Peter Lumsden (racing driver)

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Peter James Scott Lumsden, CBE (20 February 1929 – 15 October 2017) was a British motorsport competitor who gained renown between 1959 and 1965 racing at Le Mans, the Nürburgring, Silverstone & Goodwood before twice winning at Brands Hatch in his final season in 1965. He is the younger son of Lieutenant-General Herbert Lumsden and brother of Michael.

Career Highlights[edit]

Lumsden started racing in 1956 with the Lotus-Climax Mk IX and enjoyed considerable success including victory in his first time out with the Mk IX at Goodwood which, together with numerous other second and third places, brought him the prestigious Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy at the end of the season. After a less rewarding year in 1957 with a Lotus Eleven, Lumsden acquired the third Lotus Elite prototype built (WUU2) in late 1958.

The Elite was raced quite extensively in 1959, notably in the Le Mans 24 Hours in which Lumsden and his co-driver Peter Riley finished eighth overall, first in the 1500 cc GT class, second in the newly instigated Index of Thermal Efficiency and fifth in the Index of Performance. A few weeks earlier the two Peters had won the 1300 cc GT class in the Nurburgring 1000 km round of the World Sports Car Championship.

Peter Sargent and Peter Lumsden first raced together in the 1960 Nurburgring 1000 Ks, finishing second in the 1300 cc GT class to the Team Elite entry for Alan Stacey and John Wagstaff. Driving solo, Peter Lumsden won the 1300 CC GT class of the 1960 RAC Tourist Trophy at Goodwood, finishing ninth overall behind various Ferraris and Aston Martins plus Graham Hill's Porsche Carrera Abarth and 5.2 seconds ahead of Graham Warner's famous Elite LOV 1 after three hours of racing.

The Elite's last season in 1961 produced another 1300 cc GT class win in the Nurburgring 1000 km, sharing with Peter Riley for the final time, but in the TT, although finishing eighth overall, Lumsden had to settle for second in class to Les Leston's Elite DAD 10.

In 1961 supply problems at Jaguar meant the earliest E-Type cars were provided by Sir William Lyons exclusively to influential motor sport teams and drivers and Lumsden & Sargent were able to acquire one of the earliest (898 BYR) off the production line. In late September 1961 a fifth place in the Molyslip Trophy at Snetterton behind Mike Parkes (Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta), Roy Salvadori (E-type) and Innes Ireland (Aston Martin DB4GT), and ahead of all the other E-types, was an encouraging debut while the high point of the following year was Le Mans where the two Peters finished fifth overall, and second in the 4-litre GT class behind the Roy Salvadori/Briggs Cunningham E-type. With little more than an hour of the race remaining, 898 BYR was several laps ahead of the Cunningham car when the gearbox became stuck in fourth gear and they could only tour round to the finish.[1][2]

In 1963 Lumsden & Sargent acquired the Lightweight E-Type (49 FXN). On its debut in the 1963 Nurburgring 1000 km, Lumsden crashed 49 FXN heavily and was fortunate to escape with his life. The car was returned to the Jaguar factory to be rebuilt and subsequently underwent extensive aerodynamic revision under Dr Samir Klat of Imperial College to become the unique low drag light weight E-type known as the Lumsden/Sargent car and one of the most sought after E-types of all time. On returning to competition in 1964, the car was timed at 168 mph on the Mulsanne straight during the Le Mans test weekend but the car failed to complete the race itself due to gearbox failure. Lumsden's best result of his few races in the car that year was eighth overall, fifth in class, in the Goodwood TT. Peter Sargent retired from racing at the end of that year but the car was retained for Peter Lumsden to race for one more season, yielding a couple of victories in club races at Brands Hatch but it was no longer competitive against the new generation of Cobras and Ferrari 250GT0s. For his last visit to the Nurburgring, Lumsden shared Peter Sutcliffe's Ferrari 250GTO to win the 3-litre GT class. 49 FXN was sold at the end of the 1965 season and Peter Lumsden joined Peter Sargent in racing retirement.[3][4]

Retirement[edit]

A chartered accountant by qualification, when Lumsden left the London Stock Exchange he took up farming near Dover. In 1995 he was appointed a CBE for services to healthcare[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ British Racing Drivers' Club
  2. ^ Jaguar E-Type
  3. ^ Jaguar Lightweight E-type: The autobiography of 49 FXN. Porter Press (Great Cars) ISBN 1907085203
  4. ^ Porter, Philip (1989). Jaguar E-Type: the definitive history. G T Foulis & Co Ltd. ISBN 0854295801
  5. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette, I7th June 1995 B9