Derek Daly

Full Name:
Derek Patrick Daly
Born:
11th March 1953 (Age 65)
Stillorgan, Dublin
Nationality:
Irish
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Derek Daly’s 1976 Formula Ford Festival trophy was presented by James Hunt and prompted the question if these were "world champions present and future?" This talented and charismatic Irishman charged into Formula 1 but was ultimately unable to fulfil his youthful promise.

Early racing career

He raced in destruction derbies when 16 years old and was 1975 Irish Formula Ford Champion. The following year’s move to British FF1600 was funded by working alongside David Kennedy in Australian tin mines during Europe’s winter months.

That proved a worthwhile sacrifice for 1976 culminated in that victory in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. Formula 3 with Derek McMahon Racing’s Chevron B38-Toyota was next and Daly snatched the 1977 BP British F3 Championship from Nelson Piquet by winning the last four races. He also finished fifth in a Formula 2 one-off at Estoril with an Ardmore Racing Chevron B40-Hart.

Formula 1 with Hesketh and Ensign

Daly joined the works ICI Chevron team for the 1978 F2 season and won twice on the way to third in the standings. Progress was rapid and he starred on his F1 debut by leading the non-championship International Trophy for Hesketh at a wet Silverstone. He then joined Ensign for the British Grand Prix and completed 1978 with the team – finishing sixth in Canada.

Such promise, but his second F1 season was frustrating while developing the difficult Ensign N179-Ford and Daly left the team mid-season. He continued in F2 with Project Four Racing and victory in the final round at Donington Park clinched third in the championship once again.

Formula 1 switch to Tyrrell

That 1979 season ended with three races for Ken Tyrrell’s F1 team and he stayed there for 1980. He was fourth in Argentina and Britain although it was his accident at the start of the Monaco GP that drew most attention. Daly’s Tyrrell 010-Ford was launched after hitting another car as the field entered Ste Devote and it landed on hapless team-mate Jean-Pierre Jarier’s machine.

Disappointing with Williams

His F1 career stalled at March during 1981 but Carlos Reutemann suddenly quit Williams after the 1982 Brazilian GP. Daly, who began the year with Theodore, jumped at the chance with a leading team. He almost won his second race but crashed his Williams FW08-Ford during the chaotic final laps at Monte Carlo. While team-mate Keke Rosberg won the championship, Daly could only manage 13th in the points and his F1 adventure was over after 49 GP starts.

Stuttering Champ Car career

He found refuge in Champ Cars and made his debut by the end of 1982 in a Wysard March 82C-Cosworth. Front row starts at Laguna Seca 1983 and Long Beach 1984 showed promise with Tony Bettenhausen’s Provimi Veal March-Cosworth before Daly suffered severe foot injuries during the 1984 Michigan 200.

He only raced sporadically over the next two seasons but when Dennis Firestone was injured at Indianapolis in 1987, Daly was his replacement at Raynor Motorsports. He led his debut at Milwaukee before finishing third. "Today I became a fan of oval track racing," he enthused, although that was to be his best result in three seasons with the team.

Sports car success in Europe and America

Daly was fourth in the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours with Silk Cut Jaguar (his best finish in his three starts in the race) and he then teamed with former F3 rival Geoff Brabham in the dominant Nissan IMSA team for 1990. His first outright race wins for over a decade included the 1991 Sebring 12 Hours before Daly retired to concentrate on running a performance driving school and work as a commentator on American television.

Now an American citizen, he lives in Noblesville, Indiana with the wife he met and married when he visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1983. His son Conor won the 2010 Star Mazda Championship and has now graduated to the IndyCar Series.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1991 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Nissan Performance Technology
1 1 1 1 0
1990 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Electramotive Engineering
Nissan Performance Technology
4 1 4 4 0
1989 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Raynor Motorsports
15 0 0 0
0% win rate
12th 25
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
1 0 0 0 29th 30
1988 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Raynor Motorsports
15 0 0 0
0% win rate
9th 53
1987 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Raynor Motorsports
BC Pace Racing
13 0 1 0
0% win rate
15th 27
1986 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Mike Curb Racing
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
23rd 11
1985 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Derek Daly
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
39th 1
1984 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Bettenhausen Motorsports
11 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 26
1983 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Bettenhausen Motorsports
Wysard Motor Co
7 0 0 0
0% win rate
26th 4
1983 European F2 Championship
Derek McMahon Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1983 World Endurance Championship 0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1982 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Wysard Motor Co
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1982 F1 World Championship
Theodore Racing Team
TAG Williams Team
15 0 0 0
0% win rate
13th 8
1982 World Endurance Championship 1 0 0 0 117th 1
1981 F1 World Championship
March Grand Prix
8 (7) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1980 BMW M1 Procar
BMW Motorsport
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1980 F1 World Championship
Candy Tyrrell Team
14 0 0 0
0% win rate
10th 6
1979 European F2 Championship
Project 4 Racing
9 1 5 1
12% win rate
3rd 33
1979 F1 World Championship
Team Ensign
Candy Team Tyrrell
6 (4) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1978 European F2 Championship
Chevron Cars
12 1 4 2
17% win rate
3rd 27
1978 F1 World Championship
Team Tissot Ensign
Olympus Cameras with Hesketh
6 (4) 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 1
1977 BP British F3 Championship 1st -
1977 European F2 Championship
Ardmore Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 2
1977 European F3 Championship
Derek McMahon Racing
4 1 2 1
25% win rate
9th 13