The Brooklands Society
know your cars and drivers section


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Kay Petre

Kay Petre was the daughter of a well to do Canadian barrister who had clients both in England and South Africa which is why the family settled in England leading to Kay visiting Brooklands.

Her husband bought her a Wolseley Hornet in which she competed, having had a white leather jacket and helmet tailor mad to get into the swing of things. When she was successful the press went wild, identifying some glamour and style amongst the normal oil and grime of serious motor racing. Consequently she was always featured in the newspapers, no doubt the more so because she was petite an only 4ft 10in. tall as well as pretty.

She moved on to an Invicta, a Bugatti and ultimately the ex-Cobb 10 litre Delage in which she held the womens’ Outer Circuit lap record of 129.58 m.p.h. from from 26th October 1934 until she lost it to Gwenda Stewart on the 3rd August 1935, took it back the same day at 134.75 and then promptly lost it again to Gwenda Stewart driving the Derby Miller three days later at 135.95 m.p.h., a figure that was never bettered.

She was well known as a member of the Austin team in which she drove the side valve car and in which she had a serious accident when Reg Parnell came up too fast behind her, braked, lost speed and slid down the banking, clipped the tail of her car which then crashed heavily. She was badly injured and rushed to Weybridge hospital. After a period of convalescence she returned to Brooklands early in 1938 and practised in a Riley but she could not whip up any enthusiasm and never raced again. She felt so discouraged by the episode that it was a long time before anyone could get her to talk about racing again. She was engaged to do the fabric designs for Alec Issigonis’ mini in the sixties and she also worked as a journalist.

 

| Introduction | Race 1 | Race 2 | The Cars | The Drivers | Track Photos |
| Performance Parameters | General Data |

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