McLaren ’50 in 50′: Peter Revson

Peter Revson was an American racing driver who drove for McLaren in Formula One for seasons (1972 & 1973), as well as participating in the Can-Am championship for them.

Revson made his Formula One debut in 1964, driving for Parnell. It was a quiet start to an F1 career and he disappeared from the F1 scene until 1971 when he made a one-off appearance for Tyrrell. He was signed up by Yardley McLaren for 1972, where he partnered Denny Hulme for most of the season – he missed three rounds. He took his first podium at the South African Grand Prix, backing that up with two further podiums at the British and Austrian Grand Prix. He went one better than third at the Canadian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the season. 1973 provided four more podiums including two victories. His first Formula One victory came at the British Grand Prix, where he had finished third a year earlier. Another win came in Canada. He built up a reputation for being reliable and fast. He had a difficult relationship with Teddy Mayer (McLaren’s team principal) so chose to leave the team for 1974. He was tragically killed during a test session for the South African Grand Prix, after a front suspension failure sent his Shadow DN3 into the barrier.

Away from Formula One, Revson raced the Indianapolis 500 for McLaren on four occasions as well as once for Brabham. He took pole in 1971, setting a record speed of 176mph. His best finish, however, was second place that same year. He was also part of McLaren’s dominating performance in the Can-Am series. He took the first of McLaren’s five in a row championships in 1971. Nearly 20 years after his death he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1994, where he is joined by such names as Derek Bell, Mark Donohue, and Bruce McLaren.

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