Jean Guichet

Full Name:
Jean Louis Guichet
Born:
10th August 1927 (Age 91)
Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Nationality:
French
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

"John Ticket Office" – to translate his name literally – was an accomplished sports car driver during the 1960s. The winner of the 1964 Le Mans 24 Hours, he was French Champion for rallying, GTs and sports cars during that decade.

Family background and early racing career

Jean Guichet was the son of a Marseille doctor who competed in local rallies from 1948. Racing under the pseudonym "Guigou" in those early years, Guichet entered the first Tour de France Automobile in 1951 when his Citroën finished 20th. Local success continued and he was second in class in the following year’s Monte Carlo Rally.

He founded Compagnie Marseillaise Réparations in 1954 to service and refit ships for the French Navy. With business prospering, Guichet bought a Ferrari 500 Mondial in 1956 and also made his Le Mans debut that year but the works Gordini T15S he shared with Robert Manzon retired.

Sports car success

Out of luck again the following year and in 1960, he returned in 1961 with a Ferrari 250GT owned and co-driven by his friend Pierre Noblet. They won the GT class comfortably and finished third overall behind a pair of works Ferrari Testa Rossas. Further success with a Fiat-Abarth that year saw Guichet crowned French GT Champion.

His works Fiat-Abarth 850S won its class in the 1962 Sebring 12 Hours and Guichet drove Noblet’s Ferrari 250GTO to second overall and another GT class win at Le Mans that year. They repeated that performance in the 1963 Nürburgring 1000Kms and Guichet finished the season by winning the Tour de France Automobile with José Behra his co-driver.

Victory at Le Mans

Those exploits as a privateer earned a works Ferrari drive for 1964 and he did not waste the opportunity. Further GT class success at the Nürburgring (when second overall again) was rewarded by a prototype drive for Le Mans with a Ferrari 275P and Nino Vaccarella. The rival Ford GT40s were fast but fragile and Ferrari took control. The Ferrari 330P of John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini experienced brake problems at dawn and the Vaccarella/Guichet car took a lead it did not lose.

He won two further world championship races for Ferrari during 1965 and with it came the French sports car title. Guichet won his class on the Targa Florio (when second) and at Spa-Francorchamps during 1966 before finishing third with a North American Racing Team Ferrari P3/P4 at Daytona at the start of 1967.

Switch to Porsche

That was his last year with Ferrari for Guichet shared a GT Porsche 911 with Jean-Claude Killy during 1968 – his co-driver having just won three skiing gold medals at that year’s Winter Olympics. Guichet crashed while testing in the Camargue in 1970 and he decided to quit driving prototypes fulltime.

He continued rallying and Jean Todt was his co-driver in 1972. His final start at Le Mans in 1975 was with a works BMW 3.0 CSL but he retired during the night. Guichet’s final competitive victory on the 1979 Codasur Rally in Argentina was with a Peugeot 504 and Todt still reading the notes.