Jac Nellemann »
Foto: Morten Alstrups arkiv
Jac Nellemann has always been a first-mover. If something new was happening in Danish motorsport there was a very good chance that Jac Nellemann was involved. Either as a driver or behind the scenes - or both.
It all began when karts were introduced in Denmark in the early 60's. Jac was driving in some of the first races in Denmark and he won a Danish Championship in 1966. Soon after something new turned up. In England a new class - Formula Ford - was introduced and soon Jac took a car to Denmark and got the class established.
In 1971 he again spotted an opportunity. In the class for Group 1 cars there was no limit at the engine size. So instead of choosing one of the well known european cars from BMW, Ford or Opel he went across the Atlantic ocean to get a Chevrolet Camaro. A huge car for the small Danish tracks, but when the season ended Jac Nellemann and his 'bus' were Danish Champions.
1973 brought another Danish Championship - this time in Formula Ford - but it was another race that attracted attention. For the first time Formula 5000 visited Denmark - and of course Jac was racing. He came 6th at Jyllandsringen, but that was to be his only race in Formula 5000.
He then began racing all over Europe in Formula 3 aiming for the top class - Formula 1. He succeeded in 1976.....almost. He got a seat at the RAM-team for the Swedish Grand Prix in a Brabham, but he did not qualify. Only 24/100 seconds kept him from becoming the second Dane to start an F1 Grand Prix. But the dream of Formula 1 was still alive. Why hire a car when you can buy one? Jac Nellemann bought a Penske F1 racer with the intention to start a Danish Formula 1 team. But the brave attempt failed - the printers union called for a strike which left Denmark without newpapers for months and thus it was impossible to convince sponsors to support the team. When the strike ended the F1 season had begun and the dream about a Danish F1 team had to be given up.
Since then Jac Nellemann has participated in motorsport at a lower level - in the later years mainly in historic racing. He kept his reputation as a first mover, though. When windsurfing grew big in Denmark in the late 80s, he became Danish Champion in the Old-boys class.
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