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From the motorsport archive: on today in 1996

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After being thrust into the function of crew chief at Lotus in 1970, changing into the youngest Method 1 World Champion so far in 1972 and repeating the feat with McLaren two years later, Emerson Fittipaldi’s profession underwent a major downturn.

After being crushed to the title by Niki Lauda in 1975, the Brazilian made an ill-fated transfer to his brother Wilson’s Copersucar Fittipaldi crew. Between 1976 and 1980, he recorded simply two podiums earlier than quitting F1. 

His subsequent long-term enterprise would contain the US-based CART Indycar sequence, the place he would get pleasure from appreciable success, most notably two Indianapolis 500 wins and the general championship in 1989, achieved whereas driving for Penske. 

Nonetheless, his American open-wheel racing profession was all of a sudden reduce brief on the 1996 Marlboro 500 in Michigan, when he hit the limitations at greater than 190mph, sustaining fractured vertebrae and a collapsed lung.

Fittipaldi made a full restoration and – regardless of his preliminary insistence on persevering with – by no means raced in CART once more. His solely subsequent outings have been on the short-lived Grand Prix Masters sequence in 2005 and 2006 and a one-off look within the 2014 6 Hours of São Paulo.

Hamir Thapar

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