After serving an apprenticeship with Smiths Instruments and rising to the rank of Petty Officer in the Royal Navy Norman Graham Hill passed his driving test aged 24 in 1953.
The following year he got the motor racing bug driving a 500 Formula 3 Cooper and joined Team Lotus as a mechanic where he eventually talked his way into the cockpit, in 1956 Graham, as he is better known, made his Grand Prix debut at the wheel of a Lotus 12.
By 1962 Graham Hill was leading BRM to their one and only Formula One World Constructors Championship and became World Drivers Champion for the first time.
A year after winning the Le Mans 24 Hours sharing a Matra MS670 with Henri Pescarolo, Graham decided to go it alone and set up his own team in 1973 running a Shadow in 1973 and Lola’s and a derivation thereof in 1974 and 1975.
Having retired from driving in 1975 Graham put all of his efforts into supporting a rising British star Tony Brise who scored the teams first constructors championship point at the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix at the wheel of the Lola derivative Hill GH1.
For 1976 Graham was to run fellow Londoner Tony in a one car team for which Andy Smallman designed the all new Hill GH2 powered by a Cosworth DFV, the development of which Graham had been an instrumental part of in 1967 while at Lotus.
On the 29th of November 1975 the team tested the new car, seen in these photographs at The Donington Grand Prix Collection, at Paul Ricard in Southern France and at the end of the test the core members of the team; manager Ray Brimble , mechanics Tony Alcock and Terry Richards, designer Andy Smallman and Tony Brise boarded the Graham’s Piper PA 23-250 Turbo-Aztec which he then piloted back to England.
At 10pm in heavy fog while attempting to land at Elstree Airfield the plane crashed with the loss of all on board.
Thanks for joining me on this “RIP” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Mercedes Monday tomorrow. Don’t for get to come back now !