Born in Chelsea, London, Patsy Burt started competition motoring in Club and National Rallies. From that moment to retirement in 1970 Patsy had an incredibly successful motor racing career.
She began with Driving Tests and Rallying with a Jowett Javelin, but soon realised this was rather tame and wanted outright speed, so took up Hill Climbing and Sprinting, driving, first a X120 Jaguar, then a 3 litre Aston Martin DB2/4. Such was her precision, ability, and determination that throughout her career, driving a range of very fast machinery including a F1 Connaught, F3 Cooper and 4 ½ litre McLaren that she became possibly the most successful post-war British lady driver. Her cars were always immaculate and painted a special pristine shade of Burt Blue.
Her husband, Ron, realised the potential of slimming down the chassis of the successful McLaren CanAm car and producing a special 4.5-litre V8 single-seater for sprints and hill-climbs. It was always known as the ‘whoosh-bonk’ because when Ron and Patsy suggested the idea to Bruce McLaren he agreed to the project, saying “It’ll be simple – whoosh, bonk and we’ve got a single seater!”
She set many records and received numerous awards. In 1961 she became the first British driver to compete in a full season of the European Mountain championship and in 1968 became the first woman to win the Brighton Speed Trials. In the process she set a kilometre course record which stood for seven years. Again in 1970 she was the first woman to win a British national motor sporting title when she won the RAC National Sprint championship with her McLaren-Oldsmobile after which she retired from racing.