Innes Ireland  Great Britain

  • Full name Robert McGregor Innes Ireland
  • Birth date June 16, 1930
  • Birthplace Mytholmroyd, Todmorden, Yorkshire, Great Britain
  • Date of death October 23, 1993 (63 years 129 days)
  • Place of death Reading, Berkshire, Great Britain
  • Teams BRM, BRP, Team Lotus
driver portrait
World Championship Career
Year Car Race Start Won Pod Class Best Pole Front Best Lap Hat Pts Pos
1959 Team Lotus 6 6 0 0 2 4 0 0 9 0 0 5 14
1960 Team Lotus 8 8 0 3 7 2 0 2 2 1 0 18 4
1961 Team Lotus 7 6 1 1 3 1 0 0 7 0 0 12 6
1962 Team Lotus 8 8 0 0 3 5 0 1 3 0 0 2 16
1963 BRP, Team Lotus 7 7 0 0 3 4 0 0 5 0 0 6 9
1964 Team Lotus, BRP 8 7 0 0 5 5 0 0 10 0 0 4 14
1965 Team Lotus 7 6 0 0 3 9 0 0 13 0 0 0 -
1966 BRM 2 2 0 0 0 - 0 0 16 0 0 0 -
Total 53 50 1 4 26 1 0 3 2 1 0 47
Race Circuit Date
First race Dutch Grand Prix Zandvoort May 31, 1959 Race results
Last race Mexican Grand Prix Mexico City October 23, 1966 Race results
Profile

Innes Ireland was one of the sports great characters of whom the Guardian said: "His cavalier approach to life disguises the fact he was an outstandingly fast and accomplished driver". As a teenager he trained as an engineer with Rolls Royce before serving as an officer with the King's Own Scottish Borderers, and he did not start racing seriously until 1957, by which time he was 27. He did well enough in sports car racing to be offered a drive in Formula One by Lotus, finishing fourth and fifth in the two races he completed, and in 1960 he came fourth in the Drivers' Championship thanks to a second at the Dutch Grand Prix and third at Silverstone - he also won three non-Championship races. That year he really hit the headlines by beating Stirling Moss at Goodwood and Oulton Park.

In 1961 he was badly injured during practice for the opening race of the year in Monaco, breaking his collarbone, wrist and leg, and almost suffering a worse fate as doctors tried to give him morphine, to which he was allergic. Only the intervention of Moss, who had gone to his aid, prevented a more serious outcome. He recovered in time to record his only F1 win in the USA GP at Watkins Glen after starting eighth on the grid. It gave Lotus their first F1 win but Ireland's reward was to be sacked a few weeks later, Colin Chapman decided Jim Clark was a better prospect.

He straight away received an offer to drive for the UDT-Laystall Racing Team, which he accepted, only a day later to be given the chance to join Graham Hill at BRM. He felt honour-bound to stick with his first choice, and while they underperformed, Hill went on to win the 1962 Drivers' Championship. He remained in F1 until 1966, his only real successes a brace of fourths and fifths, as he switched between a succession of teams.

After retiring he became sports editor of Autocar for a year before leaving to compete in the London-Sydney Rally. His experiences formed the basis of the book Marathon in the Dust, the follow-up to his acclaimed autobiography All Arms and Elbows. He dabbled in a number of ventures, eventually settling back to writing, and at the time of his death was President of the British Racing Drivers Club.

Martin Williamson

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May 20, 2010

Innes Ireland at the wheel of his BRP-run Lotus 24

July 23, 1961

Innes Ireland wins a non-championship race in Stuttgart

May 29, 1960

An exhausted Innes Ireland trying to push his Lotus 18 up the hill at Monaco

     

Innes Ireland Formula 1 photos

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