Henri Pescarolo

Full Name:
Henri Jacques William Pescarolo
Born:
25th September 1942 (Age 75)
Montfermeil, Paris, Ile-de-France
Nationality:
French
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Henri Pescarolo is a Le Mans legend pure and simple. Winner of the race on four of his record 33 starts, he continued as a central character in the event as a team owner long after retiring as a driver.

Background and early single-seater career

The son of a surgeon, Pescarolo was already in his third year at medical school when the racing bug hit in 1964. That was when he won a competition organised by Sport Auto magazine to represent Paris in a Lotus Seven race at Montlhéry. In a field that also included Patrick Depailler and Johnny Servoz-Gavin, it was Jimmy Mieusset that emerged as champion for Lyon with Pescarolo having to be content with the hillclimb award.

However, that was enough to redirect his ambitions and Pescarolo raced a Matra in Formula 3 from 1965 before making his first appearance in the Le Mans 24 Hours with the marque a year later. Pescarolo won the 1967 French F3 title and Monaco support race with a works Matra MS5-Ford. He also made his Formula 2 debut at Brands Hatch and raced in non-championship F1 races at Oulton Park and Járama. He was serving his national service at Fontainebleau by the end of 1967, and took leave to finish seventh in that latter race.

Formula 1 with Matra

Runner-up behind team-mate Jean-Pierre Beltoise in the 1968 European F2 Championship, Pescarolo entered the last three Grands Prix of the year with a Matra MS11 and finished ninth in Mexico. A challenge for the 1969 F2 title was hampered by facial burns sustained in a testing crash at Le Mans. However, he recovered to finish fifth overall in the German GP although he was ineligible for world championship points as he was entered in the F2 class.

Matra had supported Tyrrell’s GP effort to that point but it entered its own team in the 1970 F1 World Championship with two of its young guns as drivers. Beltoise and Pescarolo combined to win the non-championship Buenos Aires 1000Kms and the latter finished a career-best third in the Monaco GP.

Formula 1 with Williams and Le Mans success

However, he was generally outperformed by Beltoise that year and was released at the end of the season. Sponsorship from Motul allowed Pescarolo to join Frank Williams’ fledgling concern. Fourth in the 1971 British GP was his best result from two disappointing seasons in the privateer March-Fords.

Sports cars were increasingly important in Pescarolo’s career and he won the 1971 BOAC 1000Kms at Brands Hatch with an Alfa Romeo T33/3. His love affair with the Le Mans 24 Hours really started in 1972 when he shared the winning Matra-Simca MS670 with Graham Hill. That was the first of three successive victories for Matra in endurance racing’s most famous race – Gérard Larrousse his co-driver in 1973 and 1974. There was F2 success for Rondel Racing but he retired from F1 in 1976 after undistinguished spells with BRM and a private Surtees TS19-Ford.

Pescarolo's fourth victory at Le Mans

His sports car career more than compensated. He won his fourth Le Mans 24 Hours in 1984 when driving Joest Racing’s New Man Porsche 956 with Klaus Ludwig and scored a final World Sportscar Championship victory with a Kouros Sauber C8-Mercedes-Benz at the Nürburgring two years later.

He added the Daytona 24 Hours to his already impressive endurance racing c.v. when sharing a Joest Porsche 962 in 1991. Ninth with a self-entered Courage C50-Porsche in the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hours was his 33rd and final appearance in that famous old race. Pescarolo turned constructor to great effect during the 2000s with his cars cheered by the locals in the face of the mighty works Audi and Peugeot teams.

His F1 career may not have been anything special but, with instantly recognisable green helmet and bearded face, Henri Pescarolo earned his place in sports car racing history.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1994 International GT Series
JCB Racing
1 0 1 1 0
1992 World Sportscar Championship
Courage Competition
1 0 0 0 0
1991 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Joest Racing
1 0 1 1 0
1991 World Sportscar Championship
Euro Racing
Joest Racing
2 0 0 0 0
1990 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
Konrad Motorsport
7 (1) 0 0 0 0
1989 World Sports-Prototype Championship
France Prototeam
Joest Racing
6 (1) 0 1 0 14th 24
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
1 0 0 0 0
1987 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Kouros Racing
3 0 0 0 0
1986 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Kouros Racing
6 0 1 1 17th 28
1985 World Endurance Championship
Martini Racing (Lancia)
2 (1) 0 0 0 69th 4
1984 World Endurance Championship
Joest Racing
10 0 4 1 4th 91
1983 World Endurance Championship
Jean Rondeau
Yoshiho Matsuda
2 0 0 0 32nd 10
1982 World Endurance Championship
Jean Rondeau
Joest Racing
8 0 3 1 6th 61
1981 World Endurance Championship
Jean Rondeau
Martini Racing (Lancia)
5 0 1 0 72nd 32.5
1980 World Championship of Makes
Jean Rondeau
Sportwagen
4 1 2 1 39
1979 World Championship of Makes
Georg Loos
1 0 1 0 12
1978 World Championship of Makes
Porsche Kremer Racing
7 1 5 3 87
1976 World Championship of Sportscars
Equipe Renault Elf
3 0 1 0 17
1976 F1 World Championship
Team Norev Racing with BS Fabrications
7 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1975 F1 World Championship
Team Surtees
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1975 World Championship of Makes
Willi Kauhsen Racing Team
8 1 4 3 95
1974 World Championship of Makes
Equipe Gitanes
7 3 6 4 118
1974 F1 World Championship
Team Motul BRM
12 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1973 World Championship of Makes
Equipe Matra-Simca Shell
7 1 7 5 124
1973 F1 World Championship
Frank Williams Racing Cars
March Engineering
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1973 European F2 Championship
Motul-Rondel Racing
6 0 2 1
17% win rate
0
1972 World Championship of Makes
Equipe Matra-Simca Shell
1 0 1 1 20
1972 John Player British F2 Championship
Motul-Rondel Racing
0 (2) 0 0 0 0
1972 European F2 Trophy
Motul-Rondel Racing
4 (3) 0 1 1
25% win rate
0
1972 F1 World Championship
Team Williams Motul
9 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1971 International Championship of Makes
Autodelta
Ecurie Filipinetti
7 0 4 1 26
1971 F1 World Championship
Frank Williams Racing Cars
10 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 4
1971 European F2 Trophy
Frank Williams Racing Cars
5 (1) 1 0 0
0% win rate
0
1970 European F2 Trophy
Bob Gerard Racing
2 1 1 0
0% win rate
10th 6
1970 International Championship of Makes
Equipe Matra Elf
Autodelta
4 0 1 0 9
1970 F1 World Championship
Equipe Matra Elf
13 0 1 0
0% win rate
12th 8
1969 European F2 Trophy
Matra Sports
4 1 0 0
0% win rate
4th 13
1969 F1 World Championship
Matra Sports
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1968 Temporada F2 Championship
Matra Sports
4 0 1 0
0% win rate
8th 7.8
1968 International Championship of Makes
Matra Sports
1 0 0 0 0
1968 European F2 Trophy
Matra Sports
8 (1) 1 4 0
0% win rate
2nd 30 (31)
1968 F1 World Championship
Matra Sports
2 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1967/1967 RAC British F2 Championship
Matra Sports
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1967 1967 French F3 Championship 1st -
1967 European F2 Trophy
Matra Sports
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1967 International Championship of Makes
Matra Sports
1 0 0 0 0
1966 International Championship of Makes
Matra Sports
1 0 0 0 0

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