Howden Ganley is CCRC AGM Speaker!

F1 Driver from Glorious, Glamorous – & Deadly – Seventies

Castle Combe Racing Club is delighted to announce that well-known 1970’s F1 driver and former constructor Howden Ganley has agreed to be guest speaker following the 2024 Annual General Meeting at the circuit on Thursday 25 April 2024.

Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, Howden Ganley was determined to pursue a career in motor racing after attending the 1955 New Zealand Grand Prix at the age of thirteen. Following school, he became a reporter for the Waikato Times and also wrote a column for Sports Car Illustrated. Between 1960 and 1962, Howden competed in many events in his native New Zealand driving a Lotus Eleven sports car before moving to the UK to pursue a vocation as a racing mechanic, while still harboring ambitions to further his own racing career.

After successfully co-ordinating competing with working for an embryonic F1 team – he was one of the first employees of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing – Howden raced in Formula Junior, F3 and then F5000, eventually choosing to become a driver. This decision paid off and in 1970, he finished second to Peter Gethin in the European Formula 5000 championship which caught the attention of the BRM Formula One team, who gave him a contract for 1971.

From 1971 to 1974 he went on to participate in 35 World Championship Grand Prix driving for March, BRM, ISO-Marlboro, and Maki, finishing 4th twice and scoring a total of 10 world championship points on 5 occasions (only top 6 finishers scored points), also participating in several non-Championship F1 races.

At the end of 1971, Howden was awarded the prestigious Wolfgang von Trips Memorial Trophy for best performance by a newcomer to Grand Prix racing. In 1972 Howden raced for the enigmatic Marlboro BRM team and finished 13th in the world championship with 4 points. His highest finish for the season was 4th at the daunting Nurburgring. For 1973 Howden signed up to drive an ISO-Marlboro for Frank Williams Racing, and at the Canadian Grand Prix was almost declared the winner because of a timing malady under safety car conditions, but on corrected results, was classified sixth. A suspension failure in practice for the 1974 German Grand Prix while driving for the Maki team left Howden with serious foot and ankle injuries that ended his Grand Prix career.

In 1975 Howden initiated an F1 project of his own – the Ganley-Cosworth 001 – built at his Windsor premises complete with two Ford DFV engines, but sadly it never ran in anger and the equipment was eventually used to start Tiga Race Cars in 1976 with fellow Antipodean driver Tim Schenken. Tiga, a British-based race car constructor, also had plans to compete in Formula One in 1978, but the project floundered due to sponsorship withdrawal.

During his multifarious career, Howden took part in four Le Mans 24-hour races with his best result scored in 1972 after an eventful, wet/dry race with co-driver Francois Cevert in a Matra-Simca MS 670, finishing in second place overall to teammates and winners Graham Hill and Henri Pescarolo. First and second places for the popular Matra-Simca home team was greeted with great euphoria by the fiercely patriotic and partisan French spectators!

In 2015 Howden published his fascinating autobiography entitled Road to Monaco, an evocative story which tells of his career in motor racing during the playboy era of F1. Essential reading for all fans of classic F1!

Images courtesy of Howden Ganley Archive