Gallery: The Lotus 19 raced by Hill and Ireland

by Lyndon McNeil on 24th April 2019

Lyndon McNeil's gallery of a car raced by drivers such as Graham Hill, Olivier Gendebien, Innes Ireland and even Stirling Moss and Jim Clark – from the May 2019 issue

Lotus 19 on track

March 20, 1965, Silverstone. It was a particularly wet spring landscape, so much so that the British Automobile Racing Club was eventually obliged to abandon its headline race, the Senior Service 200 for Formula 2 cars. Before that decision was taken, however, there had been a couple of accident-strewn support events, one of the victims of which you see here – an ex-UDT Laystall Lotus 19 that hasn’t been used competitively in the intervening 54 years. But that’s soon to change...

Lotus 19 cockpit

Its driver that day was Harry O’Brien, running under the Aintree Racing Team banner. While Jim Clark (Lotus 30) eventually got the better of John Surtees (Lola T70) at the front of the field, helped by the latter having a couple of excursions, O’Brien had worked his way through the field to third when, according to Motor Sport (April 1965), “He was unlucky to spin off on lap 15 and wreck his Lotus, after having driven very well.”

It transpired that the left-front brake disc had shattered, locking the wheel and spitting the car sharp left into the bank between Stowe and Club. O’Brien took the remains back to his Merseyside base, where they later suffered further damage in a workshop fire, and that’s where the story might have ended. But…

Lotus 19 engine

This is Lotus 19 chassis number 953, a car with a more colourful back story than most, and it is now owned by Henley-in-Arden-based Keith Bristow, who plans to use the car this summer in both hillclimb and race events.

Lotus 19 on track

It made its debut in 1961, at Goodwood, as part of the two-strong UDT Laystall/British Racing Partnership team owned by Stirling Moss’s father Alfred and one-time business manager Ken Gregory, who also owned chassis 950 and 952. It is thought that Henry Taylor drove the car rather than team-mate Cliff Allison, but despite having accumulated a vast array of paperwork – plus pristine copies of race programmes from every meeting for which the car was entered – Bristow has as yet been unable to verify that to his absolute satisfaction.

Lotus 19 track blur

Similar uncertainty surrounds several of the car’s earliest races, but what is known is that the inexplicably underrated Olivier Gendebien (four Le Mans victories, winner of the Sebring 12 Hours and Nürburgring 1000Kms, two podium finishes from only 14 F1 World Championship starts) took it to class victories at both Riverside and Laguna Seca towards the end of ’61.

Lotus 19 steering wheel

The following season the team retained only 953 and the car was hugely successful in the UK, Innes Ireland winning several races, while Graham Hill triumphed in the Scott Brown Memorial at Snetterton and Masten Gregory took the Player’s 200 victory at Mosport Park, Canada...

Read Simon Arron's full story in the May 2019 issue of Motor Sport

 

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