5th August 1968

Rally driver Colin McRae is born

Colin McRae was both the youngest and the first Scottish competitor ever to win the World Rally Championship Drivers’ title. He was born in Lanark, into a family with a history of rally driving. His brother Alister is also a driver, his uncle is a former driver, and his father, Jimmy, was British Rally Champion.

He first started competitive driving in his teens and at eighteen entered the Scottish Rally Championship. Two years later, he won the Championship and, the year after that, he entered the World Rally Championship for the first time.

World Rally Championship winner

The Aberdeen Press and Journal of 22 November 1995 reported on the closing stages of the World Rally Championship, which he won, when he “set up a thrilling climax to the rally by establishing a 12-second lead over his teammate and sole title rival, Carlos Sainz… the 27-year-old was quickest in six stages – only denied a magnificent clean sweep because Sainz took a solitary stage by just two seconds.”

The following day’s Daily Mirror punned “muddy marvellous – that’s Britain’s first-ever world rally champion, Colin McRae [who] marauded through the muck and fog in the RAC Rally’s 1,445-mile whistle-stop tour of Britain. After his triumph in the face of a fierce challenge from his Subaru 555 Impreza team-made Carlos Sainz, McRae said yesterday: ‘That’s all my dreams come true’.”

As well as Subaru, McRae drove for Citroen, Ford and Skoda. Competing in 146 rallies, he won 447 stages and appeared on the podium 42 times. He also competed in the Dakar Rally and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Colin McRae helicopter crash

Although he had moved away for some time, McRae was living back at Lanark when he was killed in a helicopter crash on 15 September 2007. His five-year-old son and two family friends were also killed in the crash. The BBC later reported that “a fatal accident enquiry found the crash, near his family home in Lanark in 2007, happened because he carried out unnecessary low-level manoeuvres… Sherif Stewart found that Mr McRae [who was flying the helicopter at the time of the crash] did not hold a valid flying licence or a valid ‘rating’ for the Eurocopter Squirrel helicopter.”



Other events that occured in August

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