Spanish driver who raced single-seaters and sports cars in Grand Prix and endurance races. Died driving between Sitges to Barcelona when his car went off a cliff.
Juan Jover Sañés represented the original gentleman driver whose personal wealth allowed him to compete in Grand Prix racing.
Jover was a Spanish racing driver who started on two wheels, in the early twenties, but quickly switched to four wheels. He is on the entry list of the III Trofeo Armangué in 1923, where he drove a Cyclecar "Rally Chic".
As time went by, and after WWII, he took part in some European Grand Prix races, at tracks like Bari, Montlhéry, Reims-Gueux, Pedralbes, Monza or La Sarthe. In 1949 he finished second in the Le Mans 24 Hours, sharing a Delage 3 litres with Henri Louveau, trailing the winning Ferrari of Luigi Chinetti/Peter Selsdon. Later in the year the same team of Louveau and Jover, with the addition of Mouche, finished second in the Spa 24 hours.
In the 1946 Penya Rhin Grand Prix, he shared a Maserati 6CM with Alberto Puig Palau. After a race plagued with incidents, they both finished in a surprising third place, although 15 laps down.
In 1947 he competed in the Bari Grand Prix.
In 1948, in the IX GP Penya Rhin - VI Copa Barcelona, he drove a Maserati 4CL under the Escudería Autoespañola banner, but was forced to retire on lap 12.
In 1950 he drove a Maserati 4CLT/48 prepared by Speluzzi and known as the "Milano".
In 1951 he took part in the Spanish Grand Prix, again at Pedralbes, this time driving the Maserati 4CLT/48-1612 but did not qualify.
Jover went on racing, and in May 1953 he took part in the La Rabassada hillclimb, driving a F2 Maserati and a Cisitalia 1100, finishing second and third on scratch.
Later in the year, and driving a Pegasos, Jover suffered a very serious accident in practice for Le Mans 24 Hours. The car was travelling at around 200km/h when, having just overtaken a Cunningham, Jover misjudged the speed at which he was approaching the corner after the Dunlop bridge and hit the barriers. Jover was thrown out of the car, and his left leg was badly broken. It was only due to the skill of his friend, Doctor Soler-Roig that he didn't have to have it amputated.
After a year recovering, Jover was back at the wheel in June 1954, competing in La Rabassada hillclimb. In what was a Pegaso benefit, with Jover finishing fifth being four other Pegasos.
In 1956, Jover finished second in the III Gran Premio Nacional Sport de Barajas driving a Maserati 300S, behind the winning Porsche spyder of J.-Felipe Nogueira. The following year, he won the same race, this time at the wheel of a Maserati 200S, dedicating his win to the recently deceased Alfonso de Portago. In 1958 Jover finally won the La Rabassada hillclimb, this time driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.
By 1960 Jover had almost completely retired from racing and on Tuesday 28th June whilst driving his small convertible from Sitges to Barcelona, for some unknown reason, the car went off the road and down a the cliff. Jover sadly died.
In his memory, a race was run, the Trofeo Juan Jover, between 1963 to 1968 at the Montjuich racetrack.