• Peter Gethin 1940-2011

Peter Gethin dies aged 71

ESPNF1 Staff
December 5, 2011 « FOTA existence is 'vital' - Mercedes | Ricciardo admits to Lotus 'chance' »
Peter Gethin's only win came in the closest blanket finish in grand prix history © Sutton Images
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Former McLaren and BRM driver Peter Gethin has died following a long illness at the age of 71.

Gethin is best-known for his win for BRM in the 1971 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. In a slipstreaming classic he took victory by just 0.01s from Ronnie Peterson as the first five drivers were covered by 0.6s. With it turning out to be the only grand prix win of his career and having started the final lap in fourth place, it means Gethin is the only driver to have won a Formula One race without having led an entire lap.

Born in Epsom, he was the son of jockey Ken Gethin who won both the 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes. He started his career in a Lotus 7 at Brands Hatch in the early Sixties before buying a Lotus 23 and winning the Guards Championship in 1964. It was in his late twenties that he started gaining attention in British F3, racing alongside Piers Courage and Jonathan Williams, and then a second place in the F2 Grand Prix d'Albi earned him a move in to Formula 5000 with Church Farm Racing in 1969.

Having won the Formula 5000 championship in both 1969 and 1970, Gethin also won a race for McLaren in the Canadian-American Challenge Cup. That led to a Formula One drive as he was brought in to the team following the death of the founder Bruce McLaren. His best result in 12 races was sixth place before he made the move to BRM where he won on his second outing. It was his only podium finish as 1972 proved to be a disappointment; just one point to show from the season.

It was Formula 5000 where Gethin was most at home, as he beat a field of F1 cars in his Chevron in the 1973 Race of Champions. The following year he raced in the Formula 5000 Tasman Series in Australia and New Zealand, taking the 1974 title - also in a Chevron - before making one last F1 appearance for Lola which ultimately ended in retirement.

When his racing career came to an end, Gethin moved in to management and became team manager of the Toleman F1 team in 1984. After two years he moved to Formula 3000 to set up Peter Gethin Racing, before later in his career running a driving school at Goodwood.