Not bad for a pay-driver

27. May 2021 
by Ziv Knoll

Héctor Rebaque is a former racing driver from Mexico. The son of a Mexico City wealthy car dealer, Héctor Rebaque arrived in Europe having just won an IMSA race.

With his father’s pesos, he paid to make his Grand Prix debut with Hesketh in 1977. Missing valuable racing experience, he was not fast enough, and only qualified once.

During his four-year spell in Formula 1, Rebaque campaigned as a privateer in 1978 and 79, running his own team and fielding a Lotus 78 chassis bought from Colin Chapman.

Funding from state-owned oil company Pemex then bought the Mexican a seat at Brabham, alongside Nelson Piquet, for two years. 1981 was definitely his best year. Hector’s best result was a trio of fourth-place finishes in his final year of Grand Prix racing.

It could have been even better. At the 1981 Argentine Grand Prix, the Brabham BT49 was flying. Gordon Murray the famous designer, had fitted a revolutionary type of sliding skirts to the side pods of the car that generated a huge amount of downforce.

Nelson Piquet took pole at more than 200 km/h average speed and Rebaque claimed 6th spot, his best career performance, albeit 1.435 sec from the talented Brazilian.

In the race, dominated from start to finish by the Brazilian, Rebaque was the sensation. In 7th position on Lap 1, the Mexican passed Arnoux (Renault) on the 2nd lap, then Patrese (Arrows) on the 3rd, then Jones (Williams) on the 6th, Prost (Renault) on the 11th and Reutemann (Williams) on lap 15.

He was now in second position, far behind Piquet, but a sensational podium was possible. Not bad for a pay-driver. Sadly, his race ended on lap 33 when his Brabham stopped functioning because of electrical problems (picture below).

That day, he drove very well indeed, it was the race of his life.


Source: DR

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