Automobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives

Automobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives (also known as AGS and Gonfaron Sports Cars) was a small French racecar constructor that competed in various racing categories over a period of thirty years, including Formula One from 1986 to 1991.

AGS survived as a prosperous Formula One driving school, in Le Luc, near Gonfaron.[1]

AGS
Ags logo (F1)
Full nameAutomobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives
BaseGonfaron, France
Founder(s)Henri Julien
Noted staffCyril de Rouvre
Patrizio Cantù
Hughes de Chaunac
Gabriele Raffanelli
Christian Vanderpleyn
Noted driversItaly Ivan Capelli
France Pascal Fabre
Brazil Roberto Moreno
France Philippe Streiff
Germany Joachim Winkelhock
Italy Gabriele Tarquini
France Yannick Dalmas
Sweden Stefan Johansson
Italy Fabrizio Barbazza
France Olivier Grouillard
Formula One World Championship career
First entry1986 Italian Grand Prix
Races entered80
EnginesMotori Moderni, Cosworth
Constructors'
Championships
0
Drivers'
Championships
0
Race victories0 (best finish: 6th, 1987 Australian Grand Prix and 1989 Mexican Grand Prix)
Pole positions0 (best grid position: 10th, 1988 Canadian Grand Prix)
Fastest laps0
Final entry1991 Spanish Grand Prix

Foundation

The team was founded by the French mechanic, Henri Julien, who ran a filling station, the "Garage de l'Avenir", in Gonfaron, a provincial French village.[2] In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Julien regularly attended racing events in minor classes. Although not an outstanding driver, the technical knowledge he gained eventually prompted him to start constructing racing cars.

First car

Julien's first car, the AGS JH1, saw the light of day in 1969. It was a petite monoposto, dedicated to the "Formule France". The car was designed by Julien's former apprentice, the Belgian mechanic Christian Vanderpleyn, who had been with the garage (and the racing team) since the very late 1950s and who would stay on until 1988. Soon, AGS went ahead and produced its own Formula 3 cars which were ambitious but not good enough to compete seriously with the state-of-art Martinis which dominated that series in the 1970s.

Formula 2

AGS took another step ahead in 1978 when the team started competing in the European Formula 2 Championship. Still, the car - by now the AGS JH15 - was self-penned (by Vanderpleyn), self-built and self-run. Formula 2 was a difficult task for the small team, racing 1978 and 1979 without scoring any championship points. The early 1980s were somewhat better. AGS was one of the few teams who ran its own cars (Maurer, Minardi and Merzario were the others), and eventually the team was able to score points regularly. Soon some victories came, too. AGS made history when works driver Philippe Streiff won the final race of Formula 2 in 1984, using an AGS JH19C.

Formula 3000

In 1985, AGS switched to Formula 3000 with the JH20, based on the Duqueine VG4 Formula 3 chassis.[3] The JH20 used a Cosworth DFV engine supplied through the Swiss tuning firm Mader.[3] Results were mediocre in 1985 and 1986.

Formula One

Beginnings

By late summer 1986, AGS entered the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, its very first Formula One race. Its structure was somewhat bizarre: The team had no more than 7 employees and was still operated from the Garage de l'Avenir in Gonfaron.

AGS appeared with a car that was once again penned by Vanderpleyn. The JH21C was a strange mixture between former AGS F3000 vehicles and Renault F1 parts which were used extensively. The car was powered by a well-used Motori Moderni turbo engine (the only time these Carlo Chiti-developed engines were given to a customer team) and driven by Italian Ivan Capelli.[3] A few weeks before, the car had been tested at Paul Ricard by Didier Pironi, driving an F1 car for the first time since his leg-breaking accident in the 1982 German Grand Prix. Due to technical difficulties, neither in its first attempt nor in the following race in Portugal did Capelli see the finish.

For the team's first full F1 season in 1987, Vanderpleyn penned the JH22, which used a normally-aspirated Cosworth DFZ but was otherwise much the same as the JH21C.[3] The car was initially driven by Pascal Fabre, who had driven for the team in Formula 2 in 1982. He proved to be a reliable driver, finishing eight of the first nine races, but was never in serious contention for scoring points and failed to qualify on three occasions. AGS improved in the last two races of the season when Fabre was replaced by the Brazilian Roberto Moreno (who saw his first chance in Formula One since 1982 when he had failed to qualify a Lotus works car). In Adelaide, Moreno scored the first championship point for AGS,[3] which meant that the team finished the season equal on points with the better-financed Ligier and the returning March team.

Takeover

Philippe Streiff AGS JH23 2018 Japanese Grand Prix (43814923310)
The AGS JH23 in a demonstration run at the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix.

In 1988, AGS started with a new car, the JH23,[3] and Philippe Streiff as the team's only driver. Streiff drove quite powerfully and qualified well, but he saw the chequered flag only four times; in all the other events of that year technical failures or accidents were recorded. Financially, the year started well and ended with a disaster. AGS had a solid sponsor - the French Bouygues group - which promised to support not only the racing activity but also the completion of a new factory outside Gonfaron. After AGS had started work on the new facility, Bouygues withdraw from the team, leaving Julien without any support. To save the team, he eventually had to sell it to Cyril de Rouvre, a French entrepreneur with various ambitions.

Difficulties

Things went soon from bad to worse. The new team management changed frequently (Vanderpleyn for instance went to Coloni) and brought a lot of disorder. Worse was to come; Streiff was paralysed in a testing accident in Brazil before the 1989 season.

He was replaced with Gabriele Tarquini, who surprised with some great performances in the first half of the season. He was very close to the points in both the 1989 Monaco Grand Prix and 1989 United States Grand Prix, but retired in both races. Then things went better in the 1989 Mexican Grand Prix, where he finished sixth and scored his first point. But after these highlights, the team was never able to be as competitive again.

In the second part of the 1989 season, the team had to prequalify - a task that was nearly never achieved by Gabriele Tarquini and Yannick Dalmas. AGS then finished 15th in the Constructors' Championship, equal with the Lolas used by the Larrousse team. During the summer months, there were strong rumours that AGS would soon use a new W12 engine developed by the French designer Guy Nègre. This strange MGN (Moteurs Guy Nègre) machine saw the light of day in late 1988 and was tested in an old AGS JH22 chassis in the summer of 1989. It was clear that AGS was not related to these tests; they were completely private attempts by Nègre. The engine never found its way to a Grand Prix but it was announced to be used in a 1990 Le Mans car called Norma M6. The car was presented and attempted to race, but failed to qualify over engine issues.

Finally, AGS had to use Cosworth engines again in 1990. That year brought no improvement at all, Dalmas's 9th in the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix was the best result and by the beginning of the 1991 season the team was obviously close to its end. The team lacked money. (At the first Grand Prix of 1991 in Phoenix the team didn't even have the money to buy lunch, and the staff had to pay for it out of their own pocket.). In the race itself, Tarquini finished 8th, which was the last finish ever of an AGS car. De Rouvre sold his team to some Italian entrepreneurs, Patrizio Cantù and Gabriele Raffanelli. Both changed little except for the driver line-up (Stefan Johansson was replaced with newcomer Fabrizio Barbazza) and the colours of the car (which were now blue, red and yellow instead of white). A new car, the JH27, was raced in the early autumn, but by then the team was in rags again, so the Italians closed the doors after the 1991 Spanish Grand Prix.

Complete Formula One results

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Points WCC
1986 JH21C Motori Moderni 615–90 1.5 V6 t P BRA ESP SMR MON BEL CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN AUT ITA POR MEX AUS 0 NC
Italy Ivan Capelli Ret Ret
1987 JH22 Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5 V8 G BRA SMR BEL MON DET FRA GBR GER HUN AUT ITA POR ESP MEX JPN AUS 1 12th
France Pascal Fabre 12 13 10 13 12 9 9 Ret 13 NC DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ
Brazil Roberto Moreno Ret 6
1988 JH23 Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5 V8 G BRA SMR MON MEX CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 NC
France Philippe Streiff Ret 10 Ret 12 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 10 Ret 9 Ret 8 11
1989 JH23B
JH24
Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8 G BRA SMR MON MEX USA CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 1 15th
France Philippe Streiff WD
Italy Gabriele Tarquini 8 Ret 6 7 Ret Ret DNQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
West Germany Joachim Winkelhock DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
France Yannick Dalmas DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
1990 JH24
JH25
Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8 G USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 NC
Italy Gabriele Tarquini DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNQ Ret DNPQ 13 DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ Ret
France Yannick Dalmas DNPQ Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ 17 DNPQ DNQ DNQ DNQ NC Ret 9 DNQ DNQ
1991 JH25B
JH27
Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8 G USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 NC
Italy Gabriele Tarquini 8 Ret DNQ Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
France Olivier Grouillard DNPQ
Sweden Stefan Johansson DNQ DNQ
Italy Fabrizio Barbazza DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ

References

  1. ^ "The history of the Team F1 AGS Formule 1". Agsformule1.com. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  2. ^ As of 2011, it remains in existence.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hodges, David (1990). A-Z of Formula Racing Cars. Bideford, UK: Bay View Books. p. 279. ISBN 1870979168.

External links

1985 European Formula 3000 Championship

The 1985 European Formula 3000 Championship was the inaugural season of the Formula 3000 category. The European Formula 3000 Championship replaced Formula Two as the official feeder series to Formula One. It was scheduled over 12 rounds and contested over 11 rounds. 14 different teams tried their luck with 33 different drivers and 7 different chassis. The series was won by the German Christian Danner driving for BS Automotive.Danner, who was laying second in the championship at the time, would graduate to Formula One when he made his Grand Prix debut for the German Zakspeed team at the 1985 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on 15 September, a week before he won the final round of the F3000 championship at Donington Park to clinch the title from Mike Thackwell.

Danner had the dubious honour of being the first in a long line of Formula 3000 champions who would fail to make an impact on Formula One, despite the championship being seen as the highest level FIA single seater championship behind Grand Prix racing. Only future champions Jean Alesi, Olivier Panis and Juan Pablo Montoya would actually go on to win a Formula One Grand Prix.

1985 Pau Grand Prix

The 1985 Pau Grand Prix was a Formula Two motor race held on 27 May 1985 at the Pau circuit, in Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France.

1988 Formula One World Championship

The 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 42nd season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1988 Formula One World Championship for Drivers and the 1988 Formula One World Championship for Constructors, which were contested concurrently over a sixteen-race series that commenced on 3 April and ended on 13 November. The World Championship for Drivers was won by Ayrton Senna, and the World Championship for Constructors by McLaren-Honda. Senna and McLaren teammate Alain Prost won fifteen of the sixteen races between them; the only race neither driver won was the Italian Grand Prix, where Ferrari's Gerhard Berger took an emotional victory four weeks after the death of team founder Enzo Ferrari. McLaren's win tally has only been bettered or equalled in seasons with more than sixteen races; their Constructors' Championship tally of 199 points, more than three times that of any other constructor, was also a record until 2002.

1989 Formula One World Championship

The 1989 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 43rd season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1989 Formula One World Championship for Drivers and the 1989 Formula One World Championship for Constructors, which were contested concurrently over a sixteen-race series that commenced on 26 March and ended on 5 November. Alain Prost won his third Drivers' Championship, and McLaren won the Constructors' Championship.The Drivers' Championship was decided in controversial circumstances at the penultimate race of the season in Japan, when Prost and teammate Ayrton Senna, who needed to win the race, collided in the closing laps. Prost retired while Senna rejoined the track after a push start and crossed the line first, only to be disqualified for not rejoining the track correctly. This handed Prost the title, his last with McLaren before joining Ferrari for 1990.The season also saw an unprecedented amount of entries with 21 constructors originally entered, fielding a total of 40 cars. However FIRST Racing withdrew from the championship before the opening race, leaving 20 constructors fielding a total of 39 cars, which remains the highest entry in the modern era.

1990 Formula One World Championship

The 1990 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 44th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1990 Formula One World Championship for Drivers and the 1990 Formula One World Championship for Constructors, which were contested concurrently over a sixteen-race series that commenced on 11 March and ended on 4 November. Ayrton Senna won in controversial circumstances the Drivers' Championship for the second time, and McLaren-Honda won their third consecutive Constructors' Championship.

The championship featured a dramatic battle between Senna and former teammate Alain Prost, who had made the switch to Ferrari. Prost mounted Ferrari's first title challenge for several years, and led the championship after three consecutive mid-season wins. Senna fought back strongly and went into the penultimate round at the Suzuka circuit in Japan with a nine-point lead over Prost. There, Senna took pole position only for Prost to beat him off the line; the Brazilian driver then drove into the Frenchman at the first corner, putting both out and thus settling the championship in Senna's favour. This was the second year in succession that the two drivers had collided at Suzuka. Senna admitted the following year that the collision was deliberate, as he was furious that Prost had been able to start on the clean side of the grid and had decided that he was not going to allow the Frenchman to 'make the corner' should he lose the start.

1991 Formula One World Championship

The 1991 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 45th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1991 Formula One World Championship for Drivers and the 1991 Formula One World Championship for Constructors, which were contested concurrently over a sixteen-race series that commenced on 10 March and ended on 3 November. Ayrton Senna won his third and last Drivers' Championship, and McLaren-Honda won their fourth consecutive Constructors' Championship. Senna won seven of the sixteen races; his main challenger for the title was Nigel Mansell, who won five races in his first season back at Williams. Senna's fierce rival Alain Prost failed to win a race with Ferrari and was fired before the end of the season due to a dispute with the team. 1991 also saw the debuts of future world champions Michael Schumacher and Mika Häkkinen, as well as the retirement of three-time champion Nelson Piquet.

As of 2019, this is the last season the championship was won by an engine manufacturer other than Ferrari, Mercedes, or Renault.

Claude Galopin

Claude Galopin is a French automotive engineer who currently works for Pescarolo Sport.

Fabrizio Barbazza

Fabrizio Barbazza (born 2 April 1963) is an Italian former Formula One driver who raced for the AGS and Minardi teams and was the 1987 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.

Gabriele Tarquini

Gabriele Tarquini (born 2 March 1962) is an Italian racing driver. He participated in 78 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on May 3, 1987. He scored 1 championship point, and holds the record for the most failed attempts to qualify. He has subsequently raced successfully in Touring Cars, winning the BTCC in 1994, the ETCC in 2003 the WTCC in 2009 and the WTCR in 2018.

On 22 November 2009 he won the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship title at the age of 47 years and 266 days. This made him the oldest ever world champion in an FIA series, breaking Juan Manuel Fangio's record of being FIA Formula One World Drivers' Champion at the age of 46 years and 41 days in 1957. Tarquini backed up this record by winning the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup at the age of 56 years and 259 days.

Henri Julien (motor sports)

Henri Julien (18 September 1927 – 13 July 2013) was a French racing car driver and motor sports team founder. He founded and managed the Automobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives (AGS) racing team, which participated in the European Formula Two Championship and Formula 1 in the 1970s and 1980s.

International Formula 3000

The Formula 3000 International Championship was a motor racing series created by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) in 1985 to become the final preparatory step for drivers hoping to enter Formula One. Formula Two had become too expensive, and was dominated by works-run cars with factory engines; the hope was that Formula 3000 would offer quicker, cheaper, more open racing. The series began as an open specification, then tyres were standardized from 1986 onwards, followed by engines and chassis in 1996. The series ran annually until 2004, and was replaced in 2005 by the GP2 Series.

The series was staged as the Formula 3000 European Championship in 1985, as the Formula 3000 Intercontinental Championship in 1986 and 1987 and then as the Formula 3000 International Championship from 1988 to 2004.

Joachim Winkelhock

Joachim Winkelhock (born 24 October 1960) is a German motor racing driver.

The younger brother of the late Manfred Winkelhock, Winkelhock was born in Waiblingen, near Stuttgart. The youngest brother, Thomas Winkelhock, and Manfred's son Markus Winkelhock are also racing drivers.

List of Formula One constructors

The following is a list of Formula One constructors. In Formula One motor racing, constructors are people or corporate entities which design key parts of Formula One cars that have competed or are intended to compete in the FIA World Championship. Since 1981, it has been a requirement that each competitor must have the exclusive rights to the use of certain key parts of their car – in 2018, these parts were the survival cell, the front impact structure, the roll structures and bodywork. However, one key part that is not covered under this requirement is the power unit.

Olivier Grouillard

Olivier Grouillard (born 2 September 1958 in Fenouillet) is a racing driver from France. He started racing go-karts from the age of fourteen competing in events such as the Volant Elf. He progressed to Formula Renault winning the title before Grouillard competed in F3000 from 1985 to 1988 taking two wins. He also participated in the Birmingham Superprix but did not start the race.

In 1989, Grouillard joined the Ligier Formula One team before joining the Osella team for 1990 and 1991 when the team was renamed Fondmetal. His last season came in 1992, when Grouillard drove for Tyrrell. He left the sport following the year without receiving offers for a drive in 1993. After leaving Formula One, Grouillard raced in the CART PPG World Series, competing in the Indianapolis 500 for which he did not qualify but showed consistency. Grouillard became well known for driving in Sports Cars between 1994 and 2001 having success. During his time in Sports Cars, he raced in the BPR Global GT Series, the FIA GT Championship, the Daytona 24 Hours, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the American Le Mans Series. He retired from motorsport at the end of 2001.

Philippe Streiff

Philippe Streiff (born June 26, 1955) is a former racing driver from France. He participated in 55 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on October 21, 1984. He achieved one podium, and scored a total of 11 championship points.

A pre-season testing crash in 1989 left him a quadriplegic and thus using a wheelchair, with the quality of the care he received in the aftermath having been called into question, even if the accident itself was so serious the roll-bar broke on impact.He organised the Masters Karting Paris Bercy.

In early 1994, Streiff made a bid to purchase Ligier in partnership with Hughes de Chaunac. The bid had the support of the similarly Renault-powered Williams F1 team, who intended to turn Ligier into a 'junior' team. The bid was unsuccessful.

Belgian Luc Costermans, who had broken the World blind road speed record in late 2008, dedicated his record to Streiff.

Stefan Johansson

Stefan Nils Edwin Johansson (born 8 September 1956) is a Swedish racing driver who drove in Formula One for both Ferrari and McLaren, among other teams. Since leaving Formula One he has won the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans and raced in a number of categories, including CART, various kinds of Sports car racing and Grand Prix Masters.

He is also the manager of New Zealander Scott Dixon ( winner of the 2008 Indianapolis 500), fellow Swede Felix Rosenqvist (winner of the 2015 European Formula 3 Championship), Canadian Zachary Claman DeMelo and Ed Jones.

Ted Lapidus

Edmond "Ted" Lapidus (23 June 1929 – 29 December 2008) was a French fashion designer. He was born in Paris, the son of a Russian-Jewish émigré tailor.Lapidus was considered the creator and pioneer of the unisex fashion look and is credited with introducing a military and safari look into haute couture. He is credited as the first designer to put Military style shoulder straps on both male and female clothing, and with making blue jeans part of the mainstream of fashion design. After an apprenticeship with Dior, Lapidus started his own fashion label in 1951, and gained prominence in the 1960s when French celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot, Françoise Hardy and Alain Delon started wearing his creations.

Lapidus proved influential outside France, too, and was the first designer to persuade Twiggy to wear a suit and tie rather than a mini-skirt. John Lennon was another admirer and in 1969 he asked Lapidus to design a white leather bag to house a set of fourteen erotic lithographs he had made. Known as "Bag One", the limited edition of 300 bags incorporated zips, handles and a lock, as well as Lennon's signature in black, and was hand-stitched in Italy and later autographed by the Beatle. Lapidus also designed the white suit that Lennon wore on the cover of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album.

He was admitted to the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture parisienne in 1963. He designed the safari suit, a style of men's suit that was popular in Australia in the 1970s.

In the late 1970s the Lapidus label started to produce fashion accessories as the haute couture market declined. In 1989 Ted Lapidus's son Oliver Lapidus took over the Lapidus label. Lapidus sponsored the French Automobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives Formula One auto racing team in 1990 via the Ted Lapidus product name. In 2000 the Lapidus label ceased producing haute couture and is now primarily known for its fashion accessories of watches and fragrances.Lapidus died in Cannes, aged 79, from pulmonary complications brought on by leukaemia. He is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute and said Lapidus had "democratised French elegance and classicism" and "made fashion accessible to men and women in the street." Sarkozy's statement called him "the poet of French couture".

Lapidus was married twice. He is survived by two sons, Olivier and Thomas, and a daughter, Eloise.

Yannick Dalmas

Yannick Dalmas (born 28 July 1961 in Le Beausset, Var) is a former racing driver from France. He participated in 49 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 18 October 1987, but qualified for only 24 of them. His best result in F1 was a 5th place at the 1987 Australian Grand Prix, but he was not eligible for World Championship points at that race. His F1 career was blighted by his health issues, towards the end of 1988, Dalmas was diagnosed with Legionellosis which caused him to miss the final two races. He recovered before the start of 1989 but his illness had clearly affected him.

After the 1990 Formula One Season, Dalmas left the series and began racing in Le Mans Prototypes. There he found much more success, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times (in 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1999), each with different teams.

In 1994, Dalmas made a brief return to Formula One with cash-strapped Larrousse, but only entered two races. He crashed in Italy, and finished two laps off the lead in Portugal.

Dalmas was French Formula Three champion in 1986.

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