Jo Siffert

Joseph Siffert was the son of a Swiss motor trader from the town of Fribourg in central Switzerland. As a child he gained the nickname "Seppi" and it stuck with him throughout his career which began as a motorcycle racer in the late 1950s.

Siffert switched to four wheeled racing in a Formula Junior Stanguellini and in 1962 joined the Formula 1 circus as a private entrant with a Lotus-Climax. He later moved on to drive for Scuderia Filipinetti before joining Rob Walker in 1964. The relationship which developed was a strong one and Siffert continued to drive for Walker until the end of 1969 by which time he had earned his place in the history books by winning the 1968 British Grand Prix in Walkerís 49B at Brands Hatch, holding off Chris Amonís Ferrari for most of the afternoon.

In 1968 he was a Porsche factory sports car driver and won the Daytona 24 Hours and the Sebring 12 Hour races in Porsche 907s, 908s and 917s. He would help Porsche to win two sportscar titles in 1969 and 1970 and won most of the major sportscar events except the Le Mans 24 Hours.

In 1970 Porsche bankrolled a drive for him in the March Formula 1 team because they did not want him to move to Ferrari in sports car racing. That year he won a Formula 2 race for BMW at Rouen but the F1 programme was a disaster and in 1971 he joined his sportscar colleague Pedro Rodriguez at BRM. That year he won his second Formula 1 victory in Austria but at the end of the season he was racing his BRM in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch when the car went out of control at the back of the circuit and crashed heavily. Siffert perished in the flames. He was 35.