Former Grand Prix driver Franck Lagorce will be celebrating his 43rd birthday today!
One of many promising prospects who shot through the junior ranks – only to find no permanent vacancy in Formula 1 – he showed that he was a fine talent in the lower formulae who didn’t get a fair crack at the top flight.
This quiet Frenchman started racing in 1987 and finished runner-up in the 1990 French Formula Renault championship. He moved into the national Formula 3 championship with Dallara-Opel, and won the title in 1992.
He moved to Formula 3000 in 1993 as Olivier Panis’ number-two driver in the all-conquering DAMS squad. While Panis romped to the title, Lagorce didn’t disgrace himself, winning races at Magny Cours and Nogaro to finish in a tie for fourth with Gil de Ferran.
His success saw him promoted to the role of Ligier’s reserve driver in 1994, and he plied his trade with another season in Formula 3000 – this time with the Apomatox team – and he took two further wins, only to let the championship slip from his grasp.
Lagorce was given his F1 break with two outings with Ligier at the end of the 1994 season, crashing out at Suzuka and finishing eleventh at Adelaide. No further race opportunities would come his way, and he quit the sidelines after two more years as a test driver with Ligier and Forti.
He went on to carve out a career in sports cars, and now races alongside his old team-mate Panis in the French ice-racing scene.
[Image via F1 A.D.]