The World Championship drivers — Where are they now?

by Richard Jenkins
The Ancien Pilotes at Dijon in 1974

Ancien Pilotes at Dijon 1974

I have endeavoured to try and provide as up-to-date and accurate information as possible for everyone featured on this site, and I am always indebted to the many contributors who help with the information on this site and sadly, space doesn't allow for me to thank everyone here. However, I would like to dedicate the ongoing work, progress and achievements on this site to those contributors who are sadly no longer with us but helped aide this project so much: David McKinney, Len Calinoff, Phil Harms, Gene Heeter, Earl Ma, Don Radbruch, Roscoe H Rann and Barry Lake.

Updates and corrections are always welcomed — please either join the debate here or feel free to contact me on with any information you might have.

This part of the site is also dedicated to the memory of Tony Marsh, as it was his post-Grand Prix life that served as the initial inspiration for "Where Are They Now" back in 1998 For more about what this part of the site is trying to achieve, please read my full introduction.

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Name Born Died Nat Grands Prix Biography
Robert O'Brien 11 Apr 1908
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
10 Feb 1987
Hackensack, New Jersey
One of the most obscure racers, for whom many theories about him were suggested which included spy and CIA links - all since rubbished - O'Brien was a sportscar racer who made a few racing appearances in Europe via Belgian contacts. O'Brien was later involved in the garage/motor industry in both his home state and New York. O'Brien was definitely a regular racer in SCCA racing who achieved some results of note before making a surprise and brief move to Europe to race at the Belgian Grand Prix and then at the Grenzlandring before moving back to the US where after a while his career faded away. (Last updated 25 Jan 2016)
Pat O'Connor 09 Oct 1928
North Vernon, Indiana
30 May 1958
Indianapolis, Indiana
Killed in the 1958 Indy 500. A regular Champ Car competitor, he had a number of wins to his credit. O'Connor started racing in 1948, whilst still working as car salesman for Chevrolet, after previously working as a mechanic for Chrysler. Pat moved onto sprint cars in 1952 and became incredibly successful in that discipline, with a smooth but hard-charging style. Pat also went over to Europe to test Firestone's tyres around the banking at Monza and did extremely well, but preferred to keep racing in America. O'Connoer also had business interests in laundrettes, hotels and restaurants. (Last updated 31 Jan 2016)
Danny Oakes 18 Jul 1911
Santa Barbara, California
13 Jan 2007
Huntington Beach, California
Worked as a chief crewman in the 1960's. He was remarkably sprightly and was a regular attendee of reunions, historic meetings and to any race at the Irwindale Speedway, until a recent stroke. Sadly, he was in ill-health since and died in 2007. Also raced in boat racing for 10 years after he left motor sport. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Jackie Oliver 14 Aug 1942
Chadwell Heath, nr. Romford, Essex

GB 50
Instrumental in the management of Arrows and after a pay-out, walked out of the sport with a huge fortune. Lives in Bedfordshire and still races in selected historic events. He is also a director of the BRDC, is involved in the self-storage business, and he acts as a consultant to both the BRDC, and also, many current F1 teams. Also enjoys shooting in his spare time. Please also see the interview with Jackie at www.oldracingcars.com/drivers/interview/Jackie-Oliver/ (Last updated 22 Sep 2014)
Danny Ongais 21 May 1942
Kahului, Maui Island, Hawaii

Raced for many years at the top in America until a crash in 1997 forced him to seemingly retire. However, in 2002 he returned to racing, in the Grand Am series, despite being in his 60's. Danny started racing in the 1950's on motorcycles, before serving as a paratrooper for the US Army, being based in Europe. Also competed in drag racing and hot rods before making his first Indianapolis 500 appearance. Now has business interests away from the sport. (Last updated 9 Nov 2014)
Arthur Owen 23 Mar 1915
Lambeth, London
27 Apr 2002
Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
GB 1
Far better known for his hillclimb prowess, he won the British Hillclimbing Championship in 1962. He began his career in 1954, and became synonymous with racing Cooper cars, later writing a book about the marque. Retired in 1964, after taking a class win in his last hillclimb at Great Auclum. Moved to the Algarve in his later years - a retired author and jeweler, he used to live in St. Helier, in Jersey. (Last updated 22 Aug 2014)

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