Torsten Palm

Torsten Palm

23/7/1947

Swedish driver who started out in rallying. Swedish F3 Champion in 1970 and 1971 he drove a Hesketh in two F1 races in 1975.

Torsten Palm was from Kristenhamn near Karlskoga in Sweden. After a little rallying which included navigating Erik Carlsson to second place in the Swedish Rally when he was still fifteen years old, Torsten entered Scandinavian F3 with a Brabham in 1969. He was quick to make an impression. In both championship and non-championship events, he was second four times and third once and was part of the Swedish team, along with Ronnie Peterson and Freddy Kottulinsky, that won the F3 European Cup that year.

In 1970 driving a Brabham BT28 Nova, he won three out of the four championship races and two of the other non-title events, to win the Swedish F3 title. He also led the national team to a second consecutive European Cup victory.

Palm decided to broaden his horizons in 1971, travelling to Brazil with his Brabham to race in the Primeiro Torneio Brasileiro F3. Aggregate results of the four races at Interlagos and Taruma he finished 8th, 4th, 7th and 5th. Back in Sweden, he won at Knutstorp and Kinnekullering, and came 2nd at Anderstorp to secure his second title.

He also competed elsewhere in Europe with a Brabham BT35. At Paul Ricard he could only manage 20th, at Magny Cours he failed to qualify and at Schleizer Dreieck in a round of the East German championship he failed to finish.

Back in Swedish F3 for a fourth season in 1972 he took another two wins but was piped to the title by Conny Andersson.

He made occasional appearances in 1973 but his Brabham was becoming less competitive and he could only manage 5th in the championship. However he had secured the budget to hire a second works Surtees TS15 Ford for three Formula 2 races, taking a third place at Karlskoga. He then had a handful of outings the following year in a GRD, finishing sixth at the Salzburgring.

In 1975, the Hesketh team starting renting out its second car and, with the help of personal sponsorship from Polar Caravans, Palm leased the drive in the second 308 for the Monaco and Swedish GPs. At Monaco he failed to qualify despite acquitting himself quite well. At the Swedish GP, despite a practice crash which damaged the front end; he made it safely onto the grid in 21st place, only 3 seconds away from pole. In the race his local knowledge of the Anderstorp track came to the fore and he was mixing it with the likes of Jody Scheckter, Emerson Fittipaldi and Peterson when he ran out of fuel on the last lap.

His sponsorship money then came to an end and with it his Grand Prix career.

He then managed the career of the then promising Eje Eigh before returning to rallying in 1992, entering the World Championship Swedish Rally in a Group N Lancia Delta Integrale 16V with Erik Sundblad as his co-driver. They finished 8th in class, 20th overall. The following year he teamed up with Sundblad again, finishing 17th overall and 7th in Group N.

He made a couple of more appearances but with a dealership and garage business to look after, Torsten finally hung up his helmet and his competitive career came to a close.

 

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