Constructors pay tribute to Gethin

Constructors McLaren and Lola have paid tribute to Peter Gethin, the man who won the closest race in Formula One history, following his death at the age of 71.

Motorsports news: Peter Gethin

Gethin, who died on Monday after a long illness, will be best remembered for his dramatic win for BRM at the 1971 Italian Grand Prix.

He also served as director of the British Racing Drivers' Club between 2005 and 2008.

The Surrey-born racer, the son of jockey Ken Gethin, secured his only win in a world championship event by coming out on top in a frenetic race at Monza where the top five cars across the line were covered by just 0.61 seconds, the closest finish in the sport's history.

During his 30 starts in the top echelon of motorsport, Gethin also competed for McLaren and the Embassy Hill team.

His F1 debut came at the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix when McLaren drafted him in to replace founder Bruce McLaren, who had been killed in a sportscar accident.

And the Woking team posted a message on their official Twitter feed saying: "RIP Peter Gethin - 1940-2011. Our thoughts are with Peter's family at this sad time."

Gethin left McLaren and made the switch to BRM in the middle of the 1971 season in the wake of the death of their Mexican driver Pedro Rodriguez, his win at Monza coming in just his second outing for the team.

Gethin also triumphed in non-championship F1 races at Brands Hatch in 1971 and 1973, the latter proving a particularly impressive drive as he saw off a strong field while racing Formula 5000 machinery.

He was a two-time British F5000 champion and was also a race winner in the Can-Am series, and secured notable wins with Lola in both classes.

A statement on Lola Group's website said: "Peter Gethin was one of the most dependable and versatile racing drivers of the late 1960s and 1970s. Successful in most forms of motor sport at his time, Gethin was a true enthusiast who won many races driving for Lola amongst many other constructors.

"Lola Group would like to extend its sympathies with his family and many racing fans and friends."

A statement on the BRDC website said: "It is with great regret that the club has to announce the death of life member and former director, Peter Gethin, who passed away on December 5.

"Condolences have been passed to his wife, Robbie. Funeral details will be announced shortly."

Gethin's final F1 race came at the British Grand Prix in 1974 but he returned to the sport as manager of the Toleman team in the mid-1980s and also briefly ran a team in Formula 3000.



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