Jean-Pierre Jarier

Full Name:
Jean-Pierre Jacques Paul Jarier
Born:
10th July 1946 (Age 73)
Charenton-le-Pont, Paris, Ile-de-France
Nationality:
French
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Despite making 133 starts and being a Grand Prix driver for 12 years, victory always proved elusive for Jean-Pierre Jarier. It was not for lack of talent – witness his exceptional Formula 2 successes of 1973. But he was not in the right car on enough of the right occasions and when he was, fate conspired to deny him that breakthrough.

Early racing career

He raced a Renault Eight saloon in 1967 before embarking on his single-seater career a year later. A season in Formula France (later known as Formula Renault) and two in Formula 3 culminated in Jarier’s Tecno-Ford winning the final round at Albi to clinch third in the 1970 French F3 Championship.

Always fast but seemingly forever on the verge of an accident, Jarier graduated to F2 in 1971 with the Shell-Arnold team. He handled the March 712M-Ford with increasing success and finished third at Albi and Vallelunga. Team and driver also made an understated Formula 1 debut in that year’s Italian GP with a rented March 701-Ford.

Formula 2 champion and F1 with March

Replaced to make way for a paying driver after two 1972 F2 rounds, "Jumper" Jarier signed for March in 1973. Not only did he dominate the F2 championship that year – winning eight times – but Jarier started 10 GPs after Chris Amon could not agree terms with the team.

Formula 1 promise for Shadow

Rather than remain with March for the 1974 F1 World Championship, the Frenchman joined the fledgling UOP Shadow team. The death of experienced team-mate Peter Revson while testing at Kyalami thrust the youngster to the fore. He responded by finishing third at Monaco and that went some way to lift the gloom. He also won five times in sports cars that year as a member of the world championship-winning Matra team.

He appeared on the verge of GP stardom at the beginning of 1975 when he qualified on pole position for the opening round in Argentina only for his crown wheel and pinion to fail on the warm-up lap. F1 win number one had got away. He was on pole again a fortnight later in Brazil and led there and in Britain but he retired more often than not. A year in which Jarier began as the fastest man in the field yielded just 1.5 points and 18th in the championship. Third on the grid for the 1976 Brazilian GP, he failed to score a point all year and was not retained at the end of the season.

Racing in the midfield

He began the 1977 F1 season by finishing sixth in the Long Beach GP with an ATS Wheels Penske PC4-Ford. That proved to be a false dawn however as he did not finish in the points again. Further one-off GPs at the end of the year for Shadow (again) and Ligier suggested that the Frenchman’s F1 career was on the wane.

Jarier enjoyed success in sports cars however – winning a couple of races for Alfa Romeo during 1977 and coming second at Le Mans when sharing a Mirage GR8-Renault with Vern Schuppan.

Tragic opportunity at Lotus

He returned to ATS in 1978 but was hired by new champions Lotus for the season-ending North American GPs when Ronnie Peterson was killed in Italy. The sport may have been in mourning and Jarier an unhappy replacement but that provided a second chance in F1.

He set the race’s fastest lap in the United States and dominated the Canadian GP from pole position before an oil leak denied his deserved victory. Local favourite Gilles Villeneuve won that day but Autocourse proclaimed Jarier as "the hero of Montréal." However, it was another win lost.

Fulltime Formula 1 driver once more

Those performances prolonged Jarier’s F1 career for another five years. Two seasons with Tyrrell included third place finishes in the 1979 South African and British GPs and he was a career-best 10th in the points that year and the next. He later raced for Ligier and Osella before competing in his last GP – South Africa 1983 when 10th with a Ligier JS21-Ford.

Jarier raced for another two decades – fuller of face perhaps but a star nonetheless. He was a race winner as GT racing was reborn in the mid 1990s and twice French champion in that form of the sport.

As an F1 driver, Jean-Pierre Jarier had been fast but he developed a reputation as a car breaker. He was the class of the field at the start of 1975 and within a whisker of victory in the 1978 Canadian GP but he was inconsistent or off the road all too often.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2001 FIA GT Championship 36th 2
2000 FIA GT Championship 22nd 5
1999 French GT Championship 1st -
1998 French GT Championship 1st -
1994 International GT Series
Larbre Competition
4 2 4 4 0
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Team Schuppan
1 0 0 0 0
1985 World Endurance Championship
Porsche Kremer Racing
1 0 0 0 85th 2
1984 World Endurance Championship
Porsche Kremer Racing
1 0 0 0 57th 6
1983 F1 World Championship
Equipe Ligier Gitanes
14 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1982 F1 World Championship
Osella Squadra Corse
13 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 3
1981 F1 World Championship
Osella Squadra Corse
Equipe Talbot Gitanes
9 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1981 World Endurance Championship
Team GS Sport
1 0 0 0 0
1980 F1 World Championship
Candy Tyrrell Team
14 0 0 0
0% win rate
10th 6
1980 BMW M1 Procar
BMW Motorsport
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1979 F1 World Championship
Candy Team Tyrrell
12 (1) 0 2 0
0% win rate
10th 14
1979 BMW M1 Procar
BMW Motorsport
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
27th 2
1978 F1 World Championship
ATS Racing Team
John Player Team Lotus
5 (3) 1 0 0
0% win rate
0
1978 European F2 Championship
Maublanc Racing Services
4 0 1 0
0% win rate
0
1977 F1 World Championship
ATS Racing Team
Equipe Ligier Gitanes
Shadow Racing Team
12 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 1
1977 World Championship of Sportscars
Autodelta
2 0 2 2 40
1976 European F2 Championship
Fred Opert Racing
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1976 F1 World Championship
Shadow Racing Team
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1976 World Championship of Sportscars
Equipe Renault Elf
4 1 2 0 31
1975 F1 World Championship
UOP Shadow Racing Team
13 (1) 2 0 0
0% win rate
18th 1.5
1975 SCCA/USAC F5000 Championship
Shadow Racing Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1975 World Championship of Makes
Equipe Ligier Gitanes
Equipe Renault Elf
5 1 1 0 22
1974 F1 World Championship
UOP Shadow Racing Team
14 0 1 0
0% win rate
14th 6
1974 World Championship of Makes
Equipe Gitanes
9 4 7 5 137
1973 F1 World Championship
March Engineering
10 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1973 European F2 Championship
STP March Racing Team
12 4 9 7
59% win rate
1st 78
1972 European F2 Trophy
Shell-Arnold Team
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1972 World Championship of Makes
North American Racing Team
2 0 0 0 8
1972 John Player British F2 Championship
Shell-Arnold Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1971 F1 World Championship
Shell-Arnold Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1971 European F2 Trophy
Shell-Arnold Team
6 (2) 0 2 0
0% win rate
8th 10