Philip Toll Hill, Jr. was an American automobile racer and the only American-born driver to win the Formula One World Drivers Championship. He also scored three wins at each of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring sports car races, Hill was described as a thoughtful, gentle man and once said, Im in the wrong business. I dont want to beat anybody, I dont want to be the big hero, born in Miami, Florida, Hill was raised in Santa Monica, California, where he lived until his death. He studied business administration at the University of Southern California from 1945 to 1947, Hill left early to pursue auto racing, working as a mechanic on other drivers cars. Hill began racing cars at an age, going to England as a Jaguar trainee in 1949. He made his debut in the French Grand Prix at Reims France in 1958 driving a Maserati. That same year, paired with Belgian teammate Olivier Gendebien, Hill became the first American-born winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Hill driving most of the night in rainy conditions. He and Gendebien would go on to win the endurance race again in 1961 and 1962. Hill began driving full-time for the Ferrari Formula One team in 1959, in 1960 he won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the first Grand Prix win for an American driver in nearly forty years, since Jimmy Murphy won the 1921 French Grand Prix. This also turned out to be the last win for a car in Formula 1. The following season, Hill won the Belgian Grand Prix and with two races left trailed only his Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Trips in the season standings, a crash during the Italian Grand Prix killed von Trips and fifteen spectators. Hill won the race and clinched the championship but the triumph was bittersweet, Ferraris decision not to travel to America for the seasons final round deprived Hill of the opportunity to participate in his home race at Watkins Glen as the newly crowned World Champion. When he returned for the season, his last with Ferrari, Hill said, I no longer have as much need to race. I dont have as much hunger anymore, I am no longer willing to risk killing myself. After leaving Ferrari at the end of 1962, he and fellow driver Giancarlo Baghetti started for the new team ATS created by engineers in the great walkout of 1961. Phil Hill has the distinction of having won the first and last races of his driving career, Hill also drove an experimental MG, EX-181, at Bonneville Salt Flats. The Roaring Raindrop, had an 91 cu. in, supercharged MGA Twin Cam engine, using 86% methanol with nitrobenzene, acetone, and sulphuric ether, for an output of 290 HP. In 1959 Phil Hill attained 257 MPH in this car, breaking the record of Stirling Moss in same car
Image: Phil Hill + Jackie Stewart 1991 USA
Hill driving a Ferrari 250 TR at the 12 hours of Sebring (1958).