Ivor Bueb

Ivor Bueb

Ivor Bueb was born in June 1923 in Dulwich, South London. “Ivor the Driver”, the garage owner from Cheltenham is best known for sharing the winning Jaguar D-type with Mike Hawthorn in the 1955 Le Mans 24-hour, a success he repeated with fellow 500 racer, Ron Flockhart and Ecurie Ecosse two years later.

Bueb´s race debut was in a Cooper Mk.4, owned by Jack Welton, at Castle Combe on 12 April 1952. He later bought Fred Tuck´s Iota and used that during 1952, winning the Junior race at Silverstone in August 1952. For 1953, he used an Arnott, which Ivor modified, primarily extending the wheelbase. He achieved some good placings, winning the Production Car race at Silverstone in August and winning at Hagley but soon realised that the car could not compete with the latest Coopers.

Ivor switched to a Cooper Mk VIII for 1954 under the banner of Ecurie Demi-Litre and, as the season progressed, so did his performances, with a third at the Grand Prix meeting in August, winning at Silverstone and Crystal Palace in September, second to Moss at Aintree in October, winning the Open Challenge race at Brands and at Cadwell Park. Finally, he won the Christmas Trophy at Brands Hatch beating Stewart Lewis-Evans and Les Leston.

Ivor winning at Silverstone, in September 1954, aboard his Ecurie Demi-Litre Cooper Mk VIII

Ivor graduated to become a Cooper works driver in 1955 alongside Jim Russell in the Mk IX, winning the Earl of March Trophy in April, the Daily Telegraph Trophy in May, followed by the Sporting Record Trophy. May brought the Redex Trophy and the year finished with a win in the second final at Brands Hatch. Ivor finished second to Jim, by two points, in the British Championship and won the Irish Championship. By now, Ivor was a recognised name and the Jaguar drive at Le Mans came as a result. He was paired with Mike Hawthorn in the lead car and won, following the retirement of the Mercedes team, after Pierre Levegh's horrific accident. Peter Collins finished second for Aston Martin with Johnny Claes third.

Ivor and Jim receive the Championship Trophy in October 1955. Photo Ian Frost.

J Russell I Bueb Oct 55 Championship present.jpg (21529 bytes)

Ivor ran his Cooper Mk IX privately under the banner of Ecurie Demi-Litre through 1956, he weighed, a far from ideal, 15 stone and his car was lightened to under 500lbs to compensate. Success continued with the Earl of March Trophy in April and a win at Crystal Palace in May along with numerous podiums and heat wins.

A portrait of Ivor in the cockpit of his Cooper Mk IX in October 1955, by Ian Frost.

Ivor Bueb portrait in car Oct 55.jpg (25684 bytes)

Bueb continued in Formula 3 through 1957 but had progressed to occasional starts in Grand Prix with a Connaught (then managed by Bernie Ecclestone) and the Gilby engineering Maserati. He returned to Le Mans to claim another victory with the Ecurie Ecosse team. For 1958, he raced for Connaught in Formula 1 and a Lotus 12 in Formula 2, with little success. In 1959 he joined the British Racing Partnership, managed by Alfred Moss and Ken Gregory. Tragically, he died from injuries sustained when he crashed the Cooper-Borgward at Clermont-Ferrand in August 1959.

Ivor Bueb in action at Brands Hatch in 1955. Photo Ian Frost.

Ivor leads Leston through the chicane on his way to the Earl of March Trophy, Goodwood 1955.

An Esso advert from July 1955.

More information about Ivor can be found in Pete Stowe's article here