Taylor was an amateur racer who was particularly skilled in Lotus XI sports car races, winning a series of club races in 1958, and continuing to race it in 1959, winning the GP de Frontieres at the daunting Chimay circuit in Belgium.
For 1960, Mike’s backers bought one of Colin Chapman’s newest Lotus 18s, which he took to Spa-Francorchamps after debuting the car at the International Trophy race.
The 1960 Belgian Grand Prix will be recorded as one of the most horrific races in history: Stirling Moss was badly injured, and both Alan Stacey and Chris Bristow were killed during the race in separate accidents. Taylor himself wouldn’t even make the start, careering off the circuit after his steering column failed at 160mph. He was thrown from the cockpit and literally smashed through a tree with his body, he suffered multiple injuries but was lucky to have survived.
Paralysed after the accident and only able to stand after lengthy physical therapy, he successfully sued Lotus for damages – the marque would develop a longstanding reputation for its cars falling to pieces – and turned to a career in property investment.
[Image via Grand Prix Insider]
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