Jacky Ickx, the gentleman driver
Nicknamed "Mr. Le Mans" on account of his victories at the prestigious competition. He excelled for thirty years in the world of motor racing.
Born on 1 January 1945, the young Jacky came a long way, having dreamed of becoming a gardener despite the fact his father was a car journalist and part-time racing driver, and his younger brother was a pilot. And then, one day, he hopped on a motorbike... and zap, he was hooked by the thrill of speed! That's where it all started!
Jacky Ickx started competing in 1963, and took part in the Motoring Tour de France. He was only 18 at the time. 1969 was a turning point in the Belgian's career. On 15 June, the 24-year-old driver became a legend by winning the 37th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hour race. He started his race by walking to his car, while all the other drivers rushed to theirs. He put on his safety harness and set off. A life-saving act, as during this race, 37-year-old English driver John Woolfe lost control of his car at more than 220km/h and was fatally thrown from his car. However, the race continued and was Jacky Ickx's first major victory. His actions made history, since in 1970 the drivers started the competition without running to their cars.
Jacky Ickx also made an impact in Formula 1, becoming two-time vice world champion in 1969 and 1970. He won eight Grand Prix between 1968 and 1972, in France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Austria and the Netherlands among others.
Double world champion in endurance racing with Porsche in 1982 and 1983, Jacky Ickx also holds the record for the number of victories in long-distance events, with more than fifty to his name. From the mid-1980s, he started to take part in off-road competitions. In 1983, he won the Paris-Dakar edition alongside French actor Claude Brasseur.