Frederick Charles Kenneth Wharton (21 March 1916, Smethwick – 12 January 1957, Ardmore, Auckland, New Zealand) was a British racing driver from England. He competed in off-road trials, hillclimbs, and rallying, and also raced sports cars and single-seaters. He began racing in the new National 500cc Formula in his own special, and later acquired a Cooper. His World Championship Grand Prix debut was at the 1952 Swiss event, run to Formula 2 regulations, where he started from 13th position on the grid and finished 4th. He participated in a total of 15 World Championship Grands Prix, from which he scored 3 championship points.
Ken Wharton in 1953.
|Born||21 March 1916|
|Died||12 January 1957 (aged 40)|
Ardmore, Auckland, New Zealand
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1952 – 1955|
|Teams||privateer Frazer-Nash & Cooper, BRM, Vanwall|
|Entries||16 (15 starts)|
|First entry||1952 Swiss Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1955 Italian Grand Prix|
On 17 August 1935, he was involved in a crash at Donington Park while driving an Austin in an 850 c.c. race. The incident, which saw him overturn at Red-gate corner occurred on lap one of five. Wharton escaped with abrasions to the arm.
In 1951 he "travelled abroad, with Peter Bell's 2-litre E.R.A., to finish 3rd overall in the Susa/Mont Cenis hill-climb and 4th overall in the Aosta/Grand Saint Bernard hill-climb. With a Cooper 500 he also competed in the German Freiburg hill-climb where he was runner-up in the 500 cc class to Stirling Moss."  Wharton won the Freiburg event outright in the E.R.A. on 5 August, climbing the 7.4 miles of the Schauinsland Pass, in 8 minutes 5.33 seconds. On 19 August he was fastest at the Vue des Alpes hill-climb, with a time of 3 minutes 57.8 seconds. He won the British Hill Climb Championship every year from 1951 to 1954, and remains the only driver to have won four successive BHCC titles. Other successes with ERA R4D included winning the Brighton Speed Trials in 1954, 1955 and 1956.
Success in rallies included winning the Tulip Rally in 1949, 1950 and 1952, driving Fords. He also became British Trials Champion.
In 1957 Wharton was fatally injured when his Ferrari Monza crashed in a sports car race at the Ardmore Circuit in New Zealand. More than 1,100 people attended his funeral, including his mother, father, sister, aunt, uncle and cousins.
Complete World Championship resultsEdit
|1952||Scuderia Franera||Frazer-Nash FN48||Bristol Straight-6||SUI
|1953||Ken Wharton||Cooper T23||Bristol Straight-6||ARG||500||NED
|1954||Owen Racing Organisation||Maserati 250F||Maserati Straight-6||ARG||500||BEL||FRA
|1955||Vandervell Products Ltd||Vanwall||Vanwall Straight-4||ARG||MON||500||BEL||NED||GBR
- England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 (Ancestry.com)
- England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005 (Ancestry.com)
- "Donington Park Motor Races". Nottingham Evening Post. 17 August 1935. Retrieved 10 July 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- C. A. N. May, Speed Hill-Climb, G.T. Foulis & Co LTD, 1962, Page 28.
- Motor Year Book 1952, Temple Press, Page 193.
- Motor Sport, January 1952, Page 11.
- Les Douze Heures de Reims, Motor Sport, August 1954, Page 426.
- "Ken Wharton Dies". Birmingham Daily Post. 12 January 1957. Retrieved 10 July 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "1,100 at Funeral of Ken Wharton". Birmingham Daily Post. 31 January 1957. Retrieved 10 July 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
| British Hill Climb Champion