SPA 1000 KM
Henri Pescarolo gives a signature to my brother Luc and his friend José De Boes
The son of a leading French surgeon, Pescarolo was himself a medical student before motor racing got on the way of his studies and he was carried forward on the flood tide of French motor racing nationalism with Matra and Jean-Pierre Beltoise during the mid-1960s.
French Formula 3 Champion in 1966, he soon moved up into Formula 1, but his long-term career prospects were very nearly jeopardized when he suffered unpleasant facial burns while testing a Matra sports car at Le Mans in the spring of 1969. He returned to the cockpit to win the Formula 2 class of that year's German Grand Prix and was promoted to the Matra Formula 1 team the following year alongside Beltoise, the highlight of his efforts being a strong third place at Monaco.
He switched to Frank Williams' team in 1971, finishing fourth in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone with the British entrant's March 711, but after a disappointing second season with Frank's operation then dropped out of Formula 1 until 1974. He then returned as part of the uncompetitive Motul BRM squad before having another year out before one final try with a rented Surtees TS19 in 1976, again with little success. Formal and rather distant, Pescarolo never achieved the level of success in Formula 1 that his earlier single seater successes hinted at. However, he was a top line sports car driver and scored a hat trick of Le Mans victories for Matra in 1972 (sharing with Graham Hill) and in 1973 and 74 (sharing with Gerard Larrousse).