- June 16, 1923
- April 12, 1962
- United Kingdom
- Not Active
- Ecurie Ecosse,BRM,Connaught,Cooper,Lotus
Ron Flockhart was a Scottish racing driver whose greatest achievements are two overall victories at 24 hours of Le Mans in 1956 and 1957, both while driving Jaguar D-Type for Ecurie Ecosse. Flockhart recorded 13 starts in Formula One between 1954 and 1960, scoring one podium at the 1956 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
He was also the successful aircraft pilot. After surviving all the dangers of racing in the 1950s, he lost his life in an aircraft accident on April 12, 1962, while preparing to break a record for the time taken to fly from Sydney to London.
Recording wins since the beginning
Ron Flockhart was born on June 16, 1923, in Edinburgh, Scotland. He started racing in 1951, participating in Formula 3 and Formula Libre races, immediately gaining some success. Among his podiums, he won the Ulster Trophy at Dundrod circuit.
In 1952, Flockhart purchased the ERA R4D race car from Raymond Mays, one of ERA's founders. After winning one race in 1952, Flockhart had a phenomenally successful season in 1953, winning several circuit races and hillclimb races. The car was featured on the cover of Autosport magazine. This success led to joining the BRM team as a works driver.
Formula 1 debut at 1954 British Grand Prix
After participating in few races with BRM V16 and Austin-Healey 100 during 1954, Flockhart debuted in Formula One at the 1954 British Grand Prix, in July at Silverstone.
He was sharing the #6 Maserati 250F with Prince Bira, who started 10th on the grid. After Prince Birra was driving for 42 laps, Flockhart crashed out after just two laps in a car.
Le Mans debut at infamous 1955 event
In 1955, Flockhart continued to race with Austin-Healey 100, including a participation at Mille Miglia in May. He was also driving BRM V16 in one race before traveling to France for his 24h Le Mans debut. He joined Colin Chapman in his #48 Lotus Mark IX. They finished a race after 12 hours, being disqualified because reversing on track.
It was the race remembered by the greatest tragedy in a history of motorsport when over 80 people were killed in an accident on lap 35.
1956 Le Mans victory in Jaguar D-Type
For the 1956 season, Flockhart joined the Scottish team Ecurie Ecosse, immediately starting to collect wins and podiums in a Jaguar D-Type at national events. In June, he and Ninian Anderson participated at 12 hours of Reims, finishing in the 4th place.
It was a good test for their joint participation at 24 hours of Le Mans in July, where they took a sensational victory with #4 Jaguar D-Type, beating Aston Martin's Stirling Moss/Peter Collins and Ferrari's Olivier Gendebien/Maurice Trintignant.
Formula One podium at Monza
In 1956, Flockhart also recorded two Formula One participations. On July 14, he was driving the #25 BRM P25 for Owen Racing Organisation in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, but the engine expired after just two laps.
He was much more successful in September at Monza, where he was driving the #4 Connaught-Alta. He finished in the third place, a lap behind race winner Stirling Moss.
In 1957, Flockhart participated in two F1 races as BRM factory driver, at Monaco Grand Prix and French Grand Prix at Rouen-Les-Essarts. At the streets of Monte-Carlo, a broken engine forced him to retire after 60 laps. In the French race, he was out of a race after just two laps because of an accident.
Victory and distance record at 1957 24h Le Mans
While having no success in Formula One, Flockhart continued to drive Jaguar D-Type for Ecurie Ecosse in the World Sportscar Championship. He had no luck at 1000 km of Buenos Aires and Mille Miglia, then finishing 8th at 1000 km of Nurburgring, together with Jack Fairman.
At 24 hours of Le Mans, Flockhart was defending his last year's victory in the #3 Jaguar D-Type, sharing a car with Ivor Bueb. They won a race ahead of teammates in the #15 car, breaking an all-time distance record with 327 laps (4,397 kilometers). It was the third consecutive and the last win for Jaguar D-Type.
Unsuccessful debut at Sebring 12 hours
In March 1958, the Ecurie Ecosse fielded two cars at 12 hours of Sebring. Unfortunately, both Jaguars retired. Flockhart was in the #9 car with Masten Gregory. A few months later, the duo participated together at 1000 km of Nurburgring, not finishing because of an accident.
Besides sports car racing, Flockhart had two attempts in Formula One during 1958. In May, he failed to qualify Cooper T43-Climax for Monaco Grand Prix. In October, he was driving the factory-entered BRM P25 at Moroccan Grand Prix, retiring after 15 laps.
Five Formula 1 races in 1959 season
In 1959, Flockhart had the busiest F1 schedule of all seasons, participating in five races as BRM factory driver. He spun off at Monaco Grand Prix and then finished 6th at French Grand Prix at Reims. Just five drivers were getting points.
Flockhart retired again at the British Grand Prix at Aintree, then finished two races in a row. He was seventh at Portuguese Grand Prix at Monsanto and 13th at Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Two DNFs at Le Mans in 1959 and 1960
Flockhart returned to Le Mans in June 1959, to compete in the Jaguar-powered Tojeiro for Ecurie Ecosse. His co-driver was Jock Lawrence. They retired after 137 laps because of an overheated engine.
A year later, Flockhart was again driving Jaguar D-Type at Le Mans, sharing a car with Bruce Halford. Mechanical problems stopped them after 168 laps.
Scoring F1 Grand Prix point with Lotus
Flockhart had the last two Formula 1 appearances in 1960. In July, he was driving the #22 Lotus 18-Climax for Team Lotus, finishing in the sixth place and scoring one single championship point.
In November, he participated in the US Grand Prix at Riverside International Raceway, driving the #4 Cooper T51-Climax. Transmission problems forced him to stop after 11 laps, ending his Formula One career.
Last Le Mans attempt along with Jim Clark
In June 1961, Flockhart participated for the last time at 24 hours of Le Mans. His partner in the #5 Border Reivers Aston Martin DBR1/300 was F1 ace Jim Clark, who debuted a year earlier in the Formula One as Flockhart's teammate for Team Lotus. The clutch problem stopped the Scottish pair after 132 laps.
Flockhart's last sports car race in a career followed a week after Le Mans, at Charterhall circuit, where he won the race with Border Reivers' Aston Martin. During 1962, he participated in several races with Lotus 18.
Losing a life in a plane crash
In the final years of his racing career, Flockhart was also a passionate pilot. In February 1961, the United Dominions Trust, the main sponsor of UDT Laystall Racing Team, organized an attempt of breaking the record for the time taken to fly from Sydney to London. They hired Flockhart to fly the Mustang World War Two fighter. Flockhart's attempt ended in Athens due to engine problems.
A year later, another Mustang was bought in Australia for Flockhart to make a second attempt at the Sydney-London record. On April 12, 1962, during a test flight in preparation for the record attempt, Flockhart had a deadly crash near Kallista, Victoria.