The keen racer turned team boss who took on F1’s best and beat them
Arguably Formula 1’s greatest privateer, Rob Walker was born 100 years ago. Descended from whisky tycoon Johnnie Walker, he was a Scot born south of the border who raced as an amateur before the Second World War. He finished eighth in the 1939 Le Mans 24 Hours sharing a Delahaye with Ian Connell, but his own racing ambitions were confined to hillclimbs and trials once peace was restored to Europe.
His famous navy blue and white colours graced Grand Prix racing from 1953 when Tony Rolt drove a Connaught at Silverstone. Based at Walker’s Pippbrook Garage in Dorking, World Championship appearances were largely confined to his home race before Stirling Moss, with Vanwall absent, and Maurice Trintignant won the first two GPs of ’58 in Argentina and Monaco – the first for a private car in championship history.
Vanwall withdrew following 1958 so Moss drove Walker’s immaculate Alf Francis-prepared cars until injury ended his career in 1962. He won another six GPs for Walker – including twice in Monaco when driving a Lotus 18-Climax in 1960-61. Joakim Bonnier and Jo Siffert were the team’s main drivers after Moss retired and the latter’s Lotus 49 scored a hugely popular win in the 1968 British GP at Brands Hatch.
With F1 ever-more expensive, Walker was backed by stockbroker Jack Durlacher from 1966-69 and Brooke Bond Oxo for 1970. He disbanded his team at the end of that season and supported Surtees instead. A true gentleman, Rob Walker died in 2002.
9 Grand Prix wins
19 Pole Positions
121 GP starts
158 Points Scored