© Copyright 2011 tot heden - John Damen - Sport Motions - Alle rechten voorbehouden

Life After A Racing Career

Continuing the name Cecotto in Motorsports and doing events occasionally Johnny    Cecotto    stopped    with    active    racing    after    2002    but meanwhile   his   son   Johnny   Amadeus   had   driven   his   first   kart races   in   Italy   and   it   looked   as   like   he   was   going   to   be   in   his father's   footsteps.   In   2003    he   raced   at   the   12   hours   of   Sebring in   March   for   the   ALMS   series   but   retired   after   2   hours   of   racing with   an   engine   failure.   Cecotto   also   did   show   up   at   the   Tuner GP   at   Hockenheim   in   June   with   the   Irmscher   Opel   Vectra   GTS. But   in   2003   Johnny   spent   most   of   his   time   to   help   his   son Johnny   Amadeus   junior   with   his   karting   races   for   the   Veneto championship   in   Italy.   In   December   I   received   a   present   from Johnny.   His   original   1980   Jeb’s   helmet   which   he   used   in   his   last Grand   Prix   season   in   motorcycle   racing.   This   helmet   for   sure   is the   biggest   treasure   I   have   in   my   Cecotto   collection.   Also   in   the year   2004    Johnny   Cecotto   was   manager   and   mechanic   for   his son   Johnny   jr.   who   was   racing   in   Italy   for   the   Open   Master   2004   in   100cc   junior   class.   Johnny   did   a   charity   race   for   the   BTCC   Masters   at   Donington, England   on   September   26th.   He   didn't   finish   because   of   an   accident   with   Tim   Harvey   who   pushed   him   of   the   track.   On   November   29th   2004   Johnny became   father   again   when   his   wife   Isabella   gave   birth   to   daughter   Julie   Isabel.   In   the   beginning   of   2005    Johnny   competed   at   the   Historic   Ice   Trophy in   Austria   with   a   BMW   2002   Gr.   II   with   Franz   Guggenberger.   His   son   Johnny   Cecotto   jr.   got   a   contract   for   the   Formula   BMW   ADAC   series   with   Team Lauderbach   Motorsport   (TLM)   so   Johnny   was   going   to   support   him   here.   Johnny   jr.   switched   from   team   at   the   Norisring   and   would   drive   for Mamerow   Racing.   Johnny   Cecotto   was   invited   on   the   same   circuit   to   compete   the   "Race   of   the   Legends",   a   charity   race.   Competitors   were   Alain Prost,   Nigel   Mansell,   Emerson   Fittipaldi,   Michael   Doohan   Jody   Scheckter   and   Johnny   Cecotto.   Johnny   finished   3rd   behind   Prost   and   Fittipaldi.   I visited   races   of   Johnny   Cecotto   jr.   regularly   and   so   I   met   Johnny   a   lot   in   2005.   Johnny   Cecotto   worked   hard   to   find   sponsors   for   his   son   and   it   was definitive   that   Johnny   jr.   would   race   in   2006    for   Koiranen   Motorsport   in   the   North   European   Formula   Renault   2.0   championship   so   Johnny   could   be seen   on   a   lot   of   circuits.   Johnny   again   participated   in   the   Historic   Ice   Trophy   in   January   with   a   BMW   M3   in   2006.   Mid-season   Johnny   jr.   stepped   into the   ATS   Formula   3   with   Ombra   Racing   and   it   was   easier   to   visit   some   races   to   meet   up   with   my   idol.   Now   and   then   Cecotto   was   offered   a   race   like the   24   hour   race   at   the   Nürburgring   in   June. He   competed   with   a   Subaru   Impreza   WRX   TSI for   the   AtTrack   Bioendurance   racing   team   of Ulrich     Schiefer.     Through     engine     problems which   weren't   to   solve   the   car   even   didn't   get to   the   start   of   the   race   though   and   his   actions were    minimized    to    practices.    I    also    went    to this event to see Johnny Cecotto in action. In    2007     an    X-lite    Cecotto    replica    helmet    was    manufactured    in    a    series    to    honour    different motorcycle   racing   champions   from   the   past.   Johnny   Cecotto   had   started   to   let   his   son,   Johnny   jr, arrange   his   own   business   so   he   would   learn   himself   in   motorsports.   I   did   visit   the   Formula   Master race,   in   which   junior   competed   this   year,   at   Oschersleben   to   meet   up   with   Cecotto   himself   there again.   In   2008    Johnny   Cecotto   was   present   at   the   BMW   M   Night   on   castle   Heidelberg   in   Germany with   his   BMW   M3   GTR   from   1993.   Ferry   Brouwer,   owner   of   the   Yamaha   Classic   Racing   Team,     contacted   me   to   look   at   the   possibility   to   help   to   get   Johnny   Cecotto   on   his   original   750cc   Yamaha OW31   in   the   2008   edition   of   the   Bikers’Classics   at   Spa   Francorchamps.   Regrettably   we   didn’t succeed   to   make   a   deal.   Johnny   Cecotto   had   been   asked   by   Alpina   BMW   to   be   driving   their   BMW B6   GT3   for   the   FIA   Euro   GT3   series   and   the   German   GT   Masters   in   2009 .   It   never   came   to   a   deal with   them   though   he   did   some   testing   together   with   Johnny   jr.   at   the   Vallelunga   circuit   in   Italy   at the   end   of   February.   Meanwhile   also   his   other   son,   Jonathan,   had   started   his   racing   career   in carting   now   and   so   Johnny   took   most   of   his   time   to   support   him   while   Johnny   jr.   already   stood   on his   own   and   made   big   progression   every   year.   He   competed   the   whole   ATS   Formula   3   season   in Germany   and   became   vice-champion.   At   Oschersleben   we   visited   the   race   where   we   also   met with   Johnny   Cecotto   and   his   son   Jonathan.   Carolien   became   a   X-lite   Cecotto   replica   helmet   from Johnny   as   present   there.   I   was   contacted   by   chief   editor   Mark   Koense   of   Dutch   RTL   GP   Magazine to   be   helpful   for   an   article   about   Johnny   Cecotto.   This   article   was   published   in   the   addition   of   RTL   GP   Magazine   number   5   of   2009.   A   6   page interview   with   Johnny   Cecotto   with   lots   of   pictures   in   it.   In   2010    Johnny   Cecotto   started   his   own   racing   team:   JC   Racing.   Of   course   Jonathan   Cecotto was   a   driver   of   that   team.   In   September   of   2010   Johnny   for   the   first   time   raced   together   with   his son   Johnny   jr.   in   the   Super   Trofeo   Lamborghini   at   the   Vallelunga   circuit   in   Italy.   They   won   two   of the   three   races   and   it   was   sure   Johnny   Cecotto   was   still   able   to   drive   a   racing   car.   Johnny   jr. showed   he   had   the   same   abilities   as   his   father   and   already   was   into   the   GP2   series.   Another remarkable   happening   in   2010 was    the    fact    that    Johnny    was present    at    the    first    edition    of the   Imola   200   Miglia   Revival   in Italy.     We     were     there     to     be witness   of   the   fact   that   Johnny   Cecotto   sat   on   a   Yamaha   500cc   racing   motorcycle from   the   Yamaha   Classic   Racing   Team   of   Ferry   Brouwer.   He   was   only   present   on Saturday   though   as   for   he   had   to   leave   to   Venezuela.   On   Sunday   I   managed   to   sit on   his   bike   for   a   moment   which   was   also   a   remarkable   moment   for   me.   Later   that week   we   had   a   small   visit   to   Isabella,   Johnny’s   wife   in   their   house   at   Treviso.   Johnny had already left to Venezuela so we didn’t meet him there. In   2011    Johnny   now   and   then   was   present   at   different   events   like   VW   Scirocco Cup    and    also    on    a    Yamaha    motorcycle    again    at    the    Bikers’    Classics    at Francorchamps.   Of   course   we   were   there   to   make   a   report   of   that   event   and to   witness   Johnny   riding   the   Yamaha   500cc   from   1978   again.   As   it   did   back then    in    1978    also    here    at    Francorchamps    his    bike    broke    down    with mechanical   problems.   Johnny   still   worked   with   his   own   JC   Racing   Team   and tried   to   find   sponsorship   for   both   of   his   sons   careers.   In   2012    we   were   on holiday   in   Italy   and visited    the    Cecotto family        at        their house      in      Treviso. We    also    looked    at their   garage   where   their   equipment   of   the   JC   Racing   team   was   stored.   Also   some   old racing   gear   and   trophies   were   stored   there.   That   was   a   great   moment   and   really   special   to me   and   Carolien.   Johnny   was   also   present   at   the   40th   anniversary   of   the   BMW   Old   Timer event   at   the   Nürburgring   in   this   year.   Also   in   2013    Johnny   did   compare   his   son   Jonathan during   his   kart   races.   Johnny   jr.   still   was   racing   in   GP2.   There   wasn’t   any   further   big   news or    happening    about    Johnny    Cecotto himself.   But   in   2014    Johnny   was   going to      compete      in      the      Coupes      Moto Légende    at    the    French    Dijon    Prenois circuit.     Together     with     my     daughter Lindsey    I    visited    the    famous    French circuit   to   report   for   this   site.   We   had   a great   weekend   their   and   saw   Johnny   in   action on        some        different        500cc Yamaha’s       from       the       French Yamaha     Classic     Racing     Team. Johnny     was     with     his     whole family    at    Dijon    and    we    had    a nice   visit   there.   Jonathan   already did     some     testing     in     Formula cars.   In   2015    it   was   40   years   ago   Johnny   Cecotto   came   to   Europe   to   compete motorcycling   Grand   Prix’s.   Johnny   was   asked   to   drive   on   a   Yamaha   at   the   French Paul   Ricard   circuit   at   the   Sunday   Ride   Classic   in   April,   the   same   circuit   as   he   started back    in    1975    to win   both   races   in 250   and   350cc   at   his   first   appearance.   Regrettably   I   wasn’t   able   to   visit   the   event. Son   Jonathan   had   started   to   race   in   the   ADAC   Formula   4   series   in   Germany   and of   course   Johnny   compared   him   to   give   advise.   We   visited   the   ADAC   Formula   4 event    at    the    Nürburgring    to    visit    Jonathan    and    Johnny    there    again.    In    June Cecotto    also    was    at    the    Goodwood    Revival    where    he    drove    in    a    1978    BMW Formula   2   car,   the   BMW   782.   Johnny   jr.   started   in   GP2   again   but   because   of   lack of   financial   support   of   home   country   Venezuela   he   only   did   a   few   races   and   got unemployed.   This   annoyed   Johnny   Cecotto   so   much   he   gave   a   statement   about this in the media. In   2016    Johnny   jr.   drove   Formula   V8   3.5   in   the   first   half   of   the   season   but   left   that   series   to compete   in   only   2   races   at   the   end   of   the   season   in   GP2   again.   Brother   Jonathan   competed   the Italian   GT4   Championship   with   a   Porsche.   Johnny   himself   wasn’t   very   active   with   racing   himself. He   was   present   though   at   the prestige   Goodwood   Festival   of Speed.   Also   in   2017    Johnny   jr. only    did    4    races    in    GP2    and ended     his     career     afterwards while    Jonathan    started    in    the Lamborghini   Super   Trofeo   Northern   Europe   series.   Johnny   Cecotto   was   at   the Sachsenring   Classic   in   Germany   riding   a   Yamaha   motorcycle   again.   He   also   did   a kind   of   revival   at   the   old   Nordschleife   together   with   Klaus   Ludwig   to   make   a special    to    remember    the    epic fight   in   DTM   back   in   1992   from some    25    years    ago.    In    2018   Jonathan    raced    in    the    Lamborghini    Super Trofeo     series     in     North     America.     Johnny Cecotto   paraded   at   the   Coupes   Moto   Légende at   the   Dijon   circuit   in   France   again   to   ride   the 1981   Yamaha   500   of   Barry   Sheene.   I   visited this   event   with   my   wife   Carolien.   A   few   weeks later   both   Johnny   and   Jonathan   were   racing   at the   Nürburgring   Classics   in   a   BMW   M3   E30 DTM   car   for   the   Tourenwagen   Classics   series as     guest     drivers.     Johnny     won     his     class together    with    Dutch    car    owner    and    racing driver    Marc    Seesing.    In    2019     also    Jonathan had    lack    of    sponsoring    and    wasn’t    able    to compete   in   a   series.   At   the   end   of   the   season he    did    the    World    Final    in    the    Lamborghini Super    Trofeo    though    together    with    Frederik Schandorff   at   Jerez.   They   won   the   title   there. Johnny   did   the   2019   edition   of   the   Imola   200 Revival   in   Italy   and   later   the   Bikers’   Classics   at Francorchamps   to   ride   with   Steve   Baker   and Christian   Sarron   for   the   Yamaha   Classic   Team of   Hubert   Rigal.   I   visited   the   weekend   at   Spa Francorchamps    to    watch    Cecotto    riding    the Yamaha    750cc    motorcycle    for    the    very    first time.   Due   to   the   Corona-virus   pandemic   the year    2020     has    been    a    disaster    for    whole mankind.      Johnny      Cecotto      only      did      the Goodwood   event   without   spectators   to   drive the   BMW   V12   LMR   sports   car   which   won   the Le   Mans   24   hours   race   in   1999.   Everything   got cancelled   and   so   no   events   of   all   in   that   year. Jonathan     Cecotto     did     some     races     in     the Lamborghini   Super   Trofeo   at   the   end   of   the season   though.   We   will   see   what   2021    will   bring.   Nevertheless.   The   name   of   Cecotto   will   continue for   some   time   in   Motorsport   in   any   kind   of   way.   So   this   story   about   Johnny   Cecotto   will   go   on. Click below to go back to the Career overview page to look at another section.....
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