21/2/1940 - 5/12/2011
Record updated 23-Feb-23
Gethin was a top F5000 driver who moved up to F1 with McLaren in 1970. Switched to BRM for 1972 and took a sensational win at Monza by just one-hundredth of a second in a four-car dash to the line. Returned to F5000 in 1973 before moving into management and driver training.
Born in Epson in Surrey, Peter Gethin was the son of jockey Ken Gethin. He started racing in a Lotus Seven in 1962 and soon became one of the top club drivers having switched to a Lotus 23.
He moved up to Formula 3 in 1965 with Charles Lucas, but it was not until 1968 that he came to prominence running a full season in Formula 2 with Frank Lythgoe. He started the season in a Chevron without much luck but after aquiring a Brabham, he scored a fine second at Albi and a third at Vallelunga.
In 1969 he raced in F5000 driving a works supported McLaren for Church Farm Racing. He took four straight wins early in the season and then spent the rest of the season defending his dwindeling advantage. He took the title in the final round.
1970 saw Gething stay in F5000 and he convincingly retained his title. He was due to have the odd F1 drive with McLaren in 1970 and he made his F1 debut finishing sixth in the Race of Champions. Then when Hulme burnt his hands at Indy he was given the drive for Spa. However when Bruce McLaren was killed in a testing accident at Goodwood, he was brought into the full McLaren F1 team. He also took over the vacant Can-Am drive, winning a round at Elkhart Lake.
He stayed with the McLaren Grand Prix team for 1971 but was replaced in the Can-Am team. He continued to struggle to find form and though he finished second in the International Trophy, it looked likely that he was going to loose his seat at the end of the year. However it still came as a suprise that after Pedro Rodriguez was killed in a sports car race at the Norisring, when Lou Stanley asked Gethin to step in for the North American races, Gethin suggested he move immediately.
In just his second race with BRM he took a sensational win at Monza, taking his BRM P160 to victory by the margin of one-hundredth of a second in a four-car dash to the line. He won again in the tragically shortened Victory Race at Brands Hatch, in which his team mate Jo Siffert died.
Hopes were high for 1972, but it ended up in dissapointment and he left BRM at the end of the year. His F2 season with Chevron was also dissapointing though it did bring an unexpected win in the Pau GP.
In 1973 he went back to Formula 5000 at home and abroad, taking a sensational win in the combined F1 and F5000 Race of Champions. He thus became the only Formula 5000 driver ever to win against F1 cars. Gethin made a couple more Grand Prix appearances, in 1973 for the Canadian GP when BRM dropped Clay Regazzoni and in 1974 for the British GP when Graham Hill hired him after Guy Edwards broke his wrist.
He continued to concentrated on F5000 with Chevron and VDS, and also raced in the revived Can-Am series before retiring at the end of 1977.
He later became involved with the March F2 team and driver management, looking after Beppe Gabbiani. He had a brief spell as team manager with Toleman in F1 in 1984 and entered a team in Formula 3000 with Peter Gethin Racing in 1986.
Peter then ran a corporate high-performance driving school at Goodwood.
He died at the age of 71 in December 2011 after a long illness