hill 33

(Getty Images)

There is just no chance Damon Hill wasn’t going to be a racing driver?…

There are so many childhood shots of him with his dad in practice for an event somewhere round the globe. This one is close to home, Graham’s Lotus 33 BRM is being fettled for the ‘XIX BRDC International Trophy’ at Silverstone on 29 April 1967.

GH rejoined Team Lotus from BRM so was well familiar with the 2 litre P56 engine which powered his Lotus. He won plenty of races with this engine in both 1.5 litre F1 and 2 litre ‘Tasman’ spec in the BRM P261 chassis.

damon bultaco

Damon @ 15 aboard his Bultaco 1975 (Chris Ware)

dh kwaka

Hill started racing bikes in 1981, here aboard a Kawasaki 500 at Donington Park. His early racing was all self-funded, the Hill family fortune diminished by claims of victims families after the light aircraft crash which killed GH and most of his team in 1975 (unattributed)

There were 2 ‘interim’ 2 litre V8 33’s in 1967; this chassis ‘R11’ and Jim Clark’s Coventry Climax powered ‘R14’ in which he had just won the Tasman Series.

Things were about to change though; the 3 litre Ford Cosworth DFV powered Lotus 49 was already being tested by Hill and famously won upon its Dutch Grand Prix debut in Clarks hands on 4 June.

Parkes won at Silverstone in his Ferrari 312 from Jack’s Brabham BT20 Repco and Siffert’s Cooper T81 Maserati with Graham fourth in ‘R11’. The car was kind to Graham, he was second in the Monaco GP on 7 May, the last championship round in which these cars were raced by Team Lotus.

damon ff

Formula Ford Festival Mayhem! 1985 Brands Hatch. Damon Hills #37 Van Dieman RF85 leads the pack, interested to know who the other drivers and cars are FF fans!? The ’85 festival was won by Johnny Herbert’s Quest with Jonathon Bancroft 2nd, Hill 3rd and Mark Blundell 4th all in VD RF85’s. DH career progression; F3 in 1986, F3000 in 1989, a critical testing contract with Williams in 1992 and Brabham F1 drive in the same year. He was no star in his early years, he ‘got there’ by displaying the same grit, determination and persistence as his father. He also has his fathers ‘class’ and is a fine ambassador for his country and sport (Phil Rainford)

hill hungary

Damon Hill on his way to 6th in the 1992 Hungarian GP. Brabham BT60B Judd 3.5 V10. Q25, a good drive in difficult conditions, Senna won the race in a McLaren MP4 Honda V12. First GP season. Also proved his speed and feedback as a test driver for Williams that year. World Champ for Williams Renault in 1996 (unattributed)


Getty Images, Victor Blackman, Chris Ware, Phil Rainford

Tailpiece: ‘Better still, i get to steer’!…


Silverstone Intl Trophy paddock 29 April 1967. Lotus 33 BRM (unattributed)


  1. Andrew mccarthy says:

    Thanks Mark for another great post ! I think the great George Harrison figured prominently in Hill Jnr success….. I’m quite sure his renown generosity (and friendship with Hill Snr ) greased the wheels of damons climb . GH also taught Damon how to play the guitar ! Cheers andrew mcc

    • markbisset says:

      Andrew, if memory serves JYS put in the right word at the right time to help get the Williams test drive, but he basically did it the hard way, a ‘grafter’ rather than ‘silver spoon special’! M

  2. graham64 says:

    1985 Formula Ford Festival

    #32 – Rick Shortle
    #103 – John Booth

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