Born on this day, Stuart Lewis-Evans, British racing driver who participated in 14 Formula One World Championship Grand Prix’s, debuting in May 1957


Sunday 20th April 1930

Born on this day, Stuart Lewis-Evans, British racing driver who participated in 14 Formula One World Championship Grand Prix’s, debuting in May 1957. He achieved two podiums, and scored a total of 16 championship points.

Lewis-Evans began racing in 1951 with a Cooper 500 Formula 3 car, encouraged by and sometimes racing against his father, Lewis “Pop” Evans.[1] He achieved many wins and podia and continued to race in 500s until 1956.

In his first Formula One race, the 1957 Monaco Grand Prix, Lewis-Evans finished fourth in an inferior Connaught Type B, beaten only by multiple winners Fangio and Brooks, and Masten Gregory in one of the dominant Maserati 250F cars. This performance brought him to the attention of Tony Vandervell, owner of the rising Vanwall team, and by the next Grand Prix Lewis-Evans was driving the third Vanwall. The 1957 Vanwall was fast when its engine held together, but not always reliable. Lewis-Evans took his first F1 win at the year’s non-championship Moroccan Grand Prix, and pole position at the final World Championship event, the Italian Grand Prix.

The 1958 Formula One season would prove to be a much better year, at least initially, for the entire Vanwall team. Principal drivers Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks took three victories each, and Lewis-Evans added to the team’s points haul with podium finishes in the Belgian and Portuguese events. He also took pole position at the Dutch Grand Prix, but failed to finish in the race. This was not his only retirement of the year – indeed his only other finish, although points-scoring, was a fourth place at the British Grand Prix.

Lewis-Evans crashed heavily at the dusty Ain-Diab circuit during the season-ending Moroccan Grand Prix. His Vanwall’s engine seized and sent him lurching into barriers at high speed, and his car burst into flames. He was airlifted back to the UK, but died in hospital of his burns six days after the accident.[2] His death cast a pall over Vanwall’s victory in the 1958 International Cup for F1 Manufacturers, an achievement to which Lewis-Evans had contributed significantly. Vandervell never fully recovered from Lewis-Evans’ death and withdrew from motorsport at the end of 1958.


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