DRIVERS: BERTRAND GACHOT
Name: Bertrand Gachot
Date of birth: December 23, 1962 - Luxembourg
The son of a French European Commission official, Gachot was born in Luxembourg. He started racing karts at the age of 15. He attended the famous Winfield School in France in 1983 but was beaten to the Volant Elf that year by Eric Bernard. He decided, however, to drop out of university in 1984 to race Formula Ford 1600 and did well, finishing third in the Formula Ford Festival at the end of the year. In 1985 he teamed up with Keith Wiggins's Pacific Racing in British FF1600 and the combination won the RAC title in 1985 and the British Formula Ford 2000 title in 1986.
In 1987 Gachot moved to the British F3 Championship driving for the highly-successful West Surrey Racing team and finished runner-up to Johnny Herbert. He then moved to Formula 3000 with Spirit Racing but money ran out and it was not until Gachot found backing from eccentric Belgian millionaire Jean-Pierre Van Rossem that his career was relaunched as a driver of the new Onyx Formula 1 team in 1989. He was dropped by the team in the autumn after Van Rossem objected to remarks he had made in the Belgian press which were considered to be detrimental to the team. After several months in the wilderness he returned to F1 in 1990 with the Subaru Coloni team. This was a complete disaster but Gachot talked his way into a drive with the new Jordan team in 1991. He showed well and recorded several points finishes and that summer won the Le Mans 24 Hours, sharing a Mazda with Johnny Herbert and Volker Weidler.
The previous winter he had been involved in a traffic incident with a London taxi driver which ended with Gachot spraying the man with a CS gas canister which he had in the car. The device was illegal in Britain and when he came to court in August 1991 he was sent to jail for six months. His Jordan drive went to Michael Schumacher and Gachot's career went into free fall.
After his release Gachot tried to rebuild his F1 career with the Larrousse team but the cars were not competitive and his only result was sixth at Monaco in 1992. Out of F1 in 1993 he raced in a few touring car events and had a one-off CART race with Dick Simon Racing in Toronto.
In 1994 he returned to F1 as driver and part-owner of Pacific Racing but the team was underfunded and achieved little. Gachot faded from motor racing completely after an abortive attempt to run a Ssangyong sportscar in the Le Mans 24 Hours and ended up selling a high-energy drink callled Hype and running an F1 website.