Scion of the Revlon cosmetics empire, this sleek and well-groomed American was initially snared by the uncompetitive Parnell squad which for the most part left him cast in the role of consistent also-ran close to the back of the field. Peter Revson then scampered back across the Atlantic to build his reputation in Can-Am and other US categories. In that respect, during the early 1970s he would become a leading light in the works McLaren Indycar squad – bagging pole for the ’71 Indianapolis 500 at a record speed of just over 176mph. It was Mark Donohue and Johnny Rutherford who would score the famous wins at the Brickyard for the marque.
In 1971 he also made an inauspicious F1 return to drive a Tyrrell in the US GP at Watkins Glen; the clutch failed almost at the start, but that didn’t prevent the Yardley-backed F1 squad from recruiting him to drive for them for the next two seasons.
It would be fair to say that, during that time, Revson certainly confounded all his detractors. He was known as a solid and reliable performer, but now his turn of speed proved quite an eye-opener. He was a regular points scorer and, once he got his hands on the new McLaren M23 in 1973, he memorably won both the British and Canadian GP. He also hit the headlines in the society columns when he started dating the then-Miss World, American model Marjorie Wallace.
Despite his success, Revson had a sparky relationship with McLaren MD Teddy Mayer whose late brother Tim had been a classmate of Peter’s at Cornell University and a fledgling Formula Junior team-mate in the early 1960s. ‘Revvie’ decided to switch to the nascent Shadow F1 team in 1974 only to be tragically killed when his car suffered a front suspension failure and ploughed into the barrier at Kyalami’s tricky Barbecue bend while testing in preparation for the South African GP.