Reine Wiswell is a former racing driver from Sweden who recorded 22 starts in the Formula 1 World Championship between 1970 and 1974, driving for Lotus, BRM and March. He scored one podium, finishing third in his F1 debut at the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. Earlier in a career, Wisell was a successful Formula 3 racer, taking the Swedish F3 Championship title in 1967.
Starting a career in the Swedish Sportscar Championship
Born in September 1941 in Motala, Reine Wisell started his racing career in the mid-1960s, participating in the Swedish Sportscar Championship and Swedish Formula 3 Championship. He raced in an MG Midget Special in sports car races, scoring a couple of podiums.
In Formula 3, he was driving a Cooper T76-Ford, scoring one victory to finish eighth in the 1976 season classification.
Swedish Formula 3 champion in 1967
In 1967, driving a Brabham BT18-Ford, Wisell became the Swedish Formula 3 champion after he scored three wins in seven races, defeating defending champion Freddy Kottulinsky. Wisell was also successful in many non-championship events, winning at Dalsland Ring and Knutstorp and scoring few more podiums.
In 1968, Wisell switched to Tecno-Ford F3 car and scored many non-championship wins, including Barcelona Grand Prix, Vila Real Grand Prix, Swedish Grand Prix, Knutstorp Cup or Dalsland Ring Cup.
1969 - the podium at Monaco F3 Grand Prix and DNF at Le Mans 24h
In 1969, he raced the most in a Chevron B15-Ford. His most notable F3 result was the second place in the Monaco Grand Prix, behind compatriot Ronnie Peterson.
Outside Formula 3, Wisell raced with Chevron Cars in the World Sportscar Championship and other competitions, driving a Chevron B8-BMW. He and John Hine scored S2.0 class victory at Brands Hatch 6 Hours. In June 1969, Wisell made a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving the #1 Chevrolet Corvette C3 for Scuderia Filipinetti in GT+2.0 class. He and Henri Greder didn't finish the race.
Partner to Joakim Bonnier in 1970
In November 1969, Wisell joined Joakim Bonnier in Scuderia Filipinetti's Lola T70 at Kyalami 9 Hours, not finishing the race. In January 1970, Wisell and Bonnier were partners again, sharing Ecurie Bonnier's Lola T70 at 1000 km of Buenos Aires. They recorded one more DNF.
Later in the season, Wisell and Bonnier were sharing Lola in three more WSC races, but also they raced in Scuderia Filipinetti's #14 Ferrari 512 S at 24 Hours of Le Mans. Their race ended after 36 laps in a crash of four Ferraris.
Wisell's partnership with Bonnier was just a small part of his wide racing programme in 1970. He competed in many other sportscar competitions (RAC Sportscar Championship, Interserie, European 2-Litre Sportscar Championship) and non-championship events.
Podium in Formula 1 debut with Lotus at the 1970 US Grand Prix
Parallel to his sports car commitments, Wisell raced occasionally in Formula 2 events with Chevron and in the British Formula 5000 with Sid Taylor's McLaren M10B-Chevrolet, but also in some Formula 1 non-championship races, such were International Gold Cup at Oulton Park or BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone.
In October 1970, Wisell unexpectedly made a debut in the Formula 1 World Championship. Lotus driver Jochen Rindt lost a life in September and his death forced the second driver John Miles to retire from races. So, Graham Chapman invited Emerson Fittipaldi and Reine Wisell to drive for Lotus in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. Fittipaldi won the race and secured Teams' title for Lotus while Wisell finished third in the #23 Lotus 72C-Cosworth. Three weeks later, Wisell raced with Lotus in the Mexican Grand Prix, finishing in the tenth place.
A full season with Gold Leaf Team Lotus in 1971
In the 1971 Formula 1 season, both Fittipaldi and Wisell were retained by Gold Leaf Team Lotus. Fittipaldi scored three podiums to finish sixth while Wisell's best result was the fourth place in South Africa and Austria. Wisell collected nine points and finished 12th in final standings.
Outside F1, Wisell raced in Formula 2 European Championship and many non-championship races with F1, F2 and F5000 cars.
Wisell rejoined Ecurie Bonnier in 1972
In January 1972, Wisell rejoined Ecurie Bonnier to drive a Lola T280-Cosworth at Buenos Aires 1000 Km race, sharing a car with Gerard Larrousse. They didn't finish the race.
Later that year, Wisell and Larrousse raced together at Daytona 6 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours, Brands Hatch 1000 and Watkins Glen 6 Hours but without notable results. At Monza 1000, Wisell shared a car with Jo Bonnier.
1972 Formula 1 season with two teams
In Formula 1, Wisell joined Marlboro BRM team in the season-opening Argentine Grand Prix to drive a BRM P153. He didn't finish the race. Later in the season, Wisell recorded four more DNFs with BRM, reaching the finish line only in the Italian Grand Prix in the twelfth place.
For the last two rounds, in Canada and the US, Wisell rejoined Team Lotus. He retired at Mosport Park and finished tenth at Watkins Glen.
Formula 2 as the main competition in 1973
In 1973, Wisell's main competition was the Formula 2 European Championship in which he was driving GRD 273-Cosworth for Team Pierre Robert. He won one race at Nurburgring. The Team Pierre Robert also fielded March 731-Cosworth for Wissell in the Formula 1 Swedish Grand Prix but he didn't start the race due to technical problems.
However, he made one F1 start that year, driving the #15 March-Cosworth in the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard, entered by Clarke-Mordaunt- Guthrie-Durlacher. He didn't finish the race.
No luck at Le Mans again in 1973
In sports car racing, Wisell made a return to Le Mans 24 Hours in 1973, driving the #7 Lola T282-Cosworth for Scuderia Filipinetti/Equipe Gitanes. He was sharing a car with Jean-Louis Lafosse and Hughes de Fierlant, not finishing the race.
In other races in Filipinetti's Lola, Wisell retired at Daytona 24h, finished sixth at Vallelunga 6 Hours and Dijon 1000 Km, and retired at Kyalami 9 Hours.
Last F1 start and last Le Mans attempt in 1974
In 1974, Reine Wisell recorded his last Formula 1 start in a career. He raced in the factory-entered #9 March 741-Cosworth in his home race, the Swedish Grand Prix at Scandinavian Raceway. He retired after 59 laps with broken suspension.
In 1974, Wisell also recorded his last attempt at 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was driving the #7 Gulf Mirage GR7-Cosworth, sharing a car with Vern Schuppan. They stopped with a broken engine after five hours and 49 laps. Wisell and Schuppan raced together in three more events that year (Le Castellet, Brands Hatch, Kyalami) but without any success.
Racing with Porsche 911 Carrera RSR in 1975
In 1975, Wissel joined German team Tebernum Racing to drive a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR in different sports car competitions, mostly in the World Championship for Makes.
His most notable result was the GT class victory at Coppa Florio, together with Hartwig Bertrams and Clemens Schickentanz.
Regular entrant at Spa 24 Hours late in a career
In 1976, Wisell was driving a Chevrolet Camaro for Zip-Up Racing in the World Championship for Makes and the European Touring Car Championship, including the Spa 24 Hours race.
In 1977, he came to Spa in a BMW 3.0 CSi, not finishing the race. He made two more attempts in a BMW, not finishing both in 1978 and 1979.
In the 1980 Spa 24 Hours, Wisell was driving Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for Luigi Racing Bastos, not finishing the race again. His last start at Spa was in 1981, again in a Chevrolet Camaro, and again he didn't finish the race.