John Taylor (1933-1966) was a British racing driver whose career ended prematurely after a crash at the 1966 Formula 1 German Grand Prix at Nürburgring in August.
He was badly burned in a wreck and died a month later in a hospital, on September 8. In his short career, Taylor recorded five starts in the Formula One World Championship and ten starts in non-championship Grand Prix events.
Authentic photo of John Taylor's crash
A flight engineer became a racing driver
Born in March 1933 in Anstey, Leicestershire, John Malcolm Taylor was working as a flight engineer in the Royal Air Force, starting his racing career in 1958. Over the years, he progressed through the Formula Libre and Formula Junior competitions, joining Bob Gerard's racing team in 1960 and staying with the team for several years.
Formula One debut in 1963 at Aintree circuit
Taylor made his Formula One debut in the non-championship BARC Aintree 200 race at Aintree Circuit in April 1963, driving a Cooper T59-Ford for Bob Gerard Racing. He finished in the ninth place, eight laps behind race winner Graham Hill in a BRM P57.
Next month, Taylor was driving Cooper-Ford in the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, retiring due to an oil leak.
John Taylor pictured at the beginning of a career
First F1 Championship start in 1964 at Brands Hatch
In 1964, Taylor continued to gain experience in the non-championship F1 races. He was seventh at News of the World Trophy at Goodwood Circuit in March. In April, he finished fifth in the 9th Aintree 200 race. In May, he was tenth in the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone.
In July, Taylor was ready for the F1 World Championship debut, entering the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in Bob Gerard Racing's #22 Cooper T73-Ford. He was 14th, a massive 24 laps behind race winner Jim Clark. He lost a time during an extended pit-stop due to gearbox problems.
Mediterranean Grand Prix, the first race outside the UK
In August 1964, Taylor raced for the first time in the F1 race outside Britain, in the Mediterranean Grand Prix at Autodromo di Pergusa. He finished seventh in a Cooper T60-Climax.
He continued to race with Bob Gerard Racing's Cooper T60-Climax in 1965, participating only in the British non-championship Grand Prix events. He was eighth in the 1st Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, seventh in the Sunday Mirror Trophy at Goodwood and eleventh in the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone.
John Taylor in the #44 Brabham BT11 at the 1966 French Grand Prix
Earning one championship point in the 1966 French Grand Prix
In 1966, Taylor planned to expand his Formula 1 schedule with David Bridges' Brabham BT11-BRM. He finished sixth in the BRDC International Trophy in May and then went to France in July to participate in the French Grand Prix. He finished sixth at the wheel of #44 Brabham-BRM, three laps behind race winner Jack Brabham, earning one championship point.
In July, Taylor finished eighth in the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, four laps behind race winner Jack Brabham. A week later, Taylor was eighth in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, six laps behind Jack Brabham who won again.
John Taylor was driving the #38 Brabham BT11 at 1966 Dutch Grand Prix
Nürburgring Nordschleife took one more victim
In August, Taylor came to participate in the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring Nordschleife. It's interesting that Taylor successfully raced at Nürburgring two months earlier, on June 5, in the World Sportscar Championship's 1000-km race, sharing the #50 Red Rose Motors Ford GT40 with Peter Sutcliffe. They finished sixth.
In the F1 race, which began in heavy mist and rain, Taylor was driving the #16 Brabham BT11. Taylor started 25th on the grid and collided on the first lap with Matra MS5 of Jacky Ickx near the bridge between Quiddelbacher and Flugplatz. Ickx was uninjured while Taylor was badly burned in the accident. He was rescued and taken to hospital in Koblenz. Unfortunately, due to severe burns, he succumbed four weeks later.
John Taylor in the #16 Brabham BT11 during training for 1966 German Grand Prix