Friday 20th October 1978
Racer Gunnar Nilsson died exactly one month short of the age of 30. Nilsson was a works-driver for March in the 1976 Formula 2 championship and came into Formula 1 in mid-season as the result of a swap involving countryman Ronnie Peterson leaving Lotus and joining the March F1 team. Nilsson filled the vacant seat at Lotus and scored 11 points that year with impressive third places in Spain and Austria. The following year, his first full season in F1, the young Swede overtook Niki Lauda at to score his first Grand Prix win. But what could have been a terrific season ended with shocking news: Gunnar was diagnosed with cancer. His deal with the new Arrows team for 1978 never came to fruition as his condition worsened quickly. One of the last things he did was to set up the Gunnar Nilsson Cancer Research fund.