Jean-PierreMauriceGeorgesBeltoise was a French racer who has competed in both motorcycle and Formula 1 racing.
Beltoise started career in motorcycle racing and had good results
He was born on 26th of April 1937 in Paris, as a son of a butcher. His first racing steps were in motorcycling. Beltoise was very successful at the national level as he won 11 titles in three years. Jean-Pierre was ready for the international level and spent three years (1962-1964) competing in the various classes of Grand Prix motorcycle racing. His best result was 6th place in 1964 50cc World Championship.
Jean-Pierre Beltoise started his racing career in motor racing
Seriously injured arm never was a problem
In the same time, Beltoise started to drive in sportscars racing events. During the endurance race called 12 hours of Reims, in France, Jean-Pierre crashed and broke his arm. That injury left him unable of fully controlling arm movements, but he returned to racing in Formula 3 in the following year.
In 1966, Jean-Pierre Beltoise moved to Formula 2, competing at German Grand Prix at Nurburgring and clinching a class win. That was his only race that year but in the following one, French racer had three starts with 7th places in the US and Mexico. The season of 1968 Beltoise started in Formula 2, but after the first race of the season, in South Africa, he switched to Formula 1.
Racing in Formula 1 was a huge challenge
His first year in the most popular racing competition went relatively well, despite many retirements. Beltoise finished second in the Dutch Grand Prix and was 5th in Spain and Italy. In 1969, he had the best season as he finished 5th in the Drivers’ championship, again as a pilot of MatraTeam managed by Ken Tyrrell. Beltoise, driving alongside Jackie Stewart, scored points almost on a regular basis and had three podium finishes. Beltoise was second in French Grand Prix and third in Spain and Italy.
Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Matra MS80, 1969 Monaco Grand Prix
One of the saddest moments in Beltoise’s career was an accident at 1000 km of Buenos Aires race in 1971. He was involved in the crash in which Italian racer Ignazio Giunti lost his life what caused that Jean-Pierre’s international racing license was suspended for a while.
Victory in Monaco
Beltoise clinched his sole victory in Formula 1 a year later, at 1972 Monaco Grand Prix, as a driver of Marlboro BRM team, where he dominantly won the race ahead of Jacky Ickx. Interestingly, that was the last win for BRM in Formula 1. He stayed with a team for further two years, had a couple of finishes in the points zone, but too many times had to retire and never made a serious impact.
Video - Jean-Pierre Beltoise at Nogaro Circuit
Next station was rallycross and touring cars racing
The season of 1974 was his last in Formula 1. He tested Ligier’s car in 1976 and had a chance to replace Jacques Laffitte, but decided to test himself in touring cars racing and rallycross in France. He became a champion in both competitions and infected his sons Anthony and Julien with racing.
Jean-Pierre Beltoise died aged 77, on 5th of January 2015, in his holiday home in Dakar, in Senegal, after having two strokes.