Luki Botha was a national sports car driver whose brief flirtation with Formula 1 ended in tragedy. He bought Peter de Klerk’s Brabham BT11-Climax at the end of 1966 and made his debut in the Rhodesian Grand Prix, the final South African F1 race of year. The newcomer qualified in fifth position and finished a promising second behind Bob Anderson in another BT11.
World Championship appearance
A fuller second season with the car began with his only appearance in the F1 World Championship – the 1967 South African GP at Kyalami. This was an altogether higher standard but Botha qualified on the final row. He recovered from stalling at the start to run at the back all day with the Climax engine misfiring throughout. Several pitstops failed to cure the problem and he completed too few laps to be classified.
Botha continued in the national F1 series in 1967 and his now Repco-powered Brabham finished third in the Rand Autumn Trophy at Kyalami. But he crashed into the crowd during the non-championship race at Lourenço Marques in Mozambique and although he survived, eight spectators were killed.
Botha did not race single-seaters again and he quit the sport after another year in sports cars. An engineer by profession, he later worked for the council in East London before returning to Pretoria where he continued in local government.