Andre Pilette

Full Name:
Andre Theodore Pilette
Born:
6th October 1918
Paris, Ile-de-France (F)
Died:
27th December 1993 (Aged 75)
Etterbeek, Brussels region
Nationality:
Belgian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

André Pilette is the middle of three generations of a famous Belgian racing family. His father Théodore was the importer for Mercedes during the 1900s who raced for the marque both in the French Grand Prix and at Indianapolis. Théodore was killed in a road accident in 1921 but motorsport blood obviously ran in his veins.

Early Grand Prix career

André‘s own career began immediately after World War II with an HRG sports car although he was plagued by accident and injury during the early 1950s. Sixth in the 1951 Belgian GP on his world championship debut, Pilette rolled the Ecurie Belgique Lago-Talbot T26C a month later after suffering a puncture during the closing stages of the non-championship Dutch GP.

Injured when thrown clear, Pilette was fit enough to race at Albi in 1952 where he emerged unhurt from another heavy accident. A distant 11th in the 1953 Belgian GP with Ecurie Belge’s Connaught A-type, Pilette spent 1954 racing for the ever under-resourced Gordini concern. He finished fifth in the Belgian GP (to earn his only championship points) and second at Chimay.

One of those who joined forces to form Ecurie Nationale Belge in 1955, Pilette spent a month in hospital after crashing a Ford during a saloon car race at Spa-Francorchamps. He returned to Gordini to finish sixth in the 1956 Monaco GP when sharing a type 32 with Elie Bayol. He repeated that result in his home GP on a one-off with a works Lancia-Ferrari D50. However he crashed during practice for the German GP and would not race again for two years while he recuperated.

Return to racing

His return was marked by success in the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours with Pilette sharing the fourth placed NART Ferrari 250GT with George Arents. Back with the team in 1960, he finished second overall with the mercurial Ricardo Rodríguez.

ENB was reformed in 1961 and Pilette finished sixth at Le Mans but failed to qualify an Emeryson-Climax for the Italian GP. Sporadic appearances in the world championship in 1963 and 1964 resulted in three further DNQs and a final GP start – qualifying a Scirocco-Climax in last position for the 1964 Belgian GP from which he retired.

André Pilette, whose son Teddy made one GP start in 1974, ran a famous racing school at Zolder from the mid 1960s and was instrumental in supporting the early career of Thierry Boutsen.