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Jim Rathmann, winner of the 1960 Indianapolis 500, dies aged 83

Jim Rathmann 1958 Race of Two Worlds

Jim Rathmann, the winner of the 1960 Indianapolis 500, has died at the age of 83.

Rathmann suffered a seizure last week in and passed away on Wednesday night in a hospice in Melbourne, Florida.

Born on July 16, 1928, Royal Richard Rathmann raced under the name 'Jim' in order to race hotrods while still under the legal age, borrowing the nickname of his older brother James to evade suspicion. James, by contrast, would be known under Richard's nickname 'Dick' throughout his racing career, which included pole at the 1958 Indy 500.

Rathmann's hotrod career really took off when he moved to Andy Granatelli's Chicago-based Hurricane Hot Rod operation, winning the Mid-West title in 1948, '50 and '51 and finishing third in the AAA stock car points in '55.

His greatest successes came at Indy, however, as he finished second in the legendary 500-mile race in 1952, '57 and '58, before winning the 1960 running of the event in a Watson-Offenhauser after a legendary fight with Rodger Ward.

Rathmann took two further victories in USAC-sanctioned Indycar events, taking his first success at Milwaukee in '57 and becoming the only man to win in the category at Daytona in '59.

He also won the short-lived Race of Two Worlds, a 500-mile race between the best of the Indycar and F1 drivers on various Monza circuit layouts, in 1958.

Rathmann dabbled in sportscar racing and twice took part in the Sebring 12 Hours. He was also entered for the 1959 United States Grand Prix, but failed to compete in a Tec-Mec Maserati.

After finishing racing, he began a successful businesses producing exhausts and go-karts. He remained a regular visitor to Indianapolis, driving the pace car on six occasions during the race and last appearing at the circuit in 2009.

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