George Constantine (1918-1968) was an American racing driver who scored lots of success in sports car racing in North America. He was so dominant at Lime Rock Park race track that he earned a nickname the 'King of Lime Rock'. His another nickname was the 'Flying Greek'.
Besides spending a career in sports car racing between 1953 and 1962, he also recorded one start in the Formula One World Championship, participating in the 1959 US Grand Prix at Sebring International Raceway. He was driving a Cooper T45, not finishing the race.
George Constantine (left) talks to Stirling Moss
Starting a racing career in 1953
Born in February 1918 in Southbridge, Massachusetts, George John Constantine started his sports car racing career in 1953, racing with MG TC in some SCCA events. Later that year he switched to Jaguar XK120.
It was his car also in 1954 when he scored first notable result, finishing second at Watkins Glen Grand Prix, behind Richard Perrin in a similar car. He was fourth in the same race next year.
Victory at 1956 Watkins Glen Grand Prix
In June 1956, Constantine was driving an Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark II for the first time. Two months later, he tried one more British car, a Jaguar D-Type, but also raced in a Chevrolet Corvette C1 in several races. He was combining all three cars during that year.
In September 1956, Constantine scored his first big victory, triumphing at Watkins Glen Grand Prix in the #49 Jaguar D-Type. The race was a part of the SCCA National Sports Car Championship.
George Constantine and Elisha Walker Jr. with Aston Martin DB Mark III
Sebring 12 Hours debut in 1958
In 1957, Constantine started to race with Elisha Walker Jr.'s Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark III, using that car for most of the year, but he also raced with other manufacturers. At 1957 Watkins Glen Grand Prix he finished sixth in Briggs Cunningham's Maserati 300S.
In March 1958, Constantine made a debut at Sebring 12 Hours, sharing the #26 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark III with John Dalton. They didn't finish the race.
George Constentine in Aston Martin DBR2 at Lime Rock Park
Collecting victories with Aston Martin DBR2
In August 1958, Elisha Walker had a new car for George Constantine, a fabulous Aston Martin DBR2. His first win with that car was at Lime Rock Park, in the First Annual Lime Rock International Open event. Two weeks later, he won USAC Marlboro race at the Upper Marlboro Raceway.
With those two wins, George Constantine finished second in the 1958 USAC Road Racing Championship, behind Dan Gurney who was driving a Ferrari 290 MM. In December, Constantine concluded a year with a victory at Governor's Trophy at Oakes Field Course in Nassau, Bahamas.
In 1959, Constantine continued to drive Aston Martin DBR2 in SCCA and USAC races, repeating a victory at Lime Rock Park. In other races, he won at Nassau Trophy Race and finished second at Watkins Glen Grand Prix.
Formula One attempt at 1959 US Grand Prix
In December 1959, Constantine came to Sebring International Raceway to participate in the Formula One Grand Prix race. It was the first and only occasion that US Grand Prix was held at Sebring.
Constantine was driving the #16 Cooper T45 owned by Mike Taylor. He was 15th on the starting grid, ending a race after just five laps because of overheating.
George Constantine was driving the #14 Ferrari at 1960 Sebring 12 Hours
Class victory with Ferrari at 1961 Sebring 12 Hours
In March 1960, Constantine returned to Sebring to drive the #14 Ferrari 250 GT California, sharing a car with Robert Publicker and Dean McCarthy. They finished the race in the tenth place. Later in 1960, Constantine was driving Chevrolet-powered Lister Kelso in SCCA and USAC races.
In March 1961, Constantine reached class podium at Sebring 12 Hours in the #22 Ferrari Dino 246 S. Sharing a car with Jim Hall, he finished sixth overall and the first in S2.5 class. In September, he won at Watkins Glen Grand Prix in a Ferrari 250 TR.
Constantine's last race was the Sebring 12 Hours in March 1962. He was sharing the #20 Ferrari 250 TR with Gaston Andrey, not finishing the race.