Chris Craft

Full Name:
Christopher Adrian Craft
Born:
17th November 1939 (Age 80)
Porthleven, Cornwall
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Although born in Cornwall, Chris Craft grew up in Essex where his father was a bank manager who later worked in Africa as a missionary. Craft joined Ford’s Dagenham factory after leaving school and he was soon employed in the company’s rally team.

Early racing career

His own racing career began at Mallory Park in 1961 with a Ford Anglia. It was damaged in a crash so Craft returned in 1962 with a new orange Anglia. A versatile driver – racing sports cars, Formula 3 and F5000 by the end of the decade – he starred in Broadspeed’s Ford Escorts in the British Touring Car Championship from 1968.

Craft won the Martini International at Silverstone (with a Lola T70) and Vila Real Six Hours (in Alain de Cadenet’s Porsche 908) during 1969. He was also runner-up (and a class winner) in both national sports car championship and BTCC that year.

Craft had another varied campaign in 1971, during which he raced in Formula 1, F2 and sports cars. Fourth on his debut at Le Mans when sharing David Piper’s Ferrari 512M with David Weir, he won an Interserie round at the Norisring in de Cadenet’s McLaren M8E-Chevrolet.

Formula 1 opportunity

Single-seater success was less forthcoming but he did make his Grand Prix debut in 1971 when driving de Cadenet’s Ecurie Evergreen Brabham BT33-Ford. Engine failure prevented him from starting in Canada and he retired from the United States GP a fortnight later.

Although he did not race at that level again, Craft continued as a high-profile British racer into the 1980s. He won the 1973 2-litre European Sportscar Championship with a Crowne Racing Lola T292 and drove de Cadenet’s prototypes at Le Mans for five years – finishing third in 1976 and fifth a year later.

He then returned to the BTCC with an Autocar Ford Capri in 1978 and 1979 when working within Ford’s competition department once more. He also ran a second-hand car company and continued to race throughout the 1980s. Most recently, he has been running the Light Car Company in partnership with former F1 designer Gordon Murray.