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50 years of motorsport from the « Belgian Gentlemen Drivers » to the ’90s…
After the Second World War, a few young people from wealthy families, smitten with speed and thrills, decided to devote themselves to motorsport. Their names were André Pilette, Jacques Swaters, Charles de Tornaco, John Claes, Roger Laurent, Paul Frère… Their objective: to race at the highest level.



For example, later on, in ’51, Swaters created the Francorchamps Racing Stable (Ecurie Francorchamps) and Claes created the Belgian Racing Stable (Ecurie Belge).



There were no sponsors for these pioneers. They had to pay for everything themselves – cars, fuel, spare parts, mechanics, travel, registration fees… And there were very few, if any, rules… Also, women were not excluded! Some of them were successful, such as Thirion, Beckers and Fontaine.



They ended up being dubbed “Belgian Gentlemen Drivers”…like their English counterparts. After them, many other Belgian pilotes were known worlwide such as Olivier Gendebien, Jacky Ickx, Willy Mairesse, Jean « Beurlys » Blaton, Lucien Bianchi, Pierre Dieudonné, Thierry Boutsen, Willy Braillard, Marc Duez, Bertrand Gachot, Georges Hacquin, Jean-Michel Martin…



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