DRIVERS: ROBIN WIDDOWS

Name: Robin Widdows
Nationality: Great Britain
Date of birth: May 27, 1942 - Witney, Oxfordshire

The son of a Battle of Britain fighter pilot and post-war test pilot (who went on to become an Air Commodore), Widdows was born during the war years and the exploits of his father no doubt inspired him to a life of adventure. When he was still at school at Haileybury he would have heard of the exploits of old boy Stirling Moss but Widdows's first love was the bobsleigh and he represented Britain in the two-man and four-man competitions in the Olympic Games at Innsbruck in 1964 and Grenoble in 1968. In the interim he held the fastest time on the Cresta Run at St Moritz in 1965.

Widdows's taste for speed turned to cars as early as 1964 when he began racing a MG Midget and, having enjoyed himself in handicap events, he decided to try things out with a Lotus 23 sports car in 1965. He scored a number of good results and so in 1966 decided to try his hand at Formula 3 with a Brabham BT18. By the midseason he was winning races and was soon attracting attention. As a result he found himself racing a British Motor Corporation MGB in rounds of the World Sports Car series.

The following year he was in Formula 2 with his own team, funded by a group friends, and known as the Witley Racing Syndicate. He was also seen at the wheel of a Ford GT40 at the Spa 1000kms. The highlight of the year was victory in the non-championship F2 race at Hockenheim. That earned him the chance of a drive with the Chequered Flag F2 team in 1968 but results were few and far between. He continued to race sports cars and that summer made his F1 debut in a factory Cooper-BRM at the British GP.

In 1969 Widdows was a busy man: racing in Formula 2 and in sports cars with Sportscars Unlimited and later with a Matra works car. But there were no more chances in Formula 1 although in 1970 he was seen in Formula 5000 as well as F2 before he quite unexpectedly quit the sport, choosing a happy ending with a young lady over Grand Prix glory.

He later joined the champagne house of Moet et Chandon and in the 1990s returned to Formula 1 as its representative. Widdows has recently retired to Majorca.

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