Joseph Siffert started as a mechanic repairing motorcycles and then raced them. In 1958, he became Swiss champion with a Norton 350. He had to make huge sacrifices to get to race on four wheels, doing the most varied of jobs: he sold cars, motorbikes, flowers and also waste paper. Jo ate sandwiches and he lived in a van, next to his Lotus. He debuted with the national Swiss team, Filippinetti, at the Belgian GP with a Lotus 24.
Rob Walker hired him and he raced with an old and not very resistant BRM. Siffert stood his ground against Surtees and Clark before the engine stopped. Walker, who considered him the repetition of Stirling Moss, confirmed him in F1 for ’67 and Porsche did the same for the endurance races, where he achieved excellent results. In 1968 he triumphed at Brands Hatch with the Lotus 49: it was the first victory for a Swiss driver and for a private team.
Ferrari became interested in him, but the negotiations took too long and he stayed with Porsche, which, thanks to Jo, won the manufacturers championship. In 1970 he became March’s official driver, but it was an unhappy year. BRM relaunched the team and Louis Stanley called him. He achieved major results, but there were also a lot of glitches and aggressive collisions, between cars of the same team. Siffert gained fame and financial problems were in the past.
He became a restorer, reseller and collector with his own car museum. On the Brands Hatch track, the same one where he achieved his first victory, during the Champion Victory Race in 1971, Joseph swerved and the curtains were drawn over one of the great champions of the ’60s.