John Miles

The son of theatre entrepreneur Bernard Miles, who made his name building up the Mermaid Theatre in London, John Miles was born in Islington in the middle of World War II. He studied engineering and started racing for Lotus in sportscars and then in Formula 3 in the mid 1960s.

In 1969 he was called up to join Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt to help the development of the four-wheel-drive Lotus 63. Hill suffered serious leg injuries at Watkins Glen at the end of that season and for 1970 Miles was taken on to replace him while Hill was moved sideways into Rob Walker's team, which had landed sponsorship from Brooke Bond Oxo. In the early part of the year Miles worked to develop the new Lotus 72 and then Rindt began winning with the car until the Italian Grand Prix at Monza where Rindt suffered a suspension failure and was killed in the ensuing accident. The accident, which followed the deaths of Bruce McLaren and Piers Courage, upset Miles considerably and he fell out with Colin Chapman soon afterwards, being dropped by the team a few weeks later.

Miles drove in a few non-championship races for BRM in 1971 and then switched his attention to two-litre sportscar racing before deciding to retire to make a career out of road-testing cars and technical journalism, which he did with much success. He later went back to Lotus to work as an engineer alongside Peter Wright and joined Team Lotus as a race engineer in 1992, staying until the team closed down at the start of 1995.