30/7/1954 - 16/5/2021
Venezuelan racing driver and football manager. Juan Corchesa died this year
Juan Corchesa was actually born Ivan Kokeza in Split, Croatia, but his father moved the family first to Italy and then to Venezuela. His name was changed to Giovanni Corchesa when they moved there in May 1958 and then later to Juan.
He started work as a mechanic in workshops in Maracaibothough. He was also a pretty good footballer in his youth and had showed promise. However is work on cars led him to his passion for racing. He competed both nationally and internationally driving a wide variety of cars from a Chevrolet Camaro to Formula Fords.
He raced in the USA in 1975 in Bosch/Valvoline Formula Super Vee Championship and the CASC Player's Challenge Series with A Chevron B29 BDA. For 1975 he continued in the USA with a Chevron B34 in the Player's Challenge Series and in the IMSA Formula Atlantic Series. With the dream of Formula One he headed over to Europe that year for three European F2 races driving a Fred Opert Racing Chevron B35 Hart 420R against the likes of Gilles Villeneuve, Jaques Lafitte, René Arnoux and Keke Rosberg. He also raced a Derek McMahon Racing Ford Escort in a round of the European Touring Car Championship at Mugello finishing a respectable 6th, the 4 Hour race at Monza and a 3rd in the Brno Grand Prix. His preference though was always for single seaters.
Though he was racing in the USA again in 1977 in Formula Atlantic with a Ralt RT1, a lack of budget led to him cutting back his racing activities. He raced in the Sebring 12 Hour race in 1981 finishing 14th in a Porsche 934. His racing activities from then were concentrated in the domestic Codasur F2 series.
He last raced in 1995 in Venezuelan Formula Ford.
With his racing taking a back seat he returned to football, his second passion. In the early 2000s, he managed Deportivo Maracaibo and later Zulia FC, with some success.
Juan had two businesses, Rectimoreca, a workshop which he ran with his brother and a farm breeding bulls.