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George Constantine was a leading SCCA competitor on the East Coast when a world championship Grand Prix was finally organised in America. He took the opportunity to hire Mike Taylor’s Cooper T45-Climax for that 1959 United States GP at Sebring – qualifying 15th but a retiree after just five laps.
He drove a Jaguar XK120 from 1953 before acquiring a D-type three years later with which he won the 1956 sports car Watkins Glen GP on the newly opened permanent circuit.
Constantine made his international racing debut in the 1958 Sebring 12 Hours but he retired the works Aston Martin DBR2/4 he shared with John Dalton. He also won a couple of USAC-sanctioned sports car races in Elisha Walker’s DBR2 that year at Lime Rock and Marlboro.
Successful in SCCA competition
He enjoyed a particularly successful 1959 SCCA season with the Aston Martin – winning the Nassau Trophy and sharing the USSC/Sports Illustrated Driver of the Year award with Walt Hansgen. He also won his heat in a free-for-all Formule Libre race at Lime Rock – beating an eclectic field that included a Formula 1 Maserati, Indycar midgets as well as sports cars. He diced Chuck Daigh’s 250F for the lead in the final but retired with Rodger Ward’s midget finally passing the Italian car to win.
With his name in the F1 record books following that US GP one-off, Constantine continued to race into the early 1960s. He made one attempt at Indycars but he failed to qualify a Tassi Vatis Kurtis KK4000-Offenhauser at Trenton in 1960.
He returned to Sebring on three occasions and finished sixth sharing Jim Hall’s NART Ferrari Dino 246S in 1961 to win the sports 2500cc class. Another victory at Watkins Glen later that autumn proved to be Constantine’s last major success. Fifth overall in the 1962 Daytona 3 Hours with John T.Bunch’s Ferrari 250TR, Constantine died later that decade after a long illness.