Oscar Larrauri

Oscar Larrauri

19/8/1954

Oscar was a late starter in motor racing terms, he was almost 20 by the time he took up local karting in his Santa Fe region in 1974, although in 1976, 1977 and 1979 he was Santa Fe champion, and in 1976 he was also provincial champion. Larrauri had help from none other than Juan Mañuel Fangio and to succeed he had to move into more competetive Formula. Apart from karting he spent 1979 in Argentine F3, a very nondescript series, and by 1980 he was over in Europe trying his luck in the rough-and-tumble of European F3. Oscar 'Poppy' Larrauri found the going tough when he made the move to Europe until he secured the top drive in the Pavanello Euroracing F3 team for 1982. He then showed his mettle, winning seven races and the European championship. The talk was of a new Argentine superstar on the horizon, all the more to be feared because he had Fangio in his corner. Larrauri's path to F1 seemed set, especially after Fangio used his connections to secure a Ferrari test contract for him in 1983. But that year things went totally awry and his aspirations were soon blunted by an unhappy Formula 2 liaison with Minardi, which left him out in the cold as far as single-seaters were concerned. 'Poppy' then began a long and rewarding association with Walter Brun, racing the Swiss entrant's Group C Porsche sports cars through to the early nineties, the high spot being a win at Jerez in 1986. However, Brun's over-ambitious move into Formula 1 was a different story which found 'Poppy' struggling to qualify uncompetitive machinery. As well as, at 34, being the oldest driver to make his Grand Prix debut in recent history. He subsequently embarked on a busy racing career based in Italy, where he drove a Jolly Club Ferrari 348 in the GT Supercar championship in 1993 and '94. At the end of that season he took a Ferrari F40 to victory in the final round of the All-Japan GT championship, and success continued in 1995 when he shared the victorious Porsche 962 K8 at the Daytona 24 Hours. The bulk of the year was spent contesting the Italian Superturismo series in a Jolly Club Alfa T155. In 1996 Larrauri returned to race for the first time in a decade in his native Argentina, and he took consecutive Super Touring titles in 1997 and '98 with a BMW 320i before retiring from competition to pursue a political career and run his cold storage business.

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