DRIVERS: PETER RYAN

Name: Peter Ryan
Nationality: Canada
Date of birth: June 10, 1940
Date of death: July 2, 1962 - Reims

Canada's Peter Ryan made his mark in a race at Harewood Acres, near Jarvis, Ontario, a former military airfield which was Canada's premier racing facility until the opening of opening of Mosport Park in 1961. The 19-year-old was driving a Porsche RSK in the Carling 300 sports car race. Roger Penske won all three heats but Ryan was second and Penske was impressed. Thus the two men joined forces to compete in the O'Keefe Sundown Grand Prix that autumn, winning the event in their RSK.

The following year Ryan won the Canadian Grand Prix, a sports car race that year, at Mosport, beating the likes of Stirling Moss (in an identical Lotus), Jo Bonnier and several other international aces who had turned up to pick up some prize money. That autumn he drove an ex-works Lotus 18 for J Wheeler Autosport in the United States Grand Prix and finished ninth.

This earned him the chance to race in Europe, contesting the Formula Junior series in an Ian Walker Racing Lotus 22. His obvious speed also attracted the attention of Luigi Chinetti of the North American Racing Team. He raced a Ferrari 248 at Daytona and Sebring and then appeared at Le Mans in a NART Ferrari 250 GTO, partnered by John Fulp, Bob Grossman and Fireball Roberts.

A month later he was racing in the Coupe de Vitesse des Junior race at Reims. He collided with Bill Moss's Gemini and was thrown from his Lotus. He suffered serious internal injuries and died soon afterwards, at the age of only 22.

Print