Jo “Seppi” Siffert is part of motor racing history, inspiring a film and the likes of Steve McQueen. The Swiss Formula One driver’s life and his lesser-known friendship with the kinetic artist Jean Tinguely is the subject of a new exhibition.
Born 80 years ago in Fribourg, he started 100 Grand Prix races, winning two. He died tragically at the age of 35 in an end-of-season non championship Formula One race. When his car suspension broke, Siffert crashed and the car went up in flames.
Stiffert grew up in a poor family, and was barely a teenager when he caught the racing bug and decided to make the need for speed his life.
His life was documented in 2006’s “Jo Siffert: Live Fast Die Young” and Steve McQueen is said to have modelled himself on Siffert in the film “Le Mans”.
Fribourg photographer Jean-Claude Fontana’s images show Stiffert’s life on and off the track and include rarely-seen shots of young pals Tinguely (also from Fribourg) and Siffert. In “I will call you Seppi”, a selection of the works are on display at the Fribourg cantonal and university library until September 9.