John Miles (1943-2018) was a British racing driver who was active between 1963 and 1973, participating in open-wheel and sports car competitions. He recorded 15 entries (12 starts) in the Formula 1 World Championship in 1969 and 1970, driving for Team Lotus.
British GT champion early in a career
Born in June 1943, John Miles started his racing career in 1963, driving a Ford-powered Diva GT in sports car races. In 1964, he won the Redex Sportscar Championship but also gained some international success, scoring a class victory at Nurburgring 1000 Km together with Peter Jackson.
In 1965, he continued to race with Diva GT, sponsored by John Willment and won some national events. Then, in 1966, he won Autosport British GT Championship in the Willment-sponsored Lotus Elan 26R.
John Miles and Jackie Oliver were sharing a Lotus 47GT in 1967
British Formula 3 vice-champion in 1967
In December 1966, Miles had a victorious debut in a Lotus 47 GT, winning the British Eagle Trophy at Brands Hatch. He continued to race with Lotus 47 in 1967, scoring a class victory at Brands Hatch 6 Hours as the highlight of the season. His co-driver in that race was Jackie Oliver.
In 1967, Miles also raced with Lotus factory team in Formula 3 races, finishing second in the BRSCC British F3 Championship with Lotus 41.
Collecting victories at Brands Hatch
In April 1968, Miles and Jackie Oliver scored one more class victory at Brands Hatch 6 Hours in a Lotus 47. After that, Miles was pretty successful in sports car races with Lotus but also gained some international success in Formula 3.
In April 1969, he and Brian Muir scored P2.0 class victory at Brands Hatch 6 Hours in the #71 Lotus 62. In the same car, Miles won Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch in September 1969.
In his first F1 season, John Miles was driving Lotus 63 4WD car
Formula One debut in a 4WD Lotus F1 car
In 1969, John Miles participated in a development of a Lotus 63 four-wheel-drive Formula 1 car. After his teammates Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt refused to drive the car, Miles made a Formula 1 debut with an experimental car in the French Grand Prix at Charade Circuit in July. He retired from the race after just one lap with a broken fuel pump.
He managed to finish the next race, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, in the tenth place, nine laps behind race winner Jackie Stewart. Miles recorded three more starts in a Lotus 63, recording DNFs in all three races (Italy, Canada, Mexico).
John Miles recorded 15 F1 Grand Prix entries with Team Lotus
Scoring F1 championship points in South Africa
After Graham Hill left Team Lotus in 1970, John Miles has been promoted as the second driver, next to Jochen Rindt.
Driving the #10 Lotus 49C, Miles finished fifth in the season-opening South African Grand Prix, scoring his only F1 points in a career. He was the best of all Lotus drivers, including privateers.
John Miles at 1970 Italian Grand Prix
Two DNQs and six starts in 1970 Formula 1 season
For the second championship round in Spain, the new Lotus 72 was entered, but Miles failed to qualify for the race. Due to the problems with the 72, the updated Lotus 49C was used in Monaco but Miles again failed to qualify for the race.
In the remainder of the season, Miles raced in a Lotus 72, not finishing at Spa, Brands Hatch, Hockenheim, and Österreichring. He completed two races, finishing 7th in the Dutch Grand Prix and 8th in the French Grand Prix.
In total, he recorded six starts and two DNQs in 1970 before his season was over at Monza when Jochen Rindt lost a life during qualifying and Team Lotus withdrew from the event. Miles left the team immediately after that tragedy.
BRM drivers John Miles (right) and Howden Ganley
Ending a career in touring car racing
For the 1971 F1 season, Miles joined BRM as a test driver, racing in a BRM P153 in a couple of non-championship races at Brands Hatch and Hockenheim. In the same time, Miles raced in a Chevron B19-Cosworth in the British Sportscar Championship, winning the title in 2-liter class.
In 1972, Miles switched his interest to touring car racing, driving a Ford Capri RS 2600 in selected events of the European Touring Car Championship. In September, he and Brian Muir won Paul Ricard 6 Hours. In 1973, Miles and Muir raced with BMW 3.0 CSL at Paul Ricard 6 Hours, not finishing the race.