Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Innes Ireland (1930–1993) was a Scottish military officer, engineer, and race car driver. He was a larger-than-life character who, according to a rival team boss, "lived without sense, without an analyst and provoked astonishment and affection from everyone."
Ireland was born June 12, 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, England, the son of a Scottish veterinary surgeon. His family returned to Kirkcudbright in Scotland during his youth, and he trained as an engineer with Rolls Royce, first in Glasgow and later in London. Commissioned as a lieutenant in the King's Own Scottish Borderers, he served with the Parachute Regiment in the Suez Canal Zone during 1953 and 1954.
Ireland's first serious year of auto racing was 1957, by which time he was running a small engineering firm in Surrey. Success in sports car racing saw him make his Formula One debut for Team Lotus in 1959. In 1960 he won three non-championship Formula One races and finished fourth in the World Drivers Championship . Badly injured in the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix, Ireland recovered to win the Solitude and Austrian Grand Prix races, then finished the season with a victory in the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.
Ireland upset Lotus boss Colin Chapman and the team sponsors by giving up his car to Stirling Moss of the rival Rob Walker team at the 1961 Italian Grand Prix. This led to him being arbitrarily sacked at the end of the '61 season. Despite occasional successes, Ireland never again had a car to match his talent, and his last serious race was the Daytona 500 in 1967.
A talented writer, Ireland produced a classic autobiography, All Arms and Elbows (ISBN 0851840507), and worked as a journalist for Road and Track magazine as well as skippering trawlers in the North Atlantic. Towards the end of his life, he was elected president of the prestigious British Racing Drivers Club, which post he still held at the time of his death from cancer on October 22, 1993.
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