Roland Ratzenberger (July 4, 1960, Salzburg, Austria (Though it should be noted Ratzenberger claimed to be born in 1962, wanting to appear younger to help his racing career), - April 30, 1994.
A racing car driver, first came to prominence in 1986, winning the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. This led to campaigns in European Formula Three and Touring Car Championships, but never looked like getting him near his ultimate goal of F1. He followed a traditional route at the time, moving to Japan, forging a successful career in Japanese Formula 3000.
He was plucked from Japan as a surprise choice by Nick Wirth's new Simtek team to drive in the 1994 Formula One season. After failing to qualify at Interlagos, Ratzenberger made his only Grand Prix start two weeks later at TI Aida in Japan. He died in qualifying for the third race of the season at the ill fated Imola circuit, ploughing on into a wall at the Villeneuve corner at almost 200 mph after a front wing failure. He was the first driver to die at a Grand Prix in 12 years, only the day before Ayrton Senna was killed.
While Senna had a chance to prove his greatness, Ratzenberger was tragically never granted that opportunity.