Peter Gethin

Full Name:
Peter Kenneth Gethin
Born:
21st February 1940
Ewell, Surrey
Died:
5th December 2011 (Aged 71)
Old Henley, Haslemere, Surrey
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

The finish of the 1971 Italian Grand Prix is among the most dramatic moments in Formula 1 history. Five cars were covered by just 0.61 seconds after a Monza slipstreaming classic. Narrowly ahead at the line was the BRM P160 of Peter Gethin. The son of racehorse trainer Ken Gethin, this Englishman raced in 30 GPs but further success in the championship was limited to two sixth place finishes. It was in Formula 5000 that Gethin was a title winner in both Europe and Australasia.

Early racing career

He began racing a Lotus Seven in 1962 and won the opening two rounds of the 1965 BRSCC British Formula 3 Championship with Charles Lucas’s Lotus 22-Ford. His Bob Gerard-entered Cooper T84-Cosworth finished third at Hockenheim in one of three Formula 2 starts during 1967 and Gethin began a full F2 campaign a year later with Frank Lythgoe’s Chevron B10-Cosworth. He struggled initially but a mid-season switch to a Brabham BT23C chassis was immediately rewarded by sixth place at Monza. 1968 ended with Gethin second at Albi (despite a spin) and third at Vallelunga’s finale.

Formula 5000 champion and grand Prix debut

F5000 was introduced to Europe in 1969 and it was the making of the man. Gethin drove a works-backed Church Farm Racing McLaren M10-Chevrolet that year with which he won the opening four races and the inaugural title. He retained the Guards-sponsored championship a year later by which time he had already made his F1 debut.

Drafted into the McLaren F1 and Can-Am teams in the wake of Bruce McLaren’s death in 1970, Gethin finished sixth on his first appearance in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. He repeated that result in the Canadian GP and won the Elkhart Lake Can-Am race. That was enough to retain his F1 seat for 1971 and he finished second in the International Trophy at Silverstone.

Grand Prix winner for BRM

But he switched to BRM when Pedro Rodríguez was killed in July and new team-mate Jo Siffert promptly won the Austrian GP. The Italian GP and Gethin’s greatest day followed – his winning car averaging a then record 150.759mph during the race. He also won the non-championship Brands Hatch Victory Race but the event was marred by Siffert’s fatal accident.

His 1972 season with BRM proved to be a major disappointment, although victory at Pau was the highlight of his concurrent campaign in the works F2 Chevron B20-Ford. One-off F1 starts in 1973 and 1974 apart (for BRM and Hill respectively), it was back in F5000 that Gethin starred. He even beat the F1 stars in the 1973 Race of Champions with his regular F5000 Team VDS Chevron B24-Chevrolet. He was 1974 Tasman Champion but narrowly lost the European title to Bob Evans.

Gethin retired from racing in 1977 and later managed the career of emerging Italian star Beppe Gabbiani. He was Team Manager of the Toleman F1 team in 1984 and ran Peter Gethin Racing in Formula 3000 two years later. He died in 2011 after a long illness.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1977 Can-Am Challenge
Racing Team VDS
1 0 1 1 0
1976 SCCA/USAC F5000 Championship
Racing Team VDS
7 0 0 0
0% win rate
9th 23
1975 ShellSport 5000 European Championship
Racing Team VDS
16 1 4 3
19% win rate
2nd 143
1974 F1 World Championship
Embassy Racing with Graham Hill
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1974 World Championship of Makes
Chevron Cars
1 0 0 0 10
1974 Rothmans European F5000 Championship
Chevron Racing Team VDS
18 3 10 4
23% win rate
2nd 186
1974 Peter Stuyvesant $100,000 Tasman Cup
Chevron Racing Team VDS
8 1 5 2
25% win rate
1st 41
1973 F1 World Championship
Marlboro Team BRM
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1973 European F2 Championship
Chevron Racing Team
5 (2) 1 1 0
0% win rate
13th 6
1973 Rothmans European F5000 Championship
Chevron Racing Team
Anglo-American Racing Team
8 3 3 2
25% win rate
8th 65
1973 SCCA L&M F5000 Championship
Chevron Cars
9 0 3 0
0% win rate
4th 49
1972 SCCA L&M Continental F5000 Championship
Sid Taylor Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 10
1972 John Player British F2 Championship
Chevron Racing Team
2 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1972 European F2 Trophy
Chevron Racing Team
9 (1) 2 1 1
12% win rate
9th 12
1972 F1 World Championship
Marlboro Team BRM
10 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 1
1971 F1 World Championship
Yardley Team BRM
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
11 0 1 1
10% win rate
9th 9
1971 Rothmans F5000 Championship
Sid Taylor Racing
2 1 1 0
0% win rate
12th 7
1970 F1 World Championship
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
7 0 0 0
0% win rate
22nd 1
1970 Guards F5000 Championship
Sid Taylor Racing
13 8 11 8
62% win rate
1st 90
1970 Can-Am Challenge
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
1 0 1 1 0
1969 Guards F5000 Championship
Church Farm Racing
8 5 4 4
50% win rate
1st 2365
1969 SCCA Formula A Continental Championship
Church Farm Racing
3 1 1 1
34% win rate
10th 9
1968 European F2 Trophy
Frank Lythgoe Racing
6 (1) 0 1 0
0% win rate
12th 4
1967 RAC British F2 Championship
Gerard-Cooper Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1967 European F2 Trophy
Gerard-Cooper Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1967 SCCA Formula A Grand Prix Championship 1 1 0 0
0% win rate
0
1966 Autocar British F2 Championship
Sports Motors Manchester
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1965 Autocar British F2 Championship
Charles Lucas Engineering
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0