- December 24, 1941
- New Zealand
- Not Active
Howden Ganley is a former racing driver from New Zealand who recorded 35 starts in the Formula 1 World Championship between 1971 and 1974, driving for BRM, Williams and March. He also gained some success in sports car racing, with second place at 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours as a highlight of his career.
After a retirement from racing, he constructed Ganley F1 car and founded the Tiga Race Cars company which was active until 1989. Ganley is currently the President of the F1 Grand Prix Drivers Club (since 2013). In 2015, he published a book 'The Road to Monaco: My Life in Motor Racing'.
A visit to F1 race stimulated a desire for racing
James Howden Ganley was born on December 1941 in Hamilton, New Zealand. As a kid, he visited the 1955 New Zealand Grand Prix race at Ardmore, deciding that he will be a race car driver one day.
He started a racing career in 1960 in New Zealand, also working as a reporter and writing about races. After he moved to the United Kingdom in 1962, he worked as a mechanic and he was one of the first employees of Bruce McLaren's company in 1964. Ganley left a company in June 1966 but he stayed close with Bruce McLaren, who helped him to develop his racing career.
Formula 5000 European vice-champion in 1970
Starting in 1967, Ganley participated in Formula 3 races all over Europe until 1969, then progressing to Formula 5000 in 1970. Driving a McLaren M10B (Chevrolet) for Bruce McLaren's friend Barry Newman, Ganley was the F5000 European vice-champion in 1970, finishing second behind Peter Gethin.
In 1970, Ganley also participated in many Formula 2 races and non-championship Formula 1 races, such were International Gold Cup at Oulton Park or BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone.
Formula 1 World Championship debut in 1971 with BRM
Good performance draws an attention of the Yardley Team BRM and they hired Ganley to drive for the team in the 1971 Formula 1 World Championship season. The another BRM's full-time driver that year was Jo Siffert.
Ganley had a debut in the BRM P153 at the South African Grand Prix, retiring because of overheating. He managed to finish the next race, the Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuic Circuit. In the ninth round, at Monza, driving a new BRM P160, Ganley finished fifth to collect his first championship points. He was in the points one more time, in the season's finale at Watkins Glen, where he finished fourth. With five points on his account, Ganley was 15th in the final championship standings.
Second place in the 1971 International Gold Cup
Over the year, Ganley participated in many F1 non-championship races, finishing best in the second place at the International Gold Cup at Oulton Park. He also recorded few participations in the F5000 races and one appearance with BRM P167 (Chevrolet) in the Can-Am Challenge, finishing third at Riverside.
In November 1971, he closed a season with at Kyalami 9 Hours, where he was driving the #9 Chevron B19 for Team Gunston/Richter Motors, sharing a car with Paddy Driver and Mike Hailwood. They didn't finish the race but they were classified in the third place.
1972 - one more Formula season with BRM
The Marlboro BRM team retained Ganley for the 1972 Formula 1 season. He started a year with ninth place at Argentine Grand Prix. After missing out two races (France and GB) he returned as a point-scorer in the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring Nordschleife, finishing fourth behind Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni and Ronnie Peterson.
Ganley scored one more point in the next race, finishing sixth in the Austrian Grand Prix. Collecting four points in total, he finished 13th in the championship standings.
Podium at 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours
In 1972, Ganley was also active in sports car races. In April, he was driving a BRM P167 in the Interseries event at Nürburgring, winning both races. With the same car, he failed to finish both races in the Interserie event at Silverstone in May.
And then, in June, Ganley scored his greatest result in a career. In his debut at Le Mans 24 Hours, he finished on a podium. Sharing the #14 Matra MS670 with Francois Cevert, he finished in the second place, eleven laps behind race winners and teammates Henri Pescarolo and Graham Hill.
1973 – Formula 1 season with Frank Williams
For the 1973 Formula 1 season, Ganley joined Frank Williams Racing Cars to drive an Iso-Marlboro FX3B-Cosworth. After three races the team switched to a new model Iso-Marlboro IR.
After scoring several top 10 results during a season, Ganley finally gets into points at the Canadian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the championship. He finished sixth, taking one point to end a season 19th in the final standings.
1973 – DNFs both at Daytona 24h and Le Mans 24h
In the sports car racing, Ganley made a Daytona 24 Hours debut in February 1973, driving the #1 Mirage M6-Cosworth for Gulf Racing. His partner was Derek Bell. They were the fastest qualifiers but failed to finish the race with a broken clutch. Bell and Ganley later recorded three more DNFs at Vallelunga 6 Hours, Dijon 1000 Km and Monza 1000 Km.
At Spa 1000 Km, Ganley finished second together with Mike Hailwood and Vern Schuppan in the #6 Mirage M6. In June, Ganley came to Le Mans for the second time. His co-driver was Derek Bell again and they failed to finish the race in the#8 Mirage M6. Two weeks later, at Zeltweg 1000 Km, Bell and Ganley finally reached the finish line while racing together, taking fifth place. In July, they were fourth at Watkins Glen 6 Hours.
Two last F1 starts with March
At the start of the 1974 Formula 1 season, Ganley traveled to South America to drive the #10 March 741-Cosworth for March Engineering in the Argentine Grand Prix and Brazilian Grand Prix. He finished 8th in Argentina and retired early in Brazil.
He recorded one more start with March in the non-championship President Medici Grand Prix in Brasilia, being replaced after that by Vittorio Brambilla.
Accident at Nürburgring Nordschleife stopped Ganley's F1 career
Later in the season, Ganley joined the small Japanese team Maki Engineering in their Formula One debut, driving the #25 Maki F101-Cosworth in the British Grand Prix. He failed to qualify for the race.
A few weeks later, Ganley was badly hurt during a Friday practice for the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring Nordschleife. That injury led to his retirement from Formula One.
Two Le Mans attempts in a Porsche
While Ganley's F1 career was over, he recorded few more starts in the sports car races. In May 1975, he returned to Nürburgring together with Tim Schenken in the #4 Gelo Racing's Mirage GR7-Cosworth, finishing second in the 1000km race.
In June, Ganley and Schenken were co-drivers in the #59 Gelo Racing's Porsche 911 Carrera RSR at 24 Hours of Le Mans, not finishing the race due to a broken gearbox. Later in the season, Ganley scored two class victories in the Interserie events with Mirage GR7.
In June 1976, Ganley returned to Le Mans with the German Gelo Racing Team, sharing the #49 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR with Clemens Schickentanz. They stopped after 74 laps. Ganley's last race in a career was in the Mid-Ohio's Can-Am Challenge event in June 1978, when he was driving a Mirage GR7 to the fifth place.
Constructing F1 car and building Tiga Race Cars
Howden Ganley and his racing partner Tim Schenken also became business partners in 1976 by founding the Tiga Race Cars company. Prior to that, Ganley started a project of the Ganley F1 car in 1975. He built a Cosworth-powered car but never used it in races.
The Tiga Race Cars project was more successful. The company's name was formed by the first two letters of Tim and Ganley. They were constructing chassis for various open-wheel and sports car racing competitions, selling nearly 400 chassis until 1989 when the company has been closed.