Career Summary:

Ivor Bueb

  • June 06, 1923
  • August 01, 1959
  • United Kingdom
  • Not Active
  • 92
  • 27
  • 46
  • 3
  • 3
  • 29.35%
  • 50.00%

Ivor Bueb (1923-1959) was a British racing driver who achieved the most in sports car racing. His greatest achievements are two victories at 24 Hours of Le Mans, both in a Jaguar D-Type. First, he won the unfortunate 1955 race with Mike Hawthorn and then, in 1957, he won together with Ron Flockhart.

Bueb also recorded six entries (five starts) in the Formula One World Championship between 1957 and 1959. Bueb's career prematurely ended after a fatal crash at Charade Circuit in France in a Cooper-Borgward F2 car.

Ivor Bueb

Ivor Bueb

Starting a career in Formula 3

Born in June 1923 in East Ham, Essex, Ivor Leon John Bueb started his racing career in 1953, entering the British Formula 3 Championship in a private 500cc Cooper car.

He raced with that car in 1954 also, then joining Cooper factory team in 1955 and finishing second in the British F3 Championship, losing a title to Jim Russell.

Ivor Bueb in a Cooper F3 car

Ivor Bueb in a Cooper F3 car

Victory in a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans

In 1955, Bueb was also racing with Cooper T39 in national sports car races, scoring several victories. Then, in June 1955, he was invited to join Mike Hawthorn at 24 Hours of Le Mans as a driver of factory-entered #6 Jaguar D-Type.

The race was marked by the greatest tragedy in the history of motorsport after Pierre Levegh's car went into a crowd and killed more than 80 spectators. Jaguar crews didn't withdraw from the race like some rivals and Hawthorn/Bueb clinched a victory.

Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb at 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours

Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb at 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours

DNF at Sebring, victory at Reims 12 Hours in 1956

Later in 1955, Bueb continued to race in a Cooper T39 in national events, rejoining Jaguar in another endurance classic in March 1956, the Sebring 12 Hours. He was sharing the #9 Jaguar D-Type with Duncan Hamilton, not finishing the race. A few months later, in June, he and Hamilton won the Reims 12 Hours in a D-Type.

That year's Le Mans race took place in July. Defending winners Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb were driving the #1 Jaguar D-Type, finishing in the sixth place overall and third in S5.0 class.

Ron Flockhart and Ivor Bueb at 1957 Le Mans 24 Hours

Ron Flockhart and Ivor Bueb at 1957 Le Mans 24 Hours

1957 – third at Sebring, victory at Le Mans

Over the year, Bueb continued to race in a Cooper T39, rejoining Jaguar again at Sebring 12 Hours in March 1957. He and Mike Hawthorn finished third in the #5 Jaguar D-Type, behind two factory-entered Maseratis.

For the 1957 Le Mans race, Bueb joined 1956-winner Ron Flockhart in the #3 Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type. They completed 327 laps and won the race in front of three more privately-entered Jaguars.

Formula One debut at 1957 Monaco Grand Prix

In 1957, Bueb also made a debut in the Formula One World Championship. His first race was the Monaco Grand Prix. He was driving the #12 Connaught Type B-Alta, starting 16th on the grid and stopping after 47 laps due to a fuel leak.

In July, he recorded one more F1 Grand Prix attempt, driving the #32 Maserati 250F for Gilby Engineering in the British Grand Prix at Aintree Circuit. He completed 71 laps, nineteen less than a race-winning car, not being classified.

1958 – DNFs at Sebring and Le Mans

In 1958, Bueb started the season again at Sebring 12 Hours, sharing the #8 Jaguar D-Type with Ninian Sanderson. They didn't finish the race. Bueb continued to drive Jaguar in various sports car events during the year, including Le Mans. There, he was sharing the #8 D-Type with Duncan Hamilton. They retired after 20 hours of racing because of an accident.

Later in 1958, following Archie Scott Brown's death at Spa, Bueb started to race with Brian Lister's Lister-Jaguar, scoring few wins in national sports car events. In 1958, Bueb also participated in the so-called Monzapolis event, the 500-mile race at Monza also known as the Race of Two Worlds. He was driving Jaguar D-Type.

Ivor Bueb was driving Bernie Ecclestone's #15 Connaught-Alta at 1958 British Grand Prix

Ivor Bueb was driving Bernie Ecclestone's #15 Connaught-Alta at 1958 British Grand Prix

Two F1 Grand Prix starts in 1958

In 1958, Bueb added two more F1 Grand Prix starts to his CV. In July, he raced in Bernie Ecclestone's #15 Connaught Type B in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, stopping after nineteen laps due to gearbox failure.

In the next race, the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, Bueb was driving the #28 Lotus 12-Climax for Ecurie Demi Litre, finishing in the eleventh place, three laps behind race winner Tony Brooks.

Racing with Lister in 1959

In 1959, Bueb traditionally opened a season at Sebring International Raceway, driving the #2 Lister-Jaguar and sharing a car with Stirling Moss. They didn't finish the race and were disqualified because of illegal refueling.

Later that year, Bueb scored some good results with Lister in national events. At 1959 Le Mans race, he and Bruce Halford retired the #1 Lister Costin LM after 121 laps with a broken engine. Bueb's last sports car race was the Aintree Grand Prix on July 18, in which he finished sixth.

Ending a career with two races at Aintree Circuit

Parallel to sports car racing commitments, Bueb recorded three wins in three races of the 1959 British Saloon Car Championship with Jaguar 3.4 and raced with British Racing Partnership (BRP) in Formula 2 and Formula 1 races.

He failed to qualify for Monaco Grand Prix in a Cooper T51-Climax, finished tenth in the Lavant Cup in a Cooper T51-Borgward and recorded his last F1 attempt in the British Grand Prix at Aintree Circuit, finishing 13th in the #46 Cooper T51-Borgward. That race took place on the same day as sports car racing Aintree Grand Prix.

Ivor Bueb 1959 crash

Ivor Bueb died six days after a crash at Charade Circuit

Only race car driver to lose a life at Charade

After participating in two races at Aintree Circuit on July 18, Bueb went to France to race with BRP's Cooper T51-Borgward in the F2 non-championship race at Circuit de Charade in France.

He had an accident and was thrown out of a car, suffering severe injuries which cost him a life six days later, on August 1. Bueb became the first and only race car driver to lose a life at Charade Circuit.

Photos: Getty Images,