Jack Lewis - The original F1 Welsh Dragon
The WRDA Welsh Young Driver of the Year Award is dedicated to the drivers, Jack Lewis & Tom Pryce both who carried the Welsh Dragon into F1.
Jacks driving in the early 60s marked him as one of the smoothest and most promising racers on the grid and although he says he doesnt make any great claims to be Welsh, Jacks grandfather was Welsh, he married a Welsh girl and spent over 40 years sheep farming in Llandovery. That is enough to qualify him to play football, rugby or cricket for Wales so we were happy to claim him too!
He confirmed that the idea of having the Welsh dragon on his car was that he was going to build his own car and if the sponsorship came in, it would have been a Welsh team! He now wishes he would have carried on with it like McLaren or Brabham did, but said it was ironic that he didnt get this kind of attention at the time, but the TV and papers in the 1960s hardly featured motorsport.
WRDA President Robert Allender who had the idea to start theWRDA Young Welsh Driver of the Year Award said, " The trophy is dedicated to the men who carried the Welsh Dragon into Formula 1. Tom carried his on the back of his helmet and Jack carried it on his car in 1962. Whilst Toms career is well known, Jack Lewis is less well known but equally interesting. He was the British Formula 2 Champion and entered several Grand Prix in 1961 with a privately entered Cooper, qualifing well and scoring points after taking an excellent 4th place in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. He took 3rd place in the Pau Grand Prix in 1962, and there were plans to build his own car, but it was sadly shelved"
Robert confirmed "Jacks era was before fast motorways and fast ferries giving the journeys to and from events an epic quality. The circuits too represented motor racing in the raw , before safety barriers, safety belts and safety cells in cars, requiring couarge as well as skill, making it an heroic age."
For instance the 1961 Italian Grand Prix at Monza was the last time the full banking and road circuit was used at Monza, and it was without the chicanes they have today. Jack qualified 15 out of 30 and was 4th; the first private entry, beating Tony Brooks' works BRM by a 10th of a second, the last un-laped car.
For 1962 he bought a supposedly works supported BRM V8. His best result came in the non-title Pau Grand Prix, after a race long struggle with Ricardo Rodriguez in the works Ferrari , with the red dragon is clearly visible by the car number. N.B Ricardo was the older brother of 70s Grand Prix winner and sports car ace Pedro Rodriguez, and was generally reckoned to be even quicker! Disillusion set in with the BRM as the car was suspiciously under-powered. (it was noted that BRM might make a good chassis, but there was only ever one good engine, reserved for the works No 1, at the time Graham Hill)
At the Monaco Grand Prix Jack equalled the practice time of the works BRM No. 2 driver Ritchie Ginther, but was excluded from the race to make way for slower but better known competitors. The car was returned to BRM who reimbursed the �7000 selling price and he competed for the rest of the season in his old Cooper. (Average wages at the time were about �10 a week for 47 hours & an average house was �2,700). He now wishes he would have carried on and built his own F1 car like McLaren or Brabham did, but said it was ironic that he didnt get this kind of attention at the time, but the TV and papers in the 1960s hardly featured motorsport.
Jack Lewis Principal Results
|British F2 Championship||
Cooper Climax T45
|1959 F2 Prix de Paris - Montlhery||Cooper Climax T45||1st + FL|
|1960 30th Grand Prix des Frontires - Chimay, Belgium||Cooper Climax T45||1st|
|1960 XVI Coupe du Salon - Montlhery||Cooper Climax T45||1st + fastest lap|
|1961 Belgian Grand Prix||Cooper Climax T53||13/25||9th|
|1961 French Grand Prix||Cooper Climax T53||18/25||Retired|
|1961 British Grand Prix||Cooper Climax T53||15/28||Retired|
|1961 German Grand Prix||Cooper Climax T53||18/27||9th|
|1961 Italian Grand Prix||Cooper Climax T53||16/30||4th|
|1962 Dutch Grand Prix||Cooper Climax T53||19/20||8th|
|1962 Monaco Grand Prix||BRM P48/57||15/23||DNS|
|1962 Pau Grand Prix||BRM P48/57||5/13||3rd|
|1962 British Grand Prix||Cooper Climax T53||15/22||10th|
|1962 French Grand Prix||Cooper Climax T53||16/18||Retired|
|1962 German Grand Prix||Cooper Climax T53||21/25||Retired|