- October 26, 1947
- United Kingdom
- Not Active
Ian Ashley is a British former racing driver who recorded eleven participations in Formula 1 Grand Prix races between 1974 and 1977. In those eleven events, he made just four starts, two for Token Racing, one for BRM and one for Hesketh Racing.
In a pre-F1 career, he was successful in the Formula 5000, finishing third in the 1974 European championship. In post-F1 career, he made few starts in the CART Indy Car World Series between 1985 and 1987 but also participated in the 1993 British Touring Car Championship.
Ashley started a career in the Jim Russell Racing School
Ian Hugh Gordon Ashley was born in October 1947 in Wuppertal, Germany. He started his racing career in 1966 by attending the Jim Russell Racing School. In the following years, he participated in different competitions (Formula Ford, Formula 3) in Europe but also in Brazil, progressing to British Formula 5000 in 1972.
Regular starter in British non-championship F1 races
Ashley participated for the first time in Formula 1 in October 1971, in the 1st World Championship Victory Race at Brands Hatch. He was driving Lola T190-Chevrolet, finishing in 18th place.
In 1972, he participated in two non-championship F1 races with the same car, finishing 8th in the International Gold Cup at Oulton Park and 13th in the Victory Race at Brands Hatch.
Third place in the European Formula 5000 Championship
In 1973, Ashley scored one victory in the British Formula 5000 Championship, finishing 12th in the final standings. In 1973, there were two F1 non-championship races, Ashley participated in both, finishing 10th in the Race of Champions and crashing out in the BRDC International Trophy.
Formula 1 Championship debut in 1974
In 1974, Ashley repeated his participation in two F1 non-championship races, finishing 8th in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch and retiring at BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone.
And then, in August 1974, Ashley finally made a debut in the Formula One World Championship. He was driving the #32 Token RJ02-Cosworth for Token Racing in the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. He was 20th in the starting grid, finishing in the 14th place, one lap behind winner Clay Regazzoni. In the next race, the Austrian Grand Prix at Österreichring, he ended eight laps behind a winner.
Two unsuccessful F1 attempts in North America
In September 1974, Ashley joined British Chequered Flag Racing with Richard Oaten team to drive the #42 Brabham BT42-Cosworth in two North American race. In the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport, he failed to qualify. Two weeks later, he recorded one more DNQ in the US Grand Prix at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course.
Bad accident at Nürburgring Nordschleife
In 1975, Ashley was driving for Richard Oaten Racing in the European Formula 5000, scoring two victories and finishing fourth in the final standings. In March 1975, Ashley was driving Lola T330-Chevrolet for Richard Oaten Racing in the Race of Champions, retiring after an accident.
In August 1975, Ashley was recruited to drive for Wiliams in the German Grand Prix. Unfortunately, he didn't start the race because he crashed out during the qualifying. In an accident at the Pflanzgarten, he suffered serious ankle injuries.
One start with BRM in 1976, one with Hesketh in 1977
In 1976, Ashley returned to F1 Championship with Stanley BRM team, driving the #14 BRM P201B in the season-opening Brazilian Grand Prix. He retired after just two laps because of a broken oil pump.
In the second part of the 1977 F1 season, he joined Hesketh Racing to drive a Hesketh 308E-Cosworth. He failed to qualify in Austria, Netherlands and Italy, finally entering the race in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. He finished in the 17th place, four laps behind winner James Hunt.
Mosport accident ended Ashley's F1 career
In October 1977, at Mosport Park, Ashley had a bad crash during a practice for the Canadian Grand Prix. Driving the #25 Hesketh, he went over a bump, flipped a car, vaulted a barrier and crashed into television tower. Injuries ended his F1 career and he never returned to the premier open-wheel racing competition.
Return to racing in the CART Indy Car World Series
Ian Ashley returned to racing eight years later, joining Tom Hess Racing in one race of the 1985 CART PPG Indy Car World Series. He was driving a Lola-Cosworth in the Miami Grand Prix, finishing in the 18th place.
Next season, he made three Indy Car starts with Dick Simon Racing, at Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Elkhart Lake. His best result was the ninth place at Mid-Ohio.Ashely also made a single American Racing Series (now Indy Lights) start at Pocono Raceway. Ashley's last CART appearance was in 1987 at Maimi, where he was driving for Dick Simon Racing.
A season with Vauxhall in the British Touring Car Championship
In 1993, at the age 45, Ian Ashley decided to try something new in his racing career so he entered the British Touring Car Championship with Tamchester Team Maxted and Colin Davis Racing.
He was driving the #16 Vauxhall Cavalier GSi, being the best privateer in three races and scoring ninth place overall as the best result. He was 23rd in the final championship standings and third in the TOCA Challenge for privateers.
Later in a career, Ashley had short stints in some racing competitions, such were TVR Tuscan Challenge, Lotus Sport Elise cup or HSCC Historic Formula Ford. He also entered motorcycle sidecar races.