Guillaume Gauthier

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Guillaume Gauthier (Born 6th January 1956 in Toulon, Var, France) is a former French racing driver and owner of Equipe Gauthier. Gauthier was considered one of the best drivers of his generation during the 1980s, winning the Formula One World Championship in 1986.

Early Life and Career

Guillaume was born in 1956 in Toulon to Pierre and Gabrielle Gauthier. Pierre was briefly an amateur racing driver in the years before World War II, and fought in the French Resistance during it. After the war, he settled down and opened a successful chain of garages which eventually covered most of southern France, and which is still in operation today by Guillaume's older brother Robert.

In this position, much of Guillaume's pre-school days were surrounded by cars, and naturally he had a fascination with them that would shape his life. At first however, he wished to work on cars, like his father, not race them. That changed on his father's 50th birthday, when the family travelled to Monaco to watch the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix. After watching the race, Guillaume was certain: He wanted to be a Formula 1 driver. His brother, Robert was equally convinced and the two began working hard to ensure their dreams would come true. Eventually the pair earned enough to buy a kart; they would participate infrequently until the end of Guillaume's school days, with mixed success for both brothers.

After leaving school at the age of 18 in 1974 with mostly average grades, Guillaume's father proposed a deal to Guillaume and Robert. He was looking to advertise his garage business, and so offered to buy them a competitive kart, and free use of his tools, on the condition that they service it themselves and purchase all necessary parts themselves. The only question left was who would drive. Guillaume and Robert took turns setting times around the local go-kart track, until Robert spun off on his third lap. Pierre decided at that point that Robert's driving style was too wild and declared that Guillaume would be the driver and Robert the mechanic - which was fortunate because Robert happened to be better than Guillaume at servicing cars anyway.

Very quickly upon joining the French karting scene proper, Guillaume found himself one of the chief protagonists there. Indeed, by the end of 1975, he was second only to Alain Prost. Pierre was more than happy to finance Guillaume's rise to Formula Renault for 1976, after his results had been matched with a marked increase in the business that Pierre's garages were doing. The 1976 French Formula Renault title was bitterly fought, with Prost only just beating Gauthier by 7 wins to 6. Prost then moved on to Formula Renault Europe for 1977, whereas Guillaume remained, allowing himself to win every race in French Formula Renault that year.

Guillaume then moved up to French Formula 3 for 1978, where he would again clash with his rival, Alain Prost. This time, Guillaume was determined to prevail, and did so, winning 5 races.

Formula 1

1986: Williams

Gauthier won the 1986 Formula One Driver's Championship.

1987-1989: Lotus

In 1987, Gauthier chose to defend his title at the Camel Team Lotus Honda team alongside British driver Derek Warwick. In a season plagued by poor reliability, Gauthier managed only a solitary win at the Monaco Grand Prix.

He trailed his teammate by a single point over the course of the season and finished in fifth place overall, with Lotus third in the constructor standings.

Gauthier and Warwick both remained at Lotus for a second year, this time running Ford engines in the new 100 chassis. The car was an abject failure, with both drivers only managing to score a single point each in 1988.

A third engine supplier in as many years for Lotus saw the British team feature an all-French lineup, with Minardi refugee Frederic-Maxime Voeckler joining Gauthier in the Renault-engined 101 chassis in 1989. This season was far kinder to him, taking two podium finishes with a third in Monaco and a second place in the Lotus 1-2 behind Voeckler in Portugal. However, the results were not all that they seemed - in many races Gauthier had failed to capitalise on a front row or second row start and threw away victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix by spinning from the lead of the race.

1990: Arrows

Having had a fairly frustrating time at Lotus, 1990 saw Gauthier make the jump to the newly amalgamated Benetton Arrows organisation alongside British driver Chris Dagnall. Gauthier took pole in the second race of the season in Brazil - but squandered the win away in the opening two laps. Things did not improve for Gauthier at the Pacific Grand Prix, as a spin during the race saw him come home in only 7th position. Gauthier took his first podium of the season with a third place in Canada behind Dagnall and Berger.

Gauthier had a second pole position one race later in Mexico, but would retire after a collision with the lapped Thierry Boutsen, meaning once again he could not convert pole position into a result.

Gauthier continued his run of performing well on Saturday and underperforming on race day for much of the middle of the season - retiring from a commanding lead in the French Grand Prix and crashing out of fourth after a collision with Pierluigi Martini's lapped Minardi at the British Grand Prix - causing an accident where several spectators and a marshal were injured by flying debris. However, Gauthier finally was able to break the near-three and a half year drought in race wins when he emphatically took victory in the German Grand Prix after defending from McLaren's Gerhard Berger and Alessandro Nannini for the latter part of the race. This would prove to be his final win as he opted to retire from F1 at the end of the season.

WTCM

Prior to the start of the 1989 season, Gauthier took part in the World Touring Car Masters race weekend at Watkins Glen driving a Ford Sierra RS500 for defending champions Kaliber Industrial Control Services Racing - replacing injured team owner Andy Rouse.

This result encouraged the Frenchman and he accepted a further invitation for the Tooheys 1000, driving a Sierra RS500 for Aegis Motorsport alongside New Zealander Paul Radisich. The pair finished the race in fifth overall.

Gauthier returned to the Mountain in 1990 with the Alan Moffat Enterprises Ford team alongside former Grand Prix star Gianfranco Brancatelli.

Personal Life

Guillaume is the father of engineer and former Equipe Gauthier Technical Director Arnaud Gauthier and grandfather of AutoReject World Series driver Aimée Gauthier.

After Gauthier's World Championship win and subsequent win drought, Gauthier began to suffer from severe depression which impacted his confidence during the later years of his Formula One career - causing him to retire from Grand Prix racing in 1991. This depression would continue to impact Gauthier in his later career as a team owner - and would contribute to the collapse of Equipe Gauthier in late 2018.


Complete Formula 1 Results

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
1987 Camel Team Lotus Honda Lotus 99T Honda RA166E 1.5 V6t AUS
Ret
SMR
2
BEL
8
MON
1
CAN
2
DET
Ret
FRA
5
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
4
YUG
3
ITA
3
POR
Ret
EUR
Ret
JPN
Ret
MEX
Ret
5th 34
1988 Camel Team Lotus Lotus 100 Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5 V8 BRA
10
SMR
15
MON
Ret
MEX
Ret
CAN
10
DET
12
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
12
HUN
14
YUG
17
SOV
Ret
ITA
6
BEL
Ret
JPN
13
AUS
12
19th 1
1989 Camel Team Lotus Lotus 101 Renault RS1 3.5 V10 BRA
Ret
SMR
14†
MON
3
FRA
4
USA
Ret
CAN
Ret
GBR
6
GER
Ret
HUN
4
SOV
Ret
POR
2
ITA
Ret
BEL
8
JPN
Ret
AUS
8†
MEX
8
10th 17
1990 Benetton Arrows Grand Prix International Arrows A13 Ford HBA4 3.5 V8 USA
4
BRA
4
PAC
7
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
3
MEX
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
1
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
2
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
7th 25

Complete WTCM Results

Year Team Car Class WDC Pts Class Pts
1989 Flag of Japan svg.png Flag of the United States svg.png Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 svg.png Flag of France svg.png Flag of the Czech Republic svg.png Flag of Italy svg.png Flag of France svg.png Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Flag of Belgium svg.png Flag of Germany svg.png Flag of Australia svg.png 40th 28 19th 38
E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E
Kaliber Industrial Control Services Racing Ford Sierra RS500 A GLN
Ret
GLN
16
Aegis Motorsport BAT
5
1990 Alan Moffat Enterprises Ford Sierra RS500 A Flag of Japan svg.png Flag of the United States svg.png Flag of Nigeria svg.png Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Flag of France svg.png Flag of the Czech Republic svg.png Flag of Italy svg.png Flag of France svg.png Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Flag of Belgium svg.png Flag of Germany svg.png Flag of Australia svg.png N/A 0 35th 3
E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E S E
BAT
Ret