Le Mans 24 Hours winner and former Grand Prix driver Tony Rolt died yesterday, aged 89.
Born on October 16th 1918, Rolt was an accomplished pre-war ERA racer and later went on to race in Formula One as well as triumphing at Le Mans in 1953.
Rolt served as a lieutenant in the rifle brigade during the Second World War. He was captured at Calais in 1940 and escaped seven times before eventually being sent to Castle Colditz.
He was one of the masterminds behind the famous plan to build an escape glider, but the prison was liberated before the aircraft was completed.
After the war, he returned to Britain to form part of Dixon Rolt Developments, which, among other projects, worked on the development of four-wheel drive systems. The company became FF Developments and created the Jensen FF road car in 1966. Their technology was later used widely throughout the motor industry
Rolt helped to design, and also drove, the Ferguson P99 which became the only four-wheel drive car to win an F1 race, in the hands of Stirling Moss at the Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1961.
He also shared an ERA with Peter Walker in the first ever world championship Grand Prix, held at Silverstone in 1950. He was the last remaining survivor from that race.
Jaguar then signed Rolt as a works driver and he won the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours with Duncan Hamilton in C-Type. He was also the last remaining member of the British Racing Drivers' Club to have been elected before the war.
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