Andre de Cortanze

Andre de Cortanze has been working in motorsport since he graduated in 1967 with an engineering degree from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquees in Lyons. Mad about racing, he joined Jean Redele's Automobiles Alpine in Dieppe, Normandy, and began to design racing cars. His first big success was the Alpine A364 Formula 3 car which was fitted with Bernard Dudot's Renault F3 engines and enjoyed success in the hands of rising stars Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Patrick Depailler. Alpine supplied de Cortanze-designed chassis to Elf for Formula 2 and one of these won the 1976 European F2 title with Jabouille at the wheel. That same year he designed a prototype F1 chassis, fitted with a turbocharged Renault engine. The Alpine A500 did considerable mileage as part of the Renault test program but after Alpine was merged with Renault-Gordini to form Renault Sport at the end of 1976 de Cortanze was put in charge of development for the Alpine-Renault sportscar program. In 1978 Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi won the Le Mans 24 Hours in one of de Cortanze's chassis.In the early 1980s he moved across to become the first technical director of Peugeot Talbot Sport - under Jean Todt - and masterminded the company's victories in rallying, rally raids and then sportscars - including two more Le Mans 24 Hours victories - before moving to Sauber in September 1993 to head the team's F1 program. This lasted until the end of 1995 when he moved to the old Ligier F1 team. A year in the politically-complicated team - which ultimately became Prost Grand Prix - was enough and in January 1997 de Cortanze became technical director of Team Toyota Europe with the aim being to lead a third Le Mans 24 Hours assault followed by the creation of a Formula 1 team. He was named Toyota Motorsport's F1 project leader at the start of 2000, but left in May 2001. He moved on to become technical director of the Pescarolo sports car team.