Juan-Manuel Fangio, Angoulême, 1985.

Juan Manuel Fangio told me the story himself the day I took this photo on the Remparts of Angoulême Circuit. The most famous driver of all time had just been caught speeding on the highway. The policeman asked him: “Who do you think you are? Fangio ?” For the great champion, a man full of modesty, showing some ID was an embarrassing moment. Yes, the true Fangio he was. The son of Italian immigrants, the former Argentinean mechanic had become a 5-time world champion at an age at which most of today’s drivers have retired from the sport. Having passed away in 1995, he in no way deserved that his name be synonymous with the image of a “madman” as he, of all drivers, was the very incarnation of virtuosity, mastership, fairplay and elegance.

Juan Manuel Fangio me raconta lui-même l’anecdote le jour où je pris cette photo sur le Circuit des Remparts d’Angoulême. Le plus célèbre pilote de tous les temps venait de se faire flasher sur l’autoroute. Le gendarme qui l’arrêta lui demanda s’il se prenait pour Fangio. Ce fut très embarrassant, pour ce champion d’une grande modestie, de montrer ses papiers au gendarme. Fils d’immigrés italiens, le mécanicien argentin devenu cinq fois champion du monde avait débuté sa carrière à l’âge où les pilotes d’aujourd’hui prennent leur retraite. Disparu en 1995, Fangio ne méritait pas que son nom devienne synonyme de fou du volant car, a contrario, il incarnait la virtuosité, la maîtrise, le fair-play et l’élégance.

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