Thursday 12th December 1946
Born on this day, Emerson Fittipaldi, Brazil’s first Formula One World Champion who won the title twice, in 1972 with Lotus and 1974 with McLaren. A long string of disappointing seasons in his own car pretty much forced him into retirement to concentrate on running the Fittipaldi F1 team he owned with his brother Wilson. When the outfit went out of business, Emerson made a comeback in US racing in 1984 and repeated what he had done before for generations of Brazilian talents. After opening the gates to Europe for youngsters, Emerson encouraged the new crop of Brazilian racers to follow him to US, winning the Indy 500 twice as well as the CART Championship. He retired from racing after a serious crash during the 1996 US 500 in Michigan.