The only son of a Brigadier General in the British Army, Don Beauman was a close friend of Mike Hawthorn and another Formula 3 racer from the 500cc era. He was a London hotelier by profession who first raced an F3 Cooper-JAP in 1950. He graduated to national sports cars in 1953 with an ex-Hawthorn 1500cc Riley TT and he won his class in that year’s Nürburgring 1000Kms driving a Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica.
Grand Prix debut and tragic 1955 season
A Formule Libre race-winner during 1954 with Sir Jeremy Boles’ Formula 2 Connaught A-Lea-Francis, he also made up the numbers at Silverstone’s two major events that year. Beauman was ninth in the International Trophy and 11th in the British Grand Prix.
Third in the GP des Frontières at Chimay and Crystal Palace Trophy during 1954, he drove a works Jaguar D-type in the tragic 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours. He ran in fifth position before crashing at Arnage during the night. A month later Beauman travelled to Wicklow in Southern Ireland for the Leinster Trophy. Run on an extremely hot day, he set the race’s fastest lap before losing control as he passed a slower car on the undulating road near Ballinaclogh. His Connaught somersaulted and Beauman was thrown out and killed instantly.
Still only 26-years-old, Beauman had been regarded as a possible GP driver for 1956 and his death added to a depressing and long list of fatalities that year.