Martin Donnelly


Record updated 10-Mar-08

Irish motor racing driver drove in F1 for Arrows in 1989 and Lotus in 1990. However he suffered a terrible fate when a crash in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix which left him crippled for life.

Martin Donnelly
Hugh Peter Martin Donnelly is an Irish racing driver. After promising runs at Formula 3 and Formula 3000, in which he won 3 races and was a championship contender, Donnelly stepped up to F1 with Arrows in 1989.

In 1990 he continued in F1 with Lotus, but he suffered a terrible fate when a crash during qualifying at the Jerez circuit crippled him for life. He was very fortunate to survive when his car disintegrated after impact with the barriers, the helpless driver being tossed onto the track still strapped to the seat and the remnants of the car, and only first-class medical help at trackside saved his life.

In 1992 he set up a Vauxhall Junior team and Martin Donnelly Racing was very successful in the junior single-seater formulae, helping guide and shape the careers of a new generation of young chargers with their sights set on Formula 1. However the team closed in 2004 when he filed for bankruptcy due to failure to pay taxes and legal disputes regarding driver contracts.

Donnelly has raced in some club events and in 2004, he raced a Mazda RX-8 in a Britsports 24hr race at Silverstone finishing in 27th place.

2006 saw Donnelly return to Lotus, participating a track day sponsored by a Lotus owner's club.