‘King of Formula Junior’ Peter Arundell has died aged 75. His FJ exploits in 1961-62 won him promotion to the Lotus Formula 1 team. He won the famous wager between German magazine publisher Richard von Frankenberg and Colin Chapman to defend Lotus’s reputation against charges of having over-sized engines in ’62. Pete had won 18 of his 25 races that year.
Pete was born in Ilford, Essex, on November 8, 1933. He drove an MG TC in his first club rally in 1954, and hillclimbed and rallied it through 1955-56 before turning to circuit racing. He made his debut at Goodwood in May, finishing second. In 1958 he drove a Lotus 11 S1 for Jack Westcott, followed by an S2 in ’59. Driving a works Elva FJ he won at Brands Hatch, and Chapman invited him to join Lotus for 1960 FJ. He won at Silverstone and Mallory Park, then began 1961 by dead-heating with Tony Maggs’ Cooper at Goodwood. He won the Prix Monaco Junior and led Lotus’s FJ team in 1962, winning Monaco again. He made a brief F1 debut at Reims in a Lotus-BRM 24, but for ’63 led the new Ron Harris-Team Lotus FJ squad, with the latest monocoque Lotus 27s. A winning debut was followed by crankshaft failure at Monaco, then a car redesign before he won six successive races.
Recalled to F1 for the 1963 Solitude GP he finished second in a works Lotus 25. For ’64 he was Jim Clark’s team-mate. At Snetterton in the rain he set fastest lap, and at Goodwood was second to Clark. At Reims in the F2 classic his legs were shattered in a collision with Richie Ginther’s Lola. Recovery proved painful over the next 18 months. Chapman rated Arundell so highly he held his place open for ’66, but retirement followed.
Pete was married to his German wife, Ricky, for 50 years. They had a daughter Lesley and son, Neil. After several years in Florida Pete’s fortunes plummeted, and recently he and Ricky lived in reduced circumstances in England. He was a proud and competitive man… and a very fine driver. Doug Nye
Grand Prix driver Tony Maggs has died aged 71. A works Cooper driver when the marque was a top team, he was second in the French Grands Prix of 1962 and ’63 and took two wins in the Kyalami Nine Hours sports car race with David Piper.
Growing up in South Africa Maggs expected to be a farmer, but discovered racing with his Riley 9 and moved to Britain where he bought an old Lotus 11. Progressing to a Tojeiro-Jaguar, he shipped that home to learn his craft before returning to the UK to try Formula Junior, where he was picked out by Ken Tyrrell. In 1961 he shared the European title with Jo Siffert. Following a couple of privateer F1 outings in a Lotus 18 and sharing an Aston Martin DBR1 with Roy Salvadori at Le Mans, he landed the Cooper drive as team-mate to Bruce McLaren for 1962 and ’63.
When Phil Hill replaced him for ’64 he had a frustrating year with the Centro Sud BRM team before returning home. His final GP was the 1965 South African in a Reg Parnell Lotus 25; he retired that year after a crash due to mechanical failure.
Despite claiming to hate Le Mans, Maggs entered three times, finishing sixth in 1964 in a Ferrari GTO with Innes Ireland. He was also the first driver to race the Lola GT at Silverstone in 1963.
After racing he turned to farming before establishing a nature reserve.
Peter Wheeler, the chairman of TVR for more than 20 years, has died after a short illness, aged 65.
Wheeler made his fortune in the oil industry. After owning a TVR road car, he ended up buying the ailing company in 1981 and set about restoring its fortunes.
As well as a new range of road cars, Wheeler was instrumental in taking TVR into motor sport, with the hugely successful Tuscan Challenge and a Le Mans campaign.
He raced Tuscans extensively and then an Aston Martin DB5 up to last year after selling TVR in ’05.