Paul Frère
Titles by the Author
Paul Frère

Born in 1917, Paul Frère was educated in Brussels as a commercial engineer. He began his racing career in 1946 on motorcycles, but soon moved into automobiles and first drove in competition in the 1948 Spa 24 Hours Race, in a pre-war PB-type MG, finishing 4th in class and 15th overall. Over his distinguished career Frère has had 11 first-place finishes in Spa production car races alone, in such diverse automobiles as Panhard, Oldsmobile, Chrysler, Alfa-Romeo, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Porsche.

In the 1953 Mille Miglia, driving a Chrysler, Frère was 1st in the over-2-liter Touring Car class. Also in 1953 at Le Mans, he was 1st in the 1500cc class and 15th overall. In 1955 at Le Mans, he was 2nd overall and first in class driving an Aston Martin. In the same year, he was 4th in the Belgian G.P. in a Formula 1 Ferrari and was named Champion of Belgium for the year. In 1956, Frère was 7th in the Drivers World Championship.

Frère seemed to have a special affinity for Le Mans, driving to 4th overall in 1957 (Jaguar), 1st in class and 4th overall in 1958 (Porsche 1500), and 2nd overall (Aston Martin) in 1959. He crowned his driving career in 1960 with 1st a Le Mans in a Ferrari, driving with Olivier Gendebien, 1st in the South African G.P. (Cooper) and 1st in the Spa Sports Car Race (Porsche).

Frère had been writing as a journalist as long as he had been racing, since 1946, using his unique viewpoint as both championship driver and engineer to produce articles about automotive and technical subjects, as European Editor for Road & Track.

Frère's passed away on February 23, 2008 in Nice, France at the age of 91. In September of that same year, in a ceremony attended by Formula One President Bernie Ecclestone and the Sporting Director of the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team Stefano Domenicali, the owners of the Spa-Francorchamps track changed the name of the first part of Stavelot corner (Turn 15) to the Curva Paul Frère in honor of the Belgian motorsports legend.

While he devoted most of his later career to writing and journalism, he never forgot his racing roots. Later highlights included taking the wheel of the Audi R8 just before the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2003, and as recently as 2006, he was involved with testing of a Honda at the Nurburgring. He will be missed by racing fans and automotive journalists alike.