Juan-Manuel Fangio is to rise again from the ashes – not quite literally as his body is to be exhumed as part of a paternity case. He died in 1995 and the 20th anniversary is coming up in a few weeks.
Two years ago, Oscar “Cacho” Espinoza launched the case to prove that he is the illegitimate son of the great champion. This is an interesting case. Fangio, the elder, never married but had a relationship with a lady called Andrea Beurret. She left her husband shortly before Cacho was born and there was an assumption that Fangio was his father, however no one really knows. Cacho has stated that Fangio insisted that the boy use his name when together, however his mother gave him her ex husband’s surname.
What is interesting is the motive for the case – 20 years after the great champion’s death.
Back in 2000, Cacho was interviewed about his own racing career where he had used the Fangio name, however, he was embarrased about the connection. It was a taboo for the family to talk about the connection with the great man. Clearly the name opened doors for him during his own career and he admitted at the time that he had only met Fangio a few times in conjunction with another great Argentine racer/manufacturer, De Tomaso.
At that time (2000) Espinoza was running a betting agency having finished his racing career at a much lower level than his “father”.
In 2009 another article was written about the connection and again he did not want to talk about it – I also read an article that stated that Cacho had unsuccessfully sued Fangio after his retirement to use the name. Perhaps this suit meant that he could not talk about it. There was a contradiction as well because the article suggested that he had seen the champion a lot during his childhood.
So moving forward, we get to 2013 and another suit is started. Why? Has his mother died and he now feels that the time is right? I have not heard of the reason – perhaps there is a pot of gold somewhere.
There have been other claims of paternity, all unsuccessful as the champion kept his personal cards close to his chest.
In the earliest article I read, Cacho spoke about his “cousin” Juan-Manuel Fangio II who was also a racer in the US and the earlier champion’s nephew.
I think we will hear more about this case later in the year – the exhumation is scheduled for August 7th and I’ll update this article when I learn more.
The exhumation was successful for Cacho with the judge reading the DNA results taken from the exhumation saying that there was a 99% match to the F1 Champion. At the same time another long lost son also took a DNA test (as the body was available) and also found a match. Ruben Vasquez was determined to be another son that Fangio had. Interestingly both men do look similar to each other and to the Champion.