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

shares
comments
FIA GT race: Third win keeps Hezemans in title race

Previous article

FIA GT race: Third win keeps Hezemans in title race

Next article

TWR to return to Le Mans?

TWR to return to Le Mans?
Load comments
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021
How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations Plus

How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations

Time in a thoroughbred racer leaves you searching for time in yourself, especially when the rewards for total commitment are so high, as our man discovered at Snetterton

GT
Apr 28, 2021
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021