Film director, anti-nuclear activist, newspaper columnist, motivational coach and altogether too cool for any room, Sir John Whitmore proves that not all racing drivers are one-dimensional. It’s been 40 years since he was crowned European Saloon Car Champion with an Alan Mann Racing Lotus-Cortina.
The following season he hung up his helmet at the age of just 26.
This old Etonian began racing in August ’58 with a Lotus VI but it was after upgrading to an Elite a year on that he displayed real potential, winning 12 races from 15 starts. He would go on to lift the 1961 BRSCC Saloon Car title in a Mini and proved handy in Formula Junior too.
By the end of the ’60s the racing knight had sold the ancestral pile and became a jetsetting hipster before arriving in the US. He took to tie-dye, turned on, tuned in and dropped out, funding all manner of left-field organisations. More recently he co-founded the Institute of Human Excellence and, on a rare track visit at this year’s Goodwood Revival, proved that the speed is still there. — RH