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Jackie Oliver

Full Name:
Keith Jack Oliver
Born:
14th August 1942 (Age 78)
Chadwell Heath, London
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Motor racing has been Jackie Oliver’s life for half a century as racing driver, team owner and board member of the British Racing Drivers' Club. He started racing a Mini in 1961 before dabbling in club sports cars and saloons.

Grand Prix debut with Lotus

Oliver turned professional in 1966 when racing a Brabham in Formula 3. Initial success was rewarded with a works Lotus contract and he won the Formula 2 class at the 1967 German Grand Prix on his debut in the world championship. Fifth on the road that day, he evidently impressed Colin Chapman. When Jim Clark was killed in April 1968, Oliver was retained as his replacement.

Team-mate Graham Hill won the world championship in the most difficult of campaigns and Oliver completed the year by finishing third in the Mexican GP. His most competitive performance, however, came at Brands Hatch when Oliver qualified second and led the British GP until his engine failed.

BRM frustration and sports car success

However, Chapman saw more potential in Jochen Rindt as his next star and Oliver moved to BRM for 1969 and 1970. An unhappy Formula 1 period was softened by sports car success with John Wyer’s works-backed Ford GT40. Jacky Ickx's co-driver for the 1969 International Championship of Makes, Oliver won the Sebring 12 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours. His F1 fortunes were less favourable with fifth in the 1970 Austrian GP the only score of another season blighted by poor reliability and a fiery accident with Ickx at Járama.

Unlucky to be released by BRM and without an F1 ride at the start of 1971 – Oliver won at Daytona, Monza and Spa-Francorchamps with Pedro Rodríguez and Wyer’s Porsche 917K sports car. However, he endured the team’s displeasure by accepting a contract to race for Shadow in Can-Am that year. He also started three GPs in a third McLaren-Ford during 1971 – finishing seventh in Italy.

Team management and swansong as a driver

That Shadow drive was a nod to the future for Oliver later became a member of the team’s management as the UOP-backed concern launched its F1 team in 1973. He remained a driver but it was a season of mechanical failure and frustration before he finished third in the wet Canadian GP after others fell by the wayside.

1974 Can-Am Champion for the marque, Oliver made one final F1 appearance at the 1977 Swedish GP before retiring after 50 GP starts. By now he was involved in a new, secret venture. He was foremost in the breakaway Arrows team in 1978 (he was the ‘O’ in its name) and Riccardo Patrese led its second race. It proved to be a false dawn for Arrows and the marque would eventually disappear from F1 without winning a race some 24 years later.

Oliver sold the company to Tom Walkinshaw in 1996 and he eventually severed his ties with the team three years later. He remains an active member of the BRDC.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1977 F1 World Championship
Shadow Racing Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1976 World Championship of Sportscars
Shadow Racing Team
1 1 1 1 0
1976 SCCA/USAC F5000 Championship
Shadow Racing Team
7 1 4 1
15% win rate
3rd 108
1975 SCCA/USAC F5000 Championship
Shadow Racing Team
7 (2) 0 2 0
0% win rate
4th 77
1974 Can-Am Challenge
Phoenix Racing Organizations
4 0 4 4 1st 0
1973 F1 World Championship
UOP Shadow Racing Team
13 0 1 0
0% win rate
14th 4
1972 F1 World Championship
Marlboro Team BRM
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1971 F1 World Championship
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1971 International Championship of Makes
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
7 2 4 3 33
1970 F1 World Championship
Yardley Team BRM
13 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 2
1969 F1 World Championship
Owen Racing Organisation
10 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 1
1969 International Championship of Makes
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
2 0 2 2 16
1968 F1 World Championship
Gold Leaf Team Lotus
8 (2) 0 1 0
0% win rate
13th 6
1968 European F2 Trophy
Team Lotus
5 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
5th 14
1968 International Championship of Makes
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
1 0 0 0 0
1968 Temporada F2 Championship
Gerry Kinnane
4 0 1 0
0% win rate
6th 10.2
1967 RAC British F2 Championship
Lotus Components
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
12th 2
1967 F1 World Championship
Lotus Components
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1967 European F2 Trophy
Lotus Components
6 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 3
1967 British Saloon Car Championship 4th 54