David Hobbs

Full Name:
David Wishart Hobbs
Born:
9th June 1939 (Age 80)
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

David Hobbs was an apprentice at Jaguar when he first competed with a Morris Oxford in May 1959. From that day until his last race in 1990, he drove everything from Formula 1 to saloons and was especially successful racing in America.

Varied racing career includes Grand Prix debut

He starred in British club racing during the early 1960s with a Lotus Elite. The works car he shared with Frank Gardner won the 1300cc class at the 1962 Le Mans 24 Hours when eighth overall. Formula Junior and F2 followed in successive seasons although 1965 was disrupted by breaking his jaw in a road accident. Hobbs then finished third on his Formula 1 debut at Syracuse in 1966 with Reg Parnell’s Lotus 33-Climax. He drove sports cars such as the mighty Lola T70 and Bernard White’s Ferrari 250LM at the time.

White acquired a Ford GT40 for that winter’s Springbok series during which Hobbs and Mike Hailwood won at Bulawayo and Pietermaritzburg. It was White who gave Hobbs his Grand Prix debut in the 1967 British GP. His old BRM P261 was eighth that day and ninth in Canada, and he was also 10th in the German GP in a Formula 2 Lola T100-BMW.

A winner in sports cars

He was drafted into the Honda team for the following year’s Italian GP but F1 opportunities were few and far between. Regular employment during 1968 was with John Wyer’s Gulf-sponsored Ford GT40 in the International Championship for Makes. The highlight was the Monza 1000Kms when Hobbs and regular co-driver Paul Hawkins won after Jacky Ickx’s sister car retired. He also won the non-championship Kyalami Nine Hours with Ickx and the team’s Mirage M1-Ford prototype.

Another season with Wyer‘s GT40 included third in the 1969 Le Mans 24 Hours – his best result from 20 appearances in the race. Having spent much of the 1960s seemingly on the verge of real international success, his career gathered momentum in America that year.

North America success and final F1 starts

His 1969 Formula A campaign only came about when plans for actor James Garner to race a works Surtees TS5-Chevrolet fell through. Hobbs made a late start as a consequence but won four times and only lost the title to Tony Adamowicz by a single point.

He switched to Carl Hogan’s McLaren M10B-Chevy to win the 1971 championship in the last season before it was renamed Formula 5000. Hobbs crashed a Penske Racing Lola-Ford on his Indianapolis 500 debut that year and finished 10th in the United States GP with a Penske-White McLaren M19A-Ford when substituting for Mark Donohue.

The best of his four Indy 500 starts was when Hobbs qualified Roy Woods’ Carling Black Label McLaren M16D-Offenhauser on the outside of row three before finishing fifth in 1974. He also made two final GP starts that year when replacing the injured Hailwood in Austria and Italy. His Yardley McLaren M23-Ford finished seventh and ninth respectively.

Hobbs was an 11-time winner in North America’s IMSA Championship and finished fourth in the 1977 standings with a McLaren-run BMW 320i. He spearheaded that programme before switching to John Fitzpatrick Racing and Porsche in 1982.

He was a top-four finisher at Le Mans for three of the next four years and was third in the race once more in 1984. Hobbs also added the 1983 Trans-Am title to his varied c.v. after his DeAtley Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro won four times. Fifth with a Joest Porsche 962C in the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours, he retired from racing in 1990.

That only accentuated his profile in America for he became the voice of F1 on American television.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1990 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
GP Motorsport
2 0 0 0 0
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
Richard Lloyd Racing
3 0 0 0 28th 32
1987 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
1 0 0 0 0
1985 World Endurance Championship
GTi Engineering
John Fitzpatrick Racing
3 (1) 0 0 0 25th 18
1984 World Endurance Championship
John Fitzpatrick Racing
9 1 3 0 8th 54
1983 Trans-Am Series 1st -
1983 IMSA Camel GT Championship
John Fitzpatrick Racing
1 0 1 1 0
1983 World Endurance Championship
John Fitzpatrick Racing
6 (1) 0 1 0 13th 29
1982 IMSA Camel GT Championship
John Fitzpatrick Racing
2 1 2 2 0
1982 World Endurance Championship
John Fitzpatrick Racing
4 0 1 0 11th 22
1981 World Endurance Championship
Steve O'Rourke
Emka Productions
BMW North America
7 0 1 0 38th 42
1980 World Championship of Makes 1 0 0 0 0
1979 World Championship of Makes 1 0 0 0 0
1979 IMSA Camel GT Championship
McLaren North America
2 0 2 2 0
1978 World Championship of Makes
McLaren North America
2 0 0 0 0
1978 IMSA Camel GT Championship
McLaren North America
2 1 2 2 0
1977 World Championship of Makes 3 0 0 0 3
1977 IMSA Camel GT Championship
McLaren North America
4 2 4 4 0
1976 Winston Cup Grand National 82nd 178
1976 USAC Citicorp Cup National Championship
Dayton-Walther
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1975 SCCA/USAC F5000 Championship
Hogan Racing
9 0 1 0
0% win rate
6th 50
1974 World Championship of Makes
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
2 0 2 0 24
1974 USAC National Championship
Team McLaren
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1974 Rothmans European F5000 Championship
Hogan Racing
8 0 4 2
25% win rate
6th 81
1974 SCCA/USAC F5000 Championship
Hogan Racing
7 1 2 1
15% win rate
3rd 55
1974 F1 World Championship
Yardley Team McLaren
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1973 USAC National Championship
Roy Woods Racing
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1973 Rothmans European F5000 Championship
Hogan Racing
3 1 1 1
34% win rate
13th 29
1973 SCCA L&M F5000 Championship
Hogan Racing
9 0 1 0
0% win rate
5th 48
1972 SCCA L&M Continental F5000 Championship
Hogan Racing
8 2 1 1
13% win rate
8th 31
1972 World Championship of Makes
Equipe Matra-Simca Shell
1 0 0 0 0
1972 Tasman Cup
Hobbs Racing London
8 0 3 1
13% win rate
5th 20
1971 F1 World Championship
Penske-White Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1971 International Championship of Makes
North American Racing Team
Penske-White Racing
Escuderia Montjuich
4 2 1 0 7
1971 SCCA L&M Continental F5000 Championship
Hogan Racing
8 5 6 5
63% win rate
1st 119
1971 USAC National Championship
US Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1970 International Championship of Makes
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
1 0 0 0 0
1970 SCCA Formula A Continental Championship
Team Surtees
8 1 5 2
25% win rate
3rd 86
1970 Guards F5000 Championship
Team Surtees
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 2
1969 International Championship of Makes
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
2 0 1 0 6
1969 USAC National Championship
Vatis Enterprises
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
49th 60
1969 Guards F5000 Championship
Team Surtees
4 2 3 1
25% win rate
8th 1265
1969 SCCA Formula A Continental Championship
Team Surtees
8 0 6 4
50% win rate
2nd 46
1968 International Championship of Makes
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
Paul Hawkins
6 0 2 1 21
1968 European F2 Trophy
David Bridges
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
17th 2
1968 F1 World Championship
Honda Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1967 RAC British F2 Championship
Alexis Cars
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1967 International Championship of Makes
Lola Cars
1 0 0 0 0
1967 F1 World Championship
Bernard White Racing
Lola Cars
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1966 International Championship of Makes
Maranello Concessionaires
1 0 0 0 0
1966 Autocar British F2 Championship
Merlyn Racing
1 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1965 International Championship of Makes
Standard Triumph
Harold Young
2 0 1 0 0
1965 Autocar British F2 Championship
Reg Parnell Racing
Midland Racing Partnership
1 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1964 International Championship of Makes
Standard Triumph International
1 0 0 0 0
1964 Autocar British F2 Championship
Merlyn Racing
6 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1963 Speed and Endurance World Challenge
Lola Cars
1 0 0 0 0
1962 Speed World Challenge
Team Lotus Engineering
1 0 0 0 2