Pete Lovely

Pete Lovely

11/4/1926 - 15/5/2011

Pete Lovely started racing in a track roadster in the late 1940s. In 1955 he won the SCCA 1500cc Championship and was offered a drive by Lotus in Europe. He took a class win in the 12 hour race at Rheims with Innes Ireland, before competing in a few Grand Prix with an ex-works Lotus 49B.

Pete Lovely was born in Livingston, Montana. He started racing in a track roadster in Seattle area in the late 1940s.

He built two Porsche specials, the first, in 1954, was a VW-Porsche special with mid-mounted 1500S engine. the second which was built the following year was called the Lovely Pooper. This was a Cooper Mk 8 that had a streamlined body fitted. Lovely installed a Porsche engine and VW trans axle and in 1955 he won the SCCA 1500 cc Championship.

Lovely was exposed to Lotus cars and ended up purchasing one of the Mk8/9 cars. Then when the Eleven was introduced he arranged to purchase one from the factory in England.

While at the Lotus factory he was offered a test with the factory. This led to an invitation in 1958 to race a Lotus Mk 15 - Coventry Climax at Le Mans with Jay Chamberlain, unfortunately crashing out after 8 hours, and the Rheims 12 Hour race where he took a class win with Innes Ireland. Earlier in the year he raced a Maserati 200SI at Sebring with Jim Kimberly, retiring after just 14 laps.

At Sebring in 1959 he raced a works Lotus Elite with Jay Chamberlain and the following year he raced a Ferrari 250 with Jack Nethercutt finishing 3rd overall. He had hoped to make his Grand Prix debut in 1959 but failed to qualify a Lotus 16 for the MOnaco GP when the car arrived too late.

In 1960 he did make his first Grand Prix start in the US GP at Riverside International Raceway, finishing 11th in his elderly Cooper-Ferrari, 6 laps behind the winner, Stirling Moss.

Throughout the sixties his racing took a back seat to his thriving VW dealerhip in Seattle but in 1969, keen to drive again he approached Chapman about purchasing an F1 car, in particular a Lotus 49B. Pete asked Chapman for one of Hill’s 49Bs. Chapman offered him a Lotus 49B/11, reputed to be the chassis that Hill had driven to victory at Monaco. However though the car sold by Lotus to Lovely was indeed 49/11, but had infact been a 49/2 that was driven at Zandvoort in 1967 by Clark and susequently upgraded.between 1969 and 1971.

He transported his F1 car to Grand Prix races on the back of a converted Microbus and proceeded to compete at a sedate pace in selected World Championship Grands Prix between 1969 and 1971 with a best result of 7th in Canada in 1969.

In recent years Pete has raced in historic events with machinery from his racing days.

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