Peter de Klerk
- March 16, 1935
- July 11, 2015
- South Africa
- Not Active
Peter de Klerk (1935-2015), also known as Piet de Klerk, was a South African racing driver who was active during the 1960s and early 1970s.
He recorded four starts in the Formula One World Championship, participating in four South African Grand Prix races between 1963 and 1970.
Two wins in a row at Mozambique Grand Prix
Born in March 1935 in Pilgrim's Rest in Transvaal, De Klerk scored his first big racing success in 1962 when he was the winner of the Mozambique Grand Prix race at Circuito de Lourenco Marques. He was driving an Alfa Romeo Special. A year later, De Klerk repeated the victory, again in an Alfa Romeo.
De Klerk participated also in sports car races, driving a Lotus 23-Alfa Romeo. He won a couple of races at Kyalami circuit.
Formula One World Championship debut in 1963
In December 1963, Peter de Klerk made a debut in the Formula One World Championship. He participated in the South African Grand Prix at Prince George Circuit in East London.
He was driving the #18 Alfa Romeo Special for Otello Nucci. Starting 16th on the twenty-car grid, he retired after 53 laps of racing due to gearbox failure. The race winner was Jim Clark.
Podium at Kyalami 9 Hours in 1964
In October 1964, De Klerk reached a podium at Kyalami 9 Hours endurance race, driving the #2 Ferrari 250 GTO for David Piper Racing. His co-driver was John Love. They finished second overall and first in Class E.
In 1964, De Klerk's only F1 race was the non-championship Rand Grand Prix at Kyalami Circuit in December. His race in an Alfa Romeo Special ended with an accident after 27 laps in the second heat. He was sixth in the first heat.
Tenth place at 1965 South African Grand Prix
In January 1965, the South African Grand Prix was the first round of the 1965 F1 Championship and De Klerk came again to East London to drive an Alfa Romeo Special. This time, he finished tenth, six laps behind race winner Jim Clark. It remained De Klerk's career-best F1 Championship result.
Later that year, he scored another Class E victory at Kyalami 9 Hours. This time, he was driving the #14 Porsche 904 GTS, finishing fourth overall. His co-driver was Mike de Udy.
Sixth place at Le Mans debut in 1966
In 1966, Peter de Klerk had a wide schedule of sports car races with Porsche, including his debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans. In his first appearance at Circuit de la Sarthe, he was driving the #32 Porsche 906 LH for a factory team, sharing a car with Udo Schütz. They finished in the sixth place.
In other races, his only win was in a Porsche 718 RS at South African 6 Hours at Roy Hesketh Circuit in Pietermaritzburg. He finished 6th at Tourist Trophy, 5th at Mugello and second at Roy Hesketh 3 Hours race. He retired at Targa Florio and Nurburgring 1000 Km.
At 1966 South African Grand Prix, which was not a part of the F1 Championship, he retired with the broken gearbox in Otello Nucci's Brabham-Climax.
Second Le Mans attempt in a Lola T70
In 1967, Peter de Klerk was racing with a variety of race cars in sports car events. After he retired at Nurburgring 1000 Km in Edward Nelson's Ford GT40, De Klerk came to Le Mans with Lola Cars/Team Surtees. In his second Le Mans attempt, he was driving the #12 Lola T70-Aston Martin, sharing a car with Chris Irwin and not finishing the race. An engine expired after just 25 laps.
Later that year, De Klerk raced in a Ferrari 250 LM at Brands Hatch 6 Hours and in a Ford GT40 in three more races.
Two more F1 Grand Prix starts with Brabham cars
De Klerk was out of racing in 1968, returning to action in March 1969. He participated in the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami Circuit, driving the #19 Brabham BT20-Repco. Completing thirteen laps less than a race winner Jackie Stewart, de Klerk was not classified in official results.
A year later, in March 1970, De Klerk recorded his fourth F1 Championship start. He was driving Team Gunston's #24 Brabham BT26-Cosworth in the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami Circuit, finishing in 11th place, five laps behind race winner Jack Brabham.
Third place in the 1970 South African F1 Championship
In 1970, De Klerk participated full season in the South African Formula 1 Championship, scoring one victory in nine races to finish third in the points, behind Dave Charlton and John Love. De Klerk was driving a Brabham BT26-Cosworth.
In sports car competitions, De Klerk recorded one start in a Chevron B8-BMW in the South African 6 Hours at Roy Hesketh Circuit, not finishing the race.
Three more seasons in the South African Formula 1
Peter de Klerk stayed active for three more years in the South African Formula 1 Championship. He was driving a Lotus 49C-Cosworth in 1971 and 1972, not scoring wins.
He was 8th in the points in 1971 and seventh in 1972. In 1973, his race car was a Chevron B25 (FVC). Scoring no wins or podiums, he was 14th in the points. In all those years, Dave Charlton was a champion.
One more victory at South African 6 Hours
While racing in F1, De Klerk recorded a couple of notable races in sports car endurance events. In 1971, he finished sixth at Kyalami 9 Hours, sharing the #14 Lucky Strike Chevron B19-Cosworth with John Hine.
In April 1972, he joined Rays Racing Team in the South African 6 Hours at Roy Hesketh Circuit, driving the #2 Chevron B19-Cosworth. He and John Abrahams won the race, what was De Klerk's last win in a career.