Friday 25th May 1979
Amédée Gordini (79), Italian-born race car driver and sports car manufacturer in France, died. Gordini set up his business preparing Simca engines in Suresnes near Paris. His first successes came that year with victory in Bol díOr at Saint-Germain and this was followed by many other class victories including the Index of Performance at Le Mans in 1938 and 1939. In September 1945 Gordini became the first man to win a post-war event at the Robert Benoist Cup and began building his own racing cars . He won the 1946 Grand Prix de Marseille and the Simca-Gordini team was successful with Jean-Pierre Wimille as its driver. Then Wimille was killed at the 1949 Argentine Grand Prix and Gordini struggled to keep up with his former countrymen in the new Formula 1 scene. For 1952 he built new engines for the World Championship and Jean Behra scored Simca-Gordini’s most famous victory at Reims. After Simca withdrew its support in 1956, Renault stepped in requiring copetition version of the Dauphine, the R8 and Alpine’s Le Mans racers, buying up the Gordini company at the end of 1968. Many of Gordini’s young engineers went on to play important roles in the Renault F1 program.