Torsten Palm is a Swedish former racing and rally driver (or co-driver) who recorded two entries in the Formula 1 World Championship in 1975 but was more successful in Formula 3, winning two national championship titles in 1970 and 1971.
Rally navigator and rally driver early in a career
Born in July 1947 in Kristinehamn in Värmland county, Torsten followed the footsteps of his older brother Gunnar (born 1937), who was a successful rally co-driver, working during his career with some of the greatest drivers such were Rauno Aaltonen, Erik Carlsson or Hannu Mikkola.
Torsten himself served as a navigator to some great drivers - Stig Blomqvist, Simo Lampinen or Bengt Soderstrom, between 1965 and 1971. He also competed as a driver in several rally events, driving a Saab Monte Carlo 850, Saab 96 or Datsun 1600.
Torsten Palm (left) and Stig Blomqvist
Two-time Swedish F3 champion in 1970 and 1971
After a brief rally career, Torsten switched to open-wheel racing in 1969, participating in Formula 3 races in Swedish championship and non-championship events, driving a Brabham BT21B (Ford). He finished second in the Swedish F3 Championship, behind future F1 star Ronnie Peterson.
In 1970, driving a Brabham BT28, Palm triumphed in the Swedish F3 Championship for the first time. Next year, he repeated a triumph in the same car. He also raced in the British Formula 3 but without any success. In 1972, Palm was the Swedish F3 vice-champion again. This time, he lost a title to Connie Andersson.
Torsten Palm was a Formula 3 champion with his own team
Driving for Team Surtees in Formula 2
In 1973, Palm made a step up into the European Formula 2 Championship, driving a Surtees TS15 (Ford) for Team Surtees. The highlight of the season was the second place in the Swedish round at Karlskoga, behind Jean-Pierre Jarier, who eventually became a champion. In that race, Palm set the record lap time at Karlskoga which had never been beaten.
Palm spent one more season in Formula 2, driving a GRD-BMW for Pierre Robert's team. He finished 16th in the points.
Torsten Palm in 1975
Two attempts, one start in Formula One
In May 1975, Torsten Palm made a Formula One debut. Sponsored by Polar Caravans, he entered the Monaco Grand Prix in the #25 Hesketh 308-Cosworth. He was among nine drivers who failed to qualify for the race.
A month later, in June, he came to Scandinavian Raceway at Anderstorp with the same car to participate in the Swedish Grand Prix. In front of the home crowd, he was the 21st-fastest qualifier in the #32 Hesketh. His race ended after 78 laps when he left out of fuel, being classified in 10th place.
Torsten Palm in the #32 Hesketh at 1975 Swedish Grand Prix
Retiring from racing in 1976, returning to rallying in the 1990s
Torsten Palm spent one more season in open-wheel racing, participating in F3 races in Great Britain and then retiring from racing. In the 1990s, he returned to rallying, driving a Lancia Delta Integrale in Swedish Rally, a round of the World Rally Championship, between 1992 and 1994. His last rally attempt was in 1996 in Bergslags national rally in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Palm ran a car dealership, selling Ferraris among other cars.