(Reuters) - Former Formula One driver and team owner Guy Ligier has died at the age of 85, French media reported on Sunday.
While Ligier had little success as a racing driver, scoring just one point from 12 grands prix in 1966 and 1967, he came into his own as a team boss.
The Ligier team won nine grands prix between 1977 and 1996, finishing runners-up to Williams in the 1980 constructors’ world championship.
The team’s last win was a shock Monaco Grand Prix triumph in the wet in 1996, and with only three cars still running at the finish, by Frenchman Olivier Panis.
It was then sold to French five times world champion Alain Prost and renamed.
The team, whose cars all carried the letters JS in memory of Ligier’s friend Jo Schlesser who died in the 1968 French Grand Prix at Rouen, celebrated their first win with French driver Jacques Laffite in Sweden in 1977.
McLaren’s French racing director Eric Boullier paid tribute to his compatriot.
“It was with great sadness that I heard the news that Guy Ligier had passed away,” he said in a statement.
“As a child growing up in Le Mans, I was inspired and entranced by his iconic and beautiful pale-blue-and-white Ligier Formula One cars, driven with panache and aplomb by such French racing heroes as Jacques Laffite, Patrick Depailler and Didier Pironi,” he added.
“Guy himself was a tough and uncompromising character, but he was also a racer through and through.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in Spa-Francorchamps, editing by Greg Stutchbury