David Purley had a brief open-wheels formula career in the 1970s which included Formula 2, Formula 5000, British F1 and three partial seasons in Formula One World Championship. David’s racing exercises was backed by his family’s refrigeration company LEC Refrigeration, founded by his father Charles Purley. His first attempt in F1 is dated by 1973 when he hired a March 722 and started in four GPs with LEC Refrigeration Racing. Next year Purley had a brief episode with Token, and after competing in Shellsport British F1 series in 1976, he returned to F1 WDC with his own LEC chassis designed by Mike Pilbeam and run by Mike Earle. LEC CRP1was typical kit-car of the period with aluminium monocoque, Cosworth DFV engine and Hewland gearbox. The car debuted at XII Race of Champions, a non-championship Formula One race held at Brands Hatch on 20 March 1977. Purley finished 6th in a field of 17 F1 cars. Later LEC appeared in its first World Championship round, in the Spanish GP at Jarama, where Purley failed to qualify. Then he finished 13th in Belgium (after briefly running second, in freak conditions), 14th in Sweden and retired in France. His very heavy crash in practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, when the throttle slides jammed open, put the end David’s racing career. He survived an estimated 179.8 g when he decelerated from 173 km/h to 0 in a distance of 66 cm. For many years, this was thought to be the highest g-force ever survived by a human being. He suffered multiple fractures to his legs, pelvis and ribs. He died in a plane crash, having retired from motorsport and taken up aerobatics, in 1985.
|David Purley||31||LEC Refrigeration Racing|