Brian Henton

Brian Henton was born in the village of Castle Donington, next to the Donington Park racing circuit, although this was never used when Henton was young since it was not reopened until thirty years after World War II.

A confident youngster, Henton was a motorcycle dealer who started racing in a saloon car. He then moved into Formula Vee in 1970, racing an Austro chassis. He did well and in 1971 he won 14 races and the British Championship and so moved up into Super Vee and was second in the British series in 1972. He then acquired a GRD Formula 3 car but he quickly ran out of money. He was however spotted by Ensign boss Mo Nunn who gave him several races that year in the works Ensign F3 team. That led to an offer of a British F3 drive with March in 1974 and Henton won 17 races and both British championships.

He moved into Formula 2 with March in 1975 but was then given the chance to drive for Team Lotus after Jacky Ickx decided he had had enough. The cars were not competitive and Henton's career suffered as a result. 1976 was wasted driving a Wheatcroft-Abarth F2 car before he set up his own British Formula 1 Racing Team with a successful writer at the time called Don Shaw. They bought a March 761 and Henton raced in British events and a number of World Championship races.

After the cash ran out Henton drove a Boro at Zandvoort and Monza but decided to take a step back and raced in F2 in 1978. He continued in F2 with the flashy new Toleman team. He finished runner-up in a Ralt in 1979 and then in 1980 won the title in a Toleman-Hart designed by Rory Byrne and run on Pirelli tyres. The team then decided to move into F1 with a turbo version of the engine and a new chassis but the car was not competitive and Henton failed to qualify on all but one occasion in Italy.

He was dropped by Toleman in 1982 and did a few races with Arrows before switching to Tyrrell. The following year, unable to find the cash to get another drive, he appeared only in the Race of Champions in a Theodore and then announced his retirement, feeling that at 37 he had had his chance.

He went back to running a car dealership and later moved into property development and in recent years has diversified into other areas, notably engineering. Since 2001 he has been involved in a very successful karting business which opened a large indoor track in Loughborough and has recently opened a second in Gateshead.