Lees calls it quits at 49

Sportscar star and double Formula 2 champion Geoff Lees is hanging up his helmet at the age of 49.

Lees calls it quits at 49

The Briton took a sabbatical from the sport in 1999, but after two more races this year he has decided to retire. Lees said he will now concentrate on an undisclosed business venture outside motorsport.

"I don't really want to retire, but whatever I do I want to put 100% effort into it," he explained after making his final race appearance in Sunday's SportsRacing World Cup event at the Nurburgring.

"I couldn't do that with my new business if I'm still racing, so it's time to pull the plug."

But Lees didn't rule out a return to racing next year should his new venture fail to come to fruition.

"If that happened I'd imagine I would continue racing if I could," he said. "I guess if a good full-time ride came up I'd also be tempted, but I haven't gone out looking for one."

Lees enjoyed a varied career that spanned nearly 30 seasons. He lifted both the European and All-Japan F2 crowns and won further single-seaters titles in the Japanese Grand-Champion series. He was also a race winner in Formula 3, Formula Atlantic, British Formula 1, Formula 3000 in Japan and sportscars.

He was the first European driver to carve a successful career in Japan, where he lived for nearly 10 years and met his future wife. In the mid-1980s, Lees began a long relationship with Toyota, for which he made no fewer than nine starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Lees was re-signed for the French enduro when the Japanese manufacturer returned to sportscars in 1998. Gearbox failure just 90 minutes from the chequered flag deprived him of the biggest win of his career.

Lees started five Grands Prix with five different teams during a stop-start F1 career that refused to take off. His best result was a seventh place with Tyrrell in the 1980 German Grand Prix when he was called up as a last-minute substitute.



1971-1972 Starts racing in Formula Ford with an Alexis
1973 Skips season to conserve funds
1974 2nd Silverstone FF1600 series, Royale
1975 Wins all three major British FF1600 titles and end -of-season Formula Ford Festival, Royale
1976 3rd Shellsport & BP Formula 3 Championships, Chevron
1977 4th BP F3 Championship, Chevron
1978 1 victory, British Formula 1 Championship, Ensign
1979 US Can-Am Championship, VDS Lola; 7th German Grand Prix, Tyrrell: 1st Macau Formula Atlantic GP, Ralt
1980 retired South African Grand Prix, Shadow; retired Dutch Grand Prix, Ensign; British F1, Wolf; 1st Macau Formula Atlantic GP,Ralt
1981 European Formula 2 Champion, Ralt
1982 retired Canadian GP, Theodore; 12th French GP, Lotus
1983 All-Japan F2 Champion, SpirIt & March
1984 2nd All-Japan F2 , March
1985 All-Japan F2; Japanese Sports-Prototype Championship, Toyota
1986 3rd All-Japan F2
1987 3rd JSPC, Toyota; 1st All-Japan Grand-Champion series; All-Japan F3000, Lola
1988 1st All-Japan Grand-Champion series; 4th All-Japan F3000, Reynard; JSPC, Toyota
1989 1st All-Japan Grand-Champion series; World Sports-Prototype Championship & JSPC, Toyota; All-Japan F3000;
1990 WSPC & JSPC, Toyota, 6th Le Mans 24 Hours
1991 5th JSPC, Toyota
1992 5th Sportscar World Championship, Toyota
1993 8th Le Mans, Toyota
1995 Le Mans, Lister
1996 Global Endurance GT Series & Le Mans, Lister
1997 Le Mans, Lister
1998 Le Mans, Toyota; FIA GT Championship, McLaren
1999 Did not race
2000 Le Mans, BMW

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