Peter de Klerk

Full Name:
Peter David de Klerk
Born:
16th March 1935
Pilgrim's Rest, Mpumalanga
Died:
11th July 2015 (Aged 80)
Johannesburg, Gauteng
Nationality:
South African
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

A mechanic by trade, Peter de Klerk served part of his apprenticeship working for Lotus in Norfolk during 1958. When he returned from England, he helped build a Formula 1 special based around an Alfa Romeo Giulietta engine.

Impressing with the Alfa Special

Entered by Otelle Nucci, de Klerk and the Alfa Special made their debut in 1962 and impressed in the 1963 Rand Grand Prix at Kyalami. He diced with world champion Jim Clark before finishing third on aggregate behind the Ferraris of John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini. It was his finest race. His world championship debut followed in the South African GP but that was a less impressive outing – qualifying 16th and retiring when his gearbox failed.

Second in the 1964 Kyalami Nine Hours with David Piper’s Ferrari 250GTO, he finished 10th in the 1965 South African GP with the ageing Alfa Special. Nucci acquired an ex-Tasman Brabham BT11-Climax for the 1965/66 season and de Klerk immediately finished a promising second in the Rand GP. He qualified seventh for the 1966 South African GP (a non-championship race that year) but retired when running third.

European tour

De Klerk sold the car at the end of the season and ventured to Europe. He drove a works Porsche 906 in various sports car races in 1966 and was sixth at Le Mans with Udo Schütz. He then retired a works Lola T70 Mk2-Aston Martin from the following year’s event.

Only an occasional runner in the national F1 series while he competed overseas, de Klerk’s Brabham BT20-Repco was unclassified in the 1969 South African GP. His final appearance in that event was in 1970 when a distant 11th with a Team Gunston Brabham BT26-Ford. That year also included his final victory in the South African F1 Championship – the South African Republic Festival Trophy at Kyalami as de Klerk finished third in the standings.

He drove a Scuderia Scribante Lotus 49-Ford for the next couple of seasons – finishing twice during 1972 – but withdrew from his country’s senior series after a final campaign with Team Gunston’s Chevron B25-Cosworth. Peter de Klerk continued to compete at a lesser level into the 1980s.