Guy Edwards

Former Grand Prix driver and sponsor scout Guy Edwards is celebrating today, with the Englishman turning 69 years old!

The Cheshire-born driver would never be ranked as a frontrunning talent in anyone’s books, but he certainly had a knack for securing sponsorship from the unlikeliest of sources when it came to helping him progress up the motorsport ladder in the 1970s.

The son of a Royal Air Force squadron leader, Guy graduated from the University of Durham before enrolling in a racing school class at Brands Hatch in 1965, where he started out piloting a Ford Anglia.

By 1968, he was racing in Formula 3, but without much in the way of financial backing, this was proving to be a bit of a dead end. So he switched to two-litre sports cars instead, and stayed there for three years.

But the desire to compete in open-wheel racing was still burning strong, and in 1972 he raised the money to get into Formula 5000 in a McLaren 10B, and landed backing from Barclays Bank, who then helped bankroll later stints in this category and sports cars.

He negotiated his way into a race seat with Graham Hill’s Embassy Racing team for the 1974 Grand Prix season, but he only managed a total of seven starts for the team before he was sidelined with a wrist injury he sustained in a Formula 5000 crash.

He returned to F1 action in 1976 – this time piloting a Hesketh 308D emblazoned with stickers from Penthouse and Rizla – and he was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his part in rescuing Niki Lauda from his fiery wreck at the German Grand Prix.

He had one last try in the hopeless BRM P207 in 1977 (failing, as had everyone else who drove it, to prequalify) before he took up a more successful place in the British Formula 1 championship, before he retired and directed his efforts towards what was clearly a major skill: sponsorship wheeling and dealing.

He was part of March’s F1 operation until the mid-1980s before he went freelance, helping to land the Silk Cut sponsorship for the TWR Jaguar sports car team. In later years, he became the marketing director Team Lotus, and helped Castrol join the team as a major sponsor, before he acrimoniously left the team in 1994 when its fortunes were on the wane.

[Image via asaucerfulofwheels]

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Richard Bailey

Editor at RichardsF1.com

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