Michael Schumacher’s illustrious career has become synonymous with the red Ferrari. Racing diehards, however, will recognise that one of the most remarkable moments of the German driver’s career comes from his fascinating debut in the early 1990s.
The Jordan 191 was the vehicle that introduced Michael Schumacher to the racing world, and is now being sold by historic car dealer Speedmaster Cars for a reported AUD$2.3 million. Launching the career of the 7-time World Champion, the Chassis no6 was used to outpace his more experienced teammate Andrea de Cesaris in his very first practice at Spa-Francorchamps in 1991.
You’ll also love:
Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition is a Track-Ready Production Animal
F1 Champion Sebastian Vettel Sells Ferrari Collection in Just 72 Hours
The Bugatti F1 Concept Straight Out of a Video Game
After Jordan driver, Bertrand Gachot famously found himself behind bars after an altercation with a London taxi driver, the team required a replacement. Mercedes suggested they would offer the services of the young German for a fee, so the then sports-car driver suddenly found himself a seat inside the little green machine.
The Jordan team had taken three cars (chassis no4, 5 and 6) to the Belgian GP at Spa. Having never driven the 191, he immediately went faster than his teammate Andrea de Cesaris. Supposing it must have been the car’s fault, De Cesaris changed from no6 to the spare no4. Schumacher then jumped into no6 and set the 8th fastest time for FP1 – his more experienced teammate still failed to beat his time. Schumacher had arrived.
With the Italian back in car no6, Schumacher was 7th fastest in qualifying and bested his team-mate, who started 11th on the grid. Unfortunately, Schumacher’s first race was cut short after a clutch failure in the second corner on the first lap, but it didn’t matter, a star was born.
“Schumacher’s uninhibited performance was one of the highlights of the two days of practice and qualifying,” Denis Jenkinson wrote in Motor Sport, already referring to Schumacher as the ‘wonder-boy’. “His eighth place in the qualifying times (promoted to seventh later) was the sort of thing that made one sit up and take notice and personally prompted me to journey out to the far end of the circuit to get an idea of how it was achieved.”
During the race, Andrea de Cesaris in car no6 was on pace to beat Aryton Senna for an unbelievable debut for the Jordan team. Flaunting the car’s ability, he climbed to second place before blowing his engine with three laps left. However, the car in question was honoured with claiming the fastest lap of the race.
Still in driveable condition, Langford Performance Engineering recently rebuilt the Jordan 191’s Ford engine, the same company that rebuilt the engine in 1991. Having been run consistently during the three decades since it departed the track, the race-car was driven as recently as this year in a demo at 2021 Donington Masters.
The Jordan 191 is a symbol of everything special about the golden age of racing in the 90s. Not only was this Schumacher’s first ever F1 car, it competed against gods of the sport including Senna, Prost and Mansell. If you want to get your hands on and body behind the wheel of motor racing history, Jordan 191 chassis no6 is currently on sale at Speedmaster Cars.