Lance Macklin
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Lance Macklin

Lance Macklin
Born(1919-09-02)2 September 1919
Kensington, London, England
Died29 August 2002(2002-08-29) (aged 82)
Tenterden, Kent, England
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited Kingdom British
Active years1952 - 1955
privateer Maserati
Entries15 (13 starts)
Career points0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1952 Swiss Grand Prix
Last entry1955 British Grand Prix

Lance Noel Macklin (2 September 1919 - 29 August 2002) was a British racing driver from England. He participated in 15 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 18 May 1952. He was infamously involved in the 1955 Le Mans disaster, starting the initial chain reaction.

Early life

Macklin's father was the automotive entrepreneur Noel Macklin, founder of both the Invicta and Railton car companies, as well as Fairmile Marine, a manufacturer of motor gun and torpedo boats during World War II. Macklin was born in Kensington, and educated at Eton College. He volunteered for service with the Royal Navy in 1939 and (in line with his father's business) was assigned to work on motor gun boats.

Motoring career

On demobilisation after the Second World War, Macklin followed his early ambition and became a racing driver, although an early attempt to enter a race on the Isle of Man was refused on grounds that he had no experience.[1]

He secured an entry to the 1948 Grand Prix des Frontières, and practised for the event by driving his Invicta at high speeds on public roads, teaching himself to four-wheel drift around Belgrave Square in London's Mayfair. He impressed in the race and eventually earned a signing with Aston Martin. He was made a reserve driver for Le Mans and raced at the Spa 24 Hours, finishing fifth.

He finished fifth at Le Mans in 1950 alongside teammate and HWM owner George Abecassis. Abecassis invited him to join HWM for several races, culminating with victory in the 1952 BRDC International Trophy, his biggest success in motor racing. HWM also gave Macklin his debut in the Formula One World Championship, but the small team was not competitive against the better-funded works entries and he scored no world championship points. While at HWM, Macklin formed a close bond with young teammate Stirling Moss.

He returned to Le Mans with Aston Martin in 1951, finishing third overall and taking his second S3.0 class victory, although class victories were not celebrated at that time. He left Aston Martin in 1952, dissatisfied with his retaining fee, and joined Bristol for the following year. The new team found little success, failing even to start the 1952 12 Hours of Reims, but such issues typically did not faze him. Macklin's social confidence and smooth demeanour made him popular with women, and he would sometimes be more interested in them than racing. Abecassis had been critical of this easy-going attitude: "He never cared whether he started in a race or not... Sometimes it was a nightmare to make him practice at all. If there was some blonde he was after he just wouldn't show up."[1]

Role in the 1955 Le Mans disaster

In the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans he was involved in the most catastrophic accident in racing history, which killed Pierre Levegh and 83 spectators. Macklin swerved to avoid hitting the Jaguar of Mike Hawthorn, who was braking hard in a late attempt to pit, and moved into the path of Levegh's car causing it to clip his.[2][3][4] Although Macklin's car crashed, he was uninjured. Macklin was deeply affected by the incident. He felt that Hawthorn had tried to alleviate himself of responsibility, and that the racing community was turning the blame to him as a result.[1]

He continued to race, but another tragic experience followed in the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod. Macklin crashed his Austin-Healey 100S avoiding an accident in which Jim Mayers and William T. Smith were killed. Soon after, Macklin retired from motor sport at the urging of his then-girlfriend.[5]

Business career

Macklin joined Facel Vega in Paris, running the export division until the company failed in 1963, when he began working for London car dealership H.R. Owen.

Personal life

Macklin was married twice; firstly to Shelagh and subsequently to Gillian. He had two children from his first marriage and one from the second.[5]

Later years

He later moved to Spain, but returned to England when he became ill. He died on 29 August 2002 in Tenterden, Kent, four days before his 83rd birthday.[5]

Racing record

Complete Formula One results


Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Points
1952 HW Motors Ltd HWM Alta Straight-4 SUI
500 BEL
NC 0
1953 HW Motors Ltd HWM Alta Straight-4 ARG 500 NED
NC 0
1954 HW Motors Ltd HWM Alta Straight-4 ARG 500 BEL FRA
1955 Stirling Moss Ltd Maserati 250F Maserati Straight-6 ARG MON

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1950 United Kingdom Aston Martin Ltd. United Kingdom George Abecassis Aston Martin DB2 S3.0 249 5th 1st
1951 United Kingdom Aston Martin Ltd. United Kingdom Eric Thompson Aston Martin DB2 S3.0 257 3rd 1st
1952 United Kingdom Aston Martin Ltd. United Kingdom Peter Collins Aston Martin DB3 Spyder S3.0 ? DNF
1953 United Kingdom Bristol Aeroplane Company United Kingdom Graham Whitehead Bristol 450 Coupé S2.0 29 DNF
1954 Italy Automobili O.S.C.A. France Pierre Leygonie O.S.C.A. MT-4 S1.5 247 DSQ
(Abandoned vehicle)
1955 United Kingdom Lance Macklin
(private entrant)
United Kingdom Les Leston Austin-Healey 100 S S3.0 28 DNF
(Accident damage)

Complete 12 Hours of Sebring results


  1. ^ a b c Nixon, Chris (November 1997). "The Player". Motor Sport. p. 38. Retrieved 2021.
  2. ^ Spurgeon, Brad (11 June 2015). "On Auto Racing's Deadliest Day". The New York Times Company, Inc. Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ "Mike Hawthorn & the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans: The Cause and the Effect". Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ Deadliest Crash:the Le Mans 1955 Disaster (Programme Website), BBC Four documentary, broadcast 16 May 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "Lance Macklin". Daily Telegraph. 4 September 2002. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 234. ISBN 0851127029.
Sporting positions
Preceded by BRDC International Trophy

Succeeded by

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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