He began racing in the early 1960’s in a Sprite and an MG Midget. In 1964 at the age of 33, he was 2nd in the Gymkhana class in the B.C. Region, Canadian Automobile Sport Club. In 1965 he graduated to a powerful Sunbeam Tiger. His record was 38 wins out of 54 events entered.
In 1967 he started racing his famous Ford Shelby GT350R sponsored by Brown Brothers Motors in Vancouver, B.C. For the next two seasons, he and his sponsors were an unbeatable combo, winning or capturing over 40 podiums in the process. Not content with winning the Sedan or B-Production contests, they changed carburetors, wheels and tires, etc. to compete in various other categories. Their record at the Vancouver Westwood Circuit was: May 7 – ICSCC races, A-E Improved Production, won B improved (fastest lap – 1’24.0); May 28 – B-E Improved Production – won B Feature Race – 2nd OA; June 4 – A-E Improved Production – won B; June 25 – Player’s Pacific, 14th OA, 4th over 2-litre; July 30 – A-E Improved Production – won B (Fastest lap – 1’31.4”, Modified, won C; Aug. 20 – A-E Improved Production – won B (Fastest lap – 1’23.3”); Sept. 17 – A-E Improved Production – won B (Fastest lap – 1’22.2”); Oct. 1 – Pepsi Pro Invitational – 9th OA, 7th over 2-litre; Oct. 23 – 7 Hour Enduro – 3rd OA.
He won five Northwest Driving Championships in 1968. Two International Conference titles; two B.C. Regional Championships; and the overall Royal City Club title. This year was the high point of his road racing career. In 1969 he won the Mount Douglas Hill Climb in Victoria, a feat that was also accomplished in 1962 by Hall of Fame Inductee Billy Foster.
In 1970 he left sports car racing and turned to oval track racing at his home track, the Oyster River Speedway (now Saratoga Speedway). He commenced with a “B” class car, then moved to the “A” class (Super Stock) in 1972. He competed at Oyster River near Campbell River, Western Speedway in Victoria and Langley Speedway near Vancouver. His winning ways prevailed as he earned four point championships while being victorious in numerous heats and features. As well as his wins, the media dubbed him “Terrible Tommy” after some particularly aggressive racing moments which earned him eight black flags. He retired from active racing in 1976.
In 2005 he was reunited with Carroll Shelby and his freshly restored Brown Brothers GT350R. He was invited to test drive it again on the California Speedway. He hadn’t lost his driving skills as he hit 165 MPH, which would have put him 3rd on the grid for the next days event. He asked, “So how do I get started in vintage racing?”
We are now proud to welcome Tommy Hamilton into the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame.