Michel May was a good-looking Swiss engineer whose racing career briefly included Formula 1. However it was an engineer with Porsche and Ferrari that he saw his future.
Innovation and racing career
Unconstrained by convention while an engineering student, May designed and fitted an aerofoil to his racing Porsche 550 in 1956 a full decade before the likes of Jim Hall and Colin Chapman experimented with aerodynamics.
Having graduated from University, he began racing in Formula Junior. His Stanguellini-Fiat won at Monaco as he clinched the 1959 International FJ Championship. Second behind Colin Davis at Pau, he emerged unscathed after rolling at Albi.
He then entered three Grands Prix in 1961 with Scuderia Colonia’s Lotus 18-Climax. A promising 14th on the grid for the Monaco GP, he retired before half distance when an oil pipe fractured. Eleventh in France, May crashed during practice at the Nürburgring and so failed to qualify.
That was his cue to stop racing although May continued to work in the motor industry. He developed fuel injection systems for Porsche before joining Ferrari to work as a consultant in 1963 and 1964.