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Tony Maggs

Full Name:
Anthony Francis O'Connell Maggs
9th February 1937
Pretoria, Gauteng
2nd June 2009 (Aged 72)
Caledon, Western Cape, cancer
South African
Most recent race (in database):

From his first race in Cape Town in 1958 to his final event just seven years later, this son of a war hero looked every inch a star but never quite made the grade. With little experience in an Austin-Healey at home, Tony Maggs moved to England to race a Lotus 11-Climax in 1959.

Early racing career

Victories in the South African season at the end of the year with a Tojeiro-Jaguar confirmed the youngster’s wish continue in Europe. His Gemini Mk3-Ford won a Formula Junior race at Snetterton in 1960 and Maggs signed to drive Ken Tyrrell’s Cooper T56-BMC in 1961. He starred on the continent when a race winner from Magny-Cours to Montlhéry – his six wins including the Monza Lotteria.

South Africa's first Formula 1 driver

The 1961 season also included his first Grand Prix outings in Britain and Germany driving Louise Bryden-Brown’s Lotus 18-Climax to become the world championship’s first South African competitor.

He joined Cooper as Bruce McLaren’s team-mate for 1962 and 1963 and second place finishes in the French GP both seasons proved to be the best results of his GP career. Third in his home GP at the end of 1962 sealed seventh in the world championship and he qualified in a career-best fourth for the 1963 Belgian GP.

Released by the team at the end of that second season, Maggs drove a Scuderia Centro Sud BRM P57 in selected GPs during 1964. He rolled during practice for the Dutch GP and finished fourth in the car breaker of an Austrian GP. He also finished sixth at Le Mans that year with a Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari 250GTO and Innes Ireland. That added to his victories in the 1963 and 1964 Rand Nine Hours at Kyalami driving David Piper’s Ferraris.

He began the 1965 season by finishing the South African GP in 11th position with Reg Parnell’s Lotus 25-BRM and third in the Sebring 12 Hours sharing Piper’s Ferrari 250LM. Planning another season in Europe, Maggs was racing a Willment Brabham-Ford at Pietermaritzburg when he crashed into a restricted area – hitting a young boy who was killed. Upset by the tragedy, Maggs immediately quit the sport.

He returned to northern Transvaal and the family farming business that had funded his early racing career. Survivor of a light plane accident a year later in which his farm manager was killed, Maggs suffered burns as he tried to save others. He died in 2009 after succumbing to cancer.