Phil Hill (1927-2008) was Ferrari’s 1961 Formula 1 World Champion Driver – and the first, and to date only, American-born sportsman to win world-class motor racing’s premier road racing title. He was also three-time winner of both the Le Mans 24-Hour and the Sebring 12-Hour races, twice-winner of the Buenos Aires and Nürburgring 1000Kms classics, and twice-winner of the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix.
A deeply thoughtful, cultured, decent man, Phil was also a fine and accomplished engineer, a highly successful car restorer, a man of taste and discrimination across a wide range of interests from classical music to British nonsense songs, and his wonderfully insightful contributions to ‘Road & Track’ magazine – carefully composed with his long-time friend and collaborator John Lamm – set him upon an entirely different plane from almost all of his one-time peers and rivals.
Phil Hill drove not only for Ferrari. He also raced at top international level in Cobra, Ford GT, Chaparral, Porsche, Cooper and Aston Martin cars amongst others. He was a global player, an internationalist who saw his first Formula 1 car at the British Goodwood race circuit as early as 1950. Looking back upon that day, this modest high-achiever recalled: “At that time, the limit of my ambition was one day to be a mechanic to a great driver …”
Twelve years later he would himself be Ferrari’s reigning Formula 1 World Champion Driver.
Through all his racing up to 1962 – when he saw his friend and protégé Dan Gurney win the French Grand Prix at Rouen-les-Essarts – Phil Hill used his favoured Leica cameras “… to show the folks back home” the motor racing scene he so loved in fantastic quality colour. Built around this very personal and long-private photo collection of mainly Kodachrome motor racing photography – intimate, candid, often exquisitely composed, a superb-quality colour record of a bygone age absolutely brim-full of nostalgia, personality, spectacle and drama – the Collector’s Edition and Racing Autobiography of ‘Inside Track’ were published in late 2017 to huge acclaim, a true publishing sensation, setting the standard by which all future World Champion Drivers’ books will be measured.
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