Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Ninian Sanderson

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Ninian Sanderson (14 May 1925 – 1 October 1985) was a Scottish car dealer, sports car racing driver, and winner of the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Sanderson was born in Glasgow. In common with many drivers of his era, he cut his racing teeth in the highly competitive 500cc Formula 3 class in the early 1950s. He is best known for winning the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Ecurie Ecosse team, together with Ron Flockhart in an ex-works Jaguar D-Type. The following year Sanderson again competed for Ecurie Ecosse, finishing second with co-driver John "Jock" Lawrence, only beaten by the other Ecurie Ecosse D-Type driven by Flockhart and Ivor Bueb.

In 1999 the Jaguar sports car that won the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans was sold at Christie's in London for £1.71 million. At that time it was the most expensive car ever bought at auction.

Although reputedly not the easiest of men to get along with, Ninian Sanderson was well known in racing circles for his lively sense of humour. Fond of practical jokes he was not averse to putting firecrackers up exhaust pipes and ribbing members of the public with his race-bred black humour. The contrast in personalities within the Ecurie Ecosse team was stark; down-to-Earth, Glaswegian Sanderson, and refined, Edinburgh-born Flockhart were "like chalk and cheese".

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