5th of December –Today is Jordi Gené’s birthday and although the Spaniard didn’t make it into an F1 grid, he was one of the drivers Jean-Pierre Mosnier had in mind for his Formula 1 team. The plan was to establish a Spanish Grand Prix team with Adrian Campos as team manager and to enter two Nick Wirth designed chassis, formerly known as Andrea Moda S921. Do you remember the name Mosnier had in mind for the team before he passed away?
Jordi Gene has competed in various categories with lots of success like touring cars, endurance racing, Trucks, Singleseaters and motorbikes. He became the youngest Spanish champion when, at 15 years of age, he won the Spanish Formula Fiat championship. When he was 17 he moved to the UK for five years racing against drivers like Rubens Barrichello David Coulthard, Olivier Panis, Jacques Villeneuve. He proved to be a front runner in every category he took part and came very close to F-1 when he was hired as a test driver for Benetton. Contrary to his brother Marc, who raced in F-1 for Minardi and BMW-Williams, as well as being Ferrari’s test driver for a couple of years, Jordi didn’t actually make it to the grid of a Grand Prix. Today the Spaniard is a front runner in the WTCC.
Downing, always a privateer, was best placed British driver on the grid for the 1951 British GP with Connaught A-type 2-litre Formula 2 car. Only the three factory Ferraris of Farina, Ascari and Taruffi and Manzon’s Gordini were in front of him. A goofy backmarker cost him a better result than ninth in the race. He retired from the Dutch GP, his only other appearance GP. But his allegiance to the Connaught marque continued for most of his career, both in sports cars and single seaters.
Born: 5th of December 1917 in Chesterton, UK
Died: 3rd of May 2004 in South Africa aged 87.