On the list of former Formula 1 drivers, there are numerous names of drivers who recorded just one participation in the world's premier racing competition. One of those one-off participants is Northern Irishman Damien Magee, who made his only Formula 1 World Championship start in the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix, driving for Williams. In 1976, Magee tried to make his second start but he failed to qualify for the French Grand Prix.
Starting a career in British F3 championships
Born in November 1945 in Belfast, Magee recorded his first racing attempts in 1972, participating in British Formula 3 Championships. In that time, there were three regional F3 competitions in the UK, sanctioned by different organizations.
Magee participated in all three, driving a Brabham BT38-Cosworth and Palliser WDF3-Cosworth. His best result was fifth place in the final standings of the F3 Lombard North Central Championship. In 1973, Magee participated again in all three British F3 championships but without notable results.
1973 - season in the European F5000 Championship
In 1973, Magee made a one-off appearance in the British F5000 Championship, moving completely to the 1974 European F5000 Championship with AW Brown Racing.
Driving three different Chevrolet-powered cars (Lola T330, Trojan T101 and Chevron B24), he scored one podium to finish 14th in the final points.
Damien Magee spent his entire career in open-wheel competitions
1974 - Formula 1 debut in non-championship races
In 1974, Magee made a Formula 1 debut, participating in two non-championship races with AW Brown Racing's Lola T330-Chevrolet. In March, he was driving the #60 car in the IX Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. He retired after 28 laps.
In April, Magee returned to an F1 grid in the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone. He ended a race five laps behind a winner James Hunt, not being classified.
Damien Magee at 1975 Swedish Grand Prix
F1 World Championship debut in the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix
In June 1975, Magee made a Formula 1 World Championship debut at the Scandinavian Raceway at Anderstorp. He was hired by Frank Williams to drive the #20 Williams FW03-Cosworth in the Swedish Grand Prix as a replacement for Arturo Merzario.
Magee started 22nd on the grid and finished 14th, two laps behind race winner Niki Lauda (Ferrari). He didn't get another opportunity, as Williams was using six other drivers in the #20 car until the end of the season.
Average results in the Formula 5000
In 1975, Magee's main competition was still the European F5000 Championship, in which he was driving Trojan T101 for Jim Kelly and Chevron B24/28 for RAM Racing. Scoring one podium, he finished 18th in the points.
In 1975, Magee also participated in few races of the CASC Player's Challenge Series, driving for Alan McCall Racing.
Two F1 attempts with RAM Racing
In 1976, Magee participated in two Formula 1 events with RAM Racing. In April, he was driving a Brabham BT42-Cosworth in the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, not finishing the race due to a broken engine.
In July, he came to Circuit Paul Ricard to drive a Brabham BT44B-Cosworth for RAM Racing in the French Grand Prix. He failed to qualify and didn't start the race.
Damien Magee with David Purley in 1976
Second place in the 1976 Shellsport International Series
Besides two attempts in Formula One, Magee spent a season in the UK's Shellsport International Series. The competition was opened for F1, F2, F5000 and Formula Atlantic cars.
Magee was driving a March 751-Cosworth, winning two races (Snetterton and Oulton Park) and adding three more podiums to finish second in the championship points, behind David Purley.
Magee returned to Shellsport International Series in 1977, driving Lola-Chevrolet F5000 car for EL Gibbs Racing in four events, scoring one podium and finishing 14th in the points.