Former F1 driver George Follmer is celebrating his 77th birthday today!George Follmer, 1973

Not exactly a spring chicken when he made his F1 debut at the age of 39, he entered the sport with a tough baptism representing the Shadow team in its debut season in 1973, and after initially acquitting himself well, he slipped further down the grid and his F1 journey was over by the end of the season.

Phoenix-born Follmer started racing in his mid-20s, but it took some years before he started to pursue it seriously, and he did so largely in sports car racing while still earning a living as an insurance broker on the side.George Follmer

In 1967, he financed his own Lola Chevrolet to race in the USRRC championship, but the car repeatedly broke down and he was thrown a lifeline by Roger Penske and he blossomed, broadening his driving to include USAC, Can-Am, Trans-Am and Formula A before he jumped into F1.

Sixth place on debut and a podium finish in his second race boded well, but the competitiveness of the Shadow DN1 dropped as the season wore on, and he returned to the States where he continued to plough a career in sports car and endurance racing, eventually retiring in the 1980s.

George Follmer - Complete F1 Results

[Original images via Flickr and The Cahier Archive]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.