The reluctant Lotus ace who was dropped for Jim Clark

A firm believer that motor racing was a sport for gentlemen, Innes Ireland lived a spirited life. Nigel Roebuck recalls a character whose outlook ceased to fit with modern Formula 1.

Innes Ireland was feisty and tough, yet essentially a gentleman, and as humane an individual as I have known in racing. A character is what he was, and among the fastest drivers of his generation.

Take the Oulton Park Gold Cup in 1960, where his Lotus 18 simply left the rest behind – ‘the rest’ including Rob Walker’s similar car, driven by one Stirling Moss. When the mood took him, Ireland could hack it with anyone, but invariably his luck was poor, and that day was typical in that the car eventually broke.

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