Tom Pryce: Gone but not forgotten

Formula One World Championship

Tom Pryce died on the 5 March 1977. At the time he was considered one of the up and coming British drivers but a horrific accident during the South African Grand Prix, at Kyalami, robbed the sport of a star in the making.

A constant front runner in lower formulae Pryce made his grand prix debut in 1974 in Belgium. He went on to win the Brands Hatch Race of Champions, a non-championship Formula 1 race.

Pryce is the only Welsh driver to have won an F1 race and is also the only Welshman to lead a Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix: two laps of the 1975 British Grand Prix.

Pryce started his career in Formula 1 with the small Token team, making his only start for them at the 1974 Belgian Grand Prix.

Shortly after an impressive performance at the Formula 3 support race for the 1974 Monaco Grand Prix, Pryce joined the Shadow F1 team and scored his first points in Germany in only his fourth race – at a time when only the top six were awarded points.

Out of his 42 F1 races Pryce scored two podium finishes, his first in Austria in 1975 and the second in Brazil a year later. Pryce was considered by his team as a great wet weather driver.

During the practice session for the 1977 South African GP, run in wet conditions which he relished, Pryce was faster than everyone, including world champion drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt.

Pryce’s third full season at Shadow was cut short by his fatal accident at the 1977 South African Grand Prix, where he collided at high speed with safety marshal Frederik Jansen Van Vuuren who ran across the main straight to attend to a burning car.

Unsighted and at full speed the Shadow hit Van Vuuren who virtually disintegrated upon impact, and the fire extinguisher he was carrying struck Pryce’s helmet. Both driver and marshal were killed instantly.

A memorial to Pryce was unveiled on 11 June 2009, on Clwyd Street in Ruthin, Wales. (Wikipedia)

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  • Gould

    I don’t see why you had to post the video of poor Tom’s death. Poor form on your part.

  • siledrag

    Pryce never won an F1 race, there’s a mistake in the third paragraph.

  • Gould

    They have copied the text from the wikipedia page hahaha. What a crap F1 site this.

  • Tamburello1994

    And yet you’re here commenting.

  • RetroRaceCars_ninjamonk

    The post is a good way to remember these guys but the gore factor in the video and images should be removed. Not great for a kid to stumble upon.

  • ninjamonk

    The post is a good way to remember these guys but the gore factor in the video and images should be removed. Not great for a kid to stumble upon.

  • farizY

    Common sense: you should not run across the road while there’s traffic.

  • GP247

    He did – he won the Race of Champions which was a Formula 1 race – although not a grand prix

  • GP247

    What’s the problem with that? Wikipedia is a reliable source of information which we often use to verify F1 facts and also donate towards it’s operating costs. And you are banned you Autospurt twit!

  • GP247

    Agreed have removed the video and photos which we felt were educational but in retrospect perhaps in bad taste.

  • siledrag

    Ok, thanks for the clarification

  • Hugo Lafreniere

    Hmmm, I disagree. No one forced anyone to click the vid, and you just know that anyone who was willing to click the link will google it and see it on youtube anyway. As sad and semi-graphic as it is, it’s the reality of racing, or at least what racing was back when sex was safe and racing was dangerous. We see Niki Lauda almost everyday, yet I don’t see anyone asking for his pictures to be removed, even though in many ways his face alone is a much more graphic depiction and a grim reminder of how dangerous racing used to be.

  • Hugo Lafreniere

    Well, the poor marshall ran across the road to attend to a stricken car. Back then safety was not a top priority as it is today. He was simply doing his job, and didn’t see Tom Pryce and Pryce didn’t see him either, the way the cars were barreling down the straight.

  • siledrag

    He was a 19 year old kid with little training. He saw someone in trouble across the track and his instinct was to go and help. Just an unfortunate event, both of them so young

  • GP247


  • Tamburello1994

    Just another view – The video is available on youtube so it wasn’t like GP247 was presenting anything not already in the public sphere – and you did warn readers of its graphic content so I don’t understand the hub-bub. Some people complained; The video and pictures were removed. Hey, that democracy.

    A happy medium would have just provided a link to the video.

  • Tommi Nummelin


    Yeah, Wikipedia is nice. I should know, I’ve written my fair share of the articles there. Mostly in Finnish, though. I would still argue that you can’t use Wikipedia to verify anything, and that banning someone because they criticize you isn’t very classy or mature.