The last man to ever take a Grand Prix win for BRM  – Jean-Pierre Beltoise – is turning 73 today!

Having forged a successful career in motorcycles – indeed, he won no less than eleven national titles in the space of three years – this son pf a Parisian butcher’s four-wheeled motorsport career almost ended as soon as it began, courtesy of a massive shunt at the Reims12-hour race that badly broke his arm and restricted its movement ever since.

Jean-Pierre Beltoise

Having recovered, he moved to the F3 scene, and won at the scene of his tragedy in 1965 for Matra, with whom he graduated to F2, winning the German Grand Prix support race.

By 1968, he was duly rewarded with a full-time drive for Matra, who entrusted him with their own V12-engined machine. The highlight of his first full season was a brilliant drive to second place at the Dutch Grand Prix, doing enough to get himself noticed and promoted to Tyrrell in 1969, as Jackie Stewart’s number-two, while Matra stepped away to further develop their V12.

He supported Stewart’s title ambitions well, and finished runner-up to the Scot at Clermont Ferrand.

The Matra V12 returned for 1970, and Beltoise went back to the French squad, finishing on the podium at Spa and Monza. Victory, however, continued to elude him, as it would again in 1971.

Jean-Pierre Beltoise

For 1972, he was lured to BRM with the attraction of the role as lead driver. The team was now its terminal decline, but Beltoise finally notched up his single F1 victory – and the last for the team itself – in the monsoonal Monaco GP. It was a truly great wet-weather drive, acknowledged as one of the best seen on the streets of the Principality. Even Jacky Ickx – the wet-weather maestro – finished over a minute adrift of the Frenchman, and was ont of the first to congratulate JPB on hios achievement.

Beltoise would never win an official F1 championship race again, and suffered the indignity of BRM’s rapid freefall from grace, retiring at the end of 1974.

[Images via The Cahier Archive]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.