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Jackie Pretorius

Full Name:
Jacobus Johannes Pretorius
22nd November 1934
Potchefstroom, North West Province
30th March 2009 (Aged 74)
Johannesburg, Gauteng
South African
Most recent race (in database):

Jackie Pretorius was a South African national racer who entered his home Grand Prix on four occasions during the 1960s and 1970s. He hoped to make his Formula 1 debut in the non-championship 1964 Rand GP at Kyalami but his LDS-Alfa Romeo was unable to start due to a mechanical failure after practice. Armed with a new chassis, he entered the 1965 South African GP a month later but failed to pre-qualify.

World Championship debut

It was 1968 before Pretorius raced in the world championship or won in the South African F1 Championship. He qualified a privately-entered Brabham BT11-Climax in last position for GP debut at Kyalami. He ran at the back and did not complete enough laps to be classified as a finisher.

He upgraded to a locally-built Formula 5000 Lola T140-Ford later that year and eventually won national races in Mozambique and the False Bay 100 at Killarney. Those were rare victories for F5000 machinery against F1 opposition and Pretorius finished as runner-up in the championship behind John Love.

A winner once again at Kyalami a year later – his Lola sporting a garish stripped livery – he qualified Team Gunston’s Brabham BT26A-Ford in 20th position for the 1971 South African GP. His camshaft failed after 22 laps but Pretorius twice won in the South African F1 Championship as he again finished as runner-up.

He made a final unplanned appearance in the 1973 GP. Nanni Galli was injured in testing and Frank Williams invited Pretorius to take his place. The penultimate qualifier, his Williams FX3B-Ford retired with an overheating engine.

Subsequent career

He continued to race a Brabham BT38 in South Africa that year before quitting the sport. Pretorious then worked for Wynn Oils until retirement age. However, his life ended in tragic circumstances. Six years after his wife was killed by intruders at their home in the suburbs of Johannesburg, the house was targeted again in March 2009. Pretorius was severely injured and died after three weeks in a coma.