- March 18, 1938
- May 04, 2017
- Not Active
Timo Mäkinen was the Finnish rally driver and one of the original Flying Finns. He was most active during the 1960s, scoring the famous victory at 1965 Rallye Monte-Carlo with Mini Cooper S and winning the Finnish championship in 1966 with the same car.
His other great achievements are four wins at 1000 Lakes Rally (Rally Finland) and three wins at RAC Rally. In the WRC era (since 1973), he recorded 39 starts and four wins.
Rally debut at 1959 1000 Lakes Rally
Timo Mäkinen was born on March 18, 1938. He debuted in rallying in 1959, participating in 1000 Lakes Rally with Triumph TR3. He finished 38th overall and third in class, behind two drivers who later became famous as inventors of the left-foot braking – Erik Carlsson and Rauno Aaltonen.
In the following three seasons, Mäkinen was driving mostly a Morris Mini, participating strictly in Finnish national events, including the 1000 Lakes Rally, which was a part of the European championship.
International debut at 1962 RAC Rally
In 1962, the local Mini dealer helped Mäkinen to participate for the first time outside Finland, at RAC Rally. He finished seventh overall, impressing Stuart Turner, a chief of BMC factory team, which offered him a seat for the next season.
During 1963, Mäkinen was combining Morris Cooper and Austin Healey 3000, participating in many international events, including his debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo. His best result was the fifth place at RAC Rally at the wheel of Austin Healey.
Maiden international win at 1964 Tulip Rally
In 1964, Makinen finished fourth at Rallye Monte-Carlo, in the event remembered as the first of three RMCs wins by Mini. The winner was his teammate Paddy Hopkirk. Soon after that, the first international victory followed, at International Tulip Rallye in Netherlands. Other notable results were fourth place at 1000 Lakes Rally and second place at RAC Rally.
1965 – winning the Rallye Monte-Carlo and 1000 Lakes Rally
In 1965, Mini Cooper S was the victorious car at Rallye Monte Carlo again. This time, Timo Mäkinen and his navigator Paul Easter were the winners. Later in the season, Makinen managed to win 1000 Lakes Rally for the first time, beating his teammate Rauno Aaltonen and Volkswagen's Pauli Toivonen. At the end of the season, Makinen was second in the European Rally Championship standings, behind Aaltonen.
Two podiums at Mount Panorama
In October 1965, Timo Makinen and Paddy Hopkirk participated together at Bathurst 500 race at Mount Panorama in Australia. Driving the #30 Morris Cooper S, they finished sixth overall and third in class.
Makinen returned to the Mount Panorama two years later, again driving Morris Cooper S. This time, his co-driver was the Australian John French. They were 7th overall and third in class.
Two Finnish championship titles in the same year
The 1966 rally season started with a controversial exclusion of three Minis and one Ford Cortina Lotus at Rallye Monte-Carlo, so the winner was Pauli Toivonen with Citroen DS 21. Later in the season, Makinen scored his second consecutive victory at 1000 Lakes Rally. Despite that win and few more good results in the ERC, he didn't manage to win the championship.
On the other side, he won three times in the Finnish championship and became the champion, beating Hannu Mikkola. In the same year, he was driving Mini Cooper S in the Finnish circuit racing championship, winning his first (of three) title.
Winning the 1000 Lakes Rally with bonnet open
In 1967, Mini scored third win at Rallye Monte-Carlo, with Rauno Aaltonen and Henry Liddon in the #177 car. For Timo Makinen and Paul Easter it wasn't a good event, they finished in the 41st place.
In August, he captured his third consecutive win at 1000 Lakes Rally. The event was remembered by his drive at the famous Ouninpohja stage with the car's bonnet open. He tried to put his head out of the side window but his helmet was too big. The only solution was to drive sideways to see the road ahead. With such a driving, he was third fastest on that stage and ultimately won the rally.
1968 - the last season with Mini
The season 1968 was a year to forget because Makinen retired in the most of the rallies he participated. It was the last season for BMC factory team and Mini Cooper S. At the end of the year, he participated in RAC Rally with Ford Escort Twin Cam, not finishing the race.
In 1969, Makinen was driving four different cars – BMW 2002 Ti at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Ford Escort Twin Cam at Circuit of Ireland, Saab V4 at 1000 Lakes Rally(4th place) and Lancia Fulvia HF in several events, including RAC Rally.
Ford's factory driver since 1970
In 1970, Makinen joined Ford as a full-time driver, winning the Finnish championship title with Ford Escort Twin Cam. In the International Championship for Manufacturers, his best result was 7th place at Rally Monte-Carlo. He also participated in the intercontinental London - Mexico World Cup Rally, finishing fifth.
In 1971, the Ford Escort RS 1600 Mk I came and it was a car which Makinen was driving during three seasons. The most notable result was second place at 1000 Lakes Rally in 1972, behind Simo Lampinen in Saab.
Two wins in the inaugural World Rally Championship
In 1973, the World Rally Championship was constituted, for manufacturers only, not for drivers. After finishing 11th at Rallye Monte Carlo with Ford and retiring at East African Safari Rally with Peugeot 504 Ti, Makinen clinched his maiden WRC victory at 1000 Lakes Rally, together with Henry Liddon in a Ford Escort RS 1600. It was his fourth win in the event.
At the end of the season, he added RAC Rally win to his account, helping Ford to finish third in the championship. In the same year, Makinen also won one more Finnish championship title.
Two more wins at RAC Rally
In 1974, he was combining Ford and Peugeot again. After several podiums in international events, the greatest result came in November at RAC Rally, where he and Henry Liddon were the winners for the second year in a row.
The third consecutive wins at RAC Rally for Makinen and Liddon followed in November 1975. This time, their car was Ford Escort RS 1800 MkII. It was Makinen's only win in 1975 and his last WRC victory.
African WRC podium with Peugeot
The season 1976 was Makinen's last with Ford. He scored no wins in WRC events, only in a couple of African events (Rally South Africa and Rallye du Bandama). In 1977, Makinen was driving mostly a Fiat Abarth 131. He had no success in the WRC, finishing best in 11th place at RAC Rally.
In 1978, Makinen managed to score his final WRC podium in a career. At Rallye Bandama Cote d'Ivoire, he was second in a factory-entered Peugeot 504 V6 Coupe, navigated by Jean Todt. The winner was Jean-Pierre Nicolas in another Peugeot.
Makinen scored WRC points in 1980
In 1979, Makinen had three unsuccessful WRC attempts, retiring with Peugeot in two African events and not finishing the race in Finland, where he was driving Toyota Celica 2000 GT. The season 1979 was the first year of the WRC for drivers but Makinen scored no points to be classified.
In 1980, he was among WRC points scorers two times. He was sixth at RAC Rally with Rothmans Rally Team's Ford Escort RS 1800 MkII and tenth at Acropolis Rally with factory-entered Peugeot 504 V6 Coupe. Other two cars he was driving in WRC events were BMW 320i and Triumph TR7 V8.
Makinen closed his world rally career in 1981
The season 1980 was the last full season for Makinen. In 1981, he participated only at Safari Rally with Peugeot 504 V6 Coupe, not finishing the race. He appeared on rally stages one more time, in 1983, driving Ford Escort at Arctic Rally in Finland.
In January 1994, he made a brief return to WRC as a part of Mini's celebration of the 30th anniversary of their 1964 Monte Carlo victory. He and Paul Easter came to Monte Carlo with #101 Rover Mini Cooper, retiring on the second stage.
And no, he had no family relations with Tommi Mäkinen, the 4-time world rally champion.