DRIVERS: JACQUES SWATERS
Name: Jacques Swaters
Date of birth: October 30, 1926 - Brussels
Swaters was a law student when he bought a pre-war MG with his best friend Charles de Tornaco. This was entered in the Spa 24 Hours for Swaters and another pal called Paul Frere. They finished fourth in class but Swaters had caught the racing bug and so he established a team called Ecurie Belgique and ran assorted pre-war machinery for an ever-widening group of friends, including Roger Laurent and Andre Pilette.
In 1950 the team had enough cash to buy a Talbot-Lago Grand Prix car which they planned to enter in international events. At that point the Royal Automobile Club de Belgique decided that the name of the team was not acceptable and so it became Ecurie Francorchamps. While this was happening Swaters was also in the process of setting up a garage in Brussels which took on the name Garage Francorchamps. Pilette crashed the Talbot at the Dutch Grand Prix in 1951 and so Swaters took over the repaired car. They needed a new car and so Swaters purchased a Formula 2 Ferrari 500 from Gianni Agnelli, thus beginning a relationship with Ferrari which would continue for more than 50 years.
In the years that followed the team ran the Ferrari and Swaters won the Formula 2 race at AVUS. That year Ferrari asked Swaters to be their representative at the Brussels Salon and then he became the Ferrari distributor for the Benelux area. The team also enjoyed success with a Jaguar C-Type in sports car events and finished fourth at Le Mans and third in the Reims 12 Hours with Laurent. Swaters then concentrated on sports cars, taking the team's D-Type to third place at Le Mans with Johnny Claes in 1955.
That same year he and Claes set up Ecurie Nationale Belge at the behest of Shell Belgium. To begin with ENB ran the old Ferrari but then moved on to Cooper-Climax F2 cars and in 1961 a pair of Emeryson-Maseratis. These were not much use and the team switched to Lotus 18s but later reworked the Emerysons and named them ENBs. The team disappeared when these failed to be competitive.
Ecurie Francorchamps continued, however, entering cars in races all over the world right through until the end of the 1970s and became one of the most respected Ferrari privateer organizations alongside Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team (NART).
Swaters himself retired as a driver in 1957 to concentrate on his business which he sold a few years ago to the Inchcape Group.