Mike Salmon, who has died aged 82, made 13 Le Mans 24 Hours starts over an amateur career that spanned six decades. He competed at Le Mans in three of those decades and could also count a victory in the British Saloon Car Championship among his achievements. He continued to race historics into his 70s and competed at the Goodwood Revival into the middle of the 2000s.
Salmon started racing in Jaguars in the mid-1950s and claimed major national-level victories with an ex-Ecurie Ecosse D-type in the Martini Trophy at Silverstone and the Autosport 3 Hours in 1961. He was a front-runner in British saloons in 1964-65. Salmon first appeared at Le Mans in 1962 at the wheel of his own Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, but it was the following year that he made his name and scored his best result. Sharing a Maranello Concessionaires-run Ferrari 330LMB with Jack Sears, he finished fifth overall.
Salmon would make a further two Le Mans starts aboard Maranello Ferraris and twice drove Ford GT40s before taking a break from racing. He returned in the historic ranks and was back at Le Mans by 1977, in Robin Hamilton’s Aston Martin AMV8 RHAM. He was a key member of Viscount Downe’s Aston Martin Nimrod squad in 1982 and would have finished better than seventh with Ray Mallock and Simon Phillips but for a dropped valve.
Mallock, whose fledgling team took over development of the Lola-built Nimrod NRA/C2 for 1983, described Salmon as “a very smooth and sympathetic driver”. Richard Williams, who was team manager for Viscount Downe, recalls a “perfectionist with a lot of talent”.
Salmon is survived by his wife Jean (née Bloxham), who was also a keen club racer.
The man who built Britain’s first dragster has died. John Hume was a chief mechanic at Cooper Cars before joining Allard in the 1950s. He led the team that in 1961 built the Hemi-engined Allard Chrysler, the David Hooper-designed machine that brought drag racing to the UK. He also went on to help develop the supercharged Allard Dragon cars that followed.
Ex-F2 racer Mike McKee has died, aged 82. The Briton claimed victories in British F2 events at Aintree and Snetterton in 1960 at the wheel of a Cooper T45. McKee started racing at the wheel of a Jaguar XK120, competed successfully in Formula Junior and contested the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1961 at the wheel of a Lotus Elite before retiring at the end of that season.
John Coundley, who has died aged 91, was a leading sports car racer of his day. His four-wheel career began in 1951 in a Jaguar SS100 and he later raced D-types and Listers. Coundley twice won the Martini Trophy at Silverstone and famously beat Jackie Stewart and Jack Brabham to win the 1964 Lavant Cup at Goodwood.