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Contributions of drivers, journalists and others who were involved in any kind of way with Johnny Cecotto during his career...

MARCEL ANKONÉ: Former Grand Prix motorcycle racing driver from Holland;
Yes, I do have some memories about Johnny Cecotto. Back in 1975 we had a Daytona 200 team with the “golden racing leathers” together with Wil Hartog, Boet van Dulmen and Rob Bron. I was there for the very first time and had to get used a lot to this kind of circuit. Already there it was clear how talented he was. He immediately qualified 3rd and after a lot of problems at the beginning of the race he made it to 3rd spot. No one could have imagined this. I enclose 2 pictures from me with Johnny, probably he lapped me here. As a comet he came into the front in the Grand Prix field. With the support of Ippolito he knew to get the right equipment, he learned fast and finally he did beat them all. Me myself didn’t do that much Grand Prix’s back in 1975 due to a injury. I clearly remember the Italian Grand Prix in 1976 at Mugello and the speed he had there in the 350cc class. In 1977, my last Grand Prix year, I went to the Venezuelan Grand Prix. This was a result of course because of the fact that Venezuela now was also counting in the Grand Prix circus. There I also did visit the Ippolito building at Caracas. Also after his motorcycle racing career he just went on with Formula and Touring cars. Just like his predecessors Surtees and Hailwood who also reached the top in that racing branch. To be short........a real talent of nature.....

HENK HINDRIKS: Head pit steward of TT circuit Assen, Holland;
My dearest memories about Johnny Cecotto; "In the seventies he was a real greatness. Most drivers started in 250 and 350cc class but Cecotto immediately got to battle also in the big 750cc. He had real great sponsors but also very faithful fans. Cecotto was very much beloved and he was also approachable and knew how to handle with that. For me he was a racing driver who never made trouble in the pit lane, which was sometimes different at that time, for instance with the smoking of other drivers. Also Johnny was very grateful for what we meant as officials, he showed that we all needed each other. The big money wasn’t the most important thing at that time. What is really clear on my mind is the enormous fire crash which happened in the “knee curve” back then (now the GT corner) but fortunate nothing bad happened there. For me he still is one of the biggest drivers and I will not forget him ever.

Dr. ULRICH W. SCHIEFER: Manager of the AtTrack GmbH Company;
"Johnny Cecotto, an analytical engineer in the body of a hot blooded South American. We started working together when he was driving for BMW and I was head of BMW’s worldwide touring car activities in 1994. Since then he had already left two motorsport lives behind himself. For anything what comes later, there is probably no better learning bench for how physics of driving works, than being Motorcycle world champion and driving in Formula 1. The very first impression I got about about him was his extreme desire to achieve. And this comes in combination with an extreme egoism, when it comes to any kind of prerequisite in order to be successful on the race track. This power is breathtaking for anybody, who isn’t used to it. But already the second view shows clearly that this is a nearly not to copy recipe, when continuous success is required. Describing the way how Johnny behaves and works at the race track, is a blueprint for any young driver to become successful in motor racing. The reason why there was all the time a small crowd of high performing guys around himself was that he never asks anybody to do more than he would ask himself for. And this means long nights for engineers and mechanics. He basically will never stop searching for clarity and solutions until the slightest doubt is wiped out! We haven’t worked together for a long period when I asked him to drive for my Bioendurance team (www.bioendurance.de) in 2006. And he had a period behind himself when he was purely doing business and not driving. It was impressive to see how he just comes back to the track, analyses the situation, sits in the brand new car and is initially quick. He had never driven a Subaru before and even more had no experience with 4wd. But nevertheless he comes in after two or three laps and provides you with a bunch of actions how to alter the car in a performance gaining direction. It is always a pleasure for me to have him in my team and should there be a future opportunity, I definitively will not forget to ask him. I also look forward to the future of his son whom I call "little Johnny". Being prepared with the Genes of Johnny and having Johnny as a teacher, I am sure that he will be a great one on international race tracks in the future!"

EMANUELE PIRRO: Multiple National Touring Car and ALMS Champion;
"I feel honoured to be able to write a few lines about Johnny. I believe he has been a great driver and a rider with whom I had a lot of nice battles and competition. Especially in our BMW M3 days we both were very competitive and wanted to win. I was a bit jealous of his "special relationship" with BMW Motorsport management which admired very much his past successes as a bike rider. So I wanted to beat him on the track with four wheels. I have to say in those days we were not "best friends" because the level competition and the rivalry was very high. But also because of our "Latin" character. Johnny could get very "hot" at times and in this situation you better stay away from him…  Thinking abut it now, I have to say, it seams a bit silly! But we were young and "hungry" of success. When we did a full DTM season in 1992 he was running on Michelin tyres and we had Yokohama's, he was often  faster than me and I always put it down to the tyres....... God knows if I was always right! Anyway I admired Johnny a lot and I still do and I believe he deserves every success he had in his career."

ROBERTO RAVAGLIA: Multiple World-, European and National Touring Car Champion;
"I raced the first race with Johnny the first time at the Salburgring in 1985 with BMW 635 Team Schnitzer (on the same car because the race was 500 km (250 km for each driver) and I realised immediately how good driver Johnny was. Since 1985 to 1992 I raced on same competitions -touring car- with Johnny and I had a lot of good race battles for race position and for that I can say that Johnny has been one of the best drivers in touring car that I have seen in my race driver career, a driver with a lot of personality, quick and with a very good preparation in term of technique".

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