TOP-SIX U.S. SPORTS CAR RACERS
He won the first sports car race he
entered in 1949 and would become the
USA’s signature driver during its post-war
love affair with motorsports.
To start, the Florida-born, California-bred Hill scored three wins at a lethal
Le Mans from 1958-’ 62 – which on its own
deserves a place among America’s greats.
But add in his other feats from the same
period, including a trio of Sebring wins
from 1958-’ 61, and his brilliance is truly
amplified. Hill’s 1961 is unparalleled:
Le Mans and Sebring winner – oh, and
America’s first Formula 1 World Champion.
A hero in Ferrari sports cars and
prototypes; a factory driver for Carroll
Shelby and Ford (one of the precious few
to race the GT40 and the Shelby Cobra
Daytona Coupe), and a winner in Jim Hall’s
Chaparrals, Hill was American sports car
racing until his retirement.
Fittingly, he bid farewell to sports car
racing with a win in his final event, the
1967 BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch, where
he flew the high-wing Chaparral 2F to
victory. All hail the great Phil Hill.
(RIGHT) Phil Hill sips
the champagne as he
celebrates a second
24 Hours of Le Mans
win with Belgium’s
Olivier Gendebien in
1961. Victory number
three came a year
later (ABOVE RIGHT).