Mike Hawthorn

Mike Hawthorn was a British Formula One World Champion who won the Drivers’ Title in 1958. He was the first British driver to win the F1 world championship and, by winning the 1953 French Grand Prix at Reims, the first Briton to win a Grand Prix. Hawthorn was a charismatic, debonair Englishman and during his career, he won a total of 3 Grands Prix and claimed 4 pole positions, all at the wheel of a Ferrari. He also won the Spa 24 Hours in 1953, Sebring 12 Hours in 1955 and the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1955, during which he was caught up in the deadliest crash in motorsport history which claimed the life of 83 spectators and French driver Pierre Levegh. He formed a great friendship with his team-mate Peter Collins and, although he was no stranger to tragedy following Le Mans ’55, he was so devastated when his friend was killed in a crash during the 1958 German Grand Prix, that he retired from motorsport altogether at the end of the season. Just a few months later, on 22 January 1959, Hawthorn died in a car accident after crashing his Jaguar road car on the A3 Guildford bypass, possibly as the result of racing the car of well-known team manager Rob Walker.