Hawthorn’s Lotus 11…

Posted: September 4, 2017 in F1, Obscurities, Sports Racers
Tags: , , ,

hawt hill

I don’t think of Mike Hawthorn as a Lotus driver but here he is with Graham Hill, rather similar in age, they were both born in 1929…

Amazing really, grafter Hill worked hard to get into motor racing, his GP career started not long before Hawthorn’s finished and went well into the 1970’s, not to forget Graham’s Le Mans and Indy wins of course. Mike’s racing entree was smoothed by his fathers wealth, it’s intriguing to guess what he may have achieved had he raced on into the 1960’s and applied his considerable skills to Chapman’s works of Lotus art.

Both Hill and Hawthorn are English to the core albeit completely different charcters. And personalities they certainly were. It’s a wonderful shot.


Hawthorn, Lotus 11 Climax, Oulton Park, Cheshire April 1955 (Popperfoto)

The event or reason for the Hill/Hawthorn shot is unrecorded but dated 12 April 1956 as is the photo of Hawthorn with Stirling Moss below. Its dated 11 May 1953, i am interested if anybody can assist with the places and occasions…

hawt moss


Getty/Manchester Daily Express, Popperfoto

  1. Ken Collins says:

    It seems unlikely that 11th May 1953 is the correct date for the Moss/Hawthorn photo, as that was a Monday. However, on 9th May Hawthorn won the International Trophy at Silverstone and the Sports car race, both in Ferraris. Moss was also at Silverstone that day, appearing in a Cooper Alta (presumably in the International Trophy) and in the 500cc F3 race (and possibly in other races). There is also a photo in the Guy Griffiths archives that shows a nearly identical shot to the one in your post, but has Hawthorn holding three (!) trophies for the Silverstone races dated 9 May ’53.

    • markbisset says:

      Many thanks, I think you have solved the mystery of both shots- they are from the Getty Images archive where the dates are often the publication date, not necessarily the event date itself.
      Thanks for chasing them up very much.

  2. Ken Collins says:

    As for the Hawthorn Hill photo, Hawthorn finished 4th in the British Empire Trophy at Oulton Park in Ivor Bueb’s Lotus 11 on 14th April 1956 (Colin Chapman finished second in a works Lotus 11). Graham Hill was at that time working for Lotus (either in the stores or selling cars and two weeks later on 29th April, he got to drive the works Lotus 11 at Brands Hatch), so the photo you show was probably associated with the build up to the Empire Trophy Meeting.

    • If the shot at Oulton is indeed April 1955, Mike may have been testing the car but he didn’t race one until 1956. Usually these were works cars painted green but at Oulton Park in August he ran Ivor Bueb’s car in bare metal against the Cooper Bobtails of Stirling Moss and Roy Salvadori, crashing heavily and taking Salvadori out. Mike was thrown out of the car and initially the worst was feared but he only suffered minor injuries.

      • markbisset says:

        Gedday Goggs,
        Thanks for all of that. I wrote that piece four years ago and had forgotten about it.
        The dates will be Getty Images dates, which I’ve come to learn can be – make that often are – nonsense. So your information is valuable, many thanks again.

  3. If the photo of Mike at Oulton Park is indeed from April 1955 he would only have been testing the car, as he didn’t race an XI until the following year. These were usually green-painted works cars, but at Oulton Park in August he drove Ivor Bueb’s bare metal car against the Cooper Bobtails of Moss and Salvadori. He had a big accident at Knicker Brook, being thrown out of the car and taking Salvadori out as well. Injuries put an early end to Mike’s 1956 season.

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