A man convicted of killing his wife is set to be a car owner in the 2018 Indianapolis 500.
IndyCar Series team Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports, which fields the No. 5 car currently driven by James Hinchcliffe and the No. 7 car that has been piloted by multiple drivers in 2017, said Tuesday that it was teaming with former F1 owner Didier Calmels to field a third car in the 500 for Tristan Gommendy.
Calmels, a former owner in Formula 1, shot his wife Dominique in 1989.
SPM, for its part, told the Indianapolis Star that it was “aware” of Calmels murder conviction. Better to be aware than not aware?
“The matter is of public record and we have been aware of it throughout our discussion,” SPM co-owner Sam Schmidt told the Star in a statement. “Didier has fulfilled his obligations and gone on to become a successful businessman and team owner in European motor sport.”
Calmels was convicted by a French court in 1990 and sentenced to six years in prison as it was considered a crime of passion. Per the Star, he served two.
Before his conviction, Calmels was a co-owner of the Larrousse & Calmels Racing in F1 with Gerard Larrouse. The team, formed in 1987, dropped Calmels’ name from it after his trial.
When Calmels was co-owner of Larrouse, the team’s best finish was a fourth.
In 1992 half of the team was sold to a company owned by a man named Klaus Walz who went by the alias of Rainer Walldorf.
Somehow, Walz’s story is crazier than Calmels’. Here’s what happened after Walz’s house was raided by Frence police. From GrandPrix.com.
He was arrested but asked if he could collect some documents from his desk and while he was doing so he pulled out a hand grenade and threatened to blow it up unless the policemen did as he ordered. They agreed and all but one of them were handcuffed to the furniture. Walldorf ordered the police inspector to drive him into the hills where a rendez-vous was arranged with an accomplice. The police inspector was left handcuffed to the car and the grenade was thrown away to explode harmlessly and Walldorf disappeared. A month later he was found by German police in a hotel. After a nine hour seige the police stormed Walldorf’s room and he was killed during a gun battle, ending the shortest – and possibly the most colorful – career as a Formula 1 team owner.
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