Bob Evans

Bob Evans

11/6/1947


Evans was one of many British drivers of the period who, having worked tremendously hard to reach Formula 1, had neither the machinery nor the opportunity to show what they could really do.

Born in Waddington, Lincolnshire, Evans began his racing career in a Sprite before moving into Formula Ford in 1969 and then F3 in 1971 with Alan McKechnie’s alloy and balsa wood Puma, but only after he had fortunately recovered from a broken neck sustained when he crashed while testing at Castle Combe.

Once fit he returned to racing in FF1600 and also won the final round of the 1971 Lombard British F3 Championship with McKechnie’s ex-James Hunt March 713M-Ford.

Sticking with F3 in 1972 ghe ran a full campaign with the March 713M-Ford, winning again at Brands.

It was F5000 in 1973 that was to provide Bob with his big breakthrough. With a solid season in a 713M-Ford under his belt, long-time supporter Alan McKechnie bought him a Lola T332-Chevy for 1974 and he duly swept to the Rothmans championship, picking up the first-place Grovewood Award in the process.

He started 1975 still in F5000 with Sid Taylor’s Theodore Lola-Chevy but his Grovewood Award led to an offer to drive for BRM in the P201. Having lost their Motul backing, Louis Stanley was only running a single sponsorless car, the outdated BRM P201 which was well past its best. The P201 was an outdated Mike Pilbeam design that Piere Beltoise had struggled with in 1974. However Evans, who took over from Mike Wilds from the South African Grand Prix, to his credit, qualified eight times and only failed to make the cut in Monaco. In the non championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch he finished 6th and at Zolder he croosed the line in 9th, his best result in a world championship race.

Things looked better for 1976 when Colin Chapman, impressed with his performances, gave Bob a testing contract. Unfortunately Lotus were also in decline and the Lotus 77-Ford was both unreliable and uncompetitive. Ronnie Peterson quit and Bob took over the car for the South African Grand Prix, finishing 10th. He ran fourth in the Race of Champions before running out fuel. He failed to qualify in Long Beach and thus after just three races he was replaced by Gunnar Nilsson.

Apart from a drive in the RAM Racing Brabham BT44B-Ford at British GP where he retired and, later that year a one-off outing in the Hexagon Racing’s Penske PC3-Ford finishing 11th in the Hexagon Penske in the 1977 Race of Champions, that was that for Evans, who returned to the relative obscurity of the Aurora championship in a Surtees TS19 in 1978.

He retired a RAM Racing Brabham BT44B-Ford from that year’s British GP in his 10th and final World Champions GP. After an 11th place finish in the 1977 Race of Champions with Hexagon Racing’s Penske PC3-Ford, he switched to the Aurora British F1 Championship for its inaugural season in 1978.

His Surtees TS19-Ford won at Zandvoort and was third at Donington Park. He later switched to a Hesketh 308E chassis and a pair of second place finishes helped Evans clinch runner-up in the standings behind the dominant Tony Trimmer.

He raced in the World Sportscar Championship during the early 1980s and drove a Dome Zero RL at Le Mans from 1979 to 1981. A member of the Nimrod-Aston Martin team in 1982, he retired from the sport at the end on 1985. Evans then ran a T-shirt company and online poster printing business.

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