John Miles

Full Name:
John Jeremy Miles
Born:
14th June 1943
Paddington, London
Died:
8th April 2018 (Aged 74)
Norwich, Norfolk
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

His father was theatre impresario and actor Sir Bernard Miles who had opened the Mermaid Theatre in 1959. While his sisters embarked on careers in the arts, John Miles qualified as a mechanical engineer and would become a respected development driver.

Early racing career

Miles starred in British club racing during 1964 and 1965 with John Willment’s Diva-Ford saloon. Those performances earned third prize in the 1965 Grovewood Awards and he dominated the 1966 Autosport GT Championship with the team’s Lotus Elan.

That attracted Colin Chapman’s attention and Miles joined the works Lotus team for the following season when combining a GT programme with his Formula 3 debut. He finished third at Brands Hatch at the end of that first season in single-seaters and continued in the category in 1968 – winning four times with a Lotus 41X.

Formula 1 with Lotus

Promoted to Formula 2 in 1969 with Roy Winkelmann’s semi-works Lotus 59-Cosworth, he finished third at Vallelunga but only started three times. Instead of a full season, Chapman harnessed his growing prowess as an engineer/driver by asking him to sort the troublesome four-wheel-drive Formula 1 Lotus 63-Ford. Miles made his world championship debut in France but 10th in the British Grand Prix was his only finish in five starts with the car.

The project was shelved and Miles joined the team fulltime in 1970 as the injured Graham Hill’s replacement. Fifth with an old Lotus 49C-Ford in the opening race in South Africa, his form dipped as he developed the new 72. Team leader Jochen Rindt was the class of the field in the revolutionary wedge-shaped design but Miles did not score another championship point.

The Austrian was clear in the points when he was killed while qualifying for the Italian GP at Monza. Miles’ similar car was withdrawn from the race on what proved to be his last GP appearance. Replaced by Reine Wisell and Emerson Fittipaldi when the team returned, Miles did race a BRM P153 in a couple of non-championship races in 1971.

Career after Formula 1

He then drove a 2000cc DART Racing Chevron B19-Ford sports car in 1971 and won the 1972 Paul Ricard Six Hours when sharing Malcolm Gartlan Racing’s Ford Capri RS2600 with Australian Brian Muir.

Miles retired from racing a year later to forge a successful career developing road cars and in journalism. Chief road tester for Autocar magazine during the 1980s, he returned to Lotus in 1992 to work for the road car division. He joined the Multimatic engineering company on an exclusive consultancy basis in 2004.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1970 F1 World Championship
Gold Leaf Team Lotus
7 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 2
1970 European F2 Trophy
Jochen Rindt Racing
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1969 F1 World Championship
Gold Leaf Team Lotus
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1969 European F2 Trophy
Roy Winkelmann Racing
2 (1) 0 1 0
0% win rate
11th 4