Phil Hill, a reserved Californian who became a gifted race-car driver and the only U.S.-born driver to win the Formula One international auto-racing championship, died Thursday. He was 81.
"Phil set the standard" for other American drivers who competed overseas, such as Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti, Shav Glick, the longtime motor sports writer for The Times, wrote in 2006.
Hill won his Formula One championship in the season's penultimate race in Monza, Italy, after he had swapped the series lead all year with his Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Trips of Germany.
In the same race, Von Trips died in a crash that also killed 14 spectators. As a result, Ferrari did not participate in the season's final race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Hill was unable to celebrate his championship in his home country.
He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991.
Another pioneer is gone. Godspeed, Phil.