Andre Simon

Born:
5th January 1920
Paris, Ile-de-France
Died:
11th July 2012 (Aged 92)
Evian, Rhone-Alpes
Nationality:
French
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

A garage owner in the Loire town of La Varenne for over 50 years, André Simon was also a lesser works driver during the 1950s who represented both Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz during his 11 Grand Prix starts.

Background and early racing career

 Orphaned when he was nine years old, Simon was brought up by an uncle who ran a Mathis car dealership. Within four years, he was working as an apprentice mechanic and the youngster was a passionate motor racing fan with Tazio Nuvolari his hero. He drove as soon as he could reach the pedals and raced a Lago-Talbot sports car in 1948 – winning his very first race at Montlhéry.

Grand Prix driver for Gordini and Ferrari

Simon made his Le Mans debut in 1949 but his Charles Pozzi-entered Delahaye 135 retired with engine failure. However, his growing reputation led to a move to Gordini for 1950 and Simon finished second behind Alberto Ascari in that year’s Formula 2 German GP at the Nürburgring. He also made his world championship debut for Gordini in the 1951 French GP.

Sixth the 1951 and 1952 Italian GPs proved to be his best championship results although points were only awarded to the top five finishers at the time. A Ferrari driver during 1952, he shared victory with Ascari in the minor Comminges GP at St Gaudens and finished fifth at Le Mans when sharing a Ferrari 340 America with Lucien Vincent.

Formula 1 with Mercedes-Benz

Simon finished third in the 1954 International Trophy at Silverstone when reunited with Gordini once more. His next championship race was the 1955 Monaco GP when the late replacement for injured Mercedes-Benz driver Hans Herrmann. Simon qualified in 10th position but fractured an oil pipe after 24 laps of the race.

He won at Albi that year driving Louis Rosier’s Maserati 250F but he now raced less frequently. Simon started a GP for the final time at Monza in 1957. He continued in sports cars and took over the leading works Maserati 450S at Le Mans that year after Jean Behra’s opening stint only to crash out after just two laps behind the wheel.

The Tour de France Automobile provided Simon with his last major victory when sharing a Ferrari 250GT in 1962. The 1965 Nürburgring 1000Kms proved to be his last race for he was seriously injured in a road accident a year later. In a coma for a fortnight, he eventually made a full recovery and concentrated on running the family business thereafter.