Didier Pironi

Didier Pironi

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Didier Pironi

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Didier Joseph-Lovis Pironi (26 March 1952 – 23 August 1987) was a racing driver from France. During his career he competed in 72 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, driving for Tyrrell (1978–79), Ligier (1980) and Ferrari (1981–1982). He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1978 driving a Renault Alpine A442B.


Pironi was born in Villecresnes, Val-de-Marne.

Initially Pironi began studying as an engineer, but this fell by the wayside following his enrollment at the Paul Ricard driving school. He was awarded the Pilot Elf sponsorship bursary in 1972, with the French national oil company funding his early career, mostly in Renault-powered vehicles. Benefiting from this same Elf sponsorship, to promote young French motorsport talent, that bequeathed the likes of Patrick Tambay and Alain Prost to Formula One, Didier Pironi made his top-flight debut on January 15, 1978. This was with Ken Tyrrell's team which, despite being British, had a strong working relationship with Elf, dating back to the late 1960s. In the same year, Pironi was part of the massive Renault squad tasked with winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Partnering Jean-Pierre Jaussaud in the team's second car, the unusual "bubble roof" A442B, he won the race by four laps from the rival Porsche 936s.

Two seasons with the underfinanced Tyrrell team demonstrated enough promise for Guy Ligier to sign Pironi to his rather erratic eponymous French team in 1980, a season in which...
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