Perhaps appropriately – given today is the Monaco Grand Prix – former Grand Prix driver Pierre-Henri Raphanel is celebrating his 51st birthday today.
So why is it appropriate? Well, Pierre-Henri remains the only driver in the sport’s history to make his one and only Grand Prix start on the streets of the Principality!
Born in Algeria, the Frenchman achieved this feat for the little Coloni team, which also marked the only time in its history that it managed to get both of its cars on the grid at the same race.
It certainly wasn’t for want of trying that Pierre-Henri only made the starting grid once. He appeared at 17 Grands Prix between 1988-9 for the likes of Larrousse, Coloni and Rial, failing to qualify for all but one of the races.
Thereafter, Pierre-Henri worked as a factory driver for Toyota in the Japanese Touring Car Championship and the Japanese GT Championship, and of late has been involved as a test driver for the Bugatti Veyron.
In 2010, he broke the land speed record for a production car, taking the 1,200bhp Bugatti Veyron Super Sport to over 430km/h at Volkswagen’s official high-speed test circuit.
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