Vale Phil Kerr: 1934–2015

Posted in People, Motorsport

Over the weekend of August 22–23, we received news that Phil Kerr had passed away on the morning of Saturday, August 22.

Phil, who told his own story in his superb biography — To Finish First — had a long association with Bruce McLaren, who he first met at a hill climb in which both men were competing.

In 1958, Phil would be one of the three finalists for the New Zealand International Grand Prix (NZIGP) Driver To Europe programme, along with McLaren and Merv Mayo. Bruce was, of course, the winner, but Phil would follow McLaren to Europe the following year anyway to work alongside Australian motorsport royalty Jack Brabham — during that time he would champion Denny Hulme. After Denny won the Formua 1 world championship in 1967, both he and Phil joined up with McLaren, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Photo: Terry Marshall

McLaren’s current boss, Ron Dennis, confirmed Phil Kerr’s contribution to the marque via his own condolences: “Speaking on behalf of all at McLaren, I am very sorry to hear the news that Phil Kerr has passed away. Phil was a McLaren stalwart from the company’s very earliest days … now, decades later, the 3000 people who make up McLaren therefore owe Phil a debt of gratitude. On behalf of us all, I consequently extend heartfelt sympathy to his family and many friends. May he rest in peace.”

Everyone at New Zealand Classic Car magazine and Parkside Media would like to extend their sincere condolences to Patricia Kerr.

Photo: A great partnership — Phil Kerr chats to Bruce McLaren