PEOPLE: HARRY WESLAKE

Name: Harry Weslake
Nationality: Great Britain

Born in 1897 in Exeter, Weslake joined William Lyons's SS Cars in 1934 and, working with William Heynes, produced the SS100 sportscar. This was renamed the Jaguar and competed successfully at Brooklands and in hillclimb events. The cars were also successful in rallying with Tommy Wisdom winning the 1936 Alpine Trial. Weslake stayed with Jaguar throughout the war years and played an important role in the design of the post-war Jaguar family of engines. In 1955 Weslake was asked to help out with the development of the Vanwall engines for Grand Prix racing and he worked with Aubrey Woods to develop a 60-degree V12 engine. The resulting Vanwall was highly competitive and in 1958 Vanwall won the Constructors' World Championship. The following year Vanwall pulled out of Formula 1.

Weslake returned to Grand Prix racing in 1966 when Dan Gurney commissioned Weslake's company to build a three-litre Formula 1 engine for his Eagle team. The V12 was small and compact but while being quite competitive was not very reliable and by 1968 the programme ended. Weslake continued to do specialiset engine design work, developing a range of highly-successful speedway motorcycle engines in the early 1970s.

Weslake died in 1978 while attending a speedway event.

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