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Mike Taylor

Full Name:
Michael John Clifford Taylor
24th April 1934
Westminster, London
3rd April 2017 (Aged 82)
Belgravia, London, cancer
Most recent race (in database):

The son of a pre-war racing driver who later ran the Taylor & Crawley Mercedes-Benz dealership in London’s exclusive Mayfair district, Mike Taylor made his own competitive debut in 1957 with an old Lotus Seven.

Sports cars and Formula 2

His father bought him a Lotus 11 for 1958 and Taylor emerged with several victories that impressed Colin Chapman. He shared a works car in that year’s Le Mans 24 Hours with Innes Ireland but they retired late on. He also drove Alan Brown’s Cooper T45-Climax in a couple of Formula 2 races and finished ninth at Avus.

Taylor continued driving for Brown in 1959 and came fifth in the Aintree 200 when he was the first F2 runner to finish. He then won the GP des Frontières at Chimay with a Lotus 15-Climax but retired a works car (a type 17) at Le Mans once more. Taylor made his GP debut in the 1959 British Grand Prix when he just scraped into the field with Brown’s F2 Cooper T45-Climax. Its transmission broke after 15 laps of the race.

Unfulfilled Formula 1 ambitions

A new Lotus 18-Climax was acquired for 1960 and he raced it for the first time in Silverstone’s non-championship International Trophy. Entered by his father’s dealership, Taylor took the car to Spa-Francorchamps for the tragic Belgian GP.

Both Taylor and Stirling Moss were seriously injured during practice when their Lotus 18s suffered different mechanical failures. Taylor crashed into the trees at about 150mph when his steering column snapped. He was thrown out of the car and broke his neck, back, legs and arms. Both he and Moss survived but Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey were less fortunate on raceday – killed during the truly awful 1960 Belgian GP weekend.

Mike Taylor recovered and won a court case against Lotus following the accident. He never raced again although he did compete on the 1968 London-Sydney Rally and shared with Moss on the 1974 London-Sahara. They broke down on the latter event and were stranded in the desert before help arrived. Taylor later worked in property and then in the motor trade.

Championship seasons