Jacques Swaters

Full Name:
Jacques Albert Max Marie Edouard Swaters
Born:
30th October 1926
Woluwe-St-Lambert, Brussels
Died:
10th December 2010 (Aged 84)
Brussels
Nationality:
Belgian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

1950s Grand Prix racing was an era of national racing colours. A sea of red (Italy) interspersed by the dark green of Britain and a dab of light blue for the French. The yellow of Belgium also graced the stage from time-to-time and the man behind these entries was normally Jacques Swaters.

He ran the Garage Francorchamps that would later become Belgium’s best known Ferrari dealership. Swaters was studying law when he first raced in the 1948 Spa 24 Hours, sharing an MG with journalist Paul Frère.

He formed Ecurie Belgique in 1950 and entered a Lago-Talbot T26C in 1951 for André Pilette and Guy Mairesse among others. When the former was injured at Zandvoort, Swaters took his place for that year’s German and Italian GPs – finishing 10th at the Nürburgring.

The team was renamed Ecurie Francorchamps in 1953 with Baron Charles de Tornaco as his new associate. Swaters drove a Ferrari 500 that year and finished seventh in the German GP before crashing on the opening lap in Switzerland. His highlight was the non-championship Avusrennen which he won by over a minute.

After two years employing Formula 2 rules, the world championship was run to new Formula 1 regulations from 1954. Swaters fitted his Ferrari with a 625 engine and started the final three championship races of his career.

Swaters also finished fourth on his debut in the 1954 Le Mans 24 Hours with the Jaguar C-type he shared with countryman Roger Laurent. He drove the car at Le Mans for the next two years – finishing third in 1955 (with Johnny Claes) and fourth again a year later (Freddy Rousselle). Swaters made a final appearance at Le Mans in 1957 with a Ferrari 290MM and he retired as a driver later that year.

Ecurie Nationale Belge was formed in 1955 by merging Swaters’ outfit with other Belgian privateers. He was its Team Manager as ENB briefly entered GPs. If that was a short-lived project, Swaters’ Ecurie Francorchamps continued in sports cars into the 1980s.

Championship seasons