On Sunday, 26 January 1975, Carlos Pace won his home Brazilian Grand Prix at the old and daunting 7.96 km Interlagos race track.
Pace qualified his Gordon Murray-penned Brabham BT44-B in sixth, with Jean Pierre Jarier putting his Shadow DN5 on pole, with another Brazilian hero, Emerson Fittipaldi, second on the grid in the McLaren M23.
On race day, the start was postponed as marshals cleared debris thrown by the fired-up and expectant crowd.
Race lap highlights notes from the 1975 Brazilian Grand Prix:
- 1st Lap: Reutemann leads ahead of Jarier. Pace is third ahead of Regazzoni, Lauda, Scheckter, Fittipaldi, Depailler, Watson and Ickx. Peterson stops at the Lotus pit to adjust his carburation.
- 4th: Jarier is on the wing of Reutemann but does not find a gap. Pace follows them within seconds, containing the Ferraris.
- 5th: Jarier attacks Reutemann and finally manages to take the lead.
- 8th: The rhythm of Jarier’s Shadow is impressive. The Frenchman is more than five seconds ahead of Reutemann, Pace behind his teammate and a group made up of Regazzoni, Lauda, Scheckter, Fittipaldi and Depailler.
- 10th: Jarier sets the fastest lap. He is nearly ten seconds ahead of Reutemannchased closely by Pace, Regazzoni, Lauda, Scheckter, Fittipaldi and Depailler. Mass reeling in this group.
- 13th: While Jarier prances in the lead, Pace begins to get impatient behind Reutemann whose tyres are badly worn out.
- 14th: Pace overtakes Reutemann without resistance from his Brabham teammate.
- 15th: Jarier is over 20-seconds ahead of Pace. Reutemann is under pressure from Regazzoni.
- 24th: Jarier is twenty-seven seconds ahead of Pace. Mass gets past Lauda then Reutemann.
- 25th: Jarier waves to his pit as he passes the timing line. A problem with his Shadow? Reutemann, Lauda and Depailler fight for sixth place.
- 27th: Jarier’s lead over Pace has fallen to thirteen seconds. Regazzoni resists the onslaught of Fittipaldi. The Swiss driver enduring handling problems. Lauda finally passes Reutemann.
- 30th: Jarier is only ten seconds ahead of Pace. Fittipaldi is about fifteen seconds away, followed by Regazzoni, Mass, Depailler, Lauda, Reutemann, Hunt and Andretti.
- 33rd: Jarier slows due to power loss. The fuel-distributing system seized up. The Shadow has cried enough. Suddenly, Pace finds himself in the lead to the delight of the Brazilians. Further on, Mass overtook Regazzoni whose handling problems were not getting better.
- 35th: Fans in the stands are ecstatic: two Brazilians lead the race! Pace counting five seconds ahead of Fittipaldi. Mass third about 40- seconds ahead of Regazzoni, Lauda and Hunt. Andretti is seventh ahead of Ickx, Reutemann and Watson.
- 37th: All is well for Pace who is heading for his first success. His teammate Reutemann is very fast thanks to his new tires and threatens Ickx.
- 40th and final lap: Carlos Pace crossed the finish line to a thunderous cheer, claiming his first career win at home in São Paulo. Fittipaldi finished second and thus ensured a superb Brazilian double. Mass is third and with this finally scored his first points in F1.
The famous ’75 Pace-Fittipaldi one-two for Brazil paved the way for the likes of Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna
After the race, overjoyed Brazilian fans invaded the track. Pace was pulled out of his Brabham and carried in triumph to the podium. Once there, he brandished a huge Brazilian flag to the delight of the Paulistas.
As for Fittipaldi, he was satisfied with second in this unique (at the time) Brazilian 0ne-two on home soil, especially since his teammate Jochen Mass celebrated third on the podium with him.
Tragically, almost 25-years-ago on 18 March 1977 at the age of 32, Carlos Pace was killed in a light aircraft crash, that famous Sunday at Interlagos remains his only Grand Prix win in a career that included 72 F1 starts.
Since his passing, Brazilian Grand Prix organisers named Interlagos to Autódromo José Carlos Pace in honour of the Sao Paulo homeboy who is buried in the city’s Cemitério do Araçá.