DRIVERS: JEAN-PIERRE JABOUILLE
Name: Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Date of birth: October 1, 1942 - Paris
Jean-Pierre Jabouille studied modern art at the Sorbonne for a brief period and was a relatively late starter in the sport, not doing his first race until he was 22. That was the famous Mont Dore hillclimb and Jabouille was at the wheel of his own Alpine road car. Convinced that he had potential he entered the new Renault 8 Gordini series in 1966 and also ran a Mini-Marcos in 1000km races in Paris and at Monza. Those cars were prepared by Jabouille himself and his friend Jacques Laffite.
Deciding to move into single-seaters Jabouille bought a Formula 3 Brabham and, having landed some sponsorship, began to make an impression. In 1968 he moved on to an ex-factory Matra F3 car and in 1969 was taken on by the Alpine-Renault team for F3. In the years that followed he represented Matra in F2 and sportscars. When Matra quit competition at the end of 1974 Jabouille and another longtime racing friend, Jean-Claude Guenard, got hold of an Alpine A367 Formula 2 car and reworked it. They landed backing from Elf and in 1976 Jabouille took one of the Elf 2J chassis to victory in the European F2 Championship.
He had made his F1 debut in 1975 with an Elf-funded outing for Tyrrell at the French Grand Prix but after his F2 title he was drafted into the Renault F1 team to develop the new turbo engine. It was a long job but eventually, in the summer of 1979, Jabouille broke through and gave Renault its first F1 win at the French GP at Dijon-Prenois. The elegant Frenchman scored another victory in Austria in 1980 but by then he had been eclipsed by his faster team mate Rene Arnoux, who benefited from Jabouille's set-up skills. He was on the way out at Renault at the end of the year and signed a deal to join Ligier. But then in Canada at the end of the year he suffered a badly broken leg in an accident in his Renault. He drove for Ligier in a few races at the start of 1981 but by the midseason it was clear that he was no longer competitive.
He moved into a management role for a period before drifting away to run a restaurant in Paris and race for Peugeot in the French Touring Car Championship. He developed a strong relationship with the company and was a member of the Peugeot sportscar team at Le Mans in 1992 and 1993 before retiring as a driver to take on the role of Peugeot Sport boss, replacing Jean Todt.
He headed the company's F1 programme until January 1996 when he was dumped after two poor seasons. He established his own sportscar team with Jean-Michel Bouresche in 1997 and ran Ferrari sportscars with some success. He then switched to run Philippe Alliot's Force One Racing team. He continues to race in sports cars.