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Eliseo Salazar

Full Name:
Eliseo Salazar Valenzuela
14th November 1954 (Age 65)
Santiago, Santiago Province
Most recent race (in database):

Eliseo Salazar arrived in England in 1979 with previous success confined to Chilean touring cars and Formula Four in Argentina. He drove a Schick Ralt RT3-Toyota in British Formula 3 that year when one of the first to drive the new ground-effect car.

British Formula 1 and Grand Prix debut

Despite his inexperience, Salazar signed for RAM Racing to race in the 1980 Aurora British Formula 1 Championship. Armed with a pair of pristine Williams FW07-Fords, Salazar and team-mate Emilio de Villota were the pick of a weak field. Salazar won three times and finished as runner-up behind the Spaniard.

With a new found reputation and healthy Chilean sponsorship, Salazar graduated to the 1981 F1 World Championship with March as it returned to the category. However, the team was not competitive and Salazar only qualified once (at Imola) before moving to Ensign from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards. He improved during the season and finished sixth in the Dutch GP after a steady race.

Switch to ATS and RAM

Touted at the end of the year as a possible Lotus driver, he joined ATS for 1982 instead. He finished fifth in the San Marino GP when only 14 cars appeared but spent much of the season outperformed by flamboyant team-mate Manfred Winkelhock.

However, he hit the headlines while being lapped by race leader Nelson Piquet at Hockenheim. The cars collided and that prompted the frustrated Brazilian’s brief but televised attack on the backmarker. A 1983 move to RAM was a disaster. He qualified its unsorted March 01-Ford for the opening two GPs but quit after a run of four DNQs with his F1 career over.

Subsequent racing career

It took time for Salazar to return to mainstream single-seaters in the 1986 Formula 3000 Championship. The highlight was fourth position for Lola Motorsport in the rain-soaked crash-fest that was that year’s inaugural Birmingham Super Prix. It was his only points score in the series.

The 1990 Le Mans 24 Hours proved to be Salazar’s best but ultimately most frustrating opportunity to re-establish himself since F1. Chosen by the pre-race favourites Silk Cut Jaguar, he qualified the eventual winning car only not drive in the race after being replaced by the higher profile Martin Brundle whose sister car had retired early.

IMSA success with a Momo Ferrari 333SP during 1994 was followed by a final chance at open-wheel stardom. Salazar joined Dick Simon Racing for Champ Cars in 1995 and came from 33rd on the grid at Indianapolis to finish fourth. Team and driver switched to the new Indy Racing League but he crashed while practising for the inaugural race at Disney World. Salazar was trapped in the car for 30 minutes with a broken right thigh but he returned to qualify third and finish sixth at Indianapolis.

His final season with the team in 1997 concluded with victory in the last round at Las Vegas with a Dallara IR7-Aurora. He joined A.J.Foyt Enterprises in 2000 and again qualified on the outside of the front row at Indianapolis. A career-best third in the 500, he was fourth in that year’s Indycar standings.

Second at Phoenix in the opening race of 2001, the following season was interrupted when he crashed in Turn 1 while testing at Indianapolis. He suffered serious chest injuries and although he returned three months later, 2002 was Salazar’s last Indycar season.

He has since competed in the 2005/06 GP Masters (a short-lived, made-for-television series for former F1 drivers), national rallying and the Dakar Rally.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2006 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
2005 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
2002 Indy Racing League
AJ Foyt Enterprises
9 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 157
2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series
AJ Foyt Racing
13 0 2 0
0% win rate
5th 308
2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series
AJ Foyt Racing
9 0 1 0
0% win rate
4th 210
1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League
Nienhouse Motorsports
9 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 137
1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League
PDM Racing
Riley & Scott Racing
4 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
29th 60
1996/1997 Indy Racing League
Team Scandia
8 0 1 1
13% win rate
9th 208
1996 Indy Racing League
Team Scandia
1 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
25th 29
1996 PPG Indycar World Series
Team Scandia
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
30th 2
1995 PPG Indycar World Series
Dick Simon Racing
16 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
21st 19
1994 Exxon World Sports Car Series
Momo Corse
3 3 3 3 0
1990 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Spice Engineering
3 0 0 0 37th 1
1989 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Spice Engineering
7 0 0 0 55th 1
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Spice Engineering
3 0 0 0 0
1987 FIA International F3000 Championship
Bromley Motorsport
Colin Bennett Racing
8 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1986 FIA International F3000 Championship
Lola Motorsport
RAM Racing
6 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 1.5
1983 F1 World Championship
RAM Automotive Team March
2 (4) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1983 World Endurance Championship
Colin Bennett Racing
1 0 0 0 0
1982 F1 World Championship
Team ATS
13 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
22nd 2
1982 World Endurance Championship
Dome Company
2 0 0 0 0
1981 F1 World Championship
Ensign Racing
March Grand Prix
9 (6) 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 1
1980 Aurora AFX British F1 Championship
RAM Racing Team
12 6 5 3
25% win rate
2nd 52
1979 European F3 Championship
Schick Toyota Chilean Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
1979 Vandervell British F3 Championship 13th 4