Guy Ligier, the racer

05. Jun 2024 
by Ziv Knoll

Guy Ligier (12 July 1930 – 23 August 2015) was a French racing driver and team owner. He maintained many varied and successful careers over the course of his life, including rugby player, racing driver and Formula One team owner.

The son of a farmer, Ligier was orphaned at 7 years of age. He left school in his mid-teens and went to work as a butcher’s assistant in his home town of Vichy. 

Athletic and competitive, he became a French rowing champion in 1947. He also had a passion for rugby and was good enough to play for the French Army during National Service earning a place on the French national B team. His rugby career was cut short due to injuries.

By 1964, Ligier was racing Porsche sportscars starting with a 356 and then a 904 Carrera GTS in which he placed 7th with Robert Buchet at the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans. That same year Ford France signed Ligier to drive one of two Formula 2 Brabham BT6 cars (picture-below). These were year-old models, but one would be replaced by a newer Brabham BT10 during the season. Ligier’s teammate was Jo Schlesser, they become great friends. Ligier finished fifth in his debut at Enna-Pergusa. So at the relatively late age of 34 Ligier began his “real” career as a driver.

Ligier broke into Formula One as a privateer entering his own Cooper-Maserati T81 in the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix. In five starts with this car he either ran unclassified or out of the points. That year he and Schlesser also joined forces to become the exclusive importer of Ford-Shelby products to France.

In total, Guy Ligier participated in thirteen Grand Prix Formula 1 races, getting one point in the drivers’ world championship with an eighth-place finish in the German Grand Prix in 1966 due to the two finishers in front of him being F2 cars, and so ineligible for F1 points.

Source: DR

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