Tony Brooks_1

Tony Brooks, posing with my brother Luc.

The son of a dental surgeon, Brooks studied dentistry and took up racing in 1952 at the wheel of a Healey. He raced mainly in club events for the next three seasons and in 1955 was offered the chance to try a Formula 2 Connaught at Crystal Palace. He finished an impressive fourth behind three F1 cars. That year he was offered a factory Aston Martin drive and further good performances resulted in him being given the chance to drive an F1 Connaught in the non-championship Syracuse Grand Prix in Sicily. Despite studying for his final examinations he flew down to Sicily and won the race, becoming the first British driver driver to win in a British car on the Continent since Sir Henry Seagrave's victory at the San Sebastian Grand Prix in 1924. When he returned to Britain he was signed by BRM for the 1956 season and made his World Championship debut at Silverstone where the car suffered a stuck throttle and he crashed heavily, being thrown out and suffering a fractured jaw. At the end of the season quit BRM to join Vanwall in F1 while continuing to race for Aston Martin in sportscars. he finished second at Monaco and shared victory at the British GP at Aintree, handing his car over to Stirling Moss after his car had broken down. In 1958 Brooks won the Belgian, German, and Italian GPs but finished third in the World Championship behind Mike Hawthorn and Stirling Moss. Vanwall withdrew from racing at the end of that year and Brooks sign to drive in 1959 for Ferrari. He won the French and German GPs but that year the Italian cars were outpaced by the rear-engined Cooper being driven by Jack Brabham. Brooks finished runner-up in the World Championship. In 1960 Brooks returned to Britain, joining the Yeoman Credit Cooper team. He scored points on three occasions but increasingly he looked after his garage business in Weybridge. The following year he went back to BRM but it was another disappointing year and at the end of that season he retired from the sport.