Monday, 19 September 2005 19:27
Phil Hill (Philip Toll Hill Jr.)
Philip Toll Hill Jr., (born April 20, 1927 in Miami, Florida) is the only American-born driver to win the Formula One driving championship.
Raised in Santa Monica, California, where he still lives, Phil Hill began racing cars at an early age, going to England as a Jaguar trainee in 1949 and signing with Enzo Ferrariâ€™s team in 1956. He made his debut in the French Grand Prix at Reims France in 1958 driving a Maserati. That same year, he won the 24 hours of Le Mans with Belgian team mate Olivier Gendebien, driving for most of the night in horrific rainy conditions. He and Gendebien would go on to win the famous endurance race two more times.
In 1961, Phil Hill won the 24 hours of Le Mans again and the Formula One driving championship for the Ferrari team, although somewhat due to the death of his teammate and main championship contender Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips. Unlike Mario Andretti, Hill is born in the USA, and still the only US-born F1 champion.
After leaving Ferrari at the end of 1962 in the the great walkout of engineers, he and fellow driver Giancarlo Baghetti started for their new team ATS. Hill continued in Formula One for a few more years until he switched to sports car racing with Ford Motor Company and the Chaparral Cars of Jim Hall.
Phil Hill has the distinction of having won the first (a 3 lap event at Carrell Speedway in a MG TC on July 24 1949) and last races of his driving career, the final victory driving for Chaparral in the "BOAC 500" at Brands Hatch in England in 1967.
His son Derek raced in Formula 3000 in 2003.
Primary career victories :
24 Hours of Le Mans (3) : 1958, 1961, 1962
|Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2008 17:06|