Kenneth Henry Acheson (born November 27, 1957) is a former Northern Irish Formula One driver who took part in 11 races, but only started three, between 1983 and 1985, all for the RAM team.

His only finish was at the 1983 South African Grand Prix where he finished 12th and last, 6 laps behind the winner Riccardo Patrese.


1977-1978: Formula Ford Edit

Kenneth Acheson was born into a motor racing family to which his father was a regular racer in the local Northern Irish Formula Ford championship. His father had competed against the likes of Gordon Watson, the father of Northern Ireland's first successful Formula One driver, John Watson.

In 1976, Kenneth's father promised to buy him his own Formula Ford car if he promised to quit smoking. Kenneth made good on his promise and in 1977 began his motor racing career.

Whilst he originally planned to be only a hobby racer like his father, Kenneth immediately demonstrated enormous talent and went on to dominate the Northern Irish Formula Ford championship. His highly impressive first season in Formula Ford saw him be lauded as the greatest driver to hail from Northern Ireland since John Watson.

In 1978, he headed to mainland Britain to see if his motor racing talent would be worth anything among the more competitive mainland championships. A young Rory Byrne immediately talent spotted Acheson as a driver with serious potential. Byrne acquired Acheson one of the top line Royale cars for the 1978 season. Acheson partnered with Rory Byrne once again appeared to be a dominant driver. Acheson easily took victory in the 1978 British Formula Ford championship.

1979-1980: Formula Three Edit

Acheson's success saw him acquire a sponsor in the ready-mix concrete company, the RMC Group. RMC therefore sponsored his entry into the 1979 British Formula Three championship. Acheson would compete against the likes of Nigel Mansell, Stefan Johansson, Andrea de Cesaris, Mike Thackwell, Chico Serra, Roberto Guerrero and Eddie Jordan in the championship.

Acheson was driving a two year old Ralt RT1, a car that by no means was the class of the field. Acheson, however quickly adapted to the older car and found he could regularly compete within the top ten of the field despite his older model car. When it appeared Acheson could match the pace of the leading group, RMC acquired him a March 793, one of the most competitive cars in the field.

Acheson proved slow to adjust to the new car, suffering a number of retirements. However at the twelfth round of the championship at Silverstone, Acheson finally acquired his first podium where he finished third behind Chico Serra and Mike Thackwell.

He then took his first victory in a non-championship race at Donnington Park where he notably defended against a charging Thierry Boutsen throughout the race. Thereafter, Acheson established himself as one of the front runners in Formula Three. Whilst he was regularly fighting and matching the pace of the front runners, he failed to manage to take a championship victory throughout his inaugral season.

Although, he did manage to take a total of three non-championship victories throughout the entire season. This notably however lacked the main championship contenders, however he commendably defended a victory at Donnington Park from Nigel Mansell much as he done to Thierry Boutsen earlier in the season.

With drivers like De Cesaris, Thackwell and Serra graduating from the series as well as an injured Nigel Mansell, Acheson was expected to be one of the leading contenders for 1980. His main rivals would come from Stefan Johansson and Roberto Guerrero. Johansson had signed for Ron Dennis's Project 4 outfit which was seen as the dominant team in Formula Three. Guerrero entered the scene with heavy funding for his own endeavours. Although he received a new March 803 from the RMC Group, Acheson was undoubtedly one of the lesser funded competitors.

Acheson struggled to adapt to the new March 803 and instead opted to revert back to the older March 793 he had from the previous season. The decision immediately payed off well and he took his first F3 victory at the fourth round at Thruxton. He then followed with another victory at the next round of the championship at Silverstone.

Acheson also attended the F3 support race for the Monaco Grand Prix where he performed well to finish fourth behind Mauro Baldi, Michele Alboreto and Jean-Louis Schlesser. His main championship rival, Johansson appeared to be faltering after his early season pace. Acheson appeared to have the middle season ground and it looked like there was a very real potential that Johansson in his Ron Dennis entered Project 4 car would lose the championship.

Late in the season, Ron Dennis purchased the latest Ralt RT3 model for Johansson in a late bid attempt to ensure that they won the championship. The new Ralt appeared to be a dominant piece of machinery and Johansson was easily in control in the remaining races. Acheson meanwhile faltered, he returned to the now updated March 803B and found that he could not match the pace of Johansson in the Ralt. Acheson therefore lost the championship by only two points to Johansson.

1981-1983: Formula Two Edit

1983 & 1985: Formula One Edit

1984: CART Edit

1985: Edit

Formula One Statistical OverviewEdit

Formula One RecordEdit

Year Entrant Team WDC Points WDC Pos. Report
1983 RAM Automative Team March RAM-Ford Cosworth 0 NC Report
1985 Shadow Racing Team RAM-Hart 0 NC Report

Career StatisticsEdit

Entries 11
Starts 3
Pole Positions 0
Front Row Starts 0
Race Wins 0
Podiums 0
Fastest laps 0
Points 0
Laps Raced 101
Distance Raced 469.362 km
Races Led 0
Laps Led 0
Distance Led 0 km

Career ResultsEdit

Complete Formula One results
Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Pts Pos
1983 Flag of Brazil Flag of the United States Flag of France Flag of San Marino Flag of Monaco Flag of Belgium Flag of the United States Flag of Canada Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of Europe Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 0 NC
1985 Flag of Brazil Flag of Portugal Flag of San Marino Flag of Monaco Flag of Canada Flag of the United States Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of Belgium Flag of Europe Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of Australia 0 NC
Ret DNQ Ret

Symbol Meaning Symbol Meaning
1stWinner Ret Retired
2ndPodium finish DSQ Disqualified
3rd DNQ Did not qualify
5thPoints finish DNPQ Did not pre-qualify
14thNon-points finish TD Test driver
NCNon-classified finish (<90% race distance) DNS Did not start
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