The winning make on that occasion was Alpine-Renault with Frenchman Jean-Claude Andruet at the wheel. The firm went on to become the inaugural world champion manufacturer at the end of that year, beating Fiat and Ford.
So on this momentous occasion, we take a quick look at 10 more famous names celebrating their 40th birthdays in January 2013.
Giancarlo Fisichella - born January 14, 1973
The Italian Formula One star (and winner of a solitary grand prix) ended his career on a high by driving for Ferrari to replace the injured Felipe Massa in 2009 - but without troubling the overall results much. He currently still competes in GT racing now.
Sean Paul - born January 8, 1973
The Jamaican decided not to go into the family business of competitive swimming (his grandfather and father both represented their country at water polo) and instead made music - meeting with staggering success.
Elvis Presley Junior - born January 25, 1973
A controversial one this as Elvis Junior’s paternity is disputed - but the man himself staunchly claims that he is the genuine son of the king of rock and roll. He has since carved out a living impersonating his father with various tribute acts all over the world.
Lisa Faulkner - born January 2, 1973
The British actress has starred in well-known UK series such as Brookside, Holby City and Spooks. Her Spooks character came to a particularly gruesome end: she had her hands and face burned in a deep fat fryer before being shot in the head at point blank range, ensuring a swift yet permanent exit from the series.
Henning Solberg - born January 8, 1973
A man who needs no introduction as Petter’s older brother and a WRC podium finisher (pictured). Previously a regular on the championship, his plans for next year are still unclear. We could yet see a Solberg back in the WRC...
Rahul Dravid - born January 11, 1973
The former Indian cricket captain is a legend in his homeland and the third highest run scorer in test cricket. For a while he was the face of Reebok, where he was nicknamed ‘the wall’ in recognition of his defensive prowess.
Lucy Davis - born January 2, 1973
Fans of the Office - the excruciatingly painful British comedy about everyday office life, which has been televised all over the world - will recognise Lucy as Dawn: David Brent’s long-suffering secretary.
Shinobu Nakayama - born January 18, 1973
What do you mean, you don’t know who she is? You’re obviously not Japanese. Shinobu is a well-known actress and singer in her homeland, specializing in the dubious art that is known worldwide as ‘J-Pop’
Juan Diego Florez - born January 13, 1973
The Peruvian opera singer has already received his country’s highest ever civilian honour: the Gran Cruz de la Orden del Sol del Peru. He’s been heaped with countless prizes ever since, and even been nominated for a Grammy award.
Antero Manninen - born January 19, 1973
It’s somehow appropriate that a Finn should be the only remotely famous person to share the exact birthday of the WRC manufacturers’ championship. Antero - born on the day that the 1973 Rallye Monte-Carlo started - is a Finnish cellist, who was also the co-inventor of a completely new but little-known genre of music: Cello Metal. We promise we’re not making that up.