After creating Halls of Fame for its Formula 1 and Rally World Championships, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) has now added an endurance racing section at its Paris headquarters. Twenty-nine champions were inducted at a special ceremony on Monday evening (December 2). It was organised in association with Michelin, a long-time major player in the discipline.
In 2017, 33 Formula 1 drivers were inducted into the FIA’s first Hall of Fame. In January of this year, they were joined by 17 WRC champions and, last night, 29 endurance racing stars were added to the list.
“Endurance racing has always had a special place in motorsport, as well as in my heart,” said the FIA president and former Peugeot Sport team boss Jean Todt. “The Sportscar World Championship for Drivers was created in 1981. There was a short period when it wasn’t organised, but its future looks particularly bright today.”
After a short video covering the discipline in the 1980s, the FIA Endurance Commission’s president Richard Mille handed the first of the night’s special awards to Bob Garretson, the sport’s inaugural world champion. “Back then, we were amateurs – we just went out to race and did the best we could,” he recalled.
The American was followed onto the stage by Hans-Joachim Stuck, Raul Boesel, Martin Brundle and Mauro Baldi, then by Yannick Dalmas and Derek Warwick who shared the 1992 title driving a Peugeot 905/Michelin.
Next up were the two-time champions, beginning with Jacky Ickx who paid tribute to the mechanics, engineers and all those who work in the shadows, without whom champions would never be champions. Derek Bell and the 1989 champ Jean-Louis Schlesser – winner of nine races for Sauber-Mercedes/Michelin – were then presented with their awards.
Last to receive his award was Fernando Alonso who became the first driver to be inducted into two different FIA Halls of Fame (F1 and endurance racing). “I have always been a fan of endurance racing and Le Mans. Kazuki, Sébastien and Toyota helped me to make a dream come true.”
Michelin won 24 races and four titles during the years the Sportscar World Championship was organised and has so far picked up 61 victories and 14 titles in the FIA WEC, not to mention its 28 Le Mans wins.