Peter Whitehead (racing driver)

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For other people named Peter Whitehead, see Peter Whitehead (disambiguation).
Peter Whitehead
Nationality United Kingdom British
Born Peter Nield Whitehead
(1914-11-12)12 November 1914
Menston, Yorkshire, England
Died 21 September 1958(1958-09-21) (aged 43)
Lasalle, France
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19501954
Teams Ferrari, (incl. non-works)
non-works Alta and Cooper
Entries 12 (10 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 1
Career points 4
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1950 Monaco Grand Prix
Last entry 1954 British Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 19501955, 19571958
Teams Peter Walker, Jaguar Cars Ltd., Cooper Car Co., David Brown, A. G. Whitehead
Best finish 1st (1951)
Class wins 1 (1951)

Peter Nield Whitehead (12 November 1914 – 21 September 1958) was a British racing driver. He was born in Menston, Yorkshire and was killed in an accident at Lasalle, France, during the Tour de France endurance race. A cultured, knowledgeable and well-travelled racer, he was excellent in sports cars. He won the 1938 Australian Grand Prix, which along with a 24 Heures du Mans win in 1951, probably was his finest achievement, but he also won two 12 Heures internationales de Reims events. He was a regular entrant, mostly for Peter Walker and Graham Whitehead, his half-brother. His death in 1958 ended a career that started in 1935 – however, he was lucky to survive an air crash in 1948.

Early life & pre-war racing[edit]

Yorkshireman Whitehead, coming from a wealthy background, gained from the wool industry, started racing in a Riley when he was 19. He moved up to an ERA B-Type the following season and then scored the first major result for the Alta, when he finished third in the Limerick Grand Prix, a Formula Libre race. In 1936, he shared his ERA with Walker, and finished third in the Donington Grand Prix. He took the ERA to Australia in 1938 while touring on business, where he scored his first major victory, winning the 1938 Australian Grand Prix at Bathurst, as well as the inaugural Australian Hillclimb Championship. He returned in England in 1939 and gained a third place in the Nuffield Trophy.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Post-war racing career[edit]

During World War II, Whitehead was a pilot with the Royal Air Force, and he was back in competition as soon as racing was revived, taking his trusty ERA to second place in the British Empire Trophy, held at the Douglas Circuit on the Isle of Man in the summer of 1947. He also raced in the Lausanne Grand Prix, finishing sixth.[2][4][6][7]

In 1948, he survived a plane crash at Croydon Aerodrome, when he was on his way to Milano, to arrange the purchase a Ferrari 125. The accident left him badly hurt and out of racing for a year.[1][2][4][5][6]

Grand Prix racer[edit]

Peter Whitehead is notable as the first person to whom Enzo Ferrari ever sold a Formula One car: a Ferrari 125 in 1949. With the car painted green, he won the Velká cena Československa. In doing so, he became the first Englishman to win a major international motor race outside of the United Kingdom since Richard Seaman. The following season, Whitehead made his debut in the Formula One championship at Monaco, but did not start. His next outing in the championship came in the Grand Prix l’A.C.F., where he came close to winning but was slowed with a gearbox problem which he dropped to third. That was to be his only podium finished in 11 championship starts between 1950 and 1954.[2][3][4][5][6][8][9]

During 1950 season, he won two minor Formula One races, the Jersey Road Race and the Ulster Trophy, but the biggest career victory came in Sports Cars. He continued to race and win in Formula Two across Europe. Later, he added victories in the 1954 Lady Wigram Trophy, in New Zealand, and repeated the feat in 1956 and 1957. He also won the 1956 Rand Grand Prix. All four of those victories, he was driving a Ferrari.[2]

Sports car racing[edit]

Whitehead takes the flag to win the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans race

1950 saw Whitehead start his first 24 Hours of Le Mans race, together with John Marshall in a Jaguar XK120. The pair finished in 15th place. He teamed up with Peter Walker to win the 1951 race, however, in a Jaguar C-Type, at an average speed of 93.112 mph (149.849 km/h).[2][3][5][10]

In 1953, Whitehead decided to concentrate on sports cars, and in July, he saw more success sharing a Jaguar C-Type with Stirling Moss in the 12 Heures Internationales de Reims. He returned again in 1954, in a full works supported Jaguar D-Type to win the event again partnered by Ken Wharton. Prior to that first win at Reims, he also won the Hyères 12 Hours.[2][5][6][11][12]

Later in 1954, again paired with Wharton, he was placed sixth in the RAC Tourist Trophy road race.[13][14]

Death[edit]

Whitehead's last great performance was at Le Mans in 1958 where he came second in an Aston Martin DB3S, sharing the driving with his half-brother, Graham. A couple of months later Peter and Graham were competing together in the Tour de France, when their Jaguar 3.4-Litre crashed off a bridge into a 30-foot ravine at Lasalle, near Nîmes after overturning twice, with Graham at the wheel. Graham escaped with serious but not life-threatening injuries, but Peter was killed instantly.[2][3][4][5][15][16]

Racing record[edit]

Career highlights[edit]

Season Series Position Team Car
1935 Limerick Grand Prix [2] 3rd Alta
1936 Nuffield Trophy [17] 3rd Peter Whitehead ERA B-Type
Donington Grand Prix [18] 3rd Peter Whitehead ERA B-Type
1937 JCC 200 [18] 2nd Peter Whitehead ERA B-Type
JCC 200 Grand Prix [18] 3rd Peter Whitehead ERA B-Type
1938 Australian Hillclimb Championship [1] 1st ERA B-Type
Australian Grand Prix [19] 1st ERA B-Type
1939 Nuffield Trophy [20] 3rd Peter Whitehead ERA B-Type
1947 British Empire Trophy [21] 2nd ERA B-Type
1949 Velká cena Československa [22] 1st Ferrari 125
Richmond Trophy [23] 2nd ERA B-Type
Woodcote Cup [24] 2nd ERA B-Type
Grand Prix de France [25] 3rd Ferrari 125
1950 Jersey Road Race [26] 1st Ferrari 125
Ulster Trophy [27] 1st Ferrari 125
RAC Tourist Trophy [28] 2nd Jaguar XK120
Grand Prix de l’A.C.F. [29] 3rd Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125
BRDC International Trophy [30] 3rd Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125
FIA Formula One World Championship [31] 9th Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125
1951 Les 24 Heures du Mans [32] 1st Peter Walker Jaguar C-Type
Preis der Ostschweiz-Erlen [33] 1st Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125/166
Gran Premio del V Centenario Colombiano [34] 2nd Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125/166
Hastings Trophy [35] 2nd ERA E-Type
Grand Prix de Bordeaux [36] 3rd Ferrari 125
Grand Prix de Rouen-les-Essarts [37] 3rd Ferrari 125/166
1953 12 Hours of Hyères [38] 1st P.N. Whitehead Jaguar C-Type
12 heures internationales [39] 1st P.N. Whitehead Jaguar C-Type
Mid-Cheshire M.C. F2 race [40] 2nd Atlantic Stable Cooper-Alta T24
RedeX Trophy [41] 2nd Atlantic Stable Cooper-Alta T24
AMOC Trophy [42] 3rd Atlantic Stable Cooper-Alta T24
Coronation Trophy [42] 3rd Atlantic Stable Cooper-Alta T24
Goodwood Nine-Hours [43] 3rd W. Lyons Jaguar XK120C
1954 Lady Wigram Trophy [44] 1st Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125
12 heures internationales [45] 1st Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar D-Type
Circuito do Porto [46] 3rd Peter Whitehead Cooper-Jaguar T33
1955 New Zealand Grand Prix [47] 2nd Peter Whitehead Ferrari 500/625
1956 Lady Wigram Trophy [48] 1st Peter Whitehead Ferrari 500/750S
Southland Road Race [48] 1st Peter Whitehead Ferrari 500/750S
Rand Grand Prix [49] 1st Peter Whitehead Ferrari 500/750S
Ardmore Grand Prix [50] 2nd Peter Whitehead Cooper-Jaguar T38
New Zealand Grand Prix [51] 3rd Peter Whitehead Ferrari 500/750S
Australian Grand Prix [52] 3rd Peter Whitehead Ferrari 555
1957 Lady Wigram Trophy [53] 1st Peter Whitehead Ferrari 555/860
Southland Road Race [53] 1st Peter Whitehead Ferrari 555/860
New Zealand Grand Prix [54] 2nd Peter Whitehead Ferrari 555/860
Dunedin Road Race [53] 3rd Peter Whitehead Ferrari 555/860
1958 24 Heures du Mans [55] 2nd A.G. Whitehead Aston Martin DB3S

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Points
1950 Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 GBR MON
DNS
500 FRA
3
ITA
7
9th 4
Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 SUI
DNA
BEL
1951 Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 SUI
13
500 BEL FRA
Ret
GER ITA
Ret
NC 0
Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 ESP
DNA
G A Vandervell Ferrari 375 Thinwall Ferrari V12 GBR
9
1952 Peter Whitehead Alta F2 Alta Straight-4 SUI 500 BEL FRA
Ret
NC 0
Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 GBR
10
GER NED ITA
DNQ
1953 Atlantic Stable Cooper T24 Alta Straight-4 ARG 500 NED BEL FRA GBR
9
GER SUI ITA NC 0
1954 Peter Whitehead Cooper T24 Alta Straight-4 ARG 500 BEL FRA GBR
Ret
GER SUI ITA ESP NC 0

Non-Championship Formula One results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
1949 Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 BUE EVA RIO SRM
Ret
PAU RIC PAU JER
7
ROU MAR GBR
8
EMP FRO BEL
4
SUI
9
ALB FRA
3
ZAN
DNS
ACF INT LAU
10
ITA
Ret
GOO AUS CSR
1
SAL PER
1950 Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 PAU RIC
Ret
SRM
Ret
PAR EMP BAR JER
1
ALB NED
4
NAT NOT ULS
1
PES STT INT
3
GOO
Ret
PEN
1951 Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 SYR PAU RIC SRM
Ret
BOR
3
INT PAR ULS
DNS
SCO NED
ALT
ALB PES
5
BAR
6
GOO
1952 Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125/166 Ferrari V12 RIO SYR
5
VAL
4
RIC
DNA
LAV PAU IBS
DNA
INT
5
ELÄ NAP EIF ALB
5
FRO ULS DAI
11
COM NAT
Alta F2 Alta L4 MAR
Ret
AST PAR
Ret
MNZ
Ret
LAC ESS MAR
Ret
SAB
DNA
CAE BAU
Ret
MOD CAD SKA MAD
4
AVU JOE
Ret
NEW
7
RIO
1953 Peter Whitehead Cooper T24 Alta L4 SYR
5
PAU LAV
5
AST
3
BOR
Ret
INT
8
ELÄ NAP ULS
4
WIN FRO COR
3
EIF ALB
5
PRI GRE ESS MID ROU STR CRY
5
AVU USF LAC DRE BRI CHE
2
SAB NEW CAD SAC RED
2
SKA LON MOD MAD BER JOE CUR
1954 Peter Whitehead Cooper T24 Alta L4 SYR PAU LAV
Ret
BOR
Ret
INT
DNA
BAR CUR ROM FRO COR BRC CRY ROU CAE AUG COR OUT RED
Ret
PES SAC JOE CAD BER GOO DAI

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1950 United Kingdom P.C.D. Walker United Kingdom John Marshall Jaguar XK120 S5.0 225 15th 8th
1951 United Kingdom Peter Walker United Kingdom Peter Walker Jaguar C-Type S5.0 267 1st 1st
1952 United Kingdom Jaguar Ltd. United Kingdom Ian Stewart Jaguar C-Type S5.0 DNF
(Head gasket)
1953 United Kingdom Jaguar Cars Ltd. United Kingdom Ian Stewart Jaguar C-Type S5.0 297 4th 3rd
1954 United Kingdom Jaguar Cars Ltd. United Kingdom Ken Wharton Jaguar D-Type S5.0 131 DNF
(Gearbox)
1955 United Kingdom Cooper Cars Co United Kingdom Graham Whitehead Cooper-Jaguar T38 S5.0 36 DNF
(Oil pressure)
1957 United Kingdom D. Brown United Kingdom Graham Whitehead Aston Martin DBR2 S5.0 81 DNF
(Gearbox)
1958 United Kingdom A.G. Whitehead United Kingdom Graham Whitehead Aston Martin DB3S S3.0 293 2nd 2nd

Complete 12 Hours of Reims results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1953 United Kingdom P.N. Whitehead United Kingdom Stirling Moss Jaguar C-Type S+2.0 243 1st 1st
1954 United Kingdom Jaguar Cars Ltd. United Kingdom Ken Wharton Jaguar D-Type 222 1st 1st

Complete 12 Hours of Hyères results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1953 United Kingdom P.N. Whitehead United States Tom Cole Jaguar C-Type S+3.0 204 1st 1st
1954 United Kingdom Peter Whitehead United Kingdom Duncan Hamilton Cooper-Jaguar T33 DNS
(Broken crankshaft)
1955 United Kingdom Graham Whitehead United Kingdom Graham Whitehead Aston Martin DB3S DNF
(Cooling)

Complete 12 Hours of Pescara results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1953 United Kingdom Peter Whitehead United Kingdom Duncan Hamilton Jaguar C-Type DNF
(Steering)

Complete 12 Hours of Casablanca results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1953 United Kingdom Graham Whitehead United Kingdom Graham Whitehead Aston Martin DB3 S+2.0 5th 4th

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Brown, Allen. "Peter Whitehead". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i service, Grandprix.com - First & fastest: The original online F1 news. "Grandprix.com". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d "THE GOLDEN ERA OF GP RACING 1934-40 - DRIVERS (W)". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Peter Whitehead". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Peter Whitehead - Historical Research, in memory of David McKinney". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e http://www.historicracing.com/driver_az/cfm?typer=drivers_alpha&tStartRow=1&AlphaIndex=W&driverID=1265
  7. ^ Galpin, Darren. "1947 Grands Prix". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  8. ^ Richard Williams, “Enzo Ferrari: A Life" (Yellow Jersey Press, ISBN 0-224-05986-6, 2002)
  9. ^ service, Grandprix.com - First & fastest: The original online F1 news. "Grandprix.com". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  10. ^ Two Britons Drive Record 93.112 M.P.H. For 24 Hours to Capture French Auto Race, New York Times, 25 June 1951, Page 24.
  11. ^ French Auto Races To British Drivers, New York Times, 6 July 1953, Page 22.
  12. ^ Article 3-No Title, New York Times, 5 July 1954, Page 15.
  13. ^ "Tourist Trophy 1954 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  14. ^ Laureau, in French Car, Takes Ulster Trophy, 12 September 1954, Page S9.
  15. ^ British Driver Killed On Tour in France, New York Times, 21 September 1958, Page C2.
  16. ^ The Manchester Guardian, 22 September 1958, Page 2.
  17. ^ http://www.formula2.net/V1936.10.htm
  18. ^ a b c http://www.kolumbus.fi/leif-snellman/dw.htm
  19. ^ http://www.driversdb.com/championships/standings/australian-grand-prix/1938/
  20. ^ http://www.formula2.net/V39-6.htm
  21. ^ "1948 British Empire Trophy - ChicaneF1.com". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  22. ^ "1949 Czech GP - ChicaneF1.com". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  23. ^ "1949 Richmond Trophy - ChicaneF1.com". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  24. ^ Galpin, Darren. "1949 Formula Libre Races". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  25. ^ "1949 French GP - ChicaneF1.com". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  26. ^ "1950 Jersey Road Race - ChicaneF1.com". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  27. ^ "1950 Ulster Trophy - ChicaneF1.com". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  28. ^ http://www.racingsportscar.com/results/Dundrod-1950-09-16-2063.html
  29. ^ http://www.f1-fansite.com/f1-results-1950-formula-1-grand-prix-of-france/
  30. ^ http://www.chicanef1.cpm/race.pl?year=1950&gp=BRDC%20International%20Trophy&r=1&type=final
  31. ^ http://www.f1-fansite.com/f1-results-1950-formula-1-season/
  32. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1951 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  33. ^ http://www.formula2.net/F251_22.html
  34. ^ http://www.formula2.net/F251_7.html
  35. ^ Galpin, Darren. "1951 Formula Libre Races". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  36. ^ "1951 Non-World Championship Formula One Races". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  37. ^ "Formula 2 1951 - GP Rouen". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  38. ^ "Hyères 12 Hours 1953 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  39. ^ "12 h Reims 1953 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  40. ^ "Formula 2 1953 - Oulton Park". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  41. ^ "Formula 2 1953 - RedeX Trophy". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  42. ^ a b "Formula 2 1953 - AMOC F2, Snetterton". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  43. ^ "9 h Goodwood 1953 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  44. ^ "1954 Other Races". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  45. ^ "12 h Reims 1954 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  46. ^ "Circuito do Porto 1954 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  47. ^ "1955 NZGP". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  48. ^ a b "1956 Other Races". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  49. ^ http://teamdan.com/archive/www2/flibre/56fibre.html
  50. ^ "GP Ardmore 1956 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  51. ^ "1956 NZGP". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  52. ^ http://www.driversdb.com/championships/standings/australian-grand-prix/1956/
  53. ^ a b c "1957 Other Races". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  54. ^ "1957 NZGP". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  55. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1958 - Race Results - Racing Sports Cars". Retrieved 16 November 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 400. ISBN 0851127029. 

External links[edit]

  • Peter Whitehead: 1954 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen [1]
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Les Murphy
Australian Grand Prix Winner
1938
Succeeded by
Allan Tomlinson
Preceded by
Louis Rosier
Jean-Louis Rosier
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1951 with:
Peter Walker
Succeeded by
Hermann Lang
Fritz Riess