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Paddy Driver raced on two- and four-wheels for 40 years or more. A mainstay of the South African National Championship for many years, he also started one world championship Grand Prix.
Early racing career
Bikes were his first love – Driver made his debut in 1953 and he rode a Norton in the 500cc World Championship from 1958. He made a short-lived switch to cars five years later when driving an old Lotus 20-Ford in European Formula Junior races.
He then bought Jo Siffert’s Lotus 24-BRM for the 1963 South African Formula 1 season. A promising seventh in the non-championship Rand GP at Kyalami, he qualified last for the South African GP at East London but rolled in practice after suspension failure so did not start.
He returned to bikes in 1964 with a Matchless and was at the height of his powers in that sport. Driver finished third at Assen, Spa-Francorchamps and the Sachsenring to come fifth overall that year. Second in Ulster and Finland (among four podiums), he was a career-best third in the 1965 500cc World Championship.
Driver returned to car racing in a more concerted fashion and finished the decade as a regular in the South African F1 Championship with Doug Serrurier’s Lola T140-Ford. He switched to a Formula 5000 McLaren M10B-Chevrolet in 1970 and won the class title in 1971 and 1973.
Formula 1 with Team Gunston
He joined Team Gunston in 1974 and made his debut in its Lotus 72-Ford in the South African GP. Driver qualified on the penultimate row but his clutch failed after just six laps. He was third in that year’s South African Championship although outright victory proved elusive.
The 40 year old Driver, who also ran an engine preparation business, withdrew from single-seaters but competed (and won) with a Mazda Capella saloon car for much of the decade. He scored a final success in the 1984 South African Off-Road Championship before retiring.