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Ernest Pieterse

4th July 1938
Parow, Cape Town, Western Cape
1st November 2017 (Aged 79)
Johannesburg, Gauteng
South African
Most recent race (in database):

Ernie Pieterse was one of those local hopefuls who raced in the South African Grand Prix alongside Formula 1’s established stars during the 1960s.

Early racing career

Overheard criticising a driver while watching at the Grand Central circuit in 1957, Pieterse was challenged by a fellow-spectator to do better himself and so started his own racing career. He was soon racing a yellow DKW and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TI he shared with his brother André finished third in the 1958 Rand Nine Hours at Grand Central.

Pieterse switched to single-seaters and made his South African F1 debut at the end of 1961 driving a Heron Formula Junior chassis powered by an Alfa Romeo engine. He won the minor Rhodesian GP as well as the final South African F1 championship round (the Rand Spring Trophy at Kyalami) to finish fourth in the 1961 standings.

South African champion

A Lotus 21-Climax was acquired for 1962 and he won four times to be crowned South African F1 Champion. He ran sixth against the visiting GP stars during the closing laps of Kyalami’s Rand GP only to retire. Fifth in the Natal GP, he qualified 13th for his world championship debut in the end-of-season South African GP before finishing 10th after running at the back all race.

Runner-up in the 1963 National Championship, his car was entered by the Lawson Organisation for that year’s winter series. He was fifth in the Rand GP but retired early from the South African GP. Sixth in the 1964 South African points, Pieterse failed to qualify for the South African GP on January 1 1965. That disappointment came as Pieterse began to wind down his racing activities and he retired soon after.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1965 F1 World Championship
Lawson Organisation
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1963 F1 World Championship
Team Lawson
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
1962 F1 World Championship
Ernest Pieterse
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
1962 South African Drivers Championship
Scuderia Alfa
5 1 5 5 1st 0
1961 South African Drivers Championship
Scuderia Alfa
1 1 1 1 0