Former Grand Prix driver Ian Ashley will be celebrating his 64th birthday today!
Born in Germany, Ashley often showed great speed, but not always the ability to keep the car on the circuit.
After several years flitting between Formula Ford, Formula 3 and Formula 5000 during 1967-75, Ashley’s attempts in Formula 1 could generally be described as ranging from undistinguished to outright disaster.
He started out with the Token team in 1974, contesting two Grands Prix before returning to the grid at the end of the season with a Brabham BT42 run be Chequered Flag Racing, failing to qualify on both occasions at Mosport and Watkins Glen.
He drove one outing for Frank Williams’ cash-strapped team in 1975, but failed to take the start after suffering leg injuries in a crash during the pre-race warm-up.
He had a further outing at Brazil with BRM (he retired), before joining the Hesketh team in 1977, the team by now suffering a swift decline after its James Hunt heydays. After three successive failures to qualify, he made the grid at Watkins Glen, only to repeat his leg-breaking antics in the warm-up for the Canadian Grand Prix that followed.
After a lengthy recuperation. Ashdown decided to become a pilot, like his father before him.
But to prove that the racing bug never truly dies, he made a surprise return to the track after a ten-year absence, contesting a handful of CART races between 1985-7.
He was back in action in 1993, piloting a Vauxhall in the British Touring Car Championship.
Ashley is now one of many professional drivers who takes lucky passengers on hot-laps as part of the ‘Silverstone Experience’.
[Images via F1-Facts]