Gerry Birrell

30/7/1944 - 23/6/1973

Gerry Birrell
The youngest of three brothers Gerry Birrell was a talented driver and engineer. Destined for grater things he died in the Grand Prix de Rouen F2 race. Gerry Birrell died 49 years ago, he was 29 , He would have been 78.

Gerry Birrell, born in Glasgow, Scotland, was very talented driver and engineer. The youngest of three brothers, Graham, who was the oldest, was one of Scotland's best Club drivers who went on to drive in F2, Ian, raced only once with a Mini then his employers, Highland Distillers persuaded him not to race as he was to become one of their leading blenders and Gerry the youngest.

He started out helping brother Graham and his first race came in his brother's Austin A40 Pininfarina at Charterhall. Gerry soon was involved in the preparation and running of a Singer Chamois for Claude Hamilton's Singer dealership.

He drove in Formula Vee with success before moving to Formula Ford with Scuderia Centro-Scot. He then got a works drive with Crossle. Gerry was not only a quick driver but also a great engineer.

He raced in Formula 3 in 1971. Walter Hayes and Stuart Turner realised that Gerry had real talent and he was invited to join Ford. He helped with the development the Cologne Capris.

John Stanton offered him a drive in Formula 2 in 1972 with a Lotus-Ford 69 and after some promising results he was signed by Chevron for 1973.

In the European Formula 2 Championship XXI Grand Prix de Rouen, coming out of a corner he ran wide and picked up a puncture and was killed when the tyre went down at Six Frères. He might have survived had the organisers not sunk the wooden posts for the Armco into holes without securing them with concrete. When Gerry hit the barrier it rose up and he was killed instantly.

It was runmored that Ford planned to put Gerry Birrell alongside Francois Cevert into F1 for the 1974 season. Sadly neither of them survived the year.


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