Happy Birthday to Martin Brundle, who turns 53 today.
The Briton first rose to prominence in open-wheel (or "single-seater" as the Brits prefer to call it) racing in 1983, when he dueled Ayrton Senna for the British Formula 3 crown, narrowly losing the title to the Brazilian ace. Brundle soon followed Senna's path into F1, joining the Tyrrell team for the 1984 season. It proved both a promising and frustrating rookie season, as Brundle finished fifth in his first race at Brazil and then second at Detroit. However, at the following race in Dallas, Brundle broke his ankles and both feet in a heavy crash
during a practice session. While recovering from that setback, Brundle had all of his achievements from the season wiped from the record books when Tyrrell's cars were disqualified from the World Championship for a technical infringement.
Brundle stuck it out in F1 three more years with the Tyrrell and Zakspeed teams, but their uncompetitiveness kept him from making much of a mark and, in 1988, Brundle switched his focus to sports car racing with Tom Walkinshaw's Jaguar team. Running at Le Mans and the European-based Group C series as well as America's Camel GT, Brundle quickly established himself as a regular winner, scoring 24-hour triumphs at Le Mans and Daytona.
Brundle returned to F1 from 1991-'96, racing for Brabham, Benetton, Ligier, Jordan and McLaren. Since his retirement he has served as an F1 commentator for British television, while also making the occasional sports car foray.
• Also celebrating birthdays today are 1983 Indy 500 winner Tom Sneva, who is 64; sports car and Indy car racer Davy Jones, who is 48; and McLaren chairman Ron Dennis, who turns 65.