Chris Craft

Chris Craft

17/11/1939

Chris competed in many different forms of motor sport. In 1971, he participated in 2 Grands Prix driving a Brabham prepared by Alain de Cadenet's team Ecurie Evergreen. He failed to start in Canada and went out of the US Grand Prix with suspension failure.

Christopher Craft was born in Porthleven, Cornwall. The son of a bank manager from Essex who went on to become a missionary in Africa, Craft became involved in motor racing through his brother Andrew, who owned a garage in Woodford Green, London.

He started racing in 1962 in a Ford Anglia and soon built a reputation as one of Britain's foremost saloon car drivers, particularly with the Team Broadspeed Escort between 1968 and 1970.

He raced a variety of other touring cars and first tried his hand at single seaters with a Merlyn Formula 3 car. He was later hired by the Italian chassis company BWA but that was not a great success and he later switched to a Tecno. He also teamed up with Alain de Cadenet to race his Porsche 908 and Can-Am McLaren.

In 1971 de Cadenet bought an ex-works Brabham BT33 to be run by his team, Ecurie Evergreen. Chris was brought in to drive but failed to score any championship points. His first attempt in Canada ended with engine failure during qualifying despite having achieved a time fast enough to qualify. His second race, the American Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, ended with suspension failure.

Craft continued to race other forms of the sport. He returned to saloon cars, most notably with a Ford Capri as well as trying his hand with sports prototypes. He finished third in the 1976 24 Hours of Le Mans and, in the early 1980s, he drove for the Japanese Dome team. He aslo continued to have occasional forays into single seaters in Formula 3 and Formula 5000.

After his racing career he started the Light Car Company with F1 designer Gordon Murray to build the Rocket.

This was a lightweight car using a combination of motorcylce technology and single seater design with a unique tandem seating position. With a kerb weight of under 400 kg, the Rocket was, at the time of its launch in 1992, one of the fastest accelerating cars in the world. However it was not cheap. With a price of close to 40,000 Pounds, and after 55 cars were built, production stopped. Murray's second road car, the McLaren F1, was a considerably bigger success.

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