Andre Simon

Andre Simon

5/1/1920

Andre Simon was a key member of the Simca-Gordini racing in both Grands Prix and Formula 2. He raced for Ferrari in 1952 and also drove for Mercedes in GP and sports cars in 1955. Raced on until 1965 mostly as an independent in sports and GT racing.

The son of a garage owner who owned a Mathis agency in La Varenne, Andre was brought up by his uncle after his father died when he was nine. He started working in the family garage at the age of 13.

After the war he borrowed money to buy a Talbot Lago sportscar and raced for the first time at Montlhery in April 1948 and won. A friend then lent him a Delahaye for the Comminges GP in August and the following year he was asked by Eugene Chaboud to drive with him in the Le Mans 24 Hours. His performances drew him to the attention of Amedee Gordini.

Simon was a key member of the Simca-Gordini team in 1950, taking a string of second-place finishes (German GP, Aix-les-Bains, Angouleme, Reims, Geneva and Perigueux) that year. He continued to race the light-blue cars in both Grands Prix and Formula 2 the following season, winning at Les Sables d'Olonne.

For 1952 Simon joined Ferrari but raced in only a few events, although he did share the winning T500 with Ascari at Comminges, and took second place in the Paris GP and the Autodrome GP at Monza, and fourth in the Monaco sports car race.

From 1953 on, Andre raced intermittently as an independent in both Grands Prix and sports car events, taking a third for Gordini in the 1954 International Trophy. In 1955 he replaced the injured Herrmann in the Mercedes at short notice at Monaco and also raced the German team's sports cars, taking third in the Tourist Trophy. Driving a Maserati 250F, Simon won the Albi GP in 1955, but it was by then a much less important event than in previous years. He raced in a few more Grands Prix without success, his last decent placing being second in the rain-soaked 1956 Caen GP in a Gordini.

He drove an OSCA in the F2 support race for the 1957 Grand Prix de Reims. Then, concentrating more on sports car and GT racing, in June 1957 he drove at Le Mans with Jean Behra in a Maserati 450S (4505). They led the race but retired after one of the rear universal joints failed and punctured the fuel tank. He came third in the Paris 1000 Km at Montlhery in Schlesser's Ferrari, and took third in the Auvergne Trophy and the Coupe de la Marne Debouteville at Rouen in 1961, also in a Ferrari.

In 1962 he shared a Maserati Tipo 151/1, with a 5 liter V8 production engine, with Lucky Casner. For two hours they kept a fleet of Ferraris at bay until the gearbox packed up. In additional European races that year, Andre Simon crashed at Reims though he won the Tour de France with co-driver Dupeyren. This was his last major win.

The following year he drove at Le Mans again, this time with Maurice Trintignant. By now the Maserati coupe was facing stiff opposition from from the new generation of mid-engined prototypes like the Ford GT-40 and dropped out after 8 hours with electrical problems. He then drove with Trintignant at the Reims 12 hours and the Montlhery 1000 km failing to finish both times.

He continued racing until 1965 when he finished 12th in the Nurburgring 1000 Km in a Ford France AC Cobra with his old friend Jo Schlesser. He then retired.

In 1966 had a serious road accident and spent 14 days in a coma. He recovered and continued to run his garage until his retirement in 1984.

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