70 years since the first F1 Grand Prix and Tony Holt

The first Formula 1 Grand Prix took place this week, 70 years ago, at Silverstone.

One of the drivers in this race was Tony Holt.

Holt had begun racing before the war, including winning the 200-mile British Empire Trophy race at our local circuit, Donington Park. During the war he was heavily involved in the fighting, before being taken as a prisoner of war - a situation he never accepted and escaped from on seven occasions, though this resulted in him being placed in Colditz! He was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery, but always said, "Escaping was not a game. Nor was it fun. It was a duty."

After the war he entered various other races, including the RAC Tourist Trophy in Dundrod, where he lapped Stirling Moss in his Jagaur C-type. Tony went on to compete in the very first British Grand Prix in 1950 and subsequently those of 1953 and 1955, though unfortunately they all ended in early retirements.

During these years, 1949-1955, he also competed in every 24 Hours Le Mans Race, famously winning in 1953 in a Jaguar C-Type and coming second in 1954.

Holt continued his association with the sport of racing and became a successful engineer and businessman working on technology around four-wheel drive and anti-lock braking. He was a proud member of the British Racing Driver's Club and attended F1 races until his death in 2008, aged 89.


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