Johnny Cecotto

Full Name:
Alberto "Johnny" Cecotto
Born:
25th January 1956 (Age 63)
Caracas
Nationality:
Venezuelan
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Johnny Cecotto is one from that rare breed in the modern era who has won on both two and four wheels. A world champion in the former discipline, injury curtailed his Formula 1 career although he then excelled in GTs and saloons.

Motorcycling career

The son of an Italian-born garage owner and Venezuelan motorcycle champion, Johnny followed his father by racing motorcycles from 1972. National 350cc champion in 1973 and 1974, it was his performance in the 1975 Daytona 200 that established Cecotto – the unknown South American coming from the back of the field to finish third.

With backing from Venezuela’s Yamaha importer, Cecotto transferred to the world championship that year and won both 250cc and 350cc races first time out. That remarkable debut led to Cecotto clinching the 350cc world title in his rookie season – at that time the youngest world champion in motorcycling history.

Sidelined by injury during 1977, he won the 1978 750cc World Championship and was a three-time 500cc Grand Prix winner (Finland, Czechoslovakia in 1977 and Holland 1978). Cecotto then broke his knee at the Salzburgring in 1979 and decided to switch to cars.

Cecotto switches to cars

His Formula 2 career began slowly in 1980 but Cecotto’s works Minardi FLY281-BMW finished fourth at Thruxton a year later. That result was a rare highlight however before a switch to Markus Hotz’s March 812-BMW brought an improvement. He ended 1981 with increasingly impressive performances that included sixth place finishes in the final three races.

Nonetheless, his 1982 form in a works March 822-BMW was something of a surprise – Cecotto challenging team-mate Corrado Fabi for the European F2 Championship until the very last round. He won three times and finished level on points only to lose the title due to a dropped score.

Formula 1 with Theodore and Toleman

Cecotto graduated to Formula 1 in 1983 with a Theodore N183-Ford. He was sixth at Long Beach on his second start and he joined Toleman for 1984 as team-mate to debutant Ayrton Senna. In hindsight, it is no disgrace that Cecotto was eclipsed by the mercurial Brazilian but his F1 career was soon over. He crashed head-on at Westfield Bend during qualifying at Brands Hatch. The 100mph impact broke Cecotto’s ankles and his right kneecap – injuries that ended his F1 career.

Life after Formula 1

Once recovered, he was a race-winning touring car driver for the next two decades. Although he has raced for other marques, it was with BMW that Cecotto enjoyed most of his success. That included winning the 1989 Italian Championship, victories in the Spa and Nürburgring 24 Hours, finishing as runner-up to Hans-Joachim Stuck in the 1990 DTM and titles in Germany’s 2000cc touring car series. He only races for fun these days but has actively guided his son’s career in recent years.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2002 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Euroteam
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
2002 German V8-Star Silhouette Championship 1st -
2001 German V8-Star Silhouette Championship 1st -
1998 German Super Touring Car Championship 1st -
1996 Temporada GT Championship
Team Bigazzi
2 1 2 2 1st 0
1994 German Super Touring Car Championship 1st -
1993 ADAC GT Cup 1st -
1992 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Schnitzer Motorsport
24 2 7 2
9% win rate
4th 185
1991 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
BMW Team Schnitzer
24 4 7 3
13% win rate
4th 147
1990 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
BMW Team Schnitzer
22 0 7 3
14% win rate
2nd 177
1989 Italian SuperTurismo Championship 1st -
1989 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
BMW Team Schnitzer
15 2 7 2
14% win rate
7th 206
1988 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
21 2 6 4
20% win rate
6th 204
1987 World Touring Car Championship
CiBiEmme
11 0 1 1
10% win rate
8th 158
1984 F1 World Championship
Toleman Group Motorsport
9 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1983 F1 World Championship
Theodore Racing Team
9 (4) 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 1
1982 European F2 Championship
March Engineering
13 0 8 3
24% win rate
2nd 56 (57)
1981 European F2 Championship
Marcus Hotz Racing
Minardi Team
11 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
12th 6
1981 World Endurance Championship
BMW Italie-France
2 0 0 0 309th 6
1980 BMW M1 Procar
GS Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
23rd 3
1980 World Motorcycle Championship
Venemotos Racing Team
7 0 0 0
0% win rate
6th 31
1980 European F2 Championship
Onyx Race Engineering
Minardi Team
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1979 World Motorcycle Championship
Yamaha Motor Company
8 (1) 2 0 0
0% win rate
19th 10
1978 World Motorcycle Championship
Yamaha Motor Company
11 8 4 1
10% win rate
3rd 66
1977 World Motorcycle Championship
Team Venemotos
5 (1) 2 3 2
40% win rate
4th 50
1976 World Motorcycle Championship
Team Venemotos
3 (1) 0 1 0
0% win rate
19th 12