Today in Racing: 17 May

Carlos Reutemann’s 1981 Belgian Grand Prix win was marred by two pitlane incidents involving pit crew.

The first proved fatal after Reutemann collided with Osella mechanic Giovanni Amadeo, who stumbled into the path of the Williams in Friday practice. Amadeo suffered a fractured skull and later died from his injuries. Drivers and teams protested pitlane dangers before the race, after which Arrows mechanic Dave Luckett broke a leg in a startline incident. Reutemann went on to win from Nelson Piquet’s Brabham and Didier Pironi’s Ferrari.


Also in Belgium in 1987, Alain Prost beat McLaren TAG Porsche MP4/3 teammate Stefan Johansson and Andrea de Cesaris’ Brabham BMW to equal Jackie Stewart’s all-time record with his 27th Grand Prix victory. Five years later it was Nigel Mansell who steered his Williams-Renault to his 26th Grand Prix win in a San Marino 1-2 over teammate Riccardo Patrese and Ayrton Senna’s McLaren Honda.

Looking back in time, JG Parry Thomas’ Thomas Special Leyland won the 1925 Montlhéry Match des Bolides, Janine Jennky won the 1928 Coupe des 4 Heures de Bourgogne at Dijon in a Bugatti 35C, Czaykowski’s Bugatti the 1931 GP de Casablanca in Morocco and Rudolf Caracciola’s Mercedes-Benz W25K the 1936 GP de Tunisie at Carthage.

More recently in Australia, Frank Matich and his Brabham Climax took 1964 Tasman honours at Catalina Park and Niel Allen’s McLaren M10B Chevrolet won both 1970 Surfers Paradise races.

In sportscar racing, Mike Parkes Ferrari 250 GTO won at Spa in ’64, Brian Redman and Jo Siffert’s Porsche 917 the 1970 Spa 1000 and Emmanuel Collard and Vincenzo Sospiri’s Ferrari 333SP at Brno ‘98, while Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas won the 2008 US Utah Grand Prix in a Porsche RS Spyder.

1996 Indy 500 qualifying was marred when veteran Scott Brayton (40) took pole position, only to became the 40th driver to perish at Indianapolis when a tyre deflated to cause him to crash.