Jean-Pierre Jabouille

Name: Jean-Pierre Jabouille

Nationality: France

Date of birth: October 1, 1942 - Paris

International success came late in the career of this pleasant personality - and then only briefly. Jabouille started in competition in 1965, driving his own Alpine-Renault at the Mont Dore hillclimb. In 1966 he took part in the new Renault 8 Gordini series and drove a Mini-Marcos in 1000km races in Paris and at Monza. He sold his Renault 8 and bought a Formula 3 Brabham and having landed some sponsorship began to make an impression and, helped by his mechanic Jacques Laffite, he entered French F3 again in 1968 in an ex-factory Matra. He did well enough to be hired in 1969 by the Alpine-Renault team and despite failing to win the title moved up to Formula 2 with Matra. He was also an important member of the Matra sportscar team. He made his debut in F1 in a Tyrrell at Paul Ricard in the 1975 French Grand Prix. The following year he finally won the European Formula 2 title in an Elf 2 chassis. After that he had to suffer the brunt of much laughter at the wheel of the new Renault turbo as it smoked its unreliable way round the circuits in 1977. But by 1979 France's new national racer was far less of a joke and Jabouille won that year's French Grand Prix at Dijon-Prenois. He repeated that success in the 1980 Austrian Grand Prix at the Osterreichring, but then badly broke a leg in the Canadian Grand Prix. He returned to racing with Ligier in 1981, but was still not fully fit and elected to retire after failing to qualify at Monaco. He took on a management role with Ligier and then drifted away from the sport and ran a restaurant in Paris, before returning to competition in the French Touring Car Championship in 1984 with Peugeot. He developed a strong relationship with the company and was a member of the Peugeot Sport squad at Le Mans in 1992 and 1993 before retiring as a driver to become the boss of Peugeot Sport. He headed the company's F1 program until January 1996 when he was a dumped after two poor seasons. He then established his own sportscar team.

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