Lucien Bianchi

Full Name:
Luciano Bianchi
Born:
10th November 1934
Milan, Lombardy (I)
Died:
30th March 1969 (Aged 34)
Le Mans, Pays de la Loire (F), testing
Nationality:
Belgian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

The sons of a well-known mechanic with Alfa Romeo’s racing division, both Lucien and Mauro Bianchi were destined to race in the future. Although Mauro won the 1966 Macau Grand Prix, it was the older Luicien who would become an international star.

Family background and early racing career

The family relocated to Belgium when they were both children where their father worked for Johnny Claes. Lucien Bianchi started rallying when 18 years old and enjoyed a varied career that also included Formula 1, Indycars and sports cars. He was Claes’s co-driver as their Lancia finished third in the 1955 Liège-Rome-Liège Rally in what was his mentor’s final outing.

Bianchi learnt his trade and he was seventh overall in the 1957 Le Mans 24 Hours to win the 2000cc class for Ecurie Nationale Belge and Ferrari. Victory in the Tour de France Automobile with compatriot Olivier Gendebien (the first of three wins in that event) followed later that year.

Formula 1 privateer

Bianchi made his GP debut in 1960 and he started three races in Fred Tuck’s Cooper T45-Climax – finishing sixth in Belgium on his maiden appearance. He continued as a privateer with the ENB and UDT-Laystall teams but it was in other forms of the sport that he enjoyed most success.

His Citroën DS19 won the 1961 Liège rally and Bianchi shared the victorious Scuderia Serenissima Ferrari 250TR in the following year’s Sebring 12 hours. That was after replacing Graham Hill who had injured his back on the eve of the race.

Second in Zolder’s 1964 Formula 2 race with a Ron Harris Lotus 32-Cosworth, he qualified a Jim Robbins Vollstedt-Ford in ninth position for a one-off Indycar start at Trenton in 1967. He failed to qualify for that year’s Indianapolis 500 but he and co-driver Gerhard Mitter seemed set for victory in the Nürburgring 1000Kms until the electrics on their works Porsche 910 failed on the last lap.

Formula success and victory at Le Mans

The 1968 season was his finest and included his greatest victory. That was in the Le Mans 24 Hours which he won with a John Wyer Ford GT40 and Pedro Rodríguez. The Belgian added victory in the Watkins Glen Six Hours for the team but that was not enough. Bianchi also enjoyed his stand-out GP season with a works Cooper T86B-BRM with third in the Monaco GP was his best F1 result. He also starred in the London-Sydney Rally but he lost the lead with just 100 of the 10,000 miles to go when his co-driver (Jean-Claude Ogier) crashed their Citroën DS21 into an oncoming Mini.

Tragedy at Le Mans

He sustained a broken ankle in the accident in what was a mere prelude to his tragic demise. Part of the works Alfa Romeo team for the 1969 sports car season, he lost control approaching the Mulsanne Corner during the Le Mans test weekend. His Alfa Romeo T33 hit a telegraph pole at some 120mph and caught fire with Bianchi killed instantly.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1968 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
7 0 1 0
0% win rate
17th 5
1968 International Championship of Makes
Autodelta
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
4 0 3 2 21
1967 International Championship of Makes
Maranello Concessionaires
Porsche System Engineering
Holman Moody Racing
3 0 1 0 7
1967 USAC National Championship
Jim Robbins
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1966 International Championship of Makes
Holman Moody Racing
1 0 0 0 0
1965 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Centro Sud
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1965 International Championship of Makes
Maranello Concessionaires
1 0 0 0 0
1964 International Championship of Makes
Ecurie Nationale Belge
David Piper
4 0 1 0 13
1963 F1 World Championship
Reg Parnell Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1963 Speed and Endurance World Challenge
David Brown Corporation
1 0 0 0 0
1962 F1 World Championship
Ecurie Nationale Belge
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1962 Speed World Challenge
Maserati France
Scuderia Serenissima
2 0 1 1 10
1961 F1 World Championship
Ecurie Nationale Belge
UDT-Laystall Racing Team
3 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1961 World Sportscar Championship
Ecurie Francorchamps
1 0 0 0 0
1960 F1 World Championship
Fred Tuck Cars
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
24th 1
1960 World Sportscar Championship
Ecurie Nationale Belge
1 0 0 0 0
1959 F1 World Championship
Ecurie Nationale Belge
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1959 World Sportscar Championship
Ecurie Nationale Belge
1 0 0 0 0
1958 World Sportscar Championship
Ecurie Francorchamps
1 0 0 0 0
1957 World Sportscar Championship
Ecurie Francorchamps
1 0 0 0 0