The Racing Team Director

July 10, 1948 - Swaters and Paul Frère drive the MG PB in the 24 Hour Francorchamps. (© Klemantaski Collection)
June 17, 1951 - Andrè Pilette sitting in the Talbot T26C during the GP de Belgique. (© Collection Swaters)
June 17, 1951 - Andrè Pilette with the Talbot T26C after the GP de Belgique. (© Collection Swaters)
June 17, 1951 - Andrè Pilette races the Talbot T26C I nthe GP de Belgique. (© J. Van Nevel)
July 22, 1951 - Andrè Pilette drives the Talbot T26C in the GP Nederland. (© John Schaepman)
July 22, 1951 - Swaters in the box at the GP Nederland. (© Collection Swaters)
July 22, 1951 - Camion racing the Talbot T26C at the GP Nederland. (© Collection Swaters)
June 22, 1952 - Charles de Tornaco races the Ferrari 500F2 (34) in the GP de Belgique. (© Actualit)
June 22, 1952 - Charles de Tornaco races the Ferrari 500FS in the GP de Belgique. (© Collection Swaters)
August 17, 1952 - Charles de Tornaco racing the Ferrari 500F2 at the GP Nederland. (© John Schaepman)
June 13, 1953 - Roger Laurent and Charles de Tornaco work on the Jaguar C in the 24 Hour Du Mans (© Collection Swaters)
June 13, 1953 - Roger Laurent and Charles de Tornaco prepare to race the Jaguar C at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Jacques Callier - Collection Alexis Callier)
July 12, 1953 - The Ferrari 500F2 at the GP Berlin. (© Collection Swaters)
July 25, 1953 - The Ferrari 212 Export in the 24 Hour Francorchamps. (© Collection Swaters)
July 25, 1953 - Charles de Tornaco and Wagner race the Ferrari 212 Export in the 24 Hour Francorchamps. (© Collection Swaters)
June 12, 1954 - Laurent races the Jaguar C in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Klemantaski Collection)
July 3, 1954 - Swaters and Laurent race the Jaguar C in the 12 Hour Reims. (© Andrè Van Bever, Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 11, 1955 - Claes races the Jaguar D in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)
June 11, 1955 - Freddy Rousselle with Swaters after participating in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)
July 1, 1956 - Alain de Changy and Freddy Rousselle race the Ferrari 500TR in the 12 Hour Reims. (© Ted Walker - Ferret Fotographs)
July 7, 1956 - Preparing to race the Jaguar D and Ferrari 500TR in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)
July 28, 1956 - Freddy Rousselle racing the Jaguar D in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)
July 28, 1956 - Lucien Bianchi and Alain de Changy race the Ferrari 500TR in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (Collection Unknown)
September 17-24, 1956 - Gendebien and Ringoir race the Ferrari 250GT Coupè during the Tour de France. (Collection Unknown)
September 17-24, 1956 - Willy Mairesse and Jojo Berger race the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta during the Tour de France. (Collection Unknown)
June 22, 1957 - Paul Frere and Freddy Roussell race the Jaguar D and the Ferrari 500TRC in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (Collection Unknown)
June 22, 1957 - The Ferrari 500TRC and Ferrari 290MM before the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Ted Walker - Ferret Fotographics)
June 22, 1957 - Swaters before the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
June 1, 1958 - Willy Mairesse and Alain de Changy drive the 250TR in the 1000Km Nurburgring. (Collection Unknown)
June 1, 1958 - Dernier and Beurlys drive a 250GT Berlinetta in the 1000Km Nurburgring. (© Ted Walker - Ferret Fotographics)
June 21, 1958 - The 250TR on the side of the road for the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 21, 1958 -  Lucien Bianci racing the 250TR in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 21, 1958 - Beuryls and Changy race the 250TR in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
July 5, 1958 - Willy Mairesse and Lèon Dernier drive the 250GT Berlinetta in the 12 Hour Reims. (© Collection Swaters)
July 5, 1958 - Willy Mairesse and Beuryls participate in the 12 Hour Reims. (© Andre Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 7, 1959 - Beuryls  races the 250GT Berlinetta in the 1000Km Nurburgring (© Andrè Van Beber, Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 20, 1959 - Swaters with Beulys and Dernier on the 250GT Berlinetta after the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 20, 1959 - Beuryls and Dernier racing the 250GT Berlinetta in the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)

In 1950, Jacques Swaters along with three friends – Charles de Tornaco, André Pilette and Roger Laurent – launched their first racing team, Ecurie Belgique. (Translation: Belgium Racing Team).

Swaters’ first cars included a BMW 328, a Veritas and the MG. He later purchased a Grand Prix Talbot Lago.

But the team’s name, Ecurie Belgique, incurred the wrath of the R.A.C.B (Royal Automobile Club de Belgique), the governing body overseeing Belgium race teams. They announced Swaters could not call his team, Ecurie Belgique. During this same time, Johnny Claes created a racing team named Ecurie Belge, forming two racing teams with virtually the same name.

May 22, 1960 - Swaters speaks to Beuryls a the 1000Km Nurburgring. (Collection Unknown)
May 22, 1960 - Beuryls races the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the 1000Km Nurburgring. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 25, 1960 - Swaters with Beuryls and the Ferrari 250GTBerlinetta at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
September 14-20, 1961 - Mairesse and Berger drive the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the Tour de France. (© Raymond Coppieters)
September 15 - 23, 1960 - Mairesse and Berger drive the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta during the Tour de France. (© Ted Walker - Ferret Fotographics)
September 23, 1960 - Mairesse on Schlesser & Loustel\'s shoulders after the Tour de France. (© Presse Sports)
September 15-23, 1962 - Swaters with Langlis and the Ferrari 250GTO at the Tour de France. (© Jean Bellemans)
September 15-23, 1962 - Langlis and Darville rotate driving the Ferrari 250GTO during the Tour de France. (© Photo Junior)
May 14, 1961 - Swaters with Berger and Mairesse at the GP de Spa. (© Jean Bellemans)
May 14, 1961 - Orban races the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the GP de Spa. (Collection Unknown)
May 14, 2961 - Berger in the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the GP de Spa. (Collection Unknown)
May 28, 1961 - Berger races the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the 1000Km Nurburgring. (Collection Unknown)
June 10, 1961 - Berger and Bianchi race the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)
June 18, 1961 - Gendebien in the Ferrari 156F1 at the GP de Belgique. (Collection Unknown)
June 18, 1961 - Gendebien racing in the Ferrari 156F1 (8) at the GP de Belgique. (Collection Unknown)
April 1, 1962 - Swaters with Mairesse at the GP de Bruxelles. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
May 20, 1962 - Darville driving the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the GP de Spa. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
May 20, 1962 - Jacques Van Den Haute in the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the GP de Spa. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
May 27, 1962 - Noblet and Guichet drive the ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the 1000Km Nurburgring. (Collection Unknown)
May 27, 1962 - Swaters at the 1000kmNurburgring. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
May 27, 1962 - Beuryls and Dernier race the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta in the 1000Km Nurburgring. (Collection Unknown)
May 27, 1962 - The Ferrari 250Gt Berlinetta ran off-course in the 1000KmNurburgring. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
December 2, 1962 - The Ferrari 250GTO at the GP Angola. (© Collection Swaters)
December 2, 1962 - The Ferrari 250GTO at the GP Angola. (© Collection Swaters)
May 12, 1963 - Swaters and Mairesse at the 500Km Francorchamps. (© Jean Bellemans)
May 12, 1963 - Langlois and Bianchi drove the 250GT Berlinetta Drogo at the 500Km Francorchamps. (© Jean Bellemans)
May 12, 1963 - The 250GT Berlinetta Drogo at the 500Km Francorchamps. (© Vincent Gaye)
May 12, 1963 - Willy Mairesse races the Ferrari 250GTO at the 500Km Francorchamps. (© Agence Unitas)
May 19, 1963 - Dernier and Langlois race the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta at the 1000Km Nurburgring. (Collection Unknown)
June 15, 1963 - Beuryls and Langlois race the Ferrari 250GTO at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Claude Hertogs)
June 15, 1963 - Bdernier and Dumay race the Ferrari 250GTO at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (Collection Unknown)
June 15, 1963 - Swaters with Beuryls and the Ferrari 250GTO during the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Daniel Hocedez)
June 15, 1963 - Beuryls crosses the finish line in a Ferrari 250GTO at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)

The R.A.C.B. did not think a team could have the same name as the country and, furthermore, Belgium couldn’t support more than one official team.

So in 1952, Swaters renamed the team Ecurie Francorchamps, which operated from 1952-1982 under his leadership. It was that very same year that Swaters was considered an official racing customer of the Ferrari factory. He purchased a Ferrari 500 F2 (chassis No. 0208) to race in Formula Two events during the next two years.

In 1955, the R.A.C.B. was looking for sponsorship opportunities and Belgian Shell, the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, agreed to become the official sponsor of Belgium’s racing team. To gain this sponsorship, Swaters and Claes agreed to create a new team. Shell wanted a team with a name that was more representative of Belgium, so Equipe National Belge was formed.

May 17, 1964 - Boulanger races the Ferrari 250GTO at the 500Km Spa. (© Corsa Research)
May 17, 1964 - Langlois drives the Ferrari 250GTO at the 500Km Spa. (Collection Unknown)
May 17, 1964 - Noblet races the Ferrari 250GTO at the 500Km Spa. (Collection Unknown)
May 17, 1964 - Bianchi drives the Ferrari 250GTO at the 500Km Spa. (Collection Unknown)
May 31, 1964 - Gosselin and Van Lysbeth drive the Ferrari 250GTO (75) in the 1000Km Nurburgring. (Collection Unknown)
May 31, 1964 - Beuryls and DuMay rotate driving the Ferrari 250LM at the 1000Km Nurburgring. (Collection Unknown)
May 23, 1965 - The Ferrari 250LM at the 1000Km Nurburgring. (© Jean Bellemans)
June 20, 1964 - Dumay and Langlois rotate driving the Ferrari 250LM at the 24 hour Du Mans. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 20, 1964 - Dumay and Langlois rotate driving the Ferrari 250LM at the 24 hour Du Mans. (Collection Unknown)
June 20, 1964 - The race team with the Ferrari 250LM after the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Raymond Coppieters)
June 20, 1964 - Swaters with Beurlys and Bianchi on the Ferrari 250GTO at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (Collection Unknown)
September 11-20, 1964 - Bianchi and Berger in the Ferrari 250GTO lights the course at the Tour de France. (Collection Unknown)
September 11-20, 1964 - Dubois and De Montaigu race the Ferrari 250GTO at the Tour de France. (Collection Unknown)
September 11-20, 1964 - Soisbault and Roure races at night in the Ferrari 250GTO at the Tour de France. (Collection Unknown)
November 29, 1964 - Bianchi in the Ferrari 250LM at the GP Angola. (Collection Unknown)
November 29, 1964 - The Ferrari 250LM after the GP Angola. (© Collection Swaters)
November 29, 1964 - Swaters at the GP Angola. (© Collection Swaters)
April 25, 1965 - Mairesse races the Ferrari 250LM in the 1000Km Monza. (Collection Unknown)
May 16, 1965 - Soisbault drove the Ferrari 250LM in the 500Km Spa. (© Jacques Breuer)
May 16, 1965 - Langlois races the Ferrari 250GTO (31) at the 500Km Spa. (© Jacques Breuer)
May 15, 1965 - Mairesse drove the Ferrari 250LM at the 500Km Spa. (Collection Unknown)
May 16, 1965 - The Ferrari 250LM at the 500Km Spa. (Collection Unknown)
May 23, 1965 -  Gosselin and Dumay rotate driving the Ferrari 250LM at the 1000Km Nurburgring. (© Jean Bellemans)
May 23, 1965 - Langlois and Boulanger drove the Ferrari 250LM at the 1000Km Nurburgring. (Collection Unknown)
June 19, 1965 - The Ferrari 250LM at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Dominique Gasnerie - Librairie Doc\'Auto)
June 19, 1965 - The Ferrari 250LM at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)
June 19, 1965 - The crowd admiring the Ferrari 250LM at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Alexis Callier)
June 19, 1965 - Swaters with Mairesse and Beuryls detailing the Ferrari 275GTB at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Alexis Callier)
June 19, 1965 - Swaters with Mairesse at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
June 19, 1965 - Swaters with Langlois, Dernier and the Ferrari 250LM at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Alexis Callier)

Swaters maintained Ecurie Francorchamps. He would race with the Equipe National Belge team for races sponsored by Shell and R.A.C.B, but he would also enter races with his Ecurie Francorchamps team.

Equipe National Belge didn’t last long. It dissolved in 1958.

“A little bit of my freedom was taken away under Belgian Shell’s sponsorship,” Swaters said. “With Claes passing away from cancer in 1956, I decided to dissolve Equipe Nationale Belge and continue racing as Ecurie Francorchamps once again.”

 

 

Swaters’ best experiences were not as a driver but as a team manager. Swaters’ journey through racing, managing and ownership was alongside his good friends and fellow drivers Laurent, Pilette, de Tornaco, Olivier Gendebien and Paul Frère.

February 5, 1966 - The teams of Dernier/Ickx and Bianchi/Langlois race the Ferrari 250LM (26) and Ferrari 365P2/3 (25) at the 24 Hour Daytona. (© Collection Henry Ford - Reuse Restrictions Apply)
February 5, 1966 - Bianchi and Langlois with the Ferrari 365P2/3 at the 24 Hour Daytona. (© Collection Henry Ford - Reuse Restrictions Apply)
February 5, 1966 - The Ferrari 250LM at the 24 Hour Daytona. (© Eric Della Faille - Collection Alexis Callier)
February 5, 1966 - Swaters with his team and the Ferrari 365P2/3 at the 24 Hour Daytona. (© Collection Swaters)
April 25, 1966 - Swaters with his Ferrari 250LM (20) at the 1000Km Monza. (Collection Unknown)
April 25, 1966 - Noblet and Dernier rotate racing the Ferrari 250LM at the 1000Km Monza. (Collection Unknown)
April 25, 1966 - Beuryls and Bianchi take turns driving the Ferrari 275P2 at the 1000Km Monza. (Collection Unknown.)
May 22, 1966 - Swaters overlooking the Ferrari 275P2 at the 1000Km Spa. (© Daniel Hocedez)
May 22, 1966 -Gosselin and De Keyn race the ferrari 250 LM at the 1000Km Spa. (© Claude Hertogs)
June 18, 1966 - Beuryls and DuMay race the Ferrari 275P2 at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (Collection Unknown)
June 18, 1966 - The team overlooking the Ferrari 275P2 at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection of Henry Ford - Reuse Restrictions Apply)
June 18, 1966 - Gosselin and De Keyn drove the Ferrari 250LM at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Jean Badre - Photo Beroul - Le Mans)
June 18, 1966 - The Ferrari 275GTB at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Jean Badre - Photo Beroul - Le Mans)
November 5, 1966 - Mairesse and Beuryls drove the Ferrari 275P2 at the 9H. Kyalami. (© Collection Swaters)
November 5, 1966 - The Ferrari 250LM at the 9H Kyalami. (© Collection Swaters)
May 1, 1967 - The Ferrari 412P at the 1000Km Spa. (© Alexis Callier)
May 1, 1967 - Mairesse and Beuryls race the Ferrari 412P at the 1000Km Spa. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 10, 1967 - Working on the Ferrari 330P4 at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)
June 10, 1967 - Team members sitting atop the Ferrari 330P4 at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)
June 10, 1967 - Swaters with Beuryls and Forghieri at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Andrè Van Bever - Collection Nicole Englebert)
June 10, 1967 - Swaters with the team around the Ferrari 330P4 at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (Collection Unknwon)
February 25, 1968 - Beuryls races the Ferrari 412P at the CS Condroz. (© Joel de Harlez)

“I loved working on the cars and preparing for the big race,” Swaters said. “But my lasting memories were the team dinners and long journeys traveling from one track to another. We were living for tomorrow trying to do something better the next day. We had the fantastic Ferrari spirit.”

Ecurie Francorchamps raced in all parts of the world, while sometimes beating the Ferrari factory team’s own performance. One such occasion was at the 1965 Le Mans. At this race, all the factory cars dropped out by midnight because the new, ventilated brake discs broken. This left the Ecurie Francorchamps 250 LM in first place and Luigi Chinetti’s National American Racing Team (NART) 250 LM second.

May 17, 1970 - Bell and Fierlant rotate driving the Ferrari 512S at the 1000Km Spa. (Collection Unknown)
May 17, 1970 - The Ferrari 512S races at the 1000Km Spa. (Collection Unknown)
May 17, 1970 -  The Ferrari 512S at the 1000Km Spa. (Collection Unknown)
June 13, 1970 - Walker and Fierlant race the Ferrari 512S at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Daniel Hendrickx)
June 13, 1970 - The Ferrari 512S competes at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Daniel Hendrickx)
November 7, 1970 - Swaters\' Ferrari 512S participates in the 9H Kyalami. (© Collection Swaters)
January 30, 1971 - Bell and Fierlant drive the Ferrari 512S at the 9 Hour Kyalami. (© Collection Swaters)
January 30, 1971 - Swaters speaks with Sven at the 24 Hour Daytona Francorchamps. (© Collection Swaters)
June 12, 1971 - The Ferrari 512S at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Alexis Callier)
June 12, 1971 - Number nine, the Ferrari 512S competes at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Alexis Callier)
June 10, 1972 - Bell, Pilette and Bond pilot the Ferrari 265GTB4 at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Washington Photo)
June 10,1 972 - The Ferrari 365GTB4 at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
June 9, 1973 - The Ferrari 365GTB4 at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
June 9, 1973 -  Number 34, the Ferrari 365GTB4 at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
June 14, 1975 - Swatesr with Fierlant and Andruet at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
June 14, 1975 - Fierlant, Andruet and Pilette team together at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Dominique Gasnerie - Librairie Doc\'Auto)
June 10, 1978 - The Ferrari 512BB sits at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
June 9, 1979 - The team works on the Ferrari 512BB/LM at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
June 9, 1979 - De Drijver, Beurlys and Faure drive the Ferrari 512BB/LM at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Collection Swaters)
June 13, 1981 - The Ferrari 512BB/LM at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Photo-Actualites)
June 19, 1982 - Number 70, the Ferrari 512BB/LM at the 24 Hour Du Mans. (© Dominique Gasnerie - Librairie Doc\'Auto)

 

Swaters shared one of his fondest memories: “By 2 p.m., we thought we had won the race. We were way ahead of the NART entry when the unthinkable happened: Our right rear tire blew. Our driver brought it back to the pits. The rear body was completely destroyed and the repair cost us two to three laps. Chinetti’s car went on to win, and we got second. It was a race the entire team would never forget.”

Ecurie Francorchamps last Le Mans was in 1982, with a Ferrari BBLM.

Swaters and his Belgian teams compiled a record of great success and consistency over a surprisingly long period of time. Swaters used a variety of Ferraris, but certain chassis numbers provided great wins and lasting memories. (See chart) It’s a tribute both to Ferrari and to Swaters, who prepared, maintained and raced such great cars.