PEOPLE: HENRI JULIEN

Name: Henri Julien
Nationality: France

In the late 1940s Henri Julien ran a small garage in the sleepy Provence town of Gonfaron but in his spare time he built a racing car powered by a 500cc Simca engine. The car was called the JH1 and he raced it himself in 1950 and in the course of the next 10 years he built and raced a variety of self-built cars powered by BMW and Panhard engines. In 1960 he gave up and bought an Alpine Formula 3 car but he was not competitive and in 1965 gave up racing. The arrival of the new Formula France in 1968 opened up new possibilities, however, and in 1969 he and his assistant Christian Vanderpleyn built cars for Gerard Cerruti and Francois Rabbione. Neither scored points but the JH5 in 1970 was better and Cerruti finished third at Pau with Rabbione fourth. In 1971 the series became known as Formule Renault and Julien built a JH6 which was raced to good effect by Francois Guerre-Berthelot and in the years that followed Julien was kept busy with a string of developments in both Formula renault and Formula 3. In 1977 Richard Dallest gave Julien his best result in Formula Renault with four second places and fourth in the Formule Super Renault series. Julien decided to move up to Formula 2 car with Dallest in 1978 and in 1980 the combination won two European Championship races at Pau and at Zandvoort. Dallest stayed on in 1981 but for the 1982 season the team hired two new rising stars called Philippe Streiff and Pascal Fabre to race the JH19s and both drivers scored podium finishes, Streiff finishing sixth in the championship with two second places. In 1983, despite losing its long-term sponsorship deals from Motul and GPA helmets, the team ran Streiff to fourth place in the European Championship. Streiff stayed with the team in 1984, finding money from Gitanes, Elf and Blanchet Locatop and he finally won his first F2 victory in the very last round of the European F2 Championship at Brands Hatch that autumn.

Julien's ambition remained F1 and in 1986 the team decided acquired an old Renault F1 chassis and rebuilt it as the AGS-Motori Moderni JH21C, this made its first appearance at the Italian GP with Ivan Capelli driving. The car was revised that winter and fitted with a Ford Cosworth engine and renamed as the JH22 and with backing from clothing firm Charro the team hired Fabre to drive. At the end of the year Fabre was replaced by Roberto Moreno and it was the Brazilian who scored AGS's first World Championship point with sixth place in Adelaide. The team was struggling for sponsorship in 1988 but Streiff returned to the team and there were some good showings with the JH23. In August that year however Vanderpleyn, his assistant Michel Costa and team manager Frederic Dhainaut all left to join Coloni. Joachim Winkelhock was signed to partner Streiff thanks to his Liqui Moly sponsorship. The car was promising but Streiff haad a bad accident while testing in Rio de Janeiro and was left paralysed. Julien decided to sell the team to French businessman Cyril de Rouvre.

The team eventually went out of business but the cars were retained and used for a Formula 1 racing school at the Circuit du Luc and in 2000, after the business was acquired by Jean-Claude Hrubon and Marcel Schoonmann, Julien was named President d'Honneur of the AGS Formule 1 company.

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