Olivier Gendebien  Belgium

  • Full name Olivier Gendebien
  • Birth date January 12, 1924
  • Birthplace Brussels, Belgium
  • Date of death October 2, 1998 (74 years 263 days)
  • Place of death Tarascon, France
  • Teams Cooper, Emeryson, Ferrari, Team Lotus
driver portrait
World Championship Career
Year Car Race Start Won Pod Class Best Pole Front Best Lap Hat Pts Pos
1956 Ferrari 2 2 0 0 1 5 0 0 10 0 0 2 23
1958 Ferrari 3 3 0 0 1 6 0 0 5 0 0 0 -
1959 Ferrari 2 2 0 0 2 4 0 0 6 0 0 3 15
1960 Cooper 5 5 0 2 5 2 0 0 4 0 0 10 6
1961 Emeryson, Ferrari, Team Lotus 3 2 0 0 2 4 0 1 3 0 0 3 14
Total 15 14 0 2 11 2 0 1 3 0 0 18
Race Circuit Date
First race Argentine Grand Prix Buenos Aires January 22, 1956 Race results
Last race United States Grand Prix Watkins Glen October 8, 1961 Race results
Profile

Olivier Gendebien had a brief F1 career, a brace of seconds for Cooper in 1960 his best return from 15 races spread over six years. But as a young man he fought with the Belgian resistance movement and also served in the British army. He was working in forestry in the Belgian Congo when he met a rally driver and took up racing. He worked with Ferrari, mainly as a spare driver, and was widely liked, even by the irascible Enzo Ferrari who described him as "a gentleman who never forgets that noblesse oblige and, when he is at the wheel, he translates this code of behaviour into an elegant and discerning forcefulness." In 1958, partnered by future world champion Phil Hill, he won the Le Mans 24-Hour, a feat he repeated in 1960, 1961 and 1962 (in 1960 alongside Paul Frère) all in Ferraris. He also won many other prestigious events such as the Targa Florio and 12 Hours of Sebring three times each. Independently wealthy and with a young family, he quit after his fourth win at Le Mans, aware of the high mortality rate in the sport.

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September 11, 1959

Enzo Ferrari chats with Belgian driver Olivier Gendebien ahead of practice

     

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