Thursday, March 22, 2018

Peter Revson Dies During Test Session - March 22, 1974

February 27, 1939 – March 22, 1974
Peter Revson
Born in New York City, New York, USA.
Revson began racing in 1960 while at the University of Hawaii. Revson finished second in a local club event, driving a Plus Four Morgan. In 1963 Revson raced professionally while barnstorming Europe, driving a Formula Junior which was towed behind a beaten up British bread van. In 1968 he was part of the new Javelin racing program established by American Motors. At the first Trans-Am Series attempt, the 12 Hours of Sebring, Revson and Skip Scott drove to a 12th overall and took 5th in their class.

In the 1969 Indianapolis 500 Revson was the top rookie finisher, placing fifth. He drove a Brabham-Repco which experienced carburetor problems. During a post-race election, he was selected as runner-up for rookie of the year.

In 1970 he teamed with Steve McQueen to place second in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Also that year, Revson competed in the SCCA Trans Am series with Mark Donohue, driving the Penske Racing AMC factory-team Javelins and piloted an L&M Lola Cars special, became a top contender in the Can-Am series.

Revson joined McLaren in 1971, becoming the first American to win the Can-Am Championship. That same season he finished second at the Indianapolis 500, after posting the fastest qualifying time. He competed in the Indy 500 each year from 1969–1973.

In 1972, Revson was named to the McLaren Formula One team. He remained with the team for two years, winning the 1973 British Grand Prix and the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix. He moved to Shadow in 1974. He is the last American born driver to win a Formula One race.

On March 22nd, 1974, Revson was killed during a test session, before the South African Grand Prix, in Kyalami. While driving the Ford UOP Shadow-Ford DN3, he suffered a front suspension failure and crashed heavily into the Armco barrier on the outside of "Barbecue Bend". The car stood on its nose, wrapped itself around the barrier and caught fire, and although safety workers and other drivers managed to pull Revson from the wreckage, he was already dead.

He was the second Revson to lose his life racing. His brother Douglas was killed in a crash in Denmark in 1967. Peter and Douglas Revson are interred together in a crypt at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Revson was replaced by Tom Pryce, who died three years later at the same Grand Prix.

Peter Revson was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996.


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  2. Eddie Lee Hellyar.March 22, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    That was a sad day indeed. I was racing Mazda Rotary Saloon cars in the support race for the Grand Prix, we were the next to go out on the the track after that fateful accident. We had a delay and when we were allowed on the track I had this sad feeling as we crossed the skid marks and saw the damaged armco. Denny Hulme was the hero who tried to rescue his great friend. I will remember you forever Peter. I also saw the Tom Pryce crash and still have parts of his car.

  3. Rest in peace Peter. You will always be my favourite race car driver and I will never forget you.

  4. I loved racing in the 70's except for the sad fact that eventually almost all you heros would die in a race car. Thank God Mario, Sam Posey, George Follmer and a few others survived.

  5. I can still remember hearing the news on the radio that Friday morning. I was fifteen years old and Revvie was my favorite; the rich-guy-playboy image hid a great talent, who at 35 was just beginning to peak as a driver. Every year, I remember this day with sadness…what might have been. Martin Revson, Peter’s father, passed away less than two years ago, at the age of 105. Peter should also have lived a long life, taking his place as an elder statesman in American Racing with Andretti, Gurney and the others. Sadly, was not to be. Thank you, my friend, we still miss you after all these years.