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Reine Wisell


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#1 sstiel

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 20:03

We are getting reports from Corren, a Swedish newspaper that Reine Wisell has died. Part of the screamer era of F3, entered Formula One with Ronnie Peterson and finished on the podium at Watkins Glen 1970 and many other exploits. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.



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#2 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 20:31

Oh my.  Very sorry to hear this - I had e-mailed him only last week...  How terribly sad - a cheerful hard charger...and another Lotus, BRM and March Formula 1 driver.   Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

 

DCN



#3 pete53

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 21:08

Good Lord no. In my mind he is still the blonde-haired young Swede driving his Techno in those fantastic slip streamers that were a feature of the 1 litre F3 era.

RIP



#4 Tim Murray

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 21:09

Yet more very sad news. He was another favourite of mine, especially when he was driving the works Chevron in that great F3 season of 1969. RIP.

#5 sstiel

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 21:14

Yet more very sad news. He was another favourite of mine, especially when he was driving the works Chevron in that great F3 season of 1969. RIP.

Journalist Nigel Roebuck said the best motor race he ever witnessed was the Monaco F3 race of 1969. 

Bloody death.

 



#6 Myhinpaa

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 21:40

https://corren.se/bl...rtikel/r9nyvyoj

 

image.jpg

 

https://www-svt-se.t...&_x_tr_pto=wapp

 

There was talks last year about building a statue of him and put on display outside the motor museum in his hometown Motala.

 

https://grandprixfas...ine-wisell-chat

 

tumblr-nal6phjbcw1qegp0bo1-1280.jpg

 

 

                                                                         R.I.P.


Edited by Myhinpaa, 20 March 2022 - 22:21.


#7 LittleChris

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 22:09

What awful news. RIP Reine



#8 ellrosso

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 22:36

RIP Reine Wisell. I remember the article Sports Car World did on him back in 1969 (?) marking him as a man on the way up. You had to be good to win in F3 back then. Sad news.



#9 cpbell

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 22:43

R.I.P.



#10 GMiranda

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 23:13

RIP..... I tried to write him a message last month too.



#11 JacnGille

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Posted 20 March 2022 - 23:55

Sad news



#12 john aston

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 06:58

The name instantly evokes the whistling Lotus 56B , and that distinctive green helmet . Oulton Park , 9 April 1971 , my first F1 event . 



#13 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 07:37

What a sad news.



#14 Stephen W

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 08:17

Somewhat shocked at the news. He will be missed by all his fans in the UK.



#15 cooper997

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 08:31

RIP Reine Wisell. I remember the article Sports Car World did on him back in 1969 (?) marking him as a man on the way up. You had to be good to win in F3 back then. Sad news.

 

Lindsay, 'Upcoming fast Swede' in the September 1969 SCW.

 

 

My condolences to the Wisell family and friends.

 

 

Stephen



#16 stenovitz

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 09:11

Read the sad news just before bedtime last night.

As a Scandinavian boy in the 1970ies Reine was my very first hero of which I didn't watch through TV broadcasting, but solely via a very enthusiastic stories by my uncle, so intense I felt I was on the cement/slag tracks.

 

Rest in peace.



#17 mariner

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 09:52

Oh dear, another 1970's hero gone. 

 

I guess that as I approach my mid 70's in age these obituaries become closer to home.

 

As they now seem to arrive almost daily I wonder if a separate archive for them might be useful?



#18 Leif Snellman

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 12:37

Swedish newspapers confirm Reine died suddenly Sunday morning at his home in Thailand at an age of 80.

 

Met him once when they were showing Senna's Lotus 99T in a store in Helsinki. Reine confessed to me that in fact was Nakajima's car repainted.

 

R.I.P. Reine



#19 RogerFrench

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 15:22

R.I.P. I was always interested in him, for no better reason than our common birthdate.

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#20 68targa

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 15:50

More sad news - 2022 is not going well.  A very talented Swede who always seemed to be popping up in some race or other .He had quite a varied career.  F1, F2, F3, F5000 and sports cars. 

R.I.P.



#21 charles r

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 18:04

RIP Reine. A fine driver who enjoyed life to the full.



#22 jcbc3

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 19:35

RIP

 

I'm curious about a statement from the Autosport obituary though:

 

 

 

 Wisell never quite came to terms with the fact that Peterson had become one of the superstars of the sport.

 

was there lingering animosity between the two Swedes?



#23 Tim Murray

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 20:07

I’ve never heard of any personal animosity between the two. Reine was a couple of years older than Ronnie, and started his career in cars while Ronnie was karting. Ronnie graduated to cars in 1967 and to obtain his Swedish racing licence he had to undergo a short instruction course at Karlskoga. His instructor was Reine.

At the start of 1968 both men travelled to Italy together to buy two new Tecno F3 cars, and in that season the more experienced Reine was definitely the better of the two, picking up a number of wins. The following year saw many close races involving the pair, including their tremendous battle at Monaco.

Ronnie then soared to superstardom, while Reine’s career rather stalled after his season and a bit at Lotus. My understanding is that Reine felt (and resented) that he suffered from ‘Lotus number two’ treatment during his time there, whilst Ronnie had it much better when he joined Lotus.

#24 PCC

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 20:46

Mosport, 1972.

 

DSC1675.jpg



#25 sstiel

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 20:51

Swedish newspapers confirm Reine died suddenly Sunday morning at his home in Thailand at an age of 80.

 

Met him once when they were showing Senna's Lotus 99T in a store in Helsinki. Reine confessed to me that in fact was Nakajima's car repainted.

 

R.I.P. Reine

Suddenly? Others have said he had been unwell for a time. Sad loss.



#26 sstiel

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 21:11

Reine at Anderstorp 1996:



#27 Myhinpaa

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Posted 21 March 2022 - 21:21

There was never any animosity between Reine and Ronnie, but fierce rivalry on the track at times. Like that F3 race at the '69 Monaco GP.

 

Here's an interview with Reine in a Swedish magazine, published in January last year: https://www-bilsport...en-reine-wisell

 

One of the photos from the article, from the '70 Le Mans. In front of Bonnier's Scuderia Filipinetti 512S "Coda Lunga" (#1008)

 

dac16101-9f85-58f8-9751-6d2c5a54a297.jpg



#28 Dave Ware

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Posted 22 March 2022 - 00:24

When I was subscribing to Road and Track in the early '70s, Elizabeth Hayward had a driver profile in every issue.  In January 1973, she profiled Reine Wisell.  The article begins:

 

" 'THE MOST STUPID thing I ever did," says Reine Wisell dryly," was to teach Ronnie Peterson how to drive!' "

 

She goes on to say that the press made a big thing about a bitter rivalry, but it was never bitter.  

 

Wisell said that it was something wrong with the mentality of Swedish journalists, that they tried to suggest they were enemies.  

 

I always felt that Wisell's career would have been better if Fittipaldi had stayed in Brazil.  Third in his first Grand Prix - that's impressive and should signal the start of a fine career - except when your almost-as-inexperienced teammate wins the race.  

 

I hadn't read this profile in a long, long time.  Wisell raced a motorcycle from age 14 to 18, one that he built himself.  He eventually lost interest in the bike.  "There were other things in my life."  He had been part of a wrestling club for several years, but the club was only open three days a week.  Along with a friend, he bought the club's equipment and they opened their own gym.  That lasted 18 months.  "I soon lose interest in things if they aren't giving enough."

 

He began going to races to watch a friend who raced, and he figured since he was going to the tracks, he might as well compete.  He started with a DKW, a Triumph Herald, then a Mini Cooper.  After three years of racing the Mini on ice he became a test driver for BMC. 

 

Then the rest of his career that probably everyone knows about.  

 

Regarding Lotus, the article said that at the end of '71 the mechanics were fierce in defense of him, and Wisell says that he didn't really get the sack, that he and Colin were never on bad terms.  He then complains about the situation in Grand Prix in which an inexperienced driver can arrive with a lot of money and get a Grand Prix drive.  (Might he have been talking about Dave Walker?  I know Walker replaced Wisell but I never expected that money might have changed hands.  Or maybe he's just talking in general terms.)

 

Wisell expressed optimism for the coming year.  "If I get interested in something, I try to do it thoroughly."  



#29 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 March 2022 - 07:56

The note from the Grand Prix Drivers Club to its members announcing Reine's passing states that he died in a Thailand hospital "...where he was brought some time ago with a broken arm". Apparently he had fallen from his roof while attempting some maintenance there.

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 22 March 2022 - 11:04.


#30 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 March 2022 - 11:03

The BRDC tribute - detailed and impressive as ever:

 

With great sadness we have to report the death of Swedish Formula 1 driver Reine Wisell yesterday at his home in Thailand. He was 80 years of age and had been a proud Honorary Member of the BRDC since being elected in 1971, invariably wearing a BRDC badge and visiting the Clubhouse at Silverstone whenever he could.

Reine, together with his great friend, fellow countryman and rival, Ronnie Peterson, was one of a group of highly talented but relatively impecunious young drivers who made a name for themselves in the ultra-competitive cauldron that was 1000 cc Formula 3 in the second half of the 1960s. Three years older than Ronnie, after a grounding in a Mini-Cooper Reine started in Formula 3 with a rather unfashionable Cooper T76 in 1966 from which he wrung a couple of victories. For 1967 he acquired the ex-Picko Troberg Brabham BT18 and won the Swedish F3 Championship against Ronnie in a similar car. The two young Swedes each acquired one of the kart-derived Italian Tecno chassis for 1968 to continue their fierce but friendly rivalry and carry on winning – the end of year score being 12 wins for Ronnie and 11 for Reine with Ronnie winning the Swedish championship.

While Ronnie continued with a new Vick-sponsored Tecno in 1969, Reine took up the offer from Derek Bennett of Chevron to be the works driver in F3 and sports car racing for the princely salary of £1000. The Reine v Ronnie rivalry caught the attention of the Swedish race-going public to such an extent that, when a race at Crystal Palace clashed with an event at the new Falkenberg circuit, the organisers paid for Reine’s Chevron B15 to be transported overnight from London to Sweden and, with Ronnie’s full agreement, Reine was allowed to start from an extra row at the front of the grid rather than from the back for missing practice! Reine won at the Palace but Ronnie won in Sweden. However, it was the Monaco F3 event which caught the attention of the Formula 1 world as Reine and Ronnie went head to head in the final after each had won his heat. Completely outpacing the cream of up-and-coming drivers, Reine and Ronnie passed and re-passed around the streets off the Principality in a titanic battle which is still recalled to this day. After Reine’s brakes failed to respond as he had hoped at the Chicane four laps from the end, a brief trip into the escape road allowed Ronnie back in front where he stayed. Next up but some way behind them were other future F1 stars Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Tim Schenken and Patrick Depailler.

In the Chevron-BMW B8 Reine was able to demonstrate his sports car capabilities sufficiently to impress the doyen of Swedish drivers, Joakim Bonnier, with the result that after an initial outing in the Kyalami 9 Hours at the end of 1969, Reine shared Jo Bo’s Lola T70 in several international races in 1970. However, Reine’s ambitions still very much lay in single-seater racing. Impressed by what he had seen of him in the F3 Chevron, Bruce McLaren offered Reine a third works McLaren, albeit an obsolescent M7A, for the BRDC Daily Express International Trophy at Silverstone. The race was run in two legs with an aggregate result in which Reine was classified fifth. The McLaren connection continued a few months later when Reine replaced the F1-bound Peter Gethin in the Sid Taylor, works-supported McLaren M10B in the European Formula 5000 Championship. Principal opposition came from Frank Gardner’s works Lola T190 to which Reine had to play second fiddle on his debut at Silverstone. However, Reine showed his true mettle by winning three of the final four races – at Snetterton, Hockenheim and Oulton Park -the last after a monumental battle with Frank which so impressed Lotus Team Manager Peter Warr, watching the race at home on TV, that Reine was invited to replace John Miles in one of the Gold Leaf Team Lotus 72Cs in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. In only his second Formula 1 race, and first at World Championship level, Reine finished an excellent third behind race-winning team mate Emerson Fittipaldi and the BRM P153 of Pedro Rodriguez.

Colin Chapman and Peter Warr were sufficiently impressed to offer Reine a contract for 1971 with Emerson as teammate. In F3 Reine and Emerson had been evenly matched but at Team Lotus, Reine fell victim to the second-driver curse. For tyre-related reasons, neither driver had a particularly good season, Reine claiming two fourth places as his best results for ninth in the final standings whilst Emerson managed a second and two thirds for a final sixth place. Reine was also the guinea pig for the overweight and thirsty Pratt & Whitney gas turbine-engined Lotus 56B which he whistled round in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and in the Oulton Park Gold Cup. An ironic coincidence was that during his time with Chevron in Bolton, Reine had been given the nickname in the factory of ‘Rainy Whistle’. There was some consolation to be had from victory in the Formula 2 Pau Grand Prix in a Lotus 69.

Reine was replaced by the experienced Dave Walker, who had dominated the 1971 British F3 Championship in a Lotus 69, although the Australian’s F1 efforts were inferior to Reine’s with the consequence that the latter was invited to return to what had become John Player Team Lotus for the Canadian and US GPs at the end of the year. Meanwhile Ronnie Peterson had been impressing in March F1 cars and it was the younger Swede who became Emerson’s team mate for 1973. It might not have helped that Reine had passed much of 1972 trying to race one of the Marlboro-backed BRMs, mainly P160Bs, the frailty of which meant that he only saw the chequered flag once at World Championship level. Adding injury to insult, Reine sustained a broken finger after clashing with his old mate Ronnie Peterson shortly after the start of the Oulton Park Gold Cup.

Over the next couple of years Reine made the very occasional return to Formula 1 but with no worthwhile outcome. He drove one of the Pierre Robert GRD 273s in European Formula 2 races, pulling off a mightily impressive victory in the 1973 Eifelrennen on the Nurburgring Nordschleife. It was really all sports and saloon cars from now on, Reine sharing a Gulf Mirage GR7 with Vern Schuppan in several World Sports Car Championship races in 1974 including at Le Mans. In 1975 he enjoyed a season of decent results sharing a Porsche 911 RSR in European endurance races with Clemens Schickentanz and Hartwig Bertrams while two years later he teamed up with Stuart Graham to share a Chevrolet Camaro in the European Touring Car championship. The best result came at the end of the year in the Kyalami 9 Hours in which they finished third overall behind the factory BMW CSL of Harald Grohs/Jody Scheckter/Gunnar Nilsson and the Zakspeed Ford Escort RS1800 of Klaus Ludwig/Hans Heyer. Between 1976 and 1979 Reine was a leading light in the Swedish SuperStar series, finishing second in 1977 and fourth in 1978.

Reine disappeared from the limelight but never lost his enthusiasm for racing and cars generally. He had occasional outings in the David Piper/Mike Knight SuperSports series. He also went to the other extreme, developing a passion for economy runs in which he won numerous awards.

Reine will always be remembered by those who knew him not only for his distinctive green crash helmet but as a warm, smiling and laid-back personality with talent to spare who on form was unbeatable but who never had the opportunity in Formula 1 to develop a career at the highest level. The BRDC offers its most sincere condolences to Reine’s family and friends at the loss of a great character.

 

DCN



#31 d j fox

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Posted 22 March 2022 - 13:34

Very sad news indeed— there’s such a lot of bad news these days. Always a hard charger in F3, F2 and F1 sports and GT. In the mid 70s he was always impressive in Chevrolet Camaros Great memories of him at the Spa 24 hours and the TT
Condolences to his family and friends RIP

#32 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 22 March 2022 - 15:59

Very sad news indeed— there’s such a lot of bad news these days.
Condolences to his family and friends RIP


There is, but let's put this in context. Wissel, Elford and Takahashi to choose just three recent deaths were all in their 80s. So many of their contemporaries didn't even make their 40's.
We should be thankful we've had them around to enjoy their company 40 years after they last raced even though we will very much miss them.

#33 ReWind

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Posted 22 March 2022 - 18:27

I wonder if a separate archive for them might be useful?

Are you aware of this thread? At the moment the most recent passings are there.



#34 10kDA

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Posted 22 March 2022 - 19:26

RIP Reine Wisell. I wondered if the Lotus No.2 effect got him. I remember his name showed up with BRM when he ran with, what, eight or nine other team drivers during the 1972 season? I was surprised and disappointed he didn't get a ride with another GP team for '73. Was the perception that he may have been too old by then?



#35 sstiel

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Posted 26 March 2022 - 15:40

RIP Reine Wisell. I wondered if the Lotus No.2 effect got him. I remember his name showed up with BRM when he ran with, what, eight or nine other team drivers during the 1972 season? I was surprised and disappointed he didn't get a ride with another GP team for '73. Was the perception that he may have been too old by then?

I don't know about too old at the time. He was deeply hurt by his friend's Jo Bonnier's death in 1972.

 

Anyone know why he was replaced by Dave Walker at Lotus for the 1972 season?


Edited by sstiel, 26 March 2022 - 15:40.


#36 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 26 March 2022 - 16:01

Pretty sure that there weren’t any lingering bitterness between Reine and Ronnie. I’ve seen Reine commenting on Ronnie on numerous occassions in Swedish media and it was always very respectful and without hint of resentment.

#37 sstiel

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Posted 26 March 2022 - 16:39

There is, but let's put this in context. Wissel, Elford and Takahashi to choose just three recent deaths were all in their 80s. So many of their contemporaries didn't even make their 40's.
We should be thankful we've had them around to enjoy their company 40 years after they last raced even though we will very much miss them.

You're right Richard. Ronnie of course was 34 when he passed away. We have to make the most of time with people like Reine and others.


Edited by sstiel, 26 March 2022 - 18:22.


#38 Giraffe

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Posted 30 March 2022 - 15:06

 
Reine pictured with Sid Taylor and myself in 2011, and with Sid in 2015 on his regular visits to Silverstone for the GP..
 
He was a lovely guy and a great enthusiast, always happy to chat and with no ego whatsoever. Vastly underrated in my opinion, he seemed to have no regrets and was always cheerful.
I shall miss him.


#39 cpbell

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Posted 30 March 2022 - 21:14

The note from the Grand Prix Drivers Club to its members announcing Reine's passing states that he died in a Thailand hospital "...where he was brought some time ago with a broken arm". Apparently he had fallen from his roof while attempting some maintenance there.

 

DCN

Oh dear.



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#40 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 14:42

The long BRDC text didn't mention that in 1972 Reine was the number one driver in Ecurie Bonnier's WSCC Lola team. He missed the fateful Le Mans race, after the thumb-breaking incident. He continued with the team to Filipinetti in 73, until that team principal also died.

#41 MCS

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 19:31

Memories.  I saw the accident at the start of the Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1972 that broke his finger - not his fault.  But he hadn't looked happy with his BRM all weekend - perhaps no surprise.  And he certainly knew how to win races at Oulton Park.

 

If you look at the 1971 season he fared as well, if not better, than Fittipaldi in most races - omitting his 56B Turbine experiences of course - and I have often wondered what might have happened had he stayed with the team for the 1972 season.