ETC Drivers 1984    
Jean Louis Schlesser

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Jean Louis Schelesser.

Age: 31
DoB: 02-10-1952
Born: Paris

Motor racing has always formed an important part of Jean-Louis's life, as his uncle was Jo Schlesser, the French Grand Prix driver.
Jean-Louis was just 13 when his uncle wa-s killed at the wheel of a Honda F1 car in 1966.

Jean-Louis's own racing career began ten years ago when he graduated as top pupil from a racing school and won a single-seater for his trouble. After a few years learning the ropes, it all came good in 1978 when he became the French Formula 3 champion.

This success was followed up with good showings in 1980 when he wound up fourth in the French production saloon car championship; the following year he reverted to single-seaters and finished the season sixth overall in the prestigious European Formula 3 championship. In 1982 he moved further up the ladder finishing third in the French Formula 2 championship.

Jean-Louis's prowess in single-seaters led him to the small French circuit of Croix-en-Ternois in the winter of 1982 for a test with the Williams Grand Prix team. Of those present trying their hands at the wheel of a pukka Fl car, Jean-Louis was comfortably the quickest.
His first taste of Fl racing came last year, not at the wheel of a Williams, but of a RAM-March at the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. In the company of drivers like Keke Rosberg, Rene Arnoux and Danny Sullivan, Jean-Louis acquitted himself well to finish sixth.

The Race of Champions proved to be one of the highlights of an otherwise poor year.
With his jewellery business taking up more of his time - he has a shop on the fashionable Champs Elysees - Schlesser concentrated on the French Saloon Car Championship in a BP-backed BMW 323i.
Although pitched against much bigger and more powerful cars, 'Schless' put the little car on pole twice, led four races and took six fastest laps.
Sadly, there were no wins, unreliability dogging the team effort.

Something of an all-round sportsman Jean-Louis also enjoys cycling, tennis, flying, shooting and chess.

His only other outing last year came at the Macau Grand Prix - held this year for Formula 3 cars - which saw Schlesser finish sixth.

Macau is a round the houses street race, and the most famous street race for F3 cars - the Monaco GP supporter - is another race that features high on Jean-Louis's list of favourites.
He has recorded one second and one third in this toughest of F3 races.


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© rwp Jan. 2003