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Peter Revson

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Title: Peter Revson  
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Subject: Denny Hulme, Tyrrell 001, 1973 United States Grand Prix, McLaren, McLaren M20
Collection: 1939 Births, 1974 Deaths, 24 Hours of Daytona Drivers, 24 Hours of Le Mans Drivers, American Formula One Drivers, American Racing Drivers, Burials at Ferncliff Cemetery, Cornell University Alumni, Hotchkiss School Alumni, Indianapolis 500 Drivers, Indianapolis 500 Polesitters, International Race of Champions Drivers, Jewish American Sportspeople, Jewish Sportspeople, McLaren Formula One Drivers, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Inductees, Racing Drivers from New York, Racing Drivers Killed While Racing, Reg Parnell Racing Formula One Drivers, Shadow Formula One Drivers, Sport Deaths in South Africa, Sportspeople from New York City, Trans-Am Series Drivers, Tyrrell Formula One Drivers, World Sportscar Championship Drivers
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Peter Revson

Peter Revson
Revson at the 1973 German Grand Prix
Born (1939-02-27)February 27, 1939
New York City, New York
Died March 22, 1974(1974-03-22) (aged 35)
Midrand, South Africa
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality American
Active years 1964, 19711974
Teams non-works Lotus, Tyrrell, McLaren, Shadow
Entries 32 (30 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 2
Podiums 8
Career points 61
Pole positions 1
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1964 Monaco Grand Prix
First win 1973 British Grand Prix
Last win 1973 Canadian Grand Prix
Last entry 1974 Brazilian Grand Prix
The McLaren Revson drove in the 1972 Indianapolis 500

Peter Jeffrey Revson (February 27, 1939 – March 22, 1974) was an American race car driver who had successes in Formula One and the Indianapolis 500.


  • Background 1
  • Racing career 2
  • 1963–1974 Formula One, TransAm, Can-Am and Indianapolis 3
  • Death 4
  • Awards 5
  • Racing record 6
    • Complete Formula One World Championship results 6.1
    • Indianapolis 500 results 6.2
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Peter Revson was born in New York City, the son of Julie (née Phelps) (1914–2000) and Martin Revson (1910–?).[1]

Revson was listed as # 100 in The 100 greatest Jews in sports: ranked according to achievement, by B. P. Robert Stephen Silverman (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).[2] His father was Jewish, he called himself "half-Jewish," and he was proud of his Jewish heritage.[2][3] His grandfather emigrated from Russia to the United States.[4]

The nephew of Revlon Cosmetics industry magnate Charles Revson (1906–1975), he was an heir to his father Martin's fortune (reportedly worth over $1 billion). He was a young, handsome bachelor who was described as a "free spirit" who passed up an easy life for one of speed and danger. Off the track, he led his life at the same accelerated pace. Revson piloted a 32-foot (9.8 m) ChrisCraft and courted some of the most beautiful women in the world, including fashion model and 1973 Miss World, Marjorie Wallace. He had met Wallace at the Indianapolis 500; she was an Indianapolis native who was referred to as the "Hoosier Hotshot." He also fathered a child, Adam, with [cite needed] who he predeceased and was the subject of a paternity action which was amicably resolved in 1977. He is believed to be living unassumingly in Chicago, Illinois, and is considered the last male heir to the Revlon empire.

Racing career

Revson began racing in 1960 while at the Trans-Am sedans, Can-Am Group 7 racers, GTs, and Indianapolis racers.

1963–1974 Formula One, TransAm, Can-Am and Indianapolis

In 1963 Revson raced professionally while barnstorming Europe, driving a Formula Junior which was towed behind a beaten up British bread van.[5] In 1968 he was part of the new Javelin racing program established by American Motors (AMC).[6] At the first Trans-Am Series attempt, the 12 Hours of Sebring, Revson and Skip Scott drove to a 12th overall and took 5th in their class.[7][8]

Peter Revson, 1972 Canadian GP at Mosport Park, Sept 23,1972. Revson just minutes after setting Pole Position, and crashing on the next lap.

In the 1969 Indianapolis 500 Revson was the top rookie finisher, placing fifth in the event. He drove a Brabham-Repco which experienced carburetor problems. During a post-race election, he was selected as runner-up for rookie of the year. For the year Revson achieved seven top five finishes in the TransAm series, driving a Mustang.[5]

In 1970 he teamed with Steve McQueen to place second in the 12 Hours of Sebring. The same year Revson drove with Mark Donohue in the Penske Racing AMC factory-team Javelins, in the SCCA Trans Am.[7] He piloted an L&M Lola Cars special and became a top contender in the Can-Am racing series.[5] Revson joined McLaren in 1971, becoming the first American to win the Can-Am Championship. That same season he finished second in the Indianapolis 500 after posting the fastest qualifying time.

Peter Revson's McLaren M19C, 1972 Canadian GP at Mosport Park, Sept 23,1972. Taken minutes after setting Pole Position, losing the left rear wheel nut and then wheel and crashing at turn two.

He competed in the Indy 500 each year from 1969–1973. In 1972, Revson was named to the McLaren Formula One team. He remained with the team for two years, winning the 1973 British Grand Prix and the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix. He moved to Shadow in 1974. He is the last American born driver to win a Formula One race (Mario Andretti, who won in later years, is a naturalized American). His British Grand Prix victory made him the 50th World Championship Grand Prix winner.


Revson was killed during a test session on 22 March 1974, before the 1974 South African Grand Prix in Kyalami. While driving the Ford UOP Shadow-Ford DN3, he suffered a front suspension failure and crashed heavily into the Armco barrier on the outside of "Barbecue Bend". The car stood on its nose, wrapped itself around the barrier and caught fire, and although safety workers and other drivers managed to pull Revson from the wreckage, he was already dead.

Tony Southgate, designer of the DN3, (Motorsport Magazine June 2012, Pg 84.) –

Revvie was a fabulous easy-going guy, fitted in well, and a very good driver. But tragically he wasn't with us for long. He qualified on row 2 for Argentina and row 3 for Brazil. Then he and I, our chief mechanic Pete Kerr and two other mechanics went down to Kyalami for testing before the South African GP. Revvie was going very well, very happy with the car, and then he didn't come around. We rushed out to the back of the circuit and found the car buried under the Armco on the outside of a quick corner. Peter was already in the ambulance and gone. I phoned the hospital, and they told me I had to go to the morgue and identify him. When the news got out all hell let loose, journalists banging on my hotel door, then the Revson family lawyer arrived and took over. We were using titanium quite a lot on the DN3, which was quite a new material then. Titanium is finicky, it has to be machined smooth and the surface polished, and a ball joint which had some coarse machining on it had failed. There was only one layer of Armco and the car, instead of being deflected or stopped, had gone right under as far as the cockpit. I felt personally responsible. It was a very difficult time. The glamour of Formula 1 had gone, replaced by a sort of loneliness. You just had to work on. Of course I replaced all the titanium components with steel before the next race.

He was the second Revson to lose his life racing; his brother Douglas was killed in a crash in Denmark in 1967. Peter and Douglas Revson are interred together in a crypt at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Revson's autobiography, 'Speed with Style', co-written with Leon Mandel, was published posthumously by Doubleday & Company in 1974.

Revson was replaced by Tom Pryce, who died three years later at the same Grand Prix.


He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996 in the sports car category.[7]

Racing record

Complete Formula One World Championship results

() (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 WDC Points
1964 Revson Racing Lotus 24 BRM V8 MON
Reg Parnell Racing BEL
Lotus 25 FRA
1971 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 001 Cosworth V8 RSA ESP MON NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA CAN USA
NC 0
1972 Team Yardley McLaren McLaren M19A Cosworth V8 ARG
GER 5th 23
McLaren M19C AUT
1973 Team Yardley McLaren McLaren M19C Cosworth V8 ARG
5th 38
McLaren M23 ESP
1974 UOP Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN3 Cosworth V8 ARG

Indianapolis 500 results

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish
1969 Brabham Repco 33rd 5th
1970 McLaren Offy 16th 22nd
1971 McLaren Offy 1st 2nd
1972 McLaren Offy 2nd 31st
1973 McLaren Offy 10th 31st

See also


  1. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths REVSON, JULIE PHELPS". The New York Times. February 9, 2000. 
  2. ^ a b [3]
  3. ^ [4]
  4. ^ "Peter Revson Profile". GP Encyclopedia. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c *Anonymous. October 1970. Peter Revson going places. Playboy Magazine. 179. Retrieved on February 15, 2012.
  6. ^ "Trans-Am Racing 1968", AMX-perience, undated, retrieved on 2008-09-06.
  7. ^ a b c Friedman, Dave (2001). Trans-Am: The Pony Car Wars 1966–1972. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company. chapter 3.  
  8. ^ "1968 Sports Car Racing Results", SCCA Trans-Am Series, retrieved on 2008-09-06.

External links

  • Peter Revson Photos
  • Bruce McLaren Trust website with articles featuring Revson
  • Peter Revson at
  • Video Tribute to Peter Revson on YouTube
  • Video interview with Peter Revson on YouTube
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jackie Stewart
Monaco Formula Three
Race Winner

Succeeded by
Jean-Pierre Beltoise
Preceded by
Denny Hulme
Can-Am Champion
Succeeded by
George Follmer
Preceded by
François Cevert
Formula One fatal accidents
March 22, 1974
Succeeded by
Helmut Koinigg
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