The Swede drove for the works Lotus, BRM and March groups earlier than a profession that began so promisingly light away, and he slipped into the shadow of his shut up to date and longtime rival Ronnie Peterson.
Born in 1941 he started his profession in saloon automobiles in 1962. He graduated to F3 in 1966, scoring a few native wins with a Cooper in his first season.
In 1967 he switched to a Brabham, successful the Swedish title. The earlier yr he had given Swedish karting star Ronnie Peterson, two and half years his junior, some racing instruction at Karlskoga. By 1968 they have been each driving F3 Tecnos, though initially Wisell was a step forward and specializing in the worldwide scene.
By 1969 Peterson had made the step up and the 2 turned eager rivals, notably at Monaco, the place Peterson got here out in high after a well-known battle. That yr Wisell additionally did some sportscar racing with a Chevron.
It was Peterson who made it to F1 first, racing a non-public March from early in 1970. Nevertheless Wisell would finally land the larger alternative. That yr he raced for Sid Taylor in F5000, scoring three late-season victories and ending seventh within the Guards championship.
The wins raised his profile, and after Jochen Rindt’s dying at Monza and the following departure from Staff Lotus of John Miles, Wisell was known as by Colin Chapman to associate Emerson Fittipaldi, who himself had contested solely three grands prix at that stage.
The Swede’s first race was at Watkins Glen, the place he certified eighth, one second off Fittipaldi. Within the closing levels Pedro Rodriguez’s BRM ran out of gasoline handing victory to Fittipaldi in solely the Brazilian’s fourth begin – whereas Wisell earned third on his debut.
Reine Wisell drives the Lotus 72C on his method to third within the 1970 U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, his F1 debut.
Picture by: David Phipps
He’d executed sufficient to earn a full-time seat Lotus seat alongside Fittipaldi in 1971. He was an encouraging fourth within the first race in South Africa and would go on to complete sixth in France, fourth in Austria, and fifth in Italy. In F2 he gained the Pau GP in a Lotus, however it was a largely disappointing F1 season and he was changed for 1972 by Lotus F3 star Dave Walker.
Wisell moved as a substitute to BRM as a part of an expanded multi-car Marlboro-backed line-up, however with different drivers being drafted out and in, he was dropped for a number of races. On the finish of the yr he was known as again to Lotus to switch the lacklustre Walker for the final two GPs. Nevertheless there was no seat for 1973 as Peterson acquired the job.
By now Wisell’s single-seater profession was shedding momentum. In 1973 he rented a March for his residence Grand Prix however failed to start out, and he then drove Mike Beuttler’s automobile within the French GP. He additionally scored a well-known F2 victory for GRD on the Nurburgring in April, whereas working Dunlop tyres on the entrance and Firestones on the rear.
Nevertheless he would make just one extra GP begin, in a works March at Anderstorp in 1974, earlier than his F1 profession fizzled out. Wisell by no means fairly got here to phrases with the truth that Peterson had turn out to be one of many superstars of the game.
He would proceed to compete in GTs and touring automobiles, and did lots of racing in Chevrolet Camaros. He made 4 begins at Le Mans between 1969 and ’74, and latterly his highest profile appearances have been within the Spa 24 Hours, the place he final competed in 1981. Subsequently he was additionally seen in historic racing.
Having walked away from the game, Wisell spent his later years in Thailand, and from there he would make occasional visits to the paddock on the Malaysian GP.
Wisell with Lotus founder Colin Chapman, Zandvoort 1971.
Picture by: David Phipps