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Lucien Bianchi

March 30 1969. During a practice session at Le Mans Lucien Bianchi, loses control of his Autodelta Alfa Romeo prototype on the Mulsanne Straight, hits a telegraph pole disintegrating the car in a blaze of fire. Lucien Bianchi was killed instantly.

Lucien Bianchi was born on the 10th of November 1934 in Italy (Milano). His father, a technician at Alfa Romeo's experimental facilities moved to Belgium in 1950 to take care of the racing cars of Johnny Claes. Thanks to his patronage the young Lucien got an excellent mechanical training at the Jaguar, Mercedes and Alfa factories. His racing career starts in 1952 with Jacques Herzet asking Bianchi, who didn't have a driving license at that time, to form a team driving a Jaguar. The amateur team did well and moved to a two liter Ferrari the next year. Bianchi now 18 got to learn to drive rally's and showed a natural talent which got noticed by Olivier Gendebien, one of the fastest rally drivers at the time. With Ferrari factory backing they won several international events and Luciens talent started to shine. With Olivier Gendebiens patronage Lucien got more factory drives and started participating not only in more rally's, but also in track events.

With Lucien winning more and more road events (a record of four times Tour de France winner) his reputation got stronger and he became Belgian rally champion and was internationally acclaimed as one of the best rally drivers in the world.

While most of Belgium was looking at the young Jacky Ickx, F2 European champion in 1967, Luciens track successes didn't get the exposure they deserved. After an attempt at the 500 miles of Indianapolis (Lucien was the 4th Belgian driver to pass the rookie test) which he couldn't follow through because he had to go of and win the 1000 kms ot the Nurburgring Lucien returned to F1 for the 1968 season.

1968 was his best season. With a modest Cooper-BRM he came in third at the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, with a Ford GT 40 he won Watkins Glenn and finally Le Mans and in rallying only a strange road accident 160 kms before the finish prevented him from winning the greatest rally of all times: the London Sydney Marathon. Lucien Bianchi could do it all: single seater racing, sports car racing and rally driving. Great things were expected for the 1969 season when the fatal testing accident at Le Mans halted the career of one of most gifted drivers of his generation.

Asked about what made him such a successful all round driver Lucien Bianchi commented in his book "Mes Rallyes" (Flammarion - 1969) that he learned everything with his eyes watching other drivers like Olivier Gendebien at the wheel. He has no preferences for single seaters, sportscars or production cars. He doesn't care if they are front or rear wheel drive and calls his driving style adaptive. Adapting the cars behavior to the road and making it go as fast as possible means choosing between forcing the car round corners in four wheel drifts in rally's or calculated fingertip contro on the track.

The images on this page are from the Lucien Bianchi collection. The story of Lucien Bianchi in the 1968 London Sydney Marathon can be found right here in the virtual garage.

Bianchi, Lucien (B) 10/11/1934 - 30/3/1969
1952 Coupe des Alpes (13) - Jaguar
Tour de France (3/class) - Jaguar
 
1953 Coupe des Alpes (3 - 1/class) - Ferrari
Liège Rome Liège (3 - 1/class) - Ferrari
Tulip Rally (4/class) - Jaguar
Travermunde Rally (DNF) - Ferrari
Tour de France (5 - 2/class) - Ferrari
Lisbon Rally (10 - 3/class) - Ferrari
Second in the European Rally championship
 
1954 Liège Rome Liège (DNF)
Tour De France (DNF)
 
1955
Liege-Rome-Liege (3) - Lancia  
1956 Grand Prix du Fore (5) - Jaguar E type  
1957
Le Mans (7 - 1/class) - Ferrari TR
Tour de France winner - Ferrari GT
Goodwood Trophy (5) - Ferrari TR
 
1958
Grand Prix de Spa (5) - Ferrari TR
Tour de France winner - Ferrari GT
Coupe du Salon winner - Ferrari GT
Le Mans (DNF)
 
1959 Le Mans (DNF) - Ferrari
Reims F2 (8) - Cooper
Grand Prix Zeltweg (4) - Cooper
Alger - Le Cap rally (2) - Citroën ID 19
Tour de France winner - Ferrari GT
Grand Prix Pau F2 (3) - Cooper
1000 kms Nurburgring (2 GT class) - Ferrari GT
 
1960 Grand Prix Spa/Europe (6) - Cooper
Le Mans (DNF) - Ferrari
1000 kms Nurburgring (2 GT class) - Ferrari
Coupe du Salon F2 (2) - Cooper
1000 kms Paris winner - Ferrari (with Olivier Gendebien)
Grand Prix South Africa (4) - Cooper
Grand Prix des frontières Chimay (3) - Cooper
 
1961 Le Mans (DNF) - Ferrari GTO
Liège Sofia Liège rally winner - Citroën DS 19
Alger - Centre Afrique (4) - Citroën
Tour de Corse rally (2) - Citroën DS 19
Tour de France (2) - Ferrari GTO
1000 kms Paris (2) - Ferrari
Grand Prix Brussels (4)
 
1962 Sebring 12Hrs winner - Ferrari
Angola GP for sportscars winner - Ferrari
1000 kms Paris (5) - Ferrari
Tour de France (7) - Ferrari
Coupe de Spa winner - Sunbeam
Grand Prix Brussels (2) - Cooper
Le Mans (DNF)
2 F1 GP (Equipe N.Belge), 9th Belgium, 16th Germany
 
1963 Le Mans (DNF) - Aston Martin
Monte Carlo rally (4) - Citroën DS 19
Liège Sofia Liège (3) - Citroën DS 19
Criterium des Cevennes (4) - Citroën DS 19
Grand Prix Angola (2) - Ferrari GTO
Grand Prix Monza (3) - Aston Martin
Rally Routes du Nord winner - Citroën DS 19
Coupe de Spa winner - Alfa Romeo
Tour de France (2) - Ferrari GTO
Retired from F1 Belgian GP (Parnell).
2nd in F2 at Zandvoort
 
1964 1000 kms Nurburgring (4) - Ferrari
Le Mans (5) - Ferrari
Lyon Charbonnières rally winner - Citroën DS 19
Tour de France winner - Ferrari GTO
Daytona 12Hrs (2) - Ferrari GTO
Grand Prix Zolder winner - Ferrari LM
Francorchamps 24Hrs (4 - class winner) - Alfa Romeo
Spa Sofia Liège (11) - Citroën DS 19
Grand Prix Zolder F2 (2) - Lotus Ford
Grand Prix Angola (2) - Ferrari
1000 kms Paris (5) - Ferrari
Grand Prix Reims F3 (2) - Alpine
Tour de Belgique (2) - Ferrari
Belgium Rally Championship winner
 
1965 Monte Carlo (23 - accident) - Citroën DS 19
Neige et Glace class winner - Citroën DS 19
Targa Florio class winner - Alfa Romeo
Le Mans (DNF) - Ferrari
Lyon Charbonnières rally (2 - class winner) - Alfa Romeo
East African Safari (5) - Citroën DS 19
500 kms Nurburgring winner - Alpine
Tour de Corse (6 class winner) - Alfa Romeo GTA
Cévennes rally (6 class winner) - Alfa Romeo GTA
Catalognes rally (4 class winner) - Alfa Romeo
12th Belgian F1 GP (Scuderia Centro Sud/BRM)
 
1966 Routes du Nord (3) - Citroën DS 21
Neige et Glace (3) - Citroën DS 21
1000 kms Nurburgring class winner - Alfa Romeo
Le Mans (DNF) - Ford
Geneva rally (5) - Citroën DS 21
Coupe des Alpes class winner - Citroën DS 21
Mont Blanc rally class winner - Alpine
Coupe du Salon (2) - Alfa Romeo GTA
Cévennes rally (3) - Alfa Romeo GTA
1000 kms Spa (3) - Ferrari P3
 
1967 1000 kms Nurburgring (4 - class winner) - Porsche 910
Le Mans (DNF) - Ford
East African Safari (7) - Ford Cortina
Mont Blanc rally (2 - class winner) - Alpine
Daytona 24Hrs (7) - Ford
Coupe de Spa (4) - Alfa Romeo GTA
Mugello (DNF) - Alfa Romeo 33
Brands Hatch 500 miles (DNF) - Porsche 907
Nurburgring 6Hrs winner - Alfa Romeo GTA
 
1968 F1 GP Monaco (3) - Cooper/BRM
F1 GP Belgium (6) - Cooper/BRM
F1 GP Canada (7) - Cooper/BRM
F1 GP USA (7) - Cooper/BRM
F1 GP Holland (DNF) - Cooper/BRM
F1 GP Germany (DNF) - Cooper/BRM
F1 GP Mexico (DNF) - Cooper/BRM
Daytona 24Hrs (6) - Alfa Romeo 33
Watkins Glenn 500 miles winner - Ford GT 40
1000 kms Nurburgring (7) - Alfa Romeo 33
Targa Florio (3) - Alfa Romeo 33
Mugello winner - Alfa Romeo 33
Le Mans winner - Gord GT 40
Geneva rally (2 - class winner) - Alfa Romeo GTA
Coupe des Alpes (3 - class winner) - Alfa Romeo 1750
Tour de Corse (3 - class winner) - Alfa Romeo GTA
24Hrs Francorchamps class winner - Alfa Romeo 1750
London Sydney Marathon (DNF accident) - Citroën DS 21
 

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