The former F1 driver and team owner Guy Ligier has died aged 85. He was a rugby player and competed in the sport before running the Ligier team between 1976-1996.
The Frenchman started his motoracing career on motorbikes before moving to cars and started in Elva-DKW known as Formula One Junior. He worked his way up to complete in 12 grand prix’s. But he retired following the death h of close friend Jo Schlesser in 1968 having a major impact and resulting in early retirement from driving.
He then moved into sports car manufacturing before buying Matra in 1974 before a return to F1 with the team two years later.
The team reached their peak in the late 1970s and 1980s, with a competitive peak in 1980, when they were regular front-runners. During their time in the sport they claimed nine poles and nine wins, along with 11 fastest laps.
Best constructors’ championship finish of second in 1980. The last win was with Olivier Panis in the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.
The team was sold to Cyril de Rouvre, but used Ligier name until he sold it on to Alain Prost four years later, the four-time champion renaming the team Prost Grand Prix.
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said: “It was with great sadness that I heard the news that Guy Ligier had passed away. As a child growing up in Le Mans, I was inspired and entranced by his iconic and beautiful pale-blue-and-white Ligier Formula 1 cars.”