S2140 Lotus 24 No.14 US GP 1962 – Roger Penske
Most of the racing fans know Roger Penske as team owner of Penske Racing. Or as successful US business man who has built an empire with vehicles of every kind (from vans to smarts). Only a few people know: Penske was an excellent racing driver, too. But it was already many years ago. The 78-year old started his racing career at the age of 21 years what is a “high” age in comparison with today. His first race he drove for Marlboro Motor Raceway in Maryland. Since then, his career has taken off like a rocket. In 1961, the famous magazine “Sports Illustrated” chose him as “Driver of the year”. Penske was a genius in buying cars, driving them and (profitably) reselling them at the end. When he wanted to start at the Formula 1 race at Watkins Glen in 1961, he did it with a Cooper-Climax. Penske finished on the 8th place at his debut, 4 laps behind the winner Innes Ireland. For this result he would get 4 points today, but at that time he came away empty-handed. The year after Penske made a second attempt – again in Watkins Glen -. This time with a Lotus 24. He drove it yellow-painted for the team Zerex Racing. One more time, Penske was 4 laps behind the winner. Probably this was the reason why he finished his GP-career. He was still active – in the USA. He won the Grand National Series of NASCAR in 1963 where he had to fight against high level competitors such as A.J. Foyt, Bruce McLaren and Dan Gurney. In 1965, Penske gave up the racing. He opened a Chevrolet car dealership. The rest of his business-minded life is well known. Today, Penske is a multi-billionaire. Probably the only former GP-pilot who has made it. Bernie Ecclestone is very, very close in regards of smartness, but Ecclestone failed miserably in 1958 with two attempts to take part in a GP.