Jim Russell

Herbert James Russell, better known as Jim Russell, was an English former racing driver, garage owner and founder of the Jim Russell Racing Driver School.

Russell's driving career began at the age of 32, when a friend invited him to go to his local Snetterton race circuit. Starting with a 500 cc Cooper with a J.A.P. engine, Russell quickly progressed to a Manx Norton engine fettled by established motorcycle tuner Steve Lancefield. He then moved up to Formula Three and Formula Two.

Between 1953 and 1959 he won 64 Formula Three races, 11 Formula Two races and 6 sports car races. He won the British Formula Three Championship for three successive years from 1955 to 1957 in the company of established drivers Les Leston and newcomer John Surtees.

Russell's racing career ended after suffering injuries in a crash at Le Mans in 1959, meeting his future wife Jennifer who was a nurse at a Norwich hospital.

Emerson Fittipaldi in a Jim Russell car

Driving School

In 1956, Russell set up the first motor racing school at Snetterton. It was very successful and Jim Russell Racing Driver Schools have played a role in the development of many young drivers including Emerson Fittipaldi, Derek Bell, Danny Sullivan, Tiff Needell, Teddy Pilette and Jacques Villeneuve.

In 1966, Russell was responsible for the cars in Grand Prix, overseeing the construction of replica Formula 1 cars based around junior single-seater machines. Many of the actors with driving roles also learned to handle a race car at his school.

Almost all of the black & white pictures on this site came from Jim's personal collection of contact strips from the filming.

The 'Jim Russell' name continues with franchised schools carrying the name, but sadly the man himself passed away in March 2019.

Jim Russell Jim Russell in a race car
To several generations of racing driver, the name of Jim Russell and the Jim Russell Racing Drivers’ School will never be forgotten. In his own way, Jim was, and will always be remembered as a legend.

- British Racing Drivers Club