80 cars for Jackie Stewart, JP-B was drafted in as Jackie’s team mate and again finished a season high second this time in France.

Ken Tyrrell and Matra parted way’s after winning the 1969 World Championships and Matra got it’s V12 programme back on track with JP B and Henri Pescarolo in the drivers seats JP B scored two season high thirds to Henri’s one. The following season JP B remained on the Matra team with Chris Amon but the results were disappointing.

For 1972 JP B signed to drive for BRM for which an over ambitious programme was being funded by Marlboro. At the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix Jean Pierre won his only Grand Prix generally reckoned to have been one of the more difficult races thanks to the atrocious conditions.

Note the scuff mark the BRM’s nose in the linked photo this came about after contact with Ronnie Peterson’s March which was baulking his while being lapped.

This race would be the last formula one championship win for a BRM and at the end of the season Jean Pierre won the non championship John Player victory race at Brands Hatch driving a BRM P180 which would be the last win for the BRM team.

Jean Pierre continued driving for BRM in 1973 during which he finished a season high 4th in Canada with the by now ancient BRM P160 and in 1974 during which he scored a great second place finish on the debut of the P201 in South Africa.

Out of a Formula One drive for 1975 Jean Pierre was in the running for a drive with the new Ligier team for 1976 and tested the Matra V12 powered JS5 before it was decided to hand the car over to 1975 Formula 2 champion Jacques Laffite.

Alongside his open wheel racing Jean Pierre continued racing sports cars winning races in 5 litre, 3 litre and 2 litre classes though most, seven, were wins with the 3 litre / 183 cui Matra’s which included the 1970 Tour de France sharing driving with Patrick Depailler and with FIA President Jean Todt doing the navigating.

After winning the sports car World Championship twice in 1973 and 1974 Matra withdrew from racing a Jean Pierre continued racing Ligier and Rondeau built sports cars at Le Mans, but he never improved on his career best 1969 4th place finish with Piers Courage in the endurance classic.

JP B won two French Saloon car championships driving BMW’s in 1976 and 1977 before proving his versatility, despite restricted arm movement that was the result of a sports car accident in the 1960’s, by winning the 1979 French Rallycross Championship driving an Alpine A310.

Peugeot Gti Turbo, JP Beltoise, Le Mans,

Into the 1980’s JP B continued racing Peugeot 505 Turbo’s, a V6 Talbot Tagora and in 1988 he was racing in the Peugeot 309 Gti Turbo Cup series, above Jean Pierre is seen driving the #88 309 to victory in the support race to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Jean Pierre passed away on the 5th of January aged 77.

Condolences to his family and friends RIP JP B.

Thanks for joining me on this “RIP JP B” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Autosport International. Don’t forget to come back now !


For Those Who Go – Porsche 953

In 1977 Terry Sabine got lost on his motor bike in the Lybian desert while taking part in the Abidjan-Nice Rally. Upon his return he promised to share his fascination with the desert with as many people as possible by creating “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind” which took the form of the Paris Dakar (PD) a 10,000 mile mostly off road rally raid event.

Porsche 953, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Paris Dakar is run for motor cycles, 4 wheel vehicles up to 3,500 kgs / 7,716 lbs vehicles over 3500 kgs / 7,716 lbs with numerous sub divisions within the three basic classes. All service vehicles must be entered as competitors.

Porsche 953, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The first event was run in 1979 with the four wheel class won by Alain Génestier and Joseph Terbiaut driving a Range Rover, other winning vehicles up to 1984 included an Volkswagen Iltis, Renault 20 and Mercedes 280 G by multiple Grand Prix and Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur in 1983, all of them were all wheel drive vehicles.

Porsche 953, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1983 Porsche built 3 cars for the 1984 event based on the 911 SC RS, a type I shall look at tomorrow, with 3 litre / 183 cui motors producing up to 300 hp, but featuring mechanical all wheel drive and over 12 inches of suspension travel to cope with the sand dunes in the Sahara desert. These three cars are known as 953’s but at the time were also variously referred to as 911’s, 911 SC RS 4×4’s or any combination there of.

Porsche 953, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Rene Metge and Dominique Lemoyne driving the #176 won the event at Porsche’s first attempt, Ickx and Brasseur came home 6th in the #175 while Roland Kussmaul and Erich Lerner finished 26th meaning all three cars survived the challenge.

Porsche 953, Goodwood Festival of Speed

In 1987 the #175 and #177 cars were repainted green for the Folténe team led by former Grand Prix driver Jacques Laffite who shared the ex #175 Ickx car with Pierre Landereau which appears to have retired from the event at the earliest opportunity once a minimum of sponsor obligations was met, while the other car driven by Jacques brother in law Jean Pierre Jabouille and G.Levent retired after hitting a bolder.

Toady’s featured car, seen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is owned by the Porsche Museum, it carries an odd combination #176 with the names of Ickx and Brasseur on the roof and I have been unable to determine exactly which of the three 953’s this is.

It is possible today’s featured car might be the car Laffite drove in 1987 and Ickx drove in 1984, but it would appear more likely to be the repaired Jabouille car from 1987 that Kussmaul and Lerner drove in ’84, if you know please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Porsche went on to develop all wheel drive on its 959 and 961 twin turbo competition models, Metge and Lemoyne won the 1986 PD with the 959. The all wheel drive system was then used in the Carrera 4 road model range.

Event founder Terry Sabine was killed with 4 others in the 1986 PD when his helicopter crashed into a sand dune during an unexpected sand storm.

The PD became the Dakar in 2009 and relocated to Argentina after political tensions led to the abandonment of the event in 2008.

Thanks for joining me on this “For Those Who Go” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at another Porsche 911 variant. Don’t forget to come back now !


In Law’s Instrumental Help – Ligier Matra JS17

At the end of 1978 Chrysler Europe was taken over by Peugeot and almost immediately rebranded the French Simca and British Hillman models as Talbot’s resurrecting a name that had last appeared in Formula One in 1951.

In 1972 MATRA, who were taken over by Simca, withdrew from Formula One to concentrate on a successful sports car program which was itself discontinued at the end of 1974 after MATRA had won three consecutive Le Mans 24 Hour races and two World sports Car Championships under the direction of Gerard Ducarouge.

Laffite, Ligier MATRA JS 17, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Ducarouge went to work for Ligier to design a Matra powered Formula One car in 1976, the JS5 was quite successful for a new comer and the following year Jaques Laffite won the 1977 Swedish Grand Prix driving a MATRA V12 powered Ligier JS7. MATRA stopped developing their V12 in 1978 and Ligier suffered a consequent dip in their fortunes.

For 1979 and 1980 Ligier opted for the popular Cosworth DFV V8’s and immediately returned to victory lane with two surprising wins for Laffite in Argentina and Brazil with the JS11 model, but the team lost it’s direction did not present the anticipated championship challenge. In 198O Laffite won just one race but the team scored enough points to finish second in the constructors championship.

Tambay, Ligier MATRA JS 17, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

By 1981 Peugeot returned the Talbot name to Formula One by teaming up with Ligier and an updated version of the MATRA V12 was used to power the JS17’s featured today. Laffite was to be teamed up with brother in law, ex Renault refugee, Jean Pierre Jabouille who was recovering from injuries sustained when he crashed his Renault Turbo in the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix.

Jean Pierre Jarrier stood in for Jabouille for the first two races but when Jabouille returned to the cockpit he failed to qualify for two races in five attempts so he was replaced by Patrick Tambay seen at the wheel of the #25 here for the second half of the season, but crucially Jabouille remained with the team acting as an engineer. Patrick qualified for all of the remaining races but did not finish any of them.

Ligier MATRA JS 17, Test Day, Donington Park

Laffite meantime scored a couple of 2nd place finishes in Spain and Sweden along with 3 third place finishes in Monaco, Britain and Germany. Just before the French Grand Prix Gerard Ducarouge was fired by Guy Ligier.

At the Austrian Grand Prix Jabouille was instrumental in helping Laffite choose the correct tyre to suit both the Ligier and the track which resulted in the car qualifying 4th behind two turbo charged Renaults and Villenueve’s turbocharged Ferrari.

Ligier MATRA JS 17, Test Day, Donington Park

During the race after passing Villeneuve and his quick off the grid Ferrari team mate Didier Pironi, Jaques chased down the leading Renaults. Alain Prost in the lead car retired with collapsed suspension before Jacques passed the second Renault for the lead and eventual victory when René Arnoux hesitated over taking a pair of back markers.

Jacques then retired in Holland and Italy before bouncing back with a win from 10th on the grid in Canada to put him 3rd in the championship table, 6 points off the leader, with a slim chance of winning the 1981 Drivers Championship going into the Caesers Palace Grand Prix held in Las Vegas. In the event Jacques qualified just 12th behind Championship leader Carlos Reutemann who was on pole in his Williams and 2nd in standings Nelson Piquet who was 4th in his Brabham.

Reutemann inexplicably choked under the championship pressure during the race to finish 7th out of the points while Piquet salvaged a fifth place finish, one spot ahead of Jacques, enough to win the Championship. Alan Jones won the race in his Williams thereby depriving Jacques of a third place finish in the Championship, so for the third consecutive time Jacques Laffite recorded what would be his career best 4th place finish in the final championship standings.
With only the #26 scoring any points all season Ligier finished the season 4th in the Constructors Championship.

Thanks for joining me on this “In Law’s Instrumental Help” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Happy Days – ‘Rush’ Snetterton Set

A little departure from the usual Ferrari Friday blog to day but I as you will see not completely un Ferrari related. The last time I visited the former home of the 96th Bombardment Group (H) 8th USAAF was to test my 27hp 2 CV on the Snetterton Circuit in preparation for a 24 hour event in Ireland.


On Tuesday evening I saw a twitter post from the @RealRonHoward to go and visit the set of his current project called ‘Rush’ which is all about the relationship between off track friends and on track rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda which culminated in the tumultuous 1976 season which I have retold from Ferrari and McLaren perspectives in past blogs.

Rush Set - Snetterton

Setting off at 2am I arrived at Snetterton just after 7am to find not very much happening, I even got inadvertently got ushered into the pit area where the crew were grabbing breakfast and sorting themselves out for a tough days shooting. I then made my way to the Bombhole, a corner with a nasty dip marking the apex where I found preparations underway for several scene’s which were to represent the controversial ‘wide vehicle’ 1976 Spanish Grand Prix.

Rush Set - Snetterton

After watching the driver representing John Watson getting in and out of his car numerous times as he retired with a blown motor several cars came round together representing James Hunt in the #11 ‘wide vehicle’ McLaren M23, Jaques Laffite in the #26 Ligier JS5 and Niki Lauda in the #1 Ferrari 312 T2 on the right John Watson’s double can be seen having exited the smokey #28 Penske PC3 for the millionth time that morning.

Rush Set - Snetterton

Among my fellow extra’s I met Jess who thoughtfully brought his copy of the 1976 – 77 Autocourse Annual to make sure Ron was keeping his legendary reputation for details correct.

Rush Set - Snetterton

I was not exactly sure which, from a choice of two, style AGV helmet wore for 1976 Spanish GP,

Rush Set - Snetterton

Looking at Autocourse it was immediately clear Ron was on the button with that particular detail.

Ron Howard, Rush, Snetterton

Somewhere around mid day Ron came over to thank the by now 50 enthusiasts who had managed to come along and soon after we were invited over to the other side of the circuit to watch what was going on in the pits for the next batch of takes representing the 1976 German Grand Prix the one race of the 1976 season where I was present !

Rush Set, Snetterton

Above a shoot is prepared with Guy Edwards #25 Hesketh 308 on rain tyres with Laffites Ligier on slicks as unseen in the pit lane Niki Lauda is about to come out on slicks prior to his near fatal crash on the drying Nurburgring that would take a hefty points advantage out of Lauda’s 1976 season but still left him in with a fighting chance at the 1976 seasons finale.

Rush Set, Snetterton

Ron can be seen above in the passenger seat of the Mitsubishi Evo Camera Car that was probably the best sounding car at Snetterton on Wednesday.

Rush Set, Snetterton

Left to right the Hunt, Laffite and Lauda stand in drivers have a quick break between shoots.

Rush Set, Snetterton

As one wag amongst the enthusiasts noted the Renault Traffic took the wrong option tyres before getting chased down by Niki Lauda in the 1975 Ferrari 312 T, not sure why this car and it’s sister with Clay Regazzoni at the wheel were bereft of any sign writing or sponsors logo’s, perhaps a test session was being reenacted. The cars we saw on Wednesday were all £50,000 50 foot specials designed to look right at a distance at a fraction of the cost of insuring let alone hiring the real cars of the period, many of which still exist and indeed are still raced. Some of the real cars are and have been used for close ups and to get the sound track right.

Rush Set, Snetterton

I was curious as to why the Penske PC3 was selected and not the much sharper and race winning Penske PC4, turns out that John Watson drove the PC 3 for the nearly the entire first half of the 1976 season, another detail the legendary Ron Howard got right for the Spanish Grand Prix sequences.

I understand that Rob Austin was responsible for building the Ferrari 312 T and T2 vehicles, WGK Motorsport the McLaren M23 and Hesketh 308D vehicles and Mirage Motorsport the Ligier JS5 and Penske PC3 vehicles which I believe are powered by Rover V8 motors and were built in just 3 months.

After watching seven hours of watching the set action I reluctantly headed for home, with a renewed appreciation for all the work that goes into making a film on my favorite subject.

Thanks for joining me on this Happy Days edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a Lotus Europa Special. Don’t forget to come back now !