Chris Amon dies aged 73 after battle with cancer

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Racing legend Chris Amon has died at the age of 73 following a battle with cancer, his family has confirmed.

Hailing from New Zealand, Amon is widely regarded as being one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers never to win a world championship grand prix.

Amon made his debut in 1963 at the age of 19, and went on to race with Ferrari, March and Matra across a 13-year stint in the sport.

Amon won a handful of non-championship F1 races, but enjoyed his most noted success in sportscars, winning the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans with Ford alongside Bruce McLaren, as well as the Daytona 24 Hours and Monza 1000km in 1967 with Ferrari.

Amon retired from racing in 1978, but continued to follow motorsport closely until his death.

“Chris battled cancer in recent years but retained not only a close interest in Formula One – and his very wide range of favourite topics – but also his wonderful sense of humor, complete with infectious chuckle,” a statement from his family read on Wednesday.

Tributes to Amon have poured in, with McLaren CEO Ron Dennis paying tribute to the New Zealander in a statement.

“It was with profound sadness that I heard the news this morning that Chris Amon had passed away,” Dennis said.

“Chris started 96 Grands Prix but won not one of them – and it is safe to say that he was the greatest racing driver never to have won a race at the very highest level.He nearly won a fair few, but always it seemed that his luck would run out before he saw the chequered flag.

“He nearly won a fair few, but always it seemed that his luck would run out before he saw the checkered flag.

“However, he won at Le Mans, in a mighty 7.0-litre Ford, exactly 50 years ago, his co-driver his friend and fellow Kiwi, Bruce McLaren, whose name still graces the team to which I have devoted my working life.

“I have not met Chris for many years, but, even so, I have extremely fond memories of him, and indeed I would describe him as one of the most likeable men I have met in my long racing career.

“For all those reasons I want to take this opportunity to extend the heartfelt sympathies of all 3300 of us at McLaren to the family and friends of a great New Zealander, a true gentleman, and one of the fastest racing drivers there ever was: the one and only Christopher Arthur Amon.

“May he rest in peace.”