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Jean-Denis Deletraz

1st October 1963 (Age 57)
Most recent race (in database):

Formula 1 has always had its gentlemen drivers paying their way with sponsorship rather than outright speed. Jean-Denis Délétraz started three Grands Prix during the 1990s before pursuing his hobby in the more sedate environment of GTs.

Early racing career

Délétraz was a graduate of the racing school at La Châtre and made his public debut in the 1985 French Formula Ford. He won a couple of races that year but two subsequent seasons in Formula 3 were disappointing. Maybe the choice of the Swica chassis for his debut season contributed to his lack of success although that did not deter Délétraz from graduating to Formula 3000.

His 1988 FIA F3000 campaign began with Sport Auto Racing’s Lola T88/50-Cosworth before a switch to GDBA for the final three races reaped immediate rewards – he finished third at Le Mans and Zolder. However, those results flattered to deceive and another three partial seasons were without score.

Formula 1 with Larrousse and Pacific

Nevertheless, Délétraz fulfilled his F1 ambitions by replacing Larrousse’s Erik Comas for the final race of 1994. Last-but-one on the grid, the gearbox of his Larrousse LH94-Ford failed after 56 laps in Australia. Slowest of all with a Pacific PR02-Ford in two further F1 starts during 1995, he retired in Portugal when unfit to continue and was unclassified at the Nürburgring.

Endurance racing

Délétraz moved to endurance racing and won the LPM675 class in the 2001 Le Mans 24 Hours – finishing fifth overall with ROC’s Reynard 2KQ-Volkswagen. He won the class again a year later and 2002 was Délétraz’s most successful season. He shared BMS Scuderia Italia’s Ferrari 550M in the FIA GT Championship with Andrea Piccini and they won three times to clinch fifth in the series.

Having reversed a decision to retire in 2003, he continued to win races for much of the decade. Victory in the final GT race of 2006 with a Phoenix Racing Aston Martin DBR9 confirmed Piccini and Délétraz as the second-best pairing of the year. A switch to Carsport Holland’s Chevrolet Corvette C6.R for 2007 included victory in the Spa 24 Hours. Third in the championship that year, Délétraz was fifth in 2008 and he drove a Gulf Racing Middle East Lola B12/80-Nissan in the 2012 World Endurance Championship.