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Ian Burgess

Full Name:
Ian John Burgess
6th July 1930
St Pancras, London
19th May 2012 (Aged 81)
Harrow, London
Most recent race (in database):

An engineer by profession, Ian Burgess began racing a 500cc Formula 3 Cooper during 1950 both in England and on the Continent. The 20-year-old’s second season included narrowly beating Ken Wharton at a wet Nürburgring and he then finished second at Avus – results that promised much but ultimately flattered to deceive.

Working for Cooper

Burgess was soon working for Cooper and he had a reputation within the Surbiton factory as something of a lovable rogue – openly rowing with Charles Cooper when apparently the only employee able to call him Charlie to his face. In 1957, Burgess became an instructor at the new Cooper Racing School at Brands Hatch and he was quickly installed as the operation’s manager.

Grand Prix career

His own racing ambitions gained momentum once he persuaded Cooper to give him a works T43-Climax for three Formula 2 races at the end of the year. Fourth in the Oulton Park Gold Cup was enough to earn a fuller schedule for 1958 with a car run by Tommy Atkins’ High Efficiency Motors. Burgess twice won F2 races and he made his Grand Prix debut at Silverstone with a works T45. Seventh in the German GP when third in the F2 class, he crashed during the Berlin GP at Avus – breaking a leg and ending his promising season.

The Englishman returned at the start of 1959 – driving for Atkins in F2 and a Scuderia Centro Sud Cooper T51-Maserati in four GPs. He qualified 13th for the British GP and finished sixth in the German GP at Avus but a second season with the Italian team was less successful.

He joined Lucky Casner’s Camoradi International for 1961 but his Lotus 18-Climax was seldom better than an also ran – starting three GPs without success but finishing fourth in the lesser race at Naples.

For 1962 Burgess drove a Cooper Special for the Anglo-American Equipe – a team formed with American journalist Louise Bryden-Brown. The car was modified by engineer Aiden Jones using Formula Junior T59 chassis and 1500cc Climax FPF engine. Two GPs and a number of minor continental events once more yielded modest results although he was a lapped fourth at Solitude.

The 1963 season proved to be Burgess’ last in the sport and it was an unhappy experience spent campaigning a Scirocco-BRM for American socialite Hugh Powell Jr. His car was not ready until the British GP and it then proved heavy and unreliable. Burgess retired at Silverstone and crashed out of the German GP in his final World Championship start. He later served 10 years in jail after being convicted on drugs charges.