memorial page for Mr John Horsman

Safir GT40 is sad to report that Mr. John Horsman has passed away.
John has been a good friend over the years and a pleasure to work with. John's technical knowledge and experience has been a most valuable asset in the development of the 50th anniversary edition GULF GT40. Rather than take credit for his work, John asked that a serial number plate be placed on each Gulf GT40 recognizing twenty five people he had worked with in the past but had not received sufficient recognition for their skills...

Read the memorial page and see photos at


I posted this on April 14th:

John Horsman has died. This is sad to report as he was my friend and a man who I greatly respected. A number of years ago John was the victim of a mistaken overdose of dye tracer (for a CT scan) and this damaged his kidneys to the point that it was necessary that he had a kidney transplant. This made it necessary to be on anti-rejection medication which had an effect on his immune system. In the past few months John had been ill and pretty much confined to his home here in Tucson, Arizona. He seemed to be improving so this outcome came as a surprise to us all. I'm sure we all wish his wife Janet our condolences.

The first time I met John at our Thursday lunch gathering, I sat next to him, not knowing much about who he was. We were discussing race cars and I mentioned that I had built a wing for a friend's Top Fuel dragster. He asked what profile I had used and I told him "NACA 4412". John's eyes lit up and I guess he thought that I knew something. He made a number of suggestions to improve the airflow on the car I am building. I'll miss him.

John's remarkable biography is widely available on the internet but the best one is in his wonderful book "Racing In The Rain".

First Stirling and now John. The old order passeth away....................


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> but the best one is in his wonderful book "Racing In The Rain"

I went to look for this last night and all I found were hardbacks at $300+, no paperbacks. I guess a short print run in 2006. I'll have to sneak that through the garage budget when the boss isn't looking..

Ron Earp

Hey Neil, much appreciated the remembrance and the photo. RIP John Horsman.

Sheldon, Safir has contacted about putting up a memorial here on the site. I've asked them to sign on, no sponsorship needed, and please post info and pictures about John Horsman. I hope that comes to pass.


One more story about John... In August 2006, I drove up to the Bonneville Salt Flats to attend Speed Week and experience the unique ambience of that strange place. John Horsman told me that a team from JCB would be there running a diesel-powered streamliner. John was familiar with that project and told me that their objective was to demonstrate that their JCB diesel engine was robust, powerful, and reliable enough to power a very fast race car. He said he might stop by there and say hello.

At Bonneville, the JCB team created a very favorable impression with their new streamliner. It was very well designed and its aerodynamics were given a high priority. In fact, none other than Ron Ayres handled the aero. His resume included the design of the Bloodhound guided missile- top drawer talent, indeed. The driver selected for the record attempt was also outstanding- Andy Green, an RAF fighter pilot with lots of flight time in a Tornado.

The JCB team had two large tractor-trailers; one was set up as a first-class hospitality suite and the other, parked adjacent, was their data collection and analysis van. This was similar to a Formula One team! I checked out the hospitality suite but I did not find John, so I looked into the other van and someone at a computer monitor asked if they could help me. I think his implication was that I was not supposed to be in there. I said to the computer operator "I'm looking for John Horsman, he said he might be here." A very surprised and puzzled look came over his face and he said "THE John Horsman?" and I replied that it was, indeed and that John had said he might stop in and say "Hello". Word quickly around the British JCB team about John's possible visit- it was clear that his reputation was sterling in the world- wide racing community. Unfortunately John did not get to that event so it was a disappointment.

On Saturday evening after racing was finished for that day, drivers and crew members would assemble in Jon Wennerberg's pit for the "Salt Talks", a casual get-together with food and refreshments and lots of stories. Before it started, I realized that the JCB team was probably not familiar with this Bonneville tradition and I took it upon myself to invite Andy and others to attend. We were pleased when Andy Green, Colin Bond, and a few others joined us for a wonderful evening. It was one of those memorable experiences that life throws your way - once in a while!

PS: The JCB streamliner ran flawlessly and it holds the current world record in its class- D/S.
JCB Dieselmax on the Salt 2.jpg
JCB Dieselmax on the Salt 3.jpg
Andy Green & Ron Ayres.jpg
Andy Green- Driver.jpg
JCB Dieselmax.jpg


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