- Full name Kenneth Downing
- Birth date December 5, 1917
- Birthplace Chesterton, Staffordshire, Great Britain
- Date of death May 3, 2004 (86 years 150 days)
- Place of death Monte-Carlo, Monaco
- Teams Connaught
|First race||British Grand Prix||Silverstone||July 19, 1952||Race results|
|Last race||Dutch Grand Prix||Zandvoort||August 17, 1952||Race results|
Ken Downing was a gentleman racer from a wealthy family, who started competing immediately after World War Two, initially in a Brooke Special and subsequently in a Connaught, scoring a number of impressive wins in 1951.
His success continued in 1952 and, but for an error of judgment, he would have won the GP des Frontieres at Chimay in Belgium in June - he led by 40 seconds, eased up to save his engine, and was so confident he did not even look in his mirrors, only to be overtaken within yards of the finishing line.
Seven weeks later he made his Formula One debut at Silverstone, finishing a creditable ninth, actually running fourth before spinning off avoiding a backmarker. His second, and last, F1 race was in the Netherlands in August, where he retired with oil-pressure problems.
In 1953 he switched to Aston Martin, but before the year was out he had tired of racing and withdrew from the sport. He emigrated to South Africa in 1955. His daughter, Ann, married Patrick McNally, the former journalist who went on to head the Allsport Management company.
Martin Williamson November 2009