- August 14, 1942
- United Kingdom
- Not Active
Jackie Oliver is a British former racing driver and a team owner who recorded 50 starts in Formula One between 1963 and 1977 but he gained the greatest successes outside F1, winning the Triple Crown of endurance racing. In 1969, he won both the 24 hours of Le Mans and Sebring 12 Hours, together with Jackie Ickx in a Ford GT40. In 1971, he and Pedro Rodriguez won at Daytona 24 Hours in a Porsche 917K.
His other great success is the 1974 Canadian American Challenge Cup (Can-Am). In 1977, Jackie Oliver was one of the co-founders of the Arrows Grand Prix International team, which was active in Formula One from 1978 to 2002.
Jackie started his career in 1961
Keith Jack 'Jackie' Oliver was born on August 14, 1942, in Chadwell Heath, Essex. He started racing in 1961, first with Mini in British club races and then with Marcos GT and Lotus Elan in GT races. In May 1965, he and Chris Craft were driving Jaguar E-Type at Brands Hatch 1000 Miles, taking a victory in the GT+2.6 class.
Four BSCC wins with Ford Mustang
In 1966, he scored one overall victory in the British Saloon Car Championship (today BTCC) with Ford Mustang but also debuted in the Formula 3. After two wins in seven races, Oliver finished third in the Formula 3 BRSCC classification. In 1967, he won three times in the BSCC with Ford Mustang, finishing fourth overall in the championship points.
Grand Prix debut in 1967 with Lotus F2 team
While racing with Ford in the 1967 BSCC season, Oliver was drafted into the Lotus F2 team. He participated in several races of the Formula 2 European Championship and made a Grand Prix debut at the German Grand Prix in August. At Nürburgring Nordschleife he was driving F2-spec Lotus-Cosworth against F1 machines. He finished fifth overall and the best among F2 drivers.
In 1967, Oliver also participated in two endurance races with Ford GT, at Monza and Spa. He and Mike Salmon took the class victory at 1000 km of Spa.
Maiden F1 podium at Mexican Grand Prix
A death of Jim Clark in April 1968 opened the door for Jackie Oliver in the Lotus F1 team. He had a double programme that year, driving for Lotus in the Formula 2 European Championship and recording eight starts with Gold Leaf Team Lotus in the Formula One Championship.
After retiring at Monaco Grand Prix after a first-lap accident, Oliver scored first points at Belgian Grand Prix, finishing fifth at Spa. He led the British Grand Prix until an engine failure and then scored his maiden F1 podium at the Mexican Grand Prix, finishing third behind Graham Hill and Bruce McLaren. At the end of the season, Oliver was 15th in the championship standings.
Unsuccessful Le Mans and Daytona debuts with Ford GT40
Outside F1, Oliver participated in sports car races with Golf Leaf Team Lotus but also with Alan Mann Racing in the British Saloon Car Championship. In September 1968, Oliver debuted at 24 hours of Le Mans. He was sharing J.W. Automotive Engineering's #11 Ford GT40 with Brian Muir but they retired after just 15 laps.
In February 1969, Oliver debuted at Daytona 24 Hours with Ford GT40. This time, he was sharing a car with Jacky Ickx. They retired after an accident.
Jackie Oliver joined BRM for 1969 F1 season
With Jochen Rindt signing for Lotus for the 1969 Formula One season, Jackie Oliver switched to BRM (Owen Racing Organisation). It was a disappointing season as he managed to finish only two of ten races he started.
He finished seventh at the South African Grand Prix and sixth at the Mexican Grand Prix. With one single point on his account, he finished 17th in the championship standings.
1969 - two great wins for Jackie Oliver and Jacky Ickx
Outside F1, Oliver continued to race alongside Jackie Ickx in the International Championship for Makes. They were driving J.M. Automotive's Mirage M2-BRM at Monza, Spa and Nürburgring.
For Sebring 12 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours, they had a Ford GT40 and they won both races. At Circuit de la Sarthe, it was the epic race with a traditional Le Mans-style start in which Jacky Ickx walked slowly to his car. After 24 hours and 372 laps of racing, the #6 Ford GT40 won the race in front of factory-entered Porsche 908.
1970 - one more disappointing F1 season with BRM
In the 1970 Formula One season, Jackie Oliver continued to race with BRM. After eight consecutive retirements, he finally reached the finish line at the Austrian Grand Prix. He was fifth, getting two points. With those points, he finished 20th in the final standings.
Outside F1, Oliver joined his Le Mans-winning partner Jacky Ickx at Brand Hatch 1000 km, where they were driving Ferrari 512 S to the 8th-place finish. He also gained some success in the Canadian-American Challenge Cup, scoring three podiums in an Autocast-Chevrolet or Titanium-Chevrolet.
1971 - Daytona victory with Porsche 917 K
In 1971, the season started successfully with second place at Buenos Aires 1000 km race. Jackie Oliver's co-driver in the #32 J.W. Automotive Porsche 917 K was Pedro Rodriguez. Three weeks later, Oliver and Rodriguez won the 24 Hours of Daytona in the #2 Porsche 917 K.
In March, at Sebring 12 Hours, Rodriguez and Oliver finished in the third place. Two more great wins followed at Monza 1000 km in April and Spa 1000 km in May. At the greatest race of all, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Oliver didn't finish the race in the #18 Porsche 917 K.
Focusing on Can-Am, just four F1 races in two seasons
Besides successful participations in the sports car races, Oliver joined Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in three Formula One races but also focused on Can-Am. He was driving McLaren-Cosworth at Silverstone (DNF), Österreichring (9th) and Monza (7th). In the Can-Am competition, he participated in eight races with Shadow-Chevrolet.
In 1972, Oliver focused even more to Can-Am with Shadow, but still without notable results. He scored two podiums to finish 8th in the points. In the 1972 Formula One season, he participated just in the British Grand Prix with Marlboro BRM team, not finishing the race.
1973 Formula One season with Shadow
In 1973, Shadow entered Formula One Championship and Jackie Oliver was nominated as team leader, with George Follmer as the second driver. The team debuted in the third round and Oliver participated in 13 races with Cosworth-powered Shadow DN1.
He recorded eight DNFs and sensationally scored a podium at the Canadian Grand Prix, finishing third behind Peter Revson and Emerson Fittipaldi. Oliver earned four points to finish 14th in the final classification.
Jackie Oliver was the 1974 Can-Am champion
During his last full-season in the Formula One, Oliver continued to drive Shadow-Chevrolet in the Can-Am series. With two podiums he finished seventh in the points. And then, in 1974, he fully focused on Can-Am and managed to win the championship title. He won four races with Shadow DN4-Chevrolet.
After that, Oliver became more involved in the management side of Shadow but continued to compete in the SCCA/USAC Formula 5000 Championship for two seasons.
Brief Formula One return in 1977
In the 1975 F5000 Championship, Oliver scored two podiums to finish fourth in the points, behind Brian Redman, Mario Andretti and Al Unser. In 1976, he scored one victory and four podiums in F5000 races, ending third in the points, behind Brian Redman and Al Unser.
In 1977, Oliver briefly returned to Formula One with Shadow team, finishing ninth at the Swedish Grand Prix and fifth in the F1 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.
Forming the Arrows Grand Prix team in 1977
At the end of 1977, Jackie Oliver left Shadow along with financier Franco Ambrosio, designers Tony Southgate and Alan Rees, engineer Dave Wass and driver Riccardo Patrese. They formed Arrows Grand Prix International team, based in Milton Keynes, England.
Arrows team become famous for having the longest streak without wins in Formula One history, which lasted for 382 races from 1978 to 2002. In those 382 races, the team recorded nine podiums and one pole position.
Oliver was selling his stakes few times, to the Japanese Footwork Corporation in 1990 and to Tom Walkinshaw's TWR group in 1996. Oliver remained on the board until 1999, when he sold his remaining shares.
Photos: Getty Images, McLaren, pbase.com,