Former Formula One racer Peter Gethin, whose 1971 victory at Monza remains the closest finish in the sport’s history, has died at the age of 71. He had reportedly been ill for quite some time.
Gethin raced in Formula 3 and Formula 5000 before graduating to Formula One in 1970 with the Mclaren team, as a replacement for the recently killed team founder Bruce Mclaren. He stayed with Mclaren for 1971, but switched to BRM halfway through the season as a replacement for another recently killed driver, Pedro Rodriguez.
The 1971 Italian Grand Prix at Monza was Gethin’s second race for BRM. He passed from fourth to first on the final lap and as the race ended, just 0.61s covered the top five drivers, and Gethin was just 0.01s ahead of Ronnie Peterson. Until 2003, Gethin’s average speed in the race, 242.615 km/h (150.754 mph), was also a record.
Gethin remained with BRM for the following season, but after 30 starts his F1 career petered out. He raced in other series for a while, and later ran his own Formula 3000 team. In 1974 he was the Tasman Series Champion.