Tim Birkin

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Tim Birkin in Le Mans in 1929
Tim Birkin in Brooklands in 1929

Sir Henry Ralph Stanley "Tim" Birkin, 3rd Baronet (born July 26, 1896 in Nottingham , † June 22, 1933 in London ) was a British racing driver who was one of the most successful motorsport athletes in the late 1920s and early 1930s belonged to the world.


Tim Birkin came from a wealthy Nottingham family. His parents were Sir Thomas Stanley Birkin, 2nd Baronet, and the Hon. Margaret Diana Hopetoun Chetwynd. His brother Archie (1905–1927) was a motorcycle racer .

Henry Birkin grew up in England . During World War I he was deployed to the Middle East, where he became infected with malaria , a disease from which he would not fully recover for life. After his discharge from military service, he worked in an office, the monotony of which he compensated by participating in car races in Brooklands from 1921 . Over time, his hobby and his job could no longer be reconciled, so that he soon devoted himself entirely to motorsport.

From 1927 he drove for the British racing team Bentley and, together with his brother Archie, became one of the legendary Bentley Boys . In the same year he finished fifth in the Le Mans 24-hour race . In 1929 he won this race in a Bentley. After Bentley was taken over by Rolls-Royce , Birkin drove for Bugatti , Alfa Romeo (with another Le Mans victory in 1931) and Maserati .

In 1931, on the death of his father, he inherited his title of baronet , of Ruddington Grange in the County of Nottingham.

He drove his last race on May 7, 1933 at the Gran Premio di Tripoli . He badly burned his arm on the exhaust pipe of his Maserati while stopping for fuel. Nevertheless, he finished the race and finished third behind Achille Varzi and Tazio Nuvolari . He probably did not have his burn wound treated sufficiently, so that it became seriously infected and he died of blood poisoning on June 22, 1933 in the Countess of Carnarvon Nursing Home in London . However, some sources also consider it possible that a new attack of malaria was the actual cause of death due to the physical weakening from the burn wound. His marriage to Audrey Latham, daughter of Sir Thomas Latham, 1st Baronet, in 1921 and divorced in 1928, left two daughters but no sons - his title of nobility therefore fell to his uncle Alexander Russell Birkin (1861-1942) as 4th Baronet.


Rötger Feldmann , alias Brösel, dedicated Tim “Full Throttle” Birkin to his Werner comic “ Who brakes is afraid ”.


Le Mans results

year team vehicle Teammate placement Failure reason
1928 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Bentley Motors Ltd. Bentley 4½ liter FranceFrance Jean Chassagne Rank 5
1929 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Bentley Motors Ltd. Bentley Speed ​​Six United KingdomUnited Kingdom Woolf Barnato Overall victory
1930 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Hon. Dorothy Paget Bentley Blower C. FranceFrance Jean Chassagne failure Engine failure
1931 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Earl Howe Alfa Romeo 8C 2800 LM United KingdomUnited Kingdom Earl Howe Overall victory
1932 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Earl Howe Alfa Romeo 8C 2800 LM United KingdomUnited Kingdom Earl Howe failure Engine failure


  • Birkin, Henry Ralph Stanley: Full throttle: Sir Henry ("Tim") Birkin . GT Foulis & Co. Ltd., London 1948.

Web links

Commons : Tim Birkin  - collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor title successor
Thomas Birkin Baronet, of Ruddington Grange
Alexander Birkin