Jim Russell FF1600, Snetterton, 1971
It was a whim. Racing was just something that I’d seen in magazines when I was bumming around New York with Dr Frank Faulkner. He asked Jackie Stewart and Ken Tyrrell, and they said Jim Russell was the best school, so for my 21st birthday Frank sent me to England. Kenneth Tyrrell (son of the team owner) was an airline pilot and he picked me up at the airport, so I stayed a couple of days with the Tyrrells. Then I was taken up to the International Trophy, and from there I got a ride to Snetterton with Colin Chapman in his plane. It was, who is this guy? They had a Lotus Europa take me from Hethel to the hotel in Attleborough. After that it was all downhill! The very first time I drove it was everything l ever wanted to do. I think I was leading my race but I had a pair of big tennis shoes and I think I hit the brake and the gas at the same time. It was ‘don’t crash’, because if you crash you don’t get a signature!
…and my last race — Spa 1000Km, 2004
My last race was in the Ferrari 575GTC. And what a phenomenal place to do it — Spa, where I’d raced in Formula One with Tyrrell. Because of all the other things I was doing, driving had become a distraction. I realised that if you were going to race you had to be 100 per cent focused and get paid for it, and at 55 nobody was going to do that! I got to do the final stint. It was an exhilarating last lap, but sad as I realised I’m probably never going to have this experience again.