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Herbert MacKay-Fraser

23rd June 1922
Recife, Pernambuco (BR)
14th July 1957 (Aged 35)
Reims, Champagne-Ardenne (F), F2 race
Most recent race (in database):

Herbert MacKay-Fraser was a popular and jovial American whose racing career in Europe was tragically short.

Upbringing and early racing career

Born on his father’s Brazilian coffee plantation, he had already been a Wyoming rancher before discovering motor racing relatively late on. That was having moved to California where he began to race a Jaguar XK120 and Ferrari 750 Monza sports car in SCCA races.

"Mac" raced in Brazil for a short time before moving to London to further his ambitions in the sport. It was during 1956 that he started to attract attention. He shared Ivor Bueb’s Lotus 11-Climax in that year’s Reims 12 Hours and they led before stripping second and third gears to retire.

That performance established the American and earned a works drive for the Le Mans 24 Hours. He shared Colin Chapman’s Lotus 11-Climax but again retired late in the race.

Works Lotus driver and Grand Prix debut

A fulltime Lotus driver in 1957, he won the 1100cc class at Le Mans and began racing a Lotus 12-Climax in Formula 2 events. Third place in the Lavant Cup was lost when he crashed at Goodwood’s chicane but he finished second to Jack Brabham at Brands Hatch.

With Lotus a year away from graduating to Formula 1, MacKay-Fraser made his Grand Prix debut in a BRM P25 at the 1957 French GP. He qualified in 12th position at Rouen-les-Essarts and ran sixth during the early laps before his engine failed. His was a promising bow but he was killed just a week later when his streamlined Lotus 11-Climax crashed at high speed during the F2 Coupe Internationale de Vitesse at Reims.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1957 F1 World Championship
Owen Racing Organisation
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
1957 World Sportscar Championship
Lotus Engineering
1 0 0 0 0