Saturday, 1 July 2017

Pat Coundley


Pat Coundley raced sports and touring cars in the 1960s, in the UK.

She was always quite sporty and her first love was horses, in common with several other speedqueens, such as Pat Moss and her contemporary, Jean Aley.

She started her motor racing career in 1959, in speed events, driving a Jaguar D-Type belonging to her husband, John, another racer who was a Jaguar specialist. It was he who persuaded her to enter her first event, the North Weald hillclimb, in which she won the ladies’ award. She drove another of John’s cars, a Lister-Jaguar, in 1960, winning the sportscar class in sprints at Castle Combe and Long Marsden Airfield.

After some years in club races and sprints, often using Jaguar sportscars, she made her debut in the British Saloon Car Championship in 1964, driving a Lotus Cortina run by John Coundley Racing Partnership, her husband’s team. She was not overly competitive. Her first race was the second round at Goodwood, where she was seventeenth overall. She is recorded as a finisher at Oulton Park, but her position is not forthcoming. At Aintree, she may have shared the car with John. The Coundley Cortina was 22nd. The team disappears from the BSCC grids after that.

The same year, she drove a single-seater Lotus Climax 19 in the Brighton Speed Trials.
The year before, she used a D-Type, entering the 1600cc+ sportscar class, and the Ladies’ class.

At the Antwerp Speed Trials in 1964, she drove a long-nose Jaguar D-Type, and set a European women's speed record of 161.278 mph. This made the front page of at least one British newspaper. Pat was described as a “housewife”.

The Coundley Racing Partnership Lotus Cortina made some appearances in the 1965 BSCC, but it was not driven by Pat.

At some point in the early 1960s, Pat also raced a Lotus Elite, including a Ladies’ Handicap at Brands Hatch. In Motor Sport in 1962, she likened driving the Elite to “handling a beautiful horse”.

(Image copyright Getty Images)


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