Ian was born in London in July 1930 and became office manager for the Cooper Car Company. He started racing in 1950 and showed enough promise to be considered as a possible team mate for Ken Carter in the Cooper works team. In the end, he ran privately but had regular good placings and some wins in 1951, highlights being a win at the Nürburgring in June and the lap record at Avus a few weeks later, all using a works Cooper Mk V.
Ian left Coopers to found Laminates Ltd, an early specialist in glass fibre construction for boats and cars.
Thereafter, Ian moved to sports cars and the occasional Formula II drive but returned for a few races in 1953, driving a Mackson. He briefly drove the Beart-Rodger-Osca of Jimmy Byrnes in 1956 and later the Cooper-Maserati in Grand Prix during 1959 and 1960 before switching to one of the Scuderia Camoradi team's Lotus 18s for the following year and then, in 1963, he had two outings with Scirocco-BRMs, which had been designed by Paul Emery.
Ian Burgess died in May 2012