Roberto Guerrero


Record updated

Roberto Guerrero
This personable Colombian driver could have made a good career for himself in Formula 1 had he not chosen to move into Indy Car racing at the end of 1983 when no suitable F1 drive was available, for, on his speedy passage to the top, Roberto had already displayed genuine talent. Joint second in the British F3 series in the unfashionable Argo, and an immediate winner at Thruxton in his first Formula 2 season, Guerrero's fine performances caught the eye of Mo Nunn, who gave him the Ensign drive for 1982. Roberto did extremely well in difficult circumstances, as he did in his second season following the team's merger with Theodore. So it was off to the States, and stardom, Guerrero finishing second in the 1984 Indy 500, and winning two races in 1987, at Phoenix and Mid-Ohio, before a crash while testing at Indy left him in a coma for 17 days. He made a full recovery but his career never quite regained its earlier momentum, and he became bogged down in the largely disappointing Alfa Romeo Indy programme until he joined Kenny Bernstein's team in mid-1991. Roberto took pole at Indy in 1992 but crashed on the warm-up lap and spent the rest of the campaign on the sidelines. He then signed with Bernstein for a full season in 1993, but after a generally lacklustre year he lost his ride with three races remaining. No longer capable of getting a full-time drive, Roberto joined forces with Pagan Racing in 1994 and did well to scrape into the Indy 500 as 33rd and final qualifier with a two-year-old Lola-Buick. Unfortunately Guerrero, now a US citizen, was posted as first retirement again when he spun into the wall. He remained with the little team for 1995, targeting the Brickyard once more (though he raced at Phoenix as a shakedown for the month of May), and this time things went much better. He finished a creditable 12th, having lost time under caution early on. When the Indy Racing League was formed in 1996 it must have come as 'manna from heaven' to the likes of Guerrero. Not only did it give him a racing lifeline, but it also represented a tantalising opportunity to have his image engraved on the magnificent Borg Warner Trophy, something that he came agonisingly close to achieving back in 1987 when, after a totally dominant performance, the race was snatched from his grasp by Al Unser Snr when clutch problems at a pit stop slowed him near the finish.

(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000