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Ninian Sanderson

Ninian Sanderson (14 May 1925, Glasgow, Scotland – 1 October 1985) was a car dealer, sports car racing driver, and winner of the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans.[1][2]

In common with many drivers of his era, Sanderson cut his racing teeth in the highly competitive 500cc Formula 3 class in the early 1950s. He is best known for winning the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Ecurie Ecosse team, together with Ron Flockhart in an ex-works Jaguar D-Type.[3] The following year Sanderson again competed for Ecurie Ecosse, finishing second with co-driver John "Jock" Lawrence, only beaten by the other Ecurie Ecosse D-Type driven by Flockhart and Ivor Bueb.

In 1999 the Jaguar sports car that won the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans was sold at Christie's in London for £1.71 million.[4] At that time it was the most expensive car ever bought at auction.[4]

Although reputedly not the easiest of men to get along with, Ninian Sanderson was well known in racing circles for his lively sense of humour. Fond of practical jokes he was not averse to putting firecrackers up exhaust pipes and ribbing members of the public with his race-bred black humour. The contrast in personalities within the Ecurie Ecosse team was stark; down-to-Earth, Glaswegian Sanderson, and refined, Edinburgh-born Flockhart were "like chalk and cheese".

In 1983 Sanderson and Jim Watt raised £10,500 for the medical oncology unit at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary following a sponsored canoe trip from Broomielaw to Tarbert, Loch Fyne.[5] Sanderson had been receiving treatment at the unit for several years; he died of cancer in 1985.[5][1] His wife Dorothy Sanderson died in 2007.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Sanderson remains a battler until the end".  
  2. ^ "Ninian Sanderson" (PDF) 14 (3).  
  3. ^ "Death Marks End Of Le Mans Race".  
  4. ^ a b "Sports car sells for £1.71m".  
  5. ^ a b "Charity cheque". The Herald (Glasgow). 15 June 1983. p. 3. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Dorothy Sanderson". The Herald (Glasgow). 17 February 2007. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 

External links

  • Brief biography at
  • Ninian Sanderson profile at The 500 Owners Association
  • Ninian Sanderson's race results at
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mike Hawthorn
Ivor Bueb
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1956 with:
Ron Flockhart
Succeeded by
Ron Flockhart
Ivor Bueb
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